F*ck it femininity: femininity as a means of rebellion

I had weird career goals when I was 14-16. My dreams often varied from my peers. I wanted to be something a bit extreme. At one point I very seriously wanted to be a nun and devote all of my body and mind to spirituality. I craved a magical and intense mysticism to enter my life. Later, I wanted to be a Geisha (cringe I know). I asked my parents to let me move to Japan to start my maiko training, which obviously didn’t work out. But again, I don’t think I wanted that path as much as the essence of it. I always wanted to live my life and devote it to something feminine and artistic. I wanted a path with passion and creativity. Of course many won’t go these extreme routes, but I do believe there are women out there searching for something spiritual, magical, feminine, deep, and creative. They want a life that is anything but ordinary. We admire Jane Goodall and her exploration, and Lady Diana and her grace and compassion. To me, this is radical femininity.

Today women are increasingly valued by how they measure up to men. Of course we deserve equal rights, pay, and opportunities. Yet, some women give up a part of their hidden feminine hearts in order to be successful how we define it today. Success is defined in our culture often by our career position, income, and external value. Traditionally, feminine values are not of this sort. Women are valuable by their essence, their nature, and their simple act of being themselves in their authentic energy. All of us have different levels of gender identification, so this may not fit each person. But to me, being vulnerable, tender, creative and loving in every situation is an act of feminine rebellion against the masculine system today. Women are often seen as more valuable (societally) when in their masculine essence and exhibit qualities like aggression and ambition, both in love and work. Let yourself be seen when the world says stuff those pointless feelings away!

If you like ruffles and frills bust them out among a grey or trendy office. If you hear words of anger, dare to be compassionate. If someone hurts you, dare to say, “I am hurt” instead of “I hate you”. Dare to be vulnerable and go on a limb to change the status quo of what is held to be valuable today. Offer love even when you can be rejected. Show the world that softness has immense strength.

Monthly Favorites: August 2018

Here are a few of my favorite things from this lovely August month, here as summer meets autumn:

This is a prescription level vitamin A cream that is available over the counter in France! Also, it is easily available online on Amazon for around $20. It is between a strong prescription strength and a normal retinol cream. Therefore it promises to create changes in the skin (smoother, clearer, build collagen and elastic) but not irritate and cause peeling and redness. And guess what… It does exactly that! I have tried both hard core prescription retin-a and OTC retinol and was too irritated, or saw no improvement. This is easy to use every night and it actually works! I can't imagine not using this for my whole life…

This is another prescription cream from France, but again is easily available on Amazon for around $15. This is prescription level hyaluronic acid. This "acid" really just plumps you skin and binds moisture deeply to the skin. It a compound naturally found in healthy youthful skin, and using it will bind more moisture to the skin. I prefer this with a serum or oil underneath to bind even more moisture. Did you know water does not moisterizer skin, but requires other ingredients to bind moisture to the skin? Don't skip a good moisturizer if you want pretty skin! I even prefer this to hyaluronic serums because it is creamy and really appears to trap in moisture, also it is a prescription level concentrate.

I bought this on a whim at a local grocery store. Not expecting much from a product that only cost 7€, but I was happily shocked. My split ends are finally decreasing so that I can grow out the long princess hair I have always longed for. It works well on both dry and wet hair. I use it after washing at night, and also some mornings. My ends are more full and healthy since using it.

"Desert Flower" by Waris Dirie instantly attracted me after I had heard her name mentioned in Vogue. I forgot to google her, and a week later she stood in front of me at a local bookstore. This is her autobiography of her life. She escaped an arranged marriage by traveling across the African desert alone. She survives assaults and abuses and comes out in the end a gorgeous advocate, model, and political influence. I have the most respect for her and I am finding my heart blooming for women everywhere endearing hardship across cultures, but rising above in the end. (Trigger warning for assault survivors in this work).

I was a bit skeptical over this new Anne and I admit maybe I would have casted some characters a bit differently if I had a say, but I really enjoyed this show! Season one and two are both on Netflix. Season two was my absolute favorite! I love that the show is full of marvelous hair and dress inspiration. Also, Anne's frequent literary quotes and constant positive attitude despite hardship left me feeling refreshed and light after watching. The show also deals with deeper issues such as sexual preference, abuse, beauty and self-esteem, and social stigma.

20 Ways to Create Your Own Fairytale Lifestyle

My heart and inner world has always been like a fairytale. Sometimes it gets buried, but it is always there. I enjoy creating a world around me that is simple and beautiful. It is not superficial, but deeply spiritual, and one of the ways I connect with and glorify God and nature, and feel a purpose. Never believe creating a little beauty, shining a little light, or little acts of kindness are not important. Your own life is your artistic statement and needs no explanation.

1. Create a ritual tea time. For me, it is late afternoon and each morning. There are so many varieties of tea to suit each person. You can buy a specific tea set for your own ritual, and pair the tea with milk or lemon.

2. Learn to make your own clothing. You can have something unique to your tastes and body. At the least, making simple dress or skirts is a creative way to pass the time and end up with a lovely look.

3. Have dinner parties, preferably outside with lights illuminating the surrounding plants. Serve several small courses, dessert, and coffee. Use your best china, maybe find antique pieces. Include a vibrant mix of people new and old to create new connections and ideas flowing. Play card games while drinking champagne. If they don’t want to play cards, one it starts, trust me they will get competitive and lively!

4. Practice a hobby. Making dolls, watercolors, ballet, or embroidery can help you meet others, or have something lovely to add to your home.

5. Have picnics. Whether alone with a book, or with friends. Wonderful places include by a fountain or river, or in your city’s most beautiful park. You can play croquet when with friends.

6. Buy yourself a plant, name it, and speak to it (it honestly helps it grow!) and practice giving a little love to your new friend and it gives beauty to your home. Better yet, make your own secret garden somewhere…

7. Find new uses for flowers, whether pressing them in books and making collages, decorating frames, hanging them in a room, or more.

8. Create your own space for creativity in your home. Whether it is a photography set up with natural light and props, or a comfy corner to set up your painting canvases.

9. Take yourself on dates to museums, historical sites, plays, and natural wonders. Absorb their beauty and let your mind wander. Bring a sketchbook for drawings or poetry.

10. Only watch, read, look at, and listen to things that are true and lovely. Read some of your favorite children’s books. I enjoy the book “The Girl in the Tower”. Children's books and fairytales still ring true for me. The body, mind, and soul don’t age according to turns around the sun, but how fresh and new we are inside and treat ourselves.

11. Create a little vanity with your skincare, makeup, bows, and hair brush. Whatever makes you feel pretty all in one place.

12. Read books and watch films from other eras and bring some of their style and positive mannerisms into today.

13. Go vintage shopping (aka treasure shopping). Need I say more?

14. Be the person who goes out of their way to make someone feel special. Listen awful hard and with a full heart speak respond, make little hand made little gifts, and remember their favorite things.

15. Start a collection. It could be coins, teddy bears, fans, tea sets, whatever you love.

16. Volunteer. Wherever you are is the best place to start healing others.

17. Pet every dog you see, and cats (if they let you). I believe the best people in the world are dogs. It doesn’t have to make sense.

18. Make creative, simple, and healthy takes on your favorite meals. Less sugar, more life giving ingredients. (But sometimes chocolate is good for the soul).

19. Decorate a box to put ticket stubs, letters, flowers, little gifts, and instax photos. You can go through them and remember the fun times.

20. Make everything fun for you. If you are doing chores, sing or listen to music. If you are doing homework, reward yourself every 45 minutes with little things like a latte or small walk. If you are watching your children, set up some me time for a bubble bath and paint your nails. If you are working, bring some poems to memorize when things get slow, or some essential oils and flower remedies for when things or fast. There is always a magical remedy.

Art and Architecture

Today I had a delightful visit in Musée Longchamp. The name came from the architect of the museum, and I think he is worth a google if you enjoy gorgeous buildings. Architecture and sculpture move me more than any art form. They live and breath with you. They make you feel taller, smaller, proud, and humble all at once. Isn't it amazing that we have our own architecture? Our bones, skin, and essence have a potential to inspire the way art does, with a promise of more inside, more treasures within to be explored. What would the art inside of you look like?

*skirt by Rouje

Les Cévennes: A Lost Paradise of France

My love tells me he dreams of this place every night. I thought that was bizarre until I saw it. This land where he grew up is like a garden of Eden. I felt like a fairytale character wandering the forests with a straw basket and provincial dress. I climbed cherry trees to pick and eat the juiciest fruits. We find wild mushrooms to eat with dinner. The stones in the forest are silver and sparkle in the sunlight that creeps through the canopy of leaves. Chestnut trees, some 2,000 years old stand watch over the place, and will long after we are gone. Little creatures peek through the trees and stones. Neighbors of this very sparsely inhabited land peek out of their stone homes to say hello and offer fresh grape juice. Everything feels ethereal, like a place to rest from earth, yet a place filled with more earth than I have ever seen. My hair feels softer, my skin feels smoother, and I am filled with peace spending my days reading in front of the waves of green trees, or napping in front of the stars so clearly defined a meteor seems to pass every five minutes.

Here are some lessons I have learned here:

Vision boards 2.0

You have probably heard about vision boards. Vision boards are when you collect images and words that are the essence of what you want. The idea is if you look at it each day, you will attract more of those things into your life (assuming you have a positive, grateful, and full of faith type of vibe going for you). I have made many over the years and can say they do work when I make sure to align myself with positive thoughts and focus.

However, having the board in my room was like sharing my deepest desires with the world (well whoever wondered in my space) and I tend to feel a little drained rather than uplifted sharing the details of my dreams with just anyone. Also, I felt like once I made it, it was done. I wanted it to go on more!

That is why I created my own dream journal. It is a book (I am on my third) where I college images and words that inspire me. I also write lists of things that I love and want. Sometimes I write quotes from the books I read, or advice I received. Basically it is one living breathing compilation of everything great and inspiring in life to me. I can flip through it every day to be refreshed and reminded of who I am and want to be.

Also…I love buying hauls of magazines and cutting images. It trains my mind to keep looking for more of what I like everywhere. It keeps my anxious mind focused on positive things and my hands busy.

Here are a few pages from my book so you get the idea:

Enjoy your week and keep dreaming my lovelies.

How Instagram helped my depression

To be honest, I thought social media (especially Instagram) was bad for a person's wellbeing. I read the articles on how it lowered self-esteem, created anxiety, and increased depression. They said it was because of looking at the overly perfected highlight reel of someone's life can cause anguish at our own imperfect, and not always glistening lives. These reasons kept me away from social media with wrongful pride thinking, I'm not one of those people.

After being diagnosed with depression I longed for an outlet for the sadness, hopelessness, and anger I felt inside. I wanted a new artistic hobby that could help me evolve. After deciding I would like to try photography I knew Instagram might become part of the picture. I logged in again, deleted all of my old images, and changed my name. I wanted this to be a place of artistic expression more than only sharing news.

Most importantly, I deleted everyone I had previously followed and realized it wasn't the tool that created anxiety, it is the use. I can choose who I follow, and who I admire and why. I became more clear on my own life vision and decided to only view those who fall in line with that. Suddenly, every day became an opportunity for inspiration, not envy. I thought, How cute is that, I want to make that, I love the way this is styled!

This lead to another way instagram decreased my depression. I constantly have something beautiful to look for now! I am on the hunt for something lovely everywhere I go. Not only that, but I keep my mind busy on creative aspects like what angle, light, and story will meaning capture the meaning? I get focused on the grid of images and whether the images all together tell the story I want. My focus has become beauty, instead of sadness and anger.

Together these elements created what I always longed for, but didn't feel worthy of – connection. I have made incredible and true friends from all over the globe. They are more than willing to share more than their highlights reel with me. I finally have friends that are attracted by similar things in life like me, and I get so much inspiration from sharing and sometimes creating images with them.

Instagram has helped me shift my focus and help my mind launch creative ideas instead of fears.