New York City Follow Your Dreams

One piece of advice for the new week ahead. Stop getting caught up in other people’s lives and just smile! You have one life to live so do whatever you can to make the most of YOURS. Write down and work on your goals, tell people how you feel, be open and honest with yourself and give more than you get. It’s hard to put yourself out there, I know it’s intimidating and scary but if you don’t live fearlessly, one day when you’re 80 years old you may regret not moving to LA and pursuing that acting job you wanted, starting that coffee shop you imagined owning, breaking free from old patterns/old friends/relationships, or texting that person that you care about right now. As I’m getting older I realize that I have so much more to do and that once you find your purpose, you will constantly be learning and growing from it. Have an awesome week everyone <3

Xoxo,

Lyss

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Spring Outfit Ideas In New York City: What To Wear

SPRING!!! 🙂 It’s officially springtime in NYC and the weather has been pretty amazing, so I’m not complaining. It was a cold and long winter, but the sun is finally shining and I am so excited to wear all of my spring outfits (finally!!!!)

One of the best parts about spring in New York is that there are so many trees blossoming everywhere in the West Village, Central Park, Brooklyn, and in all of the public parks. All the city shops are exploding with floral patterns and prints, the cafes are always crowded, people’s coffees turn from hot to iced real quick, and people are running around soaking in every first drop of sunshine 🙂

So many of you on my Instagram have been asking for the links to my spring outfits so I decided to link them all in one simple blog post 🙂 Happy shopping!

THIS MAGICAL PRINCESS DRESS…

Dress by Lovers & Friends

Spring in Central Park || Wearing Lovers & Friends

This flow-y floral maxi dress is a gorgeous pale blue color with pale pink roses. It is a stunning dress, perfect for day or night time, and I’ve already worn it 3 times in the last 2 weeks to special events and for my cherry blossom photoshoots. I am in LOVE.

SHOP THE LEAH GOWN

THIS SPRING FLORAL WORKOUT OUTFIT…

I am currently obsessed with anything floral (if you couldn’t tell by now!) and this workout set is the perfect way to kick off the spring season! I wore this to Central Park the other night for a run and I received SO many compliments. It’s not only adorable to work out in, but it’s super stretchy and comfortable for running and HIIT workouts!

SHOP THE LACE FRONT RIBBON BRA

SHOP THE LACE FRONT RIBBON LEGGINGS

THIS SUPER CHILL SPRING LOOK…

This outfit is definitely one of my favorite go-to sets when I’m just walking around the city and it’s a little bit chillier than usual! Sometimes spring nights can get cooler and this is the perfect kind of outfit to wear for that chilly breeze. It’s also SO comfy and there’s nothing better than being comfortable! Whenever I’m not shooting photos for work, I am in these kinds of sweats! 😉

SHOP THE STRIPED LEGGINGS

I couldn’t find the leggings in white on the website but they are linked in navy blue, which I also adore!

SHOP THE JEAN BUTTON DOWN

The sneakers are from Coach but they were on sale a while ago and I can’t find them anywhere online!

 

THIS SPRINGTIME JUMPSUIT…

Hands down the best purchase I’ve ever made. I’ve worn this jumpsuit twice already and it’s perfect for rain or shine.

SHOP THE JUMPSUIT

 

THIS CHERRY BLOSSOM MINI DRESS…

I bought this dress specifically to twirl around and take photos with the cherry blossoms all over New York City! I love how elegant and detailed the dress is. It’s so so cute and I will definitely be wearing it a lot more this spring 🙂

SHOP THE PINK DRESS

THIS CUTE AND CASUAL SPRING LOOK…

This is another simple go-to outfit I put together for an everyday look in the spring. Since this day was 80 degrees, I wore my fave jean shorts and a graphic print bodysuit. I love bodysuits because they’re always fitting and tuck well into shorts! I’m also wearing the most adorable baby blue beanie from Urban, but it’s unfortunately not available online (only in store!)

SHOP THE JEAN SHORTS

SHOP THE BODYSUIT

Let me know what you think of these spring outfits in the comments! I never considered myself a fashionista at ALL, but I love sharing the links and supporting brands I wear and love daily.

Xoxo,

Lyss

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What’s The Point?

What’s the point of starting a blog?

Everyone’s done it. The market is saturated. Blogging is outdated. No one will read it. My pictures aren’t good enough. I don’t know how to write or convey my thoughts. I just suck.

Those are the thoughts that ran through my head the first time I even considered starting my own blog. It was silly to me to even try, considering the amount of people who were already way ahead of me in the blogging sphere. To be honest, I LOVE to write and I always have had a sincere passion for it–but after reading countless others posts and seeing all of their beautiful photos that seemed effortless, I was afraid to even put myself out there to the world and TRY. It was fear that was holding me back–maybe because I cared so much about what other people thought of me, and what other people would say.

Growing up, I was teased a lot for my big nose, and I guess that was another reason I was partially afraid to put myself out there on the internet. As I got older, I learned to embrace myself a little more but still, it was tough to post pictures of my face. I also fluctuated with my weight a lot as a teen and into my college years, so I would go through phases where I felt really good and then periods of time where I felt like crap about myself. My last years of college, I started working out and going to the gym on a regular basis to build up my confidence and feel stronger mentally/physically, and that actually worked. I was amazed at how secure and happy I felt–running, lifting weights, drinking lots of water, eating right and just living life in a healthy and positive way. I would work out twice a day sometimes if I felt like it, and that really helped me clear my head and was a means of therapy for me for a very long time.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I think half of why people don’t want to start something new is because they think it’s too late to start, and the other half lies in insecurity and fear. At least these things are what made ME feel like I wasn’t capable of achieving my dreams–for years I felt this way and I was hesitant to do anything outside of the box, because people told me it wasn’t possible. That being a singer, an actor, a radio host, a model, a BLOGGER–as a full time job, was just plain unrealistic.

Maybe it is unrealistic. It’s unrealistic to someone who is constantly negative about their outlook on life. It’s unrealistic to someone who doesn’t believe in his or her self, and is projecting it out on the world. It’s not reasonable to dream big when you’re so trapped inside of a dark bubble of pessimism that you can’t ever see that there is never a goal that is too big. My motto: if someone else has achieved it, remember that it CAN BE DONE. It is possible if you work your ass off and stay focused, and positive, and strong throughout the entire journey. You will also need a lot of patience, dedication and preparation for failure along the way. No success comes with a smooth road–there will be lots of bumps and unexpected turns involved! 😉

Anyway, back to my first question. What’s the point of starting a blog? The point is that this is your outlet. No one owns it but you. You don’t rely on the power of a huge corporation like instagram or youtube to stay in tact. You own your blog, and that’s your outlet for creativity, content, expression and art. You can be whoever you want to be, post whatever you want to post, and use it without expectations of an algorithm affecting your work. A blog is an open opportunity to start your own online business without the fear that it could die out. It can only grow, get bigger, and better if you put your 150% into it every single day. It’s also just fun to upload tons of content without a necessary “limit” capping off your photos and text. You can write as many articles as you want, as many thoughts as you have, and it all sits in one organized place that you own the full rights to.

It’s never too late to start. Some people may say it is, but those people are always the ones who are too afraid to go for it 😉 And this goes for any dream job you want. Whether you want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, write a best-selling novel, or own the world’s best cupcake shop, the sky is really the limit. We have SO much to live for and such limited time, so why not just do what you love, all day every day?

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Living with PCOS and Why I Went Vegan

Hi everyone! Bare with me since I’m currently in Dubai and it’s 2 AM here. I can’t sleep and this blog post may have a few typos or unnecessary words, haha.

So as (some) of you may know, I have completely transitioned into a vegan lifestyle, and I often get the same questions about it:

  1. Why are you a vegan?
  2. What differences have you noticed after being vegan?
  3. What made you transition?
  4. How long have you been a vegan for?
  5. What do you eat daily?
  6. Do you get enough protein?

After debating whether I should make this post or not, I decided I feel strongly enough about my lifestyle to fully discuss it and be open and honest with my followers. I know a lot of you may disagree or feel strongly about another lifestyle, which I respect. I honestly refrained from writing about becoming vegan simply because I feel that everyone is super quick to argue against it and attack others if they live a different type of way. I am not here to criticize other lifestyles, I am just here to share what mine is about. 🙂

The Short Version of my Story

  1. I’m vegan for a few reasons. I love animals and I have such an emotional connection with all of them and any kind, so I don’t wish to eat them anymore. I also love the health benefits it provides, as meat and dairy always made my stomach hurt and I was constantly bloated/sick after eating them. (more details later in this blog post)
  2. The differences I’ve noticed after being vegan are amazing! I used to have a ton of health issues and now I feel so much healthier. I never get bad stomaches, my skin is always clear and smooth, and my hair is much thicker and healthier. I feel more energetic and happier eating vegan foods.
  3. I had a lot of health complications and that was the ultimate reason I decided to try becoming vegan. After I tried it out, I started educating myself more on the benefits of it and more about the whole process of where meat and dairy comes from, and it made me realize this was the best choice for myself.
  4. I have been fully vegan for a year now.
  5. I eat SO many amazing and delicious foods. What people usually don’t realize is that you can make almost any food in a vegan version. And usually it will taste just the same if not better. Some of my go-to meals include acai bowls, avocado toast, rice with veggie stir fry, veggie cheese-less pizza, quinoa, salads, tofu, veggie burgers, baked sweet potatoes and baked fries, avocado / cucumber sushi rolls, pasta with tomato sauce, etc. The list goes on!!! There’s so many options when going vegan. I eat lots of delicious but healthy carbs.
  6. I definitely get enough protein being a vegan. Green veggies like spinach, kale and broccoli have protein, as long as you eat enough. I also get my protein from things like all-natural peanut butter, cashew butter, hummus (chickpeas have lots of protein!), and my faves for lunch/dinner: tofu, seitan, tempeh, mixed with veggies — all valuable and major sources of protein. Chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are also a great way to get some extra protein in as well.

 

My (Very Personal) Long Version Story – Living with PCOS

From my point of view, I grew up in an Italian household and my diet consisted of meat, fish and dairy foods daily. I couldn’t remember a day I didn’t eat chicken as a kid. Chicken parmigiana was one of my favorite homemade dinners that my mom used to make for me a few times a week. So to say I’ve “seen the other perspective” is an understatement. I also judged vegans and said it was “silly” to eliminate all meat, fish and dairy because there was no real way of getting enough protein from just plants. My doctors convinced me that my diet also had absolutely no factor in my growth and development as a child, which I will elaborate on in the next paragraph…

As a teenager, I experienced a TREMENDOUS amount of hormonal issues that doctors could never pinpoint or give me straight answers about. When I was 12, my skin started to form white patches all over my face that were dry and itchy, and looked very strange. I also developed cystic acne all over my back, which was painful and difficult to control. When I confronted my doctor about these ongoing issues, they assured me it had nothing to do with my diet and lifestyle habits, but they could never tell me what the root cause of my skin issues were. At this age, I knew nothing about hormones and how they control majority of skin issues, especially on your face. All I knew was that “doctors know best” and they would prescribe me the right medication to fix everything.

After those skin issues, came a ton of other hormonal problems. My doctor informed me I would probably get my period by the time I was 13, based on my body development. Flash forward to 3 years later, I was 16 when I got my first menstrual cycle (which is super late) and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. 2 weeks before I got my first period, I was sitting in my bed and I felt a sharp, knife-like pain stabbing at my ovary. I was doubled over in the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life and had no idea what was going on. My mom rushed in and I explained what I was feeling, and she immediately knew what it was because she had dealt with the same issue as a teenager. I had a huge cyst erupting on my ovary. The pain lasted about 30 minutes before it completely subsided.

After this incident, I visited the doctor who performed a pelvic sonogram and informed me that a cyst had burst on my ovary and had caused me that excruciating pain. “Will that happen again?” was the first question I had, and all he said was that some people’s “genetics” will cause cystic ovaries to occur, and since my mom had experienced them, I would most likely experience them often too. I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I was so scared to feel that type of pain again in just a few weeks when my next period would happen. The doctor suggested I go on birth control to control my hormones and eliminate the cyst issue as much as possible. Birth control sounded like a great plan at the time, considering the amount of pain I had went through.  I experienced at least 5 more cysts, one equally as painful as the next, before I officially decided to get on birth control to try to regulate my hormones.

After being on the pill for just a month, I already felt its side effects slowing down my body. My PCOS had worsened. I had less energy, I started putting on weight, I started developing more cystic acne on my face, and I looked and felt so unlike myself. I was so stressed out from taking the pills and dealing with how I felt, and balancing school and work on top of everything, that my hair started thinning and falling out. I was a total mess inside and out, but I kept taking it and hoping it would eventually balance everything out. 6 months later, I was about 30 pounds heavier and more drained than ever. The doctor said it was in my head and I was “doing” that to myself, but the hormones are artificial and played with my mood constantly. I was seriously depressed and felt horrible about myself. I decided to go off the pill after months of trying to make it work for me with no positive results.

After gaining a lot of weight and feeling lost, I googled more holistic approaches to treating hormonal imbalances and to suppress the PCOS symptoms. After countless articles recommending me birth control (no thanks), I found a case study from a university on the 4th or 5th search page. It was buried in between dozens of other links recommending medication to treat patients with hormonal problems. The study said that people who engaged in a healthy diet and cut out refined sugars and processed carbs, and exercised regularly, saw dramatic improvements in their PCOS symptoms. By cutting out sugar, and training their muscles daily, insulin levels were improved, estrogen levels were improved, and the symptoms of PCOS were reduced drastically.

I decided I would do whatever it takes to heal my body without medication. I started working out every day, eating wholesome nourishing foods, and I stopped eating sugar (my weakness). I also started eating lower glycemic carbs (carbs that spike sugar super high can alter your hormone levels and affect PCOS so they’re not the best!) I kept up this consistent routine every day for 6 months. Slowly but surely, things started to change. I was less tired, I had shed off the excess weight I had put on during birth control, my skin cleared up, my hair was growing thicker, and I felt just BETTER. Still, my period didn’t come for those 6 months, and I thought maybe I would have to go on birth control again or try a new medication in order to get it. I kept pushing back the idea of the medication because I was so against it – I knew it wasn’t the “answer” for me, somehow. I kept believing I was going to heal my body naturally.

After another month or so, I suddenly felt nauseous during class. I left class early because I was feeling so sick, and I ended up going to sleep as soon as I got home. The next morning, I woke up and I had gotten my period – naturally. For the first time ever in my life, my body just worked all on its own. I was in total shock and disbelief. How could this happen?! I thought, but I knew exactly how it happened. I had taken control of my health and with time, my body had healed itself through a healthy diet and a consistent exercise program. I was ecstatic.

To make a very long story short, after I got my period, my body continued to get it at the same time every month from that point forward. My symptoms of my hormone imbalance were gone– no more  fatigue, no more cystic acne, no more weight gain, and I most importantly felt more and more like myself. My cysts on my ovaries disappeared. I continued to work out daily and maintain a healthy diet and with that, I felt stronger and more powerful. I felt like for the first time in years that I was normal.

Every time I get my period now, it still makes me grateful and appreciative to know that I’m healthy, my uterus is functioning, my hormones are stable and, I’m going to be able to have children someday. Through this entire rollercoaster of my health, I decided going vegan and maintaining a vegan lifestyle is the best way to stick to a clean, balanced diet filled with lots of nutritious vegetables and protein. It works for me and it makes me feel amazing, so I enjoy it and I’m proud of it.

Needless to say, I don’t have anything against others’ lifestyles. I feel that although it is my job to share my story to the people who follow me, I don’t judge or look down upon others for choosing other lifestyles or habits. This was not a post to tell others what they should or shouldn’t do. All I can do on my end is inform and share my personal experience, and for those who want to take something from it, that’s great! Even if this story about my health and my journey transitioning into this lifestyle can inspire or help one person, I know writing this very personal post was worth it. 🙂

Xo,

Lyss <3

 

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Buying Followers, Likes, And Comments

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been seeing a ton of people posting about a new wave of influencers and social media creators that are buying their followers and also their engagement (likes, comments, etc.) on instagram. You may have also seen tons of instagram influencers and celebrities promoting “giveaways” and creating these loops on instagram to gain followers.

I’m going to address the whole “buying” followers thing first, simply because I think it’s one of the most painful things to watch as a creator who has been on the instagram platform for nearly 8 years. I started instagram as a way to document my lifestyle and it was my outlet to genuinely express myself and my thoughts. Over the years, it has become not only a great outlet to connect with millions of people from all over the world, but it has also become a full-time business and job for thousands of people including myself.

For the last 8 years, I have invested my entire life into producing content, interacting with my followers, marketing myself, shooting new projects, working with brands, building business relationships, and most importantly, turning my brand into a full-time career that has allowed me to do what I do. To see other people who just started their brands trying to cheat their way through the system is not only disheartening, but it’s also dishonest and morally just wrong. I don’t think anyone who buys their followers could be proud of something like that. That’s not hard work and dedication day in and day out – that’s just laziness and ultimately, a short-term plan that will get them nowhere in the long-term.

There’s no feeling of great success and achievement that comes with faking your audience. I wake up everyday with a feeling of such gratitude and pride to have come so far and to have been so patient through the process of so many years. While I believe that brands are becoming much smarter and educated when it comes to marketing using influencers, there are still a lot of brands that are learning how to work with influencers on instagram and many of them are scouting out influencers that have fake followers, likes, and comments. This ultimately will lead to a zero return on investment for those brands, which loses them hundreds or thousands of dollars. It’s downright scamming people if you are buying your engagement and then charging brands money to promote their products.

The other scam I would like to address are the current giveaway loops happening on instagram. When I initially saw them happening, I thought “what a cool idea – a great way to give back to my followers, and also expand my audience”. It turns out that this “cool idea” is actually just another way of essentially scamming people to follow you, and really has nothing to do with giving gifts to them. I made the mistake of joining a few of these a while ago, and I will never participate again. Sure, there may be a winner who receives some awesome prizes, but the truth is, in the long-run this is extremely damaging to your brand. People are smarter now and know that for the most part, these things are tricks to boost engagement, growth, and much less about the benefit of the audience. If you’ve participated in the giveaway loops before, you’ll notice that 50% the people who followed you will unfollow you because they didn’t win – and chances are, they won’t participate in the next one. Things I also noticed after participating in a few giveaways and experiencing this firsthand, is that my followers would get greatly discouraged and many of them would lose interest in me and my content. They also would find it as a great reason to unfollow my page because I was disrupting my professional content with tacky, unattractive “GIVEAWAY” images. For about a month after I stopped doing these giveaway loops, my engagement had cut in half and I had lost the value of my brand in not only my eyes, but in many of my followers eyes too.

One thing that HAS seemed to work in my favor is to just be genuine and stop caring so much about growing your brand, and start putting more into the people that already do follow you. Investing in my content daily, focusing on interacting with my audience daily, replying to comments and direct messages, liking and commenting on my follower’s own instagram pages just to put a smile on their faces…THOSE are the steps you can take to ensure you will grow your brand into something that’s long-term. If your content is superb and you’re a good, hard-working person, you will grow your brand, I can guarantee you that. You can NOT fake the grind. There are no “shortcuts” to real success. Remember that.

-Lyss

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A Few Of My Favorite Things

So I know this post is totally late after the holidays but I’ve been getting a lot of messages regarding what products I love and use. I decided to make a quick list of all my favorites things I think are worth the buy! 🙂

UNDER $150

Clarisonic Brush – I LOVE my Clarisonic and I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially those of you who love wearing makeup on a daily basis like me. I’m a makeup junkie, but foundation tends to clog my pores if I don’t wash my face really well, so I bought a Clarisonic a few months ago. The brush’s bristles gently remove all dirt, oil, and makeup residue from your skin. I use a makeup remover pad to wipe away the top layer of my makeup, and then I use the Clarisonic brush paired with a facial cleanser to scrub away the excess dirt and oil still stuck in my pores.

Click here to check out the Clarisonic.

 

Chunky Knit Blanket – Fun fact about me, I LOVE my throw blankets and I think they make any apartment or home extra cozy. I own about 10 of them, and drape my couch and bed with them. They add such a comfy feeling to any room, and this brand is one of my favorites.

Click here to check out the blanket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tommy Hilfger Boots– I recently bought myself a pair of these and I’m in LOVE. They are super comfortable, warm, and so cute. I’ve been wearing them a lot with black sweaters and leggings and they add just a pop of color. They’re also really good to style in fall or winter season, which is important living in NYC 🙂

Click here to check out the boots.

 

 

 

 

UNDER $100

Sephora Perfume Sampler – I personally love switching up my perfume every week and I don’t want to spend hundreds on individual fragrance bottles, so this set is perfect. It gives you a great range of “test” perfumes that each last about a week, and they’re so cute and tiny that you can fit them into your purse easily. My fave scent from this collection is the one by Elizabeth & James Nirvana. It smells bold but not too sweet.

Click here to check out the perfume set.

 

 

FujiFilm Instax Mini Camera – I carried this camera around with me this year and took the most adorable, spontaneous shots! This is the perfect camera for those of you who love printed “vintage” photos in an instant. I love being able to just snap a photo and have it print a second later. I pinned all of the little pictures to my bedroom wall and I made a collage out of them. This also makes a great gift for anyone who loves photography and doesn’t have an “instant” camera yet 🙂

Click here to check out the camera.

 

 

 

Let It Glow Beauty Box – This box is filled with amazing high-quality goodies. It is worth the splurge in my opinion. I love beauty boxes that honest bloggers have curated because it makes it that much easier to know what’s good out there! I love Marianna’s choices and this box makes a perfect gift for yourself or for a friend.

Click here to check out the beauty box.

 

Ale by Alessandra Bodysuit –

I am in love with cute bodysuits because they can go with so many different outfits! I also think they are super comfortable. Typically, I’d wear a black or white bodysuit with denim jeans, or with a mini skirt. I just ordered this one from Revolve, I think it’s adorable and I’ll wear it with a lot of different things. It’s still available in all sizes so get it while you can! 🙂

Click here to check out the bodysuit.

 

 

 

 

 

UNDER $75

 

 

Anthropologie Candle Set – If you didn’t know this about me, I am OBSESSED with candles. I own about 20 different brands from Anthropologie and I love making my apartment smell like a cozy heaven. That’s why these candles are amazing! They come in 4 different scents and smell so so good.

Click here to check out the candles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – I have a ton of you asking me about my skin and what I use for my foundation. I love medium coverage (not too light, not too heavy) and I have been loving this foundation recently to do just that. It’s a soft matte foundation that covers up everything super well and it has a really nice finish.

Click here to check out the foundation.

 

Classic Denim Shorts – I own about 30 pairs of different jean shorts. They go with everything!!! These are perfect for everyday basics if you are lucky enough to live somewhere warm. I typically pair my jean shorts with a cute bodysuit and high-top sneakers or comfy wedges.

Click here to check out the shorts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNDER $50 things I LOVE

Constellation Layered Necklace – soooo cute and a subtle statement piece.

Click here.

 

Cute Plaid Scarf – perfect to compliment any basic outfit and it’s on sale!

Click here.

 

Mini Chain Backpack – perfect for carrying the essentials (phone, wallet, makeup). I bought this on sale a week ago and I LOVE it! It’s adorable and good quality for the price.

Click here.

 

Elizabeth & James Dry Shampoo – this dry shampoo is my FAVORITE and I can’t buy any other brand after using this. It smells like delicious floral perfume so I don’t even need to wear actual perfume.

Click here.

 

I hope you all enjoyed this post! These are just a few of MANY things I love. I also love the ability to support other brands, bloggers and companies. Let me know what other “things” you’d love to see – more fashion, beauty, fitness, etc. in the comments! 🙂

Xo,

Lyss

 

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When I Was Bullied…

If this story can resonate with at least one person today, I know it was worth writing. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and I’ve been reflecting on the past year and how drastically my life has changed. I have never felt more loved and connected to you, my audience, the people that follow along on my adventures and make everything possible for me day by day. If you knew how thankful I was that you’re even taking the time to read this right now…just seriously. It means so much to me.

This blog post is going to be about my story growing up and how I was never the “cool kid”. I was never in a clique, I never was the “popular” girl, or had tons of “cool” friends to hang out with. I was never invited to the cool parties, either. In my heart, even at a young age, I knew I was going to be someone special. I remember telling my mom at 10 years old that I was going to be someone extraordinary. Looking back, I realize I had a ton of confidence for a girl who wasn’t accepted by the popular crowd. But…needless to say, it wasn’t a smooth and easy ride through my school years. It was freaking HARD. I’ll never forget how it made me feel.

In high school…

I was bullied a lot through my teenage years. Some comments were about me being too skinny, some were about my nose and how big it was because it didn’t fit my face, other comments were about the way I dressed because I wasn’t the most stylish, and others were just people finding a reason to bully. It was the little things people would say to you as a kid that hurt the most even though now I can laugh about it…those little things seemed so big at the time. If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to just keep shining bright and keep doing exactly what I’m doing–being myself and owning it.

There were times when I would come home in tears because everyone got invited to a party and I didn’t. Or there was the time when I hosted a birthday party and 70 people RSVP’ed, and then not one single person showed up. I had set up an entire floor of my house filled with snacks, drinks, decorations, everything. And I waited for 2 hours…not one person came. I later found out someone who was considered cooler than me decided to throw a party over mine, and everyone chose theirs. I know these instances may sound ridiculously silly to some of you reading this right now (I’m smiling and laughing as I’m writing this), but trust me – when you’re 14 years old, these things hurt man.

In college…

College was a bit intimidating for me, but going into it, I was still super excited to start an entirely new chapter of my life. My university heavily focused on Greek life, and if you weren’t in a sorority as a girl, I thought it would be impossible to make friends. My heart was telling me not to join one, even though I had a ton of pressure to do so. I have nothing against Greek life and I believe for some girls it’s such a great way to connect and make friendships! But for me, I just felt it wasn’t my thing. It was hard for me to really dive into that world, and I ended up choosing to join a singing group instead. That group was the best decision I could have made for myself because I loved to sing, and the people were such amazing friends that I’ll always love for the rest of my life.

Needless to say, not joining a sorority came with a bit of a price. I was friends with a lot of the guys in fraternities (I’ve always gotten along better with guys. I grew up with two older brothers and it’s just my nature). Some of these girls in sororities at my college would talk so badly about me behind my back, and their words would always somehow find a way back to me through my guy friends. I knew about it, but I ignored it because I never liked to get involved in drama. I’m not a confrontational person. But the worst part was when these girls made a thread in Yik Yak about me. Yik Yak is a mobile app that connects people in a close area (it’s popular on college campuses), and it allows anyone to write in a forum anonymously. They would write things about me, blasting it to everyone on my campus, about how ugly and pathetic I was. They would also write the harshest things about my instagram. I immediately deleted the app after reading some of it, and I never downloaded it again.

A photo of me from college, and one of the first instagram “mirror selfies” I’d ever posted. Hahaha my leggings were awesome.

I think the way I’ve learned to get over bullying is to just tune it out and tell myself that I am making a positive and important difference in the world by being true to myself. It doesn’t matter if other people accept me, it matters if I accept me. Kindness will always overpower everything, and I know that by being loving, open-hearted and forgiving, I will ultimately have a better and more successful (and happier!!) life. I refused to let the words and actions of other people tear apart my worth, because I knew my worth and that was all that mattered to me. It’s still all that matters to me – and at the core of my foundation, there lies indestructible confidence and strength that I’ll always carry with me.

Over these past holidays, I was sitting with my parents at dinner and we were talking about my childhood. My mom looked up at me from her plate and said, “Alyssa, you were always very different, from as early as I can remember. You always did your own thing and beat to your own drum.” What she said made me smile because it suddenly reminded me of how I got to where I am today in the first place. I had overcome all of the bullying, the days where I felt lost, confused and like I’d never have friends or fit in with anyone. I pushed past the days where I felt alone, because deep in my heart, I guess I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. That I’d find my peace, and the right people to walk into my life, at some point and time. It was just a matter of patience and staying strong, but more importantly, staying TRUE to myself…however “nerdy” that may be 🙂

Xo,

Lyss

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