Clothing: A walking memory, a strike of lightning, a flash of intuition, and a surge of clarity

What you wear and how it is worn speak to who you are and what you are all about without ever having said a word. This silent and instantaneous communication is perhaps more valuable than we realize. Upon a more careful inspection, we can gather intel into one’s life, their culture, religion, wealth, self-care, what they value, and self-confidence. The essence of what they are or the percentage of things and experiences that make them-them. By just a simple glance, I can make up their life history with the info I’ve been given ( whether I’m right or not is a different story). This is why people watching is so fascinating, and why the fashion industry is a multibillion-dollar industry.

With the rise of fast-fashion and prices of clothing reaching an all-time low, clothing is purchased, worn once or twice(if it holds up in the wash), and thrown out. While these clothes are on trend, they say nothing of who we are and are cause for little inspiration. They are easily lost among the sea of here-today-and-gone-tomorrow fashion. For my generation, fast fashion has become the norm and quality a thing of the past. Yet when clothing can say so much about you, is fast-fashion what we want to convey? I worry that the generations that precede me will miss this.

I worry that if fast fashions continue to rise we will completely forget to appreciate quality and craftsmanship in clothing. When we value cheap over the importance of safety for those making the items, we are doing a great disservice to ourselves and everyone else. How can you completely enjoy something that has caused others suffering? You cannot!

Which leads me to say that fashion is so much more than just pieces of clothing. It is about how silk feels on your bare skin, or how a specific fabric makes you want to dance. It is when a dress has pockets, and the color yellow makes your heart sing. It makes you feel amazing and that you can conquer the world. Fashion allows us to feel the fabulous fabrics, and smell the coat that reminds us of our loved ones, to see our favorite colors dance about on fabric, and to know, at the end of the day, life was just a little bit more enjoyable. It allows us to honor our ancestors by wearing pieces that reflect who they were and the struggles that they went through. Fashion has the ability to take us back to a specific memory much like a smell would. We are transported back in time to our favorite moments and experiences — our own little secret!

Have you ever worn an excellent quality article of clothing? How did it make you feel? If you’re like me, you probably didn’t want to take it off. It feels amazing and you value it because it brings joy and is beautiful. What if it was owned by your grandmother or grandfather and passed on to you? You would think of them every time you put it on. You would treasure it, and a piece like that would never be casually thrown on your bedroom floor. If someone asked where you got it, what a wonderful story you would have compared to the standard “I got it at H&M” answer.

Now, maybe you’re like me and your family never passed you special clothing items.                                                      What’s a girl (or boy) to do?

Raid your closet. What are the pieces you are drawn to ( colors, textures, prints, styles, etc)? Get to know what you like and dislike. I would highly encourage going through your closet and giving away anything you haven’t worn in six months, things that don’t fit, items that were purchased but you hate, and make way for things that you are going to love wearing! Often times our closets hold treasures that are hidden by the pieces we hate. With the extra room in your closet, you’ll have an easier time finding outfits to wear and things that inspire you. In the future, think quality over quantity. Maybe you’ll score a well made and beautiful dress(may it have pockets!) at a vintage or second-hand shop. You have a story and a dress that will last. A piece with a past to be handed down to a beloved daughter, niece, or granddaughter. Think of the rich history that dress will have!

Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll also be helping humanity by choosing not to purchase from brands that knowingly gain off the backs those who are suffering. (think sweatshops, low working wages, child labor, etc)  You will have clothing that brings you, and those who see it, joy.  The things you wear will be inspired by your past, your favorite places, the things you love most in your life, and, who knows, maybe even by your favorite foods! What an excellent conversational starter that would be!

Explore! Branch out and check your local second-hand and vintage stores. Learn about fabrics and color. Learn to sew and create one-of-a-kind pieces to pass on to future generations. Create the story you wish to tell, and let fashion be a walking memory, a strike of lightning, a flash of intuition, and a surge of clarity for yourself and everyone around you.

May you always have a good story to tell!

Cultivating Happiness

This idea of cultivating happiness is revolutionizing to me. I’ve never heard those two words together until this last month. I’m sure this idea has been around a long time but I’m just now catching on. To cultivate means to foster the growth of  X according to Merriam Webster dictionary, and Dictonary.com states that it means to promote or improve the growth of (x) by labor and attention.  I looked up a few synonyms of happiness and my favorites: pleasure, contentment, delight, joy, satisfaction, and bliss.

Why is no one teaching this?!

How many of us walk around with the expectation that happiness will fall in our laps? We look for it in people, in food, in our possessions, and always we are left disappointed. We redouble our efforts and seem to just miss happiness. It stares us down, but we are so busy looking for it we can’t see it. We make excuses for our lack of happiness, and blame everyone else for our misfortune.  We are jealous of those people who seem to be genuinely happy and fear that happiness is not in our cards.

We have been given so much yet we are so unhappy and miserable. 

Who is to blame? No one but myself. No one may have ever taught me that I have to create my own happiness, but I neglected to ask if maybe there was a different, better way. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We have just taken society’s happiness formula at face value without ever having examined it. I think a lot of times we just take what we have been told as fact but in reality, it couldn’t be further than the truth. We often trade the truth for a lie without even realizing it. Lies, although cheap at first, always end up costing far us more than the truth in the end. We have been sold a defective idea, and we have been informed it’s a user error and there are no refunds.

But the truth? 

Happiness is yours for the taking. I’m not saying it will fall in your lap, in fact, it will take time, energy, and commitment. Just like a garden, you will have to tend to it in the spring and in the hot summer months. You will have to water it and pull the weeds, but the end product is so satisfying and can be shared with others. The first step is knowing what you want to plant. If you are satisfied with anything, you won’t know the difference between a weed and a vegetable. Do you know what makes you happy? I’m guessing you’ve never just sat down and asked yourself that question( don’t worry I didn’t know either ).  For me, spending quality time with my favorite people brings me so much joy. One of my favorite things to do is to turn on my favorite songs and dance like no one is watching (in my house, of course, I’m not brave enough to do it in public…yet).  I schedule myself in my to-do list because if I don’t I will never make time for happiness.

Below is a list of things that bring happiness into my life:

  • dancing
  • exercising
  • spending time with my family
  • snuggling with my dog
  • taking a nice, long bubble bath
  • having deep conversations with my friends
  • reading a book snuggled up
  • helping others succeed
  • blogging
  • making delicious snacks
  • being silly
  • picking wildflowers
  • having fresh flowers in my house
  • wearing a cute outfit
  • yoga
  • being in nature
  • eating fruits and veggies
  • spending time with my sisters and nieces
  • laughing so hard my stomach hurts
  • being kind

Make your own list, see how you feel at the end of the month.

Choose to create happiness in your life and it will overflow to others around you. We all know that the world could use more happiness and it is up to us to create it. Let me end by saying, that you alone are responsible for your own happiness. It is not your significant other’s job, or your job’s job, or anyone else’s job. You cannot blame anyone else for your own unhappiness.

P.S You can no longer pretend you didn’t know, the choice is yours 🙂

Signed,

A very happy twenty-two year old

 

 

 

 

 

10 goals for November

  1. Laugh more
  2. Be silly 
  3. Be grateful
  4. Dance more
  5. Have more fun
  6. Eliminate complaining
  7. Create More 
  8. Put more energy into keeping things clean and organized
  9. Call my mom more
  10. Make family a priority 

I wanted November to be a little different for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to enjoy my goals instead of it being a chore
  2. I wanted something that was actually doable

I recognize that I’m a work-in-progress and I might not always win every battle, but I do want to celebrate the small wins I have. In my goals, I’m often focused on not doing X or Y and I am so frustrated when I miss it.

But, what if I add things to my life, like time to create and time to be silly and dance around. I’m trying it and so far I really like. I will admit I haven’t called my mom but that’s coming. I guess the beauty in adding things into your life is that if it doesn’t work you can always try something new.

Do you have any goals you’re currently striving toward?

Zipping into Fall the right way

This past weekend, I planned a special date for Nate and myself outside of our normal dinner and a movie type of thing. I wanted it to involve exercise and being outside to enjoy the fabulous fall weather we are currently having. I wasn’t exactly sure what I might find but I decided to try Groupon to see if they might have any ideas. While scrolling down, I found Go Ape Zipline Adventure which I had never heard of before. In short, it’s a two-hour self-guided zip line and high ropes course. IMG-0123

I booked the tickets for the following Sunday and kept it a surprise for Nate. Sunday arrived cold and rainy, so I called and asked to reschedule our reservation for the following Sunday which they were more than happy to do. What I didn’t realize was that the lady accidentally scheduled us for Saturday instead of Sunday. We showed up and she can’t find our reservation. I look at the confirmation E-mail and realize the mistake but thankfully they still had room for us. Watch the Promo Video Here.  We had such a blast and I would highly recommend it as a fun date, friend outing, or for families. They do have a weight limit,  and kids over ten and under fifteen must be with an adult at all times. They have sixteen courses across the United States with two being in Missouri. Each course is different and the Kansas City course is in Swope Park near the Zoo. IMG_0116

There are different options which include moderate, difficult or extreme depending on how daring you’re feeling. I’m not afraid of heights, but some of those high ropes elements really had my blood pumping. I will say some of the spaces climbing up to the elements can get a bit tight (I’m 5’4 and it was cramped but I saw people of all different sizes go through relatively easily)IMG-0120

I never felt worried about my harness not fitting or being secure enough at any point while I was on an element or flying through the air. You are attached to the wire above by a trolly and a carabiner. They spent a good fifteen out twenty minutes briefing us on safety. They have instructors on the ground patrolling the area and assisting when help is needed. We were also given a whistle in the event of an emergency.IMG-0119

This walkway appears easier than it looks; The x’s moved freely and it really works your core and upper body. I woke up sore the next morning. We navigated 39 crossings, five zip lines, one Tarzan swing. The longest zip line was 475 feet, and the highest platform was 48 feet.

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The Trolly and Carabiner

They do recommend you bring gloves to protect your hands from the cold and, at times, rough wire. I used the $1 gloves from Walmart and they worked perfectly. You also have the option to buy $6 gloves from GoApe which is what Nate’s wearing in the picture above. I loved that it was self-guided so we didn’t have to wait for an instructor and we could go at our own pace. The views were amazing as all the leaves have changed colors and the air was perfectly crisp. It was a glorious day to be alive.  Feel free to follow them on Instagram @Goapekansascity IMG-0172.jpg

Human Trafficking: Not for Sale

There is a human trafficking ring that’s huge in the United States specifically around the Kansas City area. I read the news and it makes my heart stand still.

WHAT IF IT WAS ME?

I am afraid for myself and those around me: my family, friends, and especially for my nieces as they grow up. The more stories I hear, the more paranoid I become. It makes me double check my locks, look under my car, and keeps me looking behind like I am being permanently followed.

Evil doesn’t just lurk at night; evil is happening in broad daylight. My nightmares are dominated by being kidnapped and sold. I wake in the dead of night knowing that my worst nightmare is someone’s daily reality.

WHAT IF IT WAS YOU?

I want to hide and stay safe but at what cost? That I might live in a state of being fearful twenty-four/ seven? This answer is a resounding NO! I will not sit passively by like a sheep being sent to the slaughter. I will do everything in my power to protect myself and those around me.

If any good is to come out of human trafficking being so close to home, is that we can no longer ignore human trafficking. It is not just a problem for others to deal with; it is OUR PROBLEM to handle. Burying our heads in the sand will not change the fact that human trafficking is alive and well. In fact, traffickers rely on us to ignore the problem. Silence is for the weak, there is power in solidarity!

Until sex doesn’t sell and fear and violence aren’t used as coercion, human trafficking will continue to be an issue.

Until women are not sex objects or property and society stands up and chooses to see the value in the empowerment of humanity, there will be no change! It is up to you and it is up to me to say no more, not on my watch. It is our job to educate ourselves, be aware and actively seek to protect the weak and the most vulnerable among us.

Yet, each of us is not blameless! We may never have been directly involved with the sale of a human being, but our hands are not clean, You and I both have known, for a long time, that human trafficking exists but have done nothing to stop it. We have silently turned a blind eye to discrimination, violence, hate and a myriad of crimes because they do not directly affect us.

My point, in saying all this, is not to accuse but bring awareness. Unless you and I choose to change, how can we expect others to? By raising the standard for ourselves, we, in turn, raise it for others. Choose to be more, choose to be better, and choose to make a change.

The Power of a Simple No

How many times do you find yourself in the position of being asked to do something you really don’t want to do but feel obligated to say yes? Say yes to donating money to a cause you know nothing about, or going out when you would rather say no, or maybe even to see a close friend when you are dying to be elsewhere.

For me, this has been a huge problem all my life. I feel this weird sense of obligation and guilt every time I want to say no, even if I am in desperate need of rest. I end up committing to things I do not believe in, causes I don’t care about, and activities that drain me. I end up upset at myself for agreeing to say yes, I am grumpy, tired and stressed, I drag everyone else around me down with my bad energy, and the worst part is all of this could have been avoided with a simple but firm no.

No, I am not interested in donating to your cause. No, I do not want to babysit your eight- hundred rowdy kids. No, I will not allow you to take advantage of me and my kindness. Saying no is hard! We have been told that saying no is bad and you’re selfish. You need to accept every invitation otherwise you are being rude or you are going to offend someone, but guess what WHO CARES?!! 

This has been an absolute revelation to me this year. I admit it: I was afraid of saying no because someone wouldn’t like me or want to be my friend. I was so terrified of rocking the boat and offending someone with my no I always said yes. Yes, to overworking myself, yes to stress, yes to exhausted breakdowns, yes to sickness and yes to suffering. Me saying yes got to the point where I felt powerless and there was no hope of happiness.

Let me take you back to a year ago when I was renting a duplex with three friends. Let me set the stage:

The way we paid our bills is I would pay everything up front and then everyone would reimburse me. As you might image, this worked for about point one days. It was a source of great anxiety for me. It would be days after rent was due that I would finally get rent if I got all of it. I would ask once and then wait, often times it didn’t come at all. At one point, one of the roommates didn’t pay rent for 3 months. Needless to say,  I was sick of it. Suddenly being nice and waiting for rent was not an option. So, I told him he needed to leave and that the choice to not pay rent had resulted in the consequence of getting kicked out. He tried to guilt me into letting him stay. I informed him that he had twenty-four hours to leave or I would be changing the locks. He could go to the homeless shelter or stay with a friend but he would not be taking advantage of me any longer. It was worth me paying rent all by myself to not have him in the house and with it the stress! It was as if a weight had been lifted off of me. Another time, this girl stayed for a month and didn’t pay rent, this time I told her she needed to pack her stuff and leave in ten minutes…which she did.

I do not have time for people to take advantage of my kindness. Your actions have lead you to where you are currently, and those actions have consequences. I am not responsible for picking up the messes you continually make. Go bother someone else. You see, they will take advantage of you as long as you allow it. The minute you say no more, they go bother someone else!

I was free of those toxic people and I also learned my lesson never to rent with other people again. It was a very painful lesson but I am so glad to have the experience. I was not going to make a change until it got too uncomfortable for me to remain in that same space. Let me tell you, my life has taken a 180-degree change. I am no longer scared to say no. 

One of the things I am learning is that my time is too valuable for people to take advantage of. If I say yes to everything, I will have no time for what is important and in alignment with my highest self. Saying no has changed my life!

Let me tell you, the minute you say no you release yourself to do the things you love. People need to hear no more! Can I get an amen!!!!

 

 

 

 

Debt free at twenty-two

Yes, you heard correctly, I am debt-free at twenty-two. I do not own a credit card or have a car payment. I completely paid off, while in school, my college tuition, and earlier this year, I paid my car off! At this time, I currently do not have a mortgage, and when I am ready to purchase a house I will do so with cash. Call me crazy but debt, contrary to popular belief, isn’t worth it! I do not need a new phone bad enough to purchase one on credit. I will save up and when I have enough will get it.

While I am saving for the things I want, I have plenty of times to decide if I actually want to spend my money on that specific item, do I really need it? Often, by the time I save the amount of money I need, I find I didn’t really want it after all. I am able to weigh the pros and cons possibly find a cheaper alternative on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Amazon. Recently, I have been dying to get my hands on a KitchenAid Mixer but decided that until I saved up the money I couldn’t get it. I waited and waited, all the while looking to see if I could find a cheaper alternative. Five Months later, I found a second-hand mixer that had been used once or twice for $100. Guess what! I had the money saved and paid in Cash. I appreciate my mixer so much more than if I would have just gone to Target to purchase one. I saved $178.00 just by being patient, and I am so thankful I did. Now, I didn’t need an electric mixer, yes, it’s harder to mix by hand but not impossible; I was willing to be “uncomfortable” in the present so future Kellie’s life would be just a little bit easier. Not only was I being smart with my money, I got the thing I wanted and even saved money.

Delayed satisfaction is a skill I am still working on, the more I practice it, the easier it becomes. It started with the desire to become debt-free and has trickled into other aspects of my life. I feel so different than everyone else. I watch people purchasing brand new cars and it makes me cringe. I cannot imagine buying a brand new car when a slightly older car will do. People get so caught up keeping up with the Jones’ they don’t take into account the long-term effects of their actions. It’s an incredibly slippery slope and before they know it, they are over their heads in debt. I have personally watched people being destroyed by debt. It is such a heavy weight to carry on one’s shoulders.

Imagine with me the day the money you earn ( after taxes of course) is yours to keep. No payments of any kind. You are free to spend your money as you see fit. That was my dream and guess what I did it! It is such a freeing feeling to know that you don’t owe anyone anything! My hope is that you too might experience the freedom from debt and the joy it brings! If I did it, so can you!

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender”