Skincare has become a big hobby of mine while staying safe at home. I have also decided it’s the perfect time to try new skincare products because I do not have to see anyone if things go a little sideways. 


Right before everything in the world went sideways, I had gone to see an esthetician at Spa Derma in West Loop (you can give my name for $50 off your first service - woo!). I was nearing the end of doing Drunk Elephant’s “clean break” regimen in which you only use DE products for 45 to 60 days to give your skin a break from harsh ingredients. Having made this big change in my skincare routine, I was looking to just put a cherry on top and get a professional opinion on the state of my skin. She did not tell me anything groundbreaking, but it was good to just talk about ingredients, routines, and skin concerns with her.


Speaking of skin concerns...my top skin concerns are surface dryness, texture, dark marks and hyperpigmentation. I knew the Sephora spring sale was coming up, so I wanted to get some products that would target my chief concerns and also re-up on some of my fave items. Everything I bought, plus a few extras, below.



1. Summer Fridays R+R Mask

Away, the luggage brand, partnered with Summer Fridays to create a little set in which you got the mini Away, full size R+R mask, full size Overtime mask, and travel size Jet Lag mask. All of the net proceeds went to GlobalGivings Coronavirus Relief fund. It was $75 total, which was a steal for all of those products, and I had a $20 store credit for Away, so I was able to get all of those masks for the low, low. I’ve been wanting to try this product for a while. It’s a brightening and smoothing mask thanks to vitamin C and rose flower powder.


2. Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

This has been on my list for months! It’s a super thick, oil and ceramide rich night cream. This caught my eye because I figured it would help with some of my surface dryness. I’ve been using this for a couple of weeks now and, yes, it totally works. A little goes a long way.


3. Indie Lee Discovery Kit

I honestly haven’t heard that much about Indie Lee, but had heard enough to be curious about their line of products, so I landed on the Discovery Kit. It comes with a cleanser, CoQ-10 toner, and squalene face oil. I was looking for a gentle jelly cleanser to try and figured I might as well do the kit to get a taste for their other products, as well. 


4. The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner

At the time of the Sephora sale, I thought I was going to get glycolic acid toner from The Ordinary, but it was sold out, so I pivoted to The Inkey List. This is my first time purchasing anything from the brand, but it has a similar vibe to The Ordinary, so I hope I like it. My only concern with this glycolic toner is that it is 5% witch hazel and I do not have oily skin, so I am hoping it won’t dry me out too much. 


5. Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

This is a holy grail product for me. It’s *amazing* and cannot recommend it enough. If I’m ever seeing any irritation from using products with active ingredients in it, I take a break and just use the Jet Lag Mask and maybe hyaluronic acid for a couple of days and the inflammation subsides. I usually get the travel size because it’s cheaper, but decided to get the full size because it’s still technically travel size and I know I love this product. It also came with a tube key which was unexpected and exciting, so I’ll be able to get every last bit of the product out. 


6. The Inkey List Niacinamide 

Once again, I had planned to get The Ordinary’s niacinamide and zinc serum, but it was sold out, so I took a look at The Inkey List. This is the product that I am most excited to try as niacinamide is a do-it-all kind of ingredient and should help with my hyperpigmentation and texture concerns. This is formulation also has hyaluronic acid in it to help with hydration. 


7. Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Moisturizer

This was kind of a random addition to my cart, but I was on a big hydration kick while shopping the sale. I’ve only tried a couple other items from Fresh, but I know the rose line is fairly popular so I thought I’d give it a go with the mini size. I like to keep a face moisturizer with me whenever I’m out and about, so I thought this would be a good candidate. 


8. Farmacy Honey Butter Beeswax Lip Balm

I just wanted to try this product. It reminded me of Burt’s Bees which I used obsessively for over a year, but I started having poor reactions to it eventually. So far, so good with this lip balm.


9. Summer Fridays Overtime Mask

This also came in the Away set. I’ve never tried it, but should be good for a gentle exfoliation. It does have almond oil in it just in case any of you have nut allergies like me; almonds happen to be the only nut I can tolerate, but I will still likely spot test this mask before putting it all over my face. 


10. Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Mask

I just started using this and it is bomb. I had about three dry patches that just were not getting better, but after one use, I saw improvement, and after 3 uses, the patches are nearly gone. Big fan of this for an extra boost of hydration. This also has niacinamide in it and Vitamin F, which helps maintain hydration and improve the strength of your acid mantle. 


Follow me on Instagram @realstephaniegreene

The more we stay inside, the more I think about all of the places I have been fortunate enough to visit. My absolute favorite country so far has been Mexico. It is just a breath of fresh air to me.

I was recently looking through some photos from my first time in Mexico City in February 2017 and came across a photo of Palacio de Bellas Artes. It was taken at the beginning of what would turn out to be the worst trip I had ever been on. I'm reposting a Facebook status I wrote from the worst day of the trip below. Mostly because it reminds me that we learn a lot about ourselves, others, and the more hidden disgraces of the world when we travel. It was the first time I had experienced such blatant racism abroad and also such blatant racism from my classmates. I've since forgotten the names of all the girls involved and can only hope they've grown into more thoughtful women.

Even though this trip was a mess by the end, I'm still incredibly grateful for all I experienced.

----
February 24, 2017

Here is what it is like to be a black woman for those of you who aren't... 
I am studying abroad in Mexico this quarter and have spent the week in Mexico City with my classmates. Some friends and I decided to stay the weekend in Mexico City so that we could explore a bit on our own. 4 of my friends are black women, 1 is a brown skin Latina, and 1 is a white woman. There are 7 of us total. Keep this in mind, it is important.
We made a reservation in the hotel that we had been staying in all week out of convenience; it was inexpensive enough and all 7 of us could stay in the same room. A girl in my group made the reservation at the front desk and signed her name on the reservation card. We get the keys to our room -- the only room available in the hotel that can fit 7 -- and head on up. When we get to the room, we open the door and find that the room is occupied. The folks in the room were 4 white women who are also students in my study abroad program.
We figured the front desk must have made a mistake and went back downstairs to work things out with the hotel's manager. When we tell the manager there are other people in our room, he moves quickly to tell a bellboy to go kick the people out. We say, no, no, we know those girls, maybe there is another solution.
In speaking to the manager and trying to figure out how we can remedy this situation such that my friends and I and the other girls have a place to stay for the night, one of the white women comes down to the front desk. When we begin to explain the situation to her, she looks at her phone, does not make eye contact with us, and says that she and her friends are not moving. When we say that we will not have a place to stay for the night, she says that is the hotel's problem.
Now, the hotel manager tells my friends and I that we do, in fact, have the 7 person room reserved, and that there is a 4 person room that the 4 white women can move into on another floor. When presented with this option of a room change, the white girls hold steady that they are not going to change rooms, with the knowledge that 7 of their classmates, some of us whom they call friends, will not have a place to stay for the night.
The hotel manager and bellboys try several times to evict the white women from the room we have reserved. Eventually, they give up. When we press the manager for his poor management and remind him that we have that room reserved and they -- the white women -- do not, he says, we are too loud, we are too aggressive, too pushy. Mind you, it is three hours after check-in time and we still do not have access to our room because there are four white women who refuse to leave. Tell me, were we really in the wrong for being just a touch upset that we wasted an afternoon arguing over a room that was ours by reservation?
Eventually, the manager says that he would rather kick us out -- the group of (mostly) women of color who had the reservation -- than the white women who were essentially squatting in his hotel. And that is what did it. He would rather honor a non-existent contract with white women.
When we confronted the white women, explaining their complacency in the racism of the hotel manager by deciding to stay in the hotel, in that room, their brandishing of white feminism by expressing zero concern over the wellbeing of the women of color they know, we were met with shock and excuses. They had made the reservation weeks ago, it was a matter of timeliness, miscommunication, really the room was theirs. However, during this exchange, a bellboy brought up a blank reservation card for the white women to fill out, because -- oh my gosh! -- they did not have the room reserved.
This is what it's like to be a black women for those of you who aren't: It's a feeling of hot rage and embarrassment. It's knowing that people don't want you around just because you're black. It's knowing that had the roles been reversed, the hotel manager likely would have seen to the physical removal of my friends and I from the room. It's knowing that students you have to sit in class with everyday don't give a single f*ck about you. It's having to check yourself in moments like this -- moments when you are ready to succumb to the will of white women and remembering that there is nothing stronger than the will of a black woman with a mission. It's remembering that you will not give a single penny to place that employs people who have the audacity to say such vile things like that to you. It's remembering that in situations like this, call white women what they are: racist.
My friends and I left that hotel and are staying at another for the night. But, we are tired, tired, tired. When leaving the other hotel, the one white woman in my group showed herself to be a true ally and broke the situation down for the manager, pointing out when and how he had been racist, and why we would not spend our money at his establishment. If you are white, if you are white and a woman, don't lament how this situation is so terrible -- call out other white people for what they are: racist.
That is what it is like to be a black woman for those of you who aren't.
I am turning 25 years old this year, so naturally I am starting to have thoughts about what 25 year olds do. Do they host dinner parties? Wear heels everyday? Always have their nails done??? I keep thinking back to when I was younger and thought that 25 years old was, well, old. LOL. Now, that I am approaching 25, I can say with confidence that it will be vastly different and far less glamorous than what I had imagined with my 12 year old mind. But, one little grown up touch I’ll be taking into 25 is sending thank you cards. 

Back in the day, my mom used to always make me and my siblings write thank you cards to our friends and family after birthdays and holidays. We would literally put them into the mail. Seems so novel now in this digital age, but it’s still the polite thing to do. And it’s so cool to be on the receiving end of a piece of mail from someone you actually know. 
I’ve teamed up with Basic Invite to showcase how I’ll be walking into 25 years old with a little extra touch of classiness mixed with gratitude. When I was in high school reading OG preppy blogs, I thought having stationary and a monogram was peak adulthood. I also thought it was super hard to get personalized paper goods. But in working with Basic Invite, I now know it’s incredibly simple. While I need to put more thought into the design of my monogram, I landed on some personalized thank you cards to fill that made-for-me-paper-goods void. 

The user interface of Basic Invite is intuitive and easy to use, which is key for me in a website where I can play around with designs. There are over 180 different color options and you can customize every little detail on cards, down to the pollen in the flowers, to get the look that is truly yours. You can also order samples of your customized cards before doing a full order to make sure you love them before committing. 
I ordered 5 different samples and, wow, they are so stinking cute! I got one card with a raised foil detail and, look, she is fancy! I tend to like understated, high contrast designs, but I’m 100% here for the flash of the raised foil. I also, of course, got the Chicago design. I’m pretty sure Chicago was the city they had as a featured design, so as a proud Chicagoan, I had to get it. This thank you card is actually a wedding thank you card, but who has to know? Yes, exactly, just you. 

If you’re interested in upping your thank you card game, Basic Invite is offering 15% off with code 15FF51. Happy thanking, friends!

*Disclaimer: This post is in paid partnership with Basic Invite. All opinions shared in this post are my own.*
Last Wednesday of January! Woo! Wednesday Reset writing prompt below:
  • ️Write about the three best moments you had this month. You can pick the length of the moment, so could be a full day or a full minute.
  • Read over what you wrote, then identify commonalities between the moments.
  • This will be the prompt at the end of every month. Over time, you’ll be able to see a link between your best moments, then work to put yourself in more situations to be your best ️:)

I have cried over one man who did not deserve my tears. I have cried over one man who did. 

It is literally 6am. I’ve been awake since 5:16am, fumbling to get back to sleep. I’ve decided to take my own advice from my upcoming Instagram post that features the writing prompt, “Just breathe. Just write.” So, here we are, 6am, breathing and writing.

I never really talk about dating publicly, or really, outside of my very tight knit circle of close friends. I do think it falls into the category of what is broadly considered private life, but the lines between public and private have been smudged quite seriously with the rise of the ultra-open-door, I’m-just-like-your-best-friend social media influencers. Anyway, given some recent events, my mind is taking me towards a free write about dating and the ego.

I think of the ego as one’s sense of self and how we differentiate ourselves from other people and objects in the world. You are you, I am I. I also think of the ego as a mechanism of protection. The ego keeps us from putting ourselves in situations that will destabilize our sense of self because with a destabilization of self, the world will surely end. 

Enter: Dating.

The process of “trying to get to know someone” and you “letting your guard down” to either end up in a state of blissful partnership or wondering why you ever responded to that DM in the first place. For a long time, I thought dating only ended in one of those two ways: great or worst decision ever (each bad dating experience becomes the new worst, naturally). Now, I see a third option: it is not the best and not the worst, but just an event that happened; maybe something was learned, but maybe not.

Our ego serves to mediate our sense of reality, keep us safe, let’s our subconscious fears, hopes, and aspirations bubble up and “help” us in our conscious minds make decisions. I really began to ponder the ego while in yoga teacher training because it is the same mechanism that makes your voice shake while teaching a yoga class. It’s the thing that tells you it’s time to return to your mat in the back of the room and that maybe you’re not good enough to be an instructor. It’s the thing that keeps you from trying to do a handstand in class for fear of embarrassment. It’s the thing that keeps you from *trying* at all. It’s trying to protect you!! How can it protect you when you decide that it’s okay to maybe make a fool of yourself in front of 30 strangers? In short, the ego is a big, scary beast to tame, mostly because we are not conscious of it all. 

When I was younger (lol, I’m only 24, but bear with me) in college, I made lots of decisions in relation to dating and boys (they were men, but...iykyk) with my ego. I needed to run the show, they were lucky to be with me, I was everything they could have ever asked for. Beauty? Check. Brains? Double check. Booty? Triple check (I kid). Seriously, what more could they be looking for? I was the full package. 

I will never knock a healthy sense of confidence, but I can now distinguish between confidence and self-centeredness. The self-centeredness is the narrative of “I am everything they could ever want.” Of course, that narrative coursed through my mind without actually ever asking, err, what they wanted. I always tell men that I’m not crazy, but, boy, looking back, I was crazy. 

My ego said I had everything and more. So, the actual act of navigating men and dating and feelings was tumultuous. It meant that when I encountered men who did not think I was everything and more, it was destabilizing. It is this sense of exceptionalism that can prove to be soul crushing. If you live your life thinking, “I’m different, he would never treat me the way he treated shorty over there.” So, then, when he does, you have to come face to face with the possibility that you and shorty over there might have more in common than you have ever wanted to truly consider. Talk about shaking the table. Talk about coming face to face with who you really are. It’s a big, break the earth in half task. 

We have to make a project out of continuously and consciously knocking ourselves from the center of the world as we see it, otherwise we will live in a constant churn of hurt, instability, and identity crises. This is turning your best friend’s cooing of, “this is not about you” after the next break up into something that actually means something to you. She is always there to help you reframe the narrative so that the experience does not break you. Internalize that sort of talk and see how your world view shifts.

So, when I saw a recent fling crumbling right in front of me, seemingly out of nowhere, I was surprised that I was not more shaken. I have a sense of how much I’ve grown, particularly post yoga teacher training, but it’s not until I get into these tough moments that I actually get to answer the what-would-you-do-if questions. 

What would you do if he ignored you for two days?
Three years ago: I can’t believe he’s ignoring me. I am that b*tch! *anxiety*
Now: Maybe he’s still processing his own thoughts or just isn’t interested in talking to me. Whatever the reason, it’s his reason and not mine to wonder or be anxious about. He will reach out when he is ready, or not at all. Either way, I am fine.

Let me tell you, three years ago, I would not have even reached out to a man who seemingly decided I had done something so terrible I should be ignored. I would not have reached out for fear of rejection, for fear of him telling me who I was, what I did, how I ruined things. Now, I have a fuller sense of self. I am able to better distinguish between projection and truth. Every confrontation with a man is not an indictment of who I am. 

This latest relationship fail feels like a karmic test. An opportunity for me to revisit something that I did not handle so well in the past and see if I’ve really grown. And, let me tell you: nothing feels better than growth, real freaking growth, where you begin to live in alignment with who you are *and* who you want to be. I think I am currently passing this test. I think the test is still ongoing, like is dude gonna hit me up or nah? Though, I also think this blog post could be the nail in the coffin that ends the relationship for good. But here’s what I know: he won’t be getting any tears from me. And, that, is liberating. 
Grab your journals, people! Write about the last time you felt grounded. Like, truly grounded. So stable and at peace that if a tornado came by, you would’ve remained unmoved. Where were you? Who were you with? Were you alone? What did it smell like? What did the light look like? What did the earth beneath you feel like? What else do you remember?

Rip that page out, slip into that little pocket in your purse, backpack, or whatever. Pull it out when the world seems like it’s spinning. Take a breath and take yourself back to that moment. Stillness is only a breath away.

It’s taken me so long to sit down and get things together for this new year. I felt like I needed a break from work and social media, so a break, I took. 

When I was in Maryland for the holidays, my sister played David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech “This is Water” for me and my dad, and if you have not heard it, I highly recommend you listen to it. It’s not groundbreaking, but it captures something that has been on my mind for a year or so at this point. An amazingly dumbed down version of his speech is that we must decenter ourselves in our own narratives of the world to open ourselves up to live in a less frustrating reality. Basically, we can control how we think.

I’ve gotten really into the idea and practice of living from a place of gratitude, which I think plays well with Wallace’s idea of decentering one’s self. I don’t have some big-aha to share at the moment, but Wallace’s speech just got me thinking about how much control we really do have over our lives. We have a great amount of control because we are always making a choice about what to think. Of course, we must be living consciously to understand that that choice exists, but that is really a topic for another time.

In reflecting on 2019 and looking forward to 2020, my main focus is on becoming the person I want to be. So, I’ve landed on alignment and development as my focal intentions for 2020. An ongoing project of mine is to make sure that what I do aligns with how I think. In thinking about development, I was recently promoted at my day job (woo!) and need to take some time to gain new skills and further grow existing skills. I’ve also got my eyes on two yoga teacher trainings to continue to grow in that space, as well. For alignment and development to work for me, I have to create a reality in which they work. A reality that fosters trying, failing, and positivity. 

I’ve broken down these lofty intentions of alignment and development into some smaller, more concrete intentions to help me actually move in the right direction. Check them out below:

Spend more time with friends. In a conversation about love and partnership with James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni said, “You come home and I catch hell because I love you. I get the least of you. I get the very minimum.” If I go to work everyday and show up as my best self, I should do the same for the people I actually, factually love and adore.

Create more. I love writing, blogging, and creating content. I’ll be redirecting time and energy to create more this year. 

Continue to eat plant forward meals and cook more! This one is simply because I feel better when I eat home-cooked, plant filled meals. Maybe I’ll even transition back to veganism???

Put myself in more situations and communities to become a better yoga teacher. A big part of teaching is being a student. I need to take more classes, read more books, take more time to plan my classes, and potentially take another training or two. 

Learn a new technology-related skill. There were some plot twists with my day job, but I’m going to try to embrace the change. I’m going to focus on cloud related trainings, as well as agile project management trainings.

Curate seasonal capsule wardrobes. I have done a pretty amazing job at paring down my wardrobe, but I know I can do more. I’ll begin documenting that process here and on my YouTube channel within the next month. 

Take Spanish lessons! This is just a fun one.

Get back into HIIT workouts and/or competitive sports. I spent most of 2019 building healthy habits around exercise and fueling my body without much focus on performance. I’m definitely interested in kicking up my training a notch and maybe joining a sports team. 

This list is not extensive; I'm sure more will come to mind as this month progresses, but I know that these are areas I definitely want to focus on in 2020. You can keep up with my daily musings on Instagram @realstephaniegreene.



It is the most wonderful time of the year! The time of holiday cheer, family, food, and, of course, gifts! I am kicking off my gift guides this year with one for skincare and beauty featuring some of my faves and some crowd pleasers, as well.

1. Summer Fridays Merry & Brighter Set ($64): This set features three of Summer Fridays best selling sets. The Jet Lag mask is a personal favorite of mine and very popular with the people. It's incredibly hydrating for the cold winter months.

2. The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Pollution Clearing Mask ($28): This is probably my favorite wash-off face mask of all time. It gently exfoliates and has a calming fragrance, thanks to the matcha, making it the perfect sleepy time mask.

3. Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer ($68): I got a sample of this during my birthday month at Sephora and it is so good! This moisturizer targets firmness, tone, and texture. With it being on the pricier side, I'd only gift this if I knew the recipient wanted it.

4. The Body Shop Facial Massager ($8): Coming in at $8, this is a good one to bundle with a couple other items. I love a good face massage after a day's work because I hold tension in my jaw. You could also do a jade or rose quartz roller if you're feeling fancy.

5. Shea Moisture Manuka Honey Hair Mask ($14): This stuff is the truth. It revives my hair to peak hydration after I take down protective styles. And it leaves my hair smelling so good!

6. Foreo LUNA Mini 2 ($139): So, I do not have one of these puppies because they're expensive af. But I know people love them for the cleansing power. It's made of silicone which is pretty resistant to bacteria, so that is a plus too when thinking about the longevity of the product.

7. Fenty Beauty Mini Body Lava ($24): We could all use some extra sparkle at the holiday parties.

8. Fresh Sugar Lip Legend Set ($48): I'm a die hard Burt's Bees fan, but I'd be willing to give these Fresh lippies a try. They lightly tint and hydrate, which is key for Chicago winters.

9. Herbivore Jewel Box Mini Facial Oil + Serum Set ($58): The bakuchiol serum in this set is one of the best skincare purchases I've made this year. It's basically a natural alternative to retinol and has similar smoothing effects on the skin.

10. Glossier Boy Brow ($16): I am not much of a beauty gal, but I figured I could safely throw this cult classic into the mix. This is what you need for that fluffy, yet defined brow look.

11. The Body Shop Aqua Eye Mask ($8): If you are a puffy eyed queen like me, then this is a good accessory to have on hand. I leave it in the refrigerator to chill it, then put it on my eyes in the morning to de-puff a bit. Another great item at a lower price point to bundle.

Keep you eyes peeled for more gift guides leading up to the holidays! You can keep up with my daily musing over on Instagram @realstephaniegreene.

Happy Monday, friends! This is the perfect on the go, have on hand breakfast meal. I made these burritos to freeze and eat over the next couple of weeks. All of the dEATs are below and I got all of the ingredients at Trader Joe’s. #TJsforlife

Ingredients

  • 2lbs of sweet potatoes
  • 10 large tortillas
  • Holy guacamole or avocado
  • 5 whole eggs*
  • 5 egg whites (I used the carton from TJs)*
  • Black beans
  • Salsa
*You can easily swap the eggs for a tofu scramble and make this recipe vegan

Prep
  1. Bake the sweet potatoes until soft
  2. Combine eggs and egg whites in an oiled pan over medium heat and scramble
  3. Let eggs and sweet potatoes cool before assembling the burritos
  4. Now, assemble the bad boys! Try to keep all of the ingredients in the center of the tortilla to make the burrito rolling easier and layer in whatever order you like
These burritos give you protein, carbs and good fats. Sweet potatoes are in high vitamin A (a fat soluble vitamin and the avocado helps with absorption) which helps support eye health and our overall immune system.

To freeze these, I wrapped the burritos in plastic wrap then foil, but feel free to follow whatever method you usually use to freeze foods. You can reuse the foil for future meal prep to help cut down on waste.

To reheat, place burrito on a microwave safe dish and reheat in increments of 30 seconds until hot. I reheated one of these on a Saturday for a pre-workout meal and then quickly crisped up the tortilla in a pan on the stovetop - so good!

Follow me on instagram @realstephaniegreene to be the first to see the eats! 


I will take any excuse to dress up and that is really the best part of attending weddings. Yes, celebrating our loved ones is awesome, but for the fashion minded, it's a time to break out the big guns, aka the shoes, the bags, the dresses. And I went allll out for the wedding I attended recently. 


Let's get into the details. I rented a dress from Rent the Runway during their supply chain fiasco and one of the dresses I thought I was going to like a lot was not going to be shipped in time for my event, so I got to select another two dresses for free. That mishap led me to the Christian Siriano number I ended up wearing to the wedding. I had actually planned on wearing a floor length dress because the wedding was black tie, but really, no one else was wearing black tie so I might have ended up a bit overdressed. The dress fit well, if not a bit roomy. I got it in a size 8 and the fabric was thick enough that I did not feel exposed. There was some room in the bust and armpit area, but nothing distracting. Fun fact: I met Christian Siriano when I was interning at a fashion blog in high school.

I typically would not wear black to an American wedding, but the bride requested that all guests wear black. What the bride wants, the bride gets.


I bought my bag secondhand from The RealReal, which, if you're unfamiliar, is an awesome online designer resale site. There had been another Saint Laurent bag with a star motif that I was eyeing for weeks, and when I decided it was time to get it, it had already been sold. Big SIGH. But, then I came across this bag that also had stars and took it as a sign. This is the Saint Laurent wallet on a chain (I removed the chain and put it inside the bag) and is actually pretty spacious considering that is designed to be small. I got the bag for 30% off the already discounted price and a $100 credit to use on the site later, so I would say it was a good deal. The bag was in incredible condition and it's obvious The RealReal has higher standards for condition than I do. 


Finally, the shoes are Christin Louboutin and I got these on sale during the twice annual sale via the Louboutin boutique in Nordstrom. They're so extra, so I try to wear them to every fancier event. Since it was chilly out, I topped the look off with a leather jacket that I got a couple of years ago at the BCBG outlet. I've always thought only cool, chic women wear their jackets over their shoulders instead of actually putting them on, so I tried to channel that same coolness. 

My biggest takeaway from dressing for this wedding is shop secondhand and rent clothing. Hooray for the circular economy!


Wednesdays are all about recommitment✨It’s the middle of the week and the perfect time to check in with yourself. Below are some questions you can quickly ask yourself to see how you’re doing. Use your answers to guide yourself through the rest of week.
  • Where can I soften? Think about this physically (like a clinched jaw) as well as emotionally (like focusing on things out of your control)
  • What’s one teeny tiny thing I can do today that will take me on step closer to my dreams? Write this down!! Then, do it!
  • Have I had enough water today? (Yes! Plain, old water!)
  • Am I getting enough rest? Eating enough food?

In every race, you reach a point where you’ve gone farther than you have to go. It’s the point where the most efficient way out is through. It’s where you realize you can actually reach the finish line. 

For me, this point was when I reached the 8 mile marker during my first half marathon. At that moment, 8 miles was the farthest I had ever run (I know, I didn’t do the whole “training” thing well). I can still see the sign in my mind and it was then that I was honestly overcome with awe. I couldn’t believe my legs, my lungs, my will had carried me so far. 

I still had 5.1 miles to go, but damn, I had already made it so far and had the urge to get off the freaking course not overcome me, I might have broken down right then and there. It was a feeling that I cannot really explain, but just imagine something you thought you would never be able to do, then imagine doing it. It was a sense of pride that no one could or can take away. Like, I did that ish. 

Let’s be clear here: I do not think running is easy or even all that fun. I tend to think it is laborious and effortful and time consuming. Especially when I could also, say, spend a couple hours rowing, or doing yoga, or smashing out a weights sessions in the gym, or playing rugby. All things that I *genuinely* and *thoroughly* enjoy. For me, long distance running has always been about trying. I have to be there when I’m running. No relying on teammates to pick up the slack or not getting deep into a pose to make the practice less intense. I have to be there with every single step. Feet to pavement, every single step. 

I love sports. Well, I love participating in sports. It is the space where I really grew into myself and gained real body and general self confidence. Long distance running broke me down and built me up. It was the first time I really started a sport alone. Yes, I eventually built a community around running, but still, it is heavily focused on individual performance. Running for a long time is serious effing mental work. I’ve probably been physically capable of long distance running for much of my life, but I never did the mental work to get there until last year. For years, I said “I can’t”, and when I decided to erase can’t from my mind, a world of possibilities opened up. Particularly, a world where I was a long distance runner. 

People run for lots of reasons, and I run to shake off limiting beliefs about what I can or cannot do. Running teaches me that forward motion is good motion. I know that if I keep moving in the right direction, I will get wherever I’m going on my own, perfect timeline. I know that I can pretty much do anything I want with the right amount of focus and action. I know that crossing the start line and crossing the finish line are equally monumental feats. I know what the phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way” feels like in my body as I run mile after mile after mile after mile.

It's Wednesday night as I write this, and by the time this post goes up, I’ll have finished my second half marathon. On race day, I’ll be thinking of my friend Laura who taught me to take life day by day and my friend Jamaica who taught me that you don’t have to be “fast” to be a runner -- these two were my first inspirations to get out and get going. On race day, I’ll be quietly repeating “I am stronger than myself” over and over when things get inevitably tough. And when I cross the finish line, I’ll be shook all over again. In awe of my legs, in awe of my lungs, in awe of my will. 
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