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

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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

Spring Has Sprung

Spring officially begins on today, March 20th..although it’s hard to believe considering we had one of our biggest snow storms of the season just last week!

I love Spring because it is a time of rebirth and regrowth. The dark, barren months are finally over. Flowers begin to bloom, leaves grow, animals appear, and the sun feels like it begins to shine brighter. For those who aren’t huge fans of winter (myself included), hope feels like it’s been restored in so many ways with this new, refreshing Spring spirit.

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I absolutely love this beautiful season. During these months, I find myself reminiscing and looking back on the past, especially the past four (more or less) dark, winter months. How have I spent the beginning of the year? Where am I in terms of my personal goals? How have I changed in the past few months? Did I keep any of my resolutions? More importantly, how have I changed in the past year? Am I comfortable or am I challenging myself? I have always found this season to be a time of reevaluation and regrouping, and I think these are important questions to ask yourself in order to be true to yourself.

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It’s always necessary to do a little spring-cleaning to declutter our lives. For me, an organized space is equivalent to an organized mind. Anytime my room is a mess, I’m typically frantic and scatterbrained. My room is a direct reflection of my mind—it’s actually pretty funny. Now is the perfect time to give your home a deep spring-cleaning and start fresh. Get rid of things you don’t need or maybe reorganize or rearrange your room. Change does the mind good.

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I always feel like I get on a health kick around this time (and no not just for a hot summer bod), mainly to clean out all of the toxins from my body. You can do this by going on a healthy, whole food (no processed foods or refined sugar) detox or cleanse to get rid of all the toxins in your body that build up over time from processed or ‘bad’ foods, alcohol, products, etc.

You may even want to cleanse some habits or people out of your life that just aren’t working out for you anymore. Trying to quit smoking? Do it! Holding on to a relationship that just isn’t working out? Why?! Sometimes its necessary to declutter from all areas of our lives.

Never underestimate the act of letting go. Releasing whatever you’re holding on to can be so powerful and do your mind wonders.

There are so many opportunities to start over at the start of a new season. Just as new flowers blossom, you can as well. Spring can be another chance at your New Year’s resolutions–make that small change, add a new healthy habit to your life, begin to work out more, learn about something new, and above all, learn about yourself.  The possibilities are truly endless, and you can constantly reinvent yourself anytime you feel inspired, not just during this Spring season.

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My red bomber jacket, pink fluffy heels, and over-the-knee black denim boots are all from AMIClubwear.

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These pink faux suede strappy heels give just the right pop of pink to any outfit, and instantly give you a long, leggy look.  A trendy addition to your wardrobe, these shoes pair well with any Spring ensemble, and make you feel super chic and glamorous.  These heels will instantly escalate any outfit from ho hum to fabulous in a New York second!  Whenever I wear them, I feel like I’m in Clueless or Legally Blonde.  They are the perfect fun & stylish heel for Spring.  Sure to turn heads and have your friends asking, “where can I get mine?”

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Last Spring I bought my first bomber jacket (wasn’t sure if I could pull it off), but I’m now obsessed with this look!  I was on a mission to find a red one this season, and I found this beautiful red wine color on AMIClubwear.  I love the rich, deep red color that is sure to give you a regal vibe.  The jacket is pretty lightweight, so do wear something warm underneath.  As the weather gets a little warmer, you can wear a cute t-shirt or tank with it to change it up.  The jacket also looks great with your favorite jeans or black on black, and it will make any outfit stand out.  If you’re like me, I always feel cold in restaurants or other venues, so this little bomber jacket will be my constant companion as the weather transitions from Spring to Summer, keeping me comfortable and looking absolutely chic and fabulous!

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Denim will never go out of style, and it’s constantly being reinvented.  Thigh-high denim boots (yes, you heard correctly!)  are going to be all the rage this season.  These stylish boots are to die for!  I’m wearing them in black here, but you’ll also see them in all shades of denim washes as well.  These open-toe denim boots are comfortable and easy to slip on and off.  They will compliment any outfit and will be a staple in your Spring wardrobe.  For the perfect edgy look, pair these boots with your favorite dress or skirt for day or night. Stepping out in these boots will have all eyes on you this season!

Thank you for the collaboration AMIClubwear! This brand is super fashionable, chic, and outrageously affordable.  It has everything you’re looking for and more. If you want to stand out this season, look to AMIClubwear for the next addition to your wardrobe.  You will not be disappointed!  You can shop here!

 

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All photography is by Josh Lobel (@jlobelphoto) and was shot on the streets of the UES & at Hunter College.

Xx Marisa

Untitled Unalignment

For the past week or so, I have noticed myself being out of alignment with the Universe (hence my lack of blog posts).  This happens to be occasionally, usually just for a day or so, however, this time was a bit longer.  I feel as if I’m living in a fog and just going through the motions of life.  Negative thoughts tend to cloud my mind, even if I’m just doing something monotonous.  This out of tune feeling usually begins when I wake up and hit the ground running, filling my day with things to do and forgetting about or putting off my daily “practice” or meditation that centers and grounds me.

I typically shake this gloomy mindset by working out, meditating until I feel better, and getting an extra dose of caffeine (not particularly recommended, although it’s typically my first go-to method). This is my magic solution, although not necessarily in that order.

Other than feeling both mentally and emotionally dull, the Universe gives me other signs that I am out of alignment.

Enter the daily hassles of life: the petty, day-to-day, pain-in-my-ass irritations that drive us insane.

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I was recently chatting with a friend who felt as if he was out of alignment because he was attracting these daily hassles. He made me quickly realize that my past week has been filled with these miniscule annoyances.

The biggest one for me is running late.  I used to be notorious for running late, and once I moved to New York, I readjusted and adapted to NYC travel time.  I was forced to quickly learn how to manage my time much better and prepare for delays, yet I have noticed that as my thought process has changed over the past year or so now, I have been much better with being on time.

It isn’t necessarily my time management that is off now.  The obstacles that get in my way along my journey (i.e. the ACE train is running with delays, my Uber driver cancelled after I was waiting for 6 minutes, traffic on 9th for literally no reason) cause me to be delayed.

Yes, these are things that are out of my control, yet they are still things that I am attracting.  I’m attracting them because I am out of alignment.

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I have a couple of different tests that I use to see if I am out of alignment.  One of them being catching the time 11:11 AM or PM on the reg.  Repeated numbers or repetition in general are signs that your are in tune with the Universe.  I typically catch 11:11 once a day, and have been doing so consistently for the past 10 months.  This is actually something I have been doing my whole life, I just never knew what it referred to. When I don’t catch these numbers, I know I need to do some realigning.

Today for example: this morning I caught the time at 11:12AM.  I use this to gauge how out of alignment I am.  If I’m one minute off, I’m close, but not yet there.  Something within me is still out of alignment.  Although this morning I was very close, I’m not exactly on the right path in some way or another (probably because I haven’t had the chance to meditate and center myself yet).  To my surprise, I did, however, catch 11:11PM last night for the first time in probably six days, so it’s safe to say that I’m doing much better than last week.

So what is off in my life? Well, probably something that I am refusing to admit to myself.  Smaller scale, I know that when I forget or put off grounding myself (the one key necessity for me to be in tune with the Universe), I immediately get thrown off and become consumed with these daily hassles.  I wake up, hit the ground running, and start rushing through my life without centering myself first.  Even if it’s just closing my eyes and taking a long, deep breath before I begin my day–it helps me tremendously.  If my mind is scattered from the start,  I’ll attract things that will interrupt my life.

 When your world gets a little rocky, you know it it’s time to regroup and take a look inward.  When you’re in tune with yourself and the world around you, everything will flow naturally and you will be receiving the positivity and abundance you are supposed to be attracting in your life.

Xx Marisa

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Art by Peter Tunney

Photos taken at the Peter Tunney Experience in Miami, FL //Wynwood Art District

Beautiful Vulnerability

There is something beautiful about being vulnerable. A friend told me this about a year and a half ago. I remember cringing as he said this to me. The person I was at the time responded very differently to these words back then.

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At the time, we were sort of dating, and he told me this statement in order to get me to loosen up a bit. He was asking all the tough questions, attempting to break down walls I had spent years building up. I dodged his questions (successfully…so I thought) and chose not to self-disclose. That’s when he said, “You know, Marisa, there’s something beautiful about being vulnerable.”

I remember my body physically responding to that statement—muscles tightening, jaw clenching, body overheating—I was resisting in so many ways. It makes me think about what else I was resisting at that time in my life.   I was so closed-off and afraid of being vulnerable, even to a person who was completely open and receptive to my vulnerability. I felt so awkward, and it was so obvious. All I could think was how do I get out of this conversation? Somehow, probably with a bad joke or some kind of lame humor, I escaped the conversation. He knew he was pushing me to my limits, but I just wasn’t ready to answer the tough questions. I maybe couldn’t even answer them for myself.   It was safe to be transparent, but I couldn’t do it.  I felt attacked, although he was coming at me from a loving and caring place.

A year and a half later, I still struggle with times like these, although now, I wholeheartedly believe that there is something beautiful about being vulnerable.

It’s straight up frightening to be vulnerable. I used to see it as a sign of weakness, but that’s so far from the truth. I shake my head at my younger self for thinking that. Yes, you feel exposed and yes, exposure is scary, but if you own that exposure, nobody can use it against you. Not one single person.  Trust me.

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So, as part of owning my own vulnerability, I really want to start writing more, specifically about my life (more personal and meaningful topics) and how I live it.  This blog is a great creative outlet for me, and I’d like to take it to the next level. #WatchThisSpace for what’s to come in this new year 😉

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All of these amazing photos are from Pipilotti Rist’s exhibit titled Pixel Forest, which is now on display at the New Museum (located in the LES, 235 Bowery). I have seriously been trying to go to this exhibit since it opened in October, but just never found the time! Due to all the press and hype, the exhibit was extended, and I finally took the opportunity to go yesterday.

Rist is a Swiss video artist known for her mesmerizing and hypnotic video and multimedia installations. Her video, film, and image projections incorporate themes of gender, sexuality, and the human body.

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Pixel Forest occupies the main three floors of the New Museum. The exhibit includes works that span over the artist’s entire career, emphasizing the progression of technology and how this evolution has affected her art.

The kaleidoscopic projections, soothing audio, rhythmic lighting of each piece make you feel as if you are transported from your everyday, monotonous world into a tranquil, dreamlike environment.

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I love entrancing LED installations, so naturally my favorite piece was Looking Through Pixel Forest, a hanging LED installation and video projection piece (pictured above and below). The hanging LED lights changed to all colors of the rainbow in a rhythmic pattern while two videos played on the adjacent walls. The video, audio, and lighting combination made me feel like I was in a pixel forest, straight out of the movie Avatar or something. I felt like I was in a completely different world, and I loved every moment of it.

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This exhibit ends on January 15th!! That’s in 4 days, so I strongly suggest making it a priority to check it out yourself!

Read more about Pipilotti Rist and her Pixel Forest here and here.

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Xx Marisa

Throwback Thursday: “China: Through the Looking Glass”

I haven’t been to my favorite museum (the Metropolitan Museum of Art) in a long time, so I thought I’d do a throwback post on my favorite art exhibit to date: “China: Through the Looking Glass.

Last spring and summer, the Met exhibited this combined fashion and art exhibit which examined the “impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries” (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The exhibit was divided into smaller galleries presenting different themes of Chinese culture.  These rooms were filled with haute couture, avant-garde, and even ready-to-wear fashion paired along with pieces of Chinese artworks and culture.

This exhibit was truly breath-taking.  Through music, film, lighting, and technology, I felt as if I was transported into a different space and era each time I walked into a different room.  Many times I caught myself thinking, “It’s hard to believe I’m still at the Met right now!”

My favorite room was the Porcelain Room, where high-fashion dresses incorporated blue and white porcelain patterns as well as actual Chinese porcelain.  Of course my favorite piece was the stunning ball gown created by Chinese designer Guo Pei (6th photo featured below).

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I am so excited to see what the Met’s current exhibit, “Manus x Machina,” has to offer!

#ChinaLookingGlass #MetMuseum #TBT

Sources:

“China: Through the Looking Glass.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I.e. The Met Museum. Web. 24 May 2016. <http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/china-through-the-looking-glass&gt;.