6 THINGS I LOVED FROM 2014 + 6 GOALS FOR 2015

March 11, 2015 3 Permalink

Naima Naito Milk Stripes Blog

Happy (LATE) New Year!

I’m back! Yay! I’ve been quiet on Milk Stripes (but not on Instagram!) because I travelled to England for the Holidays and then I had an amazing adventure in India (my photos = color overload) but really, I wanted to stop and reflect on what I’d done in 2014, think about my blog and get really honest with myself about what my hopes and dreams are for 2015….

 

MY BLOG IN 2014

It makes me happy to scroll through the blog and see what I did in 2014. I have learnt so much since I started it and I still have a lot to learn. I feel like there’s so much inside me that I want the world to see, feel and hear because there is so much that excites me in this world, but then I get distracted when I look at what everyone else is doing, and then I find myself thinking, should I be doing things more like how other Bloggers do it? But I’m trying to change it up this year and experiment more!

 

6 THINGS I LOVED ABOUT 2014

Looking back on 2014 brought smiles and happy feelings inside. Here are a few:

1. Dreams

I moved to NYC to realize a dream. I have always wanted to live here, so we made it happen.

2. Love

I continue to fall further in love with my husband and am always in such wonder about how amazing he is and I feel incredibly lucky.

3. Goals

I started a blog after thinking about it for too many years.

4. Family

I made family more of a priority by traveling to see them and making more phone calls as it’s hard when you live so far away from them.

5. Friends

 I travelled to see my friends (who also live so far away) to make beautiful memories (did you see my post on doing friendship vacations?!) and I became a Godmother!

6. Travel 

I went to Burning Man (see my first timer’s experience post) which was a wild, beautiful and an out-of-world experience.

 Travelled to Australia, France (Paris, South of France + Menton), Spain, Bali (dressing up + rainforest posts), Barbados, Singapore (re-cap post), England, Japan and explored more of the beautiful US (some of trips included places like Detroit here + here, Camp Wandawega here + here, the Catskills…and check out my Instagram for more adventures I haven’t blogged about).

 

6 GOALS FOR 2015

1. Blog

Continue to develop the Milk Stripes blog and be brave enough to experiment with new ideas and styles plus make some Blogging friends – anyone living in NYC or Chicago?

2. Family & Friends

Continue prioritizing family & friends by calling, mailing, sharing photos and seeing them more!

3. New Things

Create an online shop curated with the things that I love.

4. Cook

Dining at restaurants is a huge part of my life (and I love it) but I find that I’m increasingly wanting to create meals from my heritage as another way to learn about where I’ve come from….and have dinner parties!  Saying that, I’m dining at Next tonight to feast on their Bistro (French) menu…so cooking may have to wait tonight! 🙂

5. Learn

I’ve always been curious about art history and design, so I’d like to learn more about these fields.

6. Travel + Experiences

We have plans for more travel and adventures that I’m super excited about sharing soon (like my trip to India that I just came back from)!

 

What are some of things that you loved about 2014 and what are your dreams for 2015? I’d love to know what you guys have thought about/hoped for/wished for as well! I know it’s already March but are you doing what you set out in January?

Love Naima x

WHAT I THINK ABOUT WHEN I’M FAR AWAY FROM HOME

June 13, 2014 0 Permalink

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Having spent the last few days in Singapore, I remembered one of the best parts of being away from home was that it gives you time (and the mental space) to think about your life because you’ve removed yourself from your everyday distractions. This has inspired today’s post.

During ‘normal life’ you get so wrapped up in every day life that you don’t get a chance to stop and think about whether how you are living your life is making you happy or if what you’re doing is really what you want. The only other time I feel like people do this, is when New Years Eve rolls along – but is doing that once a year often enough?

If you pull yourself out of your regular environment and look at it from the outside, it may help you see how you really feel about things like work, love, your friends and other stuff that make up your life.

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What do I think about when I’m away (and what have I thought about in the past)?

LOVE: Am I in love with him? Are we good together? Is this the right thing for me right now?

WORK: Why am I doing it? Am I still there because of the money? Do I want to ask for a promotion?

FRIENDS: Am I surrounding myself with good people? Why did we fall out? What happened to that person I met; I should catch up with them because they seemed really cool.

HOME: Do I want to move out on my own? Should we move in together? Am I ready to buy property?

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On vacation, I’ve had friends who realized that the relationship they were in wasn’t right for them anymore but they didn’t know it until they had the time and space to think about it.

I’ve had friends who quit their jobs because they were unhappy only to realize, all they needed was a short holiday to reinvigorate themselves because they were just burnt out and then they wished they hadn’t quit.

From my experience, a vacation helped me to decide that I wanted to change careers after I was finally honest with myself about how unhappy I was.

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Research says that 16% of Americans don’t take any vacation time at all and that 61% don’t take even half of their vacation. If you’re one of these people, maybe it’s time to plan your next trip?

What are some of the things you’ve realized while on vacation or away from home? What kind of things do you think about when you have the time to actually think? I’d love to know what you’re thinking, so let me know in the comments below!

Naima x

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FRIENDSHIP VACATIONS: DO THEM WHILE YOU CAN!

June 3, 2014 4 Permalink

Naima Naito Milk Stripes Travel

Last minute, my friends told me that they wanted to all go to Bali together to celebrate my friend’s upcoming wedding (yay!). These are the girls that I grew up with and navigated the world with. I’d already danced with them in Cuba, climbed volcanoes with them in Guatemala and got lost in Ethiopian cities with them – all when we were younger. Now that I’m a little older, when this opportunity presented itself, I struggled with whether I should go or not. I thought I shouldn’t spend the money, that I shouldn’t take another holiday, that I shouldn’t take time off work and that I shouldn’t enjoy a new destination without my husband. After all the shouldn’ts, I finally listened to what I really wanted…. What changed my mind?

1. Trips with JUST friends are rare gems. 

When is the next time you’re going to be doing a group trip that was just you and your friends, like when you were growing up and were doing sleepovers? No partners, kids, lovers, work colleagues. Just you and your friends with no responsibilities where you can talk about whatever you want (including your partner because they’re not there). Nothing coming up, right? Life just gets in the way and at some point, we just start thinking about exploring the world with our partners instead of our friends and eventually settle for girls-night/boys-night but what about extending that fun for more than a night?

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2. Hello baby, bye bye conversations….at least for a little while.

When your friends start having babies (like mine are), you’ll find that it’s harder to talk with them when there are babies in the same room. It’s not because you have nothing to talk about, it’s just the energy has shifted, temporarily. It’s kind of like when there’s a really cute puppy around and people just look at it or play with it and can’t talk about anything except the puppy. Anyone else know that feeling? I want to have as much “us” time as we can before life really moves forward for us because things do change when you start a family.

3. FOMO

I have one of the biggest issues of FOMO (fear of missing out)! I know we’re all going to look back and reminisce about how fun this trip was when we’re 80 years old. I don’t want to be on the receiving end of the stories with “oh…it was SO funny….you had to be there”. Nope. That isn’t for me. I want to be PART of the memories and help create them. I don’t want to be seeing Instagram photos of Bali from my couch!

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4. Friendships don’t last forever…

Unless you put the effort in. Yes, I agree that there are friends that you can go without talking for months (or years) and if you see each other again, it’s like no time has passed…but lasting and significant friendships are kind of a miracle so they need to be nurtured at some level. Luckily for me, that’s making the decision to go on this trip, fly for 60 hours, drink from fresh coconuts and jump into the beach with my friends!

 

There is something inexplicably beautiful about making a connection with someone and it continuing to grow over your lifetime…so invest in your friendships and help make ever-lasting memories!

When is the last time you went on a trip with just your friends sans partners?! Have you planned something? Do you miss some of your friends?

Milk Stripes

ARE SOME PEOPLE BORN HAPPIER THAN OTHERS?

May 27, 2014 0 Permalink

I really love documentaries, like a lot. Netflix asked me if I liked “social and cultural documentaries”  which doesn’t surprise me since my Netflix history will reveal that I’ve watched documentaries about Steve jobs, Freakonomics, Bill Cunningham and most recently, one called Happiness. I am a little obsessed about trying to live a fulfilling and happy life and if someone asked me what my life motto is, I usually say “to live life to the max” (yep, from that 90’s Pepsi commercial), so a documentary titled Happiness totally hooked me in.

The documentary made some points which I believe we’re all aware of at some level – like money doesn’t buy you happiness (after a certain point once your essential needs are satisfied) and that family and friends (or a support network) are crucial for happiness.

But…did you know that research has found that 50% of the differences in happiness levels are caused by genetics. Can you believe that? 50%!?

It also explored the fact that we all have a genetic set point or set range when it comes to happiness. That means we are born with a natural range of happiness. Some people have a naturally higher or lower range of happiness that they bounce within. If something happens to you that makes you really happy or really sad, then at some point after the event, you will go back to your natural set point. How resilient are we?! Once you start looking around and thinking about the people you know in your life – don’t you find that some people seem happier, tend to smile more or have a good energy that you can feel? And some others, seem like they view life in a glass-half-empty kind of way? Before going further, I want to make a distinction between being extroverted or introverted vs happiness levels – just because someone is naturally quieter, doesn’t indicate lower happiness levels. What I’m focusing on is the happy energy that all individuals radiate (their aura), which is different person-to-person.

To add to these (well, to me) mind-blowing revelations, only 10% of our differences in happiness levels come from circumstances such as income, our careers and social status – what?! YES!!

Now, what about the other 40% I hear you ask? Well…here’s the final piece…intentional behavior. These are actions that we choose to do and and research says that it’s important that we don’t adapt to our behavior for too long (like, try to avoid doing the same thing every day for too long, without varying it up in some way). A very basic example would be, if you go running everyday, then every so often you should choose a different route. A more drastic change up would be to move to another city. The amount of change people like to experience is different from person-to-person as we all have varying coping mechanisms but you can find the right level for you.

This got me thinking…  although it’s logical that our happiness is in the fate of our hands and really up to us, the numbers really do show that. It really is up to us.  I make a huge effort into listening to what’s going on in my head and find out what I want. Often I write it out because although we think about a lot, stuff just goes round and round your head and gets confusing (at least for me), so when I write it down, it becomes clear to me and then I’m able to make the changes to my life. You will notice, after you stop, think and really listen to yourself – you already know what you want but when you ultimately act on it, you’re adding that variety or change in your life that these researchers are talking about (and hopefully, in the process, you’ll  feel happier).

You really can do small things or you can change things up big style. When I think about what I do to make me happy, I think about how I started this blog (huge change and the threat of embarrassing myself certainly raises my heartbeat), how I move neighborhoods/cities when I feel a change is due and that I want something new, how I buy different flowers each week to brighten up my space or how wearing lipstick that matches my outfit, makes me feel fabulous.

Maybe it’s time for you to do that photography course you’ve been thinking about but never organized? Maybe you want to go do an improv class and meet people? Maybe you want to move to somewhere warm, fun and affordable, like Austin? Maybe you’re desiring a change and don’t know what that is today?What do you do that makes you happy? Do you have any small or big changes you’re planning or wanting to do?

Naima

Want a career change? Here is the story of how I started my own business

May 21, 2014 9 Permalink

I started my own business a couple of years ago and dived into wardrobe styling. I went from working in an office of a global corporation day after day, getting paid a nice salary and I had a fun and easy life but finally one day, I succumbed to my real desires and fears and took the leap of faith (without knowing where I was going to fall) and believed in myself, just enough, to give what I had in mind, a go. It was scary and insane. I had a very supportive network around me who were my biggest cheerleaders but even knowing all that, it was not easy to make the leap. I went from never doing anything in fashion to then telling people I wanted to become a wardrobe stylist….to then actually telling people that I was a wardrobe stylist.

The people who knew me when I quit my corporate job always ask me how I ended up actually becoming a wardrobe stylist because they were surprised by how quickly the opportunities came my way. It certainly didn’t feel like opportunities came my way quickly. I had to go out and find them. What everyone seems to forget is that I risked a HUGE amount and then I had to hustle and work very hard to get to where I am today. I put everything on the line. I quit my job and had nothing waiting for me so I had to make it work because I didn’t have anything to fall back on. It’s also very hard to tell someone you know or don’t know, that you don’t have a job (for no reason) because it’s just plain embarrassing. The life of a stylist means you’re a freelancer so I didn’t know when I was going to get a job. The funny thing too, is that whenever I saw someone who knew I had just quit my job for a career change, they had always expected me to have an update or news for them (say, a week or two weeks or a month after I quit my job) like that I’d instantly have work or clients, just like that! It was difficult to face people because I wanted to give them some great updates but I didn’t have anything I wanted to share. Although it seems logical, people always forget that success takes A LOT of time, effort, hustling and work, and success doesn’t happen over night. Before I had even quit my job, I had spent months writing down ideas (and even mini business plans for each of my crazy ideas) and made lists for myself on what really got my excited and happy.

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I didn’t have very much experience in fashion (but I did love style) and since I couldn’t rely on anyone to teach me anything, I took matters into my own hands and decided to go to a place that I thought had lots of work and could give me the opportunities I was looking for. I packed up a bag and moved to LA for a couple of months and lived in different friends’ living rooms while I assisted celebrity stylists, celebrities and magazines for free to build my resume. I worked all day, everyday and hardly had time to socialize and have fun. I then moved back to Chicago and started from the bottom there, trying a variety of styling gigs before finally starting to book my own jobs (and be the lead stylist). My main point here is that I came up with some ideas that could help me get to where I think I needed to go and then I did whatever I could to get me there. I was humble, driven and never thought that I was too good to do anything – if I was assisting and was told to dry some clothes in a basement for 3 hours and wait for the clothes to dry (literally, waiting next to a dryer, dry clothes), that’s what I did. Don’t get me wrong, there were some up-sides to the assistant life – meeting celebrities, the beautiful designer clothes and the ridiculously expensive jewelry I was handling but that’s just part of the job – and there are many, many parts to a job.

There were certainly lots of periods of self doubt and times where I worked so hard that I didn’t have time to shower, eat or go to the toilet. As I look back now, all of the hardships, hustling and work paid off because I now have a portfolio and can proudly call myself a great wardrobe stylist. There is something truly amazing about working for yourself – I don’t know if it’s because it’s your name, your reputation that are completely on the line when it’s your own company and that every second you work actually benefits you 250% more than working for someone else. Let’s not also forget that the drive, motivation and satisfaction that you derive from working for yourself is truly astronomical and so SO so satisfying.

I’m writing this post because it’s a good way to remind myself, how I became successful in something that I could never have dreamed would have taken off the way it did (in my last case, styling), and how I should take my story and apply it to the new things I’m adventuring in. My next adventure is driven by my huge desire to express myself in the blogging and publishing world. I started this blog because I feel that I have so much in me that I want to express, share and show the world – and I’m literally going to burst with excitement and energy. I know that I need to put in the hard work, write everyday, not be embarrassed about telling people that I am (indeed) a Blogger…and in some ways, follow the lessons I learnt in my first business. Saying that, I truly believe that if you really want something and you put in the work, then you will (at some point) achieve your goal.

Lessons from starting my own business:

  1. Working for yourself is wonderful – from the creative freedom, to the joys of each success, somehow feels way more satisfying than working for “the man”.

  2. Success takes time, effort, dedication and hard work….and some hustling.

  3. Never, never give up (Thank you, Winston Churchill)

  4. As Steve Jobs said, “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

To take my own advice and HUSTLE….if you like what you see, then please SHARE (below) this post, comment, like my Milk Stripes Facebook page and enjoy my photos on Instagram!

Have you thought about starting your own business?  Wanted to make a career change? What were your experiences like?

Naima

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Learning from Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal

May 8, 2014 27 Permalink

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Yesterday was a great day. It was packed with meeting designers, researching and writing…and I capped it off with seeing a live interview with Sophia Amoruso – CEO and creator of Nasty Gal. I featured her a few days ago as someone to know about and after meeting her the other day (did you see my Instagram?!) and then hearing her speak about her new book #GIRLBOSS, I wanted to share the interview with you all.

She’s quite sweet, slightly awkward but very real, open and candid about her strengths and weakness. It’s inspiring to hear from a woman who once wanted to smash capitalism but learnt the hard way that capitalism wasn’t going anywhere, so she decided that she wanted more out of life and is now a “happy leader of a big company”. In all the interviews that I’ve watched, she has been consistent about how her success has come from sheer hard work and shameless hustling. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because her style and brand is ‘edgy’ and maybe doesn’t fit your personality, that her story or book isn’t for you because you’ll be wrong – this book is more about inspiring women to take charge and create the life that they want, whilst sharing her experiences/mishaps along the way.

I wanted to share a couple of quotes she made last night and also from other interviews:

“Everything you could possibly learn, is on the internet”

“You don’t get what you don’t ask for” 

“Fake it until you make it”

“Play up your strengths and be flexible when something doesn’t work – if something doesn’t work, change it up and try something else until it works”

Since you didn’t get to see/hear her, check out the (awesome) hotline she created as a marketing tool to promote her book, serving up some quotes from the book. Call 1-844-GIRLBOSS. It really is a number!

If you like what you see and hear, I recommend buying her book #GIRLBOSS!

Who do you find inspirational? I love hearing about inspiring or fabulous people so I’m all ears!

Naima