Mindful Minimalism

Minimalism is 90% the mind.

I’ve begun to take the practice seriously for this year by culling my closet, old paperwork, and other miscellaneous items that I had been storing up for a year now. But I began to run into problems. I unearthed old papers that I wrote in undergrad and didn’t want to throw them away. I began to read old Christmas/birthday cards and felt my attachment to these cards grow. I would pull out an old unworn jacket, put it on and convince myself that I should give it 3 more months in my closet. That was when I realized that minimalism is 10% of getting rid of stuff physically, but you got to do the 90% work of psychologically letting go.

If you type minimalism on YouTube you’ll find hundreds of tutorials and how-to’s. The first thing they always tell you to do is to make three big piles of 1. stuff you want 2. stuff you don’t want 3. and the “eh we’ll see” pile. They never tell you how to properly handle the “eh we’ll see pile” and perhaps that is due to the fact that before you become a true minimalist you have to do some deeper work to find out why you are so attached to certain items, find a way to make peace with it and eventually let it go. No minimalist guru on YouTube can teach you how to do this deeper work.

For example, despite the fact that my Christmas/birthday card box is taking up way too much space in my closet, and it’ll be one of those boxes that will annoy me when I eventually move out again, the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I read other people’s notes to me continuously prevents me from throwing them out. The notes remind me that I’m seen and loved. Do I need to keep those cards to remind myself of that? No. But nonetheless that’s the barrier I’m running into.

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Of course there is no hard and fast rule to minimalism. If birthday cards (or anything else for that matter) are an absolute must for you to keep because it genuinely brings you joy then by all means keep it. But you surely can tell the difference between something that gives you joy and an unhealthy attachment.

In all, I’m learning that minimalism is a process. I’ve witnessed the finished products of other minimalist’s lives, but I got to remember that they didn’t cull their life in one hour. It took time to get to their place of satisfaction and ultimately, I have to figure out what level of minimalism I’m comfortable with. Because minimalism is not about arbitrarily throwing things away–it’s about creating more space to include the things you truly enjoy and implementing the lost art of discipline in all aspects of your life.

I spent a few hours this week watching tiny home tours for inspiration. Here is the channel I follow for your viewing pleasure.

xx

-A

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#OOTD: Don’t Touch My Hair

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie articulated in a BBC interview that hair, particularly a black woman’s hair, is political. (PLEASE WATCH THIS BRILLIANT INTERVIEW).

“Is it?” the interviewer responded incredulously, waiting for her to explain her statement further. She pointed out that the way she chooses to style her hair inevitably gives off unintended statements. For example, she may wear her hair out in an afro because she’s tired of styling it and wants to wear it out freely. In turn, others will see her ‘fro and may coin her as a “sistah” or a “vegetarian” or  “soulful” when it reality, she just wants to give her follicles a break. (As you can imagine, snap-assumptions of this sort can be detrimental for black women when seeking employment. But that is another post for the future). I want to go as far as saying that because black hair is so political in nature, the common response for outsiders is to demand for explanations!

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I say this from experience. I walked into my friend’s birthday party a week ago with my new hairdo and upon sitting down, I was immediately DRILLED on questions about how my hair was done, if it was all my hair, and how long it took. In that atmosphere of loud music, dim lights, and alcoholic beverages, I didn’t fully comprehend the impudence of the situation. I didn’t realize how bad it was until a few hours later when a friend of mine came up to me and told me that she loved my new hair, but she wanted to tell me this privately because she understood how the unwelcome attention could lead to me publicly defending the authenticity of my hair right on the spot. Another friend overheard her comment and added that “I was so patient” with the girls that greeted me with prying queries within the minute of my arrival to the gathering.

Which by the way, for those of you that don’t know, if the first thing out ya mouth is “Is it yours???” to a black woman, STOP. Well-intentioned or not, that’s a micro-aggression and it is extremely degrading. Please, a simple compliment will surely suffice.

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Since then,  I’ve been hit with a few more unwanted (and a few wanted) opinions on my hair and it has bothered me simply because of the fact that there are so many! This is not to talk of the content of their opinions. Pero, Who. Asked. You?

Do wavy-haired brunettes get the same unbridled speculation on their hairstyles as well? That was the question that darted through my mind when I went through the previous week–somewhat reluctant to go into social situations for fear of being bombarded with another person’s “assessments.” When I first viewed Adichie’s interview a month ago, I ruminated on the assumptions that she spoke of–not really knowing that her declaration would bring me into a higher level of consciousness, making me more aware of the social dynamics took place that night and many other instances before that.  What a curious world to be in as a black woman.

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Solange’s song Don’t Touch My Hair has also resonated with me for this very reason. Her statement, “Don’t touch my hair” establishes boundaries in terms of physical touch, but I want to add to that conversation by also establishing a boundary around how one speaks about and responds to black women’s hair choices/styles. It is my and many other black women’s “crowns.” It is our personal space and no one has the right to challenge our authenticity, or forcibly digest dispensable judgements. We got to respect that boundary for black women, period.

Comment or message me below if any part of this post resonated with you, if you had an experience similar to mine, or if you learned something vital. Love to hear some thoughts!

Top: Gifted by Modupe Alabi

Shoes: Adidas Originals Superstars

xx

-A

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more opinions. lol.

Heart to Heart

This post was brewing for a year. I started to type it out and then I stopped numerous times. Rationalized that I have other ways to express my faith. People that know me personally, already know that I am a strong believer. That I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I don’t need to be one of those social media tooters that express my “faith” online. If you talk to me, or ask me personally what I do or what I believe in–then I can tell you. That was my rationale. An explanation I fed myself many many times, only to be followed by a nudging gentle voice telling me that, that isn’t valid.

So here it is. And the reason why suddenly on a Saturday night–mid my own personal bible study, I stopped to type this out. I was in John 12, the chapter where Jesus was on his way to being crucified  and was speaking to the crowds that had gathered around him as He entered Jerusalem. He was talking about how He was to die. He had performed many miracles at this point and the crowd was divided on how they felt about Him. Some didn’t believe He was the Son of God, point blank. But there was a population that did, and this is what the scripture said about a certain group of them.

“Yet at the same time, many even among the leaders believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees, they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” John 12:42-43

GEEZ LOUISE.

You know when you’re scrolling through Tumblr and you stop on a quote that just encapsulates your current situation all too well? Well, these verses were basically a Tumblr moment. Somehow, down the line I had gotten comfortable and started to really care about what image I presented to people. And of course I would feel that way. I’m a fashion blogger. Image is the crux of what I do. But I let the love of keeping my perfect image creep into my heart, diverting the original reason why I started this blog. It was to not only showcase my passion for fashion and styling, a gift given to me by God, but it was also to also outwardly glorify Him for the HUGE transformation He has made in my life. Four years ago, when a camera was pulled out, I would be the first one to run down the hall, for fear of being captured. I didn’t like the way I looked. I hated it. I was extremely insecure.

But God took me, as a caterpillar and turned me into a butterfly. I am posting photos today because He has given me courage. He has given me vision, passion, and so much more. Yet, I am shirking my most basic, fundamental duty as His daughter. To share my joy about Him to others–especially on this platform where many of you all peruse.

So here I am. I give God the glory. He is the reason why this blog started. On December 2013, a voice planted the seed of this blog in my head and look at where I am now.

Strangely, doing ministry and campus evangelizing/worship was easier than this. But I am determined to no longer have this part of my life be a “secret” or a special topic reserved for in person conversations. I am a follower of Jesus through and through, and my identity lies in Him before any piece of fabric. So tomorrow, even if my blog tanks, and I have no more money to buy clothes, I can still joyfully stride down the street knowing that those things don’t foundationally make me, me. I have something much more concrete than that.

So I’m sharing this now. And I share this in the hopes that it can/will spark conversation…curiosity even? In the hopes that people that don’t know me on a personal level, can see a little bit more of who I am, besides the manicured pictures. And most importantly, hopefully desire to share in the same joy that I have now.

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged and affirmed me throughout this year regarding my blog, passions, pursuits, and faith. More to come.

xx

-A

You just got to DIY.

If anyone has followed my blog since the beginning, you’re going to recognize this top I’m wearing. It used to be a dress–but one late night I got scissor happy and went to town on it, turning it into a crop top. It worked out pretty well, mainly because the midsection that cinches in the waist had an elastic band inside.

At this point, I am experiementing with my looks because I feel my style starting to refine itself again. I realize that I am a 20 something year old in LA, and have started the process of hardcore adulting so I can’t rely on trends for the rest of my life (not that I was before), but essentially I am trying to dress into the adult that I am becoming. That means choosing items that are more of an investment, and I can wear for a very long time. Style refinement is a journey and I’m glad that I have a digital album to look through.

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Everything is thrifted except for my shoes: Urban OG && Harem Pants: Cotton On.

xx

-A

Outside Lands Diaries.

Yes. I know I haven’t updated my blog in a while. But in all honesty, I realized halfway through that blogging and constantly taking photos in every moment of my every day life is something that I’m simply not accustomed to. I had an interview with a fashion blogger the other day and I explained to her that I have a hard time being in the moment when I stop to take a selfie or snap a shot of my food. She explained to me that she had the opposite issue and it was one of the many side effects of being a millennial (so do I not qualify as a millennial?) Anyway, so I decided about 3 weeks ago as I was browsing through Instagram that I would dedicate my 3 day weekend in San Francisco to shameless and ruthless social media updating (well, shameless and ruthless enough for me). And that I did! So here are some outfits and photos of cool things that I did over the weekend at Outside Lands music festival.

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Took the Bolt bus all the way up to Palo Alto and stayed the weekend with a friend. Ate awesome Mediterranean food at this restaurant called Oren’s Hummus Shop in downtown Palo Alto. Muy delicioso!  Afterwards, we went to the Tin Pot which is an ice cream shop. I also got to meet Cream, my friends cute poodle.

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Friday, Day 1 : A Different World

Friday was reminiscent of SoCal weather so I decided to go for high waisted shorts (with tights underneath just to be safe). I bought the floral crop top at this store called Rainbow. I was walking down Broadway on random day and stopped at the sale sign in front of the store. Since then, I’ve been going back loyally. The shorts are thrifted and I debuted my docs again. The got the triangle necklace from F21 and the timepiece from Ebay a long time ago. This outfit is something that reminds me of the show A Different World. I feel like I was born into the wrong decade at times.

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THIS. THISSSSSS.

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Saturday, Day 2: Heroin Chic

No, I don’t do drugs, but that was coined term of the 90s when Kate Moss was first discovered. The dark grungy look is something that I have always been intrigued with and what better way to experiment with it than at a music festival. This was the second  day at OL and let me tell you it was COLD. I experienced true winter in the summer. I decided to layer with a flannel shirt and a jeans jacket to keep myself warm.  90s fashion has really been inspiring me as of late and I decided to go for a grungy look. The high neck crop top was from Rainbow and the plaid shirt under was thrifted. For my rings, I snatched them off the rack from F21.

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Unfortunately, I only got to see the last 10 minutes of The Kooks (was super bummed). So I was really far and my camera couldn’t focus well enough to get a clear photo. As we speak I am redeeming this tragedy by buying a ticket to their show next month.

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So I posted this photo of my garlic pastrami fries on my Tumblr and it got an insane amount of notes (well, like 30). People have a thing for garlic pastrami fries apparently.

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Macklemore was coo. The crowd was definitely feelin’ him but I thought his show was lil’ extra….

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Impromptu photo in wine lands

Sunday, Day 3: City Style 

This was a typical outfit for most young and hip San Franciscans and by the 3rd day of the festival, I felt like blending in (plus I felt a lil lazy that morning). Also, I knew that the ride home was going to be long so I opted for a comfy outfit. A printed button up, and high waisted jeans. The shirt was thrifted and my acid wash jeans were found in the fashion district in LA.

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This is the best damn cheeseburger. No really, it was called The Best Damn Cheeseburger.

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sitting and waiting for the killers….

Sunday night ended with The Killers and let me tell you, it was packed. Approx. 100,000 people showed up to Outside Lands and nobody was interested in seeing Tiesto (who was playing in the same time slot). Everybody obviously went to go see The Killers play and it was nearly impossible to actually get up close. People were waiting in the crowd for 3 hours straight for the finale. I kind of gave up trying to get a clear shot of him and opted for a picture of him on the screens. Wish I had fought a little bit harder for the photos though.

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Hope ya’ll enjoyed! -Fin-

 

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A little Chit Chat && May Faves

Hey All!

Been a while since I’ve posted casually and since there has been so much that has happened  in the past month I thought I would catch up a bit.

May is the dreaded month for most students at USC and yes, school ends, summer begins, and graduation is a cause for celebration, but overall, May is when finals period and moving out collide. So you’re stressed about studying for a final while calling the storage company to move your things out in a timely manner. I have no idea why the school has it set up that way but it’s stressful. This year I decided to stay back in LA for the summer so not only did I have to move out of my temporary campus housing, but I had to move in to my summer housing (3 hours of hard labor by myself! I’m proud). I’ve pretty much promised myself that once I graduate, I’m going to rest from this nomadic life for at least 3-5 years (semi-permanent housing ftw!)

Other than that, I have been pretty well and have been eyeing alot of the spring into summer trends that have been appearing. Despite the fact that Rihanna is the opposite of everything I believe in, I got to hand it to the girl, she is responsible for some trends that I personally have been sporting myself and I have been peeping in and out of magazines just to get inspiration and ideas for what I will be wearing to Outside Lands come August (happy dance).  So with that being said, let me just share some of my May favorites.

1. The Fedora

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If you follow me on Instagram and Tumblr, you will see that  fedora being rocked shamelessly. I never actually have been a hat girl, but 2014 has changed me. I first got into wearing beanies earlier this year when it was colder and now I’m appreciating fedoras. I bought it originally because they were a cute accessory to add onto any outfit, but realized later on that it’s a life saver because I was having consecutive bad hair days in the month of May.

 

2. Holographic Chunky Heels

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So I was eyeing these holographic boots since early April, but unfortunately my paycheck had to be allocated to more pressing needs. Checked back a couple weeks ago and saw that it was still there and didn’t think twice about buying them (they’re still in transit btw). They are a gorgeous pair that I think is daring and loud enough to unsimplify any simple outfit that I put on. And to be honest, I need that this summer, especially since most of my clothing is in storage (to maximize space) and I don’t have the option to be as creative as I want with my outfits. With the basic peices that I have, such as high waisted black jeans and a tee, put these babies on and suddenly it looks like I tried.

 

3. Chunky Black Heels

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Heels made it twice on this list. I realized something this season as well. I’m not about that flat shoe life anymore. I know everyone loves their flats and I see how functional they are, but I hate them on me. I feel like I have duck feet in them.  Chunky heels is the happy medium between real heels and flat shoes. I get height and elongation on my legs, but I am also not screaming bloody murder because of the 6”.  These black ones that I debuted in my last post have been carrying me through all the graduations and all the night’s out on the town.

 

4. Spotify Premium for Students

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Spotify premium has been giving me LIFE. If you are a student, go and download spotify premium NOW on your phone and pay $5 a month to listen to all the songs you want. I’m not kidding. iTunes should be out of a job pretty soon because this is a ridiculous opportunity. I’m not usually a person that pays for services such as this too, so this should tell you a lot. Anywhere I go, riding my bike, walking, riding the train, spotify is always running on my phone and what’s more is that with premium you can listen offline–meaning you don’t need wifi to listen to your music. HEAVEN.

 

5. E.L.F. Concealer

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While I’m not much of a makeup guru, I have been open to trying out new products to test to see if I need it or if it works with my skin. For the most part, I am a staple eyeliner, mascara, and blush wearer. Occasionally, lipstick and bronzer. However, as I was passing through Target I saw that E.LF. had a concealer that was in my skin range. On a whim, I bought it and decided to give it a go. So far, I like it. While I don’t really need concealer, I find that if I put it under my eyes and blend it out it gives me a nice highlight. I loved the way it looked in my brother’s graduation photos and so I’ll be keeping it for other nice occassions. (f.y.i. I got the concealer in a medium)

 

New post coming out this week so stay tuned!

xx

-A

Follow me in Instagram and Tumblr, you have been jedi mind-tricked to do so.

 

Concert Outfit: Tokyo Police Club!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a Tokyo Police Club concert at the Echoplex!

Because I am a reporter for my school news publication, I was able to get two free tickets. I brought a friend with me so that she could take photos. Because Echo Park is known to be a hip young sub-city of Los Angeles, I saw fit to stay urban, yet chic.

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Cardigan: Target/Cut-out boots: UrbanOG/ Floral (DIY) shorts: Urban Outfitters

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Below is my beautiful partner in crime for the night, Akeallah! She was super excited to come to the concert with me and because this event typically wasn’t her scene, she suggested that I style her for the night. I was more than happy to. I definitely was feeling the boho vibe from her.

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These are some photos of the line and the concert. It was a really great show! David Monks (leadman) is a very entertaining guy. You could tell that he’s not much of a talker, but he definitely is someone who is dedicated to his musicality. Love it!

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The second act before TPC

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Cool mural right outside Echoplex

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These are the pregame photos to Outside Lands in August. Have I already talked about how excited I am? Yes? Ok.

Here’s the link to my story: http://www.neontommy.com/news/2014/05/tokyo-police-club-echoplex-show-review

xx

-A

Follow me on Twitter. I tweet about my music musings. Oh, and my Tumblr too!

 

Positive Message Monday

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing that you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard

Just wanted to share a favorite quote with you all today. As the semester drags on and more opportunities continue to come my way, I realize that me running away from them because of fear of failure is not going to help get me to be at a place that I want to be. I need to run headfirst, and strong towards them.

Feeling uplifted on this ordinary Monday.

xx

-A

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