A Pop of Red + 10 Lessons Life Taught Me About Love and Relationship

A Pop of Red

I am a romantic, thus I enjoy and look forward to Valentine's Day. This year I originally planned on wearing a Missguided dress I recently ordered (yes it's that Missguided love affair thing again) for our dinner plans, but the current polar vortex passing through NYC required a different (warmer) outfit. Although I thought my dress was perfectly classy, sexy and stylish, it was not perfectly warm, and I do not enjoy being cold.  No sir!  

I went with these olive green pants, the frayed blazer from my last look and a grey blouse. To brighten the look and pay homage to the festive weekend, I added a pop of red with a small red purse. I love using statement accessories to make my outfits pop! 

Flowers for the lady :).

Blazer: Banana Republic,sold out, similar in brown available here BlackBoots: Nine West Red Chain Purse: Olivia & Joy, similar, here  Pants: Random Brand

10 Things I Learned About Love & Relationships

  1. Love is an action word. Your daily actions can mean a lot more to your significant other than words of endearment (although those matter too!) Remember to also show your significant other how much you love and care for them.
  2. A relationship sometimes requires negotiation and compromise. Two imperfect people coming together can create friction and conflict, which will sometimes demand some give and take to make things work.
  3. Practicing self-love is one of the most important decisions you can make. Loving yourself doesn't only affect your relationship with yourself, it affects how you relate to others and the standards you set for your life and your heart.
  4. "You have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em." Some people and relationships are worth fighting for and some are not. There are times it's best to walk away and there are times that you have to fight for what you want. If you're unsure, pray for the wisdom to know the difference.
  5. Appreciation goes  a long way. This bears repeating, appreciation goes a long way.
  6. A healthy relationship will add to your growth as an individual.
  7. Real connection requires vulnerability. Being vulnerable is scary for me, but it's been worth the risk. Plus, vulnerability requires courage and authenticity, two qualities I admire and want to embody.
  8. Making a relationship begins with two people making a decision to commit. "You do or you don't, there's no try."
  9. Laughter adds spice to life. Choose someone who you can laugh with and who makes you laugh.
  10. Cliche as it may sound, make communication a top priority in your relationships, and remember to listen. I promise you, the information you learn by listening more will surprise you and may also provide the insights that you need.

Cheers,

Nika

Roses and Rosé: Winter Rose Garden Party

Last night I attended La Nuit En Rose in NYC. La Nuit En Rose is a Wine and Food Festival dedicated to Rose Wine. Held at a secret warehouse in Chelsea (we were emailed the address just a few days before the event), the space resembled a rose infused garden. The main dining room ushered us into decadence with romantic lighting glowing from table lanterns and string lights and roses and rose bushes strategically placed at various points throughout the space. As promised, we were in the middle of a warm rose garden party despite the cold February weather outside. Guests were seated in the middle of the warehouse and surrounded by at least a dozen wineries to our wine tasting delight. My friend nicknamed the space "rose wine heaven."
How could I not agree?

While we indulged in wine tasting we also enjoyed delectable bites from local chefs and restaurants. The plantain salad pictured below was one of my personal favorites.

What I Wore

The invitation instructed us to wear white or pink in line with the rose garden party theme. I wore a Missguided white dress that I paired with a black fringe blazer and booties. I'm currently having a love affair with Missguided and recently purchased this dress. I plan to wear the dress in the warmer months without the blazer and tights. Don't you just love a versatile piece?

I had an amazing time. For upcoming La Nuit En Rose events in your city, check out their calendar of events.

Dress: Missguided, available here   Blazer: Banana Republic, available here  Booties (not pictured): Zara

Thoughts on My 31st Birthday

The last year brought about significant life changes and events, resulting in more introspection and self-reflection than I've done in a long time. If Zora Neale Hurtson was right then there are indeed, "years that ask questions and years that answer." The past year provided answers and insights, I did not know I needed. I close "my year of 30" a wiser and much more thoughtful woman and as always I embrace the future knowing that God's plans for me are to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11. Here's to 31! The number 31 is personally significant, because I've always admired the description of the Proverbs 31 woman. My goal for this year is to develop more into the Proverbs 31 woman. Below I share events, happenings, thoughts and lessons from my year of 30.

I moved back to New York:

A little over a month after my 30th birthday, I moved from L.A. back to my home city, New York. Two years in L.A. and three years in D.C. meant that it had been five years since I had lived in my beloved New York. I spent hours thinking about my decision to move back, unsure about whether or not I was making the right choice. I stepped out on faith and in hindsight, I am so glad I did. Everyday I wake up  with the reality that I am an Attorney, living in New York City, doing work that I find extremely fulfilling. This is the stuff that my dreams are made of. The journey to today was not easy, I worked hard and overcame a lot of difficulties. Given my journey, I am incredibly grateful to be able to do the work that I do and have a real impact on people's lives. This past year, I experienced tremendous professional growth and expect to continue to develop as I establish myself as an attorney in my favorite city.

I became an Aunt:

In April, my sister and brother-in-love welcomed the most beautiful and perfect baby boy, and I fell in love. Becoming an aunt has been nothing but joy. I will never forget the first time I held my nephew and looked into his bright eyes. When my mother placed the blanket on my shoulder and my sister handed him to me, I felt a rush of overwhelming love wash over me. Each time I look at his chubby little face or he smiles at me when I FaceTime with my sister, I melt. My nephew truly expanded my capacity to love.

On Vulnerability:

Last year I wrote that I was still learning the art of vulnerability and I came face-to-face with it in an intimate relationship. For me, we build trust day-by-day, moment-by-moment. It's slow and steady, and it takes time. Jumping into anything with both feet scares me. I am that person who must first test the water with one toe in before I jump, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. I am not saying this is the right way to do things or to love or to build relationships. I’m still trying to figure that out. For now, it’s the right way for me. Not too long ago, I purchased Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly, where she writes about vulnerability, among other things (I highly recommend the book, it contains a wealth of inspiration and lightbulb takeaways). Brown writes that you share your story with folks who have earned the right to hear it. I agree. For me, you share your whole self and your heart with the people who have earned the right to truly know and love the flawed and beautiful you. Yet, I also agree with Brene when she wrote that in order for connection to happen we have to allow ourselves to be seen, “really seen.” I am working on the timing and the trusting aspects of truly being seen. As you can probably decipher, this vulnerability thing is more difficult than I imagined, but day-by-day, I’m working it out.

Relationships:

I don’t know if it’s a part of getting older or just getting clearer about what I want, but today I am much more firm about the kind of relationships - both platonic and romantic - I desire than I have ever been in my life. I don’t expect perfection of anyone, including myself, but there are some non-negotiables like integrity, honesty, reciprocity and open communication. I understand and know I must also give those things in order to receive them. In truth, I have always valued depth in my most personal relationships so here’s to more deeper connection and authenticity.

My year of 30, as I lovingly peg it, brought tremendous growth; this was not always easy. I cried real tears, at some times, lots of them. I experienced hurt and pain and moments filled with unanswered questions. Thankfully there were much more moments of real and hearty laughter, and authentic connections, special moments where I gave and received love and moments where I asked questions and got the answers that I needed. More importantly, I am tremendously thankful and grateful. Looking at all that I achieved, the things that I have been blessed to do and the people I am able to impact are all sobering for me. I am truly blessed. I took a moment today to reflect and say thanks. My life is far from perfect, but life does not have to be perfect to be beautiful, and each day I am learning to revel in the beautiful imperfections of life.

I enter 31, optimistic and with the faith that "All things work together for good...."

Cheers,

Nika