Hello Jewlie

"I don't know a lot about everything, but I do know a lot about the part of everything that I know, which is people."

Mid-West Escapee.

Living in a love/hate relationship with NYC.

Runs on coffee and tunes.

Cats, Tats & Motorcycle Boots.

yveszy asked: Hey Jewlie! I'm a senior in high school and my goal is to go to FIT and pursue a fashion pr career... But I'm curious, where did you study?

I was a journalism/art history double major at NYU, where I got my associates degree, and then I went on to get my bachelor of business administration from LIM College.

If you’re not…

Drinking an entire bottle of wine, listening to Missy Elliot and sitting across from your best friend right now…you’re doing Sunday night wrong. 

Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.

—Alice Walker, Living By The Word (via tendertired)

(Source: iamcharliesangel, via danielconfroy)

My rock, flawless. 
I don’t think anyone still checks in on this blog since it’s been pretty much inactive for over a year, but I’m slowly coming out about a really exciting secret I’ve been (sort of) keeping since February. 
In December I’m moving to Austin! 
It’s crazy to think about my life not being in New York anymore, but it’s been 7 years and I’m ready to start the next chapter of my life with this guy that I’m crazystupid in love with. It’s obviously very bittersweet, there are some things I can’t imagine my life without (Alyssa, Galadriel and my gym life), but I truly can’t imagine my life without Mo. 
Not totally sure what I’m going to do down there yet, I’ve got a few ideas, but I’m not nervous about it, and that’s how I know it’s the right decision for me. It’s just something I know I’m supposed to do and honestly, I’m so excited. I can’t wait to spend my life with this incredible person, I can’t wait to have a whole normal sized apartment/maybe a house (?!?!) to decorate, I can’t wait to ride a bike and not worry about it being stolen, I can’t wait to be able to eat outside almost all year round…and I just can’t wait to be somewhere new. 
I love New York, but I always knew I wouldn’t be here forever, and the longer I stay, the harder it will be to leave. And I will be back at least a couple weeks a year to freelance, so it’s not goodbye forever. 
Anyway, I’ve been slowly leaking this information since we made the decision back in February. Obviously some people have known for months (my parents, Kaity, Alyssa, Galadriel), but most people still don’t know and probably won’t until the fall. I’ve decided to wait to tell the world (aka Facebook) until then because the general response has been kind of dramatic considering I’m not leaving until the end of December and I don’t want people to get it in their minds that I’m already gone until I’m actually leaving. 
So yes- you heard it here first, I’m off to Austin in December. 

My rock, flawless. 

I don’t think anyone still checks in on this blog since it’s been pretty much inactive for over a year, but I’m slowly coming out about a really exciting secret I’ve been (sort of) keeping since February. 

In December I’m moving to Austin! 

It’s crazy to think about my life not being in New York anymore, but it’s been 7 years and I’m ready to start the next chapter of my life with this guy that I’m crazystupid in love with. It’s obviously very bittersweet, there are some things I can’t imagine my life without (Alyssa, Galadriel and my gym life), but I truly can’t imagine my life without Mo. 

Not totally sure what I’m going to do down there yet, I’ve got a few ideas, but I’m not nervous about it, and that’s how I know it’s the right decision for me. It’s just something I know I’m supposed to do and honestly, I’m so excited. I can’t wait to spend my life with this incredible person, I can’t wait to have a whole normal sized apartment/maybe a house (?!?!) to decorate, I can’t wait to ride a bike and not worry about it being stolen, I can’t wait to be able to eat outside almost all year round…and I just can’t wait to be somewhere new. 

I love New York, but I always knew I wouldn’t be here forever, and the longer I stay, the harder it will be to leave. And I will be back at least a couple weeks a year to freelance, so it’s not goodbye forever. 

Anyway, I’ve been slowly leaking this information since we made the decision back in February. Obviously some people have known for months (my parents, Kaity, Alyssa, Galadriel), but most people still don’t know and probably won’t until the fall. I’ve decided to wait to tell the world (aka Facebook) until then because the general response has been kind of dramatic considering I’m not leaving until the end of December and I don’t want people to get it in their minds that I’m already gone until I’m actually leaving. 

So yes- you heard it here first, I’m off to Austin in December. 

Anonymous asked: Can you help me get out of the midwest?

All you gotta do is commit to leaving and don’t look back!

Today

I can’t stop thinking about my future. 

I can’t stop thinking about our future. 

Breathe in: I am. Breathe out: enough.

Last fall I began taking a class at the gym called Body Art, which combines movement, yoga and pilates.

In the beginning, I was taking this class because my favorite instructor was teaching it and I felt like I wanted to get back into yoga again, without actually getting back into yoga again. Basically I wanted my arms to look like I was doing a hundred chaturangas a day, without having to give up some of my other favorite classes to take yoga classes. (I’m the worst yogi ever, apparently). 

I almost immediately felt a shift within myself. The first thing I noticed was that I was becoming much stronger, especially in my upper body. Suddenly I could hold 3 minute planks and do tricep pushups like nobody’s business. But what I noticed more was how I felt after class. I felt empowered, I felt balanced and I felt calm. Let me tell you, feeling calm is huge accomplishment in New York City. 

And I would feel this hours, sometimes days after class. Body Art really allowed me to shut off my mind, but still be present. Dance brought me joy, strength training brought me muscles (and the ability to perform better in dance), but Body Art brought me piece of mind. 

I’m sharing this because today, while in our final resting place (shavasana to you yogis) as Rachel was talking to us, guiding us through some mediation, I began to cry. 

As I lay, very still, in the dark room, where we had all just poured our hearts out and focused our positive energy, Rachel said to us, “Breathe in- “I am”, breathe out- “enough”. Something about that statement really hit home for me today. I am enough. 

Rachel’s words are half the reason I go to this class. Sometimes we forget how hard we work our bodies, how grateful we should be to our muscles for performing the way that they do, for bringing us through every single day- and she reminds us of that. In a time when we can be completely still, but vibrating at such a high frequency, she reminds us to tell ourselves that we are enough. 

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, maybe you’re having a rotten day, maybe you just can’t catch a break- breathe in, “I am”, breathe out, “enough”. 

5 Until 25

It’s been months since I’ve visited this place, but with my 25th birthday swiftly approaching, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on who I was, who I am and who I’m becoming. 

Heavy, I know. 

Most of my life I’ve been extremely goal oriented. I was oddly competitive for an only child. I never had to compete with siblings, or anyone else really, except myself. My parents never put any pressure on me to be the “best and the brightest”. But somewhere in my childhood I guess I decided I needed to prove to everyone and myself that I could be the “best”, that I could do anything I put my mind to. 

When I think back on it, it might have begun in the 3rd grade. Somehow I was placed in a program for “gifted” children. One day a week me and some other kids in my grade would go to a special classroom and we would do independent research projects, learn SAT words, practice more advanced math. I think that when I was put on that trajectory, that was when I realized I needed to prove to everyone that I belonged there. I never really felt like I was any smarter than my peers, I think I was just born with a hell of a lot of drive. 

From then on, I felt this need to succeed. I know a lot of kids feel it these days, but the societal pressures were different back then, it wasn’t about having crazy success at 13- it was about doing your best. But my “best” always needed to be better than 80% of the people I knew. 

I didn’t realize it then, but I did a lot growing up, especially in high school. I was in clubs, I did community theater, I was a dancer, I worked my ass off in school. Most days I would go to school until 3PM, having meetings until 4PM, have rehearsals until 6PM, go home and do homework until 7:30PM and then be at the dance studio until 9PM. Almost every day, for four years. Sometimes I would be in shows at school and also be in shows at a community theater. I think once I was in 3 shows at the same time. 

And the entire time I was only accepting A’s for myself. I remember getting a B or a B+ felt like failure. I remember in 2003, deciding I would go to NYU and study journalism. In my mind, I had no other choice. Of course I did have other choices, I applied to 9 universities and was accepted to all but one (damn you Northwestern). People admitted later that they never believe I would get into NYU. Or that I would go. Those were the people that fueled me and my ambition. 

Then there was the fiasco that was NYU. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I shouldn’t have been accepted. The pressure grew to be too much for me. I became depressed. I stopped enjoying my life. I was a full time student and working 30 hours a week at Fred Flare. I remember getting a 70 on a paper for my journalism class, a paper where the class of over 100 students had averaged a 55 and feeling like I failed. The highest grade on that paper was an 80. I should have been thrilled and all I can remember is thinking to myself, “this is it, I’m not cut out for this, I can’t do it”. I ended that class, by far the hardest class I have ever taken, a class that was “meant to weed out the weaklings”, with an A-. I aced my final. I worked my ass off to do it, but somehow I did it, when I was so sure I would fail. 

And yet that class broke me. I weeded myself out of that pool of journalism students. I said to myself, “I’m not cut out for this, it’s making me unhappy to fail all the time.” I was never failing, of course, but somehow I had become delusional when it came to school. At the time school was success for me. And I wanted to succeed. So I quit. 

I don’t consider myself a quitter. I think NYU was the only thing in my life I have truly given up and quit. Of course I didn’t really “quit”. I still graduated with an associates degree. I had an incredible last semester actually. I let go of what I was trying to accomplish, I let the pressure of journalism and my “dream” just float away and I flourished. I took classes I wanted to take- I studied art history and existentialism and it was amazing. 

I have always been afraid of admitting this, but I regret leaving NYU. I ruined that experience for myself. I know that because I look back on that last semester and I see all of my successes once I let go of my obsession with success. I was creative and happy, I was having intelligent conversations, I was making new friends. NYU suddenly became everything I had wanted it to be.

But it was too late by the time I realized it. And so I graduated and transferred to LIM. It was such a transitional time for me. Kyle broke up with me, I left NYU, I spent my last summer at home, I left all my old friends from college in hopes of finding new ones. 

And the truth is, I was much happier at LIM. There were small parts of me that were disappointed- I felt I wasn’t being challenged, I wasn’t sure if I was learning anything, the part of me that was obsessed with school and success felt like I was copping out- taking it easy on myself. In some ways I was. But my quality of life really flourished. I made so many friends, I started interning and learning “real life” lessons. 

I had to teach myself how to be happy again. And oddly enough, it wasn’t easy. For many years of my life it was hard for me to be happy. I often felt like I didn’t deserve my happiness. My life had spiraled in a way I had never imagined and so I tried to regain control and order in my life. My eating disorder got out of control again. I had learned to accept that I wouldn’t be perfect in school, and so I decided I should be perfect in my “health”. Food has always been the easiest way for me get the control I feel like I need. 

I don’t know that I’ve ever really come out about it here, but I think most of you who know me, or have been around for a while, sort of knew anyway. It started when I was in middle school and waxed and wained when I was in high school. When I began college I gained weight and I felt okay with it. I didn’t have time to worry about counting calories because I was too busy worrying about school and work. And then I got quite thin again when I began to lose control of my relationship with Kyle. It’s funny, I always tell the story of our breakup with the idea that I never saw it coming, but I began obsessing over food again around the time that our relationship started unraveling. 

Being at home and having my parents monitoring me, I recovered a little. But as anyone who has an issue with eating, or really any obsessive issue, can tell you- it’s a constant battle. One you fight the rest of your life. I felt okay when I left home for LIM, but by the spring semester I was in full on obsessive mode. Not only was I counting every calorie I put in my body, I was also actively trying to count every calorie I burned off. I would have a smoothie for breakfast and be on the treadmill until I burned it off. I wrote down everything I ate and how many calories it had and how many calories I burned and if the number at the end of the day wasn’t below 100, I would feel like I failed. I wasn’t even thinking about all the calories you burn just by existing. 

In 40 days I lost 10 pounds. Which isn’t insane, but I went from weighing 118 to 107.5 I remember feeling so proud when I went below 110. Something about 110 just seemed bad to me, I decided I needed to be under 110. Before I lost the weight, I had bought a new dress that I felt amazing in and after I lost the weight, I remember wearing it and E saying to me, “You look really skinny. Have you lost weight?” I was so proud to tell her, “10 pounds!” and she looked at me and said, “I liked the dress better before.” I think that was the moment I realized what I had done. 

I began obsessively trying to monitor my obsessiveness. Instead of calories to count, I became obsessed with nutrients and vitamins and protein. I tried not to count the calories. I stopped writing everything down. I still knew the nutritional information of almost everything I ate, but I tried to ignore the numbers doing caloric intake math in my head. 

Finally, my senior year of school I found a new goal to obsess over. Instead of school and food, I became obsessed with my future. Where would I find a job? What did I want to do? Where would I live? Would I make enough money? Would I find a boyfriend? Would I be happy again?

It was a healthy goal for me. I found the right balance of working hard at school and treating my body better. I lived with two very free spirited girls. Free spirited in completely different, and sometimes reckless, ways but I think they helped me let go a little. Many nights were spent staying out until 3AM, eating onion rings and skipping class. I finally felt like I was a college student in my 20s, not some drained, half dead unhappy person. 

In my heart I knew I wanted to be in styling, but I was afraid to dream too big again. I took my job at Anthro and was happy with it, I excelled at it, I supported myself with it. I threw myself into my work. I stopped worrying about everything else and it all just sort of fell into place. I became happy, I felt successful for the first time in years. I started running and I felt the power that comes with being healthy. 

I continued to freelance, and as you know, that grew and grew until I had to leave Anthro. It’s been almost exactly a year to the day that I quit Anthropologie. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I literally let go of all control. I didn’t know when I would work, how much I would make, if I would be okay- I did a 180 and you know what, I was okay. 

I still am okay. It’s up and down, but I’m still out here, a year later, supporting myself doing something I enjoy. I’ve lost control of my life and it has grown into this beautiful, unexpected, blissful existence. 

So here I am. Almost 25. And I don’t know that I have any goals right now. I’m not really working towards anything, except being a better version of myself. I feel up in the air about almost all aspects of my life. I can feel that there will be a big shift for me in 2014. I love styling, but I can see myself doing other things. I love New York, but I can see my life moving somewhere else. I’m only 25. For a minute I think I had almost fooled myself into thinking I was settling down, but now I see that I’ve just been settling into my life to rest, getting ready for something bigger. 

I’m not at a crossroads in my life yet, but I can see it in the distance. Slowly, but surely approaching. I’m happy in the fashion industry, but I think that I’m ready to admit to myself that it’s not what I want to do forever. I don’t know what I’ll do next. I have ideas, but nothing concrete. Nothing to work towards quite yet. 

I’ve become completely un-goal oriented. That’s where I’m at, at (almost) 25. I’ve learned to lose control of my life and love every minute of it. I’ve learned that I can still be challenged without structure or goals. I see what has come out of the last 2 years of my life, when I have felt the most out of control of my life, but in the best way possible. I took a leap of faith. Actually I took a couple leaps of faith. I took big risks and got the biggest, greatest rewards. 

I feel empowered on a daily basis. I feel strong, physically, mentally and spiritually. I am proud of what I can do. I am proud of myself for ditching every goal I had planned out 11 years ago, throwing it all to wind and saying, “What now?”. My joy doesn’t come from numbers or obsessions. It comes from coffee dates, sleepovers, dance classes, laughing to tears, re-runs of Say Yes to the Dress, Emojis in my text messages, getting mail, being in love. 

Who am I becoming? I don’t know, because I don’t have it all planned out. And that’s okay with me. I know I will have big decisions to make in my 25th year and that’s going to require some goals and some planning and some control. But I’ve got time for all that. 

Alright, I need a glass of wine. 

xxx.
J.

Anchors vs. Tentacles and What Ned Taught Me.

Today I read some soul-crushing news.

One of my favorite authors, Ned Vizzini, committed suicide at the age of 32. Ned wrote, what is arguably my favorite book of all time, It’s Kind of a Funny Story. I have written about the book MANY times on this blog in the past and all of the ways it has changed me. The novel is based on Ned’s stint at a mental institution in Brooklyn in 2004 after he attempted suicide. It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea that someone who wrote so extensively about battling depression and overcoming suicidal thoughts, someone who dedicated their time to advocating for teen mental health, would eventually lose their battle against suicide. Depression and suicide is a lifelong struggle, something you never stop fighting, and this loss really hit me hard.

I first read It’s Kind of a Funny Story just as I was beginning my senior year of high school. As soon as I finished the book, I immediately began re-reading it. Though I wasn’t suffering from any signs of depression at the time, it’s almost as if I knew how important this book would be to me later in life. I re-read it again my freshmen year of high school, and even gave it to a couple of people for Christmas that year.

But it wasn’t until the fall of 2008 that I really depended on Ned’s words. A few of you were probably already reading my blog by then, but to recap- I was basically drowning. I hated my major, I was struggling with school, I was struggling with my relationship, my mental health completely deteriorated, I was often sick, I cried every day for no reason- I was totally lost. I felt like I had no control over anything in my life and I was spiraling, and fast.

I re-read It’s Kind of a Funny Story for maybe the fifth or sixth time, and it was then that I truly understood Ned’s philosophy of anchors vs. tentacles. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story- go read it. Just kidding! I mean, yes, go read it, but I’ll explain it to you.

The main character, Craig, explains that everything in his life falls into two categories: anchors and tentacles. Tentacles are things like homework- “If I don’t do my homework, I won’t get a good grade in my class, if I don’t get a good grade, I won’t graduate, if I don’t graduate, I won’t get a good job, if I don’t get a good job, I won’t make a lot of money, if I don’t make a lot of money, I’ll never find someone to marry me and I won’t have kids, etc” basically that thought process until one little task feels monumental and you can’t handle it and you shut down.

Then there are anchors. Anchors are things that can occupy your mind and make you feel good. There aren’t choices or decisions in anchors, it’s something simple, something that grounds you. For Craig it was riding his bike, or drawing maps.

Craig reasoned that you needed more anchors and less tentacles in your life. The anchors were something for you to hold on to when the tentacles were trying to overwhelm you. It didn’t have to be anything monumental, like I said, one of Craig’s anchors was riding his bike. It was a simple, sequential task, that had no consequences.

At a time in my life when I had nothing but tentacles, I re-read It’s Kind of a Funny Story and it was my anchor. I must have read it 20 times between fall and winter of 2008. Any time I was struggling, any time I felt overwhelmed and like I had lost complete control of my life, I turned to that book and I felt grounded. It helped me realize I needed change in my life- NYU was a big, nasty tentacle for me, and I had to get rid of it. So I applied to transfer to another college, and between that and a few other things, I managed to regain most of the regularity in my life and I got better after about a year or so. Not all better, but better.

When I was still at Fred Flare, I wrote this post about Ned and It’s Kind of a Funny Story. If you look at the comments, Ned actually found my post and left a comment. I remember feeling so thrilled just knowing that he knew how much I appreciated his work.

Summer 2012 I had been thinking a lot about anchors and tentacles. I was beginning to feel like I was losing control of my life again. It wasn’t a daily thing anymore, but there would be weeks where I would feel myself slipping back. I got nervous. I never want to be where I was in that period of my life. I hope that I am never that person again. And so I decided to get an anchor tattooed on the back of my right arm. I don’t know if I ever shared a photograph of that tattoo, but I’m certain I never shared the reason behind it.

It’s not that I have ever been embarrassed to use the “D” word. It happens. It just…doesn’t seem like it should have ever happened to me. I have never tried to hide it, but I’ve never been open about what was going on with me at that time in my life, and many times after that particularly terrible year. And so, when I got my anchor tattoo, to remind me to always fill my life with anchors, I never really explained the meaning behind it. I just chalked it up to a “classic” tattoo that looked bad ass. It totally does look bad ass, in a dainty sort of way?

That anchor will be with me for the rest of my life. I will never forget to find things that ground me. I always meant to send Ned a letter to tell him that, because his book was really that important to me. And now…I guess I never will. I’m still in shock that he took his life at 32. A part of me, a silly part of me, wishes that I could have helped him find another anchor to hold on to, but so it goes.

THINKING ABOUT STUFF

gabbytwelveoclocke:

When two girls share a moment and form an inside joke that is the happiest feeling in the world. Or like when you mention a youtube video to your friend and she hasn’t seen it and then you’re like “WAIT” and then you pull it up and you get to watch her react. Oh my god, I just love when something is so funny between girls that you literally scream and roll over onto the floor. These are honestly the moments that cause the most euphoric happiness for me. I have never been in love in my life, but I often imagine the feeling is ALMOST equivalent to the pure joy of creating an inside joke with your friend. I get so sad thinking about how girls are made to feel shame for feeling enthusiasm. Whenever people ask me my favorite “film” because I tell them I’m studying english and film I get super nervous. Like, I’ll be bartending and some boring old man will ask me about college and like idk what they expect me to say. My favorite movies are Josie and The Pussycats, The Princess Diaries, Sugar & Spice. I think my duty is life is make more movies/shows where girls are portrayed as big weirdos. Not a show exclusively for “weird girls!”  Because the truth is every girl is weird and gross and silly and people need to know and celebrate that.

Also, today I’m feeling bad because I can’t muster up the stamina to write a 9 page paper due tomorrow. I used to hoard tote bags full of books every time I went to the library as a kid and now I feel super mediocre at college. I just feel like I’m living a lie sometimes. This isn’t like a self-deprecating statement, it’s a truth! I wonder how I got in to my school because I honestly am lazy and I only like learning in terms of listening to my teacher talk and being like “Whoa! Cool fact!” but at the end of the day I just want to go home and watch Vampire Diaries episodes that I’ve already seen and experiment with makeup and cook nutritious but flavorful meals. Everyone complains about us being the Google generation or whatever but I think there is something to be said for the value of going down a Wikipedia blackhole. I’m really good at retaining “useless” information about celebrity marriages and poisonous plants. I don’t think it’s useless though, I think it’s character study or something. 

#PREACH