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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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

My Favorite Fall Looks x SheIn Wishlist

Hello, babes! Fall has arrived, and I am so excited!  In my last post, I created a list of 21 reasons why I’m excited for fall with one of them being fall fashion, of course!  I have a ongoing wishlist of so many styles on SheIn, but I’ve narrowed down just a couple of my favorites and thought I’d share with you.  Here are some of my favorite picks from the start of the season:

1.  Faux Fur Jackets, Coats & Vests

 

 

2.  Pleather Bottoms

 

3. Blouses with Ruffles & Bell Sleeves

 

 

4. Unique Blazers

 

During fall and winter, you’ll constantly see me wearing pleather skirts..I think I own about six different colors now!  I have been trying to find my perfect pair of pleather pants, and I love these Cigarette Buckle Pants shown above.  I am also a fan of pleather shorts (although I only own one pair of these).  As for faux fur, I’m obsessed with different colors and patterns on jackets and vests.  I love how Shein incorporated faux fur sleeves on the Belted Hem Heathered Jacket above.  Ruffles and bell sleeves have been popular summer trends (personally, my favorite trends of summer 2017!), and I’m more than ready to continue to include these looks into my fall wardrobe.  In the past I haven’t been one to wear blazers, but I love the sophisticated look, and I’m hoping to wear more this season.  I love a trendy blazer with unique details like the two pictured above.  Although they are both white and Labor Day has passed, I think you can get away with these looks for just a little bit longer 🙂

Shop my favorite styles here and have a happy, stylish Fall!

Xx Marisa

Alterre Shoes for the Chic, On-the-go Woman

Hello, friends! I am so excited to share my most recent collaboration with you! I recently worked with the most fabulous shoe company, Alterre. Based here in New York, they create innovative heels and sandals for the on-the-go, modern woman.

Have you ever referred to yourself as the ‘bag lady?’ Well, I have on numerous occasions! I am constantly carrying around a large bag or tote stuffed with extra clothes and shoes in the event I have a last minute change of plans and need a quick wardrobe adjustment. Typically when I’m out of my apartment for the day, I’m out of my apartment for the day. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as “going home quickly to change” in a city like New York.

Enter Alterre shoes to save the day! Why lug multiple pairs of shoes with you all day, when you can just bring one pair and some additional straps? With these shoes, you are able to alter the straps as many times as you’d like, while technically wearing the same pair of shoes all day. Talk about the perfect shoe for an on-the-go woman or traveler! They are comfortable, versatile, and bring “packing light” to a whole new level.

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Check out some of their starter kits here. I had the chance to try the “Platform” shoe in black, and I chose the “Elise” straps in gold and “Marilyn” in black suede. I tend to wear a lot of black, and I also love black with a pop of color, hence my choices. The straps are easily interchangeable, and I know this is a game changer for me in terms of traveling and bopping around the city!  There are over 500 combinations, so you’ll never get bored!  I am so excited to wear them throughout the fall months. I’m also certain that I’ll be investing in a lot more of these shoes and straps for my future travels and adventures.

Not only does Alterre create customizable, chic shoes, they also donate 5% of the proceeds to the women’s sex-trafficking shelter Restore NYC, so you get to do a great deed while looking fabulous.  One of many reasons to purchase your first pair today!

Thank you for the collab, Alterre!

Xx Marisa

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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

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

 

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

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

Falling Into Place

A year ago today, I was in a really bad place. I was lost and confused. I was frustrated and stuck.  I had zero confidence and no sense of who I was as a person. I had no idea which direction to go in. I was overwhelmed and let my anxiety run my life. The simplest of tasks seemed difficult, and I felt like nothing was going my way.

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It’s all about perception, and during this time, I chose to look at life with a negative outlook. It seemed easier that way. I was vibrating at such a low frequency and living in a mundane fog. The more negatively I thought, the more negativity I attracted into my life. I was trapped and claustrophobic to the point where I had to physically remove myself from the situation and leave the city in order to gain clarity and just a mere sense of who I was again.

One of the most important things I’ve learned over the past year is that your thoughts create your life, and if you change your thoughts, you can change your life.

So much can happen in a year—it’s wild. Over time and with a lot of gratitude, forgiveness, and self-love and care, I successfully changed my life because I changed the way I viewed my world around me. Like attracts like, and positivity attracts positivity. My life now and the way I live it is completely different compared to a year ago.

Today I was catching up with one of my close friends over the phone, and she told me that everything is falling into place for me.   I have been thinking this for the past few months now, but it’s so much more rewarding and satisfying when you hear it from someone else. Not everything in my life has fallen perfectly into place, but I’m not striving for perfection. It’s all about the journey, and I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now in this given moment.

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Xx Marisa

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Dress: AMIClubwearBracelet: C.Wonder, Earrings: Forever 21Forever 21, Lipstick: Kylie Lip Kit “Maliboo”

All photography is by Josh Lobel (@jlobelphoto) and shot at NoMo SoHo

Holding Back

So, if you look back on my previous posts, you’ll come across one titled “Beautiful Vulnerability.” It was my first post that had more ‘meaningful’ content, so to speak, or at least gives you a glimpse into my heart and mind, reflecting who I am as a person.

A couple of months ago, I was chatting with a friend. We were talking about relationships, and he flat out told me that I’m too guarded.  I could see why he felt that way.  He’s someone who has been very patient in taking the time to get to know me over the past year and a half.  He told me that my blog was a glimpse into the person I am deep down, but my writing just scratches the surface.

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Although (still) slightly offended, the saddest part was, I couldn’t even really defend myself because I knew it was true.  As someone chisels away at the first layer of a pretty thick wall I’ve built over several years, I’m replenishing the cement on the other end simultaneously.

I’m at a point in my life now where the walls that (I thought) used to protect me are now only holding me back. I always say I’m an open book if someone asks the right questions, but what if they’re not asking the tough questions? When do I have to show up and be even more vulnerable in order to open up? When is it my turn to step it up and self-disclose first?

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I’m not saying that I never initiate these deeper conversations; I’m just saying that it makes me uncomfortable, and I’d rather the other person initiate them.  I’m sure I’ve lost a handful of people in my life because I wasn’t ready to fully open up and be vulnerable. Not everyone is going to stick it out. To play Devil’s advocate, I’ve even ended a relationship because I felt frustrated (and bored, honestly).  I felt that it wasn’t meaningful and not on the deeper emotional and intellectual level that I desired it to be on.  I needed something more, but to be fair, my fear, which held me back from initiating those deeper conversations, strongly came into play.

I shouldn’t have a fear of getting close to someone, but it’s there.  Not for everyone, just for people who don’t self-disclose first.  Maybe it’s time for me to make someone else feel comfortable and initially reveal myself to them.  If anything, getting close to someone new is a rewarding and beautiful experience that I should look forward to, not be afraid of.

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All of these beautiful photos were taken in Aruba!

The swimsuit is by Asos 🙂

Xx Marisa