Vicious Victim Cycle

So the other week I was watching a video by speaker, author, and spiritual leader, Gabrielle Bernstein, and she was talking about the concept of playing the role of the victim.  Now, I know that I am guilty of this, and I know a lot of people that are guilty of this well—we all fall into the victim trap occasionally as it’s human nature to do so.  All of us see ourselves as victims in some way or time in our lives.  Gabby explained that when we view ourselves as victims we begin to overthink and obsess about a situation and try to control it.  We reach out and talk about the situation to everyone we know, and the more we talk about it, the more we obsess about it and try to over-analyze it.  In reality, we make the situation worse, not better, and there is no resolution in sight.

I can honestly say there’s definitely one aspect of my life that I’m not happy with and working on.  I’m really consciously trying to think differently and change my perception about it because it has affected my disposition in many ways, over and over again.  I find myself falling into the trap of playing the victim when talking or thinking about this aspect of my life.

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Although I am on a great path, very in tune with myself, and feel as if I’m in alignment with universe, we all have hiccups along the way.  Nobody is perfect and let’s face it, life is a journey and a continuous learning process for both me and you.

So, the other week I caught myself complaining, complaining, and complaining, and then, I had this moment of clarity (which has happened before), but this time the clarity really sank in.  The questions of why am I doing this and why am I ruminating about this problem and thinking negative thoughts over and over and over in my head really triggered something within me.  If there’s anything I’ve learned in regard to the law of attraction it’s that the vibrations you put out into the Universe are what you will receive back.  With that being said, why would I want to bring negativity into my life and continue to ruminate over a situation that is upsetting me?

I believe we all secretly, very deep down, love playing the role of the victim because we have the opportunity to shift blame onto other people or situations rather than looking inwardly at ourselves.  If you’re unhappy about something, it’s much easier to blame someone else rather than to show up for yourself and acknowledge what’s really going on inside of you.

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One of the coolest things that I’ve read within the past few weeks was a quote on Twitter by @LifeHacks. I’m not very active on Twitter, but I do love reading and occasionally retweeting things. One day I read a simple quote that went like this: “Three solutions to every problem: Accept it, change it or leave it. If you can’t accept it, change it. If you can’t change it, leave it.” How simple yet true!

When I read this quote, everything seemed very clear.  If you can’t accept something, change it.  If you can’t change it, leave it.  Sometimes the key to happiness is really that simple.   I guarantee that if you take this approach to many things in life, you’re going to be much happier because surrendering to something that just isn’t working in your favor and isn’t making you happy is a very strong and brave step in showing up for yourself.  Ruminating about what isn’t making you happy may seem like the easier choice, but negativity has a domino effect, and the more negative you are, the more negativity you will bring into your life.

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So, here is my advice to you:  be present and acknowledge that you are playing the role of the victim. When you focus on living in the present, you observe, reflect and process things at a slower pace and in turn acknowledge everything around you and how you’re feeling.  By doing so, you are aware of how you’re reacting to what you’re thinking and what’s going on around you.  If you slow down the pace, in any moment of unhappiness, I promise that you’ll have a brief moment of clarity and want to reach for a happy thought.

The first step is awareness, and the second step is actually changing your mindset, which takes a conscious and continuous effort.  Practice makes perfect, and you need to change out the negativity tape in your mind to achieve the results you want. Anytime you have a negative thought, reach for a positive one, whether it’s a silver lining in a situation or a positive thought or memory from your past. Feelings and emotions are all temporary, and you can change your mindset from negative to positive in an instant.

Everything in life is a choice, and you don’t have to choose to live in a negative world. It’s your choice to live a positive life. Stop feeding into the victim role by putting an end to complaining and ruminating.  Life is going to be much easier once you do this, and I promise you that if you stick to slowing down the pace of your thoughts and reactions, you will become more aware of the vibrations you’re putting into the universe, and you will choose to think positive thoughts.  End result: you will have a life filled with joy and happiness.

Be well, be glam!

Xx Marisa

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This off-the-shoulder sweater is by Romwe. It’s so comfy for the change of seasons!  I’m so happy sweater weather has arrived. Check out the top here!

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Photos Taken at Sweet Moment in Little Italy (NYC).  I got the Creamart Red Velvet (naturally, because it’s red! 🙂 )

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Daydream, Darling

Whenever I find myself daydreaming, I am immediately taken back to my English class during junior year of high school.  Don’t tell my mom, but hands down, it was the best class to completely zone out in and fantasize about my future.  Daydreaming or spacing out definitely isn’t encouraged (as it can clearly serve as quite the distraction), but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t visualize our hopes and desires in our leisure time.

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The more I learn about manifesting one’s destiny, the more I realize that visualization plays a major role.  Picturing yourself achieving your dreams or visualizing a particular situation unfolding in your favor allows for the event to happen.  Simply taking a few minutes out of your day to daydream or visualize what you want for yourself will help you to obtain exactly that.  When you picture yourself succeeding, you will naturally feel more confident and secure about yourself, exude positivity, and be more attractive to other people and situations which will manifest into more opportunities.  Essentially, we respond to our own positive energy by manifesting the picture we are holding in our minds and making it happen.  If you can visualize it, you can actualize it.  It’s that simple.

Every day I try to set aside some time (usually before bed) to daydream and visualize myself achieving a goal or pursuing something that I want to do (i.e. taking a relaxing vacation to Italy).  The Universe truly does respond to your thoughts and vibrations, and it will start to make whatever you’d like to happen, happen.   Through visualization and positive thinking, you can accomplish your goals and overcome obstacles in your life.

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I always get such an adrenaline rush thinking about what my future could entail.   These are the moments when I truly feel like I’m “high off life.” I used to look at the future through “fear goggles,” but realized that fear did nothing more than hold me back.  Although some things about the future still give me some anxiety, I do not get nearly as worked up about uncertainty as I used to.  If anything, I now embrace the unknown!  We are all in control of our own lives and our own happiness.  If we choose to view the future with a positive outlook and embrace it, we create numerous opportunities to attract even more positivity and prosperity into our lives.

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I am so exited for this collaboration with one of my all-time favorite brands, Tobi!  I first discovered this brand in college.  This red “Be Your Lady Bodycon Dress” is so classic and simple, yet it’s absolutely a perfect staple to have in your closet.  Can we also talk about the gorgeous detail in the back?!  Seriously sexy!  This dress also comes in black, so definitely add it to your LBD collection.

I’m obsessed with this Rebecca Front Tie Romper Dress.  A dress and a romper? What a great combo!  I love the soft pastel color and sophisticated design, which takes elegant to a whole new level.  This piece is absolutely stunning and can be worn out for an intimate dinner, or paired with the right accessories even to a night at the opera or equally elegant occasion.  This dress lends itself to a dramatic setting!  Need I say more..

I haven’t worn many crop tops this season, but this Every Time Tie Blouse is so chic and can be worn with a high waisted skirt, shorts, or your favorite pair of jeans.  It makes me feel super groovy and as if I just walked off set from That 70’s Show.  After all, they say that fashion repeats itself every 30 years or so! Be seen in this edgy crop top and you will be sure to turn heads!

Shop these Tobi looks and more here 🙂

Xx Marisa

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All photography is by Josh Lobel Photography (@jlobelphoto) and shot in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

 

 

Trust the Process

This past month I have been constantly reminded that there is a plan greater than mine. I was so adamant about following my own plan that I continued to resist the path that the Universe was setting for me. Enter feelings of uncertainty and frustration as well as the constant question of “why is this happening?!” The best way I could describe the past month is like a puzzle: a puzzle I had all the wrong pieces to yet was trying to piece together. When something is not meant to be, it will simply not be, no matter how much we think we can control it or force it.

Naturally, resistance occurs when our plan doesn’t match up with what the world is throwing at us. The Universe will place new people and experiences into our lives and take out what is no longer serving us, and if you don’t make the changes yourself, the Universe will make them for you, as we each have a plan that’s greater than our own. You just have to be ready to let go and trust the process.

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Surrendering to a plan greater than yours is indeed difficult, however, it is ever so rewarding. I can’t emphasize this enough: everything happens for a reason. You might not know or understand the reason while you are going through the process, but when you take the time to look back on the experience or situation, you will find that it happened because it was meant to.

In my most recent experience, the Universe was setting me up for a better situation that I didn’t even think was possible! (Thank you, Universe!). We all put the utmost trust in our own plans, while we should be putting trust in a power greater than ourselves. Allow yourself to find comfort in trusting the process, and everything will come with ease.

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P.s. This gorgeous red, asymmetrical blouse is from SheIn.  Shop my favorite fall styles here!

Xx Marisa

21 Reasons Why I’m Excited for Fall

New seasons call for fresh beginnings.  I like to view the turn of the season as new doors opening for exciting possibilities.  Change is an inevitable part of life that is often times thrown at us when we least expect it.  Recently, I was in a pretty comfortable groove, happily sailing through life.  I have been working on some bigger, exciting projects, specifically one that I will share with everyone soon!

Despite Mercury being retrograde this past month, everything has been going along quite well.  Although I have been making a lot of progress, I recently experienced a couple of hiccups along the way.  I must admit that whenever I hit a couple of roadblocks, I like most people, tend to get stressed out.  There are a few (major) things up in the air for me right now, and I’m typically the type of person who likes and needs a plan.  I’m not great at relinquishing control and letting the Universe take the lead and waiting patiently for the outcome.  Keeping my cool this past week has proven to be difficult, but I have to continue to remind myself of one vital point: Everything happens for a reason.

I am exactly where I need to be, in this moment, right now, and so are you.  Challenges are called challenges for a reason.  They encourage and test us to grow, learn, and better ourselves.  Also, I have to continue to remind myself that it’s not about what’s happening in my life, it’s about how I’m perceiving the challenge and my reaction to it.  So, with all of that being said, I can choose to continue to be stressed out or take it moment by moment and look at the future with an open mind and the numerous opportunities to continue to grow, adjust and to be happier.

Without further ado, here are 21 reasons why I’m looking forward to Fall:

  1. New beginnings: new opportunities for change are endless
  2. Fall fashion: bring on the beanies, chunky sweaters, flannels, tights, leather jackets, and thigh high boots!
  3. Foliage
  4. Crisp air
  5. Pumpkin picking and other farm activities: Confession—I still go pumpkin picking with my mom once a year in CT
  6. Halloween.  It will never get old for a big kid at heart like myself
  7. Oktoberfest. Flight of seasonal beers anyone?
  8. Cleaning out my room.  I try to “spring clean” my room every season
  9. Fall foods: Apple fritters, warm savory soups, roasted veggies, spaghetti squash, etc.
  10. Snuggling up on chilly nights
  11. Fall color palette: navy, olive green, mustard yellow, deep reds, magenta, etc.
  12. My New York Anniversary: I’m going on year 4 here in the big apple
  13. Friends’ birthdays.  I have a lot of close friends who have September, October, and November birthdays!
  14. Turning back the clocks.  I’ll take that extra hour any day
  15. Excitement for the holiday season and my birthday, which in December
  16. Football & fall sports.  I’m not a huge sports fan, but I love watching games and participating in all the social aspects J
  17. Thanksgiving, which is my favorite holiday.  There’s always so much to be thankful for
  18. Spending time with my family, specifically that long weekend of Thanksgiving
  19. Fall flavors: I’m not a pumpkin spice girl, but I do love a spiced apple cider.  You can always find me with a hot apple cider in hand. I love cinnamon and spices.
  20. Launch of my new secret project—coming to you soon!
  21. Renewed sense of energy and excitement [in the city].  This goes for any season, but there’s just something about Fall that makes me really feel this energy

As I write this, I can picture myself sitting in the middle of Central Park, wearing a chunky sweater and booties, surrounded by the colorful foliage of Autumn.  The sun is shining down upon me, while I’m reading a book and breathing in the crisp air.  I take a sip of a hot Caramel Apple Spice Latte, and I can’t help but to think, “Fall is here, and I’m ever so excited!” 🙂

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Bell sleeve blouse by Romwe

Leather skirt by Urban Outfitters

Lips by Kylie Cosmetics

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Xx Marisa

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

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

 

 

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.

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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