The Biggest Lie in the (Blogging) World

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A whole slew of people in the creative realm, maybe even everyone, allows themselves to believe a debilitating lie, and the lie is that your pursuit — be it blogging, writing a book, taking award-winning photographs, or penning songs — is consumed by enough talent already. There’s this littler whisper in our brains that shows up when we’re working on a project that tells us, in more or less words, that this pursuit is already way over-saturated, so go kick rocks.

You might think hearing voices in your head would make someone insane, but au contraire, I think it’s totally NORMAL for creatives. And we must somehow acknowledge Mr. Lie-telling Voice, tell him “Thanks for your input,” and then ignore him and continue on with the work.

Imagine if a kid who wanted to be a doctor got to college and his biology professor told him, “You really shouldn’t go this route. There are hundreds of thousands of doctors in the world already. No one will need you.” Obviously, that would probably never happen, unless the professor is off his rocker.

But so many of us in the left-brain world get talked out of pursuing our creative goals because there is so much like them out there already. I was talking with my mom recently about a book, “Love Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Menton, that she just finished reading. (Let’s be honest. Everyone is reading this book right now. Thanks, Oprah.) She was telling me how taken she was by the raw, no-holds-barred, devastatingly honest account of this woman’s tumultuous life.

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Morning Water

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Health and wellness trends pretty much mean nothing to me. Plain old health and wellness, period, are super important in my world, but it’s trends themselves that I’m skeptical about. I’ve jumped on board to plenty of them in the past (juice cleansing, Bikram yoga, juice cleansing, carb cutting, and juice cleansing, to name a few), but I usually end up burnt out or frustrated or on the verge of insanity (is this normal?) from a lack of results.

Speaking of juice cleanses, if you’ve ever done one, you know what I mean by feeling frustration by the end. There is nothing more downright ANNOYING than depriving your body of solid (beautiful, delicious, decadent) food for three-plus days while drinking fruits and vegetables in the hopes of slimming down and detoxifying your body.

I always came out of a cleanse feeling extra-toxic, ironically, from the hangriness that had been stewing inside me for those few days. Plus, any weight I might have lost by starving myself from real nutrition always came back immediately, and then some…

Because obviously you need to treat yourself with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream for making it through a juice cleanse.

 

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Please Stop Telling Women To Smile

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The other morning, I was walking the three blocks from where I park in downtown Dallas to my office when a man walking toward me on the sidewalk shouted,”Try a smile,” at me. I hadn’t even noticed him until he commanded this facial expression from me, and after a quick glance to find I was the only person in his vicinity, in automatic response, I gave him a tight-lipped grin that couldn’t have looked at all like a happy smile.

“There you go,” he told me encouragingly, returning a wide beam, and I walked on past him without a word, mad at myself for acknowledging this stranger’s bossiness with even a half-smile. Why is it that I need to be smiling as I walk my daily five-minute stroll to the office building? Why would anyone feel the need to tell me to do so as I mind my own business during my usual route to work?

The sage 14-year-old actress Rowan Blanchard is just as aggravated with strangers telling her to smile more, except instead of approaching her on the street, they’re commenting en masse on her Instagram page. “If I want to smile I will,” she Tweeted on Nov. 29. “Nothing more than that.”

But there is more than that. People inherently think women are sad or upset or, as Blanchard explained in another Tweet, depressed if they aren’t smiling in every picture or as they walk in public, which is plain ignorant and frankly stupid. People assuming automatically that non-smiling women are depressed is a serious thing, because depression is serious and should not be tossed around just because someone’s face doesn’t look like what society defines as joy.

Not smiling can mean someone is being thoughtful, creative, meditational, pensive, inspired, artful, tired, or a million other things that aren’t feelings of depression or being upset, whereas people who do decide to be open about depression are oftentimes told they’re being overreactive (another point made by Blanchard). Smiling, or not smiling, is an individual choice, just like any other action and reaction — so why do some people insist on demanding it so casually and so often, specifically from women?

Historically, women have been made to be creatures who please others, and while a facial expression seems like not a big deal in relation to other gender issues, it is. Human emotion is a right to be expressed individually whenever a person feels like expressing it — it is not something to be dictated by another person who would feel a little better if I slapped on a happier face because he asked me to do so. So, please, don’t tell me to smile. I will when I feel like it. And if I look depressed or have “resting bitch face,” I don’t really care if that hurts your feelings.

Bye, Felicia.

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Poncho: Old Navy (Sold out: similar here and here) // Jeans: Target // Booties: Dolce by Mojo Moxy via Francesca’s // Sunglasses: Target // Necklace: Tribe Alive (Old, but all their jewelry is stunning and hand-crafted, and supports an amazing cause.) // Lipstick: L’Oreal “Divine Wine”

Edgy Holiday Outfits: Part 3

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The last couple Mondays, I’ve shared unorthodox outfits to incorporate into your holiday festivities. Not everyone would assume over-the-knee boots, leather, body-con wrap skirts, crop tops, and suede would add up to beautiful attire for Christmas parties and family gatherings, but I’ve always liked an air of unexpected incorporated into my personal style. If you do too, these looks are ideal for you to pick up this December.

I’ve save the best, my favorite, for last. The little bow cutouts in the skirt and its charming silhouette make it feel less over-the-top than a leather skirt may come across. It’s more girl-next-door than dominatrix (an association that often comes with leather garments. Sadly, it’s a couple years old, but I’ve linked some similar styles below. The pairing of a sweet, olive knit crop top makes my world; I love a good mixture of textures.

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Crop top: Forever 21 // Skirt: Fifty Street (Old: similar here, here, and here) // Boots: Target (Sold out: similar here) // Body chain: Forever 21 (Old: similar here) // Lipstick: Revlon “Black Cherry”

Photography by Sarah Cook.