Happy Saturday fashionable humans!!!
It is my birthday today and I am very very excited😆. I am honestly ridiculously stoked about my birthday every year, even though I rarely do anything extravagant.
This year, I am far away from home, but I am still pumped! I am fortunate enough to be in London for work, so while last week was PACKED with meetings, I still feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
I usually am not one of those people who take the time to reflect on shit. I do learn from my mistakes, of course, but, until recently, I rarely sat down to write things and make affirmations and stuff. However, after reading a few books that outlined the importance of reflection in actual writing, I have been trying to consciously sit the fuck down, think about things and write what I feel and I want to achieve: personal goals, family goals, professional goals, fitness goals, aspirations and all kinds of fun and positive things.
Therefore, on my birthday, 10/28/2017, I would like to share with you 7 little things I learned this year. Maybe they will be useful to you, maybe not; either way, I hope this post is entertaining!
What I am wearing: Dress, Boohoo (here); bag, @theresacotton Francis Clucth (gifted, thoughts below; here); Shoes, Justfab Hadley (here); Silk Bangles, IndianCraftsville (here). Lipstick is @colouredraine Cherry Blossom (here)
Birthday reflection 1:
Circumstances will reveal who you are; take action accordingly.
I came across this parabola/proverb thing a few years ago, but did not fully grasp it until this year. Here’s the thing: I consider myself very lucky. At the same time- 2016 and 2017 were complete b*tches, which strangely also brought about some of the highest highs of my life. Adversity turned me into a carrot, then an egg. Finally, one day, it clicked that I needed to suck it up and use life’s punches to become stronger, and I turned into coffee. Hard circumstances have brought the best out of me on so many fronts: discipline, positivity, courage, and many other things that are kind of necessary not to suck at life. So don’t be scared: let hard times come by, and use them to change you for the better. Circumstances do NOT own you; you own your reactions to them.
Birthday reflection 2:
Everything you want lies on the other side of fear
Fear is generally a good thing meant to protect us from harm; snakes can be shitty, spiders may kill you, and anyone who tickles people should not be trusted. That said, fear can also keep us from living our lives to the fullest; know the difference, and please don’t let that happen to you. Don’t be my Mom’s friend who let the love of her life pass her by, because she was scared to ask her family to marry a man from a different religion (she is still single.) Don’t be that person who never tried anything because they never wanted to get out of their comfort zone; you may regret it. It took me 5 years to kick my own ass to (re)start Dafrastar, as I could not stop thinking about what people would think. I assumed they would feel that I was trying super hard to be relevant, and would laugh at me behind my back. You know what? If that’s indeed the truth, let them. Who cares? 🤷🏿♀️ So go on that trip, take that hot air balloon ride, wear those white jeans or go to that salsa class. Either way, you will have a great story to tell and another experience to remember.
Birthday reflection 3:
…And hard work
There is no way around it. When you want something, you have to understand that it WILL NOT fall in your lap, wrapped up with a nice little bow. Hiding behind sayings like “God willing, I will do X…” without actually doing shit will only cause you heartbreak. There isn’t really any replacement for diligently working at things to achieve mastery (even if asymptotically). For me, setting a goal and putting in the necessary work brings me a freedom and excitement I cannot even explain. No one can take the fruits of your labor away from you (unless you let them), and no one can steal your knowledge/ weight loss/ gym gains/ professional achievements from you. So work hard. Read that extra chapter; go to that networking event; take the time to understand that convoluted spreadsheet; read that extra material to be prepared for that meeting. At the same time, hustle; find people to mentor you in what you are doing, ask questions, go to coffee with people smarter than you, and honestly do EVERYTHING you can to make it. Don’t half ass anything, it’s not cool to “barely try”. Flexing on the ‘Gram can wait (unless you are a blogger, then flex to the MAX! 😂)
Birthday reflection 4:
It’s okay to want more for yourself.
You know what scares me? Waking up one day and thinking: “I could have done more with my life.” It sounds like a trivial thing, but I am so scared of growing old and seeing in hindsight all the things I could have done, but somehow decided not to pursue because I got comfortable. I cannot explain this point as well as the ones above, but this lady can! On her channel one day, I was listening to a video about purpose; she shared this quote, and it made me think very hard.
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream.”
I am filled with the dread of leaving a “rich grave” behind. I beat myself up for years and wondered what else I could do besides the usual (school, work, volunteering, family), and often felt greedy because- as I said, I feel very fortunate already. However, that guilt has eased up in this past year, as I realize it’s okay to demand more of myself, and it’s okay for me to want to explore everything I may be able to do. As of today, I do not have anything planned nor do I think that I have any talent besides my job, but by my next birthday, I hope to be working on something more than “the usual”.
Birthday reflection 5:
Respect your time.
That’s the only thing that we can never recover once it’s gone. In this past year, I have strived for every minute of the day to be spent doing something meaningful. Did I succeed? Hell no, far from it. However, that taught me the value of time, and I have started to respect it a lot more– mine and other people’s. So drop that flaky friend, stop wasting evenings waiting for that fuckboy to call you back, leave that dead-end job where you aren’t learning shit. Analyze your daily habits and CUT whatever does not serve you; replace it with something enjoyable or something that teaches you something. For me, it meant a lot more books and a lot less aimless social media browsing. I still stay on Insta, but I now have set times to browse. It helps, I swear!
Birthday reflection 6:
Don’t let the disease of perfection paralyze you. She’s a b*tch.
True, whatever you want to do is worth doing well and working hard at. That said, you cannot wait for perfection to get started on … anything, really. Just fucking try shit, and learn as you go. I will use the Dafrastar example again here: I completed maybe 12 photo shoots before launching. I was/am taking a blogging class, and I could not, for the life of me, find my “niche”. My blogging instructor was honestly not that helpful; she suggested I do not launch until I did, and when I told her I wanted to focus on “affordable fashion”, she told me it was not that original and that a ton of other bloggers did it. She was correct, but I was salty; after a few days, I started stalling because I was avoiding dealing with my niche-less blog ideas. I did not touch my class materials for a month. One day, something urged me to just go for it, in spite of the advice I had received. Within 3 days, I secured a collab with my girl @dorothy.abigail, finished setting up my theme, wrote my first post and hit “Publish”. Here we are 2 months later, almost 20 posts in, and little old niche-less me is doing alright. While my instructor had a point, I am still glad I jumped in and learned how to swim. My niche will eventually come to me.
Birthday reflection 7:
Listen and be open to change.
I ate a lot of humble pie this year. I took constructive feedback from my boss, colleagues, husband, and friends–like we all do. However, this year, something in me helped me to receive it much better than I would have– say, 5 years ago. Dunno, maybe it’s age? Perhaps it’s my husband’s influence? (he is very level headed). Either way, I try to be permeable to advice and gentle coaching. It sucks often, but it is necessary in life and helps us grow.
On to my outfit, super quick! I put it together to recreate this picture (I am wearing the same dress in it).
I missed by chooda bangles, and for anyone familiar with Indian culture, a bride is not supposed to re-wear her choodas ever again. So I just cheated and just bought cool red bangles to wear instead.
- My dress is a basic ass black midi dress from Boohoo. I bought it in 2015 and it is (by some kind of miracle) still available, so I assume it is one of their fixtures. It is a little sheer, but I could totally get away with tights (without too, actually). It has a bit of a deep plunge, so I would add a cami under for the office. I think the length is a perfect midi on me, and I am wearing a size 8 (I am a size 8 in real life as well.)
- My shoes are from JustFab, and they are named Hadley. They hurt like a mother, but are so gorgeous that I do not have the heart to throw them out, even though I wore them only thrice in 3 years. They are knockoffs of these Aminah Abdul Jillil ones, and that’s what I get for buying bootleg shit. I will hopefully buy the real ones someday.
- My bag was kindly gifted to me by @theresacotton on Instagram. She reached out to me and asked me to choose from any of her offerings, and this one caught my eye because I already had this look in mind. The bag is a good size for a clutch or a low key bag for days when a huge purse is not needed. I have been using it quite a bit (used it thrice since I have been here in London, not including this shoot) and could actually fit my iPad in it (it was a struggle though.) It has decently thick lining, so I did not fear it getting damaged inside. I wish it had an inside pocket and a longer zipper, so I could fit my tablet in without threatening to tear the bag. I am definitely going to be looking at more Ankara bags.
- My bangles are from IndianCraftsville on Etsy and Instagram. They were made and hurried to me in record time before my trip, and I can’t thank the owner enough. I however wish they had a larger opening, as it hurts to take them out.
Thanks for listining to my musings, and here’s to another year. Thanks for reading, and I will see you next week!
This look was photographed by Michelle from @MishMash_photography in London.