christina.

I don’t know why tragedies have this way of bringing people together like few other things do – like we all want to experience the same sadness and heartbreak, and feel the same pain as everyone else. It’s so weird to me – I never want my strongest bond with someone to be over a shared painful memory.

But tonight, the Internet is bonded. Tonight our hearts collectively ache and we share the same confusion and anger. Tonight, a beautiful and talented 22 year old – who many, including myself, watched grow up via YouTube – is dead and we will never understand why.  What was the point? How does something like this even happen? Where was venue security, or even her own security detail? How are water bottles and cameras confiscated at concerts but guns manage to slip through the cracks? These mistakes are not okay – these are the type of mistakes that quite literally end lives.

My heart is absolutely shattered for her family. I can’t … I truly can’t begin to imagine their state of mind right now. Her parents will never understand why their daughter is gone. Their pain will never go away. Her brother, the guy who tackled a man with a gun to save his sister, will spend his life thinking he could have reacted faster, and done more. He will never forgive himself for the actions of an absolute sociopath. I’m trying to comprehend what he might be feeling at this moment and my brain won’t even let me go there. My brother is one of the most important humans in the world to me and if, God forbid, we were ever in a similar situation …  I would hate myself every single day for not doing more. For not being able to save him.

Her family’s pain will never be gone. Over time it will lessen but it will never go away. They will never have answers, or understand the reasons or motives behind this fucking insanity. For them there is no silver lining, no greater plan or lesson to be learned. Their lives are forever changed.

I have no political stance or life lesson at the end of this. Frankly I don’t think this is the time. I can leave you only with this: Love each other while you can. Tell those that you love how important they are to you, every chance you get. Love intensely. Love powerfully.

Love always.
Love all ways.

(This was my favourite Christina Grimme performance – from when she was on The Voice a few years back. I know everyone is talking about her cover of Titanium or her original music but… I just always really liked this one.)

zach.

I’ve been watching Zach Anner’s videos for a few years. I first discovered him in a documentary about YouTubers called Please Subscribe, and then realized he does work with Rooster Teeth,a channel and community that I was already very familiar with. I quickly fell down a classic YouTube rabbit hole of watching Zach’s videos, and was drawn to his content because – well, because he makes funny videos and I like to laugh. But I stuck around and have continued to watch because Zach is inspirational in a real, honest and effortless way. He’s not one of those so-called inspirational gurus who post generic “mirror mantra” quotes on Instagram, or someone with a sad story who shoves his life journey down peoples’ throats saying, “if I can do this, SO CAN YOU!” You know the types. Frankly I don’t hold a lot of value in inspirational quotes or comparing your own situation to someone else’s unique set of circumstances.

Zach recently wrote a book, which I own, have read, and I can’t even explain to you how great this book was – please read it. In his book he talks about wanting to be seen for the person that he is, rather than just a guy in a wheelchair. At this, I think he has succeeded, because he’s never claimed victim status. He’s never really said, “oh, I can’t do this because of my chair”. He’s problem solved and said, “how can I do this, despite my chair?” And that, I think is so powerful and something that I truly admire.

Actually there’s a lot of things about Zach that I admire – his self-deprecating humour, his realistic-but-always-positive outlook, and his stubborn approach to what he wants to do with his life, to begin. Recently I had the opportunity to hear him speak when he was in my little hometown. He was here promoting his book and at that time, I hadn’t finished reading it yet. I got to hear some parts of it for the first time, directly from him, which was pretty cool. Listening to him speak was really wonderful, and hearing him share hardships and how he found his way out of them was, in all honesty, a wake up call. I was so moved by what he was saying that night. He spoke about believing in himself and not giving up – which is kind of cliche but like, there’s a reason it’s repeated by everyone, and that’s because it’s true. It just is. You do have to believe in yourself and if you give up, you really will never get anywhere. But my biggest takeaway from it was “what’s stopping you?” Like really –  what, exactly, is stopping me from doing what I want in life? And honestly? The only thing stopping me is that I just don’t know. I don’t know what I want to do, what type of career I want to have or where I want to end up. I really don’t, but at least now I know that as soon as I have that small detail figured out – there’s nothing stopping me anymore. Thanks for that lesson, Zach, and thanks for taking the time to chat about Rooster Teeth, hockey and Josh Flanagan’s sexy, sexy bod. You’re the man – truly. 

torn jeans + bowler hats.

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This is quickly becoming my favourite spot. The drive to get there is lovely, especially this time of year with the colors of Autumn everywhere, and I have yet to see another living person there. It’s completely out of the way, and such a great spot to hang out with a book or play some music while enjoying what’s left of the beautiful weather for this year. As an added bonus, it’s pretty private so I don’t feel like a moron taking pictures for the blog.

The soundtrack for this photoshoot was Demi Lovato’s Confident, which was released on Friday. It’s literally all I’ve been listening to all weekend and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon. Demi’s been a longtime favourite of mine, both musically and as fashion inspiration. Her edgy, yet always classy sense of style definitely inspired this outfit.

Personifying A Change

I’ve never shied away from change in my life. Whether it was something small, like the start of a new high school semester, or a big change like starting a new job in a brand new field, I’m always excited for a fresh start. I fall victim to the dullness of a day-to-day routine, and crave changes on any scale quite often.  Unfortunately, as somewhat of a “grown up”, you can’t change your career path every six months, or pack up and move to Chicago on a whim. So I find other ways to satisfy my thirst which can sometimes result in a mini wardrobe overhaul, downloading a ton of new music, or simply going for a drive and getting lost somewhere that I haven’t been before, just to do something different for an evening.  Most often, though, this craving for a change leads me to the hair care aisle of the nearest drugstore.

collage
This has been my hair journey from 2011 to today, and what a journey it’s been. I’m so thankful that the Era of Selfies is upon us, so that I could document the ever changing rainbow atop my head. Sometimes I feel like with each different hair color, I’ve been a different person. I know that’s not true, but like I said, change is something I crave, and sometimes the idea of completely changing who you are is so appealing to me. A blank page, a fresh start… Some days, it sounds like heaven. I could never actually abandon the life I’ve built for myself and the people in it, nut while I’m scrubbing the dye into my hair, I close my eyes and imagine exactly what that would be like.

And at the end of the day, I honestly believe that if your life is in need of a quick fixer-upper, or if you feel like you don’t like the person you see in the mirror anymore, the first and easiest step is to make that person look different. You hear people say “fake it ’til you make it”, and this is along those same lines. To make a change in your life, you have to start somewhere, and as superficial as it might sound, changing your mirror’s reflection is the best way to kick-start that change. Make the outside reflect what you want on the inside. Personify the type of life you want, and become the change.

More Than An Icon

[originally published 5 months ago on stephaniefaye.sbvtle.com]

friends

I have a belief that no one has very many ‘all time favourites’; you only get two or three. For the most part, as you grow and change in your tastes, you leave things behind – music you used to listen to on a loop, books you read again and again, until the spine cracked – one day, you just don’t love them as much as you used to. It’s fun to revisit old mix CD’s and remember that time in your life, but try as you might, you’ll never appreciate those songs as much as you did all those years ago. I have three tried and true all time favourites. The Lion King is my all time favourite movie. She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5 is my all time favourite song (as much as I try to convince you it’s Cocaine Blues by Johnny Cash or Hey Jude by The Beatles… I’m lying).  And FRIENDS is my all time favourite TV show. It’s what I watch when I’m sad, or when I’m sick, or on a rainy Thursday evening. It’s been my comfort over countless nights of not sleeping.  It’s truly a safe haven for me. It’s something that will always calm me down, make me laugh and help me solve whatever problems I’m having. It’s something that’s always there for me. *Cue air guitar riffs* I’m only 23 years old, so I didn’t watch the show much as it was airing. My cousins were obsessed, though. They got me the first two seasons for my twelfth birthday, and I was absolutely hooked after that. I remember the night that the finale aired, and despite the fact that my knowledge of the show didn’t hold much past the first two seasons, I watched it twice, and cried both times. I cried because Monica and Chandler had twins (the fact that Monica and Chandler got married was surprising, but I rolled with it). I cried because Phoebe finally got her normal happily-ever-after. I cried because Joey had more poultry in his life. And of course, I cried because Rachel got off that damn plane. The fact that I cried along with 52.46 million other people shows exactly how powerful this show was. I’m not the only person this show had such an incredible impact on, there are millions of others who are so thankful that this show exists. FRIENDS taught me to enjoy life, to make the most of everything I have, that love is worth working your ass off for, that there’s nothing a good cup of coffee can’t fix, and that it’s okay to be miserable sometimes when you have the best group of people around you to pick you up. Thank you Marta Kauffman, David Crane, and Kevin Bright. Thank you for creating this world for us to fall into. Thank you to all of the writers for shaping such a witty, clever, and real script. And of course, thank you to David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston for bringing all of it to life; for coming through my television screen and giving me genuine happiness. I suppose for everything you’ve given me over the last 20 years, I’ll forgive you for not doing a reunion.