Holiday Gift Guide from Romwe

Looking for a cute gift to get one of your galpals or sweetheart? I’ve been browsing Romwe’s site and came across some adorable finds.  From apparel to accessories, this brand has it all! If you especially love comfy yet chic lounge wear, they have a bunch of trendy outfits  Here’s a list of holiday gift options that I adore:

Faux Pearl Beret Hat

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Wool Blend Newsboy Hat

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Knit Faux Fur Pom Beanie

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Tassel Trim Knit Scarf

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Faux Pearl Tippet Scarf

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Faux Leather Tassel Crossbody Bag

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Chain Tassel Decorative Velvet Crossbody Bag

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Eyelash Pattern Purse

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Bear & Pom Keychain

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Heart & Key Keychain

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Off the Shoulder Texture Knit Sweater

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Low Back Scallop Sweater

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Happy shopping and gift giving! Shop these accessories and more at Romwe! 🙂

Xx Marisa

 

 

 

 

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5 Ways to be Happy NOW!

Written for CT Fashion Mag.  Article here.

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

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