Sunday, December 23, 2018

18 Things I Learned in 2018




The year is coming to a close and I feel like lots of people share their accomplishments on social media, which is awesome because we all deserve to celebrate ourselves and year end is a great time to reflect on our good memories. But, through my yoga practice, I have found it more useful to focus on things that I have learned and will stick with me, as opposed to singular moments of success. So, instead of a post about all the wonderful things I did this year, I am sharing 18 things I learned in 2018 in hopes that you might be able to take something from them too.   

In 2018, I learned that…

1. I can do anything. Literally, anything.

2. I’m a damn good yoga teacher and make really great playlists for class.

3. Having cool things is cool, but having a savings account is cooler.

4. Everything happens for a reason.

5. All is well all the time.

6. Practicing non-attachment is hard and necessary when it comes to healing and forgiveness. Especially when forgiving those who have not asked for forgiveness (and probably never will) and for forgiving myself.

7. My health is the most important aspect of my life.

8. A successful romantic partnership with a man is in fact a partnership, not a relationship in which I am the object of his affection or a boost to his ego.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Why I'll Never Buy Another Occasion Dress

Rent the Runway

Earlier this year, I attended my first wedding as an adult and this weekend, I’ll attend my second. I say, “as an adult” because it’s totally different than being 12 years old and having your mom pick out your dress for you. As an adult, you have to consider, maybe with or without the consult of your mom, the stated attire for the wedding, the time of the wedding (day time or evening), the season, and appropriateness for the venue (i.e. church vs not a church). So much to consider!


With that being said, I’m here for the simplification of the whole process of getting “occasion” dresses. Occasion dresses being any dress you would not normally wear and buy specifically for an occasion. When I thought about the fact that I have had not one, but two prom dress sitting in a closet for five years, I knew this wasn’t a road I wanted to go down as an adult who is trying to be more conscious of the things I buy and the reasons why I buy them. Chances are, I’ll never buy another occasion dress because, to put it plainly, they are a colossal waste of money and waste of the time put into finding them. Since I want you to be free from this dress burden, too, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to get around it. And they’re all eco-friendly!


1. Rent a dress!
For the wedding I attended in May, I rented a dress from Rent the Runway. Rent the Runway is a really incredible, innovative solution to exactly the problem I mentioned: women buying expensive dresses to wear once for some occasion. Renting tuxedos has been a thing for a long time, and Rent the Runway essentially allows those of us who wear dresses to do the same. You can rent a designer dress for a fraction of the off-the-rack price. I got my dress shipped to the Rent the Runway store in Chicago and was able to try it on there and browse other available styles if I decided I wanted to exchange my rental. It was so, so easy and I cannot recommend Rent the Runway enough.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Living from a Place of Gratitude


Thanksgiving is this week! A holiday that often brings families, friends, and friends who are like family together to share a meal. It marks the beginning of the holiday season for many and brings about more contact with those that we love. In elementary school, “What are you thankful for?” was the journal prompt for so many years in Language Arts. In recent years, my dad has also taken to asking the same question during Thanksgiving dinner. It is such a good and simple question and one that we should ask ourselves regularly, even when the going gets tough.

Last week, I finished my 200 hour yoga teacher training. Like, whoooaaahooohooo I was so pumped. I could not believe that I had found 200 hours (and then some) to devout to self study and learning a new skill while also working full time (and then some). Coming up on Thanksgiving, I can say without a doubt, my yoga teacher training experience is what I am most thankful for this year. It has taught me so many things that I will flesh out over posts to come, but I want to focus on the most timely lesson, which was learning to live from a place of gratitude.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Making a Healthy Transition to Fall


Fall is here in Chicago and I am oh, so excited. I’m a sucker for anything pumpkin flavored, and I love to get cozy under blankets on cool nights. In places like Chicago where we experience the full spectrum of weather, from below zero degrees in the winter to nearly 100 degrees in the summer, we often consider fall to be a season in itself. Last week, I had a conversation with my favorite yoga instructor and she presented the idea of fall not being a season at all, and really being a time of transition. A time of ups and downs of energy, inconsistent weather patterns, sun some days, clouds others. I’ve been thinking about fall as a time of transition a lot, and wanted to share some ways to stay grounded through this in-between time before the stillness of winter sets in.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Yoga Teacher Training: Letting Go of Comparison


Yoga classes can be intimidating, but I am here to say, there is no such thing as being "good" at yoga. Well, at least, that's what I believe to be true. 

For the past two weeks, I have been thinking a lot about letting go of comparison as a means of truly growing in my own practice, both on and off the mat. During a difficult posture in a class, the instructor simply said, "Let go of comparison." It was such a small statement, but it has stuck with me. In a class setting, it is easy to let your mind (and eyes) stray and think things like, "Their dancer's pose is better than mine," or "Why haven't I been able to reach the same variation of the pose as my friend?" Comparison takes away from celebrating what you can do, what you have done, and what you will do. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Yoga Teacher Training: Setting an Intention of Discipline


I am heading into my fourth week of teacher training and am taking some time to reflect on the first few weeks. We had week three off for the holiday and spent that week in a self-study, so I have really been thinking a lot about the first two weeks we spent together.

During the second week, we had a guest lecturer come in and speak about the history and philosophy of yoga. This lecture confirmed some things I already knew about the history of yoga, but also taught me a lot about yoga as a philosophical practice to be practiced in everyday life. I began practicing yoga a few years ago with my friend Dominique and continued to practice mostly for the physical aspects. About a year ago, I was taking a class with a teacher who was really focused on being present in the moment and that was the first time the mental component of yoga really clicked for me. It took a few years of my practicing to begin to unravel the mental and other non-physical benefits of practicing yoga, even then at a high level.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Yoga Teacher Training: Why I Chose CorePower Yoga


Friends! Tomorrow I begin Yoga Teacher Training at CorePower Yoga. I had been thinking about doing a yoga teacher training for a while, and now seemed like the perfect time to jump in. For those interested in the YTT journey, I will be sharing a blog here weekly about what I’m learning and other reflections.

In this first one, I am sharing about why I decided to do teacher training at CorePower. There are lots of teacher training programs out there and below are some guiding questions I used in deciding on a training. I began practicing at CorePower about a year ago and started going regularly in the past few months. Before that, I was practicing at 105f in Chicago, but I wanted to practice somewhere closer to where I lived, so I made the switch to CorePower. Now, onto teacher training considerations.

Friday, April 27, 2018

48 Hours in Miami

It is always a good idea to spend the weekend in Miami. Especially if it means escaping the Spring that can't decide if it wants to stick around in Chicago. This was a quick trip, but refreshing nonetheless. I got in just before midnight Thursday and took a 7am flight out Sunday, leaving me with 2 full days to soak up the sun. 

So, if you don't know this, Miami is a moderately expensive city, especially when it comes to food, so heading into this trip I was not keen on spending lots of money on a weekend wardrobe refresh. I bought some new items, but focused on what I already owned to put together these outfits. Not buying new clothes freed up some cash to do more fun things in Miami. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Lululemon Wunder Under Review & Care Tips

If you read my last post, then you know representation in marketing and advertising has been on my mind lately. Now, you might be saying, why would you buy something from Lululemon if that's what you've been thinking about? Isn't their sizing so jacked up there's basically no difference between a 2 and a 10?? Isn't that a fat-shaming brand???

These are all totally legitimate questions. Lululemon's founder and former CEO certainly made some messed-up comments blaming design flaws on consumers' bodies back in 2013 - no good. Since then, the brand has done some major damage control (and product enhancements), including finding a new CEO. Yet, even that did not fix their problems as Lululemon has recently launched another search for a CEO after the body-shamer's successor engaged in "inappropriate workplace behavior." Certainly, a company with trouble, but we've all got problematic faves and have to continue to ask more of the places where we spend money.

I decided to take a stroll down Lululemon lane because it was a  of some of my favorite fit girls and I've never seen a woman's butt not look good in a pair of leggings from Lululemon. I recently started practicing yoga more regularly and as someone with a thing for activewear, I took this as an opportunity to dive into high-end yoga-wear. I was also curious about how these pants would fit a woman like me who has been thick before starting to lift and typically has issues finding pants that fit both my hips and waist.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Fashion Needs an Inclusion Rider

I’ve been reading a lot about diversity and inclusion in the influencer fashion space lately, and thought I’d share some of my findings and thoughts with you all.

Back in January, online retailer Revolve found itself at the center social media fiasco after, once again, hosting a group of social media influencers who all had light skin and were thin during a lavish trip. Now, the women were of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, but they all had fair skin, leading to the hashtag “RevolveSoWhite”. This sparked a discussion around skin tone and body type diversity in the social media influencer sphere. Namely, who gets to be an influencer and why?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Ka'She Natural Luxury

Alright, let's be clear: I am not a natural hair blogger. I take care of my hair, but tend to stick with what I know and what's easiest. For me, that usually means braids, or some other style with extensions. One thing with having my hair in braids with synthetic hair, is that it's hard to keep my natural hair moisturized. So, whenever I take my braids out, getting and keeping my hair hydrated is my number one concern. 

Enter: Ka'She Natural Luxury, a line of all natural hair care products. Ka'She is a black-owned business with organic, toxin free hair and skin care products designed by a team of pharmaceutical scientists. They know what the body needs and have used only the finest ingredients to craft a high quality product. The Ka'She team sent me the Daily Conditioning Hair Moisturizer and Leave-In Conditioner to try, and this is a winning combo. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

My Favorite Carryalls

Whenever you see me out and about, I'm either carrying a ridiculously small bag or a ridiculously large one. While I am a big fan of my North Face backpack, it will never be the bag to tie a look together. So, on days where I am interested in functionality and style, I tend to go with one of my carryall totes. 


My absolute favorite tote is this one from Apolis. They have built a brand around this incredibly durable and good looking tote. I got this my first year of college for I think $70 (and that totally put a hurtin on my pocket back then), but it has been the single most used item I have ever purchased. This is my go-to grocery bag and it can fit everything ever, which is good and bad because sometimes it gets to be bit too heavy, but that's okay. The bag can hold at least 135lbs (!), has a waterproof lining so any food spills are super easy to clean, and the artisans who make these bags receive Fair Trade wages. 10/10 would recommend.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday Blues

Confession: I have a thing for coats. Having grown up in Chicago, I know the value of a solid winter coat and also the value of a good looking wool coat for those not-as-frigid days. There is something so cool about seeing someone whose coat adds to their look. Enter: this gem of a coat from J. Crew. I stalked it for weeks, waiting for it to go on sale, for my size to come back in stock, for it to be on sale and in my size. One day, it randomly worked out and I got this coat for 30% off. I knew I wanted an office appropriate coat, but I also wanted something that wouldn't age me. So, I thought this coat was a happy medium of being sleek and work-appropriate, but it being navy instead of black with the piping kept it young and fun. This coat also has a belt, but I like to wear it open to take advantage of the movement of it.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate chip banana anything is pretty much my favorite. Bread, muffins, shakes, all so good. I have been making these muffins for a while now, but I usually have three or so recipes open in different tabs, then mix and match the ingredients that I think make baking sense. Last time I made these treats, I decided to document my process and share it with you all. These muffins are soft, fluffy, and non-vegan approved.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Style Grad

So…this blog has a new name. “All Worn Out” is now “The Style Grad.” Same good ol’ Stephanie behind the words, just some new name fun. All Worn Out started about 7 years ago as a digital media project for a high school journalism class. Allie, Miriam, Caroline, and I were the original authors on the blog. They are all a year older than me, and upon graduating from high school, I was the only one who wanted to continue to blog, so that is what I did.


As I have now finished college and joined the workforce, amongst many other life changes, I thought it time to change things up on this platform as well. I have found myself searching for more content online that was catered to women like me: women who are smart like me, women who like to travel like me, women who are civically minded like me, women who are fit like me, women who are Black like me, women who are into fashion like me, women who are driven like me. In some ways, I am having a hard time finding the content that I want, so I decided it would be as good a time as any to begin creating the content I would like to see.

With that in mind, the scope of this blog will expand from what it has been, which for the most part has been fashion. Those who know me in real life, know my interests go well beyond fashion and know that my writing extends well beyond fashion. In the future, expect more posts about food, travel, wellness, and my takes on timely news and events.

I am excited to write more in this space and explore my interests with you all. Please let me know if there are any topics you would like for me to write about. Otherwise, thanks for reading.