A Moment of Honesty: Behind the Instagram

It's been a while since I've shared a "Behind the Instagram" with you all so here's the next installment. I figured that after my last post about being "real" on the internet, it was only appropriate. It's easy for beautiful images to be taken at face value when really, photos succinctly say more than words can. Before every moment, there is a moment. Here's a little bit from my heart and my life. 

News is an intense business. I worked overnights this weekend and while it can get pretty rough at 3AM, that sunrise makes it all worth it. I love looking up and seeing the sun all of a sudden. It just sort of appears. Whereas there is no sunset beautiful enough to necessitate me willingly waking up early enough to see it, if it happens to be there and I happen to be there, I'm all about it. (Even if I have to watch it in the reflection of the Wells Fargo building.)

I love living in the city. All of the city-dwellers out there can agree with this though: it's nice to get away every once in a while. Philly built this pop-up park on Spruce Street by the river and it is one of my favorite places in the city. I had "one of those days" and went for a bike ride there. I got me some vodka iced tea lemonade and sat in a hammock over the water. I did some people watching, basked in the cool breeze, and felt at peace with the world. If you're feeling suffocated by the sheer madness of life going on around you, here's my advice: find a place to escape to for a little while. It's a game-changer for sure. Isn't mine so cozy? 

I rarely go by my REAL name anymore, I made the decision to embrace my initials (E.M.) as a business move. Doesn't make me any less an Erika though, and as an Erika with a k, I was overjoyed to see that my name was spelled correctly on a bottle of Coke. If you have a fairly uncommon name, you understand my pain. This caught my eye just as I was complaining about how my name is never on anything. Not going to lie to you, I gasped when I saw it. I don't even drink soda but I had to have it. 

This one isn't particularly significant. It's neither ground-breaking nor interesting. Have you ever listened to Black Sabbath? If you haven't, you should. I don't think I've had a more triumphant moment in recent times than when I was record-shopping with my family and I happened upon this gem. It's my go-to "getting dressed in the morning" album. It's the little things. But seriously. If you've never listened, get on that.

Something that no one knows about me (until now, that is) is that I LOVE going to Lowe's. I could walk around for hours and dream about owning a home. Yes, it's incredibly dorky but we all have our quirks. Lately my jam has been the gardening section but I will always and forever be a huge fan of the paint samples. I swiped a sizable amount of these for a craft that I plan on making in the near future... shhhhh

Being on my vacation with my family was bliss because I missed Eisley so much. Now before you get all weird like "whoa, she loves her dog more than her family," I can talk to my family on the phone and text them any time. Can't do that with Eis boo. We had a good few days and Danielle snapped these photos of us hanging out on the dock. They're absolutely among my most prized possessions. 

My sister and I have six years between us so we've never really "hung out" until recently. It's fantastic to be able to have sister time. She's just as cruel as I am when it comes to people-watching and she's always down for some ice cream or a smoothie. We laugh a LOT when we're together. Now that I'm finally "growing up," I cherish these moments that I would have taken for granted not long ago. They're super important. 


Les Garçons

After an intense day filled with breaking news and flaring tempers, it was nice to escape to Penn Treaty Park for a little bit with Danielle and Juno. Nothing more, nothing less. 


top/ U.O. (it's sold out at the moment but this one is similar!), skirt/ H&M (similar), necklace/ J.Crew (similar), shoes/ YSL (a few seasons old, here are similar ones.)

*photos by Danielle Conyers, my amazingly talented roomie 

A Moment of Honesty: You Do You, Girl

Sometimes I scroll through my Facebook timeline and I want to bang my head against the wall until blood spills out of my ears.* It can be downright unbearable yet I can never manage to pry myself away. It's always "oh look, so-and-so is angry about something" or "what's-her-face just got #engaged™." It's never anything useful and most of the entertainment value comes at the expense of others. (You know what I mean.) It's a constant battle to have the loudest voice, the most outrageous opinion, and the last argument. What's worse is that it's easier than ever to manufacture some kind of persona. As we delve deeper into ourselves as internet entities, face-to-face interaction becomes a lost art. Vulnerability becomes a rare gem. We're losing touch with reality and it's just no good. We have the ability to pick and choose which traits and moments we will wear like a badge of honor and which we want to tuck away in some forgotten corner. I take a look at my friends list and I think, "who ARE these people?" If you've never thought it, it's a legitimate question. These people will be able to ascertain a varied amount of personal information about you. Because of this common-knowlegde, we pander to them more often than not. It's not a good thing. In fact, it can be dangerous. 

Real life is a very ugly thing. I wish I could un-tag myself from the memories of those who witnessed that time I pulled a Rachel-at-Barry's-Wedding coming out of the bathroom in church. Sadly, it's not that simple. With the modern luxury of being able to subscribe to a personality instead of truly "finding" yourself, it's easy to pick and choose what makes you, you. Do you ever find yourself making Spotify private so that you can listen to Hilary Duff without the fear of ridicule from your peers? Ask yourself this: why? Just because the digital age has made it incredibly simple (and quite convenient) to be privy to the lives of others does not mean that you have to be. It also doesn't mean that you should be selective about what you tweet/'gram/listen to/watch. It all comes down to this mind-blowingly simple concept: WHO CARES? 

You're a mess. A beautiful, crazy mess. Your life is not picture-perfect. It does not come with a built-in Instagram filter. Chances are, you're a twenty-something just meandering through the labyrinth of life. It's really easy to become closed-off to other human beings aside from a tweet or a photo here or there. You need to realize though that the more accessible communication becomes, the less meaningful it is. The less meaningful you are. Instead of putting on a charade for everyone else, challenge yourself to become a better person starting from the inside. Once you're okay with yourself, you won't care how anybody else sees you. It's a little thing called confidence and it's tough to come by nowadays. I've been trying to purge my life of those influences and those toxic ideals. Sometimes I have to back away from my blog and social media and realize that I shouldn't be dressing, acting, going anywhere just for content, I should be dressing the way I want to dress. Doing what I want to do. Make sense? We all have our vices. What are yours? Once you identify them, you're halfway to a happier, simpler life. 

 - Go an entire day with little or no interaction on social media.
 - After detoxing, make a list of what you enjoy. Not what you think others around you enjoy. What you enjoy.
 - Identify the people in your life who live for the internet. Cut them out. They're not worth it. Time is precious and face-to-face (or even voice-to-voice) interaction is worth more than words. 
 -  Practice self-love. If you love yourself flaws and all, others should as well. If they don't, they should at least respect you. If they don't respect that, they're not worth your time.
 - Harness the power of the almighty unfriend button. Think to yourself, "would I sit down and have a cup of coffee with this person?" I've calculated a little set of criteria for whether I should push the button when the answer is "no." First of which is, "am I related to this person?" Hell hath no fury like that one aunt who didn't quite make the cut for friends list privilege. Chances are you're probably already learned this the hard way. Next, ask, "is this person helpful to my career, etc.?" I try to make contacts everywhere I go. You never know when you might need a favor, plus it's extra motivation to always see those people on your feed. Most of my friends list is now comprised of folks who are involved in the Philadelphia local news scene. It's incredibly helpful! Last, think of those people who are constantly getting angry and saying ridiculous things. Yes, it's funny but it's also infuriating. You should probably get rid of them. As soon as possible. 

What do you think? It's all about living simply, loving yourself, and adjusting to this scary new world. I want to hear your thoughts and how you "do you" in this ever-more-digital world. 


*After typing this little bit, I had to read it back to myself. I didn't want the point to get lost amidst a gross hyperbole but I realized that is it, indeed, quite accurate. 

Hey Lolita, Hey

“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.” - Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita


romper/ U.O. (similar)

Pimm's Punch

Midsummer cookouts, picnics, and nighttime fire pit hangouts are the stuff dreams are made of. I like to think that any reason to get together is a good enough excuse to drink. Am I right or am I right?This recipe is great to make in a big 'ole pitcher for such occasions. It's a mix between a traditional Pimm's Cup and a sangria so what's not to like about it? Although Pimm's is kind of the big star, it could be replaced by a non-alcoholic beverage such as Chinotto and the drink would still be yummy and refreshing.

What you'll need:
 - Pimm's Liqueur 
 - Limeade
 - Ginger Ale
 - 1 cup of blackberries
 - Mint, 4 leaves to muddle and more to garnish
 - 1 lemon
 - 1 lime
 - Ice

Begin by muddling the blackberries and mint together in the bottom of the pitcher. Add ice and the thinly-sliced lemon and lime. Pour in two parts Pimm's*, one part Ginger Ale, and one part Limeade. Stir with a wooden spoon. If you want to be extra fancy, set aside some extra lemon and lime slices, blackberries, and mint aside to garnish individual glasses. 

*if you're making this drink with Chinotto, use one part.

YUM. As always, sip responsibly. 


Vacation Snapshots


Carolina Girl

Took a much-needed little escape: a vacation from city life, work, and makeup. I enjoyed some quality time with my family, my pup, and my lovely friend Danielle. I ate some delicious meals and saw some actual stars. I even watched the moon rise over the ocean. I'm a little sad to be headed back up north to the city tomorrow but I wouldn't trade these past few days for anything.


p.s. Danielle took these photos. She's super talented, check out her work NOW.

A Moment of Honesty: Change

Change is strange. I love the idea of it and have embraced or even encouraged in my own life. Life has taught me that when it really comes down to it, change is good, even if it doesn't seem so in the moment. I've held to the sentiment that the worst thing a person can do is to be complacent and grow stagnant. In order for growth to happen, change must occur. But sometimes it blindsides us. Sometimes we're comfortable and don't want to be shaken or uprooted. There's always some sort of abandonment and more likely than not, some degree of heartbreak. May I be frank? It sucks. It forces us to move on from places we've come to adore, from people we've grown to love, and from circumstances which, in the moment, may present themselves as being "as good as it's going to get." It's a bummer when things are going your way and then something unprecedented comes along and rocks your world. This has been my life for the past year. Which every jarring blow that life tosses in my direction, one would think the aftermath would become easier and easier to deal with, no? It just isn't so. 

I've been learning the hardest lesson of them all lately: nothing ever gets easier. That seems like a hopeless thought but it's not all bad. As creatures with free will, we have the choice to grow stronger through adversity or to become calloused, jaded, and completely closed off. For so long, I chose the latter. It's certainly easier, but it is in no way conducive to a happy and fulfilling life. In order to be strong, we must confront whatever plagues us. We must go to that dark, scary place and stare into the void. As difficult is that may be even just once, we must do it daily. Own your fears before they own you.

Change is inevitable. It has always been and it always will be. There are a myriad of ways to cope, all of which vary from person to person and situation to situation. A good rule of thumb is to hold on to those who build you up, distance yourself from those who bring you down. The difference between these two may not be immediately noticeable until the time is right. Remember that as tempted as you may be to say, "things used to be better..." you have only the here and now. Changes may not be immediately in your favor but become flexible enough to own them. Always be looking ahead. If you're ever lost and frustrated, keep this wise C.S. Lewis quote tucked away somewhere in your heart: "there are far, far better things better than any we leave behind." It's true. The future is yours. Still bummed? Listen to this super corny (but CLASSIC) Black Sabbath song


p.s. I've been struggling with a serious lack of inspiration nowadays. Anything you guys wanna see on the blog? Let me know because changes are a'coming, and I'd like to swing this next round of them in my favor, wink wink!