This post comes to us via brand ambassador Laura Parker Roerden. She writes, consults, and speaks about kids’ connection to themselves, each other, and the earth. She directs Ocean Matters, a nonprofit that brings young people ages 15+ to perform service projects on scuba to help save threatened marine resources.
I know that just about every time I go to the seashore—no matter what time of year—I’m likely to end up taking off my shoes and walking in the water. It’s a sort of primordial urge, this plunge into the briny edge. I return with my bare feet draped in fragrant seaweed and salt lines on my rolled up pants; my hair matted and disheveled as if I were a homesick castaway clinging to a rescue boat that finally came ashore. I return happy.
Those of us who live in northern climes wait all winter for that first trip to the beach. We grab floppy hats and sandals from the back of our closets and call in “sick” to work, justifying it as a mental health day with a wink for the friend we roped into coming with us.
Life IS a Day at the Beach
It turns out that that day at the beach might just be the best thing you could do for yourself—not just for your mental health, but also for your body. Research shows that time in nature can reduce levels of heart damaging stress hormones like cortisol; lower blood pressure and heart rates; decrease depression; and increase cognition and levels of creativity.
The information age demands much of the frontal lobe of our brain, which lights up like the night sky on the 4th of July while we multi-task and toggle between twitter feeds, conversations, and work tasks. Focused time in nature activates other parts of our brains, giving our fatigued frontal lobe a break. Areas of our brain associated with emotions, pleasure and empathy can now take over, providing a calming influence that is measurable in brain scans and blood tests alike.
Give Yourself Some Love
So the next time you’re feeling stressed, I hope you’ll take a moment to give your mind some love. Go for that walk outside. Take the mental health day at the beach. Pay attention to how the light and shadows look and notice the smells and feel of your feet on the earth. You won’t disengage your frontal lobe if you’re multitasking, half frazzled running through the woods to get some exercise, listening to your i-pod and mentally ticking off the errands you need to do after. A mindful break will save you time in the long run, as you’ll return refreshed and ready to work effectively and creatively.
A Barn Cat Named Gustav
Now what does this all have to do with a barn cat and a lucky dress, you ask? Sometime last fall I received an email from Karina of Karina Dresses, who knew I lived on a farm. She had a wonderful mouser living in the Karina warehouse in Brooklyn named King Gustav, whom she thought desperately wanted to be an outdoor kitty. Would I take him?
Our barn cat Gustav with two of my sons and Gustav’s look-alike snow kitty. (I see the resemblance; do you?)
We enthusiastically took in Gustav (because a cat named Gustav certainly belonged at farm named Jo-Erl) and in an act of kindness Karina gave me a wonderful blue and lavender polka-dotted Lauren dress. So many good things happened to me when I was wearing the dress, that I simply called it my “lucky dress.”
I’m taking a break wearing my Karina Lauren “lucky dress.” The minute I saw the dress’ lavender polka dots on the dark blue background I knew only good things could happen wearing it.
Join Us On Block Island
By chance, I was wearing that lucky dress when I was asked by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols to present at BlueMind3 on Block Island, RI on May 30th, a groundbreaking conference that explores the neuroscience of conservation. I’ll be presenting my work with Ocean Matters with explorer/film-maker Celine Cousteau (grand-daughter of Jacque Cousteau) and Helen Riess, Director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program at Massachusetts General Hospital about young people’s deep connections to the ocean. What role might our largest feature of our biosphere—our ocean—play in young people’s lives? How might that serve our conservation efforts? What does our brain look like “on blue?”
I hope you’ll join us on May 30th by signing up for the free, live-stream of the event.
Enter Our Giveaway
To celebrate this special event Karina Dresses is featuring a Giveaway of a National Geographic Photographer Brian Skerry Photo! Enter to win this signed and matted art print 36” X 48”.
Or follow LParkerRoerden on Twitter! Enter here and tweet three times during my presentation on May 30th at BlueMind 3 with @LParkerRoerden and #BlueMind3 in your tweets and you’ll automatically receive this signed 5” x 7” photograph by Brian Skerry suitable for framing.
(Yeah, that happened.)
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway and tweet on May 30th! Winners announced June 2nd.
Today’s guest post comes from Frockstar™ Jess Lively of Business with Intention. Based in Chicago, Jess spends her days working one-on-one with clients, running workshops and blogging about how to live a more simplified and intentional life. When not at hard at work, you’ll find Jess relaxing with her husband and puppy, shopping or hanging out at the local burger joint. Be sure to follow Jess on Facebook and Twitter!
Over the past few days I’ve had three important conversations with friends about various careers paths. Upon reflection, it has occurred to me that I have not shared my views on career life and intentionality.
In a world where people, women especially, face a vast array of career choices, there seems to have risen an equally vast array of judgment and ridicule.
No longer is it assumed that women will stay at home, go to work, have kids, or even get married.
And while we could be celebrating this freedom in our society, it seems that each camp faces ridicule from another.
Stay at home moms feel uncomfortable explaining what they “do” in social settings, corporate women are bombarded with criticism about their maternity leave (or lack of one), and the blogging community seems to overemphasize self-employment.
But the truth is that when it comes to living a life with intention, there is no magic bullet career path for every person.
Every career decision has trade-offs and opportunity costs. And when it comes to designing a life with intention, this is not a problem. Intentionality implies that we have the ability to personally select from a variety of choices the one that best suits our current life and long-term legacy. It does not mean that choosing every answer under the sun will leave us most satisfied.
Removing unfulfilling layers is what creates a high quality life, not adding complication due to unnecessary stress and societal expectations.
There truly is no single “right” answer for every person’s career.
The world does not need more CEO’s, stay at home moms, part-time corporate workers, or self-employed business owners.
The world needs more people operating out of joy, freedom, purpose, and intention with support from the community at large.
My hope is that over time as more and more people start selecting a life worth living, according to their internal compass, the more the world will begin to see that people from all walks of life in all career (and non-career) paths can live with joy, peace, and personal fulfillment.
That is what we are set on this Earth to accomplish. Trying to argue about which career path is best for everyone is futile and missing the point.
We are meant to help others. It doesn’t matter if we are in a board room, a play room, or a school room.
It’s time we start seeking to understand people’s positive and well-meaning goals and motivations and then celebrate their fearless pursuit of those aims.
The rest is just details.
We named this sweet little number after everyone’s favorite Tiffany-coveting pixie, Audrey Hepburn. As stylish as she was wise, we think Ms. Hepburn is someone we could all emulate.
I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
The Audrey’s V front & V back style is classic, which means you can wear it dinner, lunch or even for a breakfast of coffee and cheese danish as you stare at over-priced, blue-boxed jewelry.
We know that our dresses are craaaaaazy versatile, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little visual reminder, no?
Here are three ways to style our adorable Gala dress – further proof that you can take us anywhere
Each month, we ask our intrepid founder and creative director what she’s currently obsessed with. Here’s what Karina is loving on for May!
I have never been a pink girl but lately it’s all I want to wear! This particularly shade on my nails is super fun and springy!
This lovely green is in season. Here’s one of my favorite ways to prepare.
The Great Gatsby
Lots of great fashion inspiration!
The Ottavio Missoni Legacy in the New York Times
what a joy this family of Italian designer’s have given us!
‘Overjoyed‘ is one of my favorite songs. Happy birthday, Stevie- love you!
Name: Emily-Ann Elliott
Online homes: The Grownup Gap Year // Twitter // Facebook
Favorite Karina dress: I’m new to the Karina brand but love the look of The Audrey – it’s so cute and girly, perfect for travelling!
What are your every day, must-reads, online or off?
I’m a journalist so I have to begin my day with a flick through the newspapers – I hate not knowing what’s going on in the world! I love reading about other people’s travels so I like to check out blogs like Elle Croft and Cookie Sound. If I’m in the mood for a sweet treat then I visit the gorgeous The Vagabond Baker blog and every Monday I read my friend’s brilliant blog about being a mum: You Can Take Her Home Now. I also love books and am currently reading Paul Theroux’s Ghost Train to the Eastern Star for the Twitter book club I set up which uses the hashtag #travelbookclub.
Why is long term travel important for all of us – not just 20-somethings?
For me travel is about exploring new places, meeting new people and experiencing things you would never get the chance to experience back at home. I think that sometimes as we get older we get caught up in day to day life and we don’t take the time to slow down and look around us. As I approached the last year of my 20s I decided that I wanted it to be a big adventure. So I planned my 30b430 trip, doing 30 things around the world I’d always wanted to do. During the course of nine months I travelled through nine countries, crossing things off my list including trekking the Inca Trial in Peru, diving in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and standing on the Great Wall of China. Having worked for a number of years beforehand, I think I appreciated the trip so much more than I did when I travelled in my teens. Since returning home I’ve set up The Grown Up Gap Year blog as I strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to travel – no matter what their age.
Can you tell us three things that you learned after traveling for so long?
I think the biggest one is to trust in the kindness of strangers. We’re often led to believe that the world is a frightening place; that bad people lurk around every corner. But I have lost count of the number of times when I have been helped out by strangers – from little old ladies in Japan to an entire family in Colombia. I’ve also learnt that you can live quite simply when you take away all of the things you think you need. When you’re travelling, each day is broken down into three simple questions: Where am I going? How am I going to get there? Where will I sleep tonight? Oh, and I can now pack a backpack in three minutes flat!
If you could give your 16 year old self advice, what would you say?
A question I read recently, and one I now try to live by is: What would you do if you weren’t scared about what other people would say? I think I’d tell my 16 year old self that this is a good way to make choices in life, as it’s amazing how simple decisions become when you stop worrying about what other people will think.
Your perfect day. What would it look like?
It would begin by waking up in a city I’d never been to before, enjoying a leisurely breakfast and then setting out to explore. I’d spend the day seeing the sights, taking photographs and talking to the locals. Food is always an important part of my trip so I’d get a good recommendation for dinner and spend the evening enjoying a nice meal, with good company.
Thanks so much for sharing, Emily-Ann!
Hello ladies! Have you had a good week? We sure have! There’s been plenty happening over here at Karina HQ – but we’ve still had enough time to round up our favorite links for the week. Here goes…
First up, get your weekly style inspiration from Mattie of Mattieologie (above). This girl really knows how to work a print!
Secret destinations are always fun and we love these little travel treasures: UK’s tiny islands: 10 hidden gems to discover.
Can makeup really improve your skin, or is it just marketing hype? This article investigates.
Struggling with a difficult, mean or negative person? We’ve all been there – but this article provides some excellent tips for dealing with it.
Many women benefit from mentors when going through changes, difficulties or growth. This article provides some great tips for attracting the right mentor at the right time.
Do you struggle to figure out what you really want in life? Here are some tips that really work! Give it a go – you might just have your Eureka moment.
Have you ever thought about getting out the old sewing machine again? If you’re interested in all things design, sewing and pattern making, you’ll love Maddie Flanigan’s blog as much as we do.
Do you ever feel like you just need that extra push? Emily Bennington provides some inspiration.
Allowing fear to keep us stuck is a crossroad many of us face and a question I certainly hear in the career space all the time: “Do I stay ‘safe’ in a job I don’t love or jump ship in search of my passion?”
Have you heard of reverse graffiti marketing? Neither had we until we saw this. Wow!
We hear a lot about making peace with our bodies – but what about other peoples’ bodies? This article is an incredible read.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s links. Until next time!
Not to brag (except we totally are) but we’ve got pretty great taste in human beings. Just look at our newest brand ambassador Rosie Molinary!
During a life that has been spent figuring out how to empower herself and to always learn and grow, Rosie Molinary found her mission: to empower women and girls to embrace their authentic selves so they can live their passion and purpose and give their gifts to the world. She lives her mission by teaching, writing, facilitating workshops and retreats, and intentionally engaging in her community.
The author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance and Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, Rosie teaches courses on body image at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and facilitates transformative workshops and retreats for women while speaking on body image, identity, social justice, and diversity around the country.
A former high school teacher and coach who cares passionately about the empowerment of young people, Rosie serves on the board of Circle de Luz, a non-profit that radically empowers young Latinas by supporting their transformation through extensive mentoring, holistic programming and scholarship funds for further education.
Rosie spends the fall and winter obsessing over NFL fantasy football (and Carolina Panthers football) and her cardigan collection and the spring and summer obsessing over her garden and pleasure reading. She is a crack of dawn runner and enjoys yoga, Pilates, surfing, and stand up paddling. Rosie paints for pleasure, writes for purpose, and parents with equal parts whimsy and panic. Her favorite thing is figuring out, every day, how to get a little closer to her truth so she can better engage in her world while having a sense of wonder and humor about how it all goes down (or doesn’t).
Welcome aboard, Rosie!
Shannon writes Awash With Wonder, a blog about living intentionally. She takes experiences in her life, looks for the universal lesson in them, and offers them to her readers in the hopes that they’ll learn something too. She also has dual citizenship between South Africa and The United Kingdom but lives in Florida. Follow her adventures on twitter and facebook!
“If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud”
If you chase anything that is not rooted in a truer version of you, you will be so disappointed. If you chase a career motivated by the amount of money you can earn – you will earn a little more sadness, a little more weariness, with every single dollar. If you chase relationships because you hope that someone else’s love with make you lovable, you will find so much insecurity and unfulfilled desire there. You will not find life. If you chase success because you hope that recognition by others will make you worthy, you will exhaust and deplete yourself for people who will only forget you. Or maybe you will live on in the minds of strangers for a few decades after your death, but if you were not finding yourself in those accomplishments, was it worth it? Who are they remembering? In everything you do, everything you ache for, everything you’re passionate about, make sure that you are looking deeply for yourself in them. Success is not the goal; authentic living is.
“I begin to understand that promises of the world are for the most part vain phantoms, and that to have faith in oneself and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course.”-Michelangelo
Your career will not be there to wrap it’s arms around you on lonely nights, but nor will the people who you invest in while you are neglecting to invest in yourself. There are no guarantees in this life but I know, with that quiet clarity that I associate with truth, that to invest in yourself is to invest in living fully. What does this mean? It means I will chase words, and the opportunity to be the one who crafts them, to the edges of the earth because it is part of me. Because there is a deeper part of myself somewhere in there. It means that you should chase the things that leave you breathless, the things that make you come alive, until you cannot run anymore and then you should crawl after them. The important point in that sentence is not the “things”, it is what those things do for you. Seek life; not the people or jobs or objects that will suck the life out of you.
What is it that you find yourself wanting in the moments when you do not want for anything? The moments when you are not hungry, or tired, or lonely, or even ecstatically happy. In the moments when you just are; what does that deeper part of you still ask of you? Who you are is in the answer and that is always what you should be chasing.
Rosie Molinary, the author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, empowers women to embrace their authentic selves so they can live their passion and purpose and give their gifts to the world.
It may have been cold and rainy outside, but the Piedmont Natural Gas conference room in Charlotte, North Carolina was filled with bright warmthon Sunday, May 5th when over 60 mother/daughter pairs and sponsors came together for the 2013 inaugural Right in the Middle conference.
Born from a desire to celebrate the transition from elementary to middle school while giving mothers and daughters a chance to deepen their relationship at a time when they typically pull away from each other, Right in the Middle provides insight on brains, boys, and bodies at a time when things rapidly change and don’t always seem to make sense on the surface.
As families arrived, the excitement was palpable. Girls dashed between tables to visit with one another while mothers introduced themselves to one another and visited the sponsorship tables. One of the sponsorship tables that drummed up plenty of conversation? The Karina Dress table. Karina Dresses graciously offered to raffle off a dress for the moms and five styles and patterns caught the moms’ eyes as they dropped off their raffle tickets.
“Is that one of those dresses?” A dozen moms asked as I moved through the conference space, introducing myself before we got started.
“Yes?” I answered, proudly modeling my Marissa dress.
“Oh, what style is that? What pattern? Where can I buy one? Can I feel it?” I heard, as woman after woman grabbed my hemline.
The conference kicked off with Michelle Icard of Michelle in the Middle talking about brains, bravery, and botox brow. Everyone learned that cognitive development continues until into one’s twenties and that, sometimes, the best judgment isn’t always available to a teen and that’s a great time to call mom in for some help and guidance. When Michelle shared her Botox brow tip, girls and moms all laughed AND nodded in recognition.
After a lucky mom won the Karina Dress raffle, the daughters went with Michelle to talk about how Friends and Frenemies and the moms stayed with me to talk about how to improve their own body image so that they are modeling what they most want for their daughters as they grow. Then we gathered together again for cake, a crash course in media literacy, and a closing performance by Caroline McLeod, an up and coming young musician with talent and poise in spaces.
The rain was still falling when our happy, encouraged moms and daughters departed with goody bags and cupcakes but that didn’t dampen any spirits. Some early reaction?
“Thank you for the mom and daughter conference. It was inspirational, empowering, informative and FUN! It opened the door for [my daughter] and me to have “those” sometimes awkward conversations. In fact, last night she shared with dad the pre and post photoshop images. She let him know that it is important to like yourself just as you are! Bravo and thank you. I have already let our school community know it is a must for all!”
“GREAT EVENT! My daughter and I have already had so many great conversations about the important topics you discussed today.”
“Thank you for providing insight and tools to help me as a mother! Great event!”
“What a fabulous afternoon. I was impressed from the moment I walked through the door. Everyone did an amazing job and the content was spot-on. The moms and the daughters learned a lot and had fun. I was a strong supporter before, but now I’m an avid believer!!”
It was a great afternoon, and we’re already at work to make our next three Right in the Middles even better!
Intrigued? Find out more about Right in the Middle.
Want to register? Select a date and location below.
August 4th, 2:00 – 5:00 pm: Columbia, SC
August 18th, 2:00 - 5:00 pm: Charlotte, NC
August 21st, 6:00 – 9:00 pm: Charlotte, NC