Lemonade at NYFW

10:51 PM missusmonroe 0 Comments

Image captured and edited by Shakira Hunt of http://www.shakirahunt.com/

What feels like a lifetime ago, I wrote a piece called "Tears for NYFW" dramatically produced to reflect my dramatic ass feelings of missed opportunities. Re-reading that post makes me smile and shake my head in laughter because I had no idea how I wanted to get to New York Fashion Week, how to get into any show at all however I was beating myself up about not being at what I'd always seen as my mecca. You know, you see the street-style photos and the front-row shots. In my head that was just a "you made it" aspiration and I was so crazy yet so fueled and determined to reach it with little to no direction and absolutely no idea of where to even begin. I was just like, I'll just show up and somehow it'll get it.

Well I was kinda right. Looking back, I was so right about a lot of things and how I just knew numerous things were achievable for me. It's my second season of Fashion Week, honestly I barely count the Fall cause I dub that as me just being a well-dressed observer on some real shit, and a bitch was over here front and center, name practically on seats and shit. I honestly can't believe what was unfathomable five years ago fell on my lap with little to no effort in the days of today. The days of today where so many things are awry or going left and are so complicated and difficult.

Life is weird, you can feel so blessed and grateful for your life at the exact moment you feel like running away from the stress, mistakes, and anxiety all coming at you at once; the things you can't control will have you amazed at your luck and how the universe is working in your favor in one moment and reaching for a noose in the next. I've been at both extremes. But while you're "down", remember that those moments are the exact ones that will get you to those successful days. The motivation you have when you feel like you have nothing or you may not be much is the groundwork for everything great coming. But it will never feel like it. You have to remind yourself that every rainy day waters the flowers of tomorrow. You have to, for the sake of you.

These images are the beauty of a photographer I met in a rush to get into Spring Studios. I hate when I'm frazzled and rushing because it takes away my ability to properly rationalize. Thank God the shots came out as beautiful as they did cause my mind was not on it at all, then afterward when all was still I was all Damn I should've been present and focused my attention. Well thank you self for not doing too much, because then we get images like these! 
I had no idea what I was even going to wear, this season was so budget-friendly because when I tell you I reached back into my old techniques of piecing outfits together... baybeee I needed that. I've been too "oh I'll just order something" instead of reworking what I have like back in the good 'ol days. I really got a taste of that again and look at the results. I did not realize how far removed I was from some of my old mental but boy did it smack me in the face. This blazer was a one-off purchase for my birthday that I honestly thought I'd never make use of again cause I didn't even love how it turned out then and quite honestly I just didn't love it. But I love shapes and wanted to remind the world of what bold ass structures and rigid corners can do in terms of a statement. Blazers, shapes, black and white...all forever style staples and in no way can they truly be done wrong. The cowboy boots came naturally and the hair? Well, how could I not do my favorite look period ~slick back~ but with braids? It all came together as if it were meant to be...

xxoo missusmonroe

Backstage at Pier59 Studios

Bibhu Mohapatra F/W '19

Anna Sui F/W '19


Over-packed & Underpaid: My Bali Survival Guide

1:02 PM missusmonroe 0 Comments

Your opinions aren't worth as much until you've ventured outside of your carefully constructed bubble.
phew..Where to begin? 

Honestly I feel as though the beginnings could take up this blog post completely and indefinitely. There's a lot I could say but I've been struggling with not knowing how to say it in the way it deserves to be said. And so, in my usual fashion, when I don't know how to say something I don't say it. I don't say anything at all and then time escapes and it feels as though the "right moment" has passed. I guess I could begin with the conception: I've always wanted to make it out to Bali. It is simply one of those places you dreamily say One day I'll be there and just leave it at that, kind of hoping it'll find its way to you. Well I sort of believe it found me somehow. Sometime in December 2018 I said I was going to Bali next year, I even wanted to try and make it the first week of the New Year but when I actually looked up flights ~for some reason I thought going to Bali would be a very humble price~ and when I saw that New Year price... oh baby I didn't even think the trip would be feasible any time soon periot. In 2018 I just one day said I wanted to go to China. I made no movements to go make that venture occur okay haha, but give yourself a break sometimes! I made my intentions clear and I added it to one of the places I wanted to figure out. It's around New Years now and Bali is still on my mind. I was going through work oddities and knew there was a potential for my life to get crazy again by the end of the following month so if I wanted to make a move it was literally now or never, I wouldn't know until later just how right I was. I booked my flight about 11 days prior to the flight. Thank God I used my wits and finessed shit like how I explained here but it still nearly left my account in the 0, and left me with grave anxiety of what the hell am I going to be doing literally across the world, all by myself. Because yay now I was going, but bitch now I was going.

I was hit with turmoil literally the day before my flight. As if my anxiety wasn't enough. Up until that point I had loosely planned an itinerary of things but I hadn't booked where I was going to stay when I first arrived in Bali, I wasn't sure where I was going to stay in Guangzhou, I had not finished (started) packing, and life was moving infinitely fast and slow. With the events of that day, I honestly wanted to stay at home and figure shit out. I'm so glad I have common sense to realize that even if I did, the flight would still board and the trip would still happen without me. So why not just go, I literally had nothing holding me back, everything had already been made still for me. On January 18 as I was on my duly trusted Chinese airlines flight, sobbing over this superb foreign movie, writing this in my newly named travel journal,
"I need this trip to be more than I could have ever imagined."

On January 19th I wrote "Fuck the Chinese."

As I was minutes away from my gate to Bali in the Guangzhou airport I realized my phone was missing. I never did find it and I have more than enough reason to believe airport security has absolutely pawned it off by now. I was in bitter anger and legitimate confusion because was I really about to board this flight with no communication with my family or close friends, no modem which held my hotel reservation not to even mention the actual address, remember all the research I stayed up doing the day and night prior? All gone. But what the fuck was I to do? I boarded.

The first day was rocky.
I was frustrated from my losses and also my want for documenting things, but not just for social media or anything like that but for myself. I didn't want my memories to be lost or just not having a way to show for them. I sincerely didn't want it to damper my mood or have an impact at all.. maybe if I'd been on many solo trips like this, it wouldn't have affected me and I would've taken the opportunity to "check out" of life and socials, etc. But what I didn't like was I almost didn't have the option to.

My mind was able to stray as I quickly got lost in Bali. I got lost in the lush greens and humorous people, but even more so I got lost in the familiarity of it all. Bali reminded me of so many places that I had been before wrapped in one: traces of the Italian countryside, Jamaica's busy street markets of Kingston, and more presently the roads, the camaraderie, the feel of Lagos. How could I not forget my woes?

If you're not journaling...
you're in actuality traveling wrong, but you'd definitely be doing Bali an injustice. Imagine, thinking back on your adventures and not being able to remember every detail? All you'll have are pictures, which, don't get me wrong they're essential, but they just don't do it. And in my case, what a story to remember! There's something nostalgic and .. just right about writing it down, pen, paper, no phones. Allow yourself to first summarize your day thus far, then just free write and you'll be shocked at what your subconscious has been holding on to.

Rainy Season saved me
As you all know, I traveled during the rainy or wet season, see this post to understand what that means a little bit more if you're lost, and I know many people fear this because the weather is unpredictable but I truly survived Bali because of it. Indonesia is hot. Hot like coals hot...and I can only imagine how hot it is when it's at its peak temperatures. Rain at night cooled my days, it gave me reason to curl up in bed and just think about any and everything, it didn't bring out as many mosquitoes as many blogs exaggerate, and most importantly it cheapened my flight. You have to plan accordingly if you're going to travel in this time (which spans November-February) I made sure to search rainy day activities, such as jewelry making or cooking classes, things I'd still love to experience rain or shine but would be a good filler if it decided to pour. I didn't even have to end up doing any of the above because it just wasn't necessary. Be weary when reading these popular travel blogs, they exaggerate because it makes for a good story.

Tackling my anxieties and fears
I walked into that airport the morning of my flight crippled with anxiety. The night before I was shaking with so many emotions and so, so much fear of the unknown. So much fear in actuality of what life was going to be when I got back and so much anxiety towards this trip I thought I needed, jumped right into, then was causing me exactly what I needed to get away from. I am a strong believer of God putting us in places and situations for us to learn. Whatever it takes, no matter how hard the lesson is. God kicked my ass. Like.. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit literally jumped me. I swung on a wooden swing hundreds and hundreds of feet in the air knowing damn well I'm afraid of heights, I woke up at 3 AM to hike an active volcano in the dark just to catch the sunrise at its peak and cook breakfast off the natural steam knowing hiking for the very first time and overcoming my weak ass knees (go big or go the fuck home). I ate weird and random foods, I danced with strangers, I prayed until my eyes hurt, I laughed until I cried and I cried until I laughed. I let the natural movements and currents of the Earth control my gravity, I let it decide. I didn't fear for my safety until I got to Kuta. Kuta is where I felt..alone, like I actually did not travel with anyone and I'm here with hundreds of tourists but it's hella hollow alone. Going to heavy tourist destinations is smart and great because the communities are usually very welcoming and very homey. Every once in a while though you'll realize you're not home though, I suggest precautions in your space: doors always locked, blinds closed at night, valuables always packed away every time you leave your room and etc. Don't be too flashy, if it's not approved by the community (taxi services that aren't popular, aggressive bargaining, even things like PDA or exposing your nipples/bare ass) don't do it just because you'd do it at home. My safety was something that did not worry me, but I did always keep in mind of my surroundings, I asked questions to police officers or women and not just random men, I kept my attitude at bay and was never too friendly, and I minded my business.

My Bali Reason
Some people choose Bali and Ubud because they love Julia Roberts, some are a two hour flight away, seriously what the hell, and are on their yearly vacation. Some want to invade all of the sacred grounds with their cameras, opinions, and loud ass energies. I traveled to Bali to escape my current and to capture my emotions. In a quieter state of mind. I was on a journey to find peace, I've been on that journey ever since my first trip to Jamaica. I'm not searching for peace of mind, entirely just peace in my soul. Peace in my body, my muscles, ideas, words... peace in me. A cleansing and spiritual journey. I'm looking for what makes sense to me and my being and every once in a while I need to change my surroundings in order to ask different questions. It's important to know why you're traveling and what you want from the experience. Life is short. What do you want from it?

Eat, Pray, Cry
"It appears I may be the sole soul, soul-searching." - me

Do not get me wrong. There were many places I did not enjoy to their extent throughout my excursion because the place was so tourist heavy. Yes, like me!, and trust me dude I do not mean to sound tourist holier-than-thou but I can absolutely assure you I'm much better company (I'm gunna throw in a giggle here lol even though I'm being pretty serious). Then there were places like.. okay I'm just going to say it China, that I also didn't enjoy because of their actual day-to-day lifestyle and the general feeling of being there.

It may sound like I'm exaggerating here, but remembering the sweat and pain climbing up that mountain, my back pains kicking in and wanting to turn around and drive back to my hotel... Literally feeling the pain pushing through, slipping on the slippery ass rocks as light rain cooled my face the closer we were to the top.. the feeling of my breath literally snatched from me as we reached the top and overlooking all of Bali below just seconds before the dark curtains rose and daybreak began, being that close to life and death? Atop of a volcano, Earths' literal ability to destroy and construct anew on a brand new slate? It was worth it. And those are the exact words I'd use to paint the story of my solo travel.

xxoo missusmonroe