The Art of Being Alone

There was a dark period in my life where I was living amongst black mold and some other lovely creatures (I’m positive most New Yorkers are familiar with these). Soon after I discovered the black mold, I spent some time living with my boyfriend in a high rise in Brooklyn Heights for a few months. Our morning routine of espresso, our signature pancakes, going out for coffee, and casually strolling through Washington Square Park was perfect. The windows were extravagant, the skyline view was priceless, and most of all waking up next to the person I loved was more than I could ever ask for. We spent our evenings at The Osprey by a view on the Manhattan skyline sipping wine and discussing our future together occasionally exchanging the occasional phrase in Greek. Every moment was so significant and picturesque. Having him always around made every day worth looking back on even weeks later.
I currently live in a new, more modest apartment in Bushwick. The coffee shops nearby do not have skyline views and I no longer have the love of my life casually playing chess on the couch and reading French books. Most of all, I realized I would also no longer have someone with whom I could share my favorite films and my morning and evening routines would not be the same. After I moved out, I felt fragmented after so much of my life being supported by somebody else’s presence. No longer having him accessible in the room nearby left me feeling fragile for a short time after I left.
It took a few weeks before I started to find myself in a new routine and began to decorate my room to feel like home. I began to realize there’s something indulgently serene about going to Barnes & Noble after work and reading through countless books without anyone else there. As much as I love taking a bite of a pancake from my boyfriend or laughing over instagram clips with my sister, sometimes dinner by yourself can be equally as fulfilling. The times I walked around SoHo with a dark roast in hand while listening to that song I always play at sunset, is a moment only I can fully understand based on my past experiences and sentimentality. Previously, I did a study in nostalgia and I walked away knowing that some things are meant to be shared only with me, myself, and I.
I recently read Call Me By Your Name and walked away with a very unique perspective on relationships. Elio’s internal monologue is an example of how some people view their relationship as an “all or nothing” thing in life. They open their diaries to their significant other and tell them about every dream they have at night. Elio views Oliver as his outlet of freedom with whom he desires to open his heart to without any boundaries or inhibited actions. When Oliver left Italy to return to The States, Elio’s expression of his freedom became fragmented because he invested so much of himself into their relationship. It’s natural to want another person to be an outlet for us to feel safe or express the love we have to offer. Seeing the same face everyday over time creates a sense of home we seek in life to find rhythm and routine. However, only Elio can hear his own thoughts and only Oliver can interpret his own emotions. We are designed as separate beings to support each other and be interdependent with one another. The differences between us allow us to be able to support others in ways they can’t support themselves. If we put so much of our identity into another person, we can no longer offer anything new to the relationship and our personality becomes unoriginal. However, this is different than codependence which means we can’t live out our full purpose without someone else.
After all of this, I realized how important it is to take care of yourself. I now schedule weekly dates with myself at Laduree to drink apricot juice before work. I turn off my phone while I do yoga each night and indulge in personal projects and diaries only I will ever see. I turn off Instagram more often to keep my experiences to myself knowing that some things are meant for only my memory rather than plastering it all over the internet and into my friends’ feeds. I set boundaries in all of my relationships to stay confident in my own identity so I never rely too heavily on anyone else to feel fulfilled. Most of all, I discovered treating yourself to a glass of wine at The Osprey does not always have to be a ritual shared with someone else. Now when I see my boyfriend every week and call my family, it feels indulgent and unique. I appreciate each moment we share ten fold because of how scarce they are. So here’s my advice: Find your rhythm, and take some time each week to enjoy it on your own.

Integrating Mindfulness

I just recently started a new job in Soho and have been transitioning into a new apartment with new people everywhere and new expectations. I noticed I am always thinking three steps ahead:
What will I eat for dinner?
Who am I seeing after work?
Where will I be in five years?
I find it difficult to pull myself into each moment in the present because there is so much newness surrounding me. The unfamiliarity of life makes me feel out of control which then leads to overthinking everything I say and do. Time seems to slip by so fast because I am so preoccupied by the future that I don’t even notice what is happening in the moment. This is common with perfectionists and those who always have to have everything just so. Let me tell you, this is the most exhausting way to live. Now that I work for a company that endorses the philosophy of wellness and optimal living, I’ve noticed I tend to overlook these habits everyday.
I’ve accumulated a list of things I do on a daily basis to become mindful of the present and make time slow down a bit. This board on Pinterest will soothe your mind and pull you back down to Earth.
Immerse Yourself in Literature 
Lately, I’ve been reading through books so quickly I’ve lost track of how many I’ve been reading. From travel essays to Andrè Aciman novels, I’ve determined that getting lost in another world is sometimes the best way to meditate in the moment and forget about all the things you have to do that day. Choose quality literature with intense visuals and immersive character dialogue. I’m currently reading:
Enigma Variations by Andrè Aciman
The Wild Things by Dave Eggers
Lose Yourself in Conversation
We tend to overlook opportunities to ask someone about their day or the necklace they’re wearing. Everyday, we can reach out to someone and start a conversation that will pull us into the present. Don’t ask someone how they are doing and then start thinking in your head, “What should I order? What message did I just get? Is my phone buzzing?” as we do when we have conversations sometimes. This time, pay attention. Listen. Engage. Lose yourself in this connection with someone and use it as an opportunity to pull away from the chaos.
To be completely transparent, most of my friends are people that I randomly reached out to at a coffee shop or online. I’ve found that looking around and paying attention to others rather than being preoccupied by my own life opens my mind up to the possibility of new relationships.
Create Something
Whether you’re a musician, artist, or overall creative, pay attention to a project for a couple of hours and engage in an activity that pulls you away from all of the busyness and productivity. When you create something, you fully engage the right side of your brain as you improvise on the project. After you complete it, it will offer a new perspective on the day and offer and sense of accomplishment that will make you feel rejuvenated. Turn off your phone for a couple of hours and let your mind run free in the creative process.
In my own experience, drawing is the most mindful form of art. Drawing from life makes you observe every detail of someone’s face and essence in order to replicate it in the drawing. This is the highest form of mindfulness and a great way to embrace your creative side while observing and thinking outside of yourself.
Study Something Challenging
Learning is something that occurs on the left side of your brain and fully engages your mind. In order to take in new information and retain it, you must meditate away from the chaos of your life to focus on the information you are studying. This also humbles us, knowing we can always learn something new. It will give you a new appreciation for the present moment as you expand your horizons and allow your mind to work. Personally, I study Greek everyday. I use the conversation tip above and the study tip by engaging in conversation with teachers in Athens and Cyprus as they also educate me on the language. This pulls me out of my perfectionistic way of life. The key to success in learning something challenging is to embrace your mistakes and allow yourself to grow at your own pace.
The overall conclusion of this article is to realize that the most beautiful way to live is to notice and observe the present. Take a picture of the light through your window in the evening, notice how nice your coworker looks today, and point out some things that you love about life not in the past but right now, in the present.

The Psychotic Stages of the New York Love Affair

My story begins where I was too young to recognize the things New York would do to me. The stories range from the months of black mold I would endure and the countless toxic men I would fall for. There are endless stories I could tell you about how New York is the kind of city that changes you. The stages I went through in two years was utter chaos, so here’s a taste of what every New Yorker has been through at one point or another.
“I will be famous.”
I drove across the country at age 18, fresh out of my parents’ home designing jackets expecting to become famous in a matter of months. All I needed was a few more collaborations and to pass on my business cards at Fashion Week to finally be noticed by Anna Wintour as the next up-and-coming-artist in the fashion industry. Every subway ride was a runway show and I had a playlist called “MANIC” that I would blast as I pushed past people on the streets feeling invincible. My hair was red, eye makeup heavy, and all I wanted was to be seen. I expected everyone in my life could see I was killing it, since I was working… at a fabric store in the Garment District cutting elastic for “designer” skater boys from Parsons.
It’s the stage we all start in while transitioning to life in New York. I was staying up all night designing and working my day job talking about how famous I could be. I followed Overheard NY on instagram thinking, “Yes, I get this because I am a New Yorker now.” It felt like a clique in High School I always wanted to be apart of. I had to dress in all black. Every. Single. Day. ONLY black.
“Reality Bites.”
After being screamed at by my boss at work after asking to switch my position and looking at my bank account after recklessly purchasing edgy fashion/tattoos for months, I became burnt out very quickly. Soon enough, I realized my jackets weren’t enough to fulfill my “get rich + famous quick” plan and New York was kicking my ass. I was tired, the blizzards were making it hard to dress “edgy”, and my job was barely paying the bills. I needed a reality check. The collaborations and fashion week shows would have to wait so I could catch up to the speed of this psychotic city.
“I am so alone.”
Yes, you’ve heard the stories about girls on Tinder in NYC. You’ve probably heard even more about girls that ask out every hot guy they spot at work because the city is huge and you are small. I started to miss home (given I had never left home until a few months prior). Every train ride home after work, you could find me in the corner crying listening to SYML swiping through old pictures of my family. I needed someone, so I started searching.
This became a very dangerous path. Being a young and naive girl in a big city chasing after boys was a recipe for disaster and soon I realized this. They chewed me up and spit me out. I was taken advantage of by all kinds of guys that used me and shortly after either ghosted me or ditched me for another more attractive upgrade. I lost myself in my relationship with God for a while in this period of my life. The dating apps were not the ideal platform to feel at home again with the kind of intentions people have online.
“Is that… black MOLD?!”
Imagine every single possible apartment nightmare story you’ve ever heard for a minute. Yeah, I lived with all of them for two years. I experienced it all: black mold, a poisonous caterpillar infestation, (believe it or not) a pile of literal poop smeared all over my window and AC unit, rats, mice, roaches… the list goes on. I was paying so much given the circumstances my wholesome little Brooklyn apartment put me through. Every New Yorker goes through this at one point or another and the best part is, it’s very unlikely you can get out of it until the year lease is up.
“I got promoted!”
I was killing myself working at my job at the Flagship Victoria’s Secret. After many trials, I finally got the promotion from Sales Associate to Visual Merchandiser. I was ready for the upgrade. Everyday, all I could think about was impressing my bosses. I dressed in lingerie as outerwear in the Winter and talked to thousands of customers everyday to even be considered for the promotion. My job became my life and it was all I lived or breathed. I worked from 10 PM to 9 AM to dress mannequins and hang product on the walls. I started suffering from severe anxiety and had to pull back to realize, work is not all there is to life.
“Mom, I met someone.”
I had it all. I was living comfortably, working hard at my promotion at work, making money, getting bonuses, and hanging out with amazing people in the city. I felt like Carrie Bradshaw. You could say at this point, I was pretty established and ready to move on to something new in my life. At this point, I took a leap of faith and went on a date with someone I had never met prior. Before I knew it, 10 months of nights drinking wine at The Osprey in Brooklyn Heights and exchanging “I love you” back and forth passed and I was in love in NYC. I started to think outside myself and lose myself in this feeling. I quit my job, started to travel, and forgot about my career for a short period to grow as a person. The rush of New York fell behind me as I explored who I was and what I wanted in my life. I became serious about my future and started learning Greek and traveled outside of the city to accommodate the relationship and expand my horizons.
“Time to get my shit together.”
I was over the “I am a New Yorker. Look at my new tattoo. I want to be famous.” Stage. I moved into a new beautiful apartment, landed a job with an incredible home interior showroom in Soho based out of Athens, Greece, and am about to celebrate a one-year anniversary with my boyfriend. I speak to incredible Greek teachers over Skype three times a week and study hard everyday. I read books, and love to decorate my brand new, beautiful mold-free apartment. I pray more than ever and have an amazing relationship with my boyfriend and family. I wear color! (My biggest accomplishment, honestly.) I am finally budgeting my finances now that I make money and I finally stopped spamming my body with fresh ink. You could say my aspiration is to finally be an adult.
Oh New York, what a love story we have.

Paying Homage to Nostalgia

You know the feeling. The one that induces either comfort or longing as you look at old photos on Facebook or hear that song from high school you used to love. Photos and songs bring back these feelings we can’t really explain because the feeling of nostalgia is different for everyone. It’s such a broad concept, it’s hard to share the comfort with someone else because we all experience it differently. Life has these passing phases, almost like a playlist we have on repeat for a month until times change and you move on to the next one. Sometimes people are like this for us. One minute, you’re spending every moment with that one friend and after a few years you drift apart and things just aren’t the same.
Lately, I’ve been trapped in this cycle of nostalgia. During times of transition, I tend to get stuck listening to old songs I’m tired of and looking at photos from years ago simply because there isn’t enough happening in my new stage of life to replace these memories I’m fond of. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but now that the weather is colder and I’m in a different stage of life I feel like nostalgia is actually holding me back from experiencing the new people, songs, and experiences that are out there. I can’t help but love the comfort of my favorite Summer songs and watching videos of my family and I laughing at memes on the internet. Here’s an ode to some nostalgic things for me and might help you be exposed to some new inspiration for your Fall mood board or Spotify Playlist.
For starters, here’s a lovely little mood board to set the tone for this post. In high school, I was obsessed with bizarre artsy films and ad campaigns from British designers. The photos resemble feelings or times over the past few years that I love to think about. The #24HrChurch tag on Instagram will help you feel this emotion. In addition, I compiled this playlist of songs that bring me comfort.
I remember watching a movie alone in my parents’ room after applying to an art school in my hometown and this song played through the credits. After doing art the whole day and waiting for the letter in the mail, I knew whatever was going to happen in the future everything was going to be okay. This song played as I replayed the day in my head, but I never would have expected in a year I would be in New York living my dream life.

Exactly a year ago, I was in Cafe Grumpy in Manhattan at night awaiting my shift to start at the flagship Victoria’s Secret. I was drinking a drip coffee and wearing a blazer trying to recover from the cold outside. I was thinking about a boy I had recently met online trying to escape the thoughts of another guy from my past. Little did I know I was about to be promoted to Visual Merchandiser at my job and meet a guy I would spend the next year of my life with.

I remember sitting in my closet (that also happened to house my collection of 200 fashion magazines and my bed) with starry lights covering the walls and a small window next to me while listening to this song as the sun set next to me. I was thinking about the cute boy sitting next to me in art class earlier that day, dreaming about the art I would create the next day while listening to this song.

At the time, I was a barista in Dallas. This song was playing one night I was driving on the highway practicing for my driver’s test. My mom was so proud of me, we stopped at Starbucks and I rewarded my first highway drive with a cup of dark roast. On the way home, my mom and I talked about the dreams we had for our futures and all the things we wanted to do.
Growing up, if school was kicking my ass or if I was heartbroken by a boy, I would shop at the Domain in Austin. I would go into department stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus and gaze at the gorgeous overpriced gowns in the wedding and formal wear department and dream about the fashion industry. One day, after school I stopped by Neiman’s to shop the Rag + Bone collection with my best friend after getting coffee with him at Nespresso. We had this weekly tradition of going together and acting as if we had money for espresso machines and fancy toilets. We would go into the high-end home stores and shop Japanese toilets as if we were 35 + shopping for our condos. I was 16 and loving life.
Sometimes, we need to grieve the past because times change. The key is to not get stuck in it and to learn how to love the present. Like Walt Disney said, “Keep moving forward”.

A Study in European Fashion

There’s one word to describe the European lifestyle: Effortless.
After a small dab of lipstick and pulling from the few classics in their wardrobe, they grab their coffee and a small breakfast while enjoying a cigarette on their way to work and in the subways pull a hair tie from their pocket to tie up their hair into a bun and a sprits from a travel perfume. Before you know it, they’re at work and look like a model walking out of a designer showroom. What’s their secret? They don’t try.
Quite contrary to the American morning routine. A run to the gym, a fast HIIT routine, run back, shower, dry hair, choose from 5 different potential outfits from a large wardrobe of fast fashion, lipstick, foundation, mascara, false lashes, curl hair a bit, okay wait did I remember deoderant? Oh gosh. Wait, I’m going to be late. I need an uber, wait budgeting. Do I have time for my morning green juice and ginger shot? Oh gosh, 30 minutes, when’s the next L train?
Yeah, that’s basically me. Admit it, that’s probably you sometimes too.
We could all benefit from the “food is nourishment not calories enjoy life just breathe” lifestyle. But quite frankly it’s not easy and takes time to transition one way of thinking to the next. Let me enlighten you with a bit of fashion inspiration to offer some ideas for your morning routine.
Here’s the Pinterest board to help you envision this Audrey Hepburn way of life.
Embrace the Light
Colors like pastel pink, beige, and white always look fresh. You automatically look like a breathe of fresh air with this color scheme with the occasionally pop of red or black. Call it effortless sophistication.
Go Natural
I used to wear so much makeup, people barely recognized me when I didn’t wear it. I started watching French makeup videos instead of the smokey eye routine with a dense cat eye and started to embrace my natural features. Suddenly, I have an extra 20 minutes before work to grab that coffee and read W.
Classics Go a Long Way
Never underestimate the power of a well-fitted pair of jeans, a white button down, a white tee shirt, and a strong blazer. There are so many different ways to dress these pieces up or down and will never go out of style.
Tie It Up, Tuck It In, + Belt It
Embrace your figure. You’re a woman and have the figure so might as well enhance it’s proportions with clothing. Accessories and styling does wonders to your basics. Try tying your button down at the waist, layering gold necklaces, and pair with high waisted pants for an easy work look with a touch of femininity.
Most of All, Don’t Overthink It
Looking good is also about being yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or people will sense it and it will alienate you from the people around you. Be approachable, smile, and embrace the clothes you already have by styling them in unique ways. Trust me (your bank account will thank you).

A Guide to Serenity

I like to talk about adrenaline and rushing from place to place, but some days, like today, I like to appreciate the serene moments. Being a designer in New York, I’m usually going through some drastic change or special occasion so I don’t come across these moments often. The times that inspired my brand the most are the quiet moments I’ve walked by the terrace in Brooklyn Heights while watching the sun set or waking up when everyone else was asleep. My jackets are mostly inspired by people I’ve come across in New York that had such an aggressively cool presence, it pushed me to start purchasing spray paints and coating my jackets in metallic colors and designs. Brick + Clover was established after I traveled to Cyprus and it suddenly became very hard to get back into the swing of the New York rush after living the serene lifestyle by the beach. Now I use both as separate outlets to appreciate how we all love the adrenaline rush in the morning before work (loud music and a shot of espresso) and at night all we need is a book and a cup of tea to appreciate the end of a full day. It’s an expression of lifestyle. How we all need balance to fully express who we are as people being complex beings with a past, present, and future. My art and design is a study in psychology, really. Even my portraits (being as straight forward as they are) are simplistic in the fact I just want to capture someone’s essence in the subtleties.
I thought it was time I compiled a compilation of things to summarize the feeling of serenity. I have a board on my Pinterest called “Holocene” I’ve been using to curate a collective of images to capture this feeling. It’s the feeling of contentment and balance. For some of us this feeling is as simple as our drive home from work, listening to that one song that we listened to on the second date with our love, or maybe waking up in the morning with your cat and eating cereal by the window. It’s simple really, just the feeling of quietness in the chaos that is our life.

Free People: Roshambo feat. Christopher Abbott

This is a fashion film I reviewed for Fashion Mingle a few years back and it’s still my favorite video on the internet. There’s something so unexplainably nice about running into someone by surprise and reuniting with them. Catching up with someone after a long time and remembering the good times you’ve had with them in the past makes us aware of how time passes. With no real plot points or objective, this short is simple and balanced leaving us with a feeling of peacefulness.

Foals – Out Of The Woods

And here it is: Foals. Everyone who knows me knows I am completely and utterly obsessed with this band and it’s simply because they capture every emotion in every song. This song is not loud or quiet, it’s just nice. It makes me think of a weekend in Connecticut with my boyfriend, sister, and brother-in-law.

The Met

Going to a museum by yourself is the most serene experience. Watching people just stand in front of a work of art and process their own interpretation of its beauty forces me to become mindful and detach myself from the chaos in every other area of my life.

Find balance today by becoming aware of the cool air in the morning or watching the sunset before work. Text someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile, and keep in touch with the past by listening to a song you used to love.