The Fake It ‘Til You Make It Theory

BLANC_Miami

In the eighth grade, my best friend Lindsay introduced me to a theory of hers: fake it ’til you make it. No, she wasn’t telling me to get catty with the popular crowd. She wasn’t telling me to cheat on tests or go to the tanning bed. She was teaching me to work hard and never let anyone or anything get me down. When the going gets tough, smack a smile on and keep pushing because, ultimately, you are worth more than the tough time you are going through.

A bit harder than it sounds, huh? When school work turns into work-work, friendships come and go so quickly, and high school flings turn into long distance challenges, this theory can sometimes be forgotten. Yet even after ten years, our juvenile hypothesis still exists. Today, I like to think of that 8th grade advice as my beginner’s course at Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS academy.

New York Time's Best Seller, #GIRLBOSS (photo sourced)
New York Time’s Best Seller, #GIRLBOSS (photo sourced)

You may have heard of Sophia Amoruso. She turned her hobby of selling vintage clothing into a 28-million dollar corporation called Nasty Gal – without borrowing a dime, I might add. She is also the author of the New York Times Bestseller, #GIRLBOSSSophia knows what’s up, and if you ask me, she is an avid user of the F.I.T.Y.M.I theory.

I read #GIRLBOSS about eight months ago. To this day, it has become some sort of ambition-bible to me. I have never been one to have a strict belief system. I don’t put all my eggs in one basket when it comes to luck, magic, or anything of the sorts. I guess I have found that there is too much uncertainty in life. Though, there is one thing I can count on 100% of the time and that is myself. No tricks in the book can work as well as me working my ass off to reach a goal. Period. And when times get rough with work or relationships, that’s when you roll with the punches and keep moving.

I think it has to be mentioned that since the day I was born, my mother has warned me of two (among many) tormenting habits of mine. One is the ever-classic “watch your tone, Tarah Kathryn” and the other being “You are your own worst enemy.” Whether it was a prom dress that I wasn’t 150% confident in, a senior thesis that I picked to pieces right before it was due, or the 10-billion mistakes I made when starting my first job, I have NEVER had a problem scrutinizing myself.  Honestly, I think it comes pretty natural to most of us.

Now, I like to think of myself as a little angel and devil; a cheerleader and rioter; a Jekyll and Hyde of sorts. Everyone gets into a rut every now and then. It’s important to know how to motivate and have confidence in yourself because, trust me, sometimes it’s all that matters. It’s all about kicking ass but knowing when your plate is too full (sorry October blog posts!). Whenever I have a stressful week or a day that makes me feel numb inside and causes me to have to ice my eyeballs from computer-staring (yes, that happens. Sorry doc.), I turn to chapter six and let Sophia tell me why it’s so important to keep going and keep pushing.

“You get back what you put out, so you might as well think positively, focus on visualizing what you want instead of getting distracted by what you don’t want, and send the universe your good intentions so that it can send them right back.”

Without even knowing it, Sophia has read the F.I.T.Y.M.I handbook in more ways than one. In an early chapter, she talks about role models and the art of comparison. Though admiration can be good, there can also be a discouraging side to it – hello social media superstars!

“I don’t want you to look up, #GIRLBOSS, because all that looking up can keep you down. The energy you’ll spend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own. Just be your own idol.”

The dictionary defines the word “fake” as a thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham. The irony of the F.I.T.Y.M.I theory is that, in order to truly make it, you can never fake yourself. In order to make your way to the top, you have to stay true to your values. Listen to others but take everything with a grain of salt. The second you lose your sense of encouraging-self, your theory has failed.

Before ending her book, Sophia instructs everyone to bet on themselves. Her stance is clear and to the point, stating that if you are frustrated because you are not getting what you want, you need to stop for a second and ask yourself: Have I actually flat-out asked for it? We can’t expect the world to read our minds.

“Whenever I’m faced with improbably situations, I remind myself that if I really want something badly enough, I have it within myself to make it happen.”

#GIRLBOSSes across the country chimed in on Sophia’s badassness and gave their own “how-to” tips:

Alexi Wasser, creator of imboycrazy.com advises us to “figure out what you love doing and don’t suck at, then try to figure out how to make a living doing that!”

Christene Barberich, Editor in Chief of Refinery29 urges readers to “stop caring so much about what other people think. Find a way to hear what you want. I don’t know if there is any greater feeling than proving you are your own biggest advocate.”

This is starting to sound like a You-Go-Girl speech for the ages, I know, but consider the sources here. Each of these women #girlbosses, have started companies, elevated brands, and formed solid, respectable reputations. They know what their talking about because they faked it ’til they made it, letting nothing get in their way. Whether it’s your dream to start your own company or to be the best employee your boss has ever seen, their advice works for you.

“You’re challenge as a #GIRLBOSS is to dive headfirst into things without being too attached to the results. When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility.”

Now, I am not Sophia Amoruso. The accomplishments under my belt probably look like a crumb left on her kitchen counter, but I get her and I don’t take her advice lightly. I have spent the beginning of my fall on a workaholics binge – and I wish I was talking about the tv show. That being said, I made little time for myself and my relationships. I forgot that the one thing that makes me most happy is my creativity. I was in a creative funk. Welp, it’s time for the funk to end and for me to get back to the blogisphere with my second #nextlevelchallenge:

BLANC_Miami1

6 steps to get out of that creative funk:

  1. Know when your plate is too full and diet. Freelance design was taking over my me-time this summer. By cutting that out of my diet, I had time to write again.
  2. Rearrange your space. Move the furniture, change up your artwork, add a plant. Creating new scenes in your daily life can help you see things through a different light.
  3. Have a birthday. Okay, you can’t technically do this now if your birthday is in March but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate you. Order the champagne with lunch and get the pricey shoes.
  4. Explore. Get out of your everyday landscape and go see things. This is where I feel most inspired. Shh, my 4-day excursion to Miami is coming to the blog next week!
  5. Call an oldie but a goodie. A bestie always knows the answer; even the ones we don’t want to tell ourselves. Catching up with someone you love can make all the difference.
  6. Read and write it out. This is the best advice I’ve ever been given. Write out your thoughts. And of course, read #GIRLBOSS. Obvs.

In the final words of Sophia, “bad bitches are taking over the world… We’ve arrived, and we’re killing it. There’s a chance for you, #GIRLBOSS. So take it.” … and fake it ’til you make it. 

xoxo

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collecting art

Blanc Blog Art

An knowledgable man once said, “creativity is intelligence having fun.” Good old Albert Einstein predicted the future in not just the world of knowledge, but the creative world as well. Little did he know that creativity would turn into passion. That passion could then turn into the art of collection.

For me, my passion of collection is art (could you have guessed?). I truly believe the art one buys or creates is a direct reflection of their inner self. For example, one of my favorite pieces that I own is my bright yellow ‘Have Mercy’ palm screen print. I bought it at a small, eclectic shop in Asheville, North Carolina for $25. It wasn’t an investment piece. I didn’t research the artist for hours. I didn’t have to ponder for two seconds about whether or not I was going to purchase the 20 x 30 inch poster. I bought it simply because I liked it.

It is graphically bold, it is colorfully bright, and it has a message. It became the focal point of my gallery wall as soon as I got home.

Blanc Living Art

Accompanying Mr. Have Mercy on my walls are framed illustrations that I ripped out of Communication Arts magazines, an abstract wood panel painting my good friend Natalie Taylor made for me, and vintage posters I’ve found over the years. It’s all collected – all random. Each piece has a significance.


Rule #1: Art should feel collected.


Stay away from the stock pile people! Yes, that means you, Hobby Lobby enthusiasts. A significant collection of art should develop over time. Not every piece needs a dramatic story, but some pieces do. Collected art gives your home a personality. It’s what makes your home different.

Blanc Chicago

How to Collect the Goods:

  1. Art Fairs & Student Work– Fairs are a great place to find local artists outside of their galleries. Most art fairs will sell unframed art which is usually cheaper than buying it pre-framed. Pair the purchased piece with a painted Goodwill frame and you now have an original piece. Local universities also have art shows throughout the school year. In the case of having creative friends like I do, ask a friend for an original piece and offer to compensate them for it.
  2. Souvenier the right way – Following in my mother’s path, I like to look for new artwork when vacationing. It’s a chance to scope out local artists that are unknown to your home town. Plus, it makes for a better memory than that Mexico coffee mug.
  3. Online – websites like Etsy and Society6 offer loads of original work at a range of prices and sizes.
  4. Look at more than just “art” – Calendars, greeting cards, or even pages of art magazines or books make great framed artwork. I framed Rifle Paper Company‘s Chicago greeting card above my stove for a little piece of home in my kitchen (above).
  5. DIY the art you love – Having a fine art degree, I tell myself “you can make that” a lot. Mimicking art you admire is one way to display personality in your home. The trick is to put your own spin on it. I created the abstract gold circle painting (shown hanging over my couch, above) on an old Hobby Lobby canvas and added spray painted L-brackets I found at Ace Hardware. The piece was inspired by abstract art I found on Pinterest. Note: Be sure to respect the artist’s work and abide by intellectual property laws!
  6. Found art – let me explain below…

Blanc Blog Art - Skipper

Found art is just as it sounds: found objects that are turned into art. My friend Skipper introduced me to the concept one Saturday afternoon over a bottle of champagne.

“Most of my artwork is found art,” she explained. “My family has always collected art and turned it into new things. My grandmother loves to paint and my mother loves to create art structures out of found items. The bamboo fish on my walls (below, photo #2) are made from bamboo she found in the mountains. The vintage pin up girl posters (above) are advertisement drafts from when my great grandfather worked at an advertising agency long ago. The illustrator actually went on to illustrate for PlayBoy.”

Skipper goes on to explain how she not only inherited the artwork of the role models before her, but she also inherited their love of found art. The distressed gold mantle hanging above her tv was found on the side of the road on King Street.

“It was a piece of a broken frame that I found outside of an art gallery in downtown Charleston. I just loved it.” (shown in below, photo #1)

Blanc Skipper

 

Bottom line? There really are no rules. A piece of drift wood is just as much of art as a painting. What’s important is the self expression and originality behind the art. Make it you – not just a filler piece – and collect away!

Thank you Skipper for letting me photograph your tremendous collection! 
xoxo 

 

the #talkprettytome challenge

strongwomen - blanc

Last month, I featured the all-knowing fashionista, Luisa (creator of Peaches to Pearls) and her #eatpretty challenge. For 5-weeks, challenge participants chose to eat clean to better their bodies, step by step. With the start of 2015, resolutions are all around us: eat better, go to the gym more, save money. But I’ve noticed one resolution is always left out. It’s not the resolution that gets us the beach bod or the car we want. It’s not the one that lands us the job or kicks an unhealthy habit…

One of my favorite blogs to spend an entire day on is The Everygirl. In fact, it was looking through their Home Tour posts everyday that made me finally start Blanc. On most home tours, they like to end the interview with the question: “What would you tell yourself at 23?” Each and every blogger, artist, fashion designer and CEO say the same thing:

Start now. Never let others make you feel insecure about something you are passionate about. There is no time like the present.

After reading interview after interview, those words really resonated.

Growing up, my mom and dad taught me to have a unique kind of confidence: a don’t mess with me attitude with a sarcastic twist. I’ve always been a “you do you, boo” and “believe-in-yourself,” kind of girl. As I continue to grow and the world changes around me, so do my insecurities. I mean literally, I’ve posted an Instagram just to take it down because I wasn’t sure it was cute enough. Lordddd! *embarrassing*

So let’s go back to this unhealthy habit. The one we all can’t seem to shake: insecurities, especially in the creative world.


 Pop Quiz:

  1. Have you ever looked at a friend’s IG photo and teased them about how “artsy” their new pic is?
  2. Have you ever changed out of the trendy Forever 21 top because you just weren’t sure if it was too “alternative” or not?
  3. Have you ever looked at a professional you admire and thought, “I could do that…” yet never pull the trigger?

It’s a pretty silly concept: we are taught to explore our creativity as we grow, but once we’re grown, it’s put down. As juvenile as the term “bullying” sounds, isn’t it, in a way, what we’re doing to each other? Or even more-so, to ourselves?

Lucky for us, people are speaking out. Every time I see a quote I love on social media, I screenshot it and keep it for an uninspired day.

Currently on my iPhone:

girl talk - blanc

My favorite quote of all is the one I put together above: “You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones building ones another up, instead of tearing each other down.”

So here it is – all on the line – my challenge for you:

30 days of #talkprettytome

For the next month, focus on building others up, along with yourself, rather than tearing them down. When others start the smack talk, don’t add to the conversation because, it’s true what they say, you can always tell who the strong women really are…

Share your #talkpretty quotes and sayings with me on social media and use the hashtags #talkprettytome #boldwithblanc. I’ll be sharing my favorites all month long!

xoxo