Rain

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I miss the rain
and the grey of the sky
amazing how homesick
the time doesn’t fly

I love the warmth
and I crave the sun
but among cold people
the heat feels wrong

I dream of hot tea
on a grey winter morning,
here despite blue skies
my heart is in mourning

you know, Spirituality
is not being a vegan
or buying all-organic
when your heart is tyrannic

Maybe real spiritual people
drink Coke and eat Mars
Knowing that true kindness
isn’t about chocolate bars

They don’t need to wear hemp
and don’t hate you for leather
they find sunshine inside us
no matter the weather

So it’s easy to be a monk
in a temple or shrine,
but can’t a hooker be a monk
If she has the right mind?

India doesn’t make you spiritual
neither does chanting or a cleanse,
obsessed with your own self
feeds the ego with no end

The old man reading on a bench
the young girl who moved away,
couldn’t they be the ones
who really have the most to say?

Yoga can be great for sure
meditation and mantras, too
but the exploitation of the soul
leaves us in a spiritual zoo

I miss the poets of the elevators
whose impromptu spirit travels
up and down office buildings
as their mind in steel unravels

I miss the lyricists of coffee shops
of bakery runs on a Sunday,
of the 6 pm red wine glasses
feeling the week was hard on a Monday

I miss the everyday artists
of damp cigarettes in rain,
who come home wet and exhausted
until music heals their pain

of loud hip hop played in trains
on a hazy morning-after,
of craving cheesy pizza
curing small heartaches with laughter

of friends met for endless hours
and then lazing in bed alone,
of calling your family for no reason
but to hear their voice on the phone

of staring out windows in lost thought
and forgetting the keys in the door,
of accepting your flaws with humour
and telling your lover you want more

of being so totally human
that your spirit can’t help but be here,
of feeling a God-like presence
just by breathing in soft morning air

I can’t wait for the everyday heroes,
for the mud-filled puddles of rain
for the moments so undeniably real
they cure all other-worldly pain

So the honor in being a human,
a human who lives humbly wherever
makes me crave those wise humans who
live in lightness no matter the weather

So I will come back home in the darkness,
away from this spiritual strain
we can be ourselves, lightning and thunder –
I will wait for you in the rain

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Leave Until Tomorrow What Can Be Done Today

We all know the saying that postulates the exact opposite of this article’s title. “Do not leave until tomorrow what can be done today” or, in German, “was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen”.

In general, I agree with this idea: It’s good to be productive, active and motivated – except for the fact that I, unfortunately and like many others, struggle with anxiety and insomnia. At any given point, I have much more going on than can be fit into a 24-hour day, which leaves me anxious with my head racing come bedtime. Since I haven’t finished everything I could have done, I try to cram in some things even though I’m already exhausted, which leaves me unproductive yet restless even when I finally do decide to hit the bed. A vicious cycle, this propels me into a state of panic where I often end up paralysed, so overwhelmed by all that hasn’t been done, that I’m less productive, permanently fatigued from lack of sleep, and just generally not in a balanced state. It is so hard for me to relax. I know this gets very little sympathy from the lucky people who have no problem shutting their brains of. But if you, like me, have heard comments along the lines of “but why don’t you just… sleep?!” or, “just listen to music or, like, think of something else,” or, “yeah… I can sleep any time (hehe)”, I sympathise with how frustrating it can be for people to belittle this very serious issue. Permanent sleep deprivation leads to a weakened immune system, anxiety can cause you to avoid responsibilities and isolate yourself socially, you look and feel tired, you’re irritable… the negative effects are unfortunately numerous and affect your entire state of being.

And therefore, you don’t need to justify your problem to anybody else.

If they don’t understand or belittle it – feel happy for them that they don’t have this issue. Otherwise we’d all be walking-asleep messes 🙂 But you don’t need to prove to anyone how you feel and what is good for your mental health. We are all different and your needs/issues are different from the next person’s. If you tend to be restless and anxious, that’s your battle – and in this one, I’m there with you!

So one thing I’ve distinctly noted is that this urgency to get everything under the sun done in a day is, at my age and with the diversified interests, activities and responsibilities that come with that, impossible. Especially as a student, it’s a vicious cycle. There is always something more you could read, an essay you could start, a paper you could revise, a test you could study for. Some jobs give you “on time” and “off time” that allow you to detach from work almost entirely, but other professions and studying don’t. In these situations, it’s all the more important to remind yourself that it is ok to relax even if a ton of things on your to-do list are still open.

Tomorrow will come, so you can do more tomorrow. If you haven’t heard back from an internship or professor, there’s nothing you can do (except send a kind follow-up, if a response is truly overdue). Let it go, do as much as you can when you can, but relax when you’ve reached your limit.

After hours of productivity, it’s ok to have unfinished business and the sun will rise tomorrow regardless.

This goes for social things too – I always feel bad if I don’t respond to people right away, but you have every right to turn off your computer or phone and take time for yourself. I hate canceling on things and have a really hard time telling people I just need to stay in and/or rest. But if you’ve reached your limit, you’re only hurting yourself ultimately. The only person responsible for your health at the end of the day is you. Especially as a young solo person – if you don’t take care of your health, no one else will. If you experience burnout, will those you over-committed to be there to nurse you back to health? Probably not. So take care of yourself – it’s your every right. You deserve to unwind.

Some tips from me: shutting off technology (phone and computer off and outside the bedroom. Not just on airplane mode, but OFF off. A text or email can wait a few hours.) Calming music, some tea, a book. Baldrian drops if you’re a nervous wreck beyond reasonable measure. Practice a form of “shabbat” where you go off the grid for 24 hours. Become aware of your surroundings.

Today I reached a point of exhaustion where I couldn’t muster up the energy to do what I should have done. It’s because I over-exerted myself the past few weeks. I am upset at myself for letting today’s responsibilities slip as a result, but it’s just a lesson in what happens when you neglect your mental health for too many days.

Now off to sip my Baldrian with tea and computer off, off, off. There’s messages I haven’t responded to and things I haven’t read. However, the person who needs me the most right now is me.

Relaxed vibes ❤

Sim

 

Cutting a Vice: Online Shopping

My dear friends and readers all around,

Online shopping has taken most of the world by storm, many of us barely shop “live” any more. Why waste time going to a store when you can have everything home-delivered at the click of a button? However, I have noticed for myself that it is so much easier to over-shop because you are eliminating the exact hurdle of regular shopping: trying things on in a tiny dressing room with bright lights and pulsating music (strobe lights and total darkness if you’re still into Abercrombie or Hollister), hauling heavy bags home. There are many benefits to online shopping, including the wide assortment of styles, special fits like petite, curve, maternity and – my personal favorite: The “tall” section at Asos, Topshop and Zalando, that allow me have a look other than permanent bermudas, freezing wrists and “maxi” dresses that are really more, well… ‘semi’. The world is becoming more digital, and that is convenient. However, despite all these benefits, online shopping detracts from a few key principles of healthy consumption and makes it so much easier for us to overspend. For instance:

  • When buying online, you can’t be 100% sure of the fit. Even if you know the brand and the size you wear in it, there’s always a chance this particular item won’t fit right, or you’ll get a dud. But you’re less picky since, once it’s already in your house, you want to try to make it work.
  • You can’t feel the fabric and for people who care about comfort, this isn’t good. Still, even if it doesn’t feel great, you are less likely to return it since it’s more of a hassle than just not buying something in the first place.
  • You eliminate the personal experience factor that attaches a certain memory to an item. For example, I love buying things when I go on a trip, as it always reminds me of the place. When online shopping, there’s no story to the item.
  • It’s easier to forget what you have. Similar to having a memory associated with a piece, when you shop online, you tend to lose track of what you already own. New styles are at the tip of your fingers so you’re less likely to rack your closet to see if you don’t already own a million pairs of non-show socks (because you definitely do, but the washer/your dog ate half of them) or a shrugged leopard-print faux fur bomber jacket (you never know).
  • You’re less creative. This is a big one: it may be paradoxical to think that the less you own, the more creative you are with your style, but out of necessity comes innovation. The more you feel like you can purchase at any time of day (and yes, I believe all of my online purchases have occurred at hours no store other than a 7/11 or a porn shop would be open, fashion items dubious in both of these locations), the less thought you put into creatively using and combining what you already have. I realised this when I noted I felt like I was always “missing” something, but truth be told, no matter how many more “must-have” items I bought, a short time later, I’d feel like something else was lacking. Ironically, I barely thought about what I already owned. Some of my best outfits, I soon noticed, happened when I was in a time crunch and had to put together a look without the chance to buy something new. Suddenly, there were so many cool things in my closet and so many different ways to combine these pieces – plus, if you’re truly uninspired with your outfit, a different hairdo or some bright lipstick will instantly change your look.
  • The Grandma Ideal: Once upon a time, people didn’t have the internet (if you were born in 1997, like my brother, or later, this will send you into a panic attack). Have you ever noticed how stylish people in older photos look? It’s because they had to so carefully curate what looked good on them and  know themselves so well that each piece in their closet, whether basic or elegant, looked fabulous on them. They also took care of each item with so much more TLC than we do in today’s fast-fashion world, since they knew they couldn’t replace them as easily. Thus, my grandmother cherished her style dearly and she had quite a lot of shoes and clothes after many years of buying key pieces, but not nearly as much as I already do now and, most importantly, no crap or stuff she bought on a whim.
  • Quality over quantity: The “French Closet” is a similar concept to this, as is Mari Kondo’s Japanese minimalist philosophy. The idea of really knowing ourselves and adding just a few key pieces each year to complement the growth of our personal style, in addition to truly loving everything we own, is quite huge. I started applying this rule already: If I look at some material thing in my life and don’t feel positive emotions towards it (either it’s worn and gross and/or it doesn’t suit me any longer, thus making me feel bad) it’s just taking up unnecessary space and energy. Imagine loving everything you own and feeling good in each piece. Invest more money in one or two amazing items than the same amount in ten ‘so la la’ pieces.
  • Basics: Everyone has theirs. Know them, have them, but once you do, you really only need to shop to replace them or add a few amazing standout pieces to their repertoire.
    To give you an idea, My personal basics are: nude and black shoes of each kind (sandals, flats, high boots, ankle boots, pumps and sneakers), black, white, grey and beige simple t-shirts and tank tops, black skinny jeans, denim shorts, a few black and denim mini skirts, some tops in red, yellow and green (I personally don’t wear cold colors like blue), a couple of summer dresses in lighter colors, some elegant dresses, a few different jackets, blazers and coats (different warmths for different seasons), a couple of leather jackets, faux-leather pants, tapered formal/work pants and monochrome sweaters and scarves in neutral colors. I have some workout clothes I usually just use to do nothing in – olé! 😀 My go-to accessories are rose and yellow gold rings, necklaces and small earrings as well as some larger hoops (2000s J. Lo forever), a black or grey beanie for winter and some banana clips and black hair-ties for my hair. I tried hairbands but they give me a headache.
    My statement items are: A denim jacket with rose embroidery on one sleeve, a few t-shirts with embroidery or slogans (a rose, “Bonjour Simone”, TLC’s album cover screen-printed), a pair of jeans with rose embroidery (I love flowers), a black faux-fur coat, a pair of grey heels with plastic pearls, some Indian earrings, Brazilian or Spanish (as in, bought the items in those countries) summer tops and dresses with unique prints, some extra-large and baggy bomber jackets with customised embroidery (for my Rihanna-inspired moments), a few boots with studs and belts for a rockier vibe and a couple of body suits and party tops that are either see-through, lacey, backless or somehow or other not something you’d wear to the office (unless you work in Brooklyn or Venice Beach). And that’s it!

In summary, I want to test the theory that style actually improves when we stop online shopping. I hypothesise to be more creative, daring, stylish and thoughtful in my day-to-day looks when I stop relying on buying new things online constantly. Will it work? I don’t know. But I’m going to give it a test, so I told two of my friends (who, very surprisingly for two 20-something girls from Europe, didn’t want to do this challenge with me :D), that I’d be off online shopping for, drumroll please…
A year.
Ok, not quite – until just a week before my birthday, so approximately October 20th of 2018. If I am dying to purchase something only-available online, just before my BDay, as a gift to myself, it seems like a fair date for a treat.
But still, it’s 11 months. To me, that’s a lot. If I crack, my friends get to pick a punishment. But I don’t think they will have to, as I’m actually really excited about this.

Of course this means I won’t be giving up shopping entirely (sorry, Mom), but I can only shop live, in stores, which happens very rarely (though it may increase). However, when I do go to a store, I only buy something if I absolutely LOVE the item in every way possible. I am much more discerning and the selection is much smaller at any given time, so I do believe I will save quite a bit of money this way. And this money can (and, if you know me, 100% will) be used for traveling, books and concerts.

I believe I will be more stylish, more creative, and that I will save more money. I know I will feel like I’m missing out at first, but I do believe I will get used to it. When I do buy something, it will feel more special. Plus, the tradeoffs of what I can spend money on, and the fulfilment of feeling more creative and stylish on the daily, seem really worthwhile. 

Here’s to the pact of real-life style! I will be reporting back to you in 11 months time. If you want to do it with me, even if just out of curiosity or for a short time span, I warmly invite you to do so so we can share our experiences!

Offline stylish vibes and love,

Simone

Orbit

At night I dream of you,
in the day you dream of me
it was our biggest curse
that sun and moon, they never meet

You’re in your own world
and my name is made of stars
miles away another language
feels like verbalising scars

Your words are written right to left
and mine from left to right,
if we can’t move in the same direction
how could we not lose sight?

Your desert is my mountain
and your halva is my milk,
my wool scratches the surface
of your soul hidden in silk

You fought for your country
long after I left mine,
we are both soldiers of love
losing battles of our time

Now you’re leaving and I’m staying
but both were never really here,
we just made love mentally
to redefine what’s far and near

So at night I dream of you,
in the day you dream of me
it was our biggest curse
that sun and moon, they never meet.

Summer Grunge

Ciao tutti 🙂

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is just around the corner. For many, that means florals, bright colors and funky prints. But what if you’re more of the grungy, all-black kinda person? Fear not – this season’s for you too.

Take your favorite grungy outfit (like this simple black playsuit) and add a touch of bohemian bling to it with one standout piece that rules any look. Here I’m wearing a stunning raw Amethyst necklace designed by my dear friend Karly from Southern California, who followed her dreams of becoming a jewelry designer. It’s tough being a small business nowadays, but those unique initiatives are the kind I love supporting in a world of fast fashion. Don’t get me wrong – fast fashion has many benefits for many of us (price-friendly, trendy, accessible), so if you can mix some of your favorite mainstream brands with the most unique designs by small businesses, you’ve got it all covered. Find more of Karly’s beautiful jewelry at K Bird Design for a touch of California any time, any place, any grunge.

Playsuit – Forever 21, Nameplate – Custom made in Brooklyn, Amethyst Necklace – K Bird Design, Flats – Zara.

Photos by V 😉

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