LXVII: What I've Learned, Thus Far, From 2018?

Here we are! Another installment and another year of lessons!

I’ve changed things up this year and entered into it feeling a bit more liberated than I was in 2017. I had decided early on that I was going to do what I wanted, when I wanted and try things. But, with that, I also opened myself up to people which is something that I normally steer very clear of.

Whenever you open up your heart, mind, and ears to new people, you’ll definitely be learning new lessons, however. Trust me!

So, here are a couple of the lessons that I’ve learned, thus far, this year:


Wanting my rhythm and not my blues simply means that someone wants to be around me when I am happy and having fun, but when stuff hits the fan of life, they want to hit the road.

I’ve had this type of person in my life plenty-a-time!

The bad thing about me, however, is that when it comes to people who I have allowed into my life, I genuinely try my best to keep them.

BUT, sometimes in life you go through things, not to learn to work through them, but to learn to walk away from bad situations

This year has been one big lesson on walking away for me. It gets so lonely sometimes, but walking away from people who want to be around when all is well but leave when things get difficult is a very necessary reality. 


The way you view a situation says a lot about the way you view the world and the way you view yourself.

Now, I generally look at situations from a very realistic standpoint. I also use facts from the past that have created a pattern to assist with the way in which I view those situations. So, in short, when a situation presents itself, I’m an absolute realist through and through.

Now, this year has been filled with ups and downs, and I’ve worked at keeping my outlook on things upbeat enough to allow myself the ability to continue on in whatever direction I am attempting to go in life without letting things get me too down.

Changing my perspective on a lot of the things that have happened to me lately has seriously helped. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been so necessary. A lot of times, perspective comes through in the form of a glass being half empty or a glass being half full. 2018 has taught me to look at things with the glass half full which has allowed me the opportunity to fill it the rest of the way on my own.


This is super important for me to remember! 

I oftentimes work overtime to keep friendships and relationships with people who have never even deserved my time in the first place. It’s in my nature, however, to nurture those relationships...

BUT, when a relationship is for you, it will be yours without all of the tug-of-war! I forget this so much and it results in me making people feel way more needed than they actually are by trying to keep them in my life.

This is a habit, in me, that needs to be left in 2018. Because, trust me, you won’t be forcing the friendships and relationships that are meant to happen!  


Now, first and foremost, you have to be real with yourself! But after that, you have to be real with everyone else.

I met someone this year who was such a gem! A beautiful soul inside and out. But, if you asked me, now, whether or not I still know this person, then my answer would honestly have to be ‘no’.

This person was so good at pretending to be the great person that I grew to very fondly enjoy, but [as you’ll read below] people can only pretend for so long (and sometimes for too long) before their true colors show.

It turns out that this person was a complete stranger to me when they showed me who they really were. What a shock!

I can see from that situation that it is, a lot of times, hard for some people to just be themselves which, to me, seems like it would be more work to pretend to be someone or something else. But, I digress, …

People usually teach me the biggest lessons and from this person, I’ve learned that you have to be super mindful of who and what you are. Remain true to yourself no matter the situation.

Real will attract real, but you have to weed through a lot of fake to get to it.


I have made the mistake of underestimating the amount of time that people can live while being fake and, trust me, they can go the distance. 

But, I’ve learned that, eventually the real will always come out. 

I’ve had two friends while in school that people have completely warned me about but I ignored it and instead defended them because I wanted to base my reactions to them solely on my experiences. In hindsight, I completely wish that I would’ve listened to those people, but I didn’t, so I had to eat that loss.

I didn’t believe these things because people are so good at pretending to be things that they are not. They immitate the things that they see being attracted by others. They become so good at the facade that it’s undetectable to eyes that want to believe what they see.

But, I’ve seen that faking it gets exhaustive and they will eventually show their true colors. Some people don’t last a week, others take months, and one took years!  

 My advice to myself and others would simply be to jump ship as soon as the first sign becomes apparent. We’re so inclined to ignore the little signs because we’re enjoying the bigger moments, but trust me, cutting these people off early on is always best. 

So, there you have it! 2018 has taught me A LOT about people and how I should approach the next batch that I meet in life.

But, most of all, 2018 has taught me to look at situations from multiple angles: yes, losing a job will hurt, but there are so many benefits to it; yes, losing a ‘friend’ will hurt, but I’ve gained so many more who actually seem good; and, yes, loving someone is difficult, especially when you’re on completely different wavelengths as far as life is concerned, but opening your heart to someone has the never-ending benefit of showing you so much about yourself!

So for that, 2018, I thank you! 🎊🎊🎊

III: How Can Style Change Your Perspective? My Journey From Fearful To Fearless.

Hello, dear readers!

My contribution to this blog is meant to be a collection of my personal dreams and ideas. My posts will often feature fun lifestyle topics, like fashion and travel, but you will also see me delve into deeper subjects, such as the challenges that come with navigating today’s dating scene, achieving a work/school/life balance, or the existential crises that strike all of us at random moments.

Ultimately, my blog entries are intended to be as relatable as they are honest.

"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." - Rachel Zoe

I have always adored fashion, but not for the reasons you might expect. For me, fashion is so much more than a superficial desire to look “hot” or jump on the bandwagon of the latest trend. My style is an outward illustration of my personality. It allows me to express my identity in ways that I could never do when I was younger. 

So, why am I focused on bargain fashion finds, specifically?

Well, my parents were both immigrants from Soviet-era Europe. During my mother’s youth, she wore a uniform, and she never experienced the liberating feeling of using fashion to express herself. When she arrived in the United States, my dad took her to her very first discount store—Marshalls—and that, my friends, is where it all began!

My mom was always on a limited budget, so she relied on stores like Marshalls, T.J.Maxx, and Ross to expand her wardrobe. To this day, she is such a classy and elegant woman, and she proves that you can make a 20-dollar dress look like a million bucks. She instilled in me the idea that a person should always strive to put his or her best foot forward.

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”
“Your personality is not the first thing people see.”

Sound familiar? Whether we like it or not, our appearance is at the forefront of how we portray ourselves to the world. Psychologists say that when we meet people for the first time, we only have a seven-second window to make a powerful first impression. In those seven seconds, I want people to see that I carry myself with professionalism and grace.

It took a long time and a lot of confidence-building to get to this point. My younger years were a very uncomfortable time, as they were for many of us. I felt strange in my own skin, and I was constantly picked on for the way I walked, the way I talked, or the way I looked (nerdy, thick glasses, you get the picture). You can definitely call me a late bloomer.

Secretly, I dreamed of a future where I would shed my awkward outer shell and grow into the self-assured woman I am now. When I started earning my own money, I began building a legitimate wardrobe piece by piece. Years later, I finally breathed life into what has now become my “style."

I stopped fearing bright colors and shying away from bold patterns. In fact, I stopped being afraid, period! My newly discovered style helped shape my confidence, and vice versa. The bold, vivacious version of me was always in there somewhere—it merely took some introspection and courage to pull her out of her comfort zone!

Sharing my story and my style with all of you matters to me, because I want to show the world that you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to look presentable and put-together. Everyone has a style that suits him or her; what matters is that you wear your style with composure.

The bottom line: I believe in finding quality items at a fraction of the price—sometimes you just have to look a bit harder! I consider myself a bargain shopping connoisseur, and “SALE” is my favorite (appropriate) four-letter word! 


Trench Coat – New York & Co. ($69.00 on sale)*

*This is on the pricier side of my usual purchases, but when it comes to outerwear, you can really get your money’s worth when you buy a quality coat. It will last forever, as long as you take proper care of it!

Shoes – Impo ($19.99 at Ross)

📷: Brianna J. 


Blouse – New York & Co. ($25.00 on sale)

Skirt - Forever 21 ($12.99)

Tights – Jones New York ($6.99/2 pairs at Ross)

📷: Brianna J. 


Dress – Express ($30.00 on clearance)

Jacket – Zara ($69.99)

Shoes – Shoe Republic LA (Free from a friend! Usually $39.99)

📷: Brianna J. 


Jacket – H&M ($20.00 on clearance)

Sweater – Ralph Lauren ($24.99 at Ross)

Pants – Express ($25.00 on clearance)

Shoes – A.n.a. ($9.99 on clearance)

📷: Brianna J.