I’m a notoriously picky little shit. I’m picky about food (partly since I’m allergic to dairy, eggs, and gluten, and no longer eat meat for ethical reasons), I’m picky about men (but shouldn’t we all be?) and I’m picky about what I spend money on (I tend to weigh everything against travel funds, i.e. the cost of that dress could get you two RyanAir flights in Europe, T.) One thing I’m definitely not picky about is who and what to practice kindness towards. I am a huge believer that small acts of daily kindness and compassion, as well as larger, long-term focuses of your time and energy, will always be some of the most defining aspects of your entire life. There is a joy that radiates from people who live by their beliefs and make an effort to better the world around them and at large, and it’s the most beautiful thing in the world when like any habit, the conscious effort becomes subconscious, and finding ways to spread positivity and happiness is a natural practice infused into your attitude and actions. As I get older, I’ve realized I tend to surround myself more and more by these special souls, and it’s only grown more and more important to me to be one of them. I live my life through my passion, whether it be passion for a person, a hobby, or a cause. While those passions tend to be honed towards one or a few, my passion for compassion and kindness feels limitless, which is an exhilarating feeling.

Yet sometimes my passions seem to contradict each other. And sometimes I’m scared of my passions, by the depth and electricity and loss of control. I have experienced passions where I force myself to put up a wall, out of fear or out of circumstances. Sometimes you connect with someone at such a striking, special level that you know if you let yourself fully relax and fully feel, you would fall madly in love, and the thought is too overwhelming and scary and crazy so instead you try to turn your heart off. Sometimes you find a cause you support so deeply, you know it would be all-consuming if you let yourself really dive into it and try to bring about support and change, and you don’t know if you have the energy or emotional stamina. Passion in all of it’s glorious intensity can be terrifying. And yet, it can also be the most important indicator of what is meant for you in your life, what your soul was made for. There was a subway ad for the Metropolitan Opera a few years back that exclaimed, “Don’t let desire pass you by.” Desire tends to get a bad rap, as if it’s only purely selfish temptations. Is it possible that following what your innermost self desires could be the quickest path to what is destined for you? I’d like to believe that your heart can know things before you do, whether it be that the person you can’t get over is your soulmate, or that the cause your heart bursts for is one day going to make historic leaps and bounds while you lead it.

But oh, yeah, this is a fashion and music endeavor, right? I haven’t written consistently in awhile, work has kept me busier than usual and I’ve had to travel a lot this summer, and I guess I’ve had a bit of a self-expression-through-writing build up going on inside me! I also haven’t taken photos for this blog since early spring, and I really need to get some summer outfits on here…

But for today, I’ve chosen this gorgeous, golden knit midi-dress. Red tends to be the universal color of passion, but the intensity of the color and the similarity in hue to a child’s crayon drawing of a lightning bolt makes me think ah yes, passion. The ruffle hem is feminine and lovely and the fit hugs my curves in the right places without being overly sexy. My hair is a little messy (I’m working on taking better care of it), I added some pinky-red lip color to my bare face, and I completed the look with simple diamond stud earrings and grey faux-suede kitten heels (faux because ethical reasons, kitten heels because at 5’6″-5’7″ I feel like I can get away with not always wearing high heels for an elongated look). Overall, I feel very vivacious, bright, and beautiful in this outfit, and while it’s striking I feel like it’s not necessarily distracting. I think of this as an outfit I could wear in an environment where I want my intellect and personality to shine through while still looking nice…which is the goal 90% of the time, really, but sometimes I utilize my outfit to express specific aspects of my personality moreso than others.

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The song choice might seem a little odd, since it’s not exactly an intensity-driven beat, but I want to pair it with “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne, solely because of the lyrics. This is such a happy song, and I think it goes along with all the ideas I’ve mentioned above, like opening your heart to kindness, overwhelming passion, and ultimately letting it lead you to what’s fated. This definitely feels like a song they’d play at the end of a movie or at a wedding, and I can see how it might be overly cheesy for some. Ray LaMontagne’s voice has that perfect southern whispery drawl, and it works well to bring sincerity and beauty to the lyrics. And I guess ultimately, I’d like to hope that in the end, following your deepest desires will lead you to that “best thing” that will ever happen to you.

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You know I hope and I pray
That you believe me
When I say this love will never fade away

The more I look at it, the more I do think I look a bit like a walking lightning bolt in this dress, but I’m digging it! It’s fun to imagine myself waltzing into a room in this and ba-bam, instant voltage.

Listen to it here! “You Are the Best Thing”-Ray LaMontagne

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