Dealing with Change

Growing up I had a strong belief that I so intensely disliked where I lived that I just had to move away as soon as possible. And when I say move away, I mean pack it up and move across the country to a place I knew nobody. Soon enough after graduation I was packing up my life in a few massive suitcases and flying to Worcester, Massachusetts with my parents to move me into my first year of college. I left a peaceful, quiet town in the Pacific North West that exuded the most relaxed atmosphere to a campus community of affluent, prep school kids who all looked like they stepped out of Jcrew and Vineyard Vines websites. The campus came equipped with old, ivy-laden brick buildings that seemed to have been created form my dreams and I couldn’t wait to create a new life here. Fast-forward a few months and you’d see an overly emotional teenager calling home at late hours of the night begging to come home. I missed home, missed my parents, missed my then-boyfriend, and missed the ease and comfort that came with the known and the familiarity that I took for granted my entire life.

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The Minster, near the University of York

So naturally, after becoming comfortable and creating an at-home vibe over two years, I packed it all up again and traveled across the world to York, England and started everything over again. Similar feelings of loneliness and homesickness would creep up on me unexpectedly the first couple of months abroad, especially during my second term (which just started a month ago). Through these two big moves I’ve discovered that I love home and have a very hard time with change. So why do I keep moving my life to vastly different places and starting over? I guess I’m a sort of dreamer/romantic who has these big ideas of grand adventures and new areas, meeting people and turning strangers into lifelong best friends. This is all fine and wonderful in theory, but when halting experience of homesickness hit these ideals become a bit harder to obtain. So how have I managed to cope during these big moves, as well as trying to excel at the same time? Well, I’ll tell you….

 

  1. Say yes. This applies to almost every new and drastic move, I feel. This was especially applicable when moving to England. I am currently more secure in who I am as a person than I was as an 18 year old and with this confidence comes a greater ability to connect with a wider range of people. The first two months I was here I was constantly busy, constantly surrounded by other people. On one particularly memorable night I was just about to tuck in with a book and some blankets when a friend asked me to join her on a pub night to meet other students. I was so close to saying no, but gave in after remembering my “Say Yes” rule. That night, I met my current best friend here in England and it brought me to many of my other close friends that I have here!
  2. Don’t be afraid to cry. I am a definite crier, and I don’t think that will ever change. I’ve gone through the phases of holding it in and never speaking about my feelings, but let’s be honest, that never works for anyone in the long run. Sometimes what truly helps is lettings out those tears you’ve been holding back. Whether it’s homesickness, frustration, confusion, anger, sadness…I truly believe letting that emotion out is a great first step to getting past it.
  3. Don’t isolate yourself. This is similar to the “Say Yes” rule. During my first two years at college I always had people in and out of my room and always had (at least) one roommate. This constant energy and buzz of people truly helped me because it was a great distraction from any sadness I may have felt. Surrounding myself with my friends always makes me feel better, no matter what. Here in York it’s a lot easier to become isolated because I have a single room. Even now I have to remind myself to get out of my room and check what my friends are up to.
  4. Become comfortable being alone. I know this is almost opposite of what I’ve been saying, BUT this is extremely important. No one wants to be around people 24/7 (fellow outgoing introverts where you at?) and having time to refuel and be with yourself is a great relaxer. Sometimes I venture into the city of York and sit in a café by myself for the day, or wander around the shops. Being able to be comfortable with being alone and happy in who you are is essential in life. Being alone does not mean you’re lonely. Finding this balance is so important and I myself am still working on it.
  5. Dedicate yourself truly and fully to your new surroundings. This was an especially hard thing to do my first few years of college when I was dating someone back home. I cannot stress enough so necessary it is to detach yourself at some level from home. This does not mean you have to forget it and never talk to anyone at home ever again (I speak with my parents and friends from home all the time). However, do not become so stuck back in your old life that you do not make new connections and memories in your new home. I used to be so caught up in staying connected to all my friends and family back home that I was missing so much of what was going on around me! Finding that nice balance between being fully present in your new surroundings and staying connected to home is hard but worth all the effort.
  6. Have FUN. Recognize how exceptionally lucky you are to even be in a new place. When I’m feeling down and out about where I am I have to stop myself and think about where I am and how I have this amazing opportunity. Take everything in, focus on the good and brush off the bad.

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My college in Massachusetts, end of the second semester 2015

 

I can’t remember who said this or where I found it, but this has always stuck with me: In 10 years you don’t want to be in the exact place/situation you’re in right now, so why are you afraid of change? I reflect on this often. Change can be scary and daunting, especially moving so far out of your comfort zone, but change is immanent and can be a great thing. Even if a path seems to be pushing you back from what you want, it’s just a diversion and is setting you up for greater success than you know.

 

Xx

M

 

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The 90’s are Calling…

Turtlenecks! If you asked me a few years ago if I would reach for a large turtleneck automatically in the morning I would have laughed and said absolutely not. In high school friends would share stories of how turtlenecks haunted their childhood and we would all agree we’d never touch those horrid things with a thirty-nine and a half foot pole (yes, Christmas is over but I always enjoy a good Grinch reference).

So how did this massive insurgence of turtlenecks happen within the past few months? They’re in all the stores and dominated the glossy magazine pages throughout the season. I have personally come to love this versatile as well as practical item of clothing. I may even go as far as to call it the MVP of winter fashion.

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Now I’m not talking about the skin tight, rolled down turtleneck, although those can look chic and polished in their own way if done right. I am instead mainly talking about the oversized, comfy sweater that checks off every winter necessity. Warm and cozy? Check. Feels like the equivalent of wrapping up in a blanket? Check. Versatile with all outfits? Check. Fashionable? Check. They can be worn simply with leggings or jeans, paired with boots, flat, sneakers… The possibilities are honestly endless!

I am currently loving my grey Topshop sweater that I received for Christmas. It is the easiest thing to throw on when I’m in a rush and so soft it’s unreal. I love that it doesn’t have acces fabric to fold over and instead is more of a funnel-like collar.

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IMG_3816                                                   Topshop sweater, similar here

Originally, to sort of ease myself into the whole turtleneck trend, I opted to go for a cowl-neck sweater dress that gave just the right about of form-fitting goodness. Going with a cowl-neck is a great alternative to a turtleneck, as it is extremely forgiving and does not require much fuss and also provides an effortless look. Paired with tights and cute ankle chelsea boots makes for a fun, comfortable winter outfit.

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IMG_3879                                   H&M Cowl Neck Sweaterdress, similar here

 

I especially love wearing a casual, oversized turtleneck sweater with skinny jeans and fun sneakers (more on this trend later…) along with a classic black wool coat for extra warmth. Who else is having a lot of fun with this trend? I for one hope that turtlenecks are here to stay! Let me know your favorite looks below!

**Elle Magazine has a great slideshow of 50 different ways to wear a turtleneck that is definitely worth checking out.

Juice With a View

Growing up outside of Seattle, Washington, I have become used to the overabundance of fresh, local, organic food stores that seem to pop up out of nowhere. Picking up something to eat or drink that I know is delicious and fresh was a extreme luxury. My summers consisted of freshly pressed juice made at home from organic, farmers-market produce that was so earthy you could practically taste the air and sunshine.  In short, I was spoiled with my food options.

Moving to England, it is much more difficult to find such food, especially in York. English food is vastly different from what I am used to and it’s been an adventure trying things out (note: do not try black pudding). I’ve had an amazing time wandering into the city and trying various restaurants and cozy cafes. There is so much food and life here in York, I worry I won’t be able to absorb even a fraction of it before I have to leave.

That being said, sometimes I find myself craving a little taste of home. In the midst of amazing, hearty restaurants and pubs, I found Filmore and Union. F&U prides itself as being a health restaurant through and through. The York branch provides a quaint downstairs cafe area, and an upstairs restaurant if you fancy yourself a proper sit down meal. I usually stick to the smaller downstairs bit, which is equipped with lovely white and grey tones, complete with lush greenery that truly does give off the whole health vibe.

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Not only can you literally taste the freshness from the food and drinks, but F&U offers an extremely wide range of gluten free products (100% of their evening menu is gluten free!), as well as vegan. The founding couple truly commit themselves to an overall healthy lifestyle, drawing upon their time spent in California for inspiration.

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Everytime I walk into F&U I feel an immediate sense of ease and comfort. They tout that they use farmer’s market fresh ingredients in their recipes, and new and exciting monthly additions can be found on many of the menus. My current favorite juice of the moment is called Raw Energy and includes apple, spinach, cucumber, broccoli, lemon and ginger. Absolutely delicious and sweet to taste! Their gluten free granola is also popular as well, which is pictured above. I do not get to F&U as much as I would like, but each time I go it is a magical treat. I love to grab a fresh juice to go and take a walk around the Minster, which is right around the corner.

Does anyone else love to explore different food options? What are some local favorites of yours? Share in the comments below!

 

**This is not a sponsorship, but true and honest opinion from my experience

Invasion of Massive Scarves!

I’ve always thought that a nice scarf adds just the right bit of extra oomph to an outfit. Does anybody else remember when infinity scarves were all the rage? I must have a collection of at least 15 different infinity scarves in my closet sitting untouched since high school. I still see them in stores, but the trend seems to have moved on, or at least I’ve moved on.

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I’ve recently become enamored with the massive, blanket-like scarves being sported as of late. I knew I’d need one before I left for England, and so I picked up the pictured one before leaving. I am so in love with it!  I use it almost every day as a nice blockade against the harsh winds here. I’ve even used it as a wrap around my shoulders in the library when the temperature dips a bit. The only drawback is that it sheds like crazy! I usually wear a black wool coat and I have to use a lint brush to remove all the fuzz almost everyday. Small price to pay for such coziness, though!

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Currently doing all I can to will myself not to buy any more large scarves. Let’s just hope this frigid weather moves on quickly so that I won’t continue to be tempted 🙂 Anyone else loving the big blanket-like scarves recently? Tell me your favorite ones!

xx

M

Soft and Blue

The past few weeks I’ve been back in England it seems like I can’t leave the house without something extremely soft and warm. I figured moving here I’d leave behind the bitter, cold wind of the East Coast on top of Mount Saint James. Alas, here I am being blown away by the overzealous wind. Everyone here always looks so fashionable as well, so no room for sweatpants and Uggs in lectures!

I’ve recently been grabbing for this beautiful, baby blue French Connection sweater that I picked up at Nordstrom last year. It is a simple yet stunning piece that creates an ideal addition to any simple outfit. Sometimes I pile on some delicate bracelets, or opt for a minimalist gold necklace to go along with it.

My brown Sam Edelman ankle booties haven’t been getting much wear as of late, but the soft brown color compliments the light blue quite well. With some hidden fuzzy socks these babies kept me warm on my walk to class!

How is everyone else staying warm this winter? Back at my home College the weather looks like it’s about to get unbelievably chilly!  All this cold just creates an excuse to stock up on cute hats and scarves, right?

xx

M

Is it a Sweater or a Jumper?

Moving to another country that speaks English, one wouldn’t think there wouldn’t be an communication problems, right? Wrong.

I have a fair few friends who grew up in the UK, and have their own respective ways of speaking. They all apparently have very different accents as well, but being from good ol’ America, I can hardly tell the difference. While in basic, everyday conversation I often have to ask them to repeat a certain phrase or word a couple of times before I completely understand what it is they’re saying. To be fair, though, they too have to ask me to explain what I mean by some words and sayings as well. We often laugh at this funny “language barrier” and continue on with the conversation. Quickly I am beginning to say jumper over sweater, and trousers of pants!

While getting dressed for the frigidly cold English weather we are currently having, I commonly reach for a “jumper” to complete the daily looks. Thank goodness turtlenecks are in, as they really do provide just the best extra bit of coziness. My current fave sweater (pictured) is from Topshop that I got over the holiday break. So warm and inviting, and I get compliments on it whenever I wear it! Comfortable and fashionable really cannot be beat. Paired with some sleek black booties and a bright swipe of Charlotte Tilbury lipstick completes this everyday look.

How do you stay warm in these cold months? I’m thinking of really going for the pom-pom hat trend, like this one. Hope you’re all staying warm out there!

xx

M

 

England Skies

My first blog post! I think this would count as a pretty good excuse to treat myself to some Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, don’t you?

I have been a frequent visitor of fashion blogs, namely this one, since I was in middle school. I’ve always written down things here and there, but what better way to keep track of it all than on a blog? I enjoy doing this for myself, and hope others can get something from it as well!

I am currently abroad in England, using this time to complete my junior year of college. This is my second term here, at the University of York. Doing an entire year abroad is often unheard of and I was pretty hesitant of the amount of time at first. However, if all I had was last term I would have been left wanting more. This first semester was just like being a freshman all over again – shaky and wobbly like a little baby the first few weeks. I’ve never asked so many questions and been lost so many times than in that first term! The first few months only set me up to fully embrace and tackle this next part of the school year head on.

I have a deep love of fashion (one may call it an obsession…) and being surrounded by the culture here has been incredibly exciting in terms of exploring my own style. I have 100% experienced a rapid increase in my independence and coming to terms with being comfortable in a brand new area. I’m no stranger to change, having hauled my life across the country to the East Coast for the first two years of my college life. That in itself was an incredible change and shock, so naturally I have to venture even further, right? Well, that was apart of the initial thought process at least… Life is supposed to start at the end of your comfort zone!

I’m SO looking forward to see where this writing adventure takes me. Writing has always been a release for me and I can’t wait to get going on this blog 🙂

xx

M