2016 was a tough one on a personal level. I changed jobs, friendships faded, people close to me passed away, I turned 30, I dealt with a lot of anxiety... but it wasn't ALL bad. In fact, with so much change, I really learned a lot about myself and came into my own. I started to view myself less as a confused 20-something just kinda winging it, and more as a grown ass 30 year old that is finally feeling comfortable in her own skin.
I wanted to pay a little respect to a few things I did this year that I'm pretty proud of and the people and products that helped me along the way.
1. I developed a personal style.
I've said goodbye to fast fashion (mostly) and welcomed indie brands and thrift finds into my home decor and wardrobe. I try to balance a mixture of vintage with modern pieces and learned that there is only one rule I need to follow: wear what brings me joy. Sometimes that means sweatpants and sometimes that means a silk blouse with bunnies printed on it. I think carefully about how I spend my money and prefer to support female-owned brands. The startup world is extremely male dominated, but the FUTURE IS FEMALE.
Who inspired me?
Elise Joseph of Pennyweight: I've been following her on Pinterest for a few years now and have finally started following her on other social channels and she has such an inspiring sense of style. If you're not familiar, she is a Nashville based art director that has been my lifeline to smaller brands. She recently started a capsule collection with a brick-and-mortar store called Goodwin (with an e-comm presence!) with accessories that I am continually lusting over.
Design Love Fest: Bri Emery has been another constant source of inspiration that runs the gamut of home decor, personal style, travel, food and digital content. She infuses color and fun in a way that is approachable. From her blog to social media, she has a consistent voice that shines through each channel. This past year, she partnered with Target to create a line of disposable tableware. You go girl!
ban.do: Founded by Jen Gotch, a hilarious girlboss that is a blast to watch on social media, ban.do is a lifestyle line that "takes fun seriously". When I stumbled on ban.do, I was blown away by their brand voice. It was silly and easy to fall in love with. It gave me the confidence to try out tassels, colored lenses, holographic accessories and kistchy/fun phrases. They've expanded their e-commerce line to accessories and clothing and I cannot wait to see what they have planned for 2017.
2. I took care of my skin.
I'm 30 now, but for years I've ignored a skincare regime, and consequently wondered why my skin was dull and breaking out. I am a habitual face-toucher and imperfection finder, so I was making a bad situation much, much worse. Then I moved to the desert and my skin really freaked out. I took a little trip to a dermatologist, was prescribed an oral and topical medication and the situation started quickly clearing up. Then I discovered serums. And masks. And good makeup.
Here are a few products I've fallen in love with:
- Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser - You've seen this at every drugstore ever. I learned that harsh cleansers and exfoliators were doing more harm than good. This cleanser is super gentle, gets the job done and is under $10.
- Glossier's Super Glow Serum - Fortified with Vitamin C and Magnesium, it wakes up my skin and refreshes the texture. Since it's fairly thin in consistency, you have to be careful when applying it so it doesn't run down your face and onto your clothes.
- Milk Makeup Ubame Mascara - I have blonde lashes, so I am super critical of mascaras. I just started using this mascara and it instantly became a new favorite. The unique brush structure helps me separate and evenly coat my lashes.
- Benefit Cha Cha Tint - I used this religiously a few years ago and just circled back to it. It gives me a natural coral-hued flush on cheeks and I love to use this as a lip tint base to layer colored balms over.
- Jouer Essential Lip Conditioning Treatment - Working in the beauty industry exposed me to this one and I can't recommend it enough. It's rich, hydrating, and adds a little bit of pearlescent shine that makes lips look full and healthy. I love minimal looking makeup and this helps me feel polished.
3. I opened up about my struggles.
With the help of social media and my blog, this started with an admission of having some serious body-image perceptions. I took a break from the pursuit of on-camera work and owned up to struggling with an eating disorder on and off for about 15 years. Turns out, talking about it helps with recovery and encourages others to follow suit. The female body is objectified, oppressed, sexualized and often women feel powerless in the fight for their own bodies. We value this unattainable perfection over health and love. I still struggle with learning to love myself and my body, but I'm talking about it and I'm trying. The more we choose honesty, the more we win.
What helped me?
Gina of @nourishandeat was a friend and former manager from my cupcake shop days of Chicago. Watching this gal/pal/queen open up about her own journey has been transformative. You should definitely follow her: https://www.instagram.com/nourishandeat/
On March 4th, I will be walking with her and Team Indoor Cats for the Los Angeles NEDA (National Eating Disorder Alliance) Walk to raise awareness for this deadly disorder and inspire others to do the same.
Donations to help raise this awareness are super, super sexy! Click here to donate.
4. Returned to VO work.
I spent a good deal of this year figuring out what direction I want my career to take and how to keep all doors open. I've climbed the corporate ladder a bit, scoped out personal business projects, but the one thing that's remained constant has been voice acting. For the last 11 years, I've had the opportunity to keep this pulse alive in one way or another. I am still learning how to balance that work/life/morework balance, but I was lucky enough to take part in a few small projects with Bang Zoom studios out in Burbank. I plan to whole-heartedly continue my pursuit of VO work and the things that bring me joy. I'm excited to keep building on the foundation I've started to lay.
5. I listened to KCRW religiously.
God bless public radio. I don't know how to function in the morning without listening to Morning Becomes Eclectic and feel like I know Jason Bentley personally. This has been my source for new artists and new releases. It's also been a great source of awesome events in the LA-area. When Hillary gave her concession speech, they followed it with David Bowie's "Is There Life On Mars?" and I bawled in my car on my way into work.
If you ever look at my playlists, they are 95% composed of things I discover through KCRW.
Here's what I'm listening to at the moment:
6. I took a vacation.
Travel is so important to me and a lot of times it's hard to justify the financial commitment of going. On an impulse, I bought a plane ticket to France and let the adventure unfold from there. My dear friend Claudia Casanova joined me and we had the most epic exploration of Paris, Barcelona and San Sebastian.
We drank more cava than water, wandered winding medieval streets, and let our hearts feast on everything Spain had to offer. I reconnected with old friends and made new friends. I know that we only scratched the surface, but I left the country with a fire to surround myself with more beauty.
This past year I discovered Hopper; a fare prediction app. It helps you keep track of fares and predicts when prices are expected to climb or drop, and by how much. You can set up alerts and jump on fares as soon as they drop. It's free, it's easy.
Thank you for reading this and for joining my story.