lifestyle

Farewell, Warped Tour

The first time I attended the Warped Tour, I was 15 years old and hadn’t gone to many concerts.

Music (especially music with meaningful lyrics) has always been a huge part of my life, but it wasn’t until high school that I discovered the magic of live music and, along with it, the magic of Warped Tour.

For those who are unfamiliar, Warped Tour is a two-day concert stacked with the most popular bands in rock, punk, emo, screamo, etc. They tour around the country every summer; or, at least they did until 2018.

Last summer was the final full cross-country tour, and this year they had an anniversary show in just three cities, celebrating their 25-year run.

I was lucky enough that one of those cities was close by, and so this past weekend I had the privilege of attending my fifth and final Warped Tour.

When I was a teenager, I loved this show because I got to see all of my favorite bands in one place, and I got to spend the entire day running around between stages, vendor stands, and all of the other cool activities they had there.

I also loved it because it was one of the only places that I truly felt like myself.

I might’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but I didn’t have a great relationship with myself as I was growing up.

I did enjoy high school and have plenty of friends, but my taste in music, art, clothing, and a lot of other things, was always just slightly off compared with what was trendy or popular at the time.

I didn’t mind that a lot of people thought my music preference was weird; I still found the lyrics meaningful and the instruments exciting.

One thing a lot of people don’t realize about hardcore or alternative music is that the lyrics are often very deep and poetic, and that has always been the main thing that made me feel at home while listening to it.

I think it’s safe to assume that every teenager has to deal with heartbreak, self-consciousness, and anxiety for one reason or another. As a very emotional person and an artist deep down, I was certainly no exception to this.

But when I was at Warped, I not only felt that I could truly be myself and be accepted for it, I saw so many other people outright celebrating whatever it was that made them unique.

I found companionship in absolute strangers as we both screamed out lyrics about loss and hardship right next to one another, knowing that we would never speak of it but that we both were clearly going through similar things.

I found encouragement and inspiration in so many of the band members who would hang out at their merch booths right in the middle of the venue, more than happy to engage in conversation with random fans such as myself.

I found joy in letting loose and dancing to the music, having my body thrown into the air and trusting that the sturdy hands of the crowd would catch me and keep me high above it all. Yes, I, a fashion blogger, am talking about my deep love for crowd surfing.

When I think about my teenage years, I almost always think of Warped Tour and the summer days I spent there. I think of the music that made me who I am; music that still makes up about 90% of my current iTunes library.

It’s so interesting how things like music, books, and movies can seamlessly connect our past to our present. All I have to do is put my phone on shuffle and chances are that an old Silverstein, Finch, or New Found Glory jam will bring me right back to being 17 again.

Those are the obvious reasons why this past weekend meant so much to me. But the most special part of the whole weekend, and the part I hadn’t thought about too much beforehand, was getting to experience it with my husband.

Sometimes it’s freaky how similar Joe and I are. It’s no surprise that we had a lot of the same interests growing up, even though we didn’t meet until he was 24 and I was 25.

We were both equally pumped when we saw the lineup for the Warped Tour 25th Anniversary, and knew we had to make it happen.

I’ve said many times since we got engaged and then married how I wish I could go back in time and relive my teenage years with my husband by my side.

I know that we both had to have certain experiences and get further along in life before we could become the perfect match we are today, but I think of those times and how much I longed for true love and the right person to share it with, and I just wish 16-year-old Laura could have known how perfect of a guy she would actually find.

Revisiting one of my favorite teenage experiences with the love of my life was such a gift. There’s no other way I can describe it.

Standing in the crowds, feeling his arms around me as I listened to my old favorite songs live was something I never imagined doing, but even if I had I could never have known how wonderful it would be.

As we danced around to “I’d Do Anything” by Simple Plan on Saturday afternoon, I recalled hearing it play at a middle school dance but holding back from getting on the floor because I was too afraid what people would think of me.

When The Used played “I Caught Fire” on Sunday I thought of how it almost became our wedding song, but also of how, 15 years ago, I watched my crush play it on guitar for another girl and wondered if anyone would ever feel that way about me.

We ended our night rocking out with Blink-182 (sans Tom, plus Matt) and when “Going Away to College” started, all I could do was smile from ear to ear and think back to being 12 years old, sitting on top of the bunk bed I shared with my sister, and playing the song over and over, daydreaming about what true love actually felt like.

I always knew those songs would stay a part of my life, but I never thought I would get to listen to them knowing I had finally found everything they inspired me to search for.

For me, this weekend was a celebration of the music that helped me through tough times, that inspired me to be a better version of myself.

It was a tribute to some amazingly talented artists, and to being connected with 30,000 strangers, all head-banging their problems away in unison.

And, most importantly, it was look back at who I used to be, who I’ve become, and all that I was able to accomplish. It was my tangible, undeniable reward for never giving up on myself or my desire to find real love.

I will forever be grateful for all of the memories I made at Warped Tour, but especially for the ones of this past weekend.

These bands, their words, and the feelings they evoke in me will always be in my heart. And, most likely, blaring out of my car speakers. ❤ 🙂

lifestyle

Who I Want to Have Dinner With, Alive or Dead

Three people you’d invite to dinner

Hey friends,

In today’s post I’m talking about my ideal dinner party guests.

These are three people who I’d most love to have dinner with, if given the chance.

Taylor Swift

If you haven’t caught onto this already, I love Taylor!

She is one of my all-time favorite writers and I think she’s both very smart and talented.

I would love to just have a normal conversation with her and pick her brain on the common interests we share, such as writing and finding true love.

My father-in-law

My husband’s dad passed away before I got the chance to meet him, and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to just sit and talk with him.

Based on the stories I’ve heard about him and how loved he was by those who knew him, I know he was a sharp, kind, and all-around wonderful person.

He will always be on the top of my list as far as people I wish I’d met in my lifetime.

Zelda Fitzgerald

It’s hard to decide who gets this third spot, but I need to give it to Zelda.

I am so fascinated by the lives and relationship of the Fitzgeralds, and though I prefer Scott’s writing out of the two, I think I would rather meet his wife.

She seems to have been such a headstrong and interesting woman, even if the face of everything she dealt with.

I’d love to hear their stories from her point of view, and see what she was really like in person.

This post is about who I’d like to have dinner with, dead or alive, but I really just chose the three people I want to spend time with the most.

All three of the people I mentioned above are people I admire and who I feel could teach me a lot about life and love.

Even if I will never get the chance to know these people, I’m lucky enough to have their words and the legacies they left/will leave behind to inform and inspire me.

Thanks for reading this post. I’m excited for tomorrow’s, since it will mark the halfway point of my April blogging challenge!

See you then. 😊♥️

lifestyle, tips

My Best and Worst Traits

Hi everyone,

Part of my goal with this blogging challenge, and this blog in general, is to let you guys get to know me better.

Today I’m taking a look inward and thinking about what my best and worst traits are.

These are based on self-observation, as well as things I’ve heard from others time and time again.

It’s not easy to point out to an entire virtual universe of strangers what your worst qualities are (or your best ones if you are a modest person), but I’ve done it and I’m ready to share with you all.

My best and worst traits are that I am…

Empathetic: I’ve always been very good at seeing things from other people’s point of views and understanding what others might be feeling.

I think it might be due to the fact that I got interested in reading at a young age, which exposed me to a broad range of emotions and got me used to looking at things through the eyes of so many different storytellers.

I see this as a positive trait because it helps me communicate better with others and sometimes it helps me to know what my loved ones need and exactly when they need it.

I look at empathy as a deep emotional understanding of others, and it’s something that I think is important to develop and use regularly.

Selfless: This is likely driven by my empathy, but I consider myself to be a pretty selfless person.

I enjoy doing things for others and I have no problem sacrificing certain things in my own life if I feel it will make the people I care about happier or better off.

I think another reason why I am able to practice selflessness is because I also have like-minded people in my life who make sure I am taken care of.

A challenge for selfless people is that they get too caught up in making others happy and they forget to check in with themselves or do things to promote their own happiness, so I’m grateful that my husband, family members, and friends look out for me and, therefore, give me the ability to do the same for them.

Driven: I am not really an aggressive person, but I am absolutely a go-getter, and I often refuse to accept limitations.

I used to think this meant I was stubborn, but I’ve found that it’s actually just determination and has helped me get a lot further in terms of my career and my personal relationships.

I’m generally a soft-spoken person, but my drive keeps me from being a doormat or from being passed over for things, as can sometimes happen to quieter people.

Moody: Clearly this is falling into the “worst traits” category.

I try not to let hormones or mood swings affect me, but it can’t be denied. Sometimes I am just plain moody.

I’ve tried to be more conscious about not taking out stress on other people, but I still haven’t mastered controlling my emotions enough to stop this from happening yet.

It’s definitely a challenge and something I’m continuing to work on improving.

Perfectionist: This one isn’t all bad, but it does cause me to put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself and, at times, others.

I get so obsessed with making sure things are the best they can be that sometimes I push too hard or set unrealistic expectations for myself.

I can’t help but feel like a failure when I don’t execute things flawlessly, but I’m practicing giving myself a bit of a break here and there.

I do think that constantly striving for improvement can be a positive thing, and I try to let my perfectionism feed my drive and make my work better, without letting it completely take over my view of things.

Closed off: I’ve always been a very private person and tend to keep my emotions bottled up inside.

Sometimes I think this helps me because I can keep from getting overly emotional about things, but it can also be really bad when I let things build up too much and try to handle the burden of everything I’m dealing with completely on my own.

I’ve actually been forcing myself to open up more in a work setting, which is something I never thought would be a good idea.

Just this afternoon I opened up to my supervisor for the first time about things that have been bothering me and affecting my attitude at work, and I’m so glad I talked to him about it.

I felt so much better just having gotten these things off my chest and I felt optimistic about the future knowing that my concerns were really being heard.

One thing that I noticed as I was writing this is that a lot of the traits I consider to be my “best” could actually become bad things if taken too far, and a lot of my “worst” traits have benefited me in some way in the past.

I think the key to being a successful, kind, and grounded person is just finding balance within yourself.

Do some self-reflection and be honest with yourself about good and bad traits that you have.

Once you’ve discovered those traits, think of how they can be used to your advantage or how you can challenge yourself to become a better person either because, or in spite of, them.

When I set out to write this post, it was just another item on my list of things to complete this month.

I didn’t think that I’d actually learn about myself, or about the philosophy of who we are as people in general.

I’ve really enjoyed this one and I hope that my insights can be useful or even inspirational to anyone who reads this.

It’s only day 3 of my blogging challenge but I’m now even more excited to keep going with this, because it will be interesting to see how I can grow throughout the process and what I might find out about myself along the way.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day, and don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see my day 4 post. ❤ 🙂

lifestyle, women

To the Women who Most Inspire Me on International Women’s Day

On this International Women’s Day, I woke up feeling a little bummed.

I tend to push my own boundaries as hard as I can, and sometimes create standards that are unfair to myself.

I started today feeling like I wasn’t enough, and then remembered what day it was.

Today is the day that allows me to let go of all the pressure I feel from both within and without, and simply say, “I am who I am, and that’s I all I need to be.”

I can boast being a woman with pride, because this is a group I am so lucky to be a part of.

Women have done, and continue to do, amazing things.

I am in awe of what we’ve accomplished, especially those who I am closest to and those I watch most closely.

On this day, rather than worrying about who I need to be or all that I have left to do, I want to focus on appreciating and thanking all of the women who helped get me to where I already am—who have helped me get everywhere I’ve ever been.

To my mother, my sister, my very best friends who have never left my side, my two grandmothers, my late godmother, my coworkers past and present, and to all of the women who stand up for themselves and for what they deserve every day, thank you for being such incredible sources of inspiration.

Thank you for living to the fullest of your potential and loving bravely every single day.

Thank you for doing this with me.

Thank you for your strength, because it is the very thing that holds me up when I am too weak.

Whenever I want to give up or I feel like I’m getting nowhere, I look at your amazing accomplishments and I am inspired all over again.

Whenever I feel like I won’t succeed or that I don’t have the stamina for this long uphill battle, you are there making sure I don’t fall behind.

Your words of encouragement are the sturdy hands on my back.

Your battle scars are the very reason I can wear my own with pride.

Thank you for your grace, especially that which you give to your fellow women.

Most females are assumed to be petty and hold grudges, and a lot of times I feel like our minds are just wired that way.

Too often I’ve felt the immature side of me that still exists tugging on my emotions and pushing me to press on with anger when I should be letting go.

But I have seen the women in my life put down their swords and have the sense to realize that we all are on the same team.

I’ve watched my mother take her white flag and lovingly wrap it around another woman who stabbed her so deeply, and though we have never really spoken of it, it’s the greatest lesson she ever taught me.

Thank you for your genius, because your minds can change the world, and they have already changed mine.

In a world where unique thought and brain power are underestimated and undervalued, I am surrounded by so much intelligence.

I have benefited from both the problem solving and the astonishingly clever thoughtfulness that come from taking the time to learn something, or someone, and putting that knowledge to good use.

Being smart is one thing, but using that gift to become a doctor and improve people’s lives, or to help properly shape the minds of the next generation, or simply to figure out ways to help bring someone back from a dark place are all so important and I’m proud to know women who use their minds to do beautiful things.

Thank you for your honesty, because I was starting to believe that truth was dead.

When it’s too risky to speak the truth, many of us retreat into lies.

When it’s hard to show who we really are, the majority of people hide behind fake versions of themselves, or of someone nothing like themselves.

Many have abused, distorted, and impersonated truth in order to manipulate others.

But nothing is actually accomplished this way, except further damage to the world and the growth of a society where no one is able to trust anyone else.

Now, standing in that very reality, it’s easier to just stay quiet.

But the women I love continue to be louder than ever.

They say the difficult things that need to be said, regardless of consequence.

They honor the truth, they respect those around them enough to tell it, and they allow me to walk through life knowing that real people, real values, and real selflessness exist.

I shudder to think of who I might become without that truth, that candidness, and that bravery constantly reminding me of who I am, of who it is my responsibility to be.

When I woke up today I felt defeated and uninspired.

All it took was a reminder of what day it is, and of what that day means, to completely change my feelings.

All I had to do was think of the names or picture the faces of the women who give me hope every day, and my problems no longer felt so daunting at all.

Thank you for being who you are, and for refusing to compromise that for any reason.

On the days when it is hard for you to keep going, please remember that you are the reason I do.

lifestyle

29 and Feeling Fine: Reflecting on the Last Year and Celebrating the Start of a New One

Today I am 29 years old and I have to say, I’m not as upset about it as I thought I would be. 

Around my 24th birthday I started worrying about getting older and the negative effects that could have on my body and my life, but my perspective on aging has really shifted in a positive way over the last couple of years.

Today, I find myself assured and excited for what 29 will bring.

Part of my newfound excitement about getting older is due to the great last few years I’ve had.

It seems like every year has brought big life changes and wonderful things to look forward to for me and, though hard times certainly do come along with the good ones, it’s all a part of life and a part of who I am and eventually will become.

Today I’m looking back on this past year and everything that being 28 has brought me. I’m also thinking about my goals for 29 and how to make the most of my last year before turning 30.

What I’m Proud Of
At 28, I trained for and ran my very first marathon, and I got to run NYC!

This has been a dream of mine for a while, but that I was unable to accomplish in years past because of a recurring ankle injury (I’ll probably do a separate post on this at some point, because it’s quite the story).

Training for the marathon was really, really hard. And running it back in November was even harder.

Even with all of my training, my determination, and the support of my loved ones I still questioned whether I could finish the race or whether I should have even signed up in the first place.

But guess what? I did finish. And I learned way more about myself and my body than I expected to that day.

I learned how much inner strength I have and I was reminded that, even when I feel like I have nothing left, I am always able to push myself a little harder. 

Another life-changing moment I had at 28 was losing my Godmother to cancer.

She left us sooner than expected and, even though she had been sick for a while, her parting was abrupt.

I didn’t get to say goodbye or to see her one last time, but I find comfort in remembering the times we had together and in knowing that she was aware of how much I loved her.

I got to honor her while running the NYC marathon for a charity that raises money for critical cancer research.

If you’ve read my other posts you probably already know that I got married a couple of months ago, which was obviously the highlight of this last year.

I had the most perfect wedding and, more importantly, my husband and I officially became family.

I’ve grown so much over the past few years that we’ve been together, and the year leading up to our marriage was no different.

At 28, I still had a lot to learn about compromise, personal growth, and being proud of who I am.

Planning a wedding with my husband and completing every step in the process alongside one another was a really positive experience for us.

So it’s not just the wedding or the marriage that 28 gave to me, it’s everything else I gained leading up to it.

What I Struggled With
A huge misconception I’ve always had about aging is that once you get to a certain age, you have it all figured out.

At 28 I learned, once again, that no one really knows what they’re doing in life (regardless of how old they are). 

I definitely made mistakes at 28—I found myself getting caught up in drama and pettiness that I should have just turned the other cheek to. 

Getting pulled into the unhappiness of others is something I’ve struggled with before, but this past year I got better at recognizing it and started to practice distancing myself from certain people or situations when necessary.

I also learned to prioritize my happiness—both at work and in my personal life.

Agency life gets crazy, especially during the summer and winter months because there’s a ton of work that needs to get done all at the same time.

28 brought plenty of late nights, 60-hour-weeks, and frustrated tears that I’d only let loose while sitting in traffic during my morning commute.

It’s hard to find a good work-life balance in most professions, and it gets even harder when you’re set on proving yourself and trying to climb the corporate ladder as quickly as possible.

I definitely overworked myself last year, and it wasn’t until I almost hit a breaking point that I realized things needed to change.

Overall, it ended up turning to a positive situation because being at that low point forced me to set more boundaries and take a stand for myself and for my own mental health. 

It also motivated me to speak up to my superiors about what I want and need in order to do my job as effectively as possible.

Because to be successful and to produce great work, you have to have the energy and motivation to care about what you’re doing.

In terms of my personal life, I noticed at 28 that I was regressing back into a state of trying to impress people and caring way too much about how others perceived me.

I fought really hard throughout high school and college to love myself and not to let the bitter, harsh words of others affect how I viewed myself. 

But years later there I was, lying awake at night worrying that what I wrote in my Bridal Shower Thank You cards didn’t sound grateful enough.

That people thought I was ugly because I opted not to wear makeup to parties I attended.

That my future husband’s family disliked me because of rumors they’d heard from other people.

Around the same time I hit a breaking point at work, I was also hitting rock bottom in terms of my personal life and self-esteem.

I was worrying too much about pleasing others and obsessing over every random “what if?” that popped into my head. 

Eventually I was forced to accept that no matter what I did or how hard I tried, I was never going to get everyone to approve of everything I did.

I decided to focus on what was truly most important—the person I was inside, the way I treated others, and making time for the things I enjoyed and was passionate about.

Once I decided to concentrate on those things, I spent much less energy on the things I couldn’t—and shouldn’t even bother to—change.

I realigned my priorities and all of the other nonsense became white noise.

I spent my time working towards what I really wanted and enjoyed and that confident, optimistic, relaxed version of myself returned just in time.

Looking Forward
There is a lot I want to accomplish over the next year, and I’m ready to work for it.

I will definitely be working hard to grow my blog and Instagram.

There is so much I want to share with all of you and so much that I can learn from you, as well. I have big goals in mind and can’t wait to see how much I can accomplish.

It’s going to be wonderful writing my “Turning 30” post a year from today and reflecting on how much my more life I’ll have added to my blog by then.

I have big fitness and running goals that are still shaping themselves in my mind—I’d love to run another marathon.

I’d love to finally get a defined 6-pack. And I DEFINITELY need to replace the unhealthy foods in my diet with fruits and vegetables (or art least find more of a balance).

I also have a lot to look forward to over the next 12 months.

My husband and I are building our forever home and will likely be moving into it before my next birthday.

I’m getting closer and closer to a promotion at work—the position I’ve been wanting to reach since much earlier in my career.

My sister is getting married and two of my best friends have new babies that I’ll get to love and watch grow.

There is so much excitement and happiness surrounding me on this day and in the near future, and my main goal for 29 is to keep this feeling and this attitude even when things aren’t looking as bright.

I know new challenges will present themselves to me over the next year.

Old challenges will surely resurface as well, and I may end up re-learning some old lessons that I thought I had already mastered.

But this is life, constantly testing and humbling us. If I can stay true to myself and my morals in the face of all adversity, then I know I’ll be just fine.

Thanks for taking this journey with me. When is everyone’s birthday and how old are you turning? What are your big goals for the next year of your life?

Share with me below!