light and laughter in our darkest times


It seems like every day there is another horrific tragedy in this world, and each one feels closer and closer to home. I can’t read the news without feeling helpless, confused, and utterly heartbroken. It’s easy to want to retreat; the world feels so unsafe, so unstable. Living in NYC is a constant reminder of that. Though I didn’t live here during the attacks — in fact, I never saw the twin towers in person — my stomach drops when I pass the World Trade Center. It’s easy to forget that so many of New York’s citizens lost their loved ones, when we’re going about the daily hustle and bustle. But all of those names on the memorials and the flowers that mark them throughout the year’s visits — they’re a sobering reminder that the nightmare was real.

It’s easy to want to stay inside where you feel safe, to avoid traveling, distrust strangers. I wouldn’t blame you. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from New Yorkers, it’s that life must go on, even amidst tragedy. And life is worth living to the fullest. Fear may keep you safe, but it can also hold you captive.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m unaware or unconcerned. I think it’s easy to follow people online and wonder if they’re living in a bubble, completely unmoved by current events. I get that, because I’ll admit that there were times when I got on my own personal soapbox and implored my peers to use their platforms for something good, for some kind of change, when I didn’t think they were doing enough — something that’s really none of my business, because they very well may be doing that in their own private way (and that’s not snark — I truly mean it). Much like I mentioned in my recent post, our whole lives are not online. Some people choose to keep this a happy space. I have toed the line of keeping things light and keeping things real, but sometimes…it just gets a little too real a little too often, and I have to deal with it in my own private way. Sometimes, I really do want to keep this a happy space.

The fact is, sometimes you have to self care, to not let something affect your life to the point of inaction. And given my recent state of mind, I’ve chosen to embrace that notion and practice it as much as possible — to stay informed and involved but also give myself a disconnect. I read the news every single day. The very first thing I do in the morning is listen to NPR’s Up First and The New York Times The Daily, before I’m even done with my coffee — and that’s just my morning digest. I am always informed, always concerned, always trying to do my part to make some tiny pocket of the world just a little bit better, even when I’m not prattling on about it. But I get consumed to the point where it affects me a little too much, sometimes. When I’m going through my own stuff, it becomes even more consuming. I’m an already anxiety-ridden girl with crazy insomnia who has an ability to wrap herself up in politics and world crises and social injustices like it’s her own personal burden to bear. I don’t think that will change; I’m not even sure I’d want that. But I need a disconnect. I need carefree lunches with my best girls, road trips with my lil pup and impossibly optimistic life partner (he’s the sunshine to my raincloud). I need happiness. I need the surface, because sometimes going too deep feels like drowning.

That’s what certain pockets of the internet can sometimes feel like for me — the surface. I like that I can get real with you all when I need to, and then talk about skin care and beauty and dreamy dresses in the same week — because that’s what real life is like to me. Go down deep, come back up and take a breath. Repeat.

I guess what I wanted to say is that I, like many of you, am mourning for the world on a pretty frequent basis. But I’m going to keep with that New Yorker mentality and keep on keepin’ on in the best way I know how. If I can use this platform for good, you know I’ll do that — it’s a given. But if things feel light and bright on here and anywhere else on the internet, in your local cafes, or within your peer group, it doesn’t mean we aren’t acknowledging the state of the world. It might just mean that we need an escape — not from reality, but into our own reality, back up to the surface where we can catch our breath and feel a little sunlight on our face. Because if there’s anything we know for sure from all of these attacks, it’s that life is all too fleeting, and we should be enjoying every moment. When the world is full of darkness, that’s when we need a little light and laughter the most.

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  1. Thank you so much for adressing things like this (and in a positive way too). So many bloggers don’t, and to me it just makes them seem so shallow. That is why you are my favorite blogger, because you dont just write about material things.

    Again, thank you – all the way from northern Scandinavia.

    • Thank you, Danielle! I think a lot of bloggers are hesitant to cross that line, for business or personal reasons. It used to make me a little upset sometimes, but I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t mean they don’t care. Blogs are such a small snippet of someone’s life, and sometimes they want to keep it a neutral or overtly positive place. I get that, because it can be a lot. But I do think that we who have platforms should use them for something more substantial, from time to time:)

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Keiko! I feel the same way most of the time. I am similar in that I can sometimes get weighed down by all of the sadness of the world and the terrible things that happen.
    But I, too, try to hold on to the beautiful things, the things that make me feel peace and love. And I try, in my own small way, to make the world a better place. And sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it makes a difference, but if everyone did a little something to make the world a better place, then the world would get better. So anyway, all that to say, I agree and your sentiments are inspiring and quite the pick me up I needed after seeing the news yesterday.


  3. Thank you for being one of the people who want to put out light and positivity out in the world. I spend a lot of time letting the news feed my anxiety and letting my heart feel for those affected by tragedy. It can be all-consuming. But in the past few months I’ve also begun a personal journey of seeking my own sense of style, and it has been therapeutic. I think it provides balance in my life.

    • It sounds strange to some people but I absolutely agree that it can be therapeutic. This blog was born from that — I was in a horrible rut and state of depression, working from home and basically living in pajamas. Getting dressed and ready, even when I wasn’t going out, was a major mood booster. And documenting my outfits kept me accountable:)

  4. Gosh, Keiko, so well written, well said, as usual. I hope you never give up your blog. I have just started receiving your weekly roundups again (they just inexplicably stopped coming to my inbox for awhile). Your posts are always on target, just so honest and real. Thank you.

  5. That is true!
    Funny thing: I found your blog because of an old link from underbaraclaras.se, she posted back in 2009! Happy to have found you!
    Much love and have a lovely weekend- i sure will- inspirerar of the dark things of this world! Which leads me to again Thank you for the sound message of this post!