Creating with mindfulness and Intention: Shades of Pink turns 1

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shades
Photo’s by Joel Ismont

Happiest of Birthday’s to my shade babes (a belated one to say the least, which is due to me getting my shit together for myself and for this blog). The best gift my blog could have possibly received was the major support and love that comes in the form of views and the positive words sent to me through comments and messages every day (even when I’m not posting, which absolutely warms my heart in a major way). I can’t say thank you enough. All of this love and support has kept me driven and put me in the position to monetize off of my blog. Thus far I am putting all of that money towards making Shades of Pink an even better experience for all of you. Through the ups and downs of being a new up and coming lifestyle blogger and being a twenty something here’s what I’ve learned during my time away:

The theme of “intention” seems to be really big in my life right now. I have learned in a few different aspects of my life, that nothing will change or improve until you move with intention. I used to think that mindfulness only applied to coping with anxiety and dealing with self when you are in a state of stress. But that is far from true. Being mindful opens your eyes to how you are living and coping out in the world. I am a firm believer that the mind and the body mirror one another. They send the conscious messages about what is going on in your subconscious. The subconcious is our ultimate truth underneath it all. Some of us are more in tune with this truth than others, naturally. But I think at some point or another that mindfulness beats our ass so crucially at some point or another that we have no choice but to shut up and listen. That without a doubt is mindfulness at it’s finest.

As a creative, being mindful (or not) affects your business and your brand both negatively and positively when we let it.  But furthermore it is a gateway drug to emotional intelligence (the best drug there is..let me tell you). I’ve kind of taken some time for me in the midst of figuring out who I am as a creative and what I want to do with my blog and my brand. Increasing my mindfulness and actually being able to identify what it is that I am feeling about myself, the people around me, and what I am doing with my life has given me an even bigger plan for Shades of Pink than what I initially started out with. I started with a small goal for myself and my potential, and now I have a plan. After getting myself together mentally, emotionally, and physically I can set my intentions. I know more often than not the cluttered mess in my mind and lack of time management is what keeps me from being consistent in my projects.

I had to remind myself the other day that when I first began working on my blog last year I actually had way more on my plate than I do now. What made me slow down was the pressure I felt to be the best at everything I was doing instead of being mindful of what MY best was. Understand this: THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. What feels good to me and what is standard for society and those we feel the need to impress are two totally different things. What you think is being required of you is not YOUR best. That’s someone else’s standard. That’s someone else’s best. What is expected of me by my peers, loved ones, and what society is projecting on to us is not necessarily going to be what I want for myself in the grand scheme of things. I have multiple driving forces in my life that cause me to spread myself thin and opperate like a chicken with my head cut off. For some creatives like myself, having the time to focus in on one thing is the hardest part.

It also doesn’t help that the world tells us what success is and then we feel disappointed when the success or achievement we reach doesn’t make us feel full. Through this realization and through excessive amounts of FOMO (fear of missing out). I know what my best is and I know what success means to me. Success and how we define it is a very personal thing. I have a better understanding of what is priority in my life right now because of falling on my ass a few times and feeling disappointed. It’s necessary. It’s necessary to go through the motions so that we can understand them fully. The hardest part can be figuring out how to verbalize what it is that we are feeling. For the longest time I’ve felt like I’ve been working way harder than those around me, yet I was feeling like I was missing the mark. My achievements were no longer doing it for me. The bigger picture was: I was falling short somewhere.

I’ve busted my ass for a credential (for teaching) and for my current grades with in my actual major (mass com) that made me feel like complete shit afterwords because of lack of sleep, little to no self care, and ignoring my mental health just to get an A in a class I don’t really care about when it’s all said and done. Then in the midst of that my blog posts are far few and in between and so is my YouTube content. I had a social life that was completely lacking (but is slowly but surely becoming more of a priority again), I had no time for a significant other, and I was barely spending time with my family. But during this process of going through the motions and realizing how I felt, underneath it all I felt burnt out and spread thin. I felt like I was being mediocre in all the other areas of my life that were important to me and what I feel my true purpose is.

By no means am I saying screw your education. I know a degree is worth a lot these days and it can save your ass on many occasions, as well as being an asset to financial stability. But I’ve learned that to me, my worth is not determined by a degree. Attaining a degree does not come before my mental health, and most importantly it will never mean more to me than this right here. With the understanding I have now, there are a lot more moments where I am facing a school v.s. self dilemma, and I choose myself. I choose to get the sleep I need and turn an assignment in a day late when it’s necessary. I choose a little less study time so I can get myself together after a hectic day. Sometimes I’m going to do C+ work so that I can cater to my blog. But I’ve learned that it’s okay for me to do so. If anything, its NOT okay to run myself into the ground for a grade. A degree will help further what I want to do but it’s not the end all be all for me. I’m no longer afraid of getting a B or a C. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t be the best at everything. But as long as I’m the best in the areas that are everything to me, I’m able to feel full.

With less than a year left of college I know where I stand with what I want and with that being said, my priority is myself. I won’t keep spreading myself thin and missing out on what is important to me. I am challenging myself to make more time to get a better balance on what works for me. I think that’s something all 20 somethings are searching for. How do we balance school, work, passion projects, friends and family, and a love life without losing our minds or spreading ourselves thin? Listen to your body and follow your heart. I would have laughed at that staement a year ago because I am always this “oh so logical, everything has to add up and makes sense” head ass, as I’d like to say. But the mind and body follow one another. If something doesn’t feel right (like your body telling you it needs to rest) listen to it. When your heart tells you something isn’t right listen to it. Work on what is lacking especially when you see signs of it wreaking havoc in your spirit.

I don’t have all the answers as to how to balance life and a busy schedule successfully, but I’ve decided I am dedicated to figuring it out and sharing it with you. I know it starts with intention. I know it starts with being mindful. I know it ends with emotional intelligence and being able to identify how you feel so you can identify what actually works for you and makes you feel whole. This comes with doing things that aren’t fun sometimes, so that you have time to spare. It will come with not being able to please everyone. It will also mean unlearning whatever you thought success was and redefining it for yourself.

As I start my journey, I want to begin with getting back to what I love most. I’m pushing myself to write even more often than before. I’m challenging myself to post every Sunday. I’m challenging myself to share a lot more of this journey of figuring out how to navigate life through all of its craziness. I’m challenging myself to be vulnerable. I want to end this with saying thank you to my friends who push me and are on my ass about me posting and continuing what I started. I also want to remind everyone that it is never too late to change how you think and process the world around you and start new habits. If you have a new habit you wish to create for yourself: Start today. Start where you are. At this very moment do something that will further move you into the direction you need to be in. Even if it’s a small task, get started. Fall back in love with what you do and prepare to have to make the effort to fall in love with it over and over again. The grass is only greener where you water it. To everyone who continues to read and share S.O.P thank you for your love and support. Happy Birthday Shade Babes !

20 something, stressed, and doing her best,

Nori <3

An Update/ A Little Piece of My Heart

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My cousin, my brother, my angel <3

Good Morning Shade Babes & Gents! I’m back with another unofficial post. With that being said this is NOT my usual post. The post for the week is coming soon I promise. I just wanted to update you all on why I haven’t posted in 2 weeks. My consistency doesn’t change and I promise I’m back and I’m better, but I needed two weeks to kind of get my mind right and think about what’s next for me. At first I wasn’t going to write anything I was just gonna wait another week or so and give you guys the post you deserve. But after talking to a few people close to me I realized the purpose of this blog was to be a source of truth and to enlighten people on the simple topics that matter. If being a little vulnerable and personal can help out the next person I’m all for it.

This time of year is the hardest for me because of the death of my cousin Solomon David Montgomery who at one point was like the closest thing to a best friend that I ever had growing up. I think everyone has that one favorite cousin that they’re always excited to see. He was that for me.  This year  my family is having a family reunion for the first time (in his city) and deciding whether to go or not, as well as having a lot of feelings I haven’t taken the time to deal with has eaten me up inside. It has made it extremely hard for me to write and function as a whole. Adding the fact that I work and I’m in school I’ve been extremely hard on myself about not being as up to par with balancing everything as well as I usually would. Sometimes as people we think that we can ignore memories and parts of ourselves that we don’t like in hopes that we can forget altogether. I think I am a perfect example of how that doesn’t work and it WILL catch up with you. Grief doesn’t get any easier as the years go by and I thought pushing it in the back of my mind and not “dwelling” on it would help me to move on but it didn’t.

Growing up I couldn’t stand boys, specifically my boy cousins because they always seemed to be so mean to me (I have to admit it made me tough though). But my cousin Solomon was totally different. He was never annoying or picking on me and we always got along. He taught me how to play video games and we would play pranks on our cousins and uncles together. We were always up to something and we were always a team. I followed everything he did and I wanted to be just like him. I had never met someone that I looked up to so much in my life. I had never met a more perfect person who always seemed to be happy and so genuine towards everyone around him. If I could have jumped in his skin and been him I would have, because that’s how much I admired the person he was. He was more like my brother than my cousin.  I think everyone in my family could agree that he had the kind of personality that you could never really be mad or upset with him. He was the sweetest person I knew and he never failed to make me feel loved and included. Every family event that we attended I was always mainly excited to see him and catch up.

I would say a huge part of my personality and my interests were molded by him. From the music I listen to, to my interest in writing he helped to develop all of that because from the time I could walk I was always trying to keep up with what he was doing. We would make up stories and have my nanna write them on her laptop because we didn’t know how to. We would play Japanese video games together and watch action movies that we weren’t supposed to. We would make fun of our big cousin Julian and play in his hair at family functions. We would talk about our future and what we wanted to be when we grew up. We made plans to go places and do things that were on our bucket list for when we got older. Before I started high school he got really sick but everyone assumed that he would recover (myself included) so I didn’t take his illness as serious as I should have. I never got to see him while he was sick and when he passed away none of it felt real. I didn’t know how to process what I was feeling for a long time. For years I had not been back to his house, looked at pictures of us, or discussed him much with my parents.

Helping my nanna find old pictures for the family reunion has brought about so many different emotions. I realize now that for a long time I’ve been angry because it feels so unfair that someone who had their whole life ahead of them didn’t get to see it through. It’s unfair that he wasn’t at my graduation and I never got to see him finish college. We had plans that will never happen now and it’s painful to think about at times, which makes sense as to why I would avoid it. But ignoring how I felt towards losing someone so close to me has also cheated me out of so many beautiful memories. I look at pictures lately and instead of being upset I feel blessed and lucky that I even got to experience such an amazing person at all. Even if it was just for a short time. Every moment I had with him was one that was always happy and I’ll forever be grateful that he was always able to somehow bring that out of me. I would like to think he’s proud of me and I see his influence in all that I do. He was working with kids before he died and here I am teaching at an enrichment program and working on my certification. We created stories together and I share my stories and opinion’s weekly with all of you. When I accomplish something it feels like I’m accomplishing it for the both of us.

With that being said, to anyone who is grieving or missing someone count the blessings and not the hardships behind it. Save and appreciate all of the memories and let what feelings that come with it come and go as they please. Don’t avoid them or suppress them. Let them be what they are and acknowledge the feeling, identify it, and let it go. Nostalgia can be beautiful if we allow it to be. I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not experienced Solomon the exact way that I did. I can still remember our jokes and see things that would have interested us today if he was here and Im now able to smile about it. But in order to do that I had to take time to cry about it and let the hurt go first. One of my biggest flaws is how often I fight to avoid sadness by keeping myself overly busy or distracted. I’m working on it every day and if any of this sounds relatable to you I hope that you do too. Your mental health is important and as easy as it is to stay busy and not address the things that bother you, it is so much more rewarding to slow down sometimes and acknowledge your issues and begin to work on healing yourself. Whether it be through talking about it, writing about it, meditating, or just relaxing and allowing yourself to just be. Taking the time to do that is so necessary to keeping your life in it’s most enjoyable state. You can’t secure the bag while falling apart at the seems.

With that being, said for the next 4 months I will be posting once or twice a month to continue to give you quality posts and balance work, school, and certification. If I can do more than that I will, but in the mean time I would appreciate the patience and understanding of the million and one things I have going on right now. Side Note: my blog is just a baby (2 months old now) and I’m just about half way to a thousand views. I am so appreciative and humbled by it all. I love every single one of you that takes the time to read my posts. Thank you!!!

xoxo, Nori <3