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Art As Style Inspiration: My Collab with the Amazing Mom Edit

cool-birkenstocks-683x1024

If you’re a mom and into fashion, you’ve probably heard of The Mom Edit by now and if you haven’t yet, well, you’re missing out.  I’ve mentioned my love for Shana, the site’s creator, before and shared some of the art collaborations we have done together for The Mom Edit. Last month, we were talking about what direction we should head in this year for our monthly art/style collaborations when Shana suggested doing a mini shoot featuring both my style and my art. We were already at the beach, and a few glasses deep into our bottle of white wine so we figured why the heck not?! And then last night I got a text from my best friend who said she just spotted my feature on The Mom Edit, so I thought I would share some of the photos here too!

best-birkenstocks-683x1024 (1)

fashion-illustration

shoe-illustrations

I’m Wearing:

Top:

a63ee73fd883-333x400

Marylin and Main’s Batwing Oversized Tunic Top, $29.30 on Amazon.

Shorts:

striped shorts

Mango’s Striped Cotton Shorts, $24.99, Amazon.

sandals:

282-Birkenstock-Women-s-Yara-Oiled-Leather-Sandals-1

Birkenstocks’ Yara Leather Thong Sandal from Amazon, $105.99 to $149.99. 

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Beach Day Essentials

 

 

“Summer isn’t over, summer isn’t over.” I am hoping that if I keep telling myself, I can make it true,  or at the least live happily in my own delusion for a little while longer and the reason I am determined to do this post even though it’s practically September and everyone is about ready to gear up for Autumn.

h1BD6E152

Apparently my refusal to accept that summer is over is subconsciously coming out in the clothes I am choosing to wear. Walking down the stairs today, my boyfriend greeted me by saying “Ahoy sailor,” and saw that I looked like I was ready to set sail on a catamaran in the following outfit:

beach day ootd

 

not that I minded being mistaken for an overzealous mariner…..As a fairly new resident of Michigan, the magic that is summers on Lake Michigan has yet to loose any of it’s potency on me. I could spend all day walking up and down the Lake shoreline gathering driftwood and pebbles, or laying on the sand and reading cheap literature until my skin is burnt to a crisp and spend every night watching the sunset over the lake, and drinking unhealthy amounts of white wine with friends around a campfire….There is no better medicine for my soul.

So that’s my excuse for spending an absorbent amount of time putting together my first style board set on polyvore

on which I spent an unhealthy amount of time obsessing over and that I awkwardly titled “Final Beach Day Trip of the Summer:”

final beach day trip of the summer.

 

final beach day trip of the summer. by thiswildpreciouslifeblog featuring fragrance candles

 

IMG_5073

 

 

 

 

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The Monthly Inspiration Edit: The May Mood Board Mash-up (Jesus Sandal Couture, The Return of Fat Amy and Alabama Shakes)

 

I’e been wanted to create my own mood board since I discovered the wonderful world of digital mood boards. I’ve always loved making collages and inspiration boards in my journals and on my wall-I love the physical and visual process of creating collages and have spent countless hours absorbed in arranging and rearranging pictures…. something about the process is soothing to me and have found them to be a helpful tool for aiding in my creative process because I often find new inspiration for creative projects and ideas.
With online mood boards it’s like a whole new world of inspiration has opened up to me. There are so many talented, artistic designers and artists out there to find inspiration from-

I’m going to try and do a round-up at least once a month….

BUT

I would really love to see what is inspiring every one else out there and wanted to offer to anyone who might be interested in being a guest blogger and creating their own individualized mood board on This Wild Precious Life. It could be any handful of things that are inspiring you at the moment: books, music, food, shoes, movies, art, diy projects…and give you a chance to share here! If you are interested just email me at thiswildpreciouslifeblog@gmail.com with the subject title “my mood board” and we can work out the details!

moodboard may FINAL

 

So here is what is inspiring me in the month of May (2015)….

Wear- Jumpsuits and Rompers

 

 

 

free people flutter romper

http://www.freepeople.com/clothes-jumpsuits-rompers/flutter-romper/BCBGeneration Womens racer front jumpsuitBCBGeneration Women’s Racer Front Jumpsuit
BCBGeneration Women’s Racer Front Jumpsuit

electric feather green jumpsuit spring 2015

http://electricfeathers.com/collections/wardrobe/products/infinite-rope-jumpsuit-1

WALK- 

I’m really happy simple leather sandals (or Jesus sandals as I like to call them) are making a come-back. I don’t know why every time I see a pair of simple classic looking leather sandals I just want to be walking around in Greece or Italy…so the closest I can get to either of those places at the moment is a pair of my very own jesus sandals.

free people cafe wrap espadrille

http://www.freepeople.com/shoes-sandals/cafe-wrap-espadrille/

birkenstock mayari birkenstook
Birkenstock Women’s Mayari Birkibuc Sandal

http://amzn.to/1dqgBIM

FP collection Durango Metal Gladiator

http://www.freepeople.com/shoes-sandals/durango-metal-gladiator-sandals/_/PRODUCTOPTIONIDS/83886FE0-6740-46FF-AABD-B3BC062AB204/

STEVEMADDEN-SANDALS_DONDDI_TAN-LEATHER

Steve Madden Women’s Donddi Sandal

Blowfish Women’s Gill Fisherman Sandal
womens-steve-madden-d-band-cognac-multi-423403_366_45

Steve Madden Women’s D-BAND Sandal

LISTEN: 

Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes

Falling Faster Than You Can Run by Nathaniel Rateliff

Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens

Pitch Perfect 2: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Carry:

rebecca minkoff fringe backpack

Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack

jericho backpack free people

http://www.freepeople.com/accessories-bags/jericho-backpack-32078669/

patricia nash vasto leather backpack

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/patricia-nash-vasto-leather-backpack/3816140?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=2375500&fashionColor=&resultback=6239

 

the sawyer etsy bag

https://www.etsy.com/listing/184422924/the-sawyer-hand-made-leather-backpack?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=leather%20backpack&ref=sr_gallery_4

READ- 

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo

What Alice Forgot

a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805210318/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0805210318&linkCode=as2&tag=thiwilprelif-20&linkId=BP5TUZMGSEASXI5X”>

Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar

 

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My First Official Spring OOTD:Look Ma No Pants!

blue dress denim jacket leather backpack

Today when I stepped outside, I smelt spring and was about as happy as this baby and her camel:happpiness

I was outside in a dress, with bare legs and I was starting to believe this day would never come.  I swear if I see a single snowflake before Christmas next year, I will walk all the way back to California.


 

Anyways, after a few hours doing this:

happy kittyI was excited to bust out all the spring/summer clothes I’ve been daydreaming about and this is what I came up with:

 

ootd-blue-dress-knee-high-socks-leather-bag-favorite

This blue dress is MINKPINK Women’s Tiger Trail Dress, might be my new favorite dress for spring. Surprisingly, I found it on Amazon for $57.00.

Also another of my favorites for mild April Weather is my Life in Progress Denim Jacket from Forever 21 ($32.50).

forever21-denim-grey-jersey-jacket

And saving the best for last is my 18″ Genuine Leather Retro Rucksack Backpack College Bag,school Picnic Bag Travel also found on Amazon and bought specifically for all the outdoor activities I told myself I would be doing this summer:

leather retro backpack

What are your spring time essentials?

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Art Collaboration with The Mom Edit Style Blog

mom edit march art style fashion collaboration jessica ross

I am so so excited to be collaborating again with the AMAZING Shana, and her equally amazing blog: The Mom Edit on a series of monthly fashion themed art pieces.

Shana's latest spring OOTD on the mom edit.
Shana’s latest spring OOTD on the mom edit.

I love being able to collaborate with Shana. She has been an enthusiastic supporter and an advocate for me and my art, even when I usually can’t stand whatever it is I’ve made. supporter and cheerleader  She is passionate, enthusiastic and just all around bad ass. I love all of her style and she approaches each post with honesty and frankness about life that makes me laugh out loud.

I was really struggling creatively the last few months and this collaboration has  breathed new life into  my art and given me a new purpose and direction. This project has also been hands down the hardest artistic challenge I’ve undertaken simply because it’s so scary for me to have my artwork “out there” to be seen and judged. I usually have two modes: 1) being super impulsive about what I publish on social media and then afterwards feeling embarrassed or 2) overthinking and analyzing every thing I make until I just stop mid-way through and never finish it.

Here is the March art piece I did for The Mom Edit along with Shana’s picks to go along with it:

jess ross mom edit art collaboration march spring style

jessbobess march-collage-01-614x1024

And here is the link to her article:

http://themomedit.com/2015/03/hello-march-and-some-exciting-news/

This is the art piece I did for the February collaboration with The Mom Edit:

valentine-01 mom edit art collaboration

Here is her AMAZING outfit that inspired the art I did for her and the LINK to her article Winter Florals and Leather Jackets (The Anti-Valentines Day Outfit):

chiffon-maxi-leather-jacket-winter-floral-beanie-681x1024 chiffon-maxi-skirt-winter-floral-tank-leather-jacket-sole-society-winter-beanie

 

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The Continued Battle for a Life of Happiness

I’ve really struggled this month with staying positive and I’ve been feeling discouraged by a slight relapse into negative thinking patterns. I’ve also been saddened by the sudden lost a friend this week, who was a genuinely good person and had a kind authentic soul. But the other day I came across the following quote:

we create our own reality

and later on I found this: happiness quality of thoughts

These quotes helped to re-frame how I’ve been thinking lately and spurred the following thoughts I jotted down in my journal last night:

“I am just realizing I have been stuck inside my head these last few weeks and started to really believe that the negative thoughts I have about myself are the truth of who I am. I need to remind myself that I don’t have to live a life where I am unhappy and dislike myself.

I am responsible for my own happiness and for creating my own reality. I want to create a life built on love- love for myself and for others- a life where I find and focus on joy and happiness in every moment instead of choosing to focus on the negative. happy thoughts quoteI want to get back to the basics of life, an honest, authentic and unselfishness life invested in the happiness of the people around me- a life where I truly believe I am enough and worthy of love, worthy of happiness…A life where I choose to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made and the hurt I’ve done to myself and where I choose forgiveness towards others that I feel have wronged me instead of holding onto anger and resentment.

I can have that life. anyone can have that life.

I just have to continually remind myself of this especially when I start to feel I am sliding into the false world I created for myself based on negative thinking and behavioral patterns.

I am more than my thoughts & there is more to life outside my head and  self-obsession.

I choose to make a life of love and joy- and I choose to continue to fight for that life for as long as it takes.”

This is my mantra and affirmation for the month of January 2015.

p.s. (I’m not even sure if anyone else struggles to remember these things, but you aren’t alone if you do. )

p.p.s. sorry for the self-absorbed focus, but I guess that’s what a blog is aye?

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20 Original Winter/Holiday Themed Art Journal Ideas

20 artist journal page ideas

I put together a little Holiday Themed Art Journal Idea List, some of the ideas are a bit simple but fun.

I always find myself journaling and sketching a lot over the Christmas and New Years breaks. I think it’s my way of reflecting on everything that happened over the past year as well as gearing up for the new year ahead (also because I usually like to start the new new calendar year off with a fresh journal so I try to fill up the remaining pages in the old one). Also, I am one of those people who religiously comes up with New Years Resolutions every year…The older I get, the more it’s becoming a bucket list and a reminder for me that life is moving fast. I am a big list person too…I just feel better about my lack of organizational skills when I can cross off even the most mundane tasks.

I also rounded up some of my favorite journal pages from this year….they are nothing like some of the pages I see of other artists on pinterest or tumblr…but they make me happy 🙂 Some of them can fit as examples for the Winter themed list so Ill note them if they do…

 

e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page

e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page

One of my favorite things to do is write down  inspiring quotes, passages, poems r song lyrics I come across and then create some sort of art around it.

ink and mixed media watercolor shape collage with inspiring quote
ink and mixed media watercolor shape collage with quote
watercolor flower bouquet and vase
watercolor flower bouquet and vase
succulent and cacti planters
succulent and cacti planters
floral watercolor artist sketchbook page
floral watercolor artist sketchbook page

mixed media artist sketchbook page

abstract watercolor journal page

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It’s a Plaid, Plaid World!

plaid skirt, winter style

You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to use that title!

Maybe turning 30 brought some maturity to me finally, as seen in my new found love of all things plaid.

I don’t know.

But I do know that before this winter I have never preferred Plaid or any other “Classic” styles. But as in most things with me, I always go overboard with any new interest of mine, Whether it’s: painting, DIY projects, yoga, or clothing, I suck all the fun out of whatever it is I like, until I am sick of it. That’s probably how my new love of “Plaid” will end up, but for now, me and plaid are BFFs.

I have seen so many cute plaid scarfs, hats, and ect. on my friends and people I see out and about, this winter that I wish I could have taken pictures of some people I saw who inspired my new obsession for plaid. If anyone has any pics of them wearing their favorite plaid accessory or  clothing item to add to this post, or your opinion on plaid, my email thiswildpreciouslifeblog@gmail.com and I will add it!

But For now, here are some of my favorite plaidy plaids…

plaid skirtI’ve got a little pooch belly, but hey that’s okay!

Skirt is from Charlotte Russe ($19.99 or buy 1 get 1 for $10.00) which I bought in store and couldn’t find online but they have a similar one online (for $19.99):

plaid bodycon midi skirt

Knit short sleeve white top is from H&M from this summer but I found a similar top from H&M that I actually think would look better with the plaid skirt. Their Heavy Jersey Fabric Short Sleeve Top available online in black or light grey for only $17.95:

H&M heavy jersey light grey top

The boots I bought at Target, probably 2 winters ago, and are still my tried and true favorites (plus the heels are about 2″ so I can actually go wear them out without walking like I am on stilts ) I love the contrasting brown leather ankle strappy things that make it okay for me to wear with black or brown (at least thats what I tell myself..fashion experts would probably say different). But I found a very similar pair by Dv by Dolce Vita Brand, called their Jaxen Suede Booties available at Lord and Taylor online and on sale for only $64.48 (marked down from $128):

Dv by Dolce Vita Suede Booties

and if you’re a big spender I also love these similar Rag & Bone Harrow Suede Ankle Boots available on their website for $370.00. (I can dream, right?)

Rag&Bone Harrow Suede booties

 

My bag is Steve Madden Brand, and is called the Broyale Convertible Tote and is for sale at Macy’s online for $108.00, although I found it out shopping at Marshalls. 

steve Madden Broyale Bag


 

My second “Plaid” winter  outfit, is mainly just these pants I found at Forever21. I bought them online, (Got super excited and actually bought two of the same exact pair..so if anyone is interested in a free pair of pants…email me!) A lot of my style decision thought process goes something like this: “Should I really be considering wearing this?” “I look ridiculous.” and finally “Oh well, who cares!” and then proceed to checkout. And so it was with these pants:

plaid pants! These Gingham plaid pants are available at Forever 21 currently on sale for only $16.99. But aren’t for the faint of heart,  I’ve got some junk in my trunks and these pants def. don’t help to conceal that. :/ But they are red plaid pants for under $20 so…

A more conservative (and more expensive) choice, if I had the means are these lovely Petite Cafe Red Tartan Capres from J.Crew for $168.00:

J.Crew Plaid Capris


 

My final Plaid clothing collection (so far!)  is my new favorite scarf:

plaid scarf

The scarf is Forever21’s Frayed Plaid Scarf for only $10.80. And if you are looking for cute, cheap, plaid accessories, they are the place to go, they have well over 10 different plaid scarfs all at a a very reasonable price!

Thanks for sticking around to read this extra long post…as always I would really, REALLY love to hear and see what you guys are wearing this winter. Email or comment below.

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A Skeptic’s Journey to Falling in Love With Yoga.

As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved being active. I used to follow my dad to the gym and he taught me at about 6 years old how to use the cardio machines.  I’ve gone through many fitness phases throughout the years, but they always centered around a cardio machine like the elliptical or the treadmill.  In my craziest fitness days, I would spend upwards of 2 hours on the elliptical or running on the treadmill- slowly watching my calories burnt. No doubt, I over did it- and with severe lower back and hip pain (and sciatica) from an early age, all of the repetitive pressure I put on my bones, I ended up completely wearing my body out. Friends, family members and my chiropractor all suggested yoga and countless times and in my stubbornness, I refused, also countless times.

This past winter I hit a brick wall physically. I was desperate to go to the gym and sweat out my issues but every time I got on a treadmill, the pain quickly became to much to continue. So, I figured, okay, let’s try this yoga bs every one is talking about. Considering myself “athletic”(I’m about as bendy as a plank of wood) I had no time for the beginner yoga videos, and went straight to intermediate- where I managed within the first 5 minutes to pull a muscle in my back.

It wasn’t until a few months later when one of my best girl friends was visiting from Oregon, that I seriously considered yoga again. When I picked her up from the airport, I immediately noticed how fit and toned she was. She radiated good health and I wanted some of that…she had been practicing yoga religiously for the past few years and it showed.Every night and every morning she practiced and even had me doing a few poses.

After that, I found myself more and more drawn to yoga and I was determined to do it and do it right. (Which was NOT easy).  I bought an informative book of yoga,  Hatha Yoga Illustrated by Kirk, Boon, and DiTuro, with a short history of yoga, the different practices, meditation and a large index of poses with helpful tips. I also joined in on a yoga challenge on instagram with a few friends. I found that the more I practiced, the better I felt. I woke up one morning with no back pain at all- which hasn’t happened in over 20 years. I was also pleasantly surprised at the  sense of peace and calm that I found while practicing. I found that I loved practicing yoga outdoors, at night, staring at the stars and had some wonderfully blissful and content moments (which for me, is very rare).

I honestly think the world would be a much happier place if everyone practiced yoga. Hopefully, you will join me on this yoga journey! You can find me on instagram at: jessbobessyoga (I promise my account will make you feel better about your practice because I am not kidding when I say I am def. a beginner!) And as always, I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on yoga and what you find most difficult and most beneficial. Email me at: thiswildpreciouslifeblog@gmail.com.

Here are 8 tips I compiled to help those like me, who are starting out on their yoga journey!

I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful super moon! A time for new beginnings!

helpful tips for yoga beginners
helpful tips for yoga beginners
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blessed are the cracked for they shall let in the light (15 Things You Can Do if You are Struggling with Depression).

A bright light in our world went out and now my heart feels heavy. With everything going on in the world right now: the unending riots in Ferguson, and the constant ISIS terrorist threats, just to name a few, it is Robin Williams’ unexpected suicide that I constantly find myself thinking about. I feel guilty that out of all of the chaos, death, and injustice going on around the world, it is the death of an actor that has affected me most. I asked myself why that is and I think it’s because his suicide was so unexpected and it is sad to think that someone who brought so much joy and happiness to the world, could be so unhappy himself.

robin williams

The loss of any human life is painful, but something about Robin Williams’ suicide saddens me to the very core of my being. I have first hand experience with depression and feelings of hopelessness that Robin must have been feeling in order to take his life. And while I struggle with being “real” and transparent about anything serious on my blog (or any other of my social media outlets) about my life but I realized that writing posts like this were the reason I started blogging in the first place about 10 years ago and that is: 

to reach out and connect to someone (anyone) who like me, often feels “different,” struggles with depression or anxiety, feels hopeless, like they don’t fit in, that are depressed…

and although I try to hide my struggle from friends and family, I think it’s pretty obvious to the people in my “World,” who try to get to know me, (my friends, family, co-workers, ect), know there is something “different” about me. I’m the friend who falls off the planet for days, weeks, months at a time, the friend who cancels plans and no one hears from, who isolates themselves, sleeps too much… my family and other loved ones kindly skirt around the issue but I struggle with depression and have since I was 15 years old. 

What saddens me so much about Robin’s death is that…no one really saw it coming and I hope that he had people he could trust in his life and who loved him unconditionally- his wife, his daughter and I hope he knows he was loved.

and now finally I am getting to the point of this post….

it’s okay. I promise. I swear. It gets better. I know that’s not much, but I have been there in that dark, hopeless place where there is no light, no exit.

And while I never contemplated suicide, there were so many times in my life that I thought I could never be happy in life- where sleeping was always a better option for me than living life- that the drain of just being awake and conscious was sometimes to much-

just keep going. one foot in front of the other, baby steps. Don’t stop striving to be happy, develop your passions (no matter what they are), and when things get hard or tough, try to remember that (and this is what I wish I could tell the 12 year old version of myself, for the 16 year old version of my self, the 23 year old version of myself):

you are not alone. however helpless or alone you might feel. I can tell you because I have been in that place- a place I never thought I could leave- and I did.

I have come up with a list of 15 things I hope will be helpful for anyone who has ever been depressed:

1. Talk to someone, anyone. A friend, family member, co-worker, or anyone you feel you can trust. It is important to get your thoughts out of your head and also a welcome relief to feel that you no longer have to struggle completely alone. Don’t feel that you have anyone to talk too? There are hotlines and chatrooms created with the sole purpose of helping people struggling with depression: http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=urgent_crisis_hotline has a list of resources. Still unsure? My email address is ourwildpreciouslives@gmail.com, I am here.

2. Laugh. I could (and do) watch hours  of funny youtube animal videos at a time..There is about a 95% chance that if I am laughing while on my phone or laptop, I am probably watching a cat in a shark costume, on a roomba, chasing a duck, or a dog with a bad case of the Mondays.

my dog, Henri, in a shark costume
my dog, Henri, in a shark costume

Whatever makes you laugh, do it: silly dancing, corny jokes, baby kittens…find your happy place and visit it often. Laughing is not only a quick way to boost your mood, but the neurological process of laughing also releases endorphins and gives your body a boost of adrenaline (much like exercising), leaving you in a better mental place.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others. In today’s society, with all of our social media outlets, it is hard for me to NOT constantly be comparing myself to other people. Be content with where you are in life and who you are..stay focused on your own hopes and dreams and remain true to what makes you happy. I am not Kim Kardashian and I may not be at the same point in life where it seems many of peers are, but thats okay and I have to constantly remind myself that it is ok. This is your life, and your journey, no one else’s! One of the hardest things for me to do is to change my negative thinking patterns. I noticed that for me, most days I struggle with starting a new day with a positive frame of mind and I used to find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning…once I realized this about myself (and it took longer than you would think!) I had to start forcing myself to think positively in the morning and started coming up with (or borrowing) little phrases or mantras to “trick” myself into thinking positively. To this day, I still go back to one of my favorite mental health spokespersons:

I'm Sailing!
I’m Sailing!

and his favorite phrases: “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful” and “Baby steps.” Interestingly enough, when I tell myself this in the morning before I get out of bed, I end up feeling better, greater and more wonderful. 

4. Spend time outdoors/ be Active.

photo 2

Research has shown that sunlight is a natural mood booster and one of the easiest ways to fight depression by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. The sun is also is a rich source of Vitamin D and is also shown to help in bone health, heart health and to reduce the chance of strokes. I enjoy spend time outdoors: hiking in the woods, doing yoga or simply taking the time to be in awe of Nature by listening and looking. I have a habit of collecting leaves, feathers, branches, twigs, stones, seashells..ect…

photo 3

and keep a couple of my favorite ones in a vase by my bed. I sincerely feel that spending time outdoors as one of the best ways to re-focus on whats important and to remember that beauty and life is all around me, all I have to do is pay attention to it. 

5. Keep a journal. 

a page from one of my old journals
a page from one of my old journals

I find this especially helpful, if you are like me and tend to be more introverted and have trouble opening up. It helps me to look back on my journals and to reflect on how far I have come. It is also a great way to motivate yourself and a place to channel your inspirations. It also gives you a place to write down positive quotes, bucket lists, and to keep track of happy memories such as: concert tickets stubs and photos. 

6. Keep a daily routine. If you are like me, or the dog in the video in #`1with a case of the Mondays, this is not easy. I confess, This is one of the HARDEST things for me to do. The idea of a consistent, daily routine always scared me and I still struggle with it every day. I always made excuses for why I didn’t need a daily routine…but sometimes this is a very important step for those who struggle with depression. I love sleeping, I always have and used to put off getting up until the very last moment. But as a result, I never gave myself time to wake up, reflect on the day, focus on what i wanted to get done and to have a general sense of well-being. Even though the initial half an hour or so after I am up is a struggle, I feel better, more calm and more prepared for the day when I have given myself time in the morning before rushing off. 

7. Consider meditation/yoga. (dwell in the moment)

namaste1

 This one fits in with many of the other tips. Giving yourself time to reflect on life, or even to be still and think about nothing but your breath, helps to clear your head and give you a sense of well-being. I scoffed at the idea of quiet meditation for a long time, thinking it sounded to new age or something for me. I also have very little patience and always thought “There is no way I could ever sit still for an hour thinking about nothing.” And that thought is still true! I lowered my expectations and started timing myself of how long I could just “be still.” I don’t think I have ever made it past 60 seconds until my mind has wandered. But if you are intentional in trying and most of all, patient with yourself, you will get better at it and be better for it. 

8. Make plans for the future. Have an old friend you want to visit? (Cassie, I’m coming for you!) or have you always wanted to take a road trip, visit the Lourve, eat real soul food? While spending too much time thinking about the future and not enough time in the present is not healthy, it is important to have something in your life to look forward too. It could be that you are unhappy in your career or with your health. Maybe you have always wanted to write a novel or take an art class. It could be as simple as thinking about something different and fun you always wanted to cook for dinner- just give yourself something to look forward to every day! 

9. Weed out negative influences/people from your life.

photo 4-3

easier said then done right? If you are human, chances are you come in contact with unhappy people or negative situations SEVERAL times a day. At my current customer service job, I deal with many unhappy people and even when I try to remain positive, negativity is draining and wears you down.  There is a difference from coming in contact with negative people or situations and ALLOWING negative people/influences space in your life and brain. Do your best when you must deal with these situations. Be your best self and you will leave the situation with confidence and self-assurance, knowing that you did your best. But, unhappy people, generally don’t like happy  people and may try to bring you down with them (misery loves company). Don’t let them- shrug them off and go your own way (frolic in the fields, hug your dog, laugh with a friend) and don’t waste any more of your time or brain space on them than is absolutely necessary. Most importantly don’t feel guilty about being happy. 

10. Create something. 

DSC02025

You don’t have to have graduated from art school to create something beautiful that brings you and others joy and happiness. Maybe you love baking cookies or always wanted to build a bird house. There is something very satisfying in creating something that took a lot of hard work and being able to look at with a sense of pride (even if it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would when you started) and thinking “I made this.” Even better if you can share it with the people in your life. 

11. Take time for yourself. Again, this ties in to many of the other tips. But I just want to re-affirm that it is okay to take time for yourself, doing something that makes you happy. Many of us have spouses, children, parents, friends, co-workers that we spend most of our time and energy on and that is a good and healthy thing (see #13). But at the same time, you shouldn’t  be walking around feeling like a zombie, drained of emotional and physical energy. You are your able to be your best version of yourself for others, and for you when you are re-charged and re-energized. I would love nothing more than an hour long massage by a professional massage therapist (complete with the aromatherapy candles, oils, and whale nosies playing in the background) every few days if time and money allowed. Maybe it’s getting a manicure or having a glass of wine and reading a good book for 30 minutes after everyone else in the house is asleep. These little moments will re-charge you. 

12. renew your sense of purpose in life. All of us have hopes and dreams and desires for our lives. And as we get older, our lives our shaping up to be very different than what we imagined they would be when we were young and carefree (and that’s okay). While I wouldn’t change anything that has happened to me in my life (the good and the bad), because it made me who I am today..rememembering what I am passionate about gives me a greater sense of purpose in life. Don’t sell yourself short of your daydreams and don’t let anyone talk to you out of what you know you want (unless you’ve always wanted to be a gas station attendant or a tool booth worker…then we made need to talk). 

13. give back/ invest in relationships.

photo 1

Balance in life is so important. Too much time spent on only on yourself will cause imbalance, just as much as too much time spent on others (and not enough time for yourself) will leave you completely drained. I promise there is someone out there who feels lost and who could use you in their life. I also guarantee that there is someone out there that YOU are important to and who would love to hear from you. Maybe you are not ready to open up to people which brings me to my next point…

14. Adopt a Pet.

photo 2-2

The best thing I did when i first moved in to my own place 8 years ago and was feeling particularly alone and easily sad was adopting my dog Henri. There is something so wonderful about always coming home and knowing that my dog missed me and is happy to see me. I don’t argue that pets are a big responsibility and you should always consider your realistic limitations (such as money, time away from home, space). If you are not in the position for a bigger animal, how about a bird, or hamster, or even a fish! 

15. Don’t ever give up. Finally, and most importantly, don’t forget that there is ALWAYS hope. You can and will be happy. Life is a gift. I mean it. We have all made mistakes, but that is what it means to be alive and to be human. Today is a new day. Trust me, I know this mushy positive talk is annoying when you are depressed. But please, if you take one thing away from this post, let it be that, I know you will make it through this and you can be happy. Chances are, if you are like me, dealing with depression will likely be something I struggle seriously with again at some point- but even when that happens, there is hope. 

And I leave you with this beautiful tribute to Robin Williams and his thoughts on the beauty of life: 

“Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this earth. Life is fleeting. And if you are ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky, and the stars that are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting start streaks through the blackness, turning night into day, make a wish. Think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.” 

– Robin Williams

All photos used in this post are mine, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use, just please credit me and link back to my blog. Thank you so much! 

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To Kimono, or not to kimono?

That is the question…

kimonooutfit

 

MEblackkimono

 

orangekimono

 

mekimonoblack1

Ever since I first realized that kimonos were coming into style, I was hooked. I love that they each one is so unique and colorful. They are also super comfortable and cozy, and they hide a lot well (and I can braid the fringe when I am bored). But since I turned 30, I have started to question my wardrobe choices seriously for the first time: should I wear leopard print jeans (probably not) should I wear tube tops and short skirts? How about sparkly things (I love some good sequins)? I can only be thankful for friends for being good hearted and not laughing in my face when I show up wearing azctec print, acid wash, holey jeans.

So this summer, while browsing pinterest endlessly for style tips, I started to notice that most women wearing kimonos or shawls were much younger than me. My thoughts were further confirmed when I was in Chicago during the Lollapoolza music festival. Kimonos seemed to be an essential piece of the 20 something’s summer music festival wardrobe, the other essential wardrobe piece: coochie hugging shorts and lots of under butt (Thanks Miley!).  Let’s just say I had some serious concern for the reproductive systems of these girls because it can’t be healthy to have your shorts jammed up your hoo-ha all day long! Think about your future ladies. and I realize I am dangerously close to wearing hoo ha shorts in the last picture, but I got tights and boots on and no under booty I promise!) 

I don’t say this all this to judge these young girls because heaven knows what I was doing and what I was wearing (mostly musty thrift store finds) when I was in college…I am all for being young and care free, exploring new things, expressing yourself and all those other things that come with the roller coaster ride that is the 20’s; I just have to remember that I am not in my 20’s anymore and maybe I shouldn’t be dressing like a 21 year old and making a fool out of myself.

BUT, all that being said…I like my kimonos and my shawls and won’t stop wearing them…but if I start asking you about molly, then someone needs to have a talk with me!

 

what do you guys think about kimonos? If anyone has a picture of their favorite kimono, or favorite outfit with a shawl, you can email me at forourcity@gm

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Artist Spotlight: Natalie Jean Bauer

by Natalie Jean Bauer 
This “Artist Spotlight” post idea came to me one night when I was thinking of how so many of my friends are talented artists and besides that, they are all also pretty hilarious. This is my little way of exposing the world (or a few hundred people a month) to the amazing-ness that they bring to my world and how happy they make me. And hopefully share that with someone else! So, I came up with some questions (some I borrowed from other art blogs) and asked my friend Natalie if she would let me interview her and post some of her artwork on my blog. Natalie is one of the most humble artists (and also one of the funniest) that I know. I have (selfishly) asked her when she is planning on making prints of her artwork and selling them, so I can buy one…but not yet. I’m wearing you down Natalie! So, hopefully you get some enjoyment out of this post AND…
if YOU or anyone you know wants to be featured in an “Artist Spotlight” post, then email me at forourcity@gmail.com. Send me a couple pieces of your artwork (whether its music, paintings, photography, dancing, stand up comedy..it all works for me!) and answer the questions. I will feature you in the next post! 

 Who are you and what do you do?

I am Natalie Jean Bauer.  I try to paint, draw, and write as often as my big dumb brain will allow.
Describe yourself in five words:
Usually really terrible at this.
Do you have a favorite piece of yours?  If so, why is it your favorite?

No favorites, really.  They are all a labor of love and yet I am my own worst critic.  The entire process of creating anything has always been essential for me, but the second I finish a piece (be it a painting, story, comic, whatever) I still notice every rough edge, every single area that shows room for improvement.  This is good in that it always drives me to further develop whatever skills I may possess, but awful when it comes to confidence in my own abilities.  I’ll probably spend the rest of my life trying to shut this off.  I am ruthless and insatiable.
Any tips or inspiring words for other artists?

Find it in yourself.  Keep fumbling and learning and don’t lose heart.  Surround yourself with books and songs that make you want to scream and explode into a million stupid pieces because of how good they are.  Pile more love and effort on literally everything you’re doing.

 Can we find you anywhere on the world wide web?


Art-wise?  Besides Facebook, not really.  I don’t have a personal website, at least not yet.  I’ve always been intensely private and enjoyed my anonymity.  A bit selfish, probably, but so often I anticipate being critiqued in a way I won’t recover from.  I don’t handle rejection well despite all the practice I’ve had.
What is your favorite:
Color?  The particular shade of green usually limited to chalkboards; grey in the beard of a young man.
Animal?  My dog, Roxy Carmichael, is the obvious answer here.  She has the personality of Gilda Radner, the heart of Gandhi, and the eyes of everyone you’ve ever loved.
Movie?  “Santa Sangre” has been in heavy rotation for me lately.  Otherwise, Martin Short’s “Clifford” never fails to improve my mood.
Book?  I just re-read Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves” for maybe the fifth time and it is always such a task but so beautiful and worthwhile.
What work do you most enjoy doing?

Honestly, it depends on my mood and focus.  It all comes in waves; I’ll sometimes go weeks where I mainly focus on writing and finishing a story and not pick up a brush or pencil at all.  But then before I even know it, the opposite becomes true:  I’ll slave over new paintings or comics before I become conscious of the fact that I haven’t written anything in months.  It’s bizarre.  My Moleskines are erratic at best.

Name something you love, and why?


I love The Voyager Golden Record.  It’s this gold-plated record that was sent into space on The Voyager so that if any aliens ever found it, they could listen to this record and know what Earth was like.  The record had an introduction, greetings in fifty-five languages, and the sounds of our planet — a whale song, crickets, the sound of an earthquake, a volcano, thunder, laughter, footsteps, wind, water, a kiss, a wild dog, heartbeats I think.  It had twenty-seven songs on it from all over the world, including Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chuck Berry, and Louis Armstrong.  At the end of the record there were brainwaves.  The wife of one of the men in charge of the record got hooked up to a machine and her brainwaves were turned into sound.  She thought all about the earth and the life on it, poverty, suffering, and some history she could remember.  At the end, she decided to make a personal statement.  The very last thing she wanted her brainwaves to send out there, the very last thing on this golden record that we sent into space for aliens to find and learn and judge about us, was what it felt like to fall in love.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

More often than not, I feel I have no truly creative ideas.  And everything I write, think, paint, or say has already been written, thought, painted, or said by many others.  And though I value the wonderful varied perspectives of people everywhere, it makes me feel like poo.  During a public internet meltdown of sorts, I had two people whose brains and artistic endeavors I admire impart two pieces of wisdom to me in such a way that it helped to hear at that precise moment.  The first was:  the truth is that all creativity amounts to in the first place is putting the basic stuff of existence into different patterns.  These patterns have personal meaning to us.  We ourselves constitute a changing pattern in relation to the rest of the universe.  Creativity is either infinite or ‘virtually infinite.’

The second was:  you just worry about making art because you’ll die if you don’t.

I try to remember both of these things in my worst moments of self-sabotage and doubt.


Name something you don’t love, and why?

I hate labels so much.  Here I am not referring to ethnic, racial, or other discriminatory and/or offensive tags (although OF COURSE I hate those, too).  Specifically I mean things such as price tags and the stickers on plastic bins that helpfully note “Sterilite Storage Bin.  For storage.  Store your shit up in this piece, mofo!”  I compulsively pick labels off of everything that is around for even a short time in my life.  This urge is slightly in opposition to my love of text — I like monograms, painting words on walls, having lots of chalkboards and papers and quotes and journals sitting around, just to put thoughts down on.  I guess it’s just that I want to control how many and what kinds of words and text are thrown at me in my home.  Everything outside is so coated in manipulative slogans and advertising (I mean seriously, you can’t even pee at a bar without forty flyers adding to the visual chaos) that I need to be able to look around my apartment without It’sallinside-Nobodydoesn’tlove-Refrescante-Eatfresh-Ownstheroad-Stayclosealittlelonger-Doubleyourpleasure-Choiceofthenew-Camitasmejors-Gentleman’sclub-Whatissexy-It’syourlife-Thenewalbum-Unböring-Unbroken-Undecided-Uncoordinated-Unlisted-Underground-Unrefined blazing across my retinas like Satan’s own stock ticker.

What couldn’t you do without?

It’s so clichéd of an answer, but there’s no way in hell I would have lasted this long without the people I am so blessed enough to call my friends.  I couldn’t have asked-begged-prayed-starved for better people to keep.

.

 You’ve been selected to go on an all-expenses paid drinking binge with one famous artist, one famous writer, and one free choice.  Who would you choose?


Dead or alive?  I think this answer changes daily for me.  So today I would probably go with Odilon Redon because stylistically I have never wanted to emulate someone SO MUCH.  His paintings are pure magic.  Oscar Wilde, because deep-down I identify with the burned-out view and the scathing insight.  And the free choice…  I guess it’d be that neighbor dog with short legs who runs the way shrimp swim. I like when there’s a dog at a party so my social anxiety doesn’t run down my phone’s battery
Would you rather eat a handful of hair or lick three public telephones?

Whose hair?  My own hair?  I think I’d sooner set myself on fire than lick a public ANYTHING, to be honest.  I probably ingest more than a handful of dog hair on a daily basis anyway, thanks to Roxy Carmichael’s proclivity for shedding.  I’m going with the hair.  I think I could better survive that from an emotional standpoint.