A Jungle Paradise With Farm Rio

Just a quick note to say I’m so excited to have found a snazzy new blog photographer! (Check him out at www.zachtaliesin.com.) For quite a while my life was in turmoil and I couldn’t even contemplate the idea of blogging, but I’ve recently turned a corner and feel ready to dive back into the things I love. Expressing myself through fashion has always felt natural, even as a child, it was something that flowed through me. When I was small I would spend hours drawing and painting. Art was how I self-soothed. The process of creation is a form of therapy, and for me, producing beautiful images via the synergy of fashion and nature is so incredibly satisfying. If you look back, most of my posts incorporate trees, flowers, and as much nature as possible giving my suburban locale. Which leads me to point out the pretty little skirt I’m wearing in these photos. It’s designed by a Brazilian brand called Farm Rio, and their garments are ABSOLUTELY STUNNING (if you like bright colors and prints). I’ve never seen anything like it. If they weren’t so pricey (though totally worth it) I’d probably order everything off their website. As is stands I purchased a few items because I simply couldn’t help myself. The best part is they are eco-conscious and carbon neutral. For every item you buy they plant a tree in the Amazon. I’m all for eco brands, though they often come with a higher price tag. Someone has to be willing to support the cause, and I’m happy to oblige.

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In Support of Conscious Non-Monogamy

I recently watched this video produced by Refinery29, titled “What Being In A Polyamorous Relationship Is Like”. I follow Refinery29 and the video happened to pop up in my Facebook feed. I scroll past a lot of rubbish on Facebook, but this title caught my attention because I’m a proponent of polyamory and was curious about the content of the video. Although the material could’ve been presented in a more mature and informed fashion, I think the topic itself is relevant, and I’m glad someone is tackling these controversial subjects. The reality is I don’t often talk about what I believe because I realize a lot of my opinions might be unpopular or frowned upon. It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I’m comfortable with my authentic voice. As a child I was aware that my thoughts and feelings did not exactly align with the world around me and I often felt like an outsider. In elementary school I had very few friends, and was bullied by the other children to an alarming degree. I dreaded going to school and felt a tremendous amount of angst around not fitting in. By the time middle school rolled around I started dabbling in drugs (for a variety of reasons) but the feeling of being on the fringes was definitely one of them. Somewhere along the way, after facing numerous challenges in my teen years, I decided I needed to get my life “on track” and I mistakenly equated “on track” with conformity. There’s a lot more to this story but for now I want to focus on the concept of polyamory, and since I’m not a fan of the connotations this might stir up, I’d like to employ the term “conscious non-monogamy”. For me this is not a trend, as Refinery29 spins it in their infomercial.

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The Nature of Life is Fleeting

Change is a certainty. No earthly thing escapes the unwavering hand of time. Our experiences are fleeting – the blissful and torturous ones alike. So when you are gripped with suffering know that it will not withstand, and when you are brimming with joy remember to appreciate every second before the magic fades. That is why I’m here today – to speak of change and upheaval. It’s been a moment since I’ve bothered to blog about anything. Not because I don’t have thoughts I’d like to share. Perhaps sometimes because I have more thoughts than I feel I can share. Since my breakdown in 2019 nothing has been the same. I’m quite certain I will never be the person I was before. That girl is dead. I see her now – a younger, lighter version of me. When I say lighter I mean simpler, not that I was ever a simple person. But I was able to enjoy simple pleasures by a mechanism which now eludes me because I can no longer bypass deeper truths. Once you’ve seen something you can’t unsee it. And though you will eventually move through it and past it, there is no forgetting. That girlish version of me danced around the wound, evaded it, until I ignored it so long it ruptured. Those simple pleasures (shopping sprees, brunch with friends, weekend getaways) were a form of coping, a distraction. In this moment, although profoundly more aware, I feel heavier. I know even this feeling will fade in time, and perhaps a sense of ease will return, in a new and different way.

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The Attitude Of Gratitude

In last week’s post I talked about how important it is to prioritize “me time” as a mom.  I believe self-care is critical to survival, even more so when you have the added responsibility of children.  Self-care is not selfish, but just like everything in life there’s a flip side.  Say I want to take a Saturday morning yoga class, or treat myself to a hot stone massage as part of my wellness routine. These little luxuries (which were taken for granted pre-baby) are not always easy to achieve.  If I’m gone for an hour or two who’s watching my daughter?  Fortunately my husband is very hands-on and doesn’t mind hanging with our little one if I need some quiet time.  On a Saturday morning he could easily say (as I know some men do) sorry I worked all week long and I’m tired so it’s my time to rest.  But instead he steps up.  And this is where gratitude enters the picture…

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“I’m Not Like A Regular Mom…

…I’m a cool mom.” A quote made famous by the cult classic Mean Girls, and immortalized on tee shirts everywhere.  I totally get the sentiment, but I don’t think I need the shirt because my wardrobe says it all.  I wore this outfit just recently for a lunch date with girlfriends, then breezed over to pick up my daughter from preschool.  I’m not at all shy about showing up at her beatnik, suburban preschool dressed to the nines.  And even if the other moms think I’m weird I don’t care.  My sense of style hasn’t changed just because I’m a mom. And for me that is seriously important.  Women sacrifice so much to be mothers, and I can tell you firsthand it’s easy to lose yourself, especially in the early years.  Babies and young children are inevitably needy, and because they’re helpless, their needs come before yours.  I’m not particularly self-sacrificing, but I love my daughter more than anything on earth, hence I would do anything for her. So it’s a strange and uncomfortable paradox.  Somewhere in there I must retain my sense of self.  It’s not an easy task, and I believe that loss of autonomy was a major contributing factor to my mental breakdown.

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The Devil Inside

In the early days of my breakdown, when my mental state first started spiraling out of control, I called my uncle. He’s a clinical psychologist and knows me very well, so I was desperate to get his take. I couldn’t understand why my anxiety suddenly shot through the roof. I’d suffered from low-level anxiety nearly my whole life but always knew how to manage it. This was different. This was can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t stop shaking, full-on fight or flight. His immediate assessment was childhood trauma. He spent time with me as kid and witnessed the house I grew up in and felt I’d been suffering PTSD for years but never really dealt with it. After having a child of my own and not being able to dedicate as much time to self-care and coping mechanisms, I reached a breaking point and everything started spilling out.

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Tranquility Amidst The Madness

2019 isn’t over yet but it will easily go down as the worst year of my life.  Earlier this year, in March, I had a severe mental breakdown. The incident was so bad that I was ultimately hospitalized and wound up on anti-depressants for the first time in my life.  It all started with panic attacks that kept building in frequency and intensity.  The panic became so prevalent that I eventually stopped sleeping.  The insomnia was so severe that even a cocktail of Xanax and Ambien only granted me a few hours a night, if I was lucky.  And the lack of sleep fueled my anxiety to epic proportions.  I stopped eating.  The mere thought of food turned my stomach, and my weight dropped into the 90’s.  I was a shell of my former self and everyone around me could see it…

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