The Fake It ‘Til You Make It Theory

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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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blanc’s big break + next level challenges ahead

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This summer has been one for the books. Though I’m not sure which book… because honestly I don’t see a lot of people interested in reading it. Sure, the highs trump the lows, but sometimes it’s the lows that we remember most. Not always because they hard or hurtful, but because we learn something from them. The sum of this year’s summer is equivalent to x2 = y6 + zy7k ^ 42 

 

What does that even mean, you ask? In lamest terms, it was challenging. It seemed as if life threw me sour lemonade and expected me to work my ass off to make it back into a whole fruit.

 

Between the added leadership and responsibility that came with my powerhouse coworker leaving for her NYC dream job, my identity being stolen and my bank account being hacked two months later (literally, I have zero dollars to my name at the moment and the most generous coworkers who buy my lunch), and the type-A “Planner’s Curse” that includes the big-ol’ stress ball of forever looking into the future. Will my boyfriend get a job in xyz city? Would I go with him? Is my portfolio prepared for that? What if I can’t get a job? Do I want to stay in graphic design? (Am I really admitting this online?!?) Some things never change (see my very first blog post).

 

Hence, the blogging break. Am I grateful for these challenges? 150%. They have  influenced me to step it up a notch and explore where I want this life to take me. This summer and the people in it have inspired in more ways than one.

 

I’ve always been one to oogle over a strong female entrepreneur. Motivational talks, how-to guides, inspirational quotes – I eat that stuff up like it’s ice cream about to melt. There’s always been a part of me that gets those entrepreneurs. It feels as if I have all the tools to start my little fire, I’m just waiting for my spark to catch flame.

 

Over the past few months, I’ve gained three new big sisters in the professional world. Though I’m not sure they know I exist, nor that I stalk their accounts on the reg, but they have proven to be my some of my best advice givers. Has anyone ever told you something that stuck with you for longer than you expected? That’s it.

 

Let’s hear the list, shall we?

 

Mandy Rye, founder of the ever popular and always innovative Waiting on Martha blog. I met (yes, MET!) Mandy at The Southern C conference in Charleston, South Carolina. Her talk about social media was one of the biggest highlights of the weekend. My hands chicken-scratched notes as I tried to restrain my major girl-crush on the stellar Mandy.

 

Mandy’s Advice that stuck: Ask yourself before posting, does this reflect my brand? Never, ever publish a photo unless it’s in natural light. Quality is better than quantity.

 

Aliza Licht, DKNY’s famous PR girl and author of Leave York Mark. Aliza’s taught me to love Twitter again. She also taught me that it’s more important to be the listener. It’s the listener, not the loud mouth, that is the more intriguing.

 

Sophia Amoruso, founder of the fastest growing fashion brand, Nasty Gal and author of #GIRLBOSS. My current obsession and frankly, my motivational bible for the professional world. I’m reviewing #GIRLBOSS and why you just HAVE to read it later this month on Blanc. Stay tuned, my friends. Sophia’s advice that stuck: Work. For. It. You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

 

With a summer of new challenges behind me and a reel of professional advice spinning in my head, I finally started to feel like I could write again. I am inspired again. With this inspiration, I want to start a whole new version of blogging. Let’s get to the nitty gritty. Let’s get to what really helps us professional newcomers. Mandy, Aliza, and Sophia inspired, I’ve come up with a little something I like to call the #nextlevelchallenge.

 

Each month, I will present a 10 day challenge that will push you (and me!) to do and feel better. My first #nextlevelchallenge is 10-days of early rising. For some, this may mean nothing. For me, it will be a challenge worth taking. I have a bad habit of setting my alarm for 7, snoozing until 8, and getting into the office at 9:30 (oops).

 

In one Forbes study, specialists link rising early to optimism and satisfaction in your day. Early risers report using their morning quiet time for organization, goal-setting and planning out their days and weeks ahead. Early risers are also less likely to get easily stressed or depressed throughout their day. And let’s not forget the metabolism boost that comes with a morning run!

 

So here we go, my friends! I’m back at it. Ready to share all that I’ve been saving up this summer and ready for my first #nextlevelchallenge. Who’s with me?

 

Share your #nextlevelchallenge ups and downs with me on Twitter via @blancblog

liebster award

liebster award blanc

In the ever-increasing world of blogging, there are new personalities emerging daily. Whether writing about style, food, movie critiques, fresh-faced writers and photographers are finding ways to share their thoughts in the blogosphere. To welcome these emerging bloggers, senior writers have created the Liebster Award. This honor recognizes new blogs for their great content.

I am thrilled to announce my recent Liebster Award nomination! I have been nominated by Style Nacho, a fellow new blogger who writes effortlessly about fashion, beauty, and personal style. The fashion-finder introduces a new perspective on upcoming trends such as winter-to-spring wardrobe transitions, three ways to chambray, and (wait for it!) how to rock a denim pencil skirt.

Liebster-Award-Large

The Liebster Award Rules

1. Link back to the person who nominated you.

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the nominator.

3. Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 250 followers.

4. Create 11 new questions for the nominees.

5. Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.

 

Liebster Award Q&A, courtesy of Style Nacho:

Q: What is one of your favorite daily rituals?

 A: Talking to my very best friend before I go to bed at night.

Q: What’s your favorite food?

 A: Any form of chocolate and peanut butter… Yum!

Q:  You’re gifted $150. How do you treat yourself?

 A: Spring shopping… duh! Unless of course the boyfriend is in town. Then maybe a boat rental or a fun night out! It’s all about what makes you smile.

Q:  Name a place you’d love to visit (and tell us why!).

 A: I have wanted to go to Italy since I was little. My parents toured the country last year and I was entirely envious! The food, the sites, the history – there are a million reasons. Plus, my family originates from Sicily.

Q:  What’s your favorite spring trend?

 A: I’m loving all the bright colored heels right now. I’m still searching for the perfect pair.

Q:  What was your last random act of kindness?

Surprise by mail! Sending a random “thinking of you” card to a friend always makes for a sweet and sentimental treat.

Q: What’s a favorite quote?

 A: “You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones building one another up, instead of tearing each other down.” This quote inspired my #talkprettytome challenge inspiring those to seek the positives in the creative world rather than the comparisons.

Q:  If you could relive any year, which would you go back to and why?

 A: My first year out of college was one for the books… and it would be under chapter “This is Hard”. I would love to relive my first year in the working world knowing what I know now. I would be more confident and definitely worry a lot less!

Q:  What’s your biggest pet peeve?

 A: Loud chewers! Those close to me know this  well…

Q:  How do you like your coffee?

 A: Nonfat latte, 2 Splendas.  A girl’s gotta through in a mocha-frap everyone once and awhile though!

Q:  What quality or characteristic do you most love about yourself?

 A: I am most proud of my ability to think for myself. Though my stand-up-to-the-big-dogs-attitude may have gotten me in trouble in my younger years, it is a quality that I am glad I have. It is important for a person, especially a young lady, to stand up for herself and what she believes in. No one should tell you what to think except yourself.


I nominate the following up & coming bloggers:

Melanie Craft co.

Le Zoe Musings

DIY Just Cuz

Simply Made Kitchen and Crafts

A Polished Palate

Right Where I Left Off

Found This Painted That

Harcourt Crescent Interior Desire

20 Something Gal – just launched!

Skyscrapers & Palm Trees

Emily Rudman Photo

Q&A for my nominees:

1. Why did you start blogging?

2. Where do you call home and what do you enjoy most about being there?

3. What is one place everyone should visit and why?

4. What professionals inspire you?

5. What is your ultimate goal for your blog?

6. What is one thing you don’t leave the house without?

7. How do you take your coffee?

8. Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?

9. What is the best advice you can give your fellow bloggers about how to get new subscribers?

10. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

11. What 11 new bloggers do you nominate for the Liebster Award?

 

Nominees: Once you’ve posted your Liebster Award questions, share the love on social media (@blancblog)! I’d love to read them!

Xo & Cheers!

#nonewfriends

 I am two years into the working world. The summer I graduated from Winthrop University was the same summer I moved to Charleston, South Carolina where I knew all of three people. The first few months in my career were confusing, fast-paced, and loaded with mistakes. There were nights that I didn’t make it home until after 9 pm. When I finally did get home, all I wanted to do was grab a drink (or two, or three) with a bud and vent about the life of a grown up.

The tough luck story of it all has been summed up in a simple hashtag.

Now Trending: #nonewfriends 

New city, new career, and no new friends. Pardon my French, but friend-making can sometimes quite simply suck – especially if you’re living alone. It is hard to put yourself out there and most of us don’t like to do it. In our twenties, we are no longer at an age where a play date makes us soul mates or a scraped knee is grounds to becoming an arch nemesis. Things are more complicated. Let’s set the scene:

College // The glory days. No matter your level of weirdness, stress, or intoxication, you usually have a bud by your side. Whether you’re at a tech school or main stream university, college students have unlimited opportunities for friend-making (roommates, class, cafeterias, clubs, athletics, sororities, fraternities, just to name a few). You graduate with besties and promise that nothing will change once you all go in separate directions.

Post Grad Life, Year One // The stress of a new city and a new job is enough to take some of us overboard. Remember when the idea of a 9-5 sounded like a California dream boat compared to projects, exams and essays? Well, unless you’re working at Jimmy Johns, most of the time that 9 to 5 turns into 5:30…6….6:30….7. Strike one. Now that it’s 8 pm and you’ve managed to make it home without a honk, what do you do? Who do you call? Who in the hell lives in this city?! Strike two. So you open a bottle of wine and turn on How to Get Away with Murder. Strike Three.

Hence, the hashtag #NONEWFRIENDS. Related hashtags include #postgradprobs #imisscollege and my personal favorite, #welcometotherealworld. I’ve seen these tags sarcastically posted on Instagram as a picture of Netflix and a bowl of ice cream or, more enthusiastically, in happy hour pics that include no one but college friends.

So, why is it so hard for our generation to make new friends after graduation?

I’ll admit, I was definitely included in this friendless category when I first moved to Charleston two years ago. Though my hashtags looked more like #amaloser #imakemyboyfriendskypeme and #ijustusedmyneighbornettomakefriends (all true).

So what made the difference? For me, it was putting myself out there and hoping people we’re nice. Yes, I seriously used my apartment complex’s Neighbor Net to message a girl I met at a “Meet Your Neighbors” cocktail hour. It sounds so odd… but hey, it worked!  She and I even managed to get a kickball team together for the Charleston Sports and Social Club. Take it from someone who’s already her wasted time whining & grieving  about the 3-hour drive to the nearest gal pal:

Post Grad Life, Year Two // You will have a life again, I promise.

All you have to do is make a move. My tips for friend making (should I put butterfly stickers in this post…?) – but seriously:

1. Where there’s one, there are more. Everyone feels awkward making new friends right out of college. Relax. Put yourself out there and you’ll usually like what you get in return.

2. Don’t wait for someone to invite you. This will drive you crazy. Be the one to set up drinks with co-workers or brunch with a neighbor.

3. Join something you’re interested in. Larger cities usually have intramural leagues, fashion organizations, book clubs, or charities to get involved in. How easy is that?

4. Back away from the bestie. I love my best friends, but moving to a city where most everyone was a phone call away helped me grow more than I knew at the time. I had to cast myself out there in hopes that someone (anyone!) would reel me in. A lot of the time, I see this “no new friends” hashtag on social media referencing the fact that post-grad happy hours include the same people as post-exam power hours. If that is the case for you, cheers – but proceed with caution. There is something to be valued in being on your own. If you always have a shoulder holding you up what is going to happen when that shoulder leaves?

If you find yourself having happy hours for one, take a page from my book. Step out of your comfort zone and take a risk. You never know what fun or new friends you may find…

#yaynewfriends

 

 

 

instaconscious

How to: Post an Instagram

1. Crop your photo so the chubby part of your arm doesn’t show

2. Adjust brightness, warmth, and saturation. I am so pale.

3. Scroll through filters. Scroll through filters again. Can’t decide between Valencia or Walden…

4. Screenshot them both so you can compare side by side.

5. Finally decide Walden makes your eyes look bluer.

6. Post.

7. Check phone every 5 minutes anxiously making sure people have liked your photo.


Let me be frank, why does Instagram have everyone feeling so acca-awkward? If it’s been two hours and our ‘gram doesn’t get as many likes as we think it should, we take it down. We are so insta-conscious. C’mon! Since when does everyone need such social reaffirmation (insert sassy, pink-shirted emoji girl here)?

Let’s take some time to laugh at ourselves.

Never have I ever took a photo down because it didn’t hit double digits. Never have I ever spent 10 full minutes editing a photo just to decide not to post it. Never have I ever looked at my high school cousins’ posts and thought OMG, how do they get 100 likes?!

Three fingers down? Yup, thought so.

Even the coolest people you know via social media are lame. We look at their posts and think to ourselves, they live such a cool life, but when you see them in person, there’s no room for actual conversation between phone-buzzing text messages.

@socialsarah just tweeted you: “Loved catching up with @blancblog today!”

…Uh, I’m sorry, did we really? Or was I just spacing out in that conversation…?

If something makes us seem more interesting, we post. If we’re wearing a cute outfit, we post (okay, I get that one… I hate to waste an outfit…). If something will get the cute boy to notice us, we post. It’s as if we’re living our lives to post.

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” A photo can very powerfully provoke immediate social comparison, and that can trigger feelings of inferiority (The Instagram Effect)This social comparison is stronger than one that is triggered by reading a Facebook status.

As a society, we’ve always had a “keeping up with the Jones” mentality. We want to present ourselves as best we can with the coolest outfit, most tropical vacation, and perfectly crafted iced lattes. Now, we can literally keep up with the Jones (or really, the Kardashians) as their lives pop up in our palms. Not only are we able to compare ourselves with our peers, but now celebrities and royals alike (hellllooo, Kate Middleton!).

Let’s get real here.

One of my friends has this catch phrase that always makes me laugh. She’ll giggle and say “You do you, boo!” As funny as it is, it’s some damn good advice. I won’t sit and lecture about how you shouldn’t care about the likes you get or how many followers you have. Please, I’m guilty. But in all honesty, does it really even matter?


 You do you, boo.


Lucky for us, there is some science behind these massive collection of idolized images. In an article published earlier this year, The Instagram Effect: How the Psychology of Envy Drives Consumerism, the author writes, “Instagram makes our peers’ lives look glamorous, but almost attainable. If Beyonce has something that’s one thing, but if a friend does, it’s almost in reach — or feels like it should be.”

The term for this kind of comparison is “relative deprivation,” a sociological term that refers to the dissatisfaction that people feel when they compare their Ragu pasta and microwavable cheesy breadsticks to their friend’s night on the town full of oyster appetizers, steak main-dishes and decadent gelato for dessert.

But looking at an artfully altered landscape or a #ootd doesn’t always have to be self-depricating. It can be inspiring too. In fact, it was the inspiration found on Pinterest and other social media that inspired me to start writing this blog.

With career opportunities in social media management now-a-days, it can’t all be wrong. In all sincerity, a social media career is sort of like marketing and advertising for the modern age, right? Companies want their products to be perfect and desirable and that’s how everyone of us would like to appear as well. No harm, no foul. In fact, it has been proven that viewing your own personal Instagram account can actually bring you happiness and pleasure of your own self worth.

Let’s all just try to take it down a notch. We really don’t need to be so insta-conscious. If you think about it, everyone else is so worried about their posts, who has time to think yours is cool? 😉

Just kidding. You do you! …and everyone go like this post.

xoxo