When I was 11 I decided I was going to start designing and sewing my own clothes. With limited sewing skills and no patience to follow a pattern, I got busy cutting and glueing pieces together until I had made a pink and blue “tank top” that more closely resembled a children’s swimsuit and was totally unwearable. Sadly, that was the end of my designing career- until the creative team at eShakti reached out and asked if I’d like to try my hand at a little custom dress designing.
The process is super simple. You choose a base that you love (I chose this denim shift dress), and then you customize it with all of your measurements (height, arm length, hips, waist, chest, shoulders) and the style of the dress that suits you best- neckline, length of dress, sleeves or no sleeves, pockets or no pockets.
Then the team at eShakti gets to work and you sit back and wait for your creation to arrive. I’m pleased with how it came out, and even more pleased that the waist tie doubles as a choker necklace! You can use coupon code STATEANDOCCUPATION at checkout to save 10% on your totally customized design.
PS: Shakti in Sanskrit means “power.” As in you have the power to choose a design that flatters your body; as in eShakti’s staff in India are empowered to make a living for their families in safe, fair and comfortable working conditions. eShakti is transparent about the way your clothes are made, and I think that’s so important. You can find them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
I always feel the summer-is-over-get-me-a-scarf vibes as soon as September hits, despite the first official day of fall not being for another couple of weeks. Today I’m sharing some photos from the adventures my head, hands and heart have experienced this summer in Vancouver, Hawaii and New York if you’d like to see!
Outdoor movie night in Stanley Park
The view of the sunset from our teeny balcony
Relaxing in the Dub Tub on our rooftop
English Bay Sunsets
My first summer in Vancouver has felt like a permanent vacation. Our home is so perfect and honestly where I want to be 99% of the time. I didn’t know if I would fall in love with Vancouver, or how long it would take for it to feel like home, but I absolutely have and it absolutely does.
Ben and Marlee’s wedding day in Oahu.
This day was full of play.
Monkey in his element 😉
Watching the sunset in Oahu.
Our little beach on the North Shore.
Biking (minutes before getting drenched in a tropical storm).
My dad used to keep a shell in the basement of our childhood home that he told us we could hear the ocean from. He would also throw us Hawaiian luaus complete with leis, grass skirts, the fireplace crackling away and of course, Hawaiian pizza- so it’s no wonder I’ve been dying to go my entire life. Our beautiful friends got married on the North Shore of Oahu in July and Tim and I were lucky enough to witness it- and do a LOT of playing along the way. I think about Hawaii almost daily and cannot wait to go back and explore more of the islands.
Giving my girl some love.
On top of the Rockefeller Centre.
Admiring my favourite (and only) souvenir.
The view from floor 68.
Happy birthday, sweet sister!
I highly disagreed, but loved this sign.
The Statue of Liberty from the ferry.
My sister and I have dreamed about going to New York together since we were little kids, and we made that dream come true over the long weekend to celebrate her birthday. We ate way too many bagels and took in everything we possibly could in 48 hours including wine at a rooftop bar, the views on the top of the Rockefeller Center, the nonstop buzz of Times Square, Grand Central Station, Little Italy, a ferry ride under the Brooklyn Bridge and a visit with the Statue of Liberty (which I didn’t realize would be my highlight of the trip. So impactful!).
How are you spending the last 18 days of your summer?! xo
State & Occupation has been on my mind lately, and in my quest for a little inspo to get back at it I went browing through my drafts and found a small collection of unfinished, unpolished and unposted bits of writing from the last couple of years. I’m sharing their unedited selves below if you’d like to take a read.
February 14, 2015
You haven’t spent a Valentines Day alone in 5 years and today marks the 6th. You don’t feel lonely much. You are lucky, probably one of the luckiest people you know. You’re sure of this because one time you went on a spinning ride at the local fair and after entire contents of your purse spilled out below you, a stranger walked up holding your only set of car keys. You found someone who says things like “I love your big feet”. You were born with a level of confidence in yourself you’re sure is rare, even if it doesn’t always extend in to the important things like body image.
December 24, 2015 Emmy Lou the cheerful pom joined our family this summer after my Papa died. He was living in a tiny old apartment and she was the only one with him in the room after he passed. I thought having her move in would be a constant reminder of sadness, but she has brought so much light into our home. Just a month before this, my Grandpa passed away as well. My dad had been up visiting just a couple weeks prior and asked my Grandpa if he had any special requests to add the the grocery list. My Grandpa requested donuts, so my Dad complied and picked up a box of glazed donuts. When he brought all the groceries in, the donuts fell out and were left in the vehicle. I cried a lot in the days that followed because I couldn’t grasp the fact that my Grandpa would never feel the sun again, and that he didn’t get his donuts.
January 20, 2016
I take great pleasure in making friends with my cab drivers. A few months ago I opened the door on a mission to make it to a Mexican bar when I recognized the man driving as my latest favourite cab driver!
“It’s you! I’m so happy to see you, do you remember me?” I asked as I got in while my crew buckled themselves into the backseat.
“Of course I remember you!” he answered smiling. “We drove all over. We drove your friends home, and then I dropped you off at your ex-boyfriends!”
I gasped and screamed and explained to him the life ruining dangers of mixing up the details.
“No no no no no, you dropped me off at my CURRENT boyfriends house, Alan. Never say that again. That could be life-ruining. Do you have an aux cord?”
PS– I have a few things planned for new posts in the coming weeks.
Thank you as always for your eyes. xo
[images via: left, middle, right]
As I’ve mentioned before, I keep notes in my phone of things that inspire me. Sometimes it’s an idea, a quote, a song lyric, something bizarre I overhear in someone’s conversation or a half sentence that I think would sound good in a book. And sometimes I come across one so vague and without context that it makes me burst out laughing in a coffee shop 5 months later:
ANYWHO, I wanted to create a post featuring a couple of the quotes I’ve collected because they’re too good to keep locked away in my marbled iPhone.
“You and me is a place I hope we travel to one day.”
“Inspiration owes you absolutely nothing, other than the pleasure of its company.”
“You have to be in love when you don’t feel any particular tenderness, when bills are late or the trash hasn’t been emptied or you’re feeling underappreciated or when the ugly monsters from your past have convinced you that what happened then — whatever heartbreak exists in your memory — is here and real and will happen again.”
“How much of the suffering and anguish and white-knuckling that you’re doing in your life right now has to be there?”
“It’s so hard to write sometimes, I’m afraid of what I’ll read.”
“When you’re the most happening person at the party, it’s time to leave.”👋 -Kelly Cutrone
As I write this I am in a coffee shop and the man next to me is reading a book called Reaching the Animal Mind… out loud. I live for bizarre moments like this. I have been inspired to write so many times over the last couple of months but all I’ve wound up with is a folder full of drafts and a very tired mind. That being said, tonight I’ve rounded up a teeny collection of thoughts:
On the magic of bodies: Yesterday I was sipping a Bailey’s and coffee while surfing through photos from the summer and came across one I took of myself in my bathing suit. I took it because… I felt really, truly, terribly fat that day. At the time I was curious if I saved that photo and looked at it again in 20 years, would think I was crazy and be able to see myself more clearly? But here I am, just two months later, wondering what on earth I was so worried about. I do not look fat in it. I guess my point in sharing this embarrassing flaw in my confidence is to remind you that insecurity and crippling self-doubt is natural, but might be totally based on something make-believe. (Side note, the man from above^ just took off his shoe and smelled it)
On everyone else’s fleeting love: Lately I’ve been feeling a bit surrounded by crumbling relationships. I come from a long line of divorces in my family, and yet have never become jaded by it. If the phrase “hopeless romantic”didn’t make me feel like a dorky 13 year old I might add it here to describe myself, but I’m not going to so you’ll have to use your imagination. Since Tim moved to Vancouver in the middle of August we’ve spent a ton of time apart and some days it’s hard for both of us not to want to chuck our iPhones out a window and ask “What the f are we doing?!” all the while wondering if everyone else has it better- but I’ve yet to stop believing that we’re the lucky ones.
On being an introvert often mistaken for an extrovert: I get my energy from my alone time. I’m exhausted by small talk, big crowds, long nights with unfamiliar faces and public speaking- though I’m good at it. I can often be found belly laughing or “putting myself out there” on various internet spaces but the truth is I’m an introvert with a million things going on in my mind at once. I love to create, but praise embarrasses me. A month ago someone literally started reading one of my blog posts out loud and I nearly imploded. “Isn’t that why you write? For it to be read?!” they asked. “Absolutely,” I said. “But in your head and no where near me.”
On the best advice I’ve heard this month: Life is scary. Find your boo.👻
Today Tim and I played tourists in the city of Saskatoon to celebrate our last Saturday here together. I use the word “celebrate” loosely, because I am really going to miss visiting him here. I have fallen in love with the city and all the memories it holds of our relationship. Here’s to hoping Vancouver has a little space for us to bloom, too. ❤️️
Top Left: I think I could be a far more productive cubicle dweller if this was my chair. It’s a reasonable office supply request, right?
Top Right: When I found this picture it reminded me of all the things that inspired me to write when I first started this blog. I wanted a place where I could spew endless positivity and celebrate the little things- like pink donuts with police officer sprinkles. State & Occupation had it’s 2nd birthday last week and I found myself fondly reminiscing on old posts like this one, this one, & this one.
Bottom Left: I have found so much inspiration in the work of Chicago based artist Mari Orr. Like, you’ve got to be kidding me with this pineapple skin crocodile…
Bottom Right: I’ve never seen a psychic before, but my Nana recently sent over a recording of her visit with one from February. Though I’m not totally sold that this woman possessed a true magical talent, she did hit the nail on the head when she spoke about me, my love for my little brother and my relationship with Tim. She referenced his good looks and my Nana gushed, “Oh yeah, when we were first introduced I called him Brad all night because he looks like Brad Pitt!” Hehe- I’m definitely intrigued to see a psychic of my own now. Have you ever seen one?!
I have 10 days left of being 22! In my dreams I spend them under a palm tree in my new sunglasses listening to Lana all day long. In reality, I’ll be working and writing and dreaming and doing which I guess is all a 20-something can really ask for. I’m lucky and I know it, but it doesn’t keep my head from peeking up into the clouds every now and then.
Writing and managing social media for a living is totally a dream, but it definitely takes a toll on your creativity. By 5 o’clock Friday afternoon I can’t fathom crafting another Instagram caption… hence the tumbleweeds that have been blowing by State & Occupation lately. That being said, I have managed to launch one teeny tiny extra project (here!) that I am super excited about growing… I think I’ve finally found a home that my passion for vegetarianism can live in.
Recap of my 22nd year on earth: A year ago I was interning for the magazine company that published my very first articles, then I was busy planning the festivities leading up to my sister’s wedding and standing next to her as she became a wife, then I was on a surfboard in beautiful blissful Kelowna, then I was collaborating with brands for my blog, then we were frolicking through a pumpkin patch in Saskatoon during my month long visit, then I learned how to knit and made a mustard yellow scarf, then I was dressed as a piece of sushi for Halloween, then 2 more companies published my articles, then I was drinking eggnog in my coffee every morning, then I celebrated my 2 year anniversary with Tim♥, then I was popping champagne and fireball in the mountains with the boys saying “adios” to 2014, then came my obsession with reading and taking on 20 books at a time, then I went on a series of fun trips to snowboard and visit friends, then I was FINALLY hired to work full time as a Social Media Coordinator, then I walked the stage and graduated college. Now I’m here, munching on some pretzels.
It’s been a year full of laughing and smooching and wine drinking and writing and more inspiration than I could ask for. I am nervous and excited for what 23 brings as Tim moves a little further from me to pursue his dreams and I carry on with mine. Thank you a million for reading, and feel free to follow along on instagram for more timely life updates. xxo
Things my imagination is for:
Confetti and sunsets and colour and calm. For rose gold and balloons and baby kittens and endless beaches. For creating and writing and inspiration collecting. For nudity and betterment and loving against the odds.
Things my imagination is not for:
Rehashing, reliving and revamping old negativity. Mixing ingredients for worst case scenarios, blurring realities and tightening knots in my stomach.
“Yes, this is a magical moment for us and I’m glad that us is an ever expanding concept.” –Dallas Clayton
A couple days ago a question asked planted a very uninvited idea in my mind. “Are you just going to spend your entire 20’s in a long distance relationship?”
My entire 20’s…? What a terrifying concept. I hadn’t thought about my age in a long time until that moment. I’m 2 years in to these 20’s and as I’ve said more than once, I often feel more lost than I did when I was a teenager. A few years back I swore I had it all figured out- but now shudder to imagine having acted on those things I thought I wanted when I was 16.. 17.. 18. Will I look back at 22 and be confused by my choices? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am really, really, really in love with someone who is really, really, really good to me. Someone that says things like “you wanna take a bath or something?” and swears I make him better. So why shouldn’t I have my head in the clouds? Why shouldn’t I bet against the odds in this long distance relationship? If this is the decade where we’re ‘supposed’ to do all the things, see all the places and experience everything- why should love be excluded from that?
– I have read this over and over and am still so inspired
– I need this on a shirt. And a hat. And a mug.
-If looking to Milhouse for vegan inspiration is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
– My last cloudy post, here.
Top Left: This photo reminds me so much of one that’s stuck up on our fridge at home. It’s of me when I was 5, in orange pants and a colourful sweater holding our black cat like Rafiki held Simba over pride rock. I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately. Nostalgic for the good, but oddly enough, nostalgic for the bad. Not that I’m sentimentally remembering feelings of misery, but my brain has been living in the past a little- from childhood memories that make my heart ache to reliving the happy times in friendships that have imploded. As always when I touch on negativity here, I feel the urge to apologize for it, minimize it and top it with colourful sprinkles of ‘but here’s the good news!’ But aren’t some of the greatest bits of writing a little bit miserable? I’m intentionally reading The Fault in our Stars knowing it’s going to rip out my heart by the last page. Negativity shouldn’t always be muted. As my boy Ernest Hemingway said, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” Okay Ernest, I will. But only sometimes.
Top Right: I’m imagining presenting a bouquet of these pom-pom branches for the host of the party at every occasion. Blue and pink for a baby shower, multicoloured for a birthday, black and orange for halloween- the possibilities are endless! (10 more pom-pom crafts, here!)
Bottom Left: Can you imagine cruisin’ around on this beautiful shiny thing!? It’s almost too pretty to ride. Almost.
Bottom Right: This photo was titled Weirdo Wonderland. I like that. There is no better feeling than meeting someone who totally matches your level of weird. The frilly-pink-floral-ness of the Weirdos contrasting against the cold concrete is so pleasing for my eyeballs.
PS- What an October. This month I will be published four times,
twice for the first time in new publications! I’m proud and tired and nervous and excited.
Last night I realized I was featured on Ban.do‘s blog and nearly had a hot
flash over it (I’m obsessed with Jen Gotch– the founder).
A weekend giggle for ya here, and a really really great reminder here.