5 Ways to be Happy NOW!

How many times have you heard the phrase that life is too short to be unhappy?  If you’re like me, then you’ve heard it probably one too many times.  Everything in life is continuously changing.  Nothing remains constant; it’s basic physics.  Although my career as a scientist ended at the high school level, the most important thing I learned is that everything is constantly in motion.  Simply put, one’s life can change in an instant.  We all have good days and bad days, but at the end of the day, we are in control of our own happiness.

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Stephanie Cowan 2017

Being human, we all get sad, stressed, irritated, upset, angry, etc. for a brief or even extended period of time.  Recently, it took me almost two months to get out of one of the most creativity-blocking ‘funks’ I have gone through in my life.  I felt like I was just going through the motions of life without actually living it. This experience made me thoroughly reassess what was holding me back and forced me to stop and regroup.

Over the years, I found that one of the easiest ways to be happy right now is to bring yourself back to living in the moment.  We are constantly looking for the next life event or big-picture happening to take place, however, life also consists of the ordinary everyday moments that come in between these bigger occurrences.  Every single moment makes up your life, so if your currently sad, angry, confused, or just feeling ‘blah,’ why not be happy in this moment, right now? So here are my tips on how to be happy NOW.

  1. Just Breathe.  The first step is simply to breathe.  Inhale the good, exhale the bad.  Whatever it is that is troubling or making your feel sad, just let it go with each out breath. Take five long, deep, and slow breaths like this: Inhale for four slow counts, hold your breath for four slow counts, and then exhale for four slow counts.  Repeat these steps.   Anytime I am stressed, I tend to hold my breath or breathe shallowly, cutting off proper circulation to the rest of my body.  This is a huge no-no for trying to calm oneself down. If you can become aware of your breathing, you can start to ground yourself, begin to relax and focus on the moment. The simple, natural process of breathing is very calming and can dispel your anxiety and make you feel more relaxed and less stressed.
  2. Take a moment to ground yourself.  Even if you have to set your timer to exactly one minute, take that exact minute to recompose yourself.  For me, this is closing my eyes and meditating in silence.  I’ll even repeat a phrase like “you can do this, Marisa” or “you are so much stronger than you think.”  Try it.  I swear it works, even just for one minute.
  3. Visualize your “happy place.”  For me, I don’t have one exact “happy place” that I constantly resort back to in times of need.  Many people have that one place, but I have many happy places because it doesn’t have to be limited to a physical place or time in your life when you were genuinely happy.  I always think back to a joke a friend of mine once told me or simply the smile of a loved one.  It’s not rocket science, just a memory that makes you feel good inside and a visual that can’t help but make you physically smile.
  4. Step outside (unless the weather is bringing you down, of course, then just step away).  Get some sunlight and reconnect with nature.  I always find it so difficult to not be happy when I’m sitting or standing outside in direct sunlight.  If you’re in an office or at home just take a step outside, or at the very least, step away from your desk.  Go on a quick walk to recharge and to experience the serenity and beauty that is all around you.  Whether you are in a big city or a small town, there is always a piece of nature that can’t be ignored or underappreciated.
  5. Turn on your favorite song.  Once you’ve brought yourself back to living in the moment, choose a song.  For me, this probably entails a dancy/hip hop song from the early 2000s.  Pick something that 1. Isn’t sad 2. That you can sing (or rap) aloud 3. Reminds you of a person you love or a great time in your life 4. That you can dance to or at least bop your head to.  Moving your body in general can shift your mood and increase your happiness immediately as well.
Stephanie Cowan 2017
Stephanie Cowan 2017
Stephanie Cowan 2017
Stephanie Cowan 2017

No one’s life is perfect, and the unfortunate truth is that we aren’t going to be happy in every single moment of our lives.  However, when we fall off the wagon and become consumed with negativity or sadness, these five life hacks certainly come in handy for reassessing our current state of mind.  Just remember that you are in control of your happiness, and if you can slow down your thoughts, become present in the moment, and change your attitude from negative to positive, you can essentially become happy in any given moment.

Stephanie Cowan 2017

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Photography by Stephanie Cowan theblondwiththesmile.com @stephaniecowan

Criss cross backless swing dress by SheIn!

Xx Marisa

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A Bikini Babe’s Wishlist

Hey, hey! I can’t believe how fast this summer is FLYING by! How is it already the end of July?! I feel like this happens every summer *sigh.*

This is super embarrassing to admit, but I have yet to go to the beach this season (other than while I was in Corsica)! I have, however, spent a lot of time at the pool. I’m planning on taking a trip to Newport, RI, in a few weeks, and I have ordered some adorable swimsuits from two of my favorite brands: SheIn and Romwe.

Although the summer is wrapping up, we still have the full month of August left, so why not embrace it and spend even more time at the beach & pool?!  With that being said, here are my top 7 swimsuit trends of 2017:

  1. Scallops

 

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2. Crochet

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3. Lace up Bandeau

 

4. Plunge/ Plunge with mesh

 

5.  Velvet

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6. Underwire top

 

7. Backless One pieces

 

I absolutely love this backless one piece from Romwe! I’m a huge fan of one pieces–I think they are sexier than two pieces! Not to mention, they are very classy as well.  I have this particular suit in black, and although it looks very revealing in the photos, it actually has more coverage than you think.  You’ll definitely be turning heads 🙂

Xx Marisa

It Ain’t Me

Hi friends! It’s been quite a whirlwind over the past few weeks in the best ways possible. In my last post, I shared with you a few personal struggles I have been going through. It occurred to me that I have been feeling stuck because I was surrounding myself with people who were only holding me back, not helping me to move forward.

Since I let go completely of a couple of negative relationships, my world quickly changed. Almost immediately, I began to think differently and more decisively. A huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. My creative thought processes began flowing, I became more focused, and I ultimately began to feel inspired. I finally got the ball rolling once again in the right direction, and I began to take the initiative to revamp my blog and to take my ideas to the next level.

This morning I read a quote by Gabrielle Bernstein that she posted on her Instagram page: “The Universe will always remove what is no longer serving you.”

This certainly rings true for me. If you don’t take the time to remove what is no longer necessary from your life, the world will do it for you. It’s the natural flow of life.

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Other than working on my blog, I have been enjoying life in the Hamptons the past few weekends. Two weekends ago, my friends and I had the chance to grab a glass of rosé and explore the gorgeous Wölffer Estate Vineyard. There’s no better summer pleasure than sipping on a glass of rosé while soaking in the warm summer sun on a Sunday afternoon! This picturesque vineyard is absolutely gorgeous, and if you’re ever in the Hamptons, I suggest stopping by!  It’s a very relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

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Just last night, I stepped outside and realized that the days are getting shorter.  I can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by, but I’m super excited for the fall and its cool air & beautiful foliage.  I understand that there will always be ups and downs in life, but I feel like everything is moving in the right direction for me, and I’m so excited to share my positivity and my journey with all of you.

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P.s. Adorable sundress by AMI Clubwear! 🙂

Xx Marisa

A 16 Handles Miracle

I did it—I broke through the blocks! For the past two months, I have been feeling very stuck, and I just couldn’t break through the wall that was holding me back.  I felt misaligned and misplaced and had no idea why. I talk about it a bit more here in one of my past blog posts.

I desperately asked for guidance every day. Slowly yet surely, week by week, I began to understand and uncover answers to the underlying blocks that I couldn’t seem to describe or comprehend. Eventually, everything began to surface as I chiseled away at my feelings and I began to understand why I felt the way I did.

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Over this past weekend in particular, I felt very stuck in one place with no direction. Trying to make myself feel better, I decided to take a walk and get my favorite fro-yo at 16 Handles. On my way there, I began to pray. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that I pray, but yes..I do..every single day. I asked for help and guidance, and then I youtubed author, life-coach, and “spirit junkie” Gabrielle Bernstein for more encouragement. She is one of my favorite role models, and I always feel inspired by her words.

I didn’t have an immediate result, and I still felt pretty ‘blah’ after my walk to fro-yo and youtubing, but something happened as soon as I stepped out of 16 Handles. I am not sure if it was a sugar high or a mini miracle, but my whole mood changed. Everything hit me at once and I began to make sense of what was holding me back.

I realized I had been building up resentment in a couple of different areas of my life. In turn, this resentment was blocking my ability to stay and remain grounded, be present in the moment, and just focus on myself. Not to mention, I’ve felt completely uninspired and have been lacking creativity this whole time as well. I’ve dreaded writing for my blog—something I never thought I’d ever feel!

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History repeats itself until the lesson is learned, and interestingly, I have fallen into the same trap one too many times. For the past few weeks, I have been feeling the same feelings and emotions across various situations and aspects of my life. It simply (yet ever so destructively) comes down to the idea that I’m not good enough.

So, I dug deeper, and I asked myself why have I been feeling this way.  I realized that I have been surrounding myself with people and maintaining relationships with friends who have been destroying my self-confidence, diminishing my self-worth, and further reinforcing the idea that I’m not good enough.

These relationships have completely drained my energy instead of boosting my mindset and helping me recharge. I’ve written about toxicity before and the idea that certain people can be toxic to our health and well-being. I’ve detoxed people from my life in the past, however, the lesson repeats as needed.  Once again, I was confronted with the need to let go of relationships that are not in alignment with who I am.

After some inner reflection, I came to the realization that doing a little “spring cleaning” was more than necessary. I ended a close friendship with someone I thought was a very good friend of mine. I had no intention of ending the friendship that night, but it was meant to be. I walked away feeling 100% relieved. It was a long time coming, and if I wasn’t going to end the friendship myself, the Universe was going to do it for me. Damn right it did (even though I had resisted many times before, actually).

In a different relationship, I started to put my foot down and hit the pause button on being a “yes” person for once.  As a result, I have been treated with more respect and I am less stressed and more confident. In yet another friendship, I stood up for myself and spoke my mind about a situation that was really bothering me. The outcome of that one is still TBD, but que sera, sera. Regardless of what happens, I feel relieved that I let it all out.

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Over the past few months, I have been focusing on changing my relationship with myself, which in turn has changed my relationship with others. How you view yourself is a direct reflection of how other people view you.  The mirror doesn’t lie!

Also, for the record, it takes time to learn how to be attracted to what’s good for us. It took me 24 years, and I’m still a work in progress, but aren’t we all!

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Shop this look here on SheIn!  They seriously have the cutest styles for summer! All of their clothes are so chic and on trend. Not to mention, they are outrageously affordable! Thank you for the collaborations ❤

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P.s. All pictures were taken along the Hudson on Pier 26 🙂

Xx Marisa

 

 

White & Blue With a Pop of Red

Hey friends! Happy 4th! Your 4th of July celebrations have probably already begun, but I thought I’d give you a quick roundup of outfit and lipstick options that you’ll need for this year’s picnics, BBQs, and of course, fireworks!
Hard to admit this as an American, but I actually don’t own anything with an American flag on it!  Now that I think about it, for the last few 4th of July celebrations, I have worn blue and/or white and incorporated a red lip to complete my red, white, and blue look. I’ll actually be doing the same thing this year because I’m obsessed with a red lip!
Here is a sneak peek of one of my outfits I have planned for the weekend: off the shoulder blue top by Romwe and white pants by Joe’s Jeans.  I absolutely love the detail on this top!

 

If you also love a red lip and don’t have your 4th outfit planned yet, I have some blue & white ootd suggestions for you incorporating summer’s most stylish trends: off the shoulder, blue & white stripes, two piece outfits, sun dresses with a top ruffle, etc., all from Romwe!

 

Ok! So now that you’ve got your outfit down, it’s time for my favorite part…the red lip! Here are some of my favorite new matte reds I have recently tried out:

  1. Lancôme’s Matte Shaker in “Kiss Me Cherie”

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I love this one because it’s super bright and long lasting.  It’s my new favorite lipstick of the season, so I’ll actually be wearing this one for the 4th of July rooftop party I’m going to! 🙂

2.  Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Matte Sculpting Lipstick

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This lipstick by Estée Lauder is very smooth and gives you an elegant look.  For a red lip, I prefer a lip stain because I hate reapplying, but this lipstick is fabulous and I strongly suggest using this color as the red in your red, white and blue look!

3.  Kylie Lip Kit in “22”

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Of course I can’t leave out a Kyle Lip Kit on this list!  It look me a long time to get my hands on “22,” but the wait was so worth it.  I love her lip kits because they are long lasting.  I feel like I rarely have to reapply throughout the night.  These sought-after kits will always be my go-to lipsticks!

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed my not-so-basic guide to your 4th of July outfit.  Now it’s time for BBQ and fireworks! Enjoy 🙂

Xx Marisa

 

Sparkly Towers & Turquoise Seas

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? I recently took a trip to France (visited Paris and Corsica), and walked into a whirlwind of a work week once I got back.  Still a week later, I am just settling down and catching up on my blog now! In France, I walked an average of 10-14 miles a day–crazy, I know! My days were jam-packed with sightseeing and adventure, and I loved every moment of it.

This was my second time visiting Paris. During my first visit, I was studying abroad in Milan, and a group of friends and I traveled to Paris for a weekend. Although it snowed all weekend, my friends and I could barely figure out public transportation, and none of us spoke French, we still made the most out of it.  I remember seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle for this first time and thinking to myself, “wow, this is truly magical.” Paris is a much bigger city than I imagined, and unfortunately we didn’t get to see and do everything we wanted to.  This time around, I was determined to do it all.  Luckily, the weather was on my side this trip with sunny skies and 75 degree weather!

When I think of Paris, I think of Haute Couture and scenes from The Devil Wears Prada.  For my trip, I packed a bunch of clothes that I thought were Parisian-chic: lace, ruffles, a decent amount of black, and really anything sophisticated and elegant looking.  In reality, I noticed that Parisian-chic is really just laid back, effortless-looking style. Parisians take “effortlessly cool” to a whole new level.  I felt like I was trying too hard, but here are some of my looks that I came up with for my trip:

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Look 1: Top: AMIClubwear; Shoes: AMIClubwear; Pleather Skirt: Urban Outfitters; Lipstick: Kylie Lipkit “22”

Look 2: Pom Pom Heels: AMIClubwear; Top: H&M; Shorts: Urban Outfitters 

Look 3: Top: H&M; Pants: Zara; Earrings: Kate Spade; Bracelet: Stella & Dot

Look 4: Bought the dress & hat on the street in Paris! 🙂

Look 5: Lantern Top: SheIn; Sunglasses: Ray-Ban; Purse: Louis Vuitton; Shorts: BDG

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To balance out my urban vacation, I needed a dose of vitamin-SEA as well! Corsica is an island located south of France. It reminds me of an island in the Caribbean, just located in Europe. Locals say it’s much better than Nice, although I have yet to visit–still on my list, so I can’t compare just yet! Mountains, beaches, and insanely blue and turquoise waters–Corsica is truly a hidden gem.

In terms of fashion, I was thinking beach babe by day and casual, sun-kissed style by night.  Because we were there for only two days, our schedule did not allow for a lot of outfit changes, however, here are my favorite looks from my island getaway (p.s. check out that water!!):

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Look 1: Swimsuit: Asos; Red Hat: Bought on the street in Paris because it was insanely hot, but it also came in handy for photos 🙂

Look 2: Striped Romper: AMIClubwear 

Look 3: Yellow Dress: Boutique store I found in Paris Called NAFNAF; Embroidered Shoes: AMIClubwear

Can’t wait to tell you more in detail about my travels..look out for travel posts to follow! I will be launching the travel section of my blog soon 🙂

Xx Marisa

Interview With CT Fashion Mag

Hi friends! I was recently interviewed by CT Fashion Mag about my blog! You can read the full article here.  I am also happy to announce that I will be collaborating with them and contributing to their online magazine! Thank you for the opportunity CT Fashion Mag Xx

Fashion “Happens for a Reason” in NYC

by MIKE CHAIKEN

CTFashionMag.com

There is a little bit of Connecticut with a good dose of New York City in the fashion blogosphere these days.

And it “Happens for a Reason.”

Actually, that is the name of the blog (www.HappensforaReason.com) written by Bristol, Connecticut’s Marisa Barnard.

We caught up with the working model, Miss Porter’s School, Farmington, Conn. grad, and Connecticut College, New London, Conn. grad via email.

This is what she had to say about “Happens for a Reason.”

CTFashionMag: What inspired you to launch a blog?

Marisa: A life goal of mine is to be a published author and publish a self-help book. I took my first creative writing course when I was 13, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer. Since then, writing has always been an outlet for me. After high school, I decided that writing was something I wanted to someday pursue as a career. I went into Connecticut College as an English major, but ended up changing course and left with a degree in psychology instead. So writing took a back seat except for occasional articles that I wrote for Her Campus, a college online newspaper of sorts. After college, I began keeping a journal and realized how much I missed writing and how putting ideas and feelings down on paper was an outlet for my creativity and self-expression. As my interest in writing blossomed, I knew that I wanted to write about an array of different things.

After college, I moved to NYC and my first job was working for a small travel bag designer. I wore many hats in the position, and one of them was to reach out to and maintain existing relationships with bloggers. This was slightly ahead of the blogger phenomenon and before the role of Instagram and social media marketing began to skyrocket. At that point, I had a Tumblr and a somewhat artsy Instagram I was very proud of. I also loved photography and being both in front of (as a model) and behind the camera. I remember my boss telling me that I should become a blogger. My friends had expressed the same sentiment for years, but for me it was a secret dream. About a year later, that dream turned into a reality when I launched my blog, “Happens For A Reason.”

CTFM: Why a blog about fashion?

M: For me, fashion is fun and a creative outlet to express myself! I moved to NYC to model, and fashion has always been a passion of mine. I enjoy wearing and modeling all the latest designs and styles, and conveying the latest trends in both pictures and reviews to my readers. My blog “Happens For a Reason” is a lifestyle and fashion blog. It started out as a review of fun and trendy things to do in NYC, and turned into a melting pot of sorts. “Happens for a Reason” is unique in that it merges fashion, graffiti art, and the streetscapes and iconic landmarks of NYC, along with spiritual and motivational posts to inspire my followers.

CTFM: What is your particular focus when you write your blog entries?

O: My focus is to be transparent about my feelings and past experiences and to combine my words with photographs that capture the latest fashions and trends. I launched my blog in August 2016, mainly focusing on the fashion component. It wasn’t until January of this year when I felt that I needed to give my readers more of a look at my own experiences and to share my stories. At that point, I gave up my fear of being vulnerable and I actually began to write. Fear held me back from putting my thoughts down on paper for the longest time. Fear even held me back from starting a blog for the longest time!

I realized that there’s something beautiful about writing from your heart and revealing yourself. The blog is my outlet for my feelings, thoughts, and stories I may not share with other people right off the bat. I’m a pretty private person, but I don’t want to be; I want to be an open book. My blog is a glimpse into the person I am deep down and my own self-disclosure. The blog allows me to communicate my thoughts and feelings while growing on a personal level. It allows me to be genuine, honest, open, and above all, transparent.

CTFM: How would you describe your blog persona?

O: Spiritual being mixed with NYC chic.

CTFM: Who do you see as your reader?

M: What I write about is timeless, and I know anyone at any point in his or her life would enjoy reading it. I know I typically target the 18 to 25 yearold audience, as this is my age group, but I know people of all ages read my blog because I hear feedback from many different individuals of all ages.

CTFM: How do you determine what to write about?

M: It’s really hard for me to just sit down and write. I genuinely have to be inspired and sort out my own feelings first, since what I write about can sometimes really touch me and be overwhelming to put into words.

Usually my peers inspire me. I get a lot of ideas from having the more meaningful conversations with friends that I actually used to shy away from. Once upon a time, I resisted diving into more meaningful topics, but these are the types of conversations that now feed my soul. I will literally whip out my phone and take notes on my casual conversations with my friends if a topic or thought strikes me. I noticed that if I’m afraid to write about something, I should probably be writing about it. One major key I have learned is to follow and surrender to resistance, because it only holds you back.

CTFM: What’s fun about putting your thoughts down and sharing them with the world?

M: In a world that’s trying to make me be someone else, it’s fun to just genuinely be me. No holding back.

CTFM: You also have plenty of photographs to go with the entries. What’s fun about sharing yourself to the world at large?

M: I love that I can show off all of my hard work in every image. There is so much that goes into every blog post—clothing, accessories, makeup, hair, location, time of day, photographer, and I’m in charge of how it all turns out. Seeing the final photos from my photographers is so rewarding! They all make me look good! Shout out to Devon The Leveraged Look, Tiffany Chen Photography, and Josh Lobel Photography. My photographers are all very unique and every shoot is a combination of hard work, creativity and a lot of laughs. We are all passionate about our work and enjoy working together which makes the end result so rewarding.

CTFM: What’s been your favorite piece of feedback you’ve gotten from someone who read you.

M: I constantly hear the phrase, “I wish I knew this when I was your age.” Every time I hear it, I’m grinning from ear to ear. It excites me because I know I have so much ahead of me to look forward to. If I can touch someone’s life, even if it’s just for a moment, it makes it all worthwhile. Above all, it’s rewarding because it confirms that I’m on the right journey.

CTFM: What is the long term goal for your blog?

M: Ideally, the blog will help me smoothly transition from online blog to published book one day. Blogging has allowed me to publish my writing for the first time, which is something that really excites me and it’s preparing me to write my first book. I enjoy the creative aspect of writing and I am hoping that my message is something that others are interested in reading.

The most inspiring thing about my blog is that it is my own business, and I absolutely love it. Being your own boss is empowering. Long term, I want to be able to travel for my blog and write more pieces about traveling. I have such a passion for adventure, and I can see myself basically living on a plane with my apartment in NYC just being a home base of sorts. I also feel more grounded and connected when I’m outside taking photos—after all, who wouldn’t want to blog from a beach in the Caribbean?!

You can follow Marisa Barnard on Instagram, @marisa_barnard https://www.instagram.com/marisa_barnard/

You can also find her on Facebook: Marisa Barnard, https://www.facebook.com/marisabarnard.happensforareason/?ref=bookmarks

Times Like These

Happy first day of summer! I can’t believe I have yet to write a post for June! The past month has been a whirlwind of both good and bad. I have been collaborating with so many brands, worked on a few awesome modeling jobs, and I even took a trip to France (travel post to come!).
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Despite all of this, I have felt very unbalanced and scattered the past month and a half. It’s become extremely hard for me to ground myself, so I know something’s up. Life is a bunch of ups and downs, and nothing is constant. I had been moving up since the beginning of the year, but I recently hit a plateau. It occurred to me last night that I’ve been stagnant, and if everything is constantly in motion, stagnant means I’m going down.

 

Although I’ve been insanely busy, I’m bored. I’ve been going through the motions instead of looking inward and trying to figure out why I’m feeling this way. Chatting with a friend helped to to realize why I’m bored and what I want. It’s time for a change. It took me a bit of time to realize what that change could be, but I think I’ve now found it. For the first time since May, I feel inspired, and I’m ready to run with it.
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This adorable off the shoulder lantern top is from SheIn.  This look combines two of my favorite trends for Spring/Summer: off the shoulder and bell sleeves! It’s the perfect blouse for daytime fun (i.e. visiting Versailles, picnics, day parties).  I even saw a couple of girls wearing this top at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic this year too.  This top is adorable, but please note that it runs small! SheIn is one of my favorite places to shop! If you’re looking for fashionable clothing or the latest styles and trends, SheIn is  the place to go. All of their clothes are so chic and on trend. Not to mention, they are outrageously affordable 🙂

Top: SheIn ; Bag: Louis Vuitton ; Shorts: BDG ; Sunglasses: RayBan; Sandals: Steve Madden

All photos were taken in the Gardens of Versailles in Versailles, France

Xx Marisa

Don’t Let Me Down

The other day, a friend of mine wronged me.  She doesn’t know that I know she wronged me, but I do.  I’m not going to go into detail here, but it wasn’t something major, just the equivalent of something very high school (i.e. not inviting me to a party because she didn’t want me there for whatever reason).

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From high school to my junior year in college, I was bullied.  I wasn’t bullied by groups of people, nor was there a lot of concrete evidence that I was bullied.  I was consistently and sort-of passively bullied by my closest friends.

When I click with someone, I tend to become instantaneous friends with them.  During my younger years, however, my intuition was not as strong, and I constantly found myself becoming friends with people who were not good for me.

During high school, I quickly became friends with a girl, and we became inseparable.  Everyone knew we were very close and a package deal.  About a year into our friendship, however, she began to low-key bully me.  It started by putting me down by saying small comments here and there.  The subtle digs continued until they developed into so much more.

I remember her once telling me “Marisa, you’re never going to be a model.”  To that statement, I now laugh (if she only knew where I was now!), but at the time I was devastated.  How could my best friend who is supposed to love, care, and support me say that about me?  Answer is that she wasn’t a true friend.

There were many red flags that I should have ended my friendship with her, but we were at a small, all-girls school, where the level of drama tends to be high generally speaking.  I wasn’t looking to cause or add to any drama, and I sure as hell wasn’t looking for our friends to start choosing sides, something that would have been inevitable considering we had a small circle of mutual friends.  This girl was also known for having a strong and mean personality, and to be honest, my young, timid self was afraid to even have a simple conversation with her about how she was making me feel.  So, I sucked it up and tried to brush it all under the rug.

Eventually, we did end our friendship halfway during my senior year of high school.  I think the final straw was over a guy I liked that she was poaching on—I can’t remember to be honest, it feels like a lifetime ago.  Although I was devastated for losing my best friend and our mutual friends ended up choosing sides for the most part, I remember being very proud of myself for finally standing up for myself.

Version 2

Unfortunately, the lesson repeats until it’s learned.  After this falling out with this friend, the same thing happened to me again in high school and then twice in college.  It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I finally broke the cycle.

I continued to attract one close best friend who low-key emotionally abused me.  It happened to me 5x in a row.  Each time, it was hard to realize it was happening because girls can be manipulative, crafty, and for sure catty.

 Me being me, I also always tried to focus on the good in people and refused to believe anyone, let alone my best friend at the time, could do this to me.  I still always look for the good in people, but I sure as hell don’t overlook the bad anymore.  I don’t hold grudges—I think it’s a waste of time and energy, but I certainly don’t forget how people treat me and make me feel.

I started to attract good and genuine friends into my life because I finally stopped allowing people to treat me poorly.   I knew I deserved to be treated better, and I wanted to be treated better.  I knew I deserved to have genuinely good people in my life, and once I consistently started thinking this and changed my mindset, I began attracting the people that I wanted.

So, back to my friend that I started this article about: Although we are adults, and petty things like this blatantly shouldn’t be happening, at the end of the day, I can’t be mad at her for not being confident enough with herself.

People tend to project or take out their insecurities on others, and this is exactly what is happening here.  I was livid once I found out what she did to me because 1. situations like these clearly hit close to home because of my past and 2. We are all adults here, grow up, but once I realized this is about her, not me, I accepted what had happened and chose to let it go.

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This chic and very fashionable top is from Romwe!  I have written about this before, but I must mention again that I am obsessed with the bell sleeve phenomenon for this season! What makes this top also stand out is the intricate sleeve design.  I love that this top incorporates eye-catching lace-up tie sleeves.  It makes for a stylish, edgy, yet sophisticated look.  It’s the perfect transition top to take you from day to night! I love it paired with white denim jeans or a cute skirt or shorts.  You can certainly wear this to a barbeque or when you’re out and about shopping during the day, and you can dress it up for parties or get-togethers later in the evening!

Romwe is the place to shop for fun, stylish and edgy clothing! If you’re looking for something very fashionable or the latest styles and trends, Romwe has it all! All of their clothes are so chic and on trend. Not to mention, they are outrageously affordable!

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All photography is by Josh Lobel Photography (@jlobelphoto) and shot in SoHo.

Xx Marisa

Fiesta Forever

A year ago I started a gratitude journal where I write down things I am grateful for each day.  I decided to start it because I randomly read that in 21 days, you can rewire your brain by writing down just 3 things that you are grateful for each day.  Initially, this seemed like an odd concept and too simple of an exercise, however, at the time, I was committed to working on myself and changing my thought processes, and I wanted to do everything I could to accomplish my goal of doing so.  Challenge accepted.

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With that being said, I found a tiny notebook and began listing three things that I was grateful for each day.  The list started out as basic as “1. Mom 2. Food 3. A home, to live in” but gradually developed into so much more.  I remember reaching the 21-day mark and thinking “wow, this really does work.”

The more grateful I became, the more humble I became, and in turn, I actually began to attract more into my life.  Listing three things a day turned into listing five or seven—sometimes even fifteen.  I noticed myself starting to say “thank you” multiple times a day under my breath, even for the smallest of things like good weather or being on time for work despite major train delays.  I even began to be thankful for the “bad” because I began to view bad experiences or challenges as lessons and opportunities to grow.

Every morning I used this exercise to ground myself, and I still do it to this day.  My life has become much more positive and peaceful ever since.  This simple exercise has helped me to accept the person I am and be thankful for the life I have been given, two concepts that were foreign to me before being committed to doing this simple, yet life changing exercise.

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Fiesta anyone?  This adorable polka dot dress is from SheIn!  My inspiration for this shoot was Spanish Doll/Barcelona Babe..I think I’m just dreaming about going to Spain to be honest!  The dress is very pretty and feminine and the polka dots give it a fun, flirty flair.  I love that this dress is off-the-shoulder, one of the hottest trends this Summer.  The dress also has two rows of ruffles at the bottom, making it super chic and sophisticated!   I  paired this stylish number with a black choker and strappy black sandals to keep with the Latin vibe.  It’s the perfect dress to wear to your next summer soiree, celebration or cocktail party!  You will definitely get compliments in this dress, and it’s super comfortable and fun to wear!

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SheIn is one of my favorite places to shop! If you’re looking for fashionable clothing or the latest styles and trends, SheIn is  the place to go! All of their clothes are so chic and on trend. Not to mention, they are outrageously affordable!

Xx Marisa

All photography is by Josh Lobel Photography (@jlobelphoto) and shot in front of La Esquina on Kenmare St. in SoHo.