Interested, Or Interesting?

I've watched the greatest women, my closest friends, historical figures, my sisters, myself, all plunge head first into the pool of comparison, I've watched us drown. We sink all the way down to the dark and lonely bottom, with building pressure and lose sight of the sun. I've seen the hope of a beautiful friendship fade, the promise of a sisterhood bond disappear. Leaders that have become despised, purest intentions become false pretense. Why? Why have we seen such wonderful things become tarnished and destroyed? 

I feel like recently I keep hearing women say, "I'm no good at friendships with girls." I have even said it many times myself. So what do we do? We become lonely. We internalize our feelings and portray individualism, we stuff the truth because we'd rather be alone than tell someone we need them. Why have we made it easier to be apart? Why are we choosing to drown (and watching each other do the same) instead of fighting for air, for sun, for life? 

A huge part of this, I believe, is due to the culture of our time. America has tricked us into believing that self-protection and doing what's best for yourself is the greatest way to live and to think. This mentality has left us to never rely on each other, to lose the most beautiful and precious gift of a strong, caring community. We have decided that it is best to fight for ourselves than to fight for each other. Social Media is the quintessential example of this. SELFIES. I mean I get it. You're like, really pretty. I love taking a good selfie, it makes me feel like I. Am. Awesome. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's bad to post pictures of yourself. Being a fashion blogger I post tons of pictures of myself. And believe me, I've had to overcome a lot of insecurity to be able to do so, I know it's not always easy. All I'm saying is that a culture has been created that allows women to focus so much on themselves, to make sure the world sees them in a certain kind of light (natural light while you're facing your bedroom window, to be specific). It has become more important to do this than to show off the greatness of someone else. I see women craving so much attention, wanting to be loved and accepted by their peers. I see women forgetting about the beautiful art of friendship and championing each other. The love of encouraging one another has been lost. We now prefer to be interesting to people, instead of being interested in people. 

I don't want this culture. YOU don't want this culture. No one truly wants it to be like this. Unfortunately we all struggle with insecurity that we're not brave enough to open up about, and so we continue building the bad habit of seclusion. LADIES. All it takes is time and courage. It really is as easy as YOU choosing to not accept this kind of mentality in your own life. It takes time to build a healthy habit, and I propose the habit of being interested. Instead of spending all of your time thinking about how to convince everyone to pay attention to you, start thinking of ways you can make your friends feel listened to or appreciated. Instead of buying coffee for yourself on your way to work, buy it for your lovely co-worker who sits across from you. When browsing the sale section in Target, buy the cute floral top for your neighbor who complains of never having money to buy cute clothes. When hanging out with your gal pal, try showing her your interested by listening to her and asking questions about her life instead of talking about yourself. All it takes is small little commitments or gestures to show someone they are worth it.

In light of this, I have decided to focus a lot more on championing the women in my life through this blog. I have a passion for style and fashion, so I still will be focusing on outfits and inspiration and such. But I want to make a difference through what I write and what I promote. I want to share ways for you women who read this blog to find affordable fashion that fits your style perfectly, and I want to help you find the courage to express yourself through it. In addition, I want all my readers to be inspired by all of the incredible women I've met and know, so I'm gonna write about them. I want to take a stand for all women, I want to champion all sorts of personalities and ways of life and body shapes and fashion taste. I want us to believe in each other, to encourage each other, and to love each other well. I want to be interested in YOU. I want all of us to stop focusing so much on trying so hard to be interesting, and start focusing on being interested in the beauty of the women that surround us.  

The Year of the Lantern

Once there was a girl who had a dream. All she wanted for her birthday was to see the floating lights. She believed that they lit up the night sky just for her. But never did she think she would encounter as many obstacles as she did along her journey. People tried to tell her that her dream was unreal, that she wasn't thinking clearly. Others tried to sabotage her journey by tricking her into believing she wasn't worth such a beautiful thing. She didn't know where she was going, and she found herself lost many times along the way. There were moments she thought she would never be able to see the lights, that her dream would fade away like the sun at the end of the day. It had become too hard to hold on to her dream.

But one night when she had grown too weary to continue, she stopped to rest by a lake. As she laid down on the sand, she looked up at the moon. His face brought light to the peaceful waters, and she longed for her dream once more.

"Mr. Moon, if you can hear me, can you lend me a beam of your light? I am sad, for my dream has become dim. I can't seem to find it... I thought maybe if you lent me some of your light, I could hold it in my hands and it would help me find it again." And with that, she closed her eyes.

Suddenly, she felt a growing warmth surround her, and opened her eyes. There on the other side of the lake, she saw a swarm of twinkling stars. They danced a waltz of brilliant colors, and floated across the water until they were above her. It was more beautiful than she could have ever dreamed it to be. She looked up at the moon, and he was smiling down on her with the kindest face.

"My dear, your dream is alive because you have asked me for it. I have watched you on your journey, and have been waiting for you to notice. I have loved seeing you be brave. Your dream has always been important to me, and I have been preparing this special gift for you. If ever you are to dream, I will always be there to give you the light you need to find your way to it." 

Thinking over this last year, I couldn't think of how to describe the journey in any other way. This story (inspired by Tangled) is what 2016 has meant to me. I have dreamed many things, and have searched for the means to make them come true. I have encountered many hard and surprising challenges, ones that have left me feeling more hopelessness than I have ever experienced. I have longed for the depths of my heart to be known, and to act upon the passion for the things I love. I am still learning, still falling, still searching. But the Love of the Father has become more real to me than anything I could ever dream up on my own. He never changes, and is always with me. It is so good to be truly known by a Father who's love never ever fails, who believes in me more than I could ever believe in myself. He sees all of my many dreams, and longs to adventure with me to find them.

I have also learned the love of a man whom I didn't know I needed. I have fallen so much deeper in love with my husband in our first full year of marriage. I have realized how deeply broken I am, and how much he sees past my failures on countless occasions. He is funner than I thought, braver that I though, more talented and more passionate about the Lord than I knew before. Marriage has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but the reward of doing it with him has been greater than a life without him. I'll never know another year without him, and i can't wait to see the adventure unfold.

Fun story: the picture above is from last night, New Years Eve, when he and I lit our own lanterns. For my birthday this last year, he bought us tickets to see the lantern festival in the Springs, but it was cancelled last minute. It was a tough month for us, and I cried because I was looking forward to it so much. Later, he informed me that he purchased some lanterns so we could have our own festival, because he knew how important to me it would be. They didn't come for a while, so we sent up our wishes with our lanterns last night. That, is how incredible Jon is. He loves my dreams as much as his own. Happy New Year :) 

Romping (Romantic-Camping)

Romping is my way of defining the BEST way to camp: with your hunnie!! It's the ooey-gooey mushy-gushy form of getting outside the city and rolling around in some dirt (if you know what I mean ;)) for a few days. Jon and I have just celebrated our first WHOLE year of marriage, and this was our choice way to celebrate!

We chose the incredible campgrounds in Eleven Mile to pitch our tent, and couldn't have had a more beautiful weekend. If you ever are looking for a place in Colorado to camp/fish, this is THE place. It has 11 miles of lush forests surrounding the river that flows from Lake George, which caps off the campgrounds at the end of the road. 

Something I really look forward to when camping is cooking! There's something special about making breakfast in the crisp morning air, throwing together whatever you brought and sitting next to the fire while you wait for the sun to overcome your campsite. I always like to bring the best coffee when camping as a little treat, and we drank Switchback coffee out of Ipsento mugs!

For some reason, I have always wanted to witness someone painting a landscape in person. I couldn't believe we found this sweet old man capturing his perception of the beautiful scene while driving to pick up some supplies. It was a better experience than I could have expected, there was so much peace and serenity on his face. He had no other task at hand but to enjoy a few hours in nature, watching the shadows change, hearing the waters rushing over rocks,  and concentrating with his brush. It seems so hard to take these kinds of moments these days... I was so happy to see someone fighting for that peace.

After years of taking this hike with my family whenever we visit 11 Mile, I had to show Jon the life-changing view. There's nothing that proves God's existence better than a view like that! 

After reading and a blissful nap, dinner was served over the fire! I'm obsessed with Hobo Dinners, my favorite camping meal. It's so delicious and healthy! Check out this recipe for a good start to your own hobo dinner. I like to change up the meat we use, and this time it was a sweet Italian sausage from Trader Joe's.

One of the books I'm currently reading, The Light Between Oceans, was what I read on our trip. I haven't finished it yet, but I hope to do so soon to catch the film based on the book that's currently in theaters! I loved this quote : "I wish you could see the sunrise and sunset here. And the stars: the sky gets crowded at night, and it is a bit like watching a clock, seeing the constellations slide across the sky. It's comforting to know that they'll show up, however bad the day has been, however crook things get... It put things into perspective-the stars had been around since before there were people."

If you are married, I highly suggest my version of camping. What we found was that in the midst of our chaotic lives, we were blessed with unhurried TIME. It brought irreplaceable peace. We were so impacted by the stillness of time in those few days, the sweet and deep conversations and the joy we found in reflecting on our happy memories. We saw many shooting stars and made a few wishes for the years to come, dreaming of the love that we still have yet to discover together.