“Is this really you?”

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For my final project in Fashion Technology this past Spring quarter, I was to construct a jacket.  Each student was given the same patterns, but we were aloud to pick out our own unique fabric and buttons.  I fell in love with this super soft, white velvet fabric from my favorite local fabric shop in Savannah.  While I was there, I also found buttons that were black and had gold trim with a gold skull and crossbones in the middle.  I went ahead and purchased the fabric, but decided to wait to purchase the buttons since they were so different from my usual style.  Here is the thing: I could not stop thinking about those buttons, so much so that I ended up purchasing them the next day!  I was more excited about this garment than any other one that I constructed that quarter (and this is including the bow and polka dot print skirt I made).  Fast forward to the last class of the quarter, where I was putting the final touches on the jacket that included sewing the buttons on.  The sewing tech in my class walked over to me, picked up one of the buttons, looked me in the eye and said, “Is this really you?”  I could tell that she didn’t like the buttons, and while I didn’t mind whether she liked them or not, her question took me aback.

I began to think about the way I am often openly told about the preconceptions people tend to have of me.  Yes, I own an exceptional amount of clothing in the color blush, my voice is higher than the average gal, and I have a rather soft demeanor.  However, when people get to really know me, they are often surprised by how different I actually am.  And with that, here is my answer to the sewing tech:

I don’t know.  I don’t know if those buttons are really me just like I don’t know if the ballerina skirt I am wearing right now is really me.  Why can’t they both me?  In my style post last week, I mentioned how much I have changed this past year.  We change as we grow and that is an important part of the beautiful process of life.  I think that it is limiting to feel as if we can only dress or be a certain way.  Maybe the next time I wear my tulle ballerina skirt, I will tuck my Grateful Dead tee into it.

One of my favorite bloggers compares her blog to an onion, in saying that it has a lot of layers.  I think that this is a great metaphor for people, too.  There are layers to each of us that the world doesn’t get to see right away, and this is why I think it is important to really try to get to know each other before passing judgement.  And people do surprise me everyday, in the most beautiful, kind ways.  I like to look at this in the way that when we do something that seems outside the realm of our style, it is simply just another layer to our personality, or an indicator of personal growth.

It’s okay to not know exactly who we are yet.  I used to not allow myself to do things because I was afraid to find out that it wasn’t who I was and I didn’t want to look silly.  In college, I’ve really let that go.  I have most definitely embarrassed myself a few times, but I’ve also made memories and discovered things that I will cherish forever.

I want to leave this post with one of my favorite affirmations from Empower Yourself, “I celebrate my uniqueness and individuality.  I am happy to be.”  I love saying this to myself because it reminds me to love all of the quirky aspects of my personality, and I am learning to not be afraid of exploring all of those weird quicks.  We are all beautiful and weird and doing the best that we possibility can.  We may not always know what the right thing to do is, but we can choose to live lovingly and courageously, and sometimes that means feeling a little silly here and there.  The more loving and accepting we are of ourselves, the more free we will feel to be ourselves.

I hope that you were able to relate to this, if even just a little.  If you have a story to share, feel free to leave it in the comment section!  And of course, thank you so much for reading.

Much love,

Carly xx

Ethereal Light

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Hello beauties!  A couple nights ago I attended Esther Boller’s fashion show, where she showcased her senior collection (which is something I will do when I make it to senior year here at SCAD!).  I am not sure how to put the collection or the experience of her show into words.  I had chills the entire time, and by the end, I was tearing up.  Both photos included in this post are from her Instagram, @estherboller, and there you can see more photos of her collection entitled “Ethereal Light”, as well as the process behind the stunning pieces.  I also got to meet Esther, and she was so kind, humble, and down to Earth.  I really look up to her now as both a fashion designer and a person.

On Thursday, my freshman year of college will come to a close.  I get to go home for the Summer, and will be moving out of my dorm this upcoming Friday.  It has been a great year, filled with highs and lows that have all managed to teach me important lessons about myself and others.  I have made close friends, and have lost friends.  I have made mistakes, and in the process, have come out of my shell just a little bit more.  When I came to SCAD, I was afraid that I wouldn’t love fashion as much as I thought I did.  In the beginning, I was having a difficult time imagining myself as a fashion designer.  The fashion crowd seemed like a clique, one that I didn’t fit into.  I think that fashion is like that sometimes, the artistry of the industry becoming lost in a sea of blogs and photos that do not tell the truth.  But despite all of this, I have met so many inspiring people that have made me realize how passionate I am about fashion.  I am finishing up my first fashion class right now, Fashion Technology, which is an introductory sewing class.  My professor is the sweetest lady, but she pushes me, and I am so grateful for that because I’ve really fallen in love with sewing.  It is my meditation, and I am so excited to spend the next three years learning and creating.

Seeing Esther Boller’s senior collection on Friday reminded me why I fell in love with clothing in the first place.  The way clothing on our skin can make us feel connected to something bigger than us, as well as ourselves, is truly special.  Seeing her collection brought on a wave of emotions for me.  Ethereal Light, the name of her collection, was so fitting as I felt connected and grounded to something greater as I watched all of the models seemingly float through the twinkling lights that made up the runway.

I cannot remember if I have talked about my anxiety on GGS before, or whether or not I downplayed how bad it once was.  My senior year of high school, I had panic attacks several times a week.  I would leave school early, and my grades plummeted.  My anxiety disorder controlled me, and knowing that I had to grow up really fast was scary for me.  I had my heart set on leaving home for college, and I didn’t want to let my anxiety or fear of the unknown hold me back.  On my first night here at SCAD, I wanted to go home.  I remember feeling stupid for thinking that I could do this, and then all at once I realized that I had to make the choice to either work through my fears or succumb to them.  While I am continuing to work through all of my fears, remembering that there is light all around me is comforting.  Not light from the Sun, but the energy that surrounds us.  Like Esther’s concept for her collection, we are connected to the stars and the wind (this was something spelled out for us at the fashion show, and I really, really loved it).

If you are struggling with something or are overwhelmed by fear, know that you are supported and are strong enough to work through it.  Not a lot of people read my blog (although, I pretend there are), and I doubt she will read this, but thank you Esther for your  beautiful collection and touching concept.  I am so grateful to have been able to experience it.

Much love,

Carly xx

Chicken Soup, Love, and the Little Things

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On Sunday, I had time to spare while I waited for my favorite fabric store in Savannah to open, and I ended up wandering into the used book store next door.  A few steps below ground level takes you into a place with floor to ceiling book shelves filled with as many books as possible, and additional piles of books all around.  It has the distinct smell of old books that I find comforting, and it was there that I found Chicken Soup for the Soul.  No, silly, not actual chicken soup.  You may have of heard of this book before, and it’s compilation of heartwarming short stories (sans noodles).  I read Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul when I was in junior high, and since I happened to stumble upon the classic, adult version, I decided to go ahead and purchase it for a few dollars.

So far, I am only several stories in (there are over 100), and up until this afternoon, I was afraid that this book was going to continue be cheesy.  And then, I found myself holding back tears in the middle of a coffee shop.  This post isn’t about re-telling the particular story or summarizing it, I just want to share how it was the exact kind of “chicken soup” that I needed today.

To all of my GGS readers, it probably won’t come as a surprise to you that the story was love based, but not in a way that I’ve thought about before.  I think we all have a tendency to think of expressions of love as being romantic or mushy ones.  And then there are those expressions of self-love through positive affirmations and self-care.  Nevertheless, the story in Chicken Soup for the Soul exemplified how love can truly be in everything we do.  The little things we often do without a second thought can be expressions of love.  Complimenting someone or saying “hello” or “thank you” with a smile can go a long way.  At work, helping out a friendly customer who goes out of their way to be kind and respectful to me as well always made me feel better when I was down.  What I love most about my job at Agnes & Orson (an adorable gift shop in Dayton, Ohio that I started working at in November of my senior year of high school, that I now work at whenever I am not in school in Savannah) are those positive interactions with the people who shop there.  Meeting and connecting with new people adds so much to my life.  I know that this is not a particularly revolutionary or profound example, but that is the point.

We don’t talk about small interactions like opening a door for someone, or asking them how their day was with true, open, compassionate ears.  It is important to recognize, cherish, and pass on these small acts of kindness.  It may not seem like it at first, but the little things will turn into big things because these acts of kindness are acts of love.  What the story in Chicken Soup for the Soul explained was that you can use love to help people.  You never know what someone is going through and these little acts of love can really help lift their spirit.  I wish I could go back and tell some of the people who have helped me what a difference their actions have made in my life (although, it isn’t too late!).  I remember reading somewhere that love pulsates around us, and I am beginning to understand how.

“Love is life is love.” -Diane Von Furtenberg

What do you think?  Have you read Chicken Soup for the Soul?  I would love to hear your response to this in the comment section!  Thank you so much for reading, and as always….

Much love,

Carly xx

Nature Does Not Hurry….

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I saw a quote last week by Lao Tzu that read, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”  It really resonated with me because I am a college student, and even if you are not a college student, I am sure that you are also busy juggling a million balls at once.  While I am only eighteen, I am sure that as time passes this isn’t something that is going to change; which leaves me with the question of, “How on earth do I go about balancing everything?”  More often than not, I find myself rushing from one task to the next, and one place to the next.  What is so interesting to me is that when I go about my day like this, even if I check off everything on my to do list, I feel as if I wasted my day because I was not present.  Taking time to communicate with ourselves and appreciate all that is around us isn’t worth sacrificing to check something off our never ending list of tasks.  I always feel a bit silly when I stress myself out over the littlest things, because somehow, everything always gets done and turns out okay.  This is why I love the quote above so much!  I’m really trying to keep it in mind right now, especially with finals coming up.  It is also something I am going to hang up in my room as a reminder to slow down and enjoy life.

Thank you so much for reading, and please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section!

Much love,

Carly xx