Friday, April 13, 2018

Late-Night Listenings, Loneliness, Atticus Finch, & The Gift of Being Understood

| "I like good music - don't you want to love me at all?" |

There's a song by SWMRS called 'Hannah' that I instantly fell in love with the first time I heard it, back when I would play the song on repeat and listen to it as something wholly satirical. The lyrics start off with the lines, "I'm Hannah, I go here, I'm cuckoo bananas / Why can't you understand me?" The first time I listened to the song, and the time after that, and the time after, I heard the song as a way of poking fun at the stereotypical "misunderstood" girl who likes records and books and stays alone and edgy and sad (in the cool way) because no one around her gets her in the way that she deserves to be seen.

 The song is great, and often I would listen to it without feeling any real impact from the lyrics. I'm not sure how long it was before suddenly I was hearing it as something that was not actually funny at all, but something that was rather heartbreaking and far too vulnerably realistic. I'm Hannah, I go here, I'm cuckoo bananas... why can't you understand me? 

Don't you want to love me at all?

It's been two months since I last posted to this blog. Part of the reason for that is the fact that my semester has been crazy hectic, but the main reason is the fact that my semester has been crazy lonely. Closer to the beginning, I was finding it hard to reach out to people with the problems I was dealing with because I didn't want to feel like a burden or didn't feel close to anyone in the first place. So I immersed myself in art. I would make lists of record stores in the city I needed to visit and go spend the day there alone. I made a list of over thirty films I needed to see and tried to watch one every night I could. And while that was amazing and I discovered so much great music and such incredibly impactful art, it was so crazy lonely.   

I often think of myself as someone who has a hard time connecting with people, someone who communicates through writing and has either deep friendships or no friendships at all. And I know it's totally emo to be the self-diagnosed misunderstood kid, but sadly I've realized that far too many of us go throughout our day-to-day lives suffering from a complete lack of this incandescent gift of feeling understood. There are plenty of people that I say hey to in school hallways that I have spoken to probably once in my life before and might not ever say anything to other than hello, and it's hard not to feel like all of those people passing by us will never really know us or see us as we want to be seen. 

But we appreciate them.

Because sometimes, as cliche as it is, all you need is some kind of recognition that you are still breathing and making it to the school you show up to every day, and there are still people willing to notice you and appreciate you. 

I think a huge part of the problem is that we are not only constantly feeling misunderstood, but we are also very rarely seeking to understand. I know that I feel invisible as I pass by all those people, but there's a huge chance that the majority of those people are also feeling like no one gets them in the way that they are desperately wishing to be seen. 

One of the most beautiful books I have ever read and one that has been very much on my mind this semester is The Perks of Being A Wallflower. As crappy as YA fiction can get, this one does almost everything the right way; perhaps the best part of it entirely is the narrator, Charlie, who is doing his best to navigate his way through a painful life alongside so many other hurting people. The first page of the novel is the following:

If you get the chance, I highly recommend reading the book. I think the reason I have always loved Charlie's character so much is because of the way that he so deeply feels everyone else's pain and yearns to love the people around him. 

There was a night last summer when I was catching up with a friend from high school and filling her in on my not-so-fantastic sophomore year at college. As I was explaining how hard winter break of that year was, I mentioned the name of a song that had really helped me through it. In the middle of the conversation and before I had finished my thought, she asked, "Can we listen to it?"

It was one of the most powerful moments in my life. That never happens. People will listen but they don't always try to feel. My friend was not listening to respond, but listening to feel alongside me. 

I have another friend who recently reminded me that while so much of everyday life brings us to a negative view of humanity, we still have those rare moments in which we connect with someone on a transcendent level and it is the most illuminating gift we can be given. And those are the moments that give us hope. 

As Jamie Tworkowski puts it in If You Feel Too Much,

"You'll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things." 

The past month and the next few weeks are some of the most hectic of my time in college so far, as I have been scrambling to register for classes and start a new internship and move to a new apartment and get through finals. But I needed to sit down and write. For the first time in two months. Because I cannot shake how heavy these feelings have been. 

I want so badly to reach out to people and let them know I want to hear about them. Usually it's either fear or a general selfish habit of getting caught up in my own problems that holds me back, but I really think that if each one of us did just a little more for the people in our lives, things would be significantly different. 

Before being understood comes understanding. What's so sad to me is the fact that after traumatic events or any kind of real heartbreak, we tend to shut ourselves down in a way that does not only kill the love that is hurting us, but also voids us of the high levels of both good and bad emotions that keep us alive and make us human. Shutting down out of fear of getting hurt by people again saves us in a way, but harms us in far more rooted ways. The emotions and feelings that we don't want to feel are also those that give us the ability to really understand another person's being, and I think that we could all benefit from each of us seeking a little harder to go the extra mile for those around us.

My favorite quote of all time is right at the end of To Kill A Mockingbird, when Atticus is tucking Scout into bed and she is telling him about her misconceptions concerning Boo Radley:

"'...They finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things... Atticus, he was real nice...'
His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me.
'Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.'"

Erin Nicole

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day Allure With JORD Watches

| "When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet, you're in love / when you walk in a dream but you know you're not dreaming, that's amore." -Dean Martin |

Happy Valentine's Day, loves! What a blessing it is to have our loved ones in our lives, and what better reminder to show them we care than a day set apart just for them? I've always loved Valentine's Day, not because it is all about romance, but because of the love spread by individuals to all of the family members and friends that they hold dear to their hearts. And on this particular day, I am so excited to announce that I have partnered with JORD Wood Watches for the special occasion!

JORD sets themselves apart with their exquisite wood pieces, offering personal engravings that aid in creating the ideal gift to show someone how much they mean to you. I am completely in love with my Walnut & Vintage Rose Cassia watch, and what can I say - how could I not be? It's the perfect accent of sophistication to balance out my feminine, city-girl style.

This Valentine's Day, I wanted to create a flirty, girly look. As I'm obsessed with ruffles, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to style this gorgeous baby pink top from H&M. I paired it with a pleated skirt from New Look, and topped the outfit off with my Nine West Mary Jane-style heels and long curls to keep the outfit elegant and classically pretty. The Cassia watch added a final, flawless touch, resulting in a look that was undeniably alluring and feminine.   

In addition, I have had the opportunity to partner with JORD in a giveaway in which one lucky winner will win a $100 gift code off JORD's entire website! As JORD creates gorgeous pieces for both men and women, this is the perfect chance to gift something heartfelt and personal to anyone special in your life. Plus, everyone who enters will receive 10% off their entire purchase - so what are you waiting for?

To enter, simply visit my contest page at and fill out the information. Good luck to everyone! 

I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine's Day!

xx Erin Nicole

Luxury Wooden Watch

Monday, January 22, 2018

La Vie En Rose

| "So fill your heart with what's important, and be done with all the rest." |

I recently had to take a short break from blogging to calm the whirlwind in my head and refocus. With the beginning of a new semester and an abrupt end to a much-needed break, my life was a bit upside down for a few weeks as I unwillingly settled back into a busy lifestyle. In some ways, it's been a difficult month. But I realized recently that this month has also been one of the best months I've had for as long as I can remember. Some of the most incredible things have happened to me (a few of which will be appearing on the blog soon!), and I keep finding myself wishing that I could go back to myself a year ago and tell her that life was going to become so much better than what she was seeing then.

I am still shocked when I think about how much I have grown within just a year. Without going into much detail, last winter was probably the hardest period of my life thus far; if you've read my post on how I deal with anxiety, you'll know that my mind is sometimes too much for me to live in. That being said, one of the most beautiful and redemptive things to me is the fact that the most growth I have ever reached and the most transformative moments in my life have always gone hand-in-hand with the worst time periods in my life. It is in the most brutal times that we learn what's important, but beyond this, it is during those times that we learn enough about ourselves to learn how we must grow in order to live through them. 

So even though I would never want to go back to those places, I always try to remind myself that it is only by those times that I have reached the people and the things that I thank God for every day. And like I said, January has been amazing -- the year is off to an incredible start, and I feel more sure of myself than I ever have before. I am filled with hope and I am filled with love. 

2018, to me, is about taking back control of my life. It is about investing in the relationships that deserve to be invested in and doing the things that should be done. I want to love, and love a lot. I want to read and draw and see films and attend concerts and spend time with friends and expand my soul. I also want to continue with this blog as an outpouring of these thoughts that plague my mind.

So with all of this being said, I am ready and excited for what's to come. I've given my blog a bit of a makeover to fit my personal style better, and am starting fresh with a new editorial design... so prepare for a lot of pink. 🎀

I felt that this outfit was perfect for a fresh, brighter start. The metallic lace top from Forever 21 is a perfectly festive touch and beautifully complements this tiered skirt from H&M. To accent the pairing, I added my beloved Tiffany's pendant necklace and a pair of classic Mary Jane-style heels from Nine West

This is a bit long for an update but I can assure you it's a greatly therapeutic relief to write out your reflections! In short, this year, I want to love. I want to love the world around me and the stories we have been given - both those portrayed through literature and film and those of the very people whose stories intertwine with our own. I want to love the people in my life and myself. I want to nurture my soul. 

 | "I'm scared," said Piglet.
"A story will help," said Pooh.
"Oh. Don't you know? Stories make your heart grow." |

xx Erin Nicole 


Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Mini Guide to Winter Glamour

| "When I first moved to New York I bought Vogue instead of dinner. I felt it fed me more." -Carrie Bradshaw |

It's the very first week of 2018, and we are stuck in a blizzard. It's freezing cold, super dry, altogether miserable outside. I might be a little biased, considering I am huddled under three separate blankets as I write this, but that brings me to my next point:

The one thing that has been keeping me motivated to actually remove myself from my heavily blanket-laden bed this past week has been the beauty routine that I've picked up over the winter break. I hate being cold, and I am cold much more often than not. That being said, this season is also the perfect time to experiment with renewing beauty products and load up on all the cozy knits and warm drinks.

I think the most important part of any beauty routine is skin care, and lately my skin has been hating me for living in such frigid, dry temperatures. An occasional charcoal or clay facial mask really helps to clear out the skin (and lately I've learned that some awesome ones can be found for just a few bucks at TJ Maxx!). Beyond that, it's more important than ever to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. I've relied on the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream for over a year now, applying it right after I wash my face. It's so lightweight and refreshing, and it soaks into the skin and starts working immediately. I also spray my face down with the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe & Rosewater before I put makeup on (and sometimes after as well). To be honest, I kind of jumped on the rosewater bandwagon without really knowing anything about it, so it used to be something I sprayed on my face for fun. Now whenever I don't use it, I notice my skin is so much more dry and miserable, so I'm really thinking that should tell me something.

My makeup routine as of late has become a bit darker and more dramatic, with a focus on purple tones. I bought the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette years ago and it was never my favorite until recently. There is such a wide array of both lighter and darker pink tones, allowing for light, dreamy eyeshadow as well as smokey eyes. I have been putting darker shades on my lid (something I have never really done, and am loving) and pairing the look with a mauve lip - usually the Jordana lip liner in Rock N Rose, and sometimes the Stila 'Stay All Day' liquid lipstick in the shade Baci. 

One last thing that I have to mention is something that has made my winter routine so much more cozy and glamorous. I received some of the comfiest light pink pajamas for Christmas and I would honestly live in them if I could. Mine are from Aerie and unfortunately I cannot find the match online, but I am linking a few other cute options. One other all-time favorite is my pink Victoria's Secret Satin Kimono - it's virtually impossible to not feel fabulous getting ready in this.

Thanks for reading! Nothing brightens up a dreary season like a little self-care and pampering. 

xx Erin Nicole
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