The final item on my list for The Challenge regards my personal style. I’m not into fashion. I don’t really feel like it’s necessary to impress others with how I dress; I don’t care about designer items with expensive price tags. Good for you if you do, to each their own. But I’ve never been one to go with the crowd. A $2000 handbag isn’t my idea of fabulous, yet all the magazines tell you that this is THE bag to get. (Re: Birkin Bag craze.) Why? Because it’s a good bag, or because of its label? Instances like these make me rebellious. It’s why I never fit in at school. While everyone else was wearing Nike sneakers and whatever else was “cool” back then, I dressed like Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club, heavily influenced by Angela and Rayanne of My So-Called Life. #PlaidShirtsFTW!

So why do I feel the need to find a style? I just went on about how fashion is not for me.

Because I do feel that how someone dresses can compliment / express one’s personality and interests. And I get more set in what I find important and beautiful as I get older… I’m now getting a bit tired of expressing how much I love sweatpants.

So what do I want to express? It depends on the season!

In Summer I love…

  • Being and living outside
  • Wild wavy hair, ombre, sixties/seventies bangs
  • Walking into my garden, barefoot (I don’t care how dirty they get)
  • Fun nail colors
  • Long or midi skirts
  • Flip flops, sandals
  • Tanning a bit (color in my face man)
  • Live music
  • Long, loose bags
  • Statement jewelry
  • Gardening
  • Not big on make-up in summer
  • Roadtripping, car window rolled down & traveling
  • Books
  • Hairbands
  • Feeling young and alive

In Winter I love…

  • Dressing up a little chique for the Holidays
  • Red / plum lipstick or a smokey eye
  • Looking elegant (despite tripping over my own feet haha) with an edge
  • Heels
  • Red, dark or metallic nails
  • Red wine, champagne, prosecco
  • Simplicity in accessorizing
  • Black, dark teals and burgundy color
  • Knitwear
  • Tights
  • Snuggling up in front of the fire place
  • Books
  • Blankets and scarfs
  • Feeling feminine

I think for now I need to stick with the Bohemian style because that fits me so well at this time. It’s who I am. I realized that when I wrote this post, and the feeling only grew stronger from having been outside all weekend. Yes. Bohemian does not equal overthinking, haha. But I’m new to stylin’ so forgive me while I embark on this journey.

I have a shopping trip coming up in two weeks with my sister-in-law Fie (whoop whoop!) and I’ll see about finding some items to start with. I’ll also get mood- and styleboardin’ over the next few weeks, and might share some thoughts / ideas / looks here.

Come winter, I’ll have to revisit the question. But for now, I’m happy and feel good about this!

One of my always-recurring, but never followed-through-with, resolutions is getting my first tattoo. The past few days I’ve been binging on terrible / less terrible reality television (in the background while working, it’s purrfect) and one of the shows I’ve watched is LA Ink. I’m ambivalent about Kat von D as a private person, but I am a fan of her and the others on the show as a tattoo artist. I think they do amazing things.

It got me thinking a lot about where I stand on the whole inner tattoo debate. I’ve been wanting to get something on my inner left wrist for several years now. I know what it is (I won’t say it here, you’ll see it once I eventually get it), I know why it needs to be in that spot, I know what it means to me.

It’s not that the tattoo itself is what I had doubts over. People get tattooed for all reasons and I respect everyone’s; for me personally, it has a very deep and important meaning, and I’ve thought about it for a long, long time.

What has always held me back is generally “getting tattooed”. The feeling that I’m “ruining my blank canvas”. You know, that feeling that once it’s on there, it always going to be on there. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be permanently marked mostly because I’m still so unsure of who I am as a person. But then I realized something: I already am permanently marked.

At age 19, I had surgery on my lower back to remove a cyst that was infected, growing fast, and growing near my spinal cord. I was hospitalized for almost a week, and left with a scar that’s 14 centimeters in size. To this day, I’m still aware of having it. It’s not flattering, it’s something I still have trouble accepting as being part of me. I feel like that scar has been done to me, and I had no control over this – what amounts to – random thing that could happen to anybody, but that (also) happened to me.

I am marked. The difference is that I had no choice. It wasn’t something to think about, it wasn’t voluntary.

A tattoo however, now that I can choose. Whereas I first only felt that getting the tattoo in itself would be important to me – its meaning and how it’s almost vital for me to have this reminder, this emotion, that I would get if I get to carry it with me every day – it’s now also become about the process itself. Taking back control over how my body is modified by getting something that I am fully supportive of, and on board with. It’s 100% my choice: its size, its placing, its meaning.

I love that feeling. And I think I finally understand the passion a lot of people have about their tattoos.

…I know. A scar like the one I have is nothing to be ashamed of. I know this. Rationally. It’s a part of my personal history, my experiences. It’s not about weakness. Illness and crap like big, raging, threatening cysts happen and it’s nothing personal. But I never felt more powerless than I did in that moment, and that scar forever reminds me of that.

I feel like getting a tattoo, a second major mark on my body, cancels out the feeling I get when I look at my scar. You know, it will never go away… neither will the memories attached with those 14 centimeters. But I feel like I will have control over my body again by putting something on it that means everything in the world to me. Something I also attach memories to, but also power, strength and courage. The process itself, the decision to do it, will only add to that feeling.

(Look at me getting all #vulnies on my blog lately! I think I’m really getting to a point where I can be more open on my blog and have my writing be less forced.)


04. Earth

The portrait in this post that I took last month is special to me, and it took me a while to share it because I guess I needed the timing to be right. There’s a lot that’s happened in the past few months, a lot of different emotions that have been dominating a lot of how I lived my life.

The Mindy Project – my current favorite TV show – introduced me to the concept of having a warrior. It’s that notion that the stuff you’re scared of, the stuff that happens to you, doesn’t actually happen TO YOU, but to your warrior persona. It’s totally part of Mindy’s awesome humor, but the idea actually spoke to me on a more serious level. During my grandfather’s funeral, I read a poem. I’m… not a public speaker. I’m also highly emotional. I wrote down Mindy’s warrior persona’s name all around that poem, and I remember mostly thinking, “Oh shit, if my mom sees this while standing next to me as I read this, she will laugh…” because Beyoncé Pad Thai, man, that’s not something you expect to read next to a small eulogy poem.

But it got me through. (The lightness of it, the private joke, also helped.) My voice trembled, a deer in headlights, and I cried out of sheer relief afterwards. But it worked.


Now, instead of thinking of my warrior being Beyoncé Anything (because it’s not really who I am), I think of my warrior as the image up there. I wanted it to capture the feeling of elevation from being surrounded by earth’s most precious gift to us: nature.

It is when I feel most spiritual: the breeze in the trees, feeling it on my face and simultaneously hearing the rustle of the newly grown leaves. The sounds of birds singing or complaining, wings flapping. The moist, slightly sweet smell of the earth and the cold – almost fresh – feeling of it on my hands as I tend to my plants. The warmth of the sun on my hair, the smell of my skin on a summer’s day. The feel of grass beneath my feet and how it tickles. The smell of impending rain, followed by the sound of it. Nothing soothes me to sleep more than the sound of wind, and the tickling of raindrops on the roof above me.

I do not believe in the existence of God. But I marvel every day at the beauty of our earth. When I’m outdoors, I instantly become aware of nature. This is when I find solace. This is when I find joy. This is when I’m most aware that I am alive, and here, and breathing.

I find it empowering.

Regarding the portrait itself, I wanted a bit of a bohemian atmosphere, as well as make-up which stands out, but doesn’t look “pretty”. As I was standing in front of the mirror to get ready I realized I wasn’t interested in looking my best for this shoot. I wanted to look darkly different. I wanted subtle yet intense. So the big brush came out and dipped into my eggplant colored eyeshadow. And I just went with it. It’s strange but it immediately put me in the right frame of mind to take these photos.

As for the hair – when you have big blunt bangs (I’ve had them for about 5 months n0w), it’s kind of hard sometimes to vary a look with it. And I really wanted that forehead to be visible, haha. So what’s a girl to do? Braids braids braids! (I ended up pulling them back after the shoot and wearing them like this throughout the evening.)

I’ve got a long way to go with getting back into my photo groove, but this is what I strive for. To connect, to find meaning, and to visualize it into something that I find incredibly valuable.

Very often, I feel like time passes me by. I’ll blink, and it’s suddenly 5PM or 6PM, and Wil gets home from work, and I’m actually wondering what happened. Did I black out?

No. I’m so used to having too much time on my hands, that I have to relearn to use that time efficiently without going insane.

Ever since I’ve started yoga, I’m trying to be more “in the now”, becoming more aware of when I am. This is important especially now that I’m more busy professionally (and also personally).

I’m trying to adjust to the idea of accomplishing more things at once. Instead of focusing on 1 item on my to-do list which needs to be done 100%, I’m trying to work on multiple things at once, and to settle for finishing enough at a time. Not the whole thing, now. Because that doesn’t always work. I get blocked, stuck, bored, distracted. I get so OCD almost about having to do this, FIRST – that I forget about the rest which is also important. I’m not just talking about work related tasks. I’m also talking about taking a moment to relax, a moment to exercise, a moment to do the dishes, the laundry.

I seek balance. Not the simplicity (eventually for me: complexity) of focusing on one thing at a time.

This way I feel like I’m getting more done, instead of allowing myself to ponder things, to get distracted, to suddenly snap out of my one-task-induced waking slumber at 5PM or 6PM. Time slips out of my hands. I want to hold on and grab it, mold it, endure it (a luxury) and use it to my benefit.