Threads + Thoughts | Changes of Scenery, Changes of Pace

There is a strange juxtaposition occurring in my internal life now. This odd fissuring of who I was and what I want to be creating an anomalous sense of instability. I suppose I write this in part to define this sensation to myself, as well as to others. I’m only just beginning to comprehend how drastically and suddenly my life has transformed (as it often does) and exactly what that means.

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I grew up in the mountains, on the shores of a lake so big and blue it’s sometimes called “The Lake of the Sky.” I grew up playing in the woods, beneath towering pine trees, in the coarse sand of a dozen alpine lakes. I spent summer nights under stars that burned bright silver in a velvety, blue-black sky, the milky way strung across it like a gossamer veil. I walked home under those stars in the freezing winter, the only sound my own breathing and the crunch of my boots on the snow. I grew up with camping trips and bonfires and hours of hiking trails. With snow days and hot chocolate by the fire place and socks damp from snowmelt. My legs were always covered in scratches from running through the brush in shorts. My arms were always sunburnt and freckled from hours spent beneath the high, hot summer sun. I built forts by the river and spent autumn evenings writing in my journal on a rock in the middle of it’s lazy flow. My youth was an idyllic one, I must admit, with a closeness to nature that made the woods a sanctuary and the wilderness a church. But by the time I was in high school, I wanted nothing but to flee the silence of that cathedral. I wanted light and sound and motion. The rush and press of city streets and the chatter of a thousand voices lulling me to sleep each night. Thats the life I imagined for myself when I was a restless, angst-ridden teen, adrift in a town where I didn’t really connect with anyone. Those were the years I dreamt of San Francisco and New York and a career as a fashion designer or magazine editor. I had grand schemes of a cosmopolitan life full of glamorous parties and beautiful people and opulent clothes. I wanted art and music and lavish parties attended by interesting people from all over the world. I wanted to drink in all their stories, all their varied experiences. I loathed my small town and what I deemed to be it’s small-minded people. I was convinced I belonged elsewhere, in some bright and glimmering city.

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Now I want something somewhere in between. I want the art and culture and creativity that I found dripping off the walls of San Francisco’s multi-colored victorians. I want the community and collaboration of living around a bunch of like-minded people; artists and musicians and writers and creatives of all varieties. I want a bold art scene, a raucous music scene, a plethora of culinary options to choose from. But I also want stars over my head and the quiet of the deep dark night. I want early mornings with the mist on the mountains and the sun creeping across the window panes. I found my soul depleted by the constant noise and rush of the city, by all those people, all those stories, all the endless things to do. I found myself strangely overwhelmed by it all and there was a longing for that old peace, to escape to the solitude and silence of the woods once more.IMG_2616

Ojai is it’s own little bubble of juxtaposition, a tiny town nestled in one of the few East-to-West running valleys in the world. It’s considered by many to be an energetic vortex, and is well known for spiritual retreats and it’s artsy-hippie residents. I have the strange sensation of being called here, summoned by some external force whose intention is still unclear. Before a few months ago, I only knew of Ojai peripherally, vague mentions of this beautiful place from friends, the suggestion that “Ojai and you would get along famously” from a dear friend whose grandmother lives here. And then, as I got closer, the word Ojai came up again and again for me. In books, on podcasts, in movies, in passing conversation with strangers and friends. J visited Ojai with his mother while I was working in San Francisco and he called to tell me “You will absolutely love this place.” As soon as I set foot on it’s soil I knew, this is where I want to be. Everything about it felt so right, from the towering mountains that ring the valley to the eclectic citizens that roam the streets, I fell instantly and irrevocably in love with Ojai.

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I wake up every morning to the sound of roosters crowing and I watch the sunlight stain the mountains outside my window. I go to sleep each night to mockingbirds songs. I took these photos on my porch, as the sun slipped down towards the horizon and the valley filled up with gold. The contrast is sharp to where I was only a year ago, with the sound of the city right outside my window. I am sometimes still surprised by it, the strangeness of how drastically my life has changed in the space of a year, but I also find myself exuberantly happy. Thrilled each morning to wake up in a place so naturally beautiful.

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outfit details | knit top :: thrifted | woven leather belt :: vintage | blue high-wasted shorts :: vintage | flats :: reef

Threads + Thoughts | Comparison is the Thief of Joy

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Oh, hey there, Internet. Good to see you again. It has been a while, hasn’t it? Sorry I went all MIA on you. But look! I’m compensating with a photo of me attempting to look sexy and smirky in this rad little shift dress I scored on a Thrift. It’s the perfect weight, length and cut for summer, plus it’s super versatile and looks great paired with damn near anything.  I have a feeling I’m going to be rocking this well into the autumn months (though
 the entire concept of seasons in Southern California is sort of a joke). 

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To be perfectly honest, part of the reason I am so few and far between on the outfit photos is because they are really hard for me. I feel so silly, primping and preening for the camera, even now, after all this time. Even when I have someone else to take my photos, I feel so stilted and unsure of myself as soon as I sense the lens on me. I suppose there is an element of insecurity, the worry of how I look. There are still days where I struggle to like my appearance, still days where I worry that I’m an ugly girl and that self consciousness is particularly keen when I’m in front of the camera.

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A part of the reason I started my style blog was because I realized I avoided cameras. There are huge chunks of my youth in which not a single photo of me exists because I hated having my picture taken. For years I would either flee the room or pull a face whenever a camera pointed in my direction. I still have a hard time smiling for photos, because I think I look like a complete goober when I smile. Hence the eternal RBF (Resting Bitch Face) in all my photos. I know how silly that is, particularly since I spent 2.5 years in braces and get compliments on my smile all the time…but it’s just one of those things, ya know? There’s probably some carryover insecurity from the Before Braces era, when I was a snaggle-toothed little kid who covered her mouth when she smiled.

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I’m still coming to terms with the way that I look. Every day there is the comparison, the concern that I am not pretty enough or not as pretty as someone else. I rarely doubt my own intelligence or sense of humor, but my looks? That is something I am constantly questioning. As I was editing these photos, that nasty, inner critic we all have started doing it’s thing. Gosh, your face is boring. Shouldn’t I have a thigh-gap? Are my knee caps fat? Why in gods name am I concerned about the fatness of my knee caps?? It’s all so silly and trivial and superficial. Who am I comparing myself to? Whose standard of beauty am I not measuring up to? Why am I enforcing that standard on myself?

Recently, the ever lovely and encouraging Gala Darling posted this image on her Facebook page and the sentiment hit me like a fistful of glitter. Just stop. Stop comparing yourself to other people, stop evaluating yourself based on someone else. Here’s a little secret; you never measure up. So just stop doing it. It reminded me of another quote I love, and one I’ll leave you (and my inner critic) with.

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