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.

5 Ways to Create a More Beautiful Life

 

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. this is my symphony.” – William Channing

 

 

1. Let meditation become the beautiful bookends to each day. Practice 10-15 minutes when you wake up and each evening before dinner. You can try YouTube meditations at first if it is too difficult to sit in silence at first. Binaural beats with headphones are great for putting your brainwaves to exact emotional experiences you want. Search binaural beats for: joy, beauty, love, etc.

2. Read and work in elevated spaces. If you want to read for pleasure, or if you have to work on something that you dread, find somewhere inspiring to do so. It could be a luxurious hotel’s cafe, a museum cafe, a university, a garden, or a little park. Make it fun for you, and make it beautiful for you. We subconsciously absorb our environments, so let it be beautiful.

3. If you are not feeling openhearted it is difficult to create and allow beauty into your life. One of the best ways to open up again is through animals. Take a trip to your local zoo, or spend extra time with your pet. Like being in nature, being around such elevated and open animals is very healing and inspiring.

4. Create a personal uniform for days when you aren’t inspired. Mine is black jeans, a white shirt, black boots, and a leather jacket. When I don’t feel great I know I can put this easy set on and become more confident and focus on my day.

5. Collect inspiration everywhere. You can buy magazines and cut the things you love and keep them in a journal. When you flip through you will have an instant wave of inspiration of who you are and what you want. Blogs and Pinterest have a lot to be inspired by, but it’s important to write what inspires you and create and observe tactile images so your brain processes them and manifests them even more.

I wish you beautiful days.

Top by Zara.

Classical Inspired Interior

I have been collecting lovely items from antiques stores for two years now. I am always inspired by the 1500s-1800s in particular. All things gold fill my home. I am growing a collection of gold earrings and original oil paintings in gold frames. I have items from Russia, France, South Korea, and here in the United States so far.

All things magical affect me. This small reading candle makes me think of a young girl wandering her castle at night. I truly believe the items you surround yourself with affect you, both consciously and subconsciously. My home is a safe haven of beautiful thoughts for my mind.

Things don't have to be too perfect,or too neat. I like the naturalness of a lived in home. I prefer ease to overly staged photos, art, and interiors. Sometimes it appears to let the soul of the subjects to speak out.

What I (Really) Learned From College.

University is about more than a formal education. The lessons I learned in these formative years can’t compare to anything I have learned before or after them.

You don’t have to know who you are going to be or what you’re going to do. I changed my major five times, and I became five different people at least. I have friends who stuck with one passion and finished, but not many. I went from a degree in ballet, to business, international studies, international business, ending finally in English. In my graduation I accidentally walked with the communication majors instead of my own class. Whoops. Who cares! I wouldn’t change my path because I learned from all of my classes and met a variety of people. You either learn what you love, or what doesn’t work for you, which leads you back to more things for you to love.

Your inner self if your new guide, not your parents. The time begins for you to decide things for yourself. I’ve seen so many people living someone else’s life. Life is too short to live for anyone else’s expectations. The world needs people who are passionate and creative in every field. Having a “good” job or degree doesn’t make a good life. You’re ability to work with your heart open and interests piqued will lead to better success and greater happiness and health long-term.

Choose your relationships wisely. I spent many of my college years in an unhealthy relationship. It drained my energy and lowered my confidence. Without holding onto him out of fear, I would have had more time and opportunities to pursue new activities, make more new friends, and hone and perfect more skills in my hobbies. Man, I really wish I worried about my painting and dance skills, not my worrying about a boyfriend skills!

Save, say yes, and travel. Save the money you would spend on objects impressing others with experiences. Research how to split your finances each month and save for a rainy day and your later years. But, also save for travel and experiences you can have while you are not weighed down with as many obligations to your own family and careers. Some students may have families and steady jobs already (good for you!) but many don’t, and it’s a perfect time to take the leap and expand your curiosity and question your views and lifestyle.

All together, college is about taking time for yourself. It’s about being quiet with yourself, away from the demands and expectations of your little world of the past, and asking yourself how you want to grow and expand your new world.

Forever 1800s

“I love old things. Modern things are so cold. I need things that have lived.”
Barbara Hulanicki of Biba

Fast food, fast fashion, and quick results, so much of the modern world is is about time-traveling to the future. However, I find the past even more exciting. I feel at home in antique and thrift stores where I find many of my items and clothing. They are beautiful, often well made, and sometimes even rare and priceless. I feel accomplished when I find something that speaks to me, and I find my childlike sense of wonder looking through the old objects waiting for another life to be given to
them from my youthful perspective.

Nothing feels old to me – from beautiful and ornate dresses, lace, and gold lined objects from other moments in time. If you are present and enjoying the moment time will no longer carry you, you never age or grow sick because you are in a perpetual state of wonder and now. Modern treasures amaze me, but don’t disregard your local antique shops, or judge thrift stores, which sometimes holds people as magical as the items.

Explore locally, and break shopping habits sometimes. I find a piece of my heart in every little antique box, bag, or frame. The energy of the piece adds to my own when I wear it and if that isn’t magical… Transformation of the self can be assisted by what we wear, and beautiful things we surround ourselves with, and these things can be found anywhere. I promise it.

How to Blend in with the French

(Okay, no, I don’t exactly suggest a béret).

Now I cannot say I am an expert, or perfect at blending in while in France, but I do have a lot of experience from living there for long stretches and dating a french for a couple of years. These are not meant to be hard facts, but simply observations and things I have learned from interactions in France. Of course there will be exceptions, but I do happen to remember what I was wearing anytime someone asked me for directions, then was shocked I wasn’t french!

Clothing: Even I can spot most Americans while in France. The french have an easier way about their outfits, even if they are elaborate. Part of it is how they wear their clothes with their own personality. I would say it is true in general that french people dress more in basic staple pieces and opt for more simple palettes. However, I have seen many of the younger generation wear more trendy, almost American styles. Many younger french teenagers are holding Zara, H&M, and similar stores bags on both hands. It’s a bit of a disappointment honestly when fast fashion has grown so much in the country with the best historic sense of a style (in my opinion). Also know that Parisian clothing isn’t necessarily the same as the rest of France. The north, south, and Paris are completely different subcultures inside France. In Paris I’d say roll out your best chic look and complacent glare. In the south, dressing simple and fresh is a lot more appropriate. Overall, I would say dress in basics with elegant accessories (gold earrings, a beautiful bag, a dainty necklace) anything with poor fabrics, tacky designs, brand names, and cheap silhouettes isn’t so becoming there. Also, men wear their shorts a bit shorter and many carry leather bags with them wherever they go. It’s also worth mentioning I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pair of flip flops in France.

Accessories: What I have observed are minimal and feminine pieces. A simple necklace, a quality purse, a leather notebook. I don’t see a lot of dazzling pieces in the north or south on the average day.

Hair: None of my french friends, or any girls I’ve met or seen style their hair. Even for parties their hair is relaxed and natural. I think curling irons, hairspray, or over styled locks is a giveaway that they probably are not from France.

Makeup: Most girls seem to wear a natural look. Maybe they will wear eyeliner and mascara, but a full face of makeup or contouring is usually a bit rare in France from what I have experienced. I wouldn’t bother packing more than one eyeshadow kit and maybe a red lipstick, every time I bring more I feel silly wearing it. Even to parties none of the girls had made up faces, so I learned to stay simple and relaxed when I wanted (frees up my schedule!).

Attitude: I love the attitude of french women. At parties I never observed them looking around comparing themselves to other girls or seeming to wonder what people were thinking. They seemed to be grounded and confident in themselves. Naturally, there will be women who differ from this, but overall I felt french women had a sense of inner dependence I would love to acquire. I really believe they focus more on charm than obtaining perfect features. When they believe in their own charm, everyone else does too. I think every woman knows she can be beautiful in her own way and stage of life there, at least a little more than other Western countries. Oh, and please oh please don't talk too loud, or exaggerate in France if you're trying to blend in i.e.: This meal is the best. It is soo delicious. I adore your jacket. They normally don't do that, trust me. If a meal is fabulous my boyfriend and his family say, "It's okay, but did it really have enough salt?" I simply don't understand it.

When in doubt a sexy white T-shirt, well fitted black pants, and a pair of sunglasses always has people asking me for the directions!

Bisou.

Three Ways to Cope with Feeling Lost in Your Twenties

I can’t tell you how much I have changed from age 16 to now. It’s as if I have become an entirely different person annually. However, every year there have always been a month or two where I feel completely lost. I begin to question if my career is what I want to pursue, if I’m studying the right subjects in school, if I even want to continue school, where my relationships are going, and worst of all I begin to question my worth, and if I really measure up in the world. The only thing that gets me through these periods is knowing (after enduring many of them) that it’s a growth cycle that comes and goes.

Before the wind picks up and stirs you back in the right direction for you, here are a few ways that I have managed these periods in the past:

1. Personality testing. There are two personality tests that I think are both accurate and give insights to even the most reflective person. First, is the Myers Briggs personality test. This is the test that indicates four letters to determine your characteristics. For example, I am an INFJ, which stands for-introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging. Reading on this type really put into perspective how I see the world and what my strengths are as a person. Second is my favorite, the Enneagram test. This test determines a detailed look into your biggest desires and fears, and I felt as if this test was staring into my most fragile core. The test reveals the darker and more unique aspects of the personality, and I still look back to the articles published by other 4s (there are nine numbers total). I look for how 4s cope with jobs, relationships, and even school. There is a lot of information and even books on these subjects. Also, there are great resources for career and hobby strengths for all of these types.

2. Snowball effect. Without knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, spend time doing what you love most without judging yourself. Whether that’s reading for hours, writing, shopping, building, it doesn’t matter if it turns into anything tangible at all. As you keep doing what you love, as a part of self-care during these times, you will naturally being to snowball into greater ideas, projects, desires, and passions. As these come, the right people will connect with you to make these projects start working. Even something small like reading the latest bestseller by the pool can spark an idea or desire you never would have otherwise guessed. Don’t judge yourself for enjoying yourself, because through that often comes your natural purpose. Purpose comes from being as much as doing (maybe even more).

3. How do you like helping people? I’ve always said to myself “your suffering becomes your service”. However you like helping people is probably linked to your bigger path. It can be something seemingly small like commenting nice things on photos, standing up to cruel actions from another, or it can be going to other countries and connecting with people in hard emotional or economic conditions. Wherever you like to help is likely a good place to start focusing on. When we focus on others, our own focus because a lot more clear.

Please connect if you have any thoughts or ideas. Thank you.