Seven Deadly Sins (Style Edition #1)

Happy Tuesday!

As promised, I am blogging each and every Tuesday (sometimes more but definitely on Tuesdays). I hope you are just as excited as I am when it comes to the blogging process, and I do appreciate that you’ve even taken the time to come to my page.

A topic I’d like to focus on are the Seven Deadly Sins, but more so in ways relating to style and fashion. I know that many of us can relate to the style and fashion industry, so that’s why I’m using that industry to paint a picture about topics ranging from lust, anger, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, and wrath. I know it’s a bit of a heavy hand, but I will take each topic into delicious weekly bite-sized morsels masquerading into bitter truths that need to be taken in.

For today’s topic, I am going to focus on envy in the fashion industry and why envy will always be out of style. Not sometimes, not mostly, but in fact ALL of the time. Recently, Commes des Garçon pulled the ultimate fashion faux-pas with cultural appropriation on the runway. However, this is sadly not anything new, but hopefully these maîsons of avante-garde couture will continue to learn from their mistakes, like we all need to continually do.

Envy comes from a horrible place and can cause intense divide and bitterness.

It is okay to look at someone else and sincerely feel happy and proud of their accomplishments, but it is a whole other thing to look at someone’s accomplishments, milestones, or assets and wonder why you’re not them or feel depressed because you’re not “living your best life” which is honestly their life.

Envy can cause friendships to turn sour, relationships to sicken, intense anxiety and depression, and so much more. You could even begin to develop identity crises because you become too absorbed with what someone else is doing at all times.

The solution? Focus on yourself, focus on self-care, and understand that we are all on different paths and that is completely okay. You might not have an inkling of understanding as to what that person had to endure to get to where they are today. So, please be compassionate instead of critical, be warming instead of whining, and be euphoric instead of being envious.

You are also here, and you have ✨precious gifts✨ to share with the world 🌎.

So what are you waiting for? I want to see all of us succeed and thrive.

Much love,

Stella Leanne

P.S. See you next week, where we will discuss… lust!

It’s 2020, what are you doing?

It’s officially 2020 (for about two weeks already) and I haven’t been blogging every day like I initially thought I would. I’m not upset about that, since I am making splashes in other ways.

Me, with Marmalade exploring the backcountry of the Schiele Museum

Perhaps you know this, perhaps you don’t, but I also run an awesome Instagram account, @stellaleannedesign. There, you will find my musings, ramblings, drawings, writings, and more. I’ve recently begun to understand that Instagram and Instagram Stories are really awesome and have the power to change the world in very awesome ways, at least the way I use it.

One thing I really want to touch on is enjoying the process, and enjoying wherever you are in your life right now. Sometimes you set goals two weeks back and you haven’t measured up to it. That DOES NOT MEAN that you have failed, perhaps you need to reframe your goal. Sometimes it can be very hard to blog every day, to know who your niche is, and what to even blog about. In that case, maybe instead of blogging every day just to blog, how about blogging once a week with awesome and meaningful content?

The key is consistency, not quantity. You don’t have to be a lengthy novel-writing blogger, whose entries are over 10,000+ words deep somehow, and you don’t have to have 1M+ followers. You don’t have to put pictures in every single one of your blogs.

Your audience truly just wants to hear from you. As for me, I will blog once a week, definitely dropping posts each Tuesday.

Anyways, just enjoying what you’re doing day in and day out, but especially in the right here, right now, will help you tremendously.

Love and light,

Stella Leanne

P.S. I am writing a couple books that I would love to have self-published by March 2020. If you’d love to help, you can make a contribution either through Ko-fi (https://ko-fi.com/stellaleanne) or even Paypal (paypal.me/stellaleanne).

P.P.S. I plan on having my first podcast out in February 2020, where I talk about art, design, books, the writing process, culture, and so much more. I hope you come along for this!

The Power of Visualization

I’m going to begin a series called ‘Power’. The Power series of entries will help illuminate the wonderful and intangible skills that can take you and your dreams to the next level.

*mic drop*

This specific topic has been on my mind for quite a while and I have also wanted to write about it, but it wasn’t until today that I realized a series was needed. Far too often, we miss the mark when it comes to the important and intangible things that matter because we are too focused on the material things that we have right in front of us (you might be looking at your device, up in arms at this point, but stay with me here).

Visualization is the practice of thinking deeply not only about what you want, but also already believing that you have it, that you have claimed it, and that it is yours. Visualization is POWERFUL because your thoughts and your ideas are powerful. Have you ever given much thought to that?

It has been said many times, and I’ll say it again… your thoughts determine your actions, which determine your habits, which will in turn affect your character. It is very important to pay special attention to all of the thoughts that cross your mind, and understand that with self-discipline, you can have healthier and more fruitful thoughts. But that’s another entry for another day.

The great thing about visualization is that you can practice this anytime, and anywhere. The only thing you need to visualize is your beautiful mind, and a great sense of what you’d like to have happen. Close your eyes, and focus on what it is that you dream of, and BELIEVE (key word) that it is already yours, and it will be. Perhaps not right this second, but soon.

Visualization, with prayer and work, can give some amazing results when paired with gratitude and patience. Another key thing to remember is that what we want is not always what we need. Visualizing is even greater when you have faith that God will work everything out for the very best.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” -Mark 11:24 (ESV)

Surprise! I’m a bee!

So, I did a thing.

And now I have many feelings about it and I’ll write it out for you.

So, several months ago, I decided that I wanted to take my creative endeavors to the next level. For over a decade, I knew what I truly wanted to pursue. I dreamed of having a creative career that could bring me joy, wonder, an added sense of purpose, and enough income so that I could live my best life. For many years, people would tell me to reconsider, or may even joke about my dreams.

So I decided to study healthcare… specifically dental health, and it really wasn’t for me. At that time, I put others’ needs and desires before my own, because I thought that if other people around me were happy (and happy about what I was doing) then I would also, in turn, be happy. I was wrong.

Earlier this year, in January, I met up with one of my fabulous mentors (she basically runs a very impressive design firm, no big deal) and I let her know where I was in life, and that I still missed the creative process and cultivating the artist within (okay, so I didn’t say it like that, but you get the point). She told me that I needed to get back into taking art classes and basically to not let anything stop me from achieving my dreams.

A few months later, in the spring, I decided to do my research on some of the best art schools in the nation. I was so over listening to everyone else’s critiques and dismissive comments because it was doing nothing but holding me back. And besides, I know I can do it, I just have to make it happen! So, I applied for several art schools, but there was one that I really had my eye on… and, can you guess which one it was?

SCAD.

SCAD, aka The Savannah College of Art and Design, is the king of art schools, and their student work is absolutely phenomenal. I really desired to get in, and there were more obstacles in my way, it seemed. I had to get all the paperwork together, write letters, fill out financial aid, the list goes on. Although I had a lot to do, I did not complain because this is where I knew I had to be. I chose the e-learning option, since I also work full-time, so this would give me greater flexibility.

More weeks went by, and I was honestly at the edge of my seat constantly, wondering if I had been accepted or not. I really tried not to be too anxious about it, and had a ‘Let It Be’ mindset about it. What’s meant for me will come to me, and that’s exactly what happened. I got into SCAD (Woooo-hooooooo! *shimmies*) and on top of that, I also received additional financial assistance to help ease the cost of attending.

If you happen to read my other blogs, you’ll realize that I am really all about everyone going for their dreams. Going for your dreams sometimes isn’t easy, people may make fun of it or try to talk you out of it, but in the end, you still have the power to make the choice of whether you actually decide to pursue your dreams or not.

You have the power to make your dreams happen. So, what are you waiting for?

3 Ways To Build Resilience Now

What is one of the best tools to have in your soft skill arsenal that will catapult you into your even better self and get you to the next phase of your life that you’ve been dreaming of for a long time? Resilience, of course! Resilience is the ability to take a failure and learn from it, and become better, rather than wallow endlessly and pity oneself. Resilience is key if you need to achieve the seemingly impossible, because resilience is that ability to keep going, despite the crazy things that can throw us for a spin, either internally or externally. Resilience is the ability to keep going, and to turn obstacles into growth opportunities. Resilience is a muscle, and it can definitely be honed, and I’ll even give you a few tips that can help you improve your resilience today.

  1. Stop giving into your fears, but keep listening to your gut. Your gut will be the one that can either save or kick your butt, however, your fears only want your butt to stay stagnant and in your “comfort zone.” Deep growth lies outside your comfort zone, beyond what you are used to and familiar with, but is nothing to be afraid of.
  2. After you’ve had a moment to reflect, get back out there. Don’t think about the past too much and get so wrapped up in it that you forget that you’re in the present and can make changes right now that can help you out in the long run. Just get out and keep going.
  3. Remember the bigger picture. What initially got you into this idea, notion, project, activity, etc.? Was it so that you could be recognized in that field? Was it so that you could support yourself while also doing something you enjoyed? Please remember that not every moment will be one that is glamorous or lovely, but every bit of effort you put into overcoming obstacles will manifest itself into awesome experiences and your realities will soon become better than your wildest dreams.

Reflections on Hard Work

     Hello, there! Thank you for joining me and I hope you stay a while. Have you ever had a time where you felt so exhausted, especially after working really hard, and just hoping that it either ends or that it pays off? Me too.

       However, what I’ve come to realize is that hard work can be something to enjoy, and it helps me remember what I love and what’s important. Work hard, play hard. There are many times where the work seems like it’s too much, too complicated, too droll, perhaps even the straw that could break the camel’s back. But at the end of the day, it’s what you make that matters.

      Making someone’s day, making a beautiful ceramic sculpture, making flash cards, whatever it is, you’re pushing towards something bigger. Yes, that will take consistent hard work, and it will pay off. It may not be immediate, but like a seed planted in good soil and in the right conditions, it will grow and may become much bigger than you could have ever imagined.

    So the next time you’re working hard and you hope it pays off or that you want it to be over, just keep going above and beyond. 

“The work that challenges you the most is the biggest opportunity for you to learn and grow.”

-Stella Leanne

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Reignite

You can’t spell reignite without reign, and when I reign, it pours (greatness). Okay, I did say that I love wordplay in an earlier post, but really, I am here to help you reignite and reawaken your long-forgotten dreams that are currently collecting cobwebs in the far back corners of your mind. It’s for the best.

Why did you push those dreams away? Did you do it because you think you’re now too (insert any excuse) to accomplish it? Is it because you no longer think it’s worth it, and since then, has life became a bit more dim for you? When we push our dreams away and begin to settle with what we have, you are more likely to develop resentment in the future. No one wants that, or to even feel regret because you chose not to continue pursuing your amazing and one-of-a-kind dream.

Well, these dreams are here to stay and they are NEVER going away. That’s a great thing, and we have so many resources nowadays to make your dream a reality, and I urge you to keep working hard towards your dream, and WHEN you accomplish your dream that once seemed so far away, don’t become complacent with your accomplishments but continue to work hard, and help make others’ dreams come true. Continue to inspire others by sharing your story, because achieving ones’ dreams is not easy, there may be many sleepless nights and you may have had to live uncomfortably on a measly income and yet YOU STILL DID IT.

I am here for you! This is a wake-up call for all who are reading this to go back to the depths of their mind and rediscover their abandoned dreams. Pick your dreams back up with warmth, love, and kindness, but most of all, tend to it like dutiful gardeners tend to their exquisite rose gardens. Yes, there are thorns that can dig into your skin if you’re not careful. Yes, there are bugs and weeds that threaten your beautiful blooms. And yes, there are times where your roses are not budding or blooming in their season, but then surprise everyone by blooming out of season.

At the end of the day, however, there is a phenomenal sense of accomplishment that the gardeners feel, and even more so the day that their roses are all healthy and in bloom. These gardeners will also remember the bigger picture… the happiness that a beautiful and delightfully aromatic rose will bring to whoever is blessed to behold it.

By you committing yourself to your work towards achieving your dreams, you will also bless others along the way. It is not always easy or simple, but it is definitely worth it. You got this, now… reignite!

How To Keep Your Peace

Have you ever been around someone so peaceful, that no matter what was happening around them, they still maintained a calm aura about them? There could be so much chaos, so much strife… and yet they are somehow (seemingly) unaffected and unbothered. Someone could be super harsh to this person, and yet they maintain a peaceful barrier of sorts. If you have ever wondered how they can be like this, especially in a chaotic and tumultuous world that we currently reside, then this is for you.

Peacekeeping is not as simple or as easy as it sounds, even if you are just trying to keep your own peace. There are many benefits to keeping your own peace, including greater happiness, serenity, and calm. You will be far less prone to anger, quarreling, breaking down, and instead, you will become more cool-headed and even-tempered. Many people will want you to shell out money for classes, seminars, and sessions, but most of the time, it is only a temporary and superficial fix.

True peacekeeping (even if it is only to help keep your own peace and sanity) begins by letting go. An important verse from Psalms comes to mind… “Be still and know that I am God.” We are such a small speck in this vast world, and there is SO MUCH that we don’t know and may never know. When someone is harsh, ugly, nasty, or worse, we tend to lean on our own understanding and make some not-so-great assumptions.

A verse in Proverbs is also important here… “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and he will make straight your paths.” It is important to be kind, forgiving, and merciful. It is also important to let go and let God handle the situations that are seemingly out of control and beyond crazy. So please, don’t stress or continue to feel drained tending to matters that are overwhelming. It is okay to ask for help, and it is always okay to pray.

When someone is being unfair or even hurtful, and is threatening your peace, remember that you can call on God for strength and wisdom. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians,

11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (ESV)

May the grace of God be with you all. Amen.

Go After Your Dreams

In case you ever needed a sign, or permission, or an alert to help you remember that your dreams are valid and amazing and need to be realized, this is it. Everyone has dreams… dreams of a better future, dreams of achieving a goal, or even dreaming to reach new heights. However, not everyone will actually pursue their dreams and this has become a major crisis. I will spend some time with you today to break down what makes dreams so great, what holds some dreamers back, and how to overcome whatever holds you back so that you can keep going.

Dreams are so great for an innumerable amount of reasons, including inspiring others, revolutionizing the way we think and live, and for creating true, positive change in this world. Sometimes our dreams seem so out of our league that it can scare us a bit, or make us feel silly for even thinking such a thing. We might begin to doubt ourselves or our abilities and wonder what it would truly take to make our dreams reality.

It takes a lot of faith, patience, sacrifice, focus, and determination to make dreams come to fruition. Faith is needed because the steps to get to the reality of your dreams may seem so rickety, slippery, steep, and long that you might feel out of place even trying. A lot of times, you may feel like you’re not where you are supposed to be or where you need to be, however, you must remember that you are exactly where you need to be. Climbing these steps build endurance and stamina and will help you even after you realize your dreams.

Patience is also needed so that you don’t flip your lid with all the crazy feelings you might feel when you are in the process of achieving your dreams. You may have to sacrifice things that you don’t really want to sacrifice, because you need to work hard to make your dreams a reality. You may need to carve out (or sacrifice) a chunk of time that is solely for working on your dreams, so that we can really focus on the next step in the process. You must also stay determined because there will be obstacles that will try to throw you for a loop, but when this happens, remember why you began.

All in all, remember that you are capable and you can make it work. You may have to do a lot of research, reaching out, and remain confident. You could even write your dreams down on paper and try to understand how you can make it happen, and also why you want to make it happen. Dreams and ideas are the true riches of the world, intangible and multifaceted. Dreams carry A LOT of power and a lot of weight, and can go so much further than you may have ever thought of before. I am not saying this to scare you, I am saying this so you realize that you and your dream… y’all are going to get to go to some amazing places. Get ready.