Lifestyle

Good People

Surround yourself with good people

People who make you use big words
Who get you talking about something other than boys

People who make you want to be great
Not because they’re better,
but because they encourage you to be better

Surround yourself with good people
Friends who can pick up a conversation from six months ago
… or six years ago

Friends who love you for you

Surround yourself with good people
and you will be good people

 

Coming from The South, it is not uncommon to hear of a single person being referred to as “good people.” This colloquialism ultimately serves to specify a particular person as being respectable, down to hearth, and just generally good. Throughout my life I’ve come to use the phrase to refer not only to my best friends, but to people who I can count on. “Good people” doesn’t have to be the most law-abiding citizen. “Good people” may curse and drink too much, like to gossip and have their lazy days, but when push comes to shove they stand up for their friends and don’t take shit from anybody.

For 2017 I hope to meet more good people and keep them in my sphere of influence. Good people are crucial for personal development. You are who you surround yourself with.

Thank you to the good people I have in my life. You remind me every day that I’m not crazy, that not everyone is stupid, and our world is not doomed 🙂

 

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Lifestyle, Styling

Lavender & Smoke

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Since body positivity has become such a major social movement, I feel the need to express my sentiments on the subject. I love my body, as one should, but it has taken me years to come to this conclusion. And even though I love my body as a whole, there are still parts of me that I feel like I could improve on. Some things I can change (like my yoga moves), but some things I can’t (like my height).

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It was only within the past few years that I have learned to appreciate every part. Even the parts of me that I don’t love, I find a way to disguise and I accentuate the parts that I do love. Isn’t that what fashion is all about (aside from personal expression), anyway? I’ve never had a problem with my back, shoulders, or décolletage, and that’s always been my focus. Being teased for having a large chest at a young age had an impact on how I dressed, beginning in middle school. Apparel is the original Photoshop.

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With Lavender & Smoke, it was very bizarre because for once my skin didn’t need much retouching. I have struggled with acne for years and finally I’m a place where I feel comfortable going out in public without any makeup on and sometimes I forget I’m not wearing any at all. When I realize this, I’m not worried or scared that someone is judging me for my acne or acne scars. In this shoot, we had fun with makeup without the fear of close-ups. I still focused on the parts of me that I’ve always felt comfortable with, but the overall effect was that of increased confidence. I feel like body acceptance is not so much saying “Yes, I am 100% beautiful!” but more so saying “You know what, I might not 100% love every part about me, but I accept it and I’m going to try my best to love everything I am.”

bones

It doesn’t happen over night. It doesn’t happen in a year. It takes time and effort. You have to learn who you are to reach this result, Body Acceptance. I’ve found that I never use a scale anymore. I’ve found that I’ve stopped measuring my waist-line. You have to realize that “perfection” doesn’t exist in beauty. That’s really what this Body Positive movement is all about. It’s not “Everybody is perfect.” It’s that, yes we might have our flaws, but we’re okay with them.

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Special thanks to Debadeep Sen for capturing my good side (photography) & Keisha Lousie for making me look fabulous (hair&makeup).

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Lifestyle

Changes

“Time may change me
But I can’t trace time”

— David Bowie

As you finish one chapter in life and begin another,
you reflect on all that you have accomplished
and all that you still want to complete.

2014 was a big year for me:
It was my first year out of college
I moved in to my first apartment by myself
I started an amazing job
(a real, grown-up salary job with vacation days and health insurance!)
I adopted a kitten, Lunar Eclipse
and I launched the Style Asset blog.

But there is still so much I am working on and that I have to do!

Some goals cannot be completed within a year.
They are journeys that take time and dedication.

One of my biggest journeys has been in the health & wellness sector of my life.
About two years ago I began eating better, thanks to a book that changed my perspective on food,
(Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman)
But this healthy eating led to unwanted weight gain.
Looking back now, I can see that prior to changes in my eating habits I was unhealthy.
Yes, I was skinny and everyone gawked at my tiny frame and I loved it,
but I was not healthy.

Healthy is a two-part program.
I had the eating part right, now it was time to work on the dreaded exercise portion.
So last year I joined a gym and went maybe three times a month.
Pathetic! How can I expect change when I put in so little effort?
Well, I did change: I gained 10 lbs, but my body fat remained at 19%.
That’s good, right? Maybe, but it’s not what I wanted.
Needless to say, I am not wasting money on a gym membership in 2015.
There are other ways to be active that suit different lifestyles.
I recently signed up for Daily Burn, an at-home work-out program,
and so far I’ve been able to stick with the weekly regime.

Fingers crossed that this helps me achieve my wellness goals:
not to be super skinny, but to be the best version of me that I can be.
I will not look at super models and envy their long legs or their 23″ waist,
because I have strong legs and beautiful curves.

2015 is about loving my outward appearance for what it is
and bettering myself mentally & physically.
In 2015 I will read more, I will drink more water and less wine,
I will use less salt, I will cook a majority of my meals in my own kitchen, & I will exercise weekly.
In 2015 I will continue growing Style Asset by encouraging my creativity
and not letting a busy work week drain me of energy to express that creativity.
This year, I vow to shop smarter by investing in quality pieces
rather than buying something “because it’s only $10, so why not?”
I will consume less and save more.
I will prepare my body & mind for this amazing future that I have in store.

2015 is gonna be big.

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Lifestyle

Vacation, Had to Get Away

So, needless to say, my trip to Mallorca was all I could have hoped for. It consisted mostly of eating, sleeping, and beaching and boy was it wonderful! Considering how hectic my everyday life is, the perfect vacation is one where I do a whole lot of nothing.

In reality there was so much more to my trip than the three activities listed above. Allow me to go into detail…

The Flight
Despite having a stress-inducing return home, my voyage to Mallorca, Spain was quite lovely. I had a three hour layover in Washington, D.C. where I took advantage of the time by enjoying sushi, wine & cheese at Starbucks (aka Best Starbucks Ever), a relaxing massage, and then some more wine with a good book.

SushiWine1Wine2

Several hours later, I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany. When I got there it was still night, but by the time I left the sun had risen. The views from the plane coming over the country were beautiful: a grid of twinkling lights evolved into a mass of green space.

Germany Night Germany Day

I finally landed in Palma, Mallorca at 9am, full of excitement in spite of my exhaustion. I mean, seriously, how could you not be totally stoaked to be in a place like this?! Mountains and beaches, farms and cities, a blend of locals and tourists from all over Europe.

Palma

The Food
As soon as I met my family and got to the hotel I took a moment to freshen up before going out for an early lunch.

First MealI was so delighted for some Spanish food that I almost let my self fill up on appetizers before my main dish came out! First there’s the fresh bread, which I smothered in alioli (a blend of egg, olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt). Then there’s a bowl of local olives, a Russian salad (with more alioli), croquettes, and pimientos de Padrón which are these green peppers that for the most part aren’t spicy but every now and then you’ll bite into a really hot one (also best with alioli). My main course was a melody of fresh vegetables, lightly grilled. It was the perfect display of local, Spanish cuisine that made my heart melt.

The next morning I savored a typical Spanish breakfast: espresso, toast with peach jam or Nutella, soft boiled eggs, OJ, chorizo, jamón Ibérico, fuet, and a variety of local cheeses.
Breakfast
On another day we enjoyed a different Spanish specialty, paella! Now, I’m not a fan of fish (even though Mallorca is known for their seafood) so I picked around that, but for those of you who don’t know, paella is a traditional dish cooked in a huge cast iron skillet and consists of saffron rice and vegetables with a mix of seafood (and sometimes chicken). I was also introduced to the Shandy, a drink of half beer and half lemon Fanta. So basically, this meal was amazing.
Paella
Mid-way through my vacation we went to this fancy restaurant on a port in the rich part of the island (the part where all the celebrities stay). The sky was clear and the moon was full and we were ready for a super meal. It started with your typical appetizers, but for my main course I chose a modern take on the caprese salad that included greens and an avocado/almond spread. Desert was a mouth-watering apple tart with vanilla ice-cream. YUM!
CapreseTableApple Crisp

I won’t take up more space with food pics, but I also consumed homemade gazpacho, a bocadillo, and tons of tapas.

The Views
Our hotel in Mallorca was about a 30min drive from the big city of Palma, in a quaint town called Santa Ponça. The balcony looked over a Medeterranian cove with a pebbled beach. The sun set on our side, too, which made for the most hermosas vistas.
Balcony1Balcony2

The main beach in the town was wide, with a several impressive boats in mooring. The funny thing was, there were never any waves, just a perfectly calm sea with a gentle tide. I can’t tell you how many times I feel asleep on the beach or in the water (on a float).

SunsetBeach1Beach2
In the evenings the strip that bordered the beach was full of life. Vendors of all kinds, selling candles and jewelry, and street performers dressed as statues, plus all the party people getting ready to, well, party.

I visited five different beaches while in Mallorca. The first two were in the town of Santa Ponça, the rest were along the coast going north.

(Apologies for not remember all the names of the places we visited.)

Our first excursion was to meet up with a good friend of my host mother, and his family, whom all live on the island. Even though the water was rough (we happened to go on the only day of the month were it’s actually wavy), it was a blast and we had a wonderful meal at a nearby restaurant that specializes in healthy, local food.
Playa1Playa2

Our second excursion was to what we though would be another “pebbled” beach. Our own beach, below our balcony, was comprised of small, smooth rocks instead of sand. To our surprise, the “beach” we found was made up of actual rocks! We made the best of it by sitting at a bar on the rocks, having a drink while we watched the wild waves crash against the cliffs.
Rocky2Rocky1
todos
From there we went up the cost a little further to Soller, the cutest port city you’ve ever visited. Soller is famous for their shrimp, which was obvious because as soon as you entered the vicinity of the town your nostrils were overcome with the smell of seafood. Once again I found myself surrounded by sailboats of all sizes, as well as colorful shops and restaurants that seemed to be fused together by their stucco exterior.
Soller1Soller2
soller streetsoller building

My second-to-last day in Mallorca was spent shopping in Palma — to die for! We went to local shops like Jack & Jones, Desigual, and Tous (my favorite jewelry designer), as well as the popular stores like Zara and H&M (which always have a cooler selection than in the US). I spent way too much money, but it was totally worth it.
It wasn’t just the shopping that made this day one of my favorites. Palma is like a miniature Barcelona, with all of its winding side-streets and impressive squares. You know what my favorite Spanish concept is? Cafés in the middle of the road. Seriously, there are these boulevards with an expansive sidewalk through the center where you’ll find news stands, artists, and the “terrace” of restaurants where you can eat under a canopy while watching the frenzy of people going off to live their own lives. I swear I could just sit there all day, eating olives and alternating between espresso shots and Shandies.
Square
Palma1 Palma2 Palma3 Palma4

All in all, my vacation was spectacular. I wouldn’t have changed one moment and I am so incredibly fortunate to have even been given this opportunity. I have to thank my dad, for supporting my love of culture that ultimately was responsible for this trip, because he was the one who introduced me to my host family. Magda, Roger y Marta, les echo mucho y gracias para todo!!!

PS. Follow me on Instagram @style_asset for more photos from my Mallorca vacation!

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