1. "Attract them by the way you live."
    — Saint Augustine (via labiebs)

    (Source: psych-quotes, via nudecoast)

     
  2. (Source: purebeachboho, via thegoldsea)

     

  3. a year in review, of sorts

    Apparently I have very mixed emotions about 2013.

    I think about it, and everything blurs and jumbles together. I sit down to write about it and the words don’t come. There are things I want to share, and things I wish never happened. The moment I start thinking it was a good year, I’m reminded of the bad.

    I guess that’s what happens when you try to look at the year as a whole.

    //

    We lost Nana in 2013.

    I say lost very deliberately. When you lose something, there remains that tiny bit of hope that, against all odds, you might find it again. As if we’ve only misplaced Nana, and if we look under the bed and in the corners of the closet we’ll find her.

    It’s still hard to comprehend that Nana is actually gone, because she was such a constant presence in my life. I could always count on Nana.  

    I always thought that if you were really, truly close with someone, you would feel it when they passed away. That even if you weren’t with them while they were dying, that you would take on some of their pain in the form of a fleeting headache, a sharp jab in the depths of your stomach; a temporary, visceral reaction to a loss you don’t yet know of.

    I don’t believe that anymore, because I still feel Nana. 

    I walk into her house and feel her tiny, arthritic hands pushing me towards the refrigerator for a Coke Zero. I felt her all throughout Christmas, while we were opening presents and eating coffee cake. I feel her when something good happens, and I feel her when something bad happens, and I often feel her when I’m trying to justify eating another brownie. She’s always telling me to just go for it. 

    And even though I can feel her, I still want one more kiss on my cheek, one more Nana hug, one more “I love you, honey.” 

    //

    I’ll never forget the look my mom and I exchanged last May, just before pulling off 70 east and heading to the Carteret County animal shelter. “This is a bad idea,” we repeated, over and over down Hibbs Road.

    We pulled up and there was a gate blocking the entrance – we almost turned around – before a volunteer came running over, clearing the way. They were closed for lunch, she explained. They would open again in about 30 minutes.

    “Should we wait?” my mom asked.

    “Is that even a question?” I responded.

    It took all of 30 seconds for us to fall in love with Dobby. He was the smallest, fuzziest kitten, and he was the first thing you saw when you opened the door to the room. He was huddled with his brothers and sisters at the front of his cage, his long eyebrows poking through the bars.

    “We’ll take that one,” we said in unison.

    Now Dobby sleeps on the pillow above my head every night, sometimes stretching down across my chest. I experience extreme anxiety if I have to be without him for more than 12 hours, and demand constant pictures if separated. The other day my mom told me he was getting fat and I took it personally.

    I remember the summer like it was yesterday.

    I can still feel the excitement of the Fourth of July – Katie Peeler and I catching a last minute ride out to Shack on my cousin’s boat. We had just enough time to grab some sunscreen, a towel to share, and a couple beers each before we were out the door.

    We spent the whole day in the sun, “borrowing” beers from coolers and stealing hot dogs off grills, blasting music over portable speakers. We lounged in the sand with saltwater in our eyes.

    //

    In June of 2013 I got a big kid job.

    After six months of LinkedIn searches, cover letter writing and attending so-called “informational interviews,” I was offered a job that both really, truly scared me, and really, truly excited me.

    Before I talk about my new job, I want to talk about the job search process. Because that was terrible. 

    I was lucky enough to be able to job search from the comfort of my parents home, where I had food, electricity and constant encouragement given free of charge. I’m 99% sure that living with them was what kept me from having a full on panic-attack-anxiety-meltdown over those six long months, though I came close.

    Thanks rents.

    I am now the Marketing Associate at an oncology pharmacy based in Cary, North Carolina; a position I never expected to find myself in, and never even dreamed I was qualified for.

    I was so, so scared my first few weeks of work. I just knew that two weeks in they would decide that my former fashion experience wasn’t good enough, that my long form journalism background wouldn’t translate to biopharmaceutical partnership press releases or newsletters on the latest breakthroughs in gastrointestinal cancer.  

    But fear is an incredible motivator.

    I read and read and read some more, and scoured the web for anything to shed some light on the healthcare industry, oncology in general. I still keep a notebook filled with articles that are highlighted, underlined and dog-eared. I also find myself in meetings, seven months in, where I have absolutely no idea what the others are talking about.

    Though there are those moments of blind panic where I feel I’m way out of my league, there have also been moments where I’ve completely and totally surprised myself. The publication of the first “Clinical Therapeutic Intelligence Report,” in which I wrote and edited many of the articles, was one of those moments.

    Call me a nerd, but I still get excited when my press release is picked up on the wire, or a newsletter I wrote is sent to doctor’s offices around the country.

    After a string of less-than-ideal jobs, I feel like I’m finally on the right track.

    //

    I made some New Years Resolutions for 2014.

    • Write every day, at least a paragraph.
    • Say yes more – to doing things I’m scared of, or don’t want to do, or pretend I don’t have time for. Learn to deal with being tired at work because of this resolution.
    • Watch more sunsets…consider sunrise.
    • Try and keep hair the same color for six consecutive months. Resist the urge to cut it all off and start over.
    • Be happy where you are.
    • Call friends more often. Find out what’s happening in their life, not just their Facebook page.
    • Learn to play the guitar. Play an entire song in front of another human…maybe don’t sing along.
    • Look for the good in people. Don’t immediately write them off if they show you the bad.

    I have broken a lot of these already, but hey – I’m trying.

    //

    When it’s all said and done, I think you just have to take the good with the bad. You have to learn to look at the days individually, and not try to chalk 365 days up as “the best year yet” or “the worst time in my life.”

    No matter what, you’re gonna have some bad days. That’s just life.

    And if you don’t have a couple bad days, how are you ever going to fully appreciate the good days? Sometimes I’m thankful for a little bit of bad, because it wakes me up to how much more often there’s good.

    In 2014, I want to start fresh every single day, and not block my days into a “good week” or a “bad week,” a “great year” or a “shit year.”

    I’m going to take it day by day. 

     

  4. "i write entirely to find out what i’m thinking, what i’m looking at, what i see and what it means. what i want and what i fear…"
    — joan didion.
     
  5.  
  6. wmagazine:

    Jennifer Lawrence stunned us in 2013, here’s to 2014. 

    Photograph by Juergen Teller; styled by Edward Enninful; W Magazine February 2014. 

    queen.

     
  7.  

  8. anxiety & adam levine.

    We were standing near the top of the amphitheater, a long stretch of grass and a couple thousand people separating me from Adam Levine. The opening act for the opening act was setting up on stage and, as usual, my mom had wandered into the heart of the crowd, searching for the perfect seats.

    “You can’t go too far to the left or right, Mom!” I yelled, flashing back to concerts in high school when we went too far to the sides – and ended up with the perfect view of a giant support beam.

    We found an open spot, in the dead center of the lawn, and if I squinted my eyes and looked at the stage with my head slightly cocked, I had the perfect view of Adam.  

    It was about halfway through the concert, when I finally tore my eyes away from the stage, that the thought crossed my mind. The same thought that has started barging into my head more and more frequently when I find myself in crowded spaces or new public places.

    “Will I be able to get out of here if something terrible happens?”

    //

    When I was little, I loved school. I got to read and see my friends, play on the playground during recess and do science experiments. I grew a lima bean plant in a ziplock bag, had a naptime mat that was pink with bunnies on it, and watched baby chicks hatch from an incubator.

    School was a happy place, an exciting place, and – most importantly – a safe place.

    If I were in school today, I’m not sure I would feel the same way I did when I was younger. Today, seemingly normal students bring guns to school and shoot their friends and teachers. People walk through the hallways and shoot up kindergarten classrooms. Cafeterias become crime scenes. 

    My sister teaches kindergarten, and I wonder if, when deciding to become a teacher, she realized how dangerous her job would become. I wonder if mixed in with her dreams of teaching children how to read, helping them fall in love with science or math or Clifford the Big Red Dog, if she thought about risking her life to protect her students.

    I watch the news coverage of the heroic – truly, truly heroic – actions of teachers during school shootings and my heart aches. They didn’t sign up for this. If they’re anything like my sister, they became teachers to work closely with children, to help them grow, and learn, and become the best little people they can be. There is no doubt in my mind that my sister would do anything to protect her students. That’s what scares me the most.

    //

    I used to watch the news coverage with a sense of detachment. “That would never happen in Raleigh. No one would bring a gun to Broughton. It’s ridiculous to think North Hills is dangerous.”

    I’m sure the residents of Aurora, Colorado felt the same way. There’s no way anyone in Newtown, Connecticut could have imagined something so horrible happening to them. It was a morning like any other for Michael Landsberry.

    So, these days I scan rooms for emergency exits. I carry on conversations while deciding what to do if a shooter enters the building. I’ve weighed the pros and cons of playing dead numerous times.

    And I bet I’m not the only one.

     
  9. frida kahlo and a cat.

     

  10. "i’m not going to change the way i look or the way i feel to conform to anything. i’ve always been a freak. so i’ve been a freak all my life and i have to live with that, you know. i’m one of those people."
    — john lennon.
     
  11.  

  12. "I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the ones that I have loved; all the cities I have visited."
    — Jorge Luis Borges (via perluettes)

    (Source: rebeccabriannee, via perluettes)

     
  13. stylecypher:

    Beautiful & Chic

    happy birthday, bey

    (Source: stylecypher)

     
  14. hnnhmcgrth:

    Ernest Hemingway, center, photographed for the Oak Park High School football team, November 1915

    (Source: jefcostellos, via timetopretend)

     

  15. goodbye shepard street

    “There’s a story for every corner of this place…”

    Two Fingers, Jake Bugg 

    //

    1404 Shepard Street, Morehead City had a true open-door policy. I mean that literally, the sliding glass door leading to the back porch was very rarely locked. 

    It was not uncommon for my parents to have to tiptoe around the kitchen while making coffee, careful not to wake up the kids sleeping on the sofa or in the chairs, curled under blankets and beach towels. Whatever leftovers were in the fridge would be spread across the counter, along with chips, queso and the occasional head of cauliflower. Shoes and purses would litter the living room floor, and sometimes the front porch.

     Breakfast was a tradition on Shepard Street, and if Jan was in town you were treated to eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy - if that had been eaten the night before a quick walk up the street to On-a-Roll was in order. 

    //

     You were allowed to ride Razor scooters inside at Shepard Street, and no matter how many times you swept the floor you would still find sand on the bottoms of your feet when you walked around barefoot. The house has two bathrooms, but all showers were taken outside. The front porch swing fits four if you really squish, and the metal chairs on the back porch are bent out of shape from the amount of people they’ve supported.

     The master bedroom belonged to the kids, with two full size beds for sharing. You see, my parents didn’t know when they bought the house that one of the only bars in Morehead City would open down the street, within walking distance from our house. We slept on every available surface; draped over chairs, piled feet-to-face on sofas, curled on dog beds.

     The house welcomed sunlight, peace, and mojitos. It made you happy, even when you were stuck inside on a rainy day.

    //

    I always wanted a mountain house. I was a tomboy and liked creeks and camping and turning rocks over to see what was under them. I also got blistering sunburns on every beach vacation we ever went on, so I wasn’t exactly celebrating when my mom and I accidentally bought a beach house.

    That’s exactly what happened. My mom and I were in Beaufort at my cousin’s condo, and somehow we found ourselves driving down the Morehead waterfront. There was a tiny white house with a “For Sale” sign, and my mom pulled over. She walked through the house, and 10 minutes later was convincing the owner to accept her offer, and not any of the others they received that day.  

    If you’ve met Jan, it’s not surprising that she convinced a total stranger to accept her offer and no one else’s. Next step: tell my dad. I will always remember my mom’s first sentence to my dad that night, “Well, honey, I bought us a beach house…”

    She’s a firm believer in asking for forgiveness, not permission…and she wonders where I get that from.

    Now, it’s hard to imagine not having a beach house. The rock of the boat in the turning basin, the sound of seagulls on Atlantic Beach, the left-right-left turn of the handlebars when you ride your bike to Little Beach, the glint of the sun on the water, how could I have grown up without those things?

    How could I believe in God without ever lying on the beach at night, sand in my hair and stars in my eyes? How could I be grateful for being alive without jumping off the Murray’s dock at 4 am, current tugging me farther and farther away? How could I know what true friendship is without waking up in the day bed with Katie, Oreo’s stuck icing-side-down to our skin, and laughing so hard about it that we’re on the floor, clutching at our sides and each other?

    There’s a Leonard Cohen lyric that says, “If you don’t become the ocean you’ll be seasick every day.” I believe that. I believe the ocean taught me to be peaceful, reminded me to be happy, and showed me true beauty.

    I still get blistering sunburns.

    //

    I’ve made quite a few friends at the beach, and become better friends with some friends because of the beach.

    You held hands when walking to Shepard Street. If you didn’t hold hands, it’s because you were leaning on each other for support. You threw your arm over the person next to you, or hopped on someone’s back for a lift. You wrapped your arms around the waists of friends. You even rode in a trashcan if you could find someone to push you.

    We laughed at Shepard Street. We laughed at each other and ourselves, freely and openly and without feeling self-conscious. We laughed at jokes and we laughed at memories, and we laughed all the way to the Morehead Convention Center, where we dropped our neighbors off to pick up a check for a million dollars.

    We panicked every time Street pretended the cops were coming, and we laughed every time it wasn’t true. We even laughed when it was true, and acted nonchalant and carefree and like it was Diet Coke in those coozies.

    I learned to be myself at Shepard Street. I learned to accept myself at Shepard Street. A summer of walking around in bikinis kind of forces that.

    //

    This afternoon I packed up my car, and walked out the front door like any other Sunday afternoon.

    But this afternoon was different, because it’s the last time I’ll walk across that turquoise porch, down that brick pathway. Shepard Street is no longer ours to track sand into. We can’t grill shrimp on that back porch; we can’t make mojitos in that kitchen. We can’t sit on the front porch swing or take a shower outside - unless we want to get arrested.

    It seems that all my memories of Shepard Street are accompanied by music, and as I walked out this afternoon those songs played in my head. Some of them took me back to boat rides or conversations, made me think of specific weekends or meals or friends that were visiting. Most of them, however, were the sounds of laughter coming from inside that house. God, am I thankful for that soundtrack.

    // 

    for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

    its always ourselves we find in the sea

    - ee cummings