In My Cup: And Where Have You Been, Darling?

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To answer the question posed, I could probably say, “I’ve been being 24.”  Sliding from sunny, yellow, days…into shady, gray, moments that seem a little surreal.  Perhaps, I could even say it was the fact that the shrimp and oyster festival (read above post and you’ll understand the reference) got rained out and ruined my mood for three whole months. But then again- that would just be sad- oh, and a little pathetic. Continue reading “In My Cup: And Where Have You Been, Darling?”

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Fairs, Friends, Flowers, Pink Skies, Birthdays, and Hiding.

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{p.s. it’s officially fall and oxblood is now my favorite color ever/all my outfits- can you tell?}

As it’s beyond obvious, I’ve flown into a bit of a slump/ and or/ in hiding. One of those slumps that happens in our 20s in the most unexpected times. Times where, in the middle of our unstoppable laughter, we stop laughing. I’m usually good with being honest with myself and keeping myself grounded, but a few weeks ago I realized life wasn’t quite reflective of where I thought I would be. Some predisposed notion of where I was supposed to be kept wrapping itself around my mind. A certain place, with certain things, and certain titles, that would validate any shortcomings or be some sort of trophy for obstacles I’ve been through. Perhaps a pretty white office, with fresh flowers, and streets of eccentric people were the answer. Some kind of world governed by Pinterest and Domino magazine was what I was hoping for? The more I felt it ‘haunt’ me, the more I began to ask myself exactly why I was feeling this way.

I’ve came up with a pretty good answer in the past week. Sometimes in the midst of modern communication and feeling inadequate to the constant surge of success we get to compare ourselves to, I often forget to simply and truly…let go. Fearing moments where we don’t feel like we’ve accomplished much takes up a lot of life.  Especially when we’re so connected to how others are doing and where they are in their own life. The funny thing is we often forget we don’t even truly see what we’ve accomplished and left behind in this world until our life is nearing the next world- or whatever we believe in. So, that’s why I’ve been a little, well, gone for the past few weeks. I’m pretty big on giving myself time to reflect and ask ‘why’ when I feel out of balance, it gives our minds a certain independence of thought. So, mostly what I’ve been doing lately is trying to get used to being okay with they way things are now, right now. Maybe I’m not where I thought I would be, but that doesn’t mean I’m not where I’m supposed to be. If I think back at all the steps I’ve taken until this very moment, a lot of them weren’t taken in assurance or even in acceptance, but they did make me grow and become better. That’s all I can ask for. So, maybe these feelings were meant to be so I can eventually get me to another stage of life. Life is a circle, a beautiful circle.

Anyhow, honestly, writing is one of the only ways I feel like my soul is completely whole. And sharing my ponders with you guys is beyond therapeutic, so I don’t think I’ll be gone that long again anytime soon. 🙂

Into lighter news, I’m now 24- my birthday was this past Wednesday. So I suppose I’ll officially be sharing another year in my 20s with you guys. This past one was…colorful, so I’m sure this year won’t be anything less. I could ramble for another hour, but I believe I’ll just breathe and share some of my current photographs I’ve taken of life lately, instead. I have so many that I really couldn’t wait to share some of them. It’s literally a bit of everything- bright sunflowers for bday presents (are the best), pink sky sunsets with friends, my family’s cabin in the mountains of NC (there has been a good amount of reconnecting with nature/the little white shack isn’t the cabin, haha), a pre-baby roller coaster freakout with my niece (while she was totally fine) + her Tinkerbell-inspired birthday, a fun idea for using christmas lights (i.e…my fireplace is epic now), DIY ice-cream cone cupcakes (perhaps a post coming soon?),  oh- and veggie nachos can cure any feeling of being down, my boyfriend picking wildflowers for moi (ahh), etc. Warning: Serious picture randomness is about to take place.

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Hope you find a little inspiration in this post to find you, and be her without doubt (or just a little less than before.)

🙂

til’ next my loves, -xo

In My Cup: Life Lately, In Pictures

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Happy Tuesday, loves. Hope yours was all lovely. This week has been about adjusting and embracing, so far.  So, I figured today’s post I would share what has been balancing the notorious moods of being 20something. You know, those marvelous moments of bucket-list achievement-highs with a wonderful side of, ‘Oh, my god, what is my life?!‘  Makes me laugh, but it’s so true. Don’t you love it?  Anyhow, last week marked my first article/DIY with Zooey Magazine (which I’m kind of thrilled about, it was too fun!), definitely my ’embracing’ side of the week. It was complete with lots of pineapples, as you will see. (ha)

As far as the ‘adjusting’ side I’m talking about, I suppose it’s mostly my constant ‘control freak spazz’ moments that often times equals the emotion of ‘overwhelming.’  So, how to battle that feeling? Well, in-between Zooey’s little project I was at my best friend’s home for the weekend and got to catch up with her.  That was nice, and definitely a sort of balance I was looking for. We drank pre-fall pumpkin beers (which made us way too excited) happily while cooking and listening to Frank Sinatra, talked like teenage girls, and laughed a lot. Complete with this adorable movie called, ready? ‘Cheesecake Casserole’ that we stumbled upon on Netflix, that we have no shame in recommending, we’ll say. Also, I was visiting my parent’s home (which is in the foothills of NC) and found myself finding really beautiful moments in nature. It’s so calming to find places that used to make you comfortable as a child, don’t you think? Also, this week was apparently ‘national dog day’, who knew? I got a hilarious picture of Ciel looking like she was praying- am I crazy? Yes, and sadly I was all about it, ‘Aw, look! Ciel was definitely Indian in her past life!”  No big deal or anything (lol.) Anyhow, figured I would share some of my ‘life lately’ moments with you guys, xo.

Tell me, what are little things you guys do to find a little ‘peace’ in this sometimes hectic world? I would love to hear!

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{one of my favorite places to swing, sing, and think about life, as a child xo}

Spreading The Love: Advice On Finding A Meaningful Career

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{The following is an interview I did with the help of the lovely team over at Vitamin Angels via 20Something that I wanted to share with you guys xo- please feel free to find my writing over there and share in 20Something’s journey!}

A couple weeks ago I was thinking about what a ‘career’ truly means.  We’re prompted pretty much from the time we can take our first steps to then begin our search for ‘what we want to be.’  I suppose I have probably sounded off close to twenty-three absurdly different paths of what I want to make of my life since I was seven years old.  And then, when you finally get to your 20s- some, big, overwhelming truth hits you for the first time.  It’s like that one day everything becomes somewhat silent and a little…dim.  I think it’s the Universe who decides at some random given moment, “Hey, today I’m going to let that kid know the truth about what it means to truly have that career they’ve been going on about”, a somewhat evil laughter brimming, “And they’ll never be the same.”

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You know what I’m talking about, the sudden day you realize that amazing ‘career path’ you have chosen– has simply become a rut, with no real destination- or journey for that matter.  So, what’s next?  I think for a while we run from it, getting odd jobs here and there, maybe even recklessly touring the country in a mini van and surviving off of food trucks planted about.  After the initial shock that hits, many of us realize the only way to truly get ahead is realizing it’s okay to say everything isn’t absolutely perfect.  Perfection isn’t what life is about.  You then begin looking for answers, and advice, and both eventually finds us along our way.  I suppose that’s exactly what I was looking for when I decided to get in touch with Vitamin Angels.  I wanted an answer.  An answer that could apparently only come from an amazing Non-Governmental Organization, that helps women and children around the world, and the very definition of being ameaningful career. Our generation is looking ahead to a lot of pressing issues- which got me to thinking- isn’t our real job to begin helping out through our careers?

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Recent Vitamin Angels trip to Haiti, 1 in 4 Haitian children under 5 are Vitamin A deficient 

 That’s when I was put in touch with Megan MacKay (i.e. the defining women of what is stated above), the Event Manager of the NGO, Vitamin Angels.  In a nutshell Megan is a beautiful, strong-willed, 30something, women, rockin’ out a seriously wonderful career- and having a great time balancing it all with her husband, five horses, two dogs, and her beloved cat.  I was told she was one of the most inspirational people found within their offices, and was hopelessly in love with her job.  All I could think was, can this please be me one day?  It was pretty evident when I began speaking with her that her co-workers were, indeed, very right.  She adored her job and knew she had found a career that held meaning- and a purpose.  When I first contacted her, she asked if she could get in touch with me after her (life-changing) trip to Malawi.  Do I even need to add you could also tell she had fulfilled the, ‘What I Want To Be When I Grow Up Award’– by far.  And who can blame her?  Vitamin Angels is one of the biggest NGOs helping the child mortality rate go down worldwide through providing simple vitamins and nutrients that saves lives- everyday.  I asked her a few questions about our generation according to her, what she thinks our generation is doing better, how she found her dream job, and what it’s like knowing you’re helping create a brighter future through your career:

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Megan MacKay on her recent trip to Malawi with Vitamin Angels

Q:  What do you honestly think of the future of Generation Y? Joel Stein of Time magazine just did a pretty nasty article on us this year, “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation”, where we were called things like ‘lazy’, ‘narcissistic’, and ‘money hungry’. Nice, right?  For me, I’ve always wanted to think we were hard-working, knew our self-worth, and more worried about the greater good than some extra cash. What do you think?

A: I think it really depends on the individual. I know a lot of people in my generation that act like the “Me, Me, Me” type, but I also know plenty that really do care and even if they don’t have the funds to contribute to charities they recycle, compost, conserve, and more to try and make a difference (donating time, etc). I do feel that more people from my generation care about the environment, social issues, and trying to find ways to make a bigger impact on the world. I also believe that our generation has a stronger outcry for more organic and sustainable items than that of older generations.

Q: Okay, so for a little inspiration; What’s something that has changed your life, so far, with working at Vitamin Angels– and what is something that keeps ‘positive vibes’ flowing throughout your day?

A: I just got back from a life-altering trip to Malawi with our team that you’ll hear about, which was an incredible experience. That’s definitely changed my life greatly.  And I like to think of balance;  I strive to try and be the best person that I think I can be in life, love, and work. I have so many dreams it could only take a book to write them all down, but I am hopeful that I will be remembered for trying to make a difference and leading by example.

Q:  I think the book idea sounds brilliant. We’re all for it!  So, let’s be honest, in our 20s there is a lot of freaking out involved when it comes to our career choices.  I have to ask you this; Before you began working for VAs, did you ever feel “trapped” in a job that felt like it wasn’t going in the direction you thought it would? Even if you were making good money? If so, what gave?

A: I think just about everyone starting out in their 20’s after college has that feeling of being trapped in a completely meaningless job. As you attempt to work your way up the ladder, you think to yourself, it might get better. I certainly had that feeling of wanting something bigger, better, and doing something that actually had meaning behind it. I think my breaking point was just last year; I was making great money, working my tail off, but not really happy with myself- or who I was becoming.  I knew I had to make a change in my life so I started looking for something different.

Q: So, in that case, how did you find that change? Did you find Vitamin Angels– or did they find you?

A: I actually found the Vitamin Angel’s opening on Craigslist, when I read the ad I honestly thought, “Is this for real? Because if it is, I am the perfect fit!” Ironic how it all works out.

Q: So obviously you were right- it was the perfect fit. Was it always a dream of your’s to work for an NGO, or was it the ‘light of Craigslist’ that sparked that, “Aha!”, lightbulb? I think being in our 20s we feel this pressure to ‘have it all figured out’, so it’s nice to hear feedback from someone who has been there…

A: I have worked for some very large Fortune 500 corporations in my earlier career stages, which have provided so much to me in earnings, learning, and having some pretty amazing mentors. After graduating college, I have to be honest, my dream was to be an extremely successful Marketing Director (or something to that level), and I certainly wasn’t thinking about working for an NGO at that point of my life. After 10 years in the corporate world my ‘aha’ moment was actually at an Event Planner conference where an NGO called “Clean the World” did a presentation. There was a moment in a video from Haiti where they were giving the children soap, and the tears just started welling up in my eyes– all that crossed my mind was, “I wish I could do MORE, I wish I was doing something that made a difference.” A couple of months later I saw the Vitamin Angels ad in Craigslist for the Event Manager position and I just knew that it was the perfect fit for me. I could do something I love, and do it for an organization I truly believe in.

Q: Ah, I love it! I’m such a sap for ‘full-circle’ life happenings.  Tells us more about being Vitamin Angel’s Event Manager– I feel like it’s one of those jobs ‘that keeps rolling’, so to say. You get to have a great time, making sure everyone has a great time, having a great time creating the difference you guys make around the world.  Whew, that’s a pretty awesome job description if you ask me.  What’s a typical day in your shoes?

A: Vitamin Angels has several large events throughout the year. Mainly for fundraising, donor recognition, and to increase awareness– a day in the life with me is all about multitasking. I manage extensive budgets, track expenses, work closely with management on all levels, both at VA, with our board members, and with our partners to make sure the event is a success. I am constantly thinking about event design and marketing to make the events memorable and unique. I develop strategies to make sure our goals are being met, reach out to partners to help secure registrations and sponsorships, answer attendee and sponsor questions/concerns, develop reports to track progress, site research and then work with the vendors regarding the event logistics (food, promotional items, activities, etc.)

The best part of my day, though, is definitely the amazing friendships made and the camaraderie in the office. From the awesome VA rap that was done at our Christmas party this year (kudos to my creative co-workers!), to the amazing birthday celebrations (and as the office staff grows, so do the parties, wink wink), and our fun brainstorming atmosphere (we have had some pretty wild ideas) each day- there is just this joyful aura around here- and it’s such an honor to be a part of such a cohesive team of individuals.

Q: Seems like a pretty wonderful place to create, inspire, and have an open space of exchange. That’s lovely. I must ask this because of the area of work you guys deal with everyday; We walk around places all the time and see loads of vitamins swarming the aisles and don’t actively think much of it- from grocery stores, health stores, pharmacies, etc.  What is it like now, seeing this, when you know so many women and children die everyday from such a simple deficiencies? Has it changed you at all?

A: I am so proud of everything that we are doing with Vitamin Angels– and have seen firsthand the affect that it is having globally– that I honestly haven’t focused on the negativity (death) that much. I suppose I find myself more engaged and thoughtful on how can we reach more people- ‘How do we get the word out so that everyone has heard of Vitamin Angels?’- those sort of thoughts cross my mind a lot nowadays. It is also amazing to me that .25 cents can save one child’s life. Vitamin Angels has changed me by actually being proud of what I do and who I work for. I know that at the end of the day creating memorable events, equals out to creating mass awareness about our cause.

Q: Obviously we’re on the same page; Creating a meaningful and positive impact on others in our lives is one of the only true ways to live life to the fullest. You certainly do this in your line of work– do you feel like your job is a sort of ‘complete success’ in a way? Especially when so many of us know we get caught up in merely working to support a lifestyle we want?

A: I absolutely feel that my job is a gift. I am so grateful for being able to work with such great people that truly believe in what we are doing, in an industry that is truly proud to work with us, and is so supportive. If you feel you want a job that is more meaningful, simple and actively seek it out– eventually you will find your calling. It may not fall out of the sky immediately, but you’ll get there.

Q: So how has your life changed knowing you are working for a greater good? 

A: My life has certainly changed for the better. What has truly inspired me while working at VA are the certainly the incredibly dedicated and intelligent people I work with, but also having the opportunity to see the Vitamin A distribution in Malawi, Africa. The impact was profound and is currently driving me to find ways to bring the feeling from the trip to those that might not be able to go to a remote distribution, but will find a way to come to our events and make a difference.

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Photograph of Malawi mother and son, as she builds her own home, brick-by-brick

 Q: Was there one particular moment while distributing Vitamin A, in Malawi, that touched you/inspired you– being a women and playing such a key-role in a huge NGO?

A: While in Malawi, the last village we visited, there was a young mother, 23 years old with two children and she was building her own home…brick by brick (literally – she was making the bricks one by one in the mud). Her love for her children and her need to provide for them, although she has nothing, was so overwhelming. Standing in a pile of mud (that she was using to create each brick) she takes her son, rinses off his legs and hands, gives him a big hug and sends him over to play with the other children. A mother’s love for her child reaches across the globe and all that crossed my mind after seeing this was how can I help VA more? What can I do to bring these stories to life for those that aren’t able to be in Malawi with me? It has inspired me to push myself even harder with life and work but it also reminded me to take time to enjoy being with those that I love.

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Q: So, my last question is pretty loaded; If you could say something to generations before you on behalf of Generation Y, what do you think you would say about us?

A: It’s as simple as, watch and learn…

If you would like to learn more, get involved, or donate to Vitamin Angels, please visit their website, donations may be taken here!

A special thanks from 20Something to Vitamin Angels and Megan MacKay for our interview! You guys Rock!

{all images in the interview are courtesy of Vitamin Angel’s}

Friendship in Your 20s: The ‘Other’ Relationship.

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 I’ve been thinking lately, in our 20s we are swarmed with about eighteen different emotions on any normal day. Sometimes it’s like the best day ever, indeed, could consist of nothing but hard liquor, black candles, and a hot tub to melt our troubles away. We have a lot on our plates, but relationships become one of the toughest topics to unlock. There is so much refiguring and reexamining, that we often times feel as though we are the Upper East Side’s concrete sidewalks- getting water pressure blasted on a daily basis, and no one really has a good answer as to why. We only know some mumbled answer that sounds something like, “We’re…cleaning”, it’s like, but it’s sidewalk? Or in our case, “But, we’re about to have a mental breakdown, must this constant blast be continuous?” Once a week would suffice.

Anyhow, on top of everything else that’s going on from careers to love, we find ourselves…friendless? Perhaps, that is a bit of an overstatement, but rather friendships that really just, well, aren’t the same anymore. As if we haven’t been blasted enough, here’s one more ‘mark?’ on the sidewalk of life… Continue reading “Friendship in Your 20s: The ‘Other’ Relationship.”

Monday Morning Madness: Would You Keep A Body Photography Diary?

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…As a portrait of yourself as a young, 20something, woman? To remember who she was all those years later?…

Yesterday evening I got on this whole feminist kick, which I tend to do a lot. I’m a woman, I FUCKING rock, kind of ordeal.  I was watching videos on modern feminism (which I love, makes ya’ think), looking at this new book that seems very interesting on where our generation is heading, and basically just thinking about how I am a woman in my 20s at this very moment. Of course, these thoughts kind of dwelled into my restlessness last night and I started to think how this part of my life will probably one day feel as if it was lived in a complete flash. I mean, keep aside that every single day I ask myself, “What the hell are you doing with your life, Laura White?”, but then I always end up thinking- well that’s how I know I’m in my 20s. It was actually quite funny because I then had this non-existent nostalgia for something that wasn’t really even gone quite yet. That weird feeling like I can already feel myself missing, well, myself. To be…free, and lost, and completely crazy at times. To be…in the most miserable of miserable, and mind-blowingly happy, places of my life- all at fucking once.  It’s something I think I’ll always cherish and want to remember. My next question seemed to just kind of float around as I was laying there, ‘how can I remember myself…at this very, fragile, stage?’

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Then it came to me, why not a yearly-photograph in the form of a body diary? No, I’m not talking about recording the things you hate about yourself, the insecurities, the food you ate that day, slowly morphing into something you hope resembles page 6 in Victoria’s Secret. None of that. Why not take one photograph every year that made you remember the strong, independent, beautiful, and lovely women you are slowly, but surely, becoming? Or, hell, already are. I think it would be nice to keep something like that around, as women, in a raw state, to remember ourselves by in such impressionable times. The things we were doing each year, whether we were off-the-wall lost or completely and pristinely together in all forms. To have something you could take with you to capture the interesting moments of being a woman, right now. I think it would be a very freeing ‘self-adventure.’

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Of course the idea of keeping this ‘Body Diary’ would be completely up to us. Whether we bare-it-all, or take a picture of our eyes, it would definitely have a frame of its’ own judgement. It would be cool to have a seriously talented photographer friend somewhere around your life, but the point is just keep the moment here. Maybe the apartment you dwelled in that felt like your first true ‘home’ by yourself…the breakfast you usually ate, every morning before the silly job you had. I think it would be nice to go to a place that was particularly important to us that year and get a photo- or a certain book that felt life-changing at the time. It would all be within a realm of growing and being able to look back on each of these years when we are older. Even as a ‘one-day’ mom, I think it would be super cool to be able to show your daughter a look back on your life so they can see how fearless you were, and they will be too. Because we’re woman, and we’re amazing.

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True Life 20s: Who Misses Daria?

True Life 20s: Who Misses Daria?

1990s where did you go? Can I at least have one more Hanson hit in 2013 and pretend Zac Hanson is my lover? No, you say?…Oh, cool.