Monthly Archives: August 2012

guest post: never settle for anything less than your dreams

Caitlin is one of my most special friends; I’ve known her since age 14 or 15 and our friendship has only grown stronger and better as we’ve gotten older. I always feel weird saying I “look up” to people my own age, but that’s exactly how I feel about Cait. She always carries herself with such poise and grace and has bent over backwards to make my life easier and happier. I am always looking forward to our next reunions – and couldn’t help but share a hilarious photo of us from high school!

Andi and Cait in 2004

Enjoy her post today – and thank you Cait for sharing! xo

Hello fellow queens!…and as my mother likes to say, three C.H.E.E.R.S for F.R.I.D.A.Y ! !

Andi, oh so kindly asked me to guest post today..and well, while I’m overly thrilled about this opportunity to share a story with you all, I’m also a tad nervous. You see, I am the furthest thing from a writer, a creative mind, or blogger. I am your typical analytical, “You must start at point A before you get to point B”, blog- viewer-only, direct and straight to the point kind of gal. Of course, with a lot of humor and goofy antics inserted throughout. So with that said, here goes nothing!

Miss Andi and I met our freshman year of high school. Our laughter, spunk, and just plain goofiness brought us together instantly, and the rest is well…history. There was one particular trait or “thing” that Andi and I have always shared, understood each other on, thrived on, and supported one another on…and that’s goal setting and following our dreams.

Goals: I knew from the time I was in middle school, I wanted one thing and one thing only when I grew up. That one thing was to work in the fashion industry ( yes, many young girls have this same desire). During my time in college, I had the opportunity to study in New York City for a year, as a part of a visiting student program. Now, because most of you do not know me personally…let me just say, when I found out this was a possibility..things got REAL serious, FAST! There was no way I wasn’t jumping on this opportunity as soon as I possibly could.

Fast Forward: to my junior year of college. It was time to apply. This was the moment I had been waiting. I filled out all the paper work, collected more letters of recommendation that I ever wanted to, and spent countless hours perfecting my essay…which for me, took months. I sent everything in three weeks early and now it was time to wait…….and wait……and wait to find out if I had been accepted. The Fashion Institute of Technology is one of the most prestigious institutions to study fashion design and the business of fashion. They only accept 20 visiting students every semester and the program is very competitive.

Disappointment: I can remember the day I drove home from class, opened up the mailbox, and found my rejection letter, yes, rejection letter. I couldn’t believe it. I was devastated beyond belief and felt like all of my hard work, effort, drive, and dedication had been hit by a semi-truck, kicked in the stomach, and then stomped on 100 times over. I spent the next two weeks mourning my rejection and for the most part feeling embarrassed about my failure. It wasn’t until one rainy afternoon, while I was sitting in class that I realized I wasn’t going to settle. I wasn’t going to give up. I knew I deserved this opportunity and I had worked hard for it. In that very same day, I scrambled to re-fill everything out, spent the entire evening through the night re-writing my essay from scratch, and gathering all I needed to re-submit my application packet for the next semester. There was only one minor detail…..I decided not to tell a single person I was re-applying accept for my mother.

Birthday Present: September 28, 2009. My mom & step- dad’s birthday. (yes, they share the same birthday, cute- right?) I met them for dinner after one of my classes to celebrate their day. I sat down and noticed my mom just had this glowing smile that was hard not to notice. She lifted up onto the table a huge white envelope that said “Congratulations” written across the front. From that point on I knew, I had been accepted. It was by far the most rewarding day of my life. I won the fight on not settling and it finally paid off.

Today: Looking back now, almost two years later, New York was by far one of the most fantastic experiences I have had to date. I accomplished, learned, and experienced so many amazing things. I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without following my dreams, following through with my goals, and never settling for anything less than whats desired.

A huge thank you to the queen of all queens herself, Miss Teggart, for providing an outlet for people to gather such positive inspiration and hope through her blog. Most of all, thank you for pushing me 110% out of my comfort zone to guest post today!

Cait and Andi in 2012

guest post: what I learned traveling to and living in France

Helllllo! I’m currently somewhere in the air between San Francisco and Paris and so excited to have Catherine kickoff this week of guest blog posts. You might remember her from here and here– she’s kind of a regular around here! Catherine is actually moving back to France in a few weeks and I hope you enjoy her French tidbits below as much as I do. xo!

As someone on the verge of moving to the Rhône-Alpes region for a seven-month language assistantship, I cannot help but reflect on my first trip to France in 2009. A college freshmen still adjusting to university life, I opted out of spring quarter for a three-month language and culture immersion program in Avignon. I’d traveled to Europe and China with student tour groups, but my studies abroad were the first time I actually lived in a foreign land. A wanderlust-stricken journalism and French student, my experiences in France only enhanced my desire to sharpen my language skills in hopes of working overseas one day.

As Andi is undoubtedly having a fabulous time in the City of Lights and Love, I’m thrilled to share tidbits of French style de vie gained from my spring in Provence!

1. Coffee is très petit. In my over-caffeinated opinion, too small. Oh mon Dieu. When I ordered my first cup, I was shocked to receive a mere espresso shot over my usual XL Red Eye. European coffee is excellent, mind you, and also very strong, but even as a seasoned black coffee drinker, I had to add a little sucre or lait on occasion. Tip: Order a café allongé (“long coffee”) if you’re missing a standard American cup o’ joe. Don’t expect to get your order to go, unless you’re ordering from the local MacDo.

2. Parlez-vous anglais? Most French are a far cry from the snooty traveler despisers portrayed on television. The key to charming the Français is attempting to speak French, even if all you can utter is “Bonjour” and “Merci.” Don’t get discouraged. They don’t expect you to be fluent. A little effort, a smile, and a few basic phrases go a long way.

3. Be flexible. Unlike presumed rudeness, I found the French lassiez-faire attitude to be a refreshingly true stereotype. French are very laid-back people who like to savor and enjoy life, leisurely soaking in the beauty of each moment. Expect schedule changes and plan to be “fashionably late.” Aside from public transportation, which normally runs like clockwork, being on time may be an extreme faux pas.

4. Bottled water is cheap, and wine is like water. Someone please explain how we pay over a dollar for one 16-oz. bottle of water in The States. Try 1 Euro wine on for size. Bottled water, usually sold in sizes equivalent to a U.S. liter for .25, is a staple for on-the-go travelers. Wine is paired with dinner, and often lunch, as vin is treated like an essential accessory to the meal. If you’re not already a wino, France will do it to you.

5. It’s prettier than the pictures. Unexplainable, but a picture cannot fully capture the beauty of this, or any, place.

6. The cuisine lives up to the hype. Prepare your taste buds and your wallets, because you’re going to want to savor each morsel of what the gastronomique capital of the world has to serve up. When in France, be adventurous in your eating. Escargot? Pourquoi pas? Save room for dessert. Pastel-colored macarons and budget-friendly staples like gelato and Nutella and banana-filled crepes are worth the splurge!

7. The French have flair. It’s no wonder perfume and fashion’s haute couture originated in Paris. An indiscernible “je ne sais quoi” appears in each aspect of the culture. The French are like everyday artists, adding stylish twists to monotonous daily tasks like the a.m. commute. Parisians zooming down the boulevard atop a vintage bike while stylishly sporting scarf and trench: a regular sight. When in doubt, you can never go wrong with black. France street style: black, black, and more black. Chic and sleek.

8. There is so much more to France than Paris. Paris may be my favorite city I’ve traveled to, but the rest of the country has much to offer! From castles to vineyards, to beaches and mountains, France is a versatile land. Travel off the beaten path to discover la France profonde (“deep France”).

9. Deep down, we’re the same. Whether in France, Australia, Asia, or Africa, embrace your surroundings – the people, the land, and the culture – recognizing, respecting, and learning from said differences. Upside: you’ll find common ground in the most unlikely locations no matter how “lost in translation” you feel. Just smile, be positive, and go!

10. Expect to want to return. Once the travel bug has bitten you, don’t be surprised if you’re booking a return flight or find yourself anxious to discover a new overseas venue.

Thanks for reading. I cannot wait to enjoy Andi’s Paris review!

XX Bisous
Catherine

Je pars pour Paris!

As mentioned last week, I’m heading to Paris today. I’m beyond excited {and a bit nervous that I forgot to pack something}. Thank you to everyone who emailed, tweeted and passed along their travel recommendations and tips! I have a great group of guest bloggers lined up for the next couple of days when I’m gone and I really hope you enjoy their stories and life advice.

Have a magnificent week queens! xx

don't run with scissors {and more advice}

Are you on Quora? I’m kinda obsessed. It’s a platform to ask and answer questions about absolutely everything. Anyway, I recently started “following” a question someone posted on Quora and I loved some of the responses. The question was: What general wisdom do people in their 40s and 50s have to pass down to people in their 20s or 30s?

Keeping your word, being kind to others and nurturing relationships are everything in the long run. Stay true to yourself. Don’t run with scissors.

This is a very basic thing often missed.  Being able to speak your mind and advocate for your own value in the world is one of the basic things I wish I had known more of starting out in my 20’s.  So often this is framed as offensive, selfish, you name it.  Truth is, that framing is just other people working to keep their own burden low, not having to speak as much for themselves because they’ve convinced others it is a bad idea, unless they are advocating for them. Failure to speak up means being told what to do by those that do speak up.

Tell the truth to everybody about everything. Maybe this will get you fired, or put an end to a personal relationship, but you should never be in a job or a relationship that can’t handle honesty. Love your people, and do what you say you’re going to.

Experiment, but avoid doing anything that can permanently damage you. Approach older people you admire and ask them if they would agree to be your mentors. You’d be surprised. Take care of your teeth.Make personal integrity your mission.

Don’t put off plans to do something crazy. Live on another continent. Stand for something. Don’t let the expectations of others define you. Run as quickly as possible toward your fears. Volunteer for the scariest assignments. Proudly admit that you don’t understand things. Help out someones less fortunate for the joy of doing it.

 

all you need is faith, ballsiness and the audacity to believe you deserve happiness.

I don’t really talk about dating relationships or share those kind of articles on Polish My Crown often, but I couldn’t stop thinking about one I read earlier this week. This specific one wasn’t really an article, but instead an advice column response from the lovely Anna Pulley. One particular reader reached out to Anna asking “why people don’t want to date her” fearing she was viewed as too nice and quite bluntly – fearing she’s not pretty enough to get a boyfriend. And oh boy, did I feel like I could relate to that gal searching for a few simple answers about her dating life! Have you ever felt that way? Anna’s honest and empowering advice was exactly what I needed to read and was quite the crown polish as a new weekend approaches.

I highly recommend that both single and “taken” girls reach her advice here; my favorite part is below:

You’re operating from the assumption that guys don’t want to date you, but you need to approach it from the (not entirely true and somewhat egotistical but whatever) standpoint of, “Of course people want to date me. I’m [bleeping] awesome.” Or, a shorter way to say this: Have confidence. People who go on a lot of dates have it. You have it too; it’s what makes people describe you as “intelligent” and “personable.” It just hasn’t broken the surface yet.

As to Flirting 101, there are many websites that exist to tell us where to position our elbows or how often to blink in order to signal everlasting love, but that’s mostly bullshit. All you need is faith, ballsiness and the audacity to believe you deserve happiness. Embrace your strengths, and don’t let your weaknesses dictate your life. Be the confident girl who knows what she wants and pursues it forthrightly. Take chances, go outside your comfort zone, and live with as few regrets as possible until that girl bursts free.

I hope you approach this weekend with a bit of ballsiness and a whole lot of confidence! xx

Thursday Thankful List

I have felt extremely tired and worn out this week and I’m not quite sure why. By the time 8:30 pm hits, I’m ready to crawl into bed with a book, cup of tea and cozy covers. While it’s easy to complain about feeling so blah, I decided to instead write down {and share!} a few things that made this week good and wonderful. Gratitude does really make the everyday situations and not-so-exciting weeks in life become enough. Today – and right now – is simply enough.

What are you thankful for?

Playing tourist in my own city
Chugging an entire bottle of water
Calling one sister on the phone and somehow speaking to the entire family during the phone call
Advice: taking control of your own life
Volunteering
When people say “thank you”
When people say “thank you” and are genuine about it
Spending Sunday with these three queens

Girls who run the world {great Forbes article!}
That I’ll be in Paris in a few days!!!!!!
Life moving ahead. Always a good thing.
Showing love to other people
Dinner with a big group of fun, silly and wonderful friends
Giggling
Back-to-back episodes of Sex and the City on Saturday evenings
Buying new shades of lipstick

Jukebox the Ghost and Wolf Gang on repeat
Buying concert tickets!
Making holiday plans…I can’t wait!
People who make other people happier simply by being there
New ideas
Cozy socks
Going to be at like…9 pm {every night this week}
Some of my absolute favorite advice: “Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.”

Wearing lots of layers – makes me crave fall weather!
Glutton free granola
Sarah and Su’s amazing Paris to-do list emails
The bright {artificial, sadly} peonies in our living room
Watching the Olympics on repeat {still….thank you DVR}
Reading a book about mercy and grace
Excitement! And anticipation!
The opportunity to grow {always}

how to show love

Polish My Crown

I love love. There’s nothing quite like spending time with someone who loves you unconditionally – no ifs, ands or buts about it. I shared a post back in February about love and recently re-read what I wrote today. Here’s what “six months ago me” posted:

People often view solely love as a feeling they have for their significant other or their family or their friends. While this type of love is important and vital, I also think it’s important to look at love from a larger scale. We are called to love e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. That’s right, the bus driver. Your coworkers. Your neighbors. That person from high school who annoys you like no other. The person you pass by in the park.

I get it, I get it – this is a much different type of love than what we have in our intimate relationships. But that doesn’t mean it’s something we should disregard! You can love someone {and everyone} you meet by choosing to be patient, kind, forgiving, encouraging, humble, hospitable, caring, compassionate and respectful. This is something I feel very strongly about: radiating and spreading love to every person we meet is something that just turns right back to us. And for the better.

Rereading the post was a refreshing and wonderful reminder to show love each and every day. Now – today. So often, I pass through days with my head down and headphones in. This isn’t inherently bad, but does often block me from situations where I might be able to show love to someone else. Love is appreciating others. Love is accepting others. Love is wanting other people {both friends/family and strangers } to feel good and happy. 

I hope you choose to show love to someone in a new and wonderful way today!

Polish My Crown
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Polish My Crown

You can find more Words for Wednesday posts here and more love-filled words here and here.