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Christina Kwan / tide & bloom

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8 fears you’ll face in your 20s

Do you ever feel like you’re 22 going on 35, yet you’re nowhere near “having it all”? Well, that’s pretty much been the summary of my existence for the last five years. I’m not sure where this originated, but I’ve always thought that women in their 30s were the most beautiful, most pulled-together women I knew. They are confident, successful, still growing, and know what they want out of life. The problem is that to get to your 30s, you have to go through your 20s. Well, how does it happen? How do we become who we want to be? overcome

What I think (hopefully I’m right) is that your 20s are for growing out of the expectations of life that you developed in your teenage years. You expect life to be grand, to be fulfilling and revelatory… to matter. And yes, they can and will be all of these things. But just not in the way you expect them to be. To be able to see that, to truly see the beautiful life set before you, you will have to overcome the fears built by your expectations. So I’ve come up with a list of these fears, the ones I’ve felt made the most impact in my own experience. It’s something I continue to revisit because I’m constantly battling in a struggle to overcome them. Hopefully they’ll resonate with you as well.

change

This will be the decade of the most notable change, mostly emotional. Naturally we all want to hold onto the things that we know best, but this can hinder us from envisioning better futures for ourselves. Change is inevitable and the only solution is to embrace it, to allow it to carry you like a wave under a surfboard. Ride that wave.

taking risks

It’s scary as shit to uproot your life and move to a new city or start a new job. Part of becoming an adult is knowing that you can jump, fall, and it’ll be okay. Actually, we learned this as children but somewhere in our adolescence we re-learn the fear of falling, metaphorically that is, and it keeps us from going after the things we really want. Don’t let this happen! Jump. And don’t look back.

missing out

In college, when everyone goes out, you go out too! In this social media driven world, we are feeling more pressure than ever to be a part of things. If not, then we’ll see it on Instagram or Facebook and feel like we’ve missed out on a great time or that our relationships will suffer because of it. But it’s not true. Missing out on random social outings can be a good thing. It means you’re prioritizing, figuring out what and who is most important and most valuable to you. Make all your moments count and only give mind and time to the people who really matter to you.

speaking up

You go through school being taught that you need to listen and follow rules to get ahead. The professional world is quite a different place. Confidence plays a huge role in getting what you want. If you aren’t able to voice your opinion or stand behind your decisions, it comes off as wishy washy, indecisive, and immature. You need to know why you do the things you do and you need to be ready to defend yourself and your worth. Allow yourself to be strong. It’s not bitchy, it’s not delusional. Believe in yourself and give yourself the respect you deserve. 

shapeless coats

Call them boyfriend jackets, cocoon coats, car coats, or throw-ons… whatever the name may be, I’m having a serious crush on shapeless coats right now. I know, I know – it goes against some pretty major fashion rules. It is no doubt a tricky thing to pull off and not everyone’s cup of tea. But I think if done right, it looks effortlessly chic.

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What do you think of this baggy look? Yay or nay?

seeds

I’ve been blogging for well over a year now and the show I have up at Octane is the first time I’m displaying my work, in any visual form, here in Atlanta. So it may be time that I owe you a full explanation on how this came to be. Like anything else, it’s actually a pretty simple story. I wouldn’t say “it happened overnight,” because my creative growth has been a gradual process, always evolving.

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But in this case, I have to give credit to Instagram for my more recent exposure; I received my very first smartphone ever this past Christmas and since then I’ve been instagramming up a storm. In doing so, I’ve been able to connect with a lot of local creatives and bloggers which have been key in motivating me to move forward. And if you can believe it, it was through Instagram that I was presented this inaugural exhibition opportunity. Liz of Sunday’s Best, followed my account (we had never met in person) and thus became familiar with the floral pattern work I’ve been developing. One fine day, she commented on one of my photos asking me if I’d be willing to exhibit work at Octane. I was floored. Thrilled. Ecstatic. All of the above. And it was her motivation, support, and her amazing graphic editing that helped me make these prints happen.

It’s obvious to me that without this blog and without social media, I would not be as close to finding happiness as I am right now. I’ve got a helluva long way to go, but I actually feel like it’s within my reach.

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you surround yourself with people who see your potential more clearly than you do. These people are the ones you will lean on when you feel down on yourself. These people will be your cheerleaders and spread your work farther than your own voice can carry. I owe all of these people (hopefully you know who you are) in my life so much.

scott antique market

Say hello to yet another awesome Atlanta must-see to add to your bucket list: Scott Antique Market. I’m actually a bit embarrassed that it’s taken me this long to see it. Since it only happens the second weekend of every month, it can be easy to miss it unless you’re specifically gearing up to purchase some cool doodads or furniture. Though I myself am not in the market, you know I’m always down for looking at collections of fascinating objects.

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There’s really not much more to say here. Ben and I went on a Sunday so a lot of the larger furniture dealers were packing up already by midday, but I still feel like we got to see a good amount of things. It can be easily overwhelming if you don’t have patience or the desire to really browse; most notable for me was the array of cool prints and old book pages. If I had the wall space and the money, I could easily snatch up hundreds of pressings, drawings, and random clips from old periodicals. But, alas, I exercised control.

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In addition to the two ginormous expo centers, there is an outdoor market where you can find a plethora of rustic decor and knickknacks. Again, this is a circumstantial heaven; if I were an interior decorator or if I was opening up a retail or restaurant space… this would be the place to go for supplies. But even so, it’s just a half hour drive south of the city center so all you need to do is make a day of it! Allow yourself time and keep your mind (and eyes) open for a possible treasure.

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atlanta street fashion

It’s less than a week away from our little debut show at Octane, but it just occurred to me that I need to share with you the awesome work of my co-headliner! Cameron Adams has been blogging over at Atlanta Street Fashion for about four years now and I’m embarrassed to say that I had never met him in person until we started talking about this exhibition opportunity.

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Cameron’s photographs will live beside my floral pattern works and hopefully strike a harmonious chord that you’ll want to take home with you. He has a way of finding (and unabashedly approaching) the coolest Atlanta characters wherever he goes, kind of like hunting for treasure.. except his treasure is notable style. Can you blame him?

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Atlanta Street Fashion is like a time capsule filled with unique personalities and Cameron’s steady and straight-forward blogging style is admirable to say the least. I cannot lie, I’ve been crossing my fingers that he’d come up to me some day and snap my photo at a random event… but now he has no choice.

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So if you’re planning on joining us for the reception, see it as an opportunity to get decked out in your favorite pieces and start your night off with a bang! Maybe you’ll end up seeing your face on our blogs soon. 🙂

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[ all photos via Atlanta Street Fashion ]

announcing…

… a print exhibition of work by yours truly. Uhhh yeah, you read that right. I can barely believe it! I’m so excited to be doing this and even more excited to share it with all of you! A little while ago, I was asked by Cameron Adams (of Atlanta Street Fashion) if I would show my floral patterns alongside his fashion photography. Long story short, it was a 100% yes from me and now, here we are. If you live in Atlanta, then I best be seeing your butt at the opening reception. Join us at Octane in Grant Park on Friday, October 3rd from 7pm – 11pm!

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On my days off I’ve been trying super duper hard to really push myself and make work regardless of how tired I was. I was able to finish juuust enough patterns for the show and I (almost) love every single piece. I hope you do too. All of this is the reason why I haven’t been able to blog as much, but it’s so worth it. I’ll be selling prints of each piece at the show for a special price and I hope you’ll grace me with your presence. If you do go, please don’t hesitate to come say hi!

ladycrush: hannah

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Neighborhood: Northlake
Day Job: Senior Customer Associate at Anthropologie
Dream Job: Working in a retail corporate office

Describe your personal style.

My style is very feminine. I love lace, bows, floral prints and color. Dresses are my go-to because they are such an easy outfit, and I definitely own one too many fit and flare dresses! I make sure what I wear is comfortable and reasonable for what I’m doing so I wear flats way more than heels.

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amelie’s

There are some spots that are so special, you find yourself staying a lot longer than you had originally planned. Of course, this can be a good thing. At least when it comes to sweet little spots like Amelie’s! This Carolina import feels right at home in West Midtown, a burgeoning area of all things cool and well-crafted. I didn’t know what to expect really, but when you say french bakery, I come a-runnin. And I was nothing short of enchanted.

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The eclectic and quirky decor, the warmth of the staff, the well-baked baguettes… it’s like a divine melody composed specifically for the purpose of perking up my day. Starting out with the traditional jambon sandwich was a dangerous decision. One little sandwich was not enough baguette to top off my day. I was compelled to eat more bread and I even ended up taking a whole other baguette home. Can you blame me? I daydream of mornings spent strolling through the streets of Paris, picking up a fresh and warm baguette at a corner cafe. Amelie’s is probably as close as I can get right now!

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be your own icon

Do you ever see or meet women who make you think to yourself “man, she is so cool; I want to be her when I grow up.” Well, today I aspire to be one of those women, to serve as my own inspiration.

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Yesterday I added this jacket to my wardrobe and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I see women pull off these moto-slash-army (aka anorak) jackets all the time and I’ve never been able to envision myself being able to, until now. It’s fitted yet casual, classic yet edgy and it will be the perfect layering bridge moving into the fall.

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Instead of living in comparison to others, I’ve decided that my future self is the person I’m trying to live up to.

arabia mountain

One of the things I love most about Atlanta is the ever-present accessibility to nature. There’s not a place I can think of where you’ll lose sight of trees, bushes, flowers, and leaves. And within an hour drive in any direction, you can always find nature preserves, hiking trails, or places to get lost in. This past holiday weekend, I FINALLY made it to Arabia Mountain.

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Like Stone Mountain, Arabia is pretty much a big rock you can hike on and around. Composed of migmatite, the rock material itself has a lovely swirled pattern akin to granite. Yeah, it actually sparkles.

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