Settling into 29


Yana Puaca from NoMad Luxuries minimal black and white photos in Chicago Yana Puaca from NoMad Luxuries minimal black and white photos in Chicago

Thank you to all of you who wished me a happy birthday! I’m so grateful for all of you!

When Jen sent me these photos, I had no idea she had shot several of them in black and white. There was something special about these. They would be perfect for today’s post. A personal one I’ve written not only for myself, but also, for all of you.

29…. it seems almost more momentous than the much-anticipated, decade-turning 30. I have a feeling that next year, the big 3-0 might even be anti-climatic after this one. These pictures unexpectedly surprised me. I’m used to seeing myself in photos and in front of the camera…but these photos? There was something different about these. These photos show a strength that I never expected to have. In the same light, there is a softness to that protective shield I so often wear. A vulnerability, if you will. I feel reassured that I can be both. Strong and vulnerable. Fierce and gentle.

Yana Puaca from NoMad Luxuries minimal black and white photos in Chicago 07.31_Coffey_NL_Look4_bw_85(1)Yana Puaca from NoMad Luxuries minimal black and white photos in Chicago

This year, has been trying to say the least. But as I celebrated my 29th birthday, surrounded by friends, new and old, and close family, I was just reassured how much love surrounds me. It’s easy to forget, you know? In the everyday, you can lose sight of the people and things that are most important…I asked myself what exactly I wanted to take away from this year. What have I learned?

Yana Puaca from NoMad Luxuries minimal black and white photos in Chicago

  • If blogging has taught me anything, it’s not to give a shit. You are constantly putting yourself out there, whether it’s physically shooting photos or emotionally writing raw and honest posts and with no validation. Rarely anyone to say, good job. Or, you’re not crazy, I feel the same way. When people are looking at you strangely while you snapchat or you’re twirling in public places just to get the right shot. It’s taught me how to stay focused and in the zone and not put so much emphasis on people’s reactions around me.
  • If it’s real, it will come naturally. This applies to all aspects of life: love, work, friendship…. You can’t force something. You can give it your all and throw love, energy and time at it, but unfortunately, or perhaps, fortunately, relationships, of any sort, need to bloom organically. Perhaps that’s life’s very own filter.
  • I’m so much more confident when I’m doing the things I love. There is something incredibly magnetic about a person in their element. When their eyes light up and their voice goes up an octave and they ramble on and on about their passion. Lesson: do the things you love. It will make you shine from within.
  • I will not apologize for my success. Everyone is at different levels in their life and have come from different starting points. I respect that. I also respect that no one should have to apologize for their hard-earned success. Especially women. We all hustle and work our ass off to achieve the goals we’ve created for ourselves. And now apologies are in order? Not a chance. Embrace it, don’t flaunt it. Stay humble but be proud of your achievements. However small or grand they may be.
  • Kindness can come from the most unexpected of places. It’s funny the expectations you come to have for certain people. Often times, to be left disappointed. And then, you are so pleasantly surprised by a gesture of kindness from a stranger or even a new friend. The sweet words written in a birthday card or the hospitality of being welcomed into someone’s family. The random man that carried my rug up two flights, thank you. There are some really shitty people out there but there are also, so many amazing and kind, warm and generous people that deserve their very own spotlight. A reminder of love and humankind. I’m grateful to be surrounded by quite a few of these amazing people and lucky enough to call them friends or even family. I hope you all are, too. And if not, then make it a goal to attract more positive people in your life.
  • I feel sexier than ever. A few years ago, I would have shuttered at the thought of admitting that or even worse, publicly writing that on my blog. I’m not sure that a few years ago I even felt sexy. Actually, I didn’t. But, I suppose it goes hand-in-hand with confidence. I feel comfortable in my own skin. I know my strengths, my weaknesses; I know how to dress for my body, how to eat healthy, I know what I want and especially what I can give. I know the things I want to improve and I am hopeful. With that comes a sense of comfort, even peace with yourself. Which simply radiates. Maybe that’s what I mean by sexy… giving out positive energy and a good wardrobe.
  • I am hopeful. After the end of my marriage to my husband and my best friend, I am still hopeful. I cannot express the gratefulness I have for that. It’s easy to feel hopeless and to lose sight, I’ve been there before after my grandmother passed away. For any of you that have, lost hope, my one piece of advice is to find one thing that brings you joy. Whether it’s writing a diary, testing out recipes, going out dancing, or even waking up ten minutes early to enjoy a hot, cup of coffee. Do it. These small moments, eventually will begin to feed your soul and you will start to feel whole again. You will remember what truly makes you happy, what gets you excited and that glimmer of hope will resurface. I’m hopeful that I will one day, again, find someone that I can call my own. Not to make me feel whole, there is no void to fill here, but rather someone that I can be a team with. Two people, all their own, coming together to create something even better, stronger than before.
  • Dob’t postpone plans, dreams, goals. Life your life. Moments are so fleeting, this life, can change instantly. Don’t make excuses or leave it for tomorrow. I know, I know. People say this all time. But there must be a reason for it. Do what makes you happy and enjoy in the moment.
  • Strength. I want to take care of this body, of the muscles that carry me through the everyday struggles and joys. Of this mind and this heart. I want to be strong, strong enough, for me. I want to feel comfort and safety within myself. I want to test my limits and know what I am capable of. I have started to workout more and strength train. I never want to feel weak, or incapable of taking care of myself. I want to be thoughtful when it comes to the things I put in or on my body. About the energy that I absorb and put out into the universe. I want to be kinder to myself. We take such good care of others and yet it’s so easy to neglect our own well-being. This year, it’s all about me. Perhaps that sounds selfish, but truly it isn’t. If I can’t take care of myself, I will have nothing to give to anyone else.

I never thought I would enjoy getting older, but I surprisingly do. There is something magical about settling into your own skin. Looking into the mirror and seeing a resilient and strong woman look back. I hope I can share that with all of you, on this blog. Thank you for always coming back to read, for encouraging words and interest in this little life and blog of mine. For you, I am grateful. Here’s to another fabulous year! Xx


1 Comment

  1. Kris Toma
    August 8, 2016 / 5:14 pm

    FANtastic post, pretty lady!!! Love, love, love it – and am so excited for You and Your 29th Year! May it be even MORE magical than you even dare imagine. 🙂 XXX