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The Everyday Love Story

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Photo credit: Emma Jane Kepley

A boy I once dated told me he wanted to be a lawyer because his dad was a lawyer, and it seemed like the right thing to do. When I told him I wanted to be a writer because it seemed like the ONLY thing to do, he told me writing was not a legitimate profession. I decided, while he fondly admired his parents’ law degrees and sipped mint juleps, that I would write him up and down, backward and forward, inside and out, until he had no choice but to eat his own words for breakfast. That boy soon became nothing more than a few lines in this little love story…And a lawyer.

It was then I realized I was never cut out to be the girl who gets the guy at the end of the romance novel. In fact, Nicholas Sparks didn’t write a single love story with me in mind. Nicolas Sparks wrote me out of all his stupid love stories the minute

I learned how to pick up my pen and write the damn story myself:

In my romance novel, the two lovers stray from their countryside love affair to indulge in buffalo wings and a Celtics game. “The Best Of Me” is just an amalgamation of quirks that fall short of leading lady material. I refuse to do math. I cook with the fridge open. I sleep with my socks on. I need music to function. I’m violently ticklish. You’ll think it’s funny at first but it quickly loses its appeal once I kick you in the teeth a few times. It will be an accident I won’t apologize for because you probably deserved it. I warned you.

Speaking of sleep, I hate bed sheets. To be clear, not the fitted kind. I’m not a sociopath. Impossible as they may be to fold, I understand their place in the paradigm. Regular sheets stress me out. It doesn’t matter if they’re flannel, cotton, silk, or  I don’t know…bamboo? I always wake up feeling like Criss Angel trapped in a double straight jacket. God forbid I tumble out of bed like a burrito rolling down a hill, only to be left dangling by my ankles in my underwear.

It’s a very real fear.


Photo credit: Emma Jane Kepley

And while I don’t have abandonment issues, Daddy issues, intimacy issues, or commitment issues, don’t worry, I’ve got issues. They just aren’t scalable enough to turn into a 300-page book, or simple enough to squeeze onto some shitty Marilyn Monroe refrigerator magnet. You know the one. I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. Bullshit. I’m a lot impatient. I’m impatient with slow walkers, slow wi-fi, slow lines, and the when my Amazon order doesn’t arrive on time. I’m impatient with poor subway etiquette, poor communication, and when someone calls, and you call them back immediately, and they don’t pick up the phone. “Where could you possibly have gone in thirty seconds?” Is all I’m saying.

I am not your “Safe Haven”. You have to be whole on your own or this whole thing breaks down, ya feel me? I’m not here to gentrify whatever mess the last girl left you in. I’m not here to rebuild your ruins so the next girl can move in. I’m not interested in the last girl or the next girl at all.

You have to rebuild yourself.

I’m not going to waste my valuable time fixing you when I’m still working out my own kinks. I think in real life, people have kinks. Nicholas Sparks always seems to write one deeply flawed character with tons of kinks, and one noble, do-it-all for love character whose primary job is to save said “kinky” individual from inevitable self-destruction. Here comes the dirty joke: I have plenty of kinks and they’re out in the open, mostly on the internet for your viewing pleasure.

(I was talking about my writing, you pervert.)

See: Making dirty jokes.

Happily Ever After is garbage. I want nothing to do with the fairytale if it means pretending anger, frustration, disappointment, and other perfectly acceptable, uncomfortable human emotions aren’t a part of the story. If you think you can get through life without disappointing the people you care about, I’ll take one for the team and disappoint you first. It will hard to love me sometimes. I hope, in those moments, you’ll love me a little extra. You will disappoint me, too. Ohhhh, you will disappoint me greatly. At some point I’ll be SO disappointed, I’ll struggle to articulate how I’m feeling. (Did you just roll your eyes? I saw that.) I’ll congratulate you for being the only man to leave this writer lost for words. In the morning, when we’re done being disappointed with each other, I’ll sit on the counter while you make us coffee and we’ll laugh at that joke.

That’s the everyday love story I want to be a part of. The one that finds humor hidden beneath the piles of dirty dishes.

So write this down in your “Notebook.” I’m not The Party Girl, The Cool Girl, or The It Girl. I’m not The Lady in the Streets, The Freak in the Sheets, or The Bring Home to Mom Girl. I’m not The Sporty Girl, your Babygirl, or any of the other Spice Girls. None of these girls are singularly real. Somedays I’m all of them, other days I’m none of them, and I’m not ashamed of that. I refuse to be whittled down to one archetype who can’t figure out what the hell she wants because she’s too busy being someone she isn’t.

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Photo credit: Emma Jane Kepley

I do know what I want.

I want a courageous, messy, flaw-filled love. A love incapable of fitting between bookends. One that doesn’t mind getting lost as long as it finds its way back. What I want is for you to have a mind of your own, and to know that it’s okay if you change it a million times. I promise I’ll be here to help you sort through it. I want a love that dares to get close enough to step on my toes. One that is so unafraid of hurting my feelings that honesty is the only expectation. A love that laughs so hard it farts, because farts don’t happen in Nicholas Sparks novels and that kind of cheeky rebellion pleases me.  (That wasn’t exactly what Nicholas Sparks had in mind when he wrote “The Last Song”, AMIRITE?)

What I don’t want is for you to be perfect. I don’t want you have it all together. I don’t want you to have it all. I don’t want to have all of you. It’s unfair to think we’re entitled to every part of a person just because we’ve mashed our schedules, and friend groups, and belief systems, and body parts together. Instead, let’s challenge each other to become better people than we were before we met. The chase is not a challenge. Dogs chase things. I’m not a dog. I’m not a bird if you’re a bird. Birds are kind of the worst. I’ve never seen anyone get super excited about birds.

I want love I’m super excited about.

So if you let it slide that I kick the bedsheets to the bottom of the bed, I’ll let it slide that everything in your life is organized alphabetically. Know that once in a while, I’m going to shake things up just to see if you’re paying attention. Relax, I’ll put it all back. That’s what we all want right? Somebody who isn’t going peel away every complex fiber of our being until all that’s left is Allie, Noah, and the stupid birds. Somebody who understands that we’re all just trying to stay afloat. You know — just not on a door in the middle of the North Atlantic with a sinking ship behind us.

Wait — that wasn’t Nicholas Sparks.

You get the idea.

This *isn’t* for the haters.

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Occasionally it happens. I come face to face, or screen to screen, with one of them. Haters. I’m not talking about challengers. Anyone who’s down to get in the ring and have a mutually beneficial, respectful, and critical discussion about creative work is welcome in my corner, whether we agree or not. That’s my JAM. But giving into haters means making withdrawals from my own bank. And let me tell you something, I HATE spending my money.

You can imagine how I feel about wasting my emotional currency on trolls.

Have I accepted that there are people who roll their eyes at what I do? Sure. Relentless learning and sharing in the name of self-improvement and personal discovery isn’t for everyone. Some people are cool with coasting. But will I spend any fragment of time past this blog post worrying about what they think? Nope. Do their perceptions of my work ethic play any role in forming my reality? Abso. lutely. not.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned so far is that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. My work does that for me. The people who reach out with touching stories of epic human relation do that for me. The organizations and conferences that ask me to be a voice for their creative communities do that for me. The fact that I could turn a part time passion into a full-time job does that for me. Permission not to prove anyone wrong is perhaps the most magnificent gift I’ve ever given myself, and it didn’t cost a damn dime. In fact, every new client, every new campaign, every new project, every new post, every new paycheck contributes to my literal and proverbial bank.

The truth is, people will make up whatever stories they want to about you that best fit their narrative. If they’re feeling unfulfilled in their work, your work will become stupid and meaningless. If they’re feeling unsuccessful, your work will become a waste of time. If they’re feeling like they’ve fallen behind, the reason you’re ahead will become a matter of luck not talent. That’s a reflection of their insecurities and inconsistencies, not yours.

You ARE talented. That’s why you’re succeeding. They might be talented, too! But the reason they’re feeling unsuccessful enough to donate any amount of their time toward dragging you down has nothing to do with talent and everything to do with attitude. I’m not saying luck and privilege haven’t played a part in your success, or mine for that matter. I’m just saying the way we treat others says more about us than it does about the other person’s accomplishments.  Your success doesn’t detract from mine. It makes me want to work harder. Work smarter. I want to match you. Hell, I want to surpass you. But it’s because hard work inspires hard work, not because I think your work is worthless.

So whether you find yourself being the hater (stop that!) or being hated on (it happens!), know that the more energy you waste worrying about what other people are thinking, the less energy you’re able to dedicate to the things that help you get ahead.

This isn’t for the haters. It’s for you.

You, holding back.
You, holding it in.
You, refusing to start
You, afraid to finish.
If you do that, they win.
They win because you let them.

If you’re sitting at your computer afraid to put something out in the world, this is for you. If you feel the pressure of disapproval weighting heavy on your shoulders, this is for you.  If you’ve seen or heard passing judgements from your pathetically bored critics, this is for you. If the pang of doubt has bullied you into stomping out your own fire before others have a chance to, this is for you.

Don’t waste your time proving these people wrong. Your work will do that for you. Lean heavy on your success and let the work you produce speak for itself. Nothing and nobody else speaks for you. Keep on keeping on at the thing that makes you feel alive. Don’t stop until your inner voice of confidence is so loud it keeps you up at night. Remind yourself, daily, that this isn’t for them. There will be voices of doubt out there, but there will also be the voices that say, “You got this!” Let those be the ONLY voices you listen to.

I hope your own voice is one of them.

When Love Is Losing

A note before I dive in: As a writer (and a white person) with a creative outlet and some semblance of an audience, I will never be someone who sits on the sidelines. This blog is a place where all races, religions, sexualities, and genders are welcome and respected. This is a place where I will support and fight for these same groups, and their rights, continuously. If that bothers you, you know where the X is. Feel free to click it. If you align  yourself with racism, I don’t want your page views, or your political ones. 

There are certain moments in history you hope will never be repeated, moments you hope you never live to see or experience. Reality shattering, soul shifting, mind rocking, heartbreaking moments you prayed would never come. Watching white supremacists march down the streets with conviction in their eyes, hatred in their hearts, and fire in their hands is one of those moments.

The Vice documentary left me in a sloppy mess at my desk. Each time I watched these malignant pricks march down the streets, practically chanting the fucking Mob Song like Gaston and his white townsmen, ready to burn the castle down with their ignorant, racist, anti-semitic venom, a knot grew in my throat. Like many other privileged white people who don’t encounter this deep, unsettling, visceral spew every day, my insides were screaming at me. To turn it off. To tune it out. To take a break.

Instead, I watched it three more times.


I drove home from work the night that the Vice Documentary aired, and wondered, whom among my fellow roadside commuters, were white supremacists. I made my way to the grocery store and roamed the isles. I looked people in the eyes and wondered if any of the shoppers picking up basic human necessities wouldn’t want me to have basic human rights. Whom among us would want me dead had I been born Black, Muslim, or Jewish. The people in the documentary looked like they could be my ex boyfriends, my neighbors, my professors, my friends, my family, the people pumping gas next to me in the east coast town I grew up in. A  town where polos and tiki torches make regular appearances at Sunday barbecues. Some of them looked like me.

I wondered to such a deep point of discomfort that I left the grocery store, overwhelmed and empty handed.

This discomfort that we (to clarify, when I say “we”, I mean white people) are hopefully all feeling is paramount. It’s not something we get to run away from. It’s not something we can “choose love” our way out of. We don’t get to be sick of talking about, or reading about, or hearing about the negativity this time. We cannot change the channel, or the station, or the topic when this shit gets uncomfortable. It not something we get a free pass from because we’re too white to be directly affected by it. This temporary nightmare we’re witnessing from our shiny laptop screens is the everyday reality of our fellow Americans.

It’s not enough anymore to think we’re not being racist.
We have to ACTIVELY and AGGRESSIVELY be ANTI-racist.
We HAVE To be ANTI this bullshit:



And choosing love? That’s fine. But let’s do something with it. Make choosing love actionable. Choose love in the form of showing up. To meetings. To protests. To rallies. Choose love in the form of getting educated. Getting involved. Getting ready to have difficult conversations with the people in our circles who threaten the mental, emotional, and physical safety of those inhabiting this country alongside us.

We must oppose and fight this savagery with all our might. We must prove to our fellow humans that we are better than this. That we are there for them. That we are aware this exists. That while these archaic views are emblematic of a grotesque time in our country’s history, one I wish I could undo with every atom of my being, these Neo-Nazis marching two by two, hurrah-hurrahing their way through our streets and our cities, conflating bigotry and facism with patriotism, do not represent where we are now. They do not represent where we are headed.

As much as I wish we could love our way out of this, it’s time to admit that the white supremacists have crawled out from the deepest corners of the internet. They are proudly marching on campuses and in public parks with their swastikas, and their flags, promoting genocide and calling it free speech. They are shouting into cameras. They are showing their faces. They are unafraid of being named for what they are.

Now you can sit there and think you’re not causing any harm by not fighting back. You can think that by not calling your senators, by not donating, by not writing, by not protesting, by not confronting racist comments when you hear them, that you’re not technically making things worse. You can pretend, if it feels safer (lucky you), that you have the right to opt out because you’re sick of engaging in the exhaustive list of important dialogues that NEED to happen around the clock. But just know that right now, your silence IS compliance.

This is a problem. Racists are our problem. And If we sit idly by and choose to be “sick of talking about it” because it’s uncomfortable, then we’re not choosing love. So don’t be a choose love bandwagon fan. Choosing love when love is winning is easy. You know why love wins? Because there are people on the front lines working their asses off and fighting for it. Suffering for it. Dying for it. I’m not downplaying the importance of celebrating each glorious victory, but we’re not there yet. Those punks with weapons and tiki torches just showed us we have a long way to go. Right now, it feels like we’re losing at this. Choosing love is hard when it’s losing.

Choosing love means standing the fuck up for it. And for each other.

  *   *   *   *

Here are a few documents, links, and resources for anyone interested. I’d love to keep adding to this list. For what it’s worth, everything on this list I have read, listened to, or watched myself. I have made a donation to Black Lives Matter Charlottesville, and I have written a letter to Maggie Hassan denouncing White Supremacy. I implore you to do what you can to fight this bigotry and make this country safe for everyone in it.

First – get familiar with the frightening landscape

A few additional resources:


Show Me Your Scars


I’ve always loved discovering other people’s scars, secretly tucked beneath collars and cuffs. I love fingers delicately dancing over calloused strips of discolored skin. A chin gash. A drunk mistake. A skinned knee. A tree climb break. Nobody makes it through life unscathed. But have you ever noticed we’ll brag about hitting every branch on the way down before we’ve confronted why we climbed that damn tree to begin with? What were we trying to find up there? Or what were we leaving behind down below? Our physical scars are merely poof that we survived something greater than the initial fall.

So we defend our leftover battle wounds and put our healed up bodies on display like battered trophies. We rarely discuss our emotional scars, giving little credit to the intelligence it takes to overcome the internal trauma. We convince ourselves and others that our visible scars make us braver, stronger, and in the same breath, deny that the area is still a little tender. That we’re still a little broken.

But we’re all a little broken, aren’t we?

The first time somebody discovers one of your scars, you will struggle to separate their intentions from preliminary research and genuine intrigue. You’re vulnerable. They have the vantage point. In this critical moment they’re determining if you’re a suitable human being or certifiably insane. You decide against dueling with a straight shooter. Instead, you’ll talk about the time you did donuts in a parking lot covered with black ice. You lost control of the vehicle. Your face went through the windshield. But the vehicle wasn’t the only thing you lost control of that night.

In an effort to avoid rehashing old wounds and to prevent future scarring, you will leave out the part where you had a drinking problem. You will leave out the part where your mom died. Or your dad walked out on you. Or your heart was broken. You will leave out the reckless parts of you that need addressing. The parts that need accepting. The lingering parts that need love and understanding. Now you find it hard to give these things to yourself, and harder to give them to anyone else. Ten years later and it’s just another rotating story in your arsenal.

A badge of honor. A party trick. A thing chicks dig.

One night, when I was little, I wanted to brush my teeth. I was too impatient to wait and too stubborn to ask for help. Instead, I pushed a step stool up the bathroom sink and climbed on top of it myself. I then yanked the medicine cabinet open with such a force that I launched myself backwards. My skull connected with the edge of the porcelain throne, splitting the middle of my head open. Two decades later and it’s just another rotating story in my arsenal.

What I usually leave out of that story is that my parents spent most of their time in hospitals and nursing homes taking care of my older brother. There weren’t a lot of eyes on me, so I figured out how to do things on my own. Self-reliance was the first survival skill I learned. Autonomy became my sixth sense. Independence is a trait I still cling to. The scar serves as a deeply cut reminder that my reluctancy to accept help is a actually fault line. Ask me about it and I’ll show you the scar and tell you I’m too independent for my own good. 

I have the scars to prove it. 

How do we tell our stories and expect people to still love us the same? Well, I’ve stopped expecting people to love me. I’ve started telling my stories regardless. I’ve learned that our emotional fibrosis is just comprised of our connective experiences. Gradually, the pain subsides. The skin toughens. We learn to shy away from sharing the things that make us human.

But eventually, someone will get close enough to unbutton your collar or pull up your cuff. They will probe the break that took twenty years to heal. When this happens, I hope you’re brave enough to bare your brokenness knowing it could leave a deeper wound altogether. I hope you invite others to run their fingers over your calloused skin. Show them your chin gash. Your drunk mistake. Your skinned knee. Your tree climb break. Most of all, I hope you find a new reason to climb to the top of that damn tree. Should you slip and hit every branch on the way down, I hope you tell your story.

I hope you share your scars with them.



Please note: This piece is an adapted version of a piece I originally wrote for Medium.

Get Money.

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Being creative is cool. You know what else is cool?

Getting paid.

That’s right, I said it. Money. The stuff that puts gas in my car and keeps my electricity on. The stuff I shell out to Navient every month because I’ve been out of college for seven years and my student loans are still very real. Being serious about your work means being realistic about what your work is worth. What YOU are worth. It means believing it, and not being ashamed to say it out loud without feeling like an asshole. Your job isn’t to protect your clients’ feelings. Your job is to do your job, do it well, and get paid for it.

This blog post isn’t about getting paid for stuff. It’s actually about not getting paid for stuff. But before I dive in, let me say this: Get money.

Because whether you’re dealing with contracts, lawyers, agencies, brands, or one off clients, money conversations can be awkward, tricky, and confusing. Mike Monteiro’s Creative Mornings talk, “Fuck You, Pay Me”  is one of my favorite articulations of why not being bashful about getting paid is paramount. My ideas will make you money. So you will pay me for them. Period. That campaign you’re going to use all year? Money. That tagline you’re going to slap on your packaging? Money. Or on a billboard? Money. Or at a subway stop? Money. That hype video script? Money. Those blog posts you want to use to build your brand voice, which is actually my voice, that you’ll “…leverage to connect with your consumers on a personal and emotional level while differentiating your company from all the other like-minded companies in your industry?”


So let me be explicit. I don’t care how much jargon they throw at you to make you feel like you’re not getting the shit end of the stick when they offer you “swag” for your services. Asking for compensation doesn’t make you an asshole. It makes you a professional.

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But there’s another side of work that I think is equally important. It’s the side where I do, occasionally, work for free. I know there are people who passionately disagree with me.  Business Insider even wrote an article about how annoying it is. While I believe fervently in earning dolla bills for my craft, I also haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be just starting out. To not know where to go. To know I’m worth something, but to not yet have any real proof or credibility. I’d be delusional if I thought I could honestly sit here and say I got where I am without some good ol’ fashioned free help along the way.

There’s the blogger friend who recommended me to the first agency that hired me. She knew I had no formal advertising experience, but also felt I was capable of writing social media content. (Sup, Kate! Forever grateful for you.) There’s my former colleague, Lexie, who spent hours of her time helping me build a deck that reflected my capabilities early in my career. (She also introduced me to Keynote. I was young and naïve.) There’s Roo who gave me free input on rebranding my blog years ago at a café in New York. There have been hundreds of phone calls and lunch chats in between, because being in the presence of people who know their shit is inspiring. While my intention was never to scrounge for free advice, they kindly and willingly gave it.

That’s why, when a friend (or even a random person) asks to chat, I say yes when I can. Sometimes it means saying, “The next few weeks are crazy. Let’s look at next month!” (I  did this today.) Sometimes it means utilizing my 45-minute commute. Sometimes it means responding to an email on my lunch break when a friend asks for help. Help within the creative community is one of the many reasons I love being part of it. Giving it helps me stay in touch with the fact that I started somewhere. I want people to believe in their creative magic. To believe their ideas have merit. That they’re capable of succeeding at the thing they love. If that means subjecting myself to an occasional touch base with a creative, passionate person who’s excited about their potential, then so be it.

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And look, I’m not condemning people for being busy. Hell, I’m busy. I say no to things because I’m busy all the time. But I don’t want to be remembered for being busy. I want to be remembered for being generous. Note: Not so generous that I’m giving out free ideas. That’s my line in the sand. That’s where we press pause and talk budget. It’s frustrating when people think ideas sprout out of the ground like weeds after the first rainy week in spring. Coming up with ideas, good ideas, takes uninterrupted time. My ideas WILL cost me time, and they WILL cost you money.

What I am condemning is the elitist attitude I come across occasionally in the creative community where we start acting like our time is the only valuable time. We can give once in a while, and our bank accounts (and schedules) won’t crumble. If it helps, set boundaries around the meeting. Ask what the objective is. Have a clear start and a hard stop. End with, “If there’s anything else I can do for you in future, I’d be happy to sit down and talk about a budget.” If you’re so self-important that it feels daunting, imagine that the person you’re rolling your eyes at is the most connected badass on the planet. I’ve lost track of the number of intros, projects, and opportunities that have come my way because I sat down with someone for 15 minutes.

This week, try to take 15 minutes and help someone. For free. I’m not advocating for saying yes all the time, to all the things, especially when you know you logistically can’t. I’m advocating for not being self-aggrandizing about saying it. When you feel that flash of annoyance creeping in, remember that it’s perfectly okay to know what your time is worth. Asking for money doesn’t make you an asshole. Being an asshole makes you an asshole.

Don’t be one.

Self-Care Saturday

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Between agency work, a freelance gig, a few speaking opportunities, a few writing opportunities, a give my opinion on random stuff opportunity, a conference, side projects (like this blog!) and breathing in between, it’s safe to say my plate has been pretty full lately. Exciting full! Making shit happen full. I was riding the wave of possibility and saying yes to everything, when I hit a massive wall last night. I left the office, came home, and worked for one more hour to finish a satisfying week. Almost as if my eyes knew I could finally rest, I closed my computer at 7:30 p.m. and exhaustion took over. I was beyond fatigued. Within an hour, I was in physical pain. My eyes were red, my thoughts were fuzzy, my muscles felt tense, and I was having trouble forming full sentences.

Heard, understood, and acknowledged. I need TO CHILL. I went to sleep without technology, and vowed to wake up on Saturday prepared to spend the entire day taking care of myself.

Self care is this thing we talk about like it’s always in the future. Ten Steps to Better Self-Care!!! *Pins self-care survival kit.* I think it’s healthy to plan ahead for self-care, but sometimes you need it now. Sometimes you can’t wait another minute because your body is flipping over the closed for business sign. This is me speaking as an unmarried, childless, 29-year-old, but when that kind of burn out becomes normal, you have to prioritize yourself above your work, above your friends, above your partner, above everything.

So I woke up this morning asking myself, “How can I take better care of myself TODAY?”


Breakfast and I have a complicated relationship. It’s actually my favorite meal of the day to eat and make. If I could, I’d have breakfast three meals a day. There’s something cathartic about being in the kitchen first thing in the morning. Soft light. Messy hair. Soulful music. Full belly. Love. During the week, if it means getting an extra half-hour of sleep I settle for a Luna bar and coffee on the go. I pair this with an, “I’ll have something more substantial when I get to work!” Then, I get to work and forget. This morning, I woke up sans alarm, and made myself a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich with a side of sautéed spinach. And my coffee, obviously.


My room is as overwhelming to be in as my brain right now. Piles of laundry, two unpacked bags from recent trips, and creative briefs scattered along my night stand. It’s all cyclical. When my room feels cluttered, I don’t sleep well. When I don’t sleep well, I skip breakfast. When I skip breakfast, I’m a hungry, miserable, less productive version of myself. So I spent two hours this afternoon doing laundry, vacuuming, unpacking, and de-cluttering. If I didn’t need it, it went in the garbage. If I haven’t worn it, I donated it. If it was tied to a person, place, or experience that no longer serves me, I threw it out. My room is back to being the etherial haven it was always meant to be.


If there’s anything more cluttered than my room right now it’s my brain. I have so much in there, and I keep cramming more in. It’s like I’m going on vacation and trying to bring ALL the things. I don’t know what the weather’s going to be like, so I pack shorts and jeans. I might go to something fancy, so I’ll need a gown. Which means I’ll need heels. I’ll want to work out, so I throw in my running sneaks. And a wind breaker in case I’m on a freaking boat at some point. And…wait. Where am I going? That’s my brain. It’s overflowing with stuff I’m excited and passionate about, but that stuff is taking over. I took a half hour after eating breakfast to meditate, and realized it was the first time in weeks I’d sat in silence with no interruptions. Usually yoga is my time to give my brain a break, but I’ve been missing it. And clearly, missing that quiet time.

Side note: I’m sure someone will tell me I’m supposed to meditate on an empty stomach, but I’m just doing the best I can, you dig?


Question: What does two weeks of no sleep do to your skin?
Answer: Pisses it off.

Guys, my skin is so pissed at me. From the bags under my eyes, to the chronic dryness, to the small bumps I get along my jaw line when I’m especially stressed out, (I’m a jaw clencher. Trying to stop.) my skin just isn’t happy. It basically looks and feels like a broken Terra Cotta pot. I was planning on trying to squeeze in a facial this weekend but the snowstorm camped my style. Instead, I treated myself to nine hours of sleep and a steam room treatment at the gym, followed by an at home face mask made with avocado, honey, and oatmeal.


Speaking of yoga, the last time I worked out was last Thursday. I went for a 5k run, did some core work, and vowed to come back the next day. Okay fine, two days later. OKAY, over the weekend. Ugh. Next week. Fast forward to now. I trudged through the storm today for another 5k run, but I hated every mile. That said, the runner’s high followed me around for the duration of the day. This lack of discipline is entirely my fault. Instead of making my body a priority, I’m making my computer a priority. Sometimes that happens, but it can’t happen all the time. You know what happens to your body when you don’t make it a priority? It stops working for you.

Aaaaaand here we are.

I’m hoping to find ways in the next few weeks to be more mindful about folding self-care more consciously and frequently into what “routine” I have. I’m trying to get better at recognizing my bad-to-myself habits, like working until 2am and functioning on 5 hours of sleep for starters. The goal is to not shut down to the point where I need to spend an entire day recovering from life. Working hard is one thing, but working so hard that life starts to hurt is an entirely different thing. It’s called burn out. And I learned on Friday night that it’s super real.

Take care of yourself, friends. There’s only one of you!


The Ones Who Love First

cb-9There are two kinds of lovers in this world. The ones who wait to be loved, and the ones who dare to love first. The key to winning, the ones who wait will tell you, is to show just enough enthusiasm to appear intrigued without looking eager. Feign just enough interest to appear engaged, without seeming desperate. Allow just enough transparency to appear relatable, without feeling exposed. Love is about appearing. Appearing intelligent. Appearing witty. Appearing worthy. Appearing available. Appearing out of thin air. And the trick, they say, to keeping the other person interested, is to make damn well sure they know you’re capable of disappearing at any time. Love is a game of power, and you lose when you love first.

To the ones who dare to love first,

For some you will be too much. Too much force. Too much power. Too much pressure. Too much impact. Those unable to withstand the upheaval will seek shelter from the kind of devastation you’re capable of causing. Do not mistake this as a call to be less impactful. You are a glorious storm, seismic and ferocious. A cataclysmic tidal wave. A brutal landslide. You are a 9.5 earthquake. When it feels like everything inside of you is trembling and raging at once, and you’re begging for inner peace, know that you are not a leaf in the breeze, a marsh reed, a tumbleweed, for a reason. How special you are to be one who creates such movement instead one who waits to be moved.

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c/o Emma Jane Kepley

To the ones who dare to love first,

Your heart is your Magnum Opus. You will feel so deeply and valiantly that others won’t always understand or appreciate your mastery. You have dedicated your life to making all things beautiful. Even the dirtiest people and places on earth shine with your touch. This optimism will be your strongest asset and your greatest downfall. As the artist, you forfeit the right to determine how your work is perceived the minute you release it into the world. You can get your work in the eyes of the masses but it is not your job to convince them to decorate their lives with you. Your only job is to make more of it.

To the ones who dare to love first,

You will lose people by caring too greatly. By loving too soon. Let them go. When each loss roars more intensely than the last, roar back. Your love is a wild animal, primal and unbridled. It does not wait to be fed when it is hungry. It was meant for licking palms, and faces, and wounds clean. Those who want to love you from afar are not brave enough for your love. Those who feel safer standing behind three inches of glass are not bold enough for your love. There is a lionhearted love that wants to devour you whole. It is just as feral as your own. It will not watch you do back flips. It will not feed you table scraps. It will not keep you captive.


c/o Emma Jane Kepley

To the ones who dare to love first,

When the ones who wait to be loved appear out of thin air, with all of the intelligence, and wit, and worth they can muster, you will love them first and desperately. You will love them torrentially and relentlessly. You will love them fiercely and savagely. When they place the risk of losing their power above the risk of losing you, you must remember, this is not personal. You must remember, this is a game they think they are winning. You must remember that caring the least is a lonely accolade when coming in first means loving last.

They haven’t yet learned what you’ve always known to be true.
That there are two kinds of lovers in the world.
The ones who wait to be loved,
and you.