Off to the Races!

Carol_Young Shannon BindlerGALLOPING FREEDOM

symptomsSYMPTOMS
· feeling caged    · unadventurous
· sluggish            · overly cautious

RxPRESCRIPTION GALLOPING FREEDOM
OUTER:
 Vegan suede boots by Olsenhaus, Equine print silk dress by Stella Proseyn, Structure pendant, Intersecting Branch earrings and Hexagon bracelet, all by Sarah Loertscher *All available at Undesigned
INNER: I take a leap and fly, happily embracing new experiences.

warningWARNING: Wear may instigate wild adventures and a galloping spirit.

StellaProseyn

It’s the Year of the Wood Horse, which begins on Jan. 31. According to Chinese Astrology, it’s predicted to be a lucky and energetic year.

I don’t know a lot about Chinese Astrology – okay, any type of astrology – but I’m always intrigued to hear what the experts have to say. 2013 seemed to be heavy for almost everyone I know. According to the Chinese calendar, it was an energetically slow year of planning, so I’m looking forward to tapping into the galloping spirit of the Horse.

Carolyoung33

You’re a Horse if you were born in 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002 and, of course, in 2014 on or after Jan. 31. Want to know what your Chinese Zodiac sign is? This was the tool I used. If you’re born before January 31st, be sure to check your sign before reading your horoscope, as your sign will be the year prior. No matter what your sign, we’ll all feel the effects of the Horse:

“Horse energy is free-spirited, wild, willful, and independent. Horse has a refined instinct that acts fast, on the spot. The time for pondering was 2013 Snake year. Horse year is time to act fast – buy that home, launch that business, travel the world, make a big purchase, get a promotion at work, have a breakthrough – take a leap and fly. If it’s right, then there’s nothing to think about. Just follow instincts. Even if you miss the mark, you’ll have all of Wood Sheep year 2015 to get cozy and enjoy life’s comforts in all their artistic forms.

Casual and outdoorsy, Horse year is about freedom, returning to nature, and enjoying life and life’s adventures. You won’t always want to focus on work because it’s easy to be distracted by fun, good times, and parties in sexy Horse year. Because Horse can be impulsive, act now and think later, avoid the mistakes of overspending, enabling others, and denying when there is a problem. Overspending is easy in a Horse year because if you feel you deserve something or want a reward, the impulse to buy is strong. Horses often buy what they feel they deserve without realizing how their purchases effect their long-term planning because Horse rarely plans for the future.” – Read Astrologer Susan Levitt’s full 2014 report.

OlsenHaus OlsenHausOlsenHaus vegan shoes’ mission is to merge passions for design, fashion, and function while being a voice for animals, the environment, transparent business practices, and unwavering values in ethical and social responsibilities. Talk about freedom from business as usual! All that, and the lines’ design and durability can stand toe to toe with any traditional luxury brand.

Like everything, the Year of the Horse comes with its light or “positive” aspects (adventure) and its shadow or “negative” ones (being impulsive). I welcome more of a care-free attitude this year, but I’ve also shown poor judgment in the past when it comes to overspending and getting distracted by fun (especially if there’s a major shoe sale involved). For me, it’s going to be a dance of embracing the constructive qualities of the Horse while remaining conscious of making hasty decisions and/or purchases.

SarahLoertscherearringSarah-LoertschernecklaceSarahLoertscherSarahLoertscherbracelet
Sarah Loertscher’s fascinating jewelry reflects both the landscape she grew up in and her interest in the underlying structure of natural objects. Her architectural pieces draw inspiration from a mid-western skyline of power lines, sweeping skies, open fields, silos, and granaries.

As the Chinese say, “A good horse never turns its head to eat the grass behind.” So, this is a year to look ahead, not back.

Shannon Bindler

How do you plan to harness the energy of the Horse?

 

* All items featured can be found at Carol Young’s store Undesigned in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. Young is a former architecture student who became intrigued with the needs of urban nomads while living abroad in Asia, studying design in NYC and traveling far & wide. Taking subways, walking and cycling about town, she found herself seeking clothing that would allow her to move, keep dry and comfortable, but also express her individuality. Each carefully selected piece in Carol’s distinctive boutique is a testament of an uninhibited galloping spirit. 

The Power of Positive Focus

SydneyBrownCollagePOSITIVE FOCUS

symptoms SYMPTOMS
· negative thoughts    · self-criticism
· wanting to give up   · self-doubt

RxPRESCRIPTION POSITIVE FOCUS
OUTER:
  Sandal High heel and Carbon platform boot by Sydney Brown, couture stretch lace dress by Magid Bernard
INNER: I maintain a positive focus even when I feel like hiding and/or giving up.

warningWARNING
May increase perseverance and dedication.

SydneyBrown3

I don’t want to write this post, let alone press ‘publish.’ I suppose if you’re reading it, I somehow made it through the struggle, but it hasn’t been an easy process.

The mind can be tricky. I’m usually good at recognizing self-doubt and moving into a space of self-observation. I know how to reframe my thoughts, but every once in a while my mind yells so loudly that I believe that I’m not good enough.

Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? This blog is a colossal waste of time and money. This internal conversation’s been gaining momentum the past few hours. In editing the photos that accompany this post, all I feel is self-loathing. I look awful, ridiculous, in fact. I’ll look back at this as dumbest thing I’ve ever done…I should take it down, erase it all.

SydneyBrown1Sydney Brown’s shoe line is a testament to maintaining a positive focus. She set out to construct a sustainable and beautiful shoe that was non-toxic and ethically made. She kept hearing it couldn’t be done, but she persevered and has successfully created some of the most interesting (and conscious) shoes on the planet. 

I feel incredibly vulnerable. I started blogging as a way to creatively explore my two loves: shoes and self-help. My intention was to accept myself (both inner and outer) and convey the process through my favorite medium, fashion. If I could learn something about myself every week, and if one other person found it uplifting, then it was a success.

Why, then, am I feeling so self-conscious? As I ask myself this question, I immediately think of my daughter. Before every major growth spurt, she becomes highly sensitive and cranky. A few days later she starts talking, walking, reading, whatever the next developmental stage is… Maybe I’m just experiencing growing pains? Goodness, I hope this is all part of an awesome “up-leveling” that’s about to take place.

I’m not really sure, but even as disapproving thoughts roll through my mind, there is a subtle voice that says: Keep going. This too shall pass.

Sydneystudio Sydneystudio1Behind the scenes at the Sydney Brown design studio in Glassell Park, CA.

Instead of trying to reframe my negative thoughts with positive ones, I’m working on maintaining a positive focus. A teacher of mine once said, “Positive focus is a direction that allows for negativity, failing, and set backs. It’s an intention that we persist in, regardless of the conditions we encounter.”

He further explained the concept of positive focus with a story that went a little something like this (this is not a direct quote, rather the gist):

If you find yourself drowning, thinking positive thoughts are not going to help you to breathe underwater. However, positive focus is when you look out to the shore and concentrate your energy on swimming towards it. If you can keep your mind and actions positively focused, you’ll make it to safety.

Sydneystudio4 sydneystudio5sydneystudio3Brown diligently creates her next collection.

I’m doing my best to keep moving in spite of my discomfort and doubt. I’ve heard successful people of all kinds speak to the power of perseverance, and in that spirit I’m pressing ‘publish,’ even though I’d rather crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my face, and re-watch episodes of “Game of Thrones.”

SydneyBrown2

I’d love to hear about how you keep moving when your mind tells you to stop. How do you maintain a positive focus?

 

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