As I sit here writing this from my dining table in Venice Beach, California (with Charlie in my lap!) I feel a ton of emotions – proud, happy, content, excited, shocked, and grateful, to name a few. It’s amazing how much can change in just 1 year isn’t it? This was my most transformative year by far. I uprooted the entire life that I had created and thrived in NYC for 6 years to head west and start a new life in a small beach town in LA that I had never lived in before. I essentially had 3 close friends in LA; my 2 aunts and a girlfriend from college. I was of course scared and nervous to move to a whole new city, but I really listened to my gut and instinct. I felt such a connection to Venice from the first time I visited it and my body and mind were craving the sunshine, the beach, and a slower pace of life that it offered. Was moving to a new city halfway across the country with basically zero connections or friends easy? No – but is anything worthwhile ever super easy?! What this move did feel like was right. I felt at ease in my new home off the bat, and started to make friends rather quickly through a new yoga studio I joined, bumping into the same neighbors on long walks, introducing myself to local shop owners on Abbot Kinney, reaching out to friends of friends, meeting new people at events, and reconnecting with different groups of girlfriends from college and high school that had recently relocated to LA as well. Being semi-outgoing (although I am also an introvert) certainly helped and I promise I’ll be dedicating a full post to tips on making friends in a new city this year. In this reflective New Years post, I wanted to provide a bit of insight into some of the ways I’ve grown, improved, and changed in hopes that perhaps you’ll find a few tidbits of wisdom or advice that you can use and implement in your life. First though, I want to start by saying a big, warm thank you. Thank you for supporting me during such a transformative time in my life. Many of you have been following me for years and years – and were used to me constantly posting about NYC and my travels, and sharing my classic city style. My content has changed for sure since my move and I really appreciate your continued support and kind words. I am very, very happy and grateful for what all of these changes brought. Without further ado…
- I kissed city life goodbye and landed in a sleepy California beach town!
I’m so glad I lived in NYC for most of my early 20’s – I would never, ever take that time back, but I just didn’t want to be in the grind, hustle bustle, or intensity anymore. It’s a lot more laid back on the west coast and people are SO friendly here. I feel at ease and my shoulders are no longer scrunched to my ears anymore haha. A lot of you have been reaching out saying you’re thinking about making the move to the west coast. Here’s what I say – you only live once and if you don’t move and try it out, you will never know what it was like. If you don’t like it, you can move back or go somewhere else! Give it 1 year and see what happens – there is absolutely no harm in trying something new out or experimenting – you do not have to be stuck anywhere you don’t want to be.
- I stopped hating my body.
I think I may have developed a bit of body dysmorphia over the years from looking at photos of myself basically everyday for the past decade. A camera or a filter can make you look great one second or can make you look wide and washed out the next depending on the angle. I have had moments of such insecurity and hatred for my body throughout the years. After getting in a car accident earlier in the year that left me almost paralyzed and in a neck brace I knew I had to stop the negative inner voice and appreciate my body. Being in physical therapy, doing yoga, and meditating this year helped me get that mind/body connection I had been reading about and wanting forever. I started to value being strong and I started to wake up and feel grateful for every inch of my body from my legs, to my arms, neck, back (even my big feet haha!) Do I still have areas that I want to improve and do I still get a little annoyed with myself when I overindulge in treats? Of course – I am human! But I’ve made a conscious effort to put positive thoughts over the negative ones and it’s worked.
- I stopped running away from the pain of my breakup and decided to sit with it and work through it (not around it.)
Oh the trips, the parties, the events, the dinner dates, the projects, overall just being “busy” all the time! That stuff worked really, really well to distract me and mask my broken heart for 2+ years. And it was all honestly a lot of FUN! But nevertheless I would come home and the sadness would creep back in until I figured out my next distraction or escape. This lifestyle and this coping mechanism started to become exhausting, so a few months ago, I stopped and realized I really needed to face my pain and make a change. I committed to seeing a therapist weekly, I decided to stop “dating just to date”, I cut back on traveling, I decided to stay in on most weeknights and weekends (friends started to worry and called me a hermit, but I told them to trust me!), I stopped going to frivolous events and parties, and I stopped taking on projects I wasn’t 10000% passionate in. I started reading a TON, going on long walks, discovering new shops, playing with Charlie, and as cheesy as it sounds – I fell in love with (being by) MYSELF!
- And the coolest part about that was…I met someone and fell in LOVE!
Over the years I had heard countless quotes from friends and even strangers that I once rolled my eyes at and kind of didn’t believe. “You’ll meet someone when you least expect it!” “Stop looking for love and let love find you!” “Fall in love with yourself first and then you’ll find the one!” Well, now I get it. After months of working through the pain from my last relationship, learning more about myself, enjoying my alone time, and making time for the right things – I met someone really really special. I was literally just walking Charlie around my neighborhood, and happened to pass this very tall, dark handsome guy 6 times in 1 week. On the 6th time, I figured we had to be neighbors so I went up to him and just said “Hi, I’m Kat. I think I’m your neighbor!” He asked me to grab coffee with him, and then coffee turned into dinner, and dinner turned into several dates and a birthday trip to San Francisco later – and now here we are as boyfriend/girlfriend 3 months after first meeting!
- I re-prioritized my life and put my personal life before my work life.
There is no such thing as a perfectly balanced life, but of course we can all aim for a semi balanced one! For years, I have had a very imbalanced life. I prioritized my work over friends, family, and my overall well being. I feel SO fortunate to have found something that I am so deeply passionate about and that I have achieved success in. I am grateful to have realized this year that work/career success isn’t everything and that you must first take care of yourself and deepen that mind/body connection before anything else. I now, put my well being first, family second, and friends third. I of course still put a tremendous amount of time and effort into my work which is deeply satisfying and important to me, but it has just been moved down a bit on the priority list ;)
- I re-evaluated all of the relationships in my life.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Make new friends, but keep the old…” This year, I realized that I wasn’t feeling fulfilled from many of my relationships. I would often leave a coffee or lunch date and feel tired, uninspired, or in some cases kind of sad because I had back handedly been put down. For a while, I thought it was something that I had said or something that I was doing wrong – until I started to see – maybe this person can’t be happy for me because they’re not happy with themselves. Maybe they have to make these little digs or jabs at me and put me down to make themselves feel better? Do I really want that kind of energy in my life even if they’re not aware of it/purposefully trying to make me feel bad? No I did not. So I started to think what kind of energy and what kind of friendships did I really want to have in my life? I realized I wanted to be around genuine people. People who were actively trying to better themselves and felt good about themselves and were not threatened by me/my success. People who saw the glass half full, and were positive, vibrant, and inspiring. I stopped looking for exterior qualities in friendships and started to see if I connected with someone on a deeper, internal level. I stopped putting time and energy into acquaintances and weeded out anyone I was on the fence about. I nourished just a few strong, select friendships I knew I would want in my life forever and that were nourishing back to me. This was actually one of the hardest changes I made this year. I felt extreme guilt pulling away from some friends I had for years, I had many moments of doubt and uncertainty, but I had to stay true to myself and look out for myself at the end of the day. I now feel so much more free/light and know that just because a friend isn’t clicking with me right now at this point in my life, doesn’t mean we can’t reconnect in the future! People can grow apart and come back together!
- I let my inner child come out and play.
Think about how serious and consumed we can all get with taxes, paperwork, and just the everyday duties of being responsible adults. It’s so easy to forget the little things and little joys in life that can bring us so much happiness! Those little joys for me, are running around in my backyard with my puppy, gossiping on the phone with my childhood friend for hours, eating popcorn in bed with a face mask on while watching a movie, binge watching Stranger Things, belting out country music in my car, painting my nails, eating ice cream out of the container and buying useless arts and crafts projects at Target. I reminded myself to not get consumed in playing this super adult/mature role and to let myself enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
- I hired the wrong people and as a result realized that I needed to learn more about running a business and how to be a good manager.
When I moved, I had to completely build my team from scratch. I didn’t have a photographer – an assistant – an intern – a videographer – anyone! I dove right in, and reached out to a ton of people via instagram, plus I asked NYC friends in the creative community for their contacts. I made the HUGE mistake of not interviewing enough people, and testing them out. I hired way too fast, trusted that they would deliver and 95% of the time was left incredibly disappointed and empty handed. This was a really good lesson for me, and a wake up call. I realized I needed to create a clear vision of what qualities I actually wanted in the people working around me, set guidelines and standards and hold everyone to them (including myself!), and most importantly learn how to manage people. As a creative who has only worked at small start ups, I have had zero experience in corporate life or managerial structuring. I am now taking it upon myself to learn how to be a good manager because I genuinely want to cultivate a positive work environment for anyone – independent contractors, part time assistants, full time employees, and freelancers, who work with me. A few of the books friends and family have recommended for me; Extreme Ownership, The Boss of You, and The New 10 Minute Manager. I would love any books you recommend or have read and loved on this topic!
- I started to think about the effects of social media and started to live the majority of my life offline.
Social media is an incredible tool and a huge part of my business and livelihood. However, I think it is very easy to look at it and use it the wrong way – to compare ourselves to others highlight reel (no one’s life is as perfect as it seems trust me!), to not live in the moment, to be consumed by other’s thoughts and opinions…it can all get pretty intense and easy to get wrapped up in right?! I made a conscious effort to cultivate a life and world for myself outside of social media and this blog. I did a TON of stuff that was not shared, posted, or seemingly “instagrammable” and it felt GREAT. This year, I would love to find a way to share more of my life, and real/behind the scenes moments with you. I started my Wellness section for this very reason and I’m looking forward to expanding on that.
- I shopped less, focused on adding quality pieces to my wardrobe, and cleaned out/purged my entire closet after feeling deeply impacted from a documentary called Minimalism.
I realized that having so much “stuff” was actually sub consciously stressing me out! My closet/office space felt cluttered and I legit couldn’t think clearly. This documentary opened my eyes to the fact that there is a link between over consumption, clutter, and mental happiness and clarity. I’m not going to sell everything I have and live out of a suitcase with 2 pairs of jeans and 1 shirt LOL…BUT it did inspire me to get rid of a ton of things I hadn’t worn in a year, and made me stop buying more, more, more, and new this, or new that all the time. This may seem ironic given that my career is built on sharing fashion and lifestyle products, but I think (or at least I I hope) that many of you can appreciate or relate to me investing in fewer, better pieces, and re-wearing and incorporating some of my favorite pieces into my posts over and over again!
I’m so happy that I made a change and moved to LA this year despite how foreign and scary it was at first. I’m so happy that I took time for myself this year and made friends, family and fun a priority. I’m so glad that I get to share all of this with you and that I’ve created a platform and community of such amazing like minded women! Goodbye 2017, and hello 2018 – I am ready for ya!