“I’m busy.”

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Rose Garden, Boston

Busy. Everyone wants to be seen as busy. Our culture promotes the idea that a busy lifestyle means you’re worth something. It means you’re actually doing something, contributing to society in some way. Whether it’s taking crazy course loads or working overtime at your job, being busy means you’re being productive. In other words, you’re not just sitting around.

It makes us feel good to utter the words, “I’m so busy,” does it not? We tend to compare our lives to others, seeing who’s schedule is more demanding, and subtly declaring a “winner” based upon that alone.

I have always supported this hectic lifestyle. Getting involved in as many things as possible, pushing my limits each day, and challenging myself to still be better than everyone else who are doing similar things. Yes, I’m a bit of a competitor. I love the rush that comes with being busy and feeling as though I’m in demand. But at what cost?

I’m a senior this year (yayy!). I’m involved in just as many things as I have been these past years but for some reason I don’t feel as stressed. I actually have some solid free time! I know, crazy right? Funny thing is, I’m not sure what to do with myself. Is it okay to simply kick back and relax? Shouldn’t I be looking for something to do or getting ahead on homework? I was creating stress from my thoughts of what I could be doing, not even what I had to do.

I’ve made the decision to cave. To appreciate my free time and be okay with doing nothing. Eat Pray Love, one of my favorite books, holds a memorable and applicable quote, “The sweetness of doing nothing,” as they say in Italy.

It’s a refreshing thought. How doing nothing can be absolutely beautiful. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t make something of yourself, probably because I disagree with a lazy lifestyle. But why does relaxing have to be seen as a bad thing? Why can’t we enjoy the moments we get to take a breather, and better yet enjoy them with people we love.

I know I’m excited to embrace this new mindset as I take on my last year of college. It doesn’t feel natural, at least not yet, but I want it to. So here’s to coffee dates, pointless walks in the city, and afternoons reading books for pleasure.

If you really think about it, we’d all be a bit happier if we took this time for ourselves. We may feel obligated to constantly stay busy but maybe it doesn’t always have to be that way.

XOXO – Autumn

 

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Vulnerable

Reflecting Pool
Reflecting Pool, Boston

Being vulnerable is scary. It is. It can make you extremely self-aware and show you sides of yourself you may not be comfortable embracing yet. So why succumb yourself to this feeling?

Society teaches us to be strong. To be fearless and seek power through success. This mindset instills in us the thoughts that pain and emotions are unnecessary, as if they are only standing in our way. This made sense to me at first. I mean, who wants to willingly feel anger or sadness? Well, according to a Ted Talk I watched today, whole-hearted people do.

The Ted Talk explained, after extensive research, that we tend to numb our emotions. Whether this is by blocking unsettling feelings from our minds or turning to vices, many of us tend to suppress what we are feeling rather than actually dealing with it. You would think that numbing the bad would allow you to only focus on the good, right? Wrong. This is what we as humans need to recognize and change as we grow.

You cannot choose when you feel pain. Sure, you can strive for a positive outlook and handle uncertainty with grace but ultimately life will throw you some curve-balls and it’s okay to be upset when this happens. When you numb your pain (from heartbreak to shameful moments) you also numb your chance at joy and happiness. Which in turn leads to searching for meaning in your life, being dissatisfied, reliving your negative emotions and as a result continuing this cycle.

Break the cycle. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. This not only gives you the chance to connect with others in a more genuine way but it will help you find what true happiness means to you. Vulnerability comes with being honest with who you truly are which overtime leads to accepting who you are. The study showed that those who were accepting of themselves, and have a strong sense of love and belonging, are the same ones who believe they are worthy of love and belonging.

This took me a second to grasp, the concept of the beauty behind vulnerability, until I realized I have caught myself living my life like this more and more over the years. As I become more comfortable with who I am it has become easier for me to reveal myself to others, whether this is through words or actions. I have definitely texted my crush asking them to grab a coffee (and even been turned down too), wrote essays about very personal topics that I later had to share with classmates, and continued to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It may not always be ideal but knowing what I deserve has given me more courage to go after what I want.

Vulnerability, in the sense of expressing who you are and what you deserve, is worth adapting into your lifestyle. Be strong and powerful but brave enough to love yourself. Like anything, it takes time, but it’s worth the effort of learning to be aware.

Life is better when filled with deep connections & self-love.

XOXO – Autumn

The Secret

Sun-kissed Skies
Camp Ellis Beach, Maine

About 8 years ago my parents showed my brother and I a movie called The Secret – which is based off a book. The message throughout shares the benefits of tapping into your own internal power, whether you realize you’re capable of greatness or not.

Stories of attaining wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving goals that may seem unrealistic are told by a range of people who have experienced this first hand. It all has to do with one’s mentality and the belief in the powers of the universe.

I have held this message close to me throughout the years. I whole heartedly believe even my subconscious embodies this way of being. I have been deemed a “lucky person” many times and I know my blessings come directly from the universe and my own outlook on life.

Your thoughts control your life. This is why many people preach the idea of “good vibes” but not everyone truly knows the importance of actually practicing this mindset. The Secret describes how you can have any life you want. The first step to attaining what you want is to believe you deserve it and continue to visualize it each day. Truly picture yourself attaining your goals and desires, feel the emotions that will come with it, and trust in the universe to make it happen.

One of the more difficult things for me is to trust the universe to create a way for me to attain the lifestyle I want. I am capable of envisioning desires and believing I deserve them, but I have always been taught to find my own way to success and happiness.

The universe will create a path for you. You don’t need to stress over the how aspect, you simply need to look for signs and act without hesitation. The universe will speak to you if you let it. This doesn’t mean sit back and relax, but rather have faith while pursuing your goals and know you will get what you want in the end.

This message is too important not to share and it is one I can personally  attest for. Maybe this is the reason my life goals are so big or my days are so bright, because I know they can be. One of my favorite lines from the movie describes the universe like a catalog. All you have to do is pick what you want out of life and the universe will hear your thoughts and find a way to bring your desires to you. It’s as simple as that. The people who are able to believe this, as crazy as it may seem, are the ones who will reap the rewards.

You can now watch The Secret on Netflix – it’s worth your time, trust me.

May your thoughts be as bright as your future.

XO -Autumn

 

Looking Forward

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Biddeford Pool, Maine

I’m the type of person who enjoys a busy lifestyle. Hell, I thrive on it. Whether it’s during finals week of college or the sunniest day in the dead of summer, I’m happiest when I’m doing things and going places. I love the rush that comes with this style of living. Always down to experience new things but prioritizing what’s important; it’s the type of journey I have grown to embrace every day.

Of course real life cannot be ignored. Working a job, maintaining relationships, and continuing to strive towards your goals are all part of the craziness that comes with building a life.

Not all days can be thrilling and eye opening but they never have to be entirely dull. I like to ask myself “what would make you happy?” when planning out my days. It’s a simple question but it can have a great impact. You may not want to go to work, but you know you have no choice (sadly, money will always be a reigning factor in our decisions). Within this mindset of having to go to work, it’s important to find a positive. You already know what to expect, so why not find a way to make your day more enjoyable? Switch up your routine by making time to do something you know will put a guaranteed smile on your face.

Prioritize your happiness within the life you’re living while working towards the life you desire.

Part of living a busy lifestyle is taking the time to appreciate it. I do this by giving myself things to look forward to. Whether it’s knowing my favorite meal is waiting for me in the fridge at home (hello BBQ ribs) or buying tickets to a concert that is months away, I always give myself a reason to smile. Knowing my future is as bright as my present moments is what continuously gives me the push to keep going every day.

Plan ahead. You know yourself better than anyone, what makes you happy? Now go do it.

XO – Autumn

 

Scribbles Will Do

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French Caribbean Sea, Guadeloupe

With each new day comes fresh thoughts, emotions, and interactions. The combination of the predictable and the unexpected is what keeps our days interesting. It’s also what makes some days better than others. Whether you’re out exploring with your friends or getting lost in a novel, surely enough you’ll be having new thoughts or being reminded of old ones.

Certain memories may be ones we try to ignore while others are ones we can’t wait to relive. We rarely get to choose our emotional reactions that accompany these but we can control how we handle them. Writing has become my go to outlet over the years. I write in a journal from time to time, keep notes on my phone, scribble random thoughts for new articles on colorful sticky notes, and of course write on this blog when I feel inspired.

Between the craziness of work, my social life, career opportunities, and back & forth relationships, writing is my quick escape.

I’m the type to overthink but rarely become overwhelmed. Getting my thoughts down on a piece of paper, no matter how scattered and raw they may be, allows me to get out of my own head for awhile. I can see my thoughts from a different perspective before I have time to dwell on them for too long – the negatives ones at least.

Scribbling down my stories, emotions, and ideas is my way of reflecting on my life and myself. During the not so great times it gives me a chance to see the bigger picture while writing down my happier moments lets me replay them again in my mind.

English may not be everyone’s favorite subject, but I believe writing is beneficial for all. No, this doesn’t mean you should write a book or start a blog, passion needs to accompany those paths. Writing is simply a way to reflect on your thoughts and express yourself whenever you need to without expectations.

Maybe I’m slightly bias, but when I give a journal as a gift to my friends they always end up using it – even if they were hesitant at first. Better yet, they end up loving it.

“Happiness is a string of happy moments,” so why not give yourself a way to cherish those moments even longer while also giving yourself a way to calm your thoughts when life gets the best of you?

Try it. It can’t hurt ~ happy writing!

XOXO

Autumn

 

 

Having It All

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French Caribbean Sea, Guadeloupe

In one of my classes we recently discussed if women can truly “have it all”. The focus being on women since men’s ability to attain what they desire is rarely questioned. I’ll save my opinions on that frustrating reality for another time.

One of my biggest takeaways from this discussion is the lingering question of what it means to have it all. Does this generally mean the same thing to everyone or does it differ from person to person? I’d like to believe it holds a unique meaning for every individual but I think most could agree success is measured in career, love, family, and a social life. Let’s not forget about health either, a highlighted favorite these days.

I would have to agree – Having it all can be defined by finding success in these areas of your life. This is not to say other areas aren’t important but these seem to be where society puts an emphasis, and why not? Career can bring stability in money, love is unlike anything else, a good family dynamic makes each day better, and your friends are always there to show you a good time. Thriving in all of these ways while being healthy is ideal, but is it attainable?

Having everything consistently go your way is rare. I’ve found the best way to hold onto happiness is through balance. Invest yourself in each of these areas but never spread yourself too thin. Not only does this help you look at the bright side of any situation but it gives you a safety net when one aspect of your life isn’t going as planned. Relationship problems? Turn to your best friends and they’ll remind you of the many reasons you still have to be happy. Overwhelmed with school or work? A quick phone call home is enough to calm your thoughts and bring you back to center.

Inevitably, times will occur when you’re more invested in one area of your life than the others. A new significant other or career opportunity? Hell yeah, you deserve to be excited! It’s healthy to linger in your happiness but it’s important to remember to maintain all aspects of your life that are important to you. This way, you’ll have multiple reasons to smile despite what upsets may occur.

Finding balance doesn’t have to be difficult, it’s more of a personal awareness if anything. Hug your loved ones, open your heart & mind, and always work hard – success will surely follow.

You can have it all, whatever this may mean to you. Cheers.

XO – Autumn

 

 

Strutting for All Shapes & Sizes

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raffle prizes courtesy of Her Campus National

I am still beyond overjoyed with how well the Her Campus Emmanuel Body Positivity Fashion Show went last night. I couldn’t have hoped for a better turnout or genuine support from such lovely people. It was truly a memorable evening.

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One side of the runway, hey Sammy!

This event was designed around the idea of self-love, something we all need to work on every day. To show our support for all body types, our models ranged from a size small to an xlarge. And damn they all looked fabulous. Seeing their faces light up more and more after each outfit change was inspiring. The crowd was so into the show and the models said they had never felt so loved. How awesome is that?

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This experience was so much more empowering than I initially thought. Everyone has their insecurities. Whether it’s stressing over your weight, analyzing your skin, or doubting your beauty, I’m sure you can all relate to not feeling confident at one point in your life.

The idea of creating a fashion show that celebrated these “flaws” was incredible. My heart felt so full after hearing the crowd cheer for every single model. It humbled me unexpectedly and reminded me everyone is uniquely beautiful, especially when they smile.

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our fabulously confident models

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We all have the ability to empower each other – from beauty to brains. So why not? Why not celebrate your friends’ looks and your own wonderful qualities. We all deserve to feel a sense of self worth and the pure happiness that comes with it.

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Her Campus Emmanuel Executive Board 

I am so proud to be a part of such a wonderful group of people through Her Campus. I can’t wait to see who we can inspire next.

Cheers to feeling beautiful – HCXO

Autumn

follow our Instagram: hcemmanuel to see more pictures from the show!

 

 

Living for Your Resume or Eulogy?

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I recently had a talk with one of my close friends here at college. It’s junior year and the pressure is on to excel in our classes while expectations surround future internships. Everyone wants to succeed and stand out, naturally. But when do we draw the line between success in school and overall fulfillment in our personal lives?

I believe the two go hand in hand. I’m all about balance – yes, I’m a Libra – so I make it a point to invest myself fully into school and personal relationships as well. Overwhelming at times? Of course. Some of my friends really struggle to differentiate between these two aspects of their college lives. We’re supposed to be making crazy memories but also setting ourselves up for our future, no pressure – right?

There’s a TED talk that asks the question “would you rather be known for your resume or your eulogy?” This means that focusing on our resume characteristics, as we all tend to do at this point in our lives, highlights our skill sets rather than who we genuinely are. Whereas focusing on eulogy traits digs deeper into who we are, emphasizing our hearts and true selves.

It’s a powerful question. Most people would probably agree they’d rather be known for their eulogy – the funny memories, love-able traits, and recognition of the good in them. But if we really think about it, this is a generation that truly focuses on building their resume, even if they have a memorable personality. It’s not a bad thing because success also brings a lot of good into our lives, but it’s important to recognize what traits you focus on.

I’m all about competition, so I love the competitive world that we live in but I love my sincere relationships and memories more. Don’t put too much pressure on your resume, trust that being authentic will get you where you’re supposed to be. Better yet, you’ll have some great people and memories to go along with your success if you don’t lose sight of who you are.

So ask yourself, resume or eulogy?

XOXO – Autumn

Cheers to 2016

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New Year’s Eve – an evening filled with excessive dancing, champagne showers, and of course jello-shots made with “edible” glitter. It was a memorable night to end yet another year with the people that mean the most to me – plus a bunch of randoms who were oddly persistent in recruiting people to play flip-cup. Who are you again?

Whether you’re the type to lay low on a couch silently judging those who proudly sing along to every song that plays or you prefer to dominate the beer pong table, who cares as long as you enjoyed yourself. My friends and I are the ones who obnoxiously danced and sang, like always. Especially when our “fam” song from the summer came on and the guys felt the need to belt it out as we all swayed as if we were back at the ZBB concert together.

We may be aggressive but at least we’re always laughing.

Every year people make new resolutions to try to better themselves and alter some aspect of their lives. If this is the push some people need to initiate change, that’s great. But why does it just have to be this day? Why can’t we all better ourselves everyday as we slowly discover who we are?

I’ve heard of people making resolutions in the form of a single word. The word they choose will act as a reminder every day, something they can strive to embody or pursue. The word can be anything from love or happiness to courage and travel. I love this idea.

Recognizing what you want out of the upcoming year is important for everyone to do, and choosing a word will help you get to where you want to be. Making resolutions has never been a priority of mine. I tend to focus more on my NYE outfit as opposed to one resolution I want to stand by. It’s definitely a personality trait but I prefer to focus on a word or maybe even a phrase that can affect all aspects of my life – a consistent reminder.

Changes are essential in one’s life, as I have written about before, and they are necessary throughout the entire year depending on what occurs in your life. A resolution may be an ideal starting point, but you must continue to adapt and make adjustments as the year goes on. It can even be fun, if you have the right outlook.

“Living vicariously through myself” is a phrase I recently saw that seemed perfectly fitting for what I want to accomplish in 2016. It’s a reminder to continue living my life for myself and doing what excites me – all while embracing who I’m becoming.

No matter what type of resolution you choose to make or what word you pick as a daily reminder, may this year bring you nothing but happiness and more enjoyable memories! And may you have genuine loved ones and friends that feel like family to see you through the good and not so great times that lie ahead.

Cheers to 2016! Remember to live for yourself.

XOXO – Autumn

PS. I hope you surprise yourself too.

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The Magic of Christmas

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Christmas Eve, the day where the magic of Christmas begins and endless amounts of family time commences. It’s supposed to be a day of blissful happiness filled with last minute preparations for tomorrow – right?

Just like you see in the commercials, the festive mom running around the grocery store trying to pick out the perfect holiday honey ham while the dad proudly turns on his Christmas lights in the front yard for all of the neighbors to see. (who also have fully decorated houses with blinking lights that sync to the song Jingle Bells)

A picture perfect lifestyle indeed.

Realistic? As far as my experience goes, definitely not. My mom is a pro at getting all of the Christmas gifts for the family early on, beating the crowds, and perfectly wrapping them to go under our tree. But I don’t wake up to the smell of freshly baked muffins or a spotless house ready to host a party at any given time. My dad doesn’t decorate the outside of our house anymore either, except for a wreath on our front door which I do love. My parents are getting to that point in their life where they say “this is our house and we can live in it the way we want.” I blame old age.

It’s taken me awhile to understand. The “this is our house” line angers me like no other. But as the holidays have approached, and their ways have remained unchanged, it has put the importance of the holidays into greater perspective for me.

I’ve always known that gifts are not the point of Christmas, obviously. Nor is a mess-free house or a surplus of cookies. My favorite part is honestly traveling to my grandparents’ houses and walking in to see everyone smiling, as my dad and brother struggle to carry the laundry baskets overflowing with gifts. We’re all greeted in the doorway until someone yells “shut the door! It’s freezing out there!” I’ll see the tree all decorated and hear my younger cousins talking about some random game they all seem to love. Instant happiness.

It’s loud, it’s messy, and it’s warmed with love – our beautifully chaotic Christmas.

I’ve had people in my life who aren’t as fortunate to have such a loving family, despite what their pictures look like. Their houses may be spotless and their outfits may be matching but their happiness isn’t as real as they portray it to be. Knowing the truth behind their pictures is sad but it makes me appreciate my non-photogenic holidays a little more. (although we do clean up real nice)

So yes, I miss my family traditions that have changed over time but I’m realizing now more than ever the blessings that come with accepting those changes. There may not be snow on the ground this year, and our crazy days may not be picture perfect, but at least our smiles are always genuine.

Cheers to another memorable Christmas to come! May your smiles be genuine and your hearts be full, along with your bellies.

I’ll be wishing for a white Christmas,

XOXO – Autumn