THE IMPORTANCE OF POSITIVITY

“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly”

– John F. Kennedy 

I think it’s safe to say that with all great dreams comes a great deal of insecurity. Although we often discuss the importance of pursuing our dreams, being a traveler on the road less taken is often uneasy, lonely, and wracked with self doubt. This is a position I’ve found myself in lately and I’ve had to work extra hard to stay positive and have faith that everything will work out. 

One might ask how I got on this path and what encouraged me to take the road less taken and actively pursue the things I was most passionate about? As mentioned in one of my first posts, this year has been extremely transitory for me. It’s the year I met my first love, the year I moved out of my parent’s house, the year I applied to graduate school and got rejected, and the year I was forced to truly think about what I want to do with my life and start living it according to my own rules rather than other people’s as a result. In the end I guess life is funny that way. No matter how successful you are at putting on a face for others, it is almost always impossible to lie to yourself. 

Although I am able to see things differently now, at the time getting rejected from graduate school seemed like one of the worst moments of my life. It made me feel horrible about myself, forced me to consider my future (and whether or not I would be living in a cardboard box,) and shook my self-confidence to the core. Ironically, it was also the catalyst that forced me to consider what I actually wanted to study and what I wanted to do with life. Most people talk about their successes, I am going to go out on a limb and talk about what some might consider to be a failure. I am not doing this to make a fool of myself or to make myself feel better about what happened. After all, one’s failures are usually the sort of thing we keep hidden in the deepest darkest corners of our hearts. Instead, I am sharing this rather embarrassing story because I feel compelled to talk about how one of life’s biggest curve balls also helped me to truly find myself. After all, I can’t be the only person life has thrown ‘lemons’ at or forced into a near quarter life ‘crisis.’ 

At 24, I’m no where near where I thought I would be. In fact there are times where I have nightmares about my 25th birthday. Growing up, I felt my path was quite certain. The plan was always to go to university after high school and obtain a degree in business, write my LSAT, go to law school, and then have a successful career as a partner in a corporate law firm. As of right now, I have done none of those things. I am not going to make excuses for myself since there’s probably a lot of valid reasons why I didn’t get into the Masters programs I applied to, and trust me I have spent a lot of time thinking about it.  It’s easy to say that perhaps I didn’t pursue a career in law because I didn’t get into the Masters programs I applied to, or that my grades weren’t high enough, or worse of all because I personally wasn’t good or smart enough. Which, might be true and is a hard thing to admit. But given what seemed like the worst possible circumstances, I was also forced to be proactive and try to see the silver lining in what seemed like the most God- awful  scenario. You see, in situations like that it’s an emotional sink or swim. You can either keep going, or you can drown. As a result, I took the time to reflect on my life and think about what I truly wanted to do and who I truly wanted to be. I don’t think this was a matter of giving up, I’d like to think that if being a lawyer was what I really wanted to do then I would have found a way to do it. After all, where there’s a will there is a way (more than one person has proven this to me on several occasions) and since I can’t predict the future there’s a chance that going to law school is still something I might do. However, I wanted to be sure that I was focusing my efforts on the right endeavors and looking back I am pretty sure that I wasn’t. I realized that I didn’t apply to any of those programs completely for myself. I was applying to them because I thought it was what I was supposed to do and because a part of me wanted to prove to myself that I could, and that I was just as smart as my friends and other people that I knew. I can say quite frankly now that those aren’t very good reasons for applying to graduate school.

Perhaps, this is a bit idealistic but I think furthering your education is something you should do because you are truly passionate about the subject and because you have a clear idea of where you want that education to get you. Getting rejected from those initial programs forced me to think about what I was truly passionate about. Where did I really want to go? What did I really want to learn? Or as someone very smart once said, “where did my mind wander to?” I don’t have all the answers now, but I am certain that I am much closer to ending up where I want to be. I am reapplying to schools, albeit in completely different programs and the difference this time around is that I am doing it completely for me. And I think, therein lies all the difference. Hopefully this won’t just be a sad blog post about rejection and I will actually be accepted into the programs that I want, but it’s definitely a completely different feeling when you start pursuing things you want to accomplish for yourself rather than what you think other people want you to achieve. You might ask how I know things are different this time around? What makes pursuing studies in fashion merchandising and management different from trying to get a Masters in history or political science? For one I can actually answer the question of why I want to study fashion merchandising and management, a feat, that wasn’t so easy when I was asked why I wanted to be a lawyer. And second, well, let’s just say your heart gets a completely different feeling when you know you’re doing something you’re excited about. 

So how does all of this relate to the importance of positivity? Well mostly because positivity at the end of the day, is what keeps people going. No one said that facing rejection, or pursuing your dreams is easy but despite all the changes I’ve faced in my life this year, it is something that I stand by 100%. Your life shouldn’t be defined by the things you didn’t do, they should be defined by the things you wanted to do and actually went out and did and I am glad that being rejected forced me to realize this truth. 

As much as I hope to see acceptance letters this time around, my reasons for wanting to get in are completely different. My desire to get into school now is because I’ve finally figured out what I want to do, and as a result, I hope to be able to go back to school so that I can build the foundation necessary to having my dream job and living the life I’ve always imagined. I hope that everyone is lucky enough to find something that fuels them in the same way that fashion fuels me, and that at the end of the day we will all stop being our own biggest obstacles. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “you get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” So go out there and start asking (and working hard for) the things that you want… and don’t let a low GPA, your family, your friends, and most importantly yourself stop you. 

xx

Caroline 

 

TRENDING: PERSPEX CLUTCHES

Although not as practical as your everyday tote, sometimes (or all of the time) a girl needs to have a little fun…enter the clutch. Personally, I love clutches. They force you to pair down what you need to the essentials and are a great way to add some pizazz and personality to any outfit.

Right now I am in love with “see-through” perspex and lucite clutches. Although many designers have tried their hand at these fun plastic creations  my personal favorites come from designers Charlotte Olympia, Kotur, and Mno.Logie (customed perspex creations straight from Bali!)

See these pictures below for some of my personal favorites:

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Charlotte Olympia Scent Perfume Clutch in Yellow $1295 (USD)

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Charlotte Olympia Perfume Clutch in Pink $1295

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Kotur Glitter Globe Perspex Box Clutch $395

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Mno.Logie Gold White Petal Personalized Perspex Acrylic Clutch $90

As Rachel Zoe would say, “I die”… but hopefully I’ll own my very own Mno.Logie personalized clutch very soon and the rest are already on my wish list (Santa do you hear me?)

xx

Caroline 

TRENDING: CRISP SHIRTS, LADYLIKE PUMPS & BOYFRIEND JEANS

One of the great things about fashion is that it is one of the truest forms of self-expression. What you choose to wear on any given day says a lot about who you are, who you want to be, and what you want to communicate about yourself to the world. As Danielle Bernstein creator of the great blog WeWoreWhat said, “Fashion definitely tells a story… you can sort of tell by the way it’s put together what mood I’m in or the way I’m feeling… Fashion is a voice without words… a feeling that you’re expressing on your body.” 

I think Danielle summed up perfectly some of the messages that can be communicated through what we wear, and I plan to share my own personal style through this blog in the hope that it will make everyday dressing easier for women everywhere. Although I haven’t quite gotten the courage yet to take pictures of myself, I can share current trends, outfits, and pieces that I love with you.

Right now, I’m a little bit obsessed with the reinvention of the boyfriend jean. This trend first started about five years ago and could be seen on celebrities and real girls everywhere. I remember buying a pair of Current Elliotts that were way too big for me and that I ripped in the knee almost as soon as I put them on but I’m glad to announce that boyfriend jeans are back in a big way (were they ever out?!) and in a more figure flattering fit.

Although I’ve always loved the comfort of boyfriend jeans, in the past I often found that they overwhelmed my small frame. However, the new boyfriend jean has been reinvented so that they taper in at the ankle creating a more figure flattering silhouette. Paired with a great top, awesome clutch, and killer heels I believe they offer the perfect mix of cute and casual dressing. 

Here is an outfit I plan on wearing soon:

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J.Crew Tilda Rhinestone Top $128.00 (USD)

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Gap Sexy Boyfriend Jean in Laguna Blue Wash $69.95 (USD)

 

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Schutz Irma Pump in Tropical Green/Anis $175.00 (USD) 

 

Let me know what you all think of boyfriend jeans in the comments section below. I personally can’t wait to wear mine this spring.

xx

Caroline

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: JENNA LYONS

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One of the intentions of this blog has always been to showcase people I find inspiring and who motivate me to reach for the stars. Although, there’s a lot of inspiring people out there I have decided to focus primarily on individuals within the wonderful world of fashion – since I hope to be an active participant within that great world someday, and it is my main love and source of inspiration.

For me, Jenna Lyons (President and Creative Director of J.Crew) has always been at the top of my list of movers and shakers. A graduate of Parsons (she received a BFA in Fashion Design) Lyons began working as a designer at J.Crew shortly after graduation. After years of working there she was noticed by Mickey Drexler and was soon promoted to the position of Creative Director. This was a decision that would prove to be invaluable on Drexler’s part. Not only does Lyons have a great sense of personal style but she is also an extremely smart business woman who “truly gets at the heart of how American [and Canadian] women want to dress.”

It is this influence and Lyons’ amazing eye for style that have turned J.Crew into the company it is today. No longer just a store to turn to for great basics, J.Crew now makes clothes for women that are fashion forward, that fits most aspects of their daily lives, and at the right price point. What could be better than that?!

In a recent interview with Parsons, Lyons stressed the importance of internships and getting your foot in the door with an entry level position if it means happiness in the long run. This particular advice has resonated with me especially since Lyons herself worked her way up from the bottom. Other keys to success? 1) teamwork (Lyons is noted for always thanking her amazing team) and 2) the desire to always push yourself forwards and be better than who you were yesterday. A noted perfectionist, Lyons herself has said, “I’m always looking for ways to do more… my day is never over!”

But perhaps what makes Lyons so inspiring is her confidence in the idea that you should do what you love and eventually that will lead to success, as long as you are smart and willing to work hard for it.

Lyons mantra of “amazing things happen when you’re having fun doing something you love” is a constant source of motivation for me to find a career that I’m passionate about. Not only is Lyons one of my personal sources of inspiration but is someone who I hope all of you will find inspiring as well.

xx

Caroline 

DREAMS

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This topic is particularly personal to me and I’ve struggled for four days now with how to write about something so intimate – but feel like it needs to be done in the hope that it will help me work harder towards my dreams and inspire others to start living life for theirs as well.

I am sure that I am not the only one that struggles with trying to please other people instead of completely living for themselves. I think we all do it, and women especially have a tendency to want to appease others. I find that there is often an internal struggle between going for the things we really want and doing what we think would please other people. Growing up in a traditional Asian household, expectations were high. I think any first generation Asian growing up in Canada can relate to their parents desire for them to become a doctor, surgeon, dentist, accountant, lawyer or any other sort of medical or legal professional. Although I love my parents and they gave my sisters’ and I every opportunity in the world (which, I am extremely thankful for) my house was no different in this regard. I can remember my dad telling me he wanted me to be a lawyer since the age of 5 and there have been countless discussions over the dinner table about how important it is for me to pursue a professional designation.

Please don’t get me wrong – I think being a lawyer or doctor are two extremely respectable career options and I have a lot of admiration for people in both professions. In fact, it was the career I’ve hoped to pursue for most of my life and going into law is something I’m still considering. Which, might lead you to ask “then what is the point of this post?!” Well this year, I finally gained the courage to admit that perhaps pursuing a law degree wasn’t necessarily something I knew I wanted to be doing, but was something I was doing in the hopes of making other people happy.  I have often wished that I was capable of being a lawyer and that it was something I truly knew that I wanted to do. I  feel if that were the case, many aspects of my life would be a lot easier. For one thing my dad would be ecstatic, and I would probably have a certain amount of job security not always guaranteed in other fields, not to mention the fact that it is still a highly respectable profession. When you tell people you want to be a lawyer – they think you are smart, look at you a little differently, and are generally pretty supportive of that endeavor. On the other hand when you tell people you want to work on the business side of the fashion industry as a buyer for a major retailer like Holt Renfrew or Neiman Marcus they often look at you like you’re bat shit crazy.

So here I am a year and a half out of my undergraduate degree still trying to figure out what I want to do but learning to be a little better at listening to my heart.  So instead of taking my LSAT and applying to law school this summer I am applying to a post graduate certificate program in retail management instead, and hope to be completing a degree in fashion studies, merchandising and marketing next fall.

Although I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy for not going to law school or pursuing a regular masters degree program, as they say, the heart wants what the heart wants. After working this past year I’ve realized that life is just too short to settle and not go for what you want… especially in your twenties. So here I am, extremely terrified but hopefully on the path to pursuing my dream of becoming somebody in the fashion industry. Of course, it has helped tremendously to have a great deal of support. Much to my surprise, my mom, godmother, both my sisters, my friends, and my boyfriend have all been incredibly supportive of this endeavor – encouraging me to pursue a career that I love and am excited about and that truly makes me happy… and quite honestly their support has meant the world. I no longer feel as alone in this decision and am more inspired to follow my dreams. I don’t know where I will end up, but I feel like I am on my way and hopefully by this time next year I will have completed my certificate program and been accepted into an associate or masters degree program in fashion studies and will be one step closer to having my dream job.

I hope this post wasn’t too much of a confessional and will help at least one other person to shoot for the stars. The constellations might look different to all of us, but I think it’s a goal worth pursuing.

xx

Caroline 

THE GREAT GATSBY

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This past weekend I went to see Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic book The Great Gatsby. Since The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books, I have been in love with Leonardo di Caprio since I saw him in Romeo and Juliet when I was thirteen, and costume designer Catherine Martin is a genius – going to see the movie was a no brainer for me.

Thankfully, I was not disappointed. To be fair – movies are rarely as good as the book but I think it’s important to go to a movie with that in mind in order to truly appreciate the director’s vision of the novel and I can honestly say that Luhrmann’s interpretation of “The Great American Novel” was nothing short of stunning. The cinematography was absolutely beautiful and the costumes in particular were to die for… and of course, Leo didn’t look that bad either.

Highlights for me included pretty much everything that Daisy Buchanan wore, the amazing jewelry showcased throughout the movie (a collaboration between Catherine Martin and Tiffany’s,) Jay Gatsby’s impeccably tailored suits and the many party scenes at Gatsby ‘s mansion which, showcased the incredible amount of work Martin spent on each and every costume.

The movie was literally heaven for any fashion lover and I recommend going out to see it immediately.

xx

Caroline

 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

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Mom’s often play such an important role in their children’s lives but in my opinion usually receive very little credit for all of the things that they do. I am lucky enough to have two such amazing women in my life : my Mom and Godmother. Always a constant source of inspiration and support – I feel extremely blessed to be able to look up to and learn from two such wonderful women. I could never thank either of them enough for all of the love they have given me but thought I would do a little shout out anyways.

Sending out a big thank you to my Mom and Aunt Carol for always believing in me and encouraging me to follow my dreams. You have always set the bar for the woman I one day hope to become and have shaped so much of who I am now. Without your faith, love, laughter, and endless support I would not be the woman I am today.

So here’s to all the wonderful mother’s out there including the two most important women in my life.

Wishing all of you an amazing Mother’s Day.

xx

Caroline