A simple 3 point checklist to step out of your comfort zone this year

Hello hello, #fashionablehumans! Happy 2018! We made it! I dunno about you, but I am ready to crush this year super hard, in all aspects of life. I mean yeah, it is only January 5th, but whatever- I got this, and so do you! My first post of the year is therefore me chatting about stepping out one’s comfort zone and detailing how I personally do it. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. (By the way, my husband thinks this is a ridiculous expression, and he promised me $10 if I ever said it in public. I think we can all agree that this absolutely counts. Pay up, Rish!)

I have often said in my posts that everything worth having is on the other side of fear. I really stand by this little quote; the things I cherish the most are the ones I worked very hard for or the ones that took a leap of faith to accomplish. While pushing your own limits is hard, the rewards are just ridiculous. There is no greater satisfaction than doing things you thought you could not achieve. From squatting your own weight to public speaking or buffalo riding, new things personally give me a rush of happiness, especially when I NEVER thought I could do them. Unfortunately, I don’t take the  “new shit” leap all the time, but my goal for the future is to take more chances on myself.

Blogger @Dafrastar wearing a mustard net jacket from Lilly's Kloset with a boutique mini dress and Steve Madden sandals. Full outfit detailed on www.dafrastar.com Black girl magic, black blogger, Lilly's Kloset, mustard yellow inspiration, Mustard yellow jacket, Yellow outfit inspiration, sheer coat, sheer jacket, african blogger, african fashion blolgger, how to wear yellow, how to wear a yellow jacket, mustard outfit inspirationWhy do we tend to stay in our comfort zone?

It’s great for me to yap about breaking boundaries and shit, but the truth is that it is HARD to do, and even harder to do continuously. Moreover, I do not see my love for my comfort zone as an enemy, but more as my brain acting like a well-intentioned but slightly overbearing parent. Think about a mom who tries to steer you towards a safe career because she assumes that’s what you need (I told y’all about my story), a dad who insists on you going to college close to home, or parents who worry themselves sick when you travel. These are not bad people at all! They are instead loving people who just want you to stick to what they KNOW works, because uncertainty is… well, uncertain.

Staying in my comfort zone works the same way, at least in my head. I equate it to my brain keeping me from trying too many new things, so I may avoid disappointment.  I would hence argue that one can go through life always making choices that never toy with that equilibrium, and still be perfectly content.

Blogger @Dafrastar wearing a mustard net jacket from Lilly's Kloset with a boutique mini dress and Steve Madden sandals. Full outfit detailed on www.dafrastar.com Black girl magic, black blogger, Lilly's Kloset, mustard yellow inspiration, Mustard yellow jacket, Yellow outfit inspiration, sheer coat, sheer jacket, african blogger, african fashion blolgger, how to wear yellow, how to wear a yellow jacket, mustard outfit inspirationWhat I am wearing: Lilly’s Kloset jacket: here, Steve Madden sandals: here, Ambiance SF dress: Boutique here, Insta here.

Yet, why should we fight that urge?

The issue is — we should fux with the equilibrium!!!! While the above course of action guarantees us a safe and sheltered existence (to a certain extent), I honestly believe that boundary breaking is necessary to live a truly full life. I have personally learned the most from the people who were dissimilar from me, and I have felt the most enriched by traveling to places that looked nothing like home. In my personal life, forcing myself to do weird shit has helped me REALLY open my eyes to the world.  I think that makes me a better Dafra and a much better conversationalist (Cardi B tales can only get me so far at a cocktail party).

Professionally, the willingness to be uncomfortable has allowed me to stay relevant in my field. I will admit that, as a person, I HATE the status quo and am naturally obsessed with improving processes. That forces me to always question myself (in a good way), and to actively look for better ways to do what I do. While it feels like I am constantly running a marathon (I am generally looking to improve something the minute I implement it), I assure you that it has made me a better professional.

How I kick my own butt out of my comfort zone in all aspects of life

Truth is, I likely haven’t told you anything you don’t already know. However, the pull of the comfort zone is just so strong, and warm, and familiar and cozy! How do we trick our brain into letting us explore new things, so we can live our best lives??? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but the little things below help me make fearless choices every day.

Blogger @Dafrastar wearing a mustard net jacket from Lilly's Kloset with a boutique mini dress and Steve Madden sandals. Black girl magic, black blogger, Lilly's Kloset, mustard yellow inspiration, Mustard yellow jacket, Yellow outfit inspiration, sheer coat, sheer jacket, african blogger, african fashion blolgger
To take on new challenges: I remind myself that I have not found my purpose yet and need to keep grinding.

I am pretty big into purpose, and I live in the constant (and I mean CONSTANT) panic that I will die without having found mine. For me, purpose is what each of us was put on this Earth to do; some people were born to be musicians, some to be doctors, some to be teachers. Think about it: can you imagine the great MJ as ANYTHING ELSE than an entertainer? Tiffany Haddish as anything else than a comedian? Mother Theresa as anything else than a humanitarian legend? Jackie Aina as anything else than… well, Jackie-Jackie-Jackie (the YT fam knows)? There are some people who just FIND their calling in life and thrive for all of us to see, while blessing the people around them with their gift. I want that for myself, and for everybody I know.

I’m not sure what mine is, though. So I keep experimenting with new things all the time, because my calling may very well be under one of those unturned stones. Finding my purpose is the reason behind this blog, and honestly the reason behind a lot of the new professional and personal challenges I take on.

Blogger @Dafrastar wearing a mustard net jacket from Lilly's Kloset with a boutique mini dress and Steve Madden sandals. Full outfit detailed on www.dafrastar.com Black girl magic, black blogger, Lilly's Kloset, mustard yellow inspiration, Mustard yellow jacket, Yellow outfit inspiration, sheer coat, sheer jacket, african blogger, african fashion blolgger, how to wear yellow, how to wear a yellow jacket, mustard outfit inspirationTo excel at things I am already doing: I trick myself into trying “just a little more”.

I do not ever recall starting anything thinking:  “I’m going to  be the best in the world at this shit.” Nah.

Instead, I often start things with the intention of simply being as good as I can. However— when I find a decent fit, I always end up pushing just a little more… and then a little more…  until I cannot help myself from trying to excel. The thing is, we usually end up liking things we are good at. That pushes us to try to be even better.  As a result, once difficult tasks end up becoming much easier. That progress, for me at least, acts as a catalyst and makes me even hungrier for excellence. This virtuous cycle is to be used to our advantage! For example, if you want to get better at reading, start reading books that you find fun. Then, pepper in some new genres, while making sure to have fun in the meantime. Next thing you know, you will be reading a healthy balance of serious and funny books in your free time. Ta-da!

Blogger @Dafrastar wearing a mustard net jacket from Lilly's Kloset with a boutique mini dress and Steve Madden sandals. Full outfit detailed on www.dafrastar.com Black girl magic, black blogger, Lilly's Kloset, mustard yellow inspiration, Mustard yellow jacket, Yellow outfit inspiration, sheer coat, sheer jacket, african blogger, african fashion blolggerTo try new fun things: I tell myself I need to try everything at least once. Also YOLO.

While I am very disappointed in myself for using YOLO, it does summarize how I feel when presented with something new. First of all, let’s all agree that regret has no place in 2018. None. Therefore, we need to take a hard look at whatever keeps us from living our best life and tell that thing (or person or hurdle) to kindly fuck off. Trying new shit is our birthright, and nothing should keep us from it— not even ourselves. I do not have kids, but if I ever do, I want to be that mom that will always be telling them tales of the places I went or the foods I ate, so that they will WANT to do the same when they grow up. That can’t happen if I stick to fried plantain.

Right now, I will admit that I am OK at this; I am trying to get WAY better. I want to plan fun dates, know all my neighborhood bars and overall live a fun life within my means. Counting on Groupon and Johnny Funcheap to help me hack the Bay Area on the low low.

Annnd, that’s kinda it… Those are the three little tenets I live by to keep myself on my toes. Let me know in the comments how you achieve constant discomfort in your life, and whether that helps you thrive!

Blogger @Dafrastar wearing a mustard net jacket from Lilly's Kloset with a boutique mini dress and Steve Madden sandals. Full outfit detailed on www.dafrastar.com Black girl magic, black blogger, Lilly's Kloset, mustard yellow inspiration, Mustard yellow jacket, Yellow outfit inspiration, sheer coat, sheer jacket, african blogger, african fashion blolgger, how to wear yellow, how to wear a yellow jacket, mustard outfit inspirationOn to the outfit of the day!

The jacket:  Let’s be real here: for a card-carrying member of the “All Black Everything” club, this coat is the epitome of discomfort. I mean, it is fucking yellow. I hate yellow with a passion (unless featured in Ankara, in which case it magically works). I never thought I would own anything in this color ever. However, I do follow Lilly on Insta and this photo of hers gave me something to think about. I mean look at it! It is heart-stopping!

View this post on Instagram

Honey Mustard 🍯 Jacket @lillyskloset

A post shared by Lilly (@accordingtolilly) on

I will not lie to you and tell you that this number is a rational purchase; it’s not, and I made peace with that shit before even hitting the “Buy” button.  It fails at being an actual jacket—it is made out of NET, for crying out loud. It does not protect my body from anything: the cold, mosquitoes, the wind, fuckboy stares— all of those go right through. But look at it though!!!! It elevated my basic ass strappy dress and sandals to a level it could NEVER reach. That’s enough for me.

The Dress: I got it majorly discounted the day after Black Friday, from Ambiance boutique in SF- it was like $20! I liked the boutique because they have a huge selection of non-basic shit- I recommend checking them out. Also- the top part of this dress is supportive enough that no bra is needed. YASSSSS!!!!!

The shoes: Basic Steve Madden sandals. Featured before on the blog, would not recommend for wider feet.

Dassit humans! I will see you next week, and I will work on posting more than once a week I swear.

Until next time,

With Love,

D

P.S: These photos were taken by Rachel Radcliffe at the Embarcardero Center in San Francisco.

What I wish I knew when I started college | Collab with Behind the Schmile

Hello #FashionableHumans!

How are you guys doing on this fine Sunday? Stellar, I hope!

Today, our post will be a little different. It is a collab with the awesome Tisha from BehindtheSchmile, and it is kind of a questions/answers mixed up with a dash of “What I wish I could tell my younger self”. Makes sense? No? Read on.

You guys mostly know me as Dafrastar. While this is who I am on this blog, there is obviously a plethora of real-life things that I never mentioned on here. Let’s pick one of those up today and peel off a few layers— almost a decade later: my college/university experience. Time fucking flies.

How did I end up in the US for college? 

I immigrated to the United States when I was 19, in the quest for a well-rounded college education— like many others. Amidst many a struggle, I completed my undergraduate degree in the middle of the financial crisis (of course, I had to have a major in FINANCE ). Obviously, at that point, finding a job in my field sucked major ass, so I ended up working in marketing (which I had been dabbling in for a while, and found significantly more rewarding.) That worked out for about a year, so I bit the bullet and headed back to grad school to get an MBA— with hopes of switching careers for good. After that, I moved to the West Coast and I have been here ever since, pursuing a career in digital marketing. Best decision ever.

If the paragraph above is any indication, one’s career seems to rarely work as planned; mine surely didn’t. Most bright eyed and bushy tailed freshmen don’t know shit (and yes, there are amazing exceptions, but I am talking about gen-pop here, myself included). Students often have to rely on what their parents told them to do.  I sure was; who do you think wanted me to become a banker? Mommy dearest.

As a result, I experienced my fair share of panic attacks when life’s twists and turns hit me— squarely in the jaw. I watched in horror as the stock market (and my hopes of an entry-level job on Wall Street) plummeted beyond recognition, months shy of my graduation. I despaired after receiving rejection email after rejection email, for internships and jobs alike. I freaked out when awakening to who I really was and what I really wanted, and struggled to reconcile that persona with what I thought a finance professional was like. I could go on, but you get the gist.

However, somehow, in the midst of all that chaos, shit worked out. Looking back, I still believe there had to be some magical force guiding me to be where I am today, even if that meant failing at what I thought I wanted THEN. Therefore, the gist of my answers to Tisha is:

“It will be okay; if not, you will learn from it. No need to be scared.”

(By the way, my experience may not be the same as yours, and you may disagree with me. I would love to hear about it in the comments!)

Thoughts on Tisha’s points

 

Grades:

Will not matter in 5 years– but the way you get them will.

Grades are not important in themselves. School really is NOT about you having good grades, but instead about teaching you a set of skills that generally leads you to have good grades: time management, discipline, resourcefulness. Unfortunately, there is no degree in hustling, so that A in Biology will have to do.

What I wish someone would  have taught me

Aim for good grades, but cramming your way there defeats the purpose- you are learning nothing AND are failing to invest in yourself.

Develop good habits through your college career, and good grades will come. (Good habits are also way more useful on the job than the ability to cram.) Moreover— grades really do not really matter after your first job. Even better: nail a couple of good internships, and your 1st employer may even overlook a crappy GPA (A 1.8 is NOT overlook-able though, so please don’t use that excuse to dick around.)

Blogger @Dafrastar shares her college experience and learnings
Undergrad graduation, with mom
Work:

Will matter in 5 years— no way around this one.

This one is hard, and I agree with Tisha– I was secretly hyperventilating while walking across the stage because I graduated (both times) with no offers in hand. TBH, I was also a bit of a fatalist and heavily leaned on my immigration status to justify me not getting through interviews. While there was definitely some truth to that point, I see things a little differently today. I love to believe that I was a hard worker, but I can see now that lost sight of what was important and focused on just making it through. I indeed put myself through my last 2 years of college and worked 80 hours per week in addition to school. I had no friends outside of a very small group, experienced nothing new and just put my head down and tried to survive. When I “awoke” to try to find a job in my last semester, I was waaaay behind people who had been networking and interning for 4 years.

 

What I wish someone would have told me

It is never too early to start looking.

It is important to go to networking events, contact people/alumni killing it in their careers, start putting together a polished resume, connect with your parents’ friends and then with their friends; leave no stone unturned! In addition to this, getting close to professors is always a good idea– they have industry knowledge AND industry friends! Keeping your head down is admirable, but not smart.

To keep the confusion and panic away, I would also remind myself that college is made to get exposure to as many different experiences as possible. If you are bored with your major, pick a minor that sparks more interest (but please do not lose sight of your goals.) Request an independent study in an area of your major that may not be taught in school (you are paying top dollar for that education, so it better provide you with what you need.). Start a blog about something fun.

While these things seem random, they are all ways to 1) discover what you really want to do and 2) build up your resume with interesting projects that may help you stand out of the crowd.

I’m not just BS-ing you either: I personally requested an independent study in Digital Marketing during my MBA, because it was not taught in class. I started a fashion blog (yep, it was also called Dafrastar), I used Google Adwords credits to learn how to create search ads for my blog and just hustled my way into understanding online marketing through a hands-on approach. Based on feedback from my interviewers, I can stand here today and tell you FOR SURE that those extra-curricular activities ARE what I owe my first job in online marketing to. Real talk.

Blogger @Dafrastar shares her college experience and learnings
Master’s graduation
Reputation/ Social status/ Relationships

COULD matter in 5 years (mostly won’t), but the way you navigate them can determine your standards in the future;  don’t let yourself down.

School is a micro-ecosystem in which everyone has to survive and hopefully flourish. Some of that flourishing will be through new friends/ relationships. For most, this is the first time away from home, the first time away from family, and the first time they can hang out with whomever they want without parental supervision. While this can be a heady feeling, the truth is that very few of these seemingly intense relationships will pass the test of time— and that’s okay!

What I wish someone would have told me

There is a whole world ahead of you after college.

 

I broke up with my long-term boo (we are talking nine years of dating here) 2 weeks after graduating from undergrad, so I really wish someone was there to remind me of that then. I wasn’t especially sad because it was not the greatest union, but I was still in my feelings a bit.

Today, I know that there is fun, laughter, throbbing hearts, nasty backstabbing, heartbreak and sometimes even loss throughout those 4 college years. However, guess what: even the shitty experiences are needed, because they forge character. Keep one thing in mind: you are forging your adult personality, so do not accept anything you would not want your future self to tolerate. College is a large enough environment to distance yourself from bullies, make friends with people from different backgrounds and expand your horizons beyond what your parents taught you. Mingle with the computer whiz kids, the musicians, the pre-med majors, anyone who will talk to you. I am not saying be desperate, I am saying be OPEN. Also, be nice, have integrity and do not let anyone treat you like dirt (friends or romantic interests). Aaaaand if you’re gonna be a hoe, use condoms. Please, for the love of baby Jesus in a manger.

Blogger @Dafrastar shares her college experience and learnings
Then boyfriend, now husband. Met him a year after breakup mentioned above.
Mental Health

Will matter in 5 years and forever, really

People do not realize that depression and overwork/ burnout are very real in the student community. Just because we make fun of it does not make it okay; we are supposed to take care of ourselves.

My college career was like a like a Formula 1 race: super fast, with a ton of work happening behind the wheel. I never gave myself the right to rest, because I was poor and HAD to work to eat and go to school. I worked myself to the bone because I assumed that diligence was the only thing that would get me places. While true, overwork also landed me in the school infirmary, haggard (and then sobbing uncontrollably) on a Monday afternoon in my senior year. I was prescribed anti-depressants and sent to an emergency appointment at the hospital. I ended up refusing the medication and forcing myself back to health by traveling and cutting hours at work (I do not recommend neglecting medical advice, by the way). I did fail a class for the first time ever that semester (saw my Summa Cum Laude slip right away from my grasp), but I survived.

What I wish someone would have told me

It is okay to rest. Vacations are not only for other people. Sleep is a thing, you know? You cannot work three jobs and maintain a 4.0. Heartbreak sucks, but it will pass. You need to take care of your health, it’s the most precious thing you have. 

This last point is likely the most important. Without it, everything crumbles to dust.

A couple of final points:
  • Learn professionalism
    • Show up on time, give your best, overdeliver and make sure you are always a valuable asset. That is a lifelong battle. You do not become hardworking all of a sudden because you land a job. You have to work at being hardworking.
  • Study abroad!!!!!
    • If you can, pack that suitcase and go! Just… go. The world awaits! Also, never stop traveling if you can.

Soooo- dassit for this post! Do you have any college advice for your younger self? Drop it in the comments! Also make sure to read Tisha’s post– our POVs are really complimentary, and her post is so much fun! Thanks again Tisha, for allowing me to collborate with you on this!

Thanks so much for stopping by today guys!

Until Next time,

D

 

Birthday Post! 7 things I learned this past year.

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!

In celebration of her birthday, blogger @Dafrastar shares 7 things she learned in the past year.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! 😂)

In celebration of her birthday, blogger @Dafrastar shares 7 things she learned in the past year.

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.”

Les Brown

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.

 

In celebration of her birthday, blogger @Dafrastar shares 7 things she learned in the past year.

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.

DASSIT!

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.

With Love,

D