Thanks for stopping by! Here on BECOMING LOLA I share stories on becoming minimalist, as well as living a pure clean life as a style-obsessed digital nomad with a no BS approach to ethical fashion + travel. Grab a glass of wine and start here: Building A Minimalist Wardrobe.


Nov 24, 2015

how to make new female friends as an adult without admitting to feeling lonely

This whole minimalist lifestyle got me trippin. Once you strip away everything you clearly don't need, you start to see what you want is glaringly missing - like making new female friends after moving, traveling, shifting careers, dumping a boy, yada yada yada. I haven't blogged in almost six months, but every time I return with a completely new life experience and evolution as a human being, you, my dear readers, are there with your incomparable thoughtfulness and comments and stories to share. It's got me thinking - I should return to this blog and never leave again. You know why? Because this shit show we call the internet is where most of us grown folk find friends. We find kindred spirits, we catch up from time to time, comment on each other's blogs, retweet funny tweets, like each other's pretty pictures, and go about life feeling quite content having never met that strange person in real life. What a phenomenon right? I mean, you don't even have my cell phone number girl. But I lovedddd that yellow dress you wore last week, plus that inspirational quote you keep touting is totally bomb. You're like my ride or die friend. Just not in real life. Ummmm.

Think back to when you were little and made those first trips to the park or playground with your mama or papa (or both if you were so 1950s kind of lucky). At first, you probably clung to mom’s or dad’s leg with sweaty little palms. Hiding behind them for a bit gave you time to get brave while peeking around at the kids having fun. For me, taking the first step to making friends was scary. Especially when you're a minority living in a certain town that doesn't expect you'd be living there. And, now that I’m an adult it’s even harder! With all of our life experiences and maturity, why is it so hard to make friends once we get past the college years?

I’ve always been a bit shy, even though naturally I appear extremely outgoing and gregarious. I think a little introversion waned its way into my DNA by osmosis. When I was little, my three best friends were Bert, Ernie, and Big Bird. Screw barbie. She was for chumps. I’d spend hours laying in front of the television watching and singing along to PBS. I had the theme song memorized:

“Come and play

Everything's A-OK

Friendly neighbors there

That's where we meet”

But, where were these friendly neighbors? How could I get to this magical, happy street? I didn’t know how to get there and I was lonely.

Shit, I just admitted the L word.

After a few months of having the television monopolized by singing, dancing puppets, my mother got tired of me in the house. She shoved me out the front door into the sunlight of our front yard. I screamed and cried as if I was a vampire exposed to daylight. I banged on the screen door, but it was locked.

With tears on my little cheeks, and a pit in my stomach, I turned around to face the world before me. Children were playing up and down Cimmarron Street where we lived. They were laughing, riding bikes, and having fun. It was a lot like Sesame Street. But, I couldn’t figure out how to take that first step to meet them.

I don't know how you feel, but for me making friends as an adult is scarier than it was when I was five. I don’t have mom to give me that shove out the front door. I have to open the door and cross the threshold by myself and venture out into the scary world. This ain't your friendly neighborhood Sesame Street! Bitches be cray! And intimidating. And catty. And wayyyy too similar to Real Housewives. Can we go back to naive youth when having a bunch of males as your besties was totally politically correct? I did well with that.

And, as an adult, I know I carry a lot of emotional baggage that can make it hard to make connections with others. This baggage is filled with rejections and self-doubt I’ve gathered through the years. I’m like an emotional hoarder. So, in the back of my mind an inner timid child voice says to me:

“What if they don’t like you?”
“Don’t say something stupid!”
“Be cool. Don’t look like a loser.”
“Do I have spinach in my teeth?”

The truth is, almost everyone feels the same way at one time or another. And that feeling is called lonely, no matter how much you deny it or allow the stigma to embarrass you. It doesn't mean you’re completely forever alone or weird and neither am I. Well, let me retract. You might be some kind of weird if all you care about is becoming a top blogger and getting free shit and mirroring the life of your "idols" while forgetting to live for yourself with actual morals and values and a 50year plan because blogs don't pay a pension or bring you genuine love. Now that's weird. Alas, I digress. Adults are just little kids in big bodies. We’ve become even more guarded over the years. We’ve forgotten how to just open up to and accept others. We judge and others judge us. We get just as scared. And when you start to think about it, what's the perfect playpen for freaked out adults with disposable time but no disposable courage? The goddamn internet. You little lurker you.

So, how can you make friends when you’re an adult

Well, every person and situation is different. Making yourself available to the possibility of new friends is the key. Clearly you’re not going to make new friends if you never step foot outside your own home and comfort zone. New friends don’t usually just come knocking…and if they do, you should probably keep the door locked! (I mean honestly, does anyone ever use the "just wanted to see if I could borrow some sugar" line in real life) Shove yourself out the door, like my mom did to me. Lock that door behind you and take that first step as often as possible.

Not all occasions or social settings are created equal. Don’t limit yourself to the same kind of friend-making opportunities, like bars and parties. That might have worked in college but it’s not as easy as you get older. Take advantage of settings where people are open, happy, and giving of themselves. Volunteer groups, book clubs, and sporting events can be great places to meet people who may be there to make friends too. And, with a common interest or goal to spark a conversation, you’re one step ahead.

Check this out. Here are three humble and over simplified tips I’ve learned that have made it easier for me to make friends since college:

1. Eyes on the Prize (not the phone): Don’t make yourself less approachable. Keeping your nose constantly in your cell phone may make YOU feel less awkward, but it makes it really difficult for people to talk to you or even believe that you're capable of having a conversation. And, if you're making progress in a game of Candy Crush, you're likely to come off annoyed if interrupted by a potential friend. Unless you’ve got some super amazing new phone that might be a conversation starter, keep it put away as much as possible. I know, I know. Easier said than done. As a social experiment I will walk into a busy Starbucks in the Village and time myself to see how long I can sip a cup of coffee and ...make...actual...eye contact with other humans! Wow, do they give away Nobel prizes for that? Talk about hard work.

2. No SWI's (Socializing While Intoxicated): Be careful with the alcohol. This isn't a Jamie Foxx video doll. A little bit may relax you and make you less tense. But, one drink too many and people may avoid rather than approach you. And, when you're intoxicated, you aren't really getting to know the other person and they aren't getting to know the real you. You may be really disappointed in the friend choices the "drunk you" makes.

3. Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: Check out what your body language may be saying to others. Facial expressions and the way you carry yourself lets others know if you’re likely to reject them. And, no one wants to be rejected. Also, look out for whether you have "bitch resting face" or the opposite "creepy, awkward smile". Of course, don't forget to breathe. Tensing up makes you look like you need to find a restroom rather than a friend!

4. Be the Genuine Article: Don't try to be someone you're not. The adult person you are now is interesting enough to make and keep friends. If you're nervous, or think you'll be boring, plan ahead. Think of some interesting topics or stories that might fuel a conversation. Remember, "you is kind, you is smart, you is important". You will impress others just based on the real you.

Finally, social media and the Internet are great tools for making or maintaining contact with friends. However, you're trying to break that cycle of staying at home. You want flesh and blood friends rather than virtual friends. Remember, Cyberworld is not your adult version of the playground. You need to meet people face to face and make those emotional, mental, and physical connections. Don't allow yourself to use the ability to hide behind your monitor as a crutch. I learned to make new friends after college and so can you. Get out there and give it a shot. Being an adult is hard enough and no one should have to do it all alone!

Tell me in the comments, are you rocking it out making adult friends left and right or is it an uphill climb? And don't forget, you can come join the only app for women to make female friends with custom matching over here!


Oct 8, 2015

what if I think dressing like a French girl is bullshit?

me pictured above trying to look as elegant as naturally possible with a bad weave and unruly boobs

Hear ye, hear ye. 

Come let us gather and cast the first stone. The blogosphere needs an intervention. French minimalism is out of control. Yes it's effortlessly chic, transcendent, iconic, superior, and I hear one glimpse upon Parisian street style can even cure cancer, but who cares for all that! Who the heck are these girls anyway that are completely and utterly idolizing the French style of dress, going on and on with posts like this or this one here? Oh, those are mine. Well, I'm a woman and I have the perogative to change my mind like Britney Spears said. And she's one smart cookie. Plus, didn't she look killer back in the 90s rocking red latex catsuits and denim on denim bustier gowns? See, Americans have style that speaks for itself - interventions warranted or not.

When I was a naive teenager, I would buy some French fashion magazines from the Publix grocery store. I'd take them home and "oooooh" and "aaaaah" over the flawless spreads. I swore when I grew up I'd always dress like the Parisian models. Who wouldn't want to be one of those wafer-thin, stylish beauties? Wait....did I say wafer? Yummmmm vanilla wafers! My body and tastes have changed over time, and a southern banana pudding sounds more appealing than a classic silk blouse.

So now, I steer clear of the French fashion je ne sais quoi, because frankly it's...BULLSHIT. I'm American. I need to be able to gain new-relationship-weight (what I call the "BF20") without fear of being deported. I have breasts too. Grapefruits, not lemons. 

This is anatomically foreign to French women. I should be thankful they love their jackets open and swinging because trying to button my knockers into anything is like getting two toddlers into a car for school in the morning - it rarely happens willingly. Then there's the whole problem of me being born black. Ahhh. Have you ever seen extensions mimic perfect bedhead hair without two hours of work and enough product to become an in-flight terrorist threat? I think the time has come to knock the damn French heroine off her pedestal and embrace our second-best nature. They can't possibly look that good all the time right. Let me intercept with my somewhat feminist coded anthem of American style. It ain't too bad.

Jun 18, 2015

6 minimalist magazines for an ethical, eco, conscious lifestyle

Let's keep it short and sweet shall we! I don't want you getting bored to tears here on my blog that you lose interest in checking out these pretty awesome rags. As we in the "industry" like to call it. I tease, that's so 90s! But anywho, some of these you definitely might have come across, others not so much. I'm happy to be the middle man. Or your ethical, eco, minimalist magazine dealer. Woo hoo! Get to reading. Listed in no particular order. Okay, besides descending. I did notice that!
1 comment

Jun 16, 2015

is fast fashion the new terrorism?

And if that title made you spit up your coffee like a newborn spits up, well, pretty much everything, then consider how I almost wanted to question whether fashion in general is the terrorist culprit period. Fast or not. In honor of my very contemplative photo above, I'll think before writing in stone.

Don't wince or leave me yet. I know you rather refresh your Facebook feed twenty times consecutively than hear anything about anti-shopping, but give me a chance. A little food for thought if you will. Because, dear readers, I have grown quite close to you and your intelligence levels. So if I can't brain dump with you, I've got no one!

The oh so bittersweet relationship between our purchase decisions that we make and the loss of life after the Rana Plaza tragedy, is becoming abundantly clear. If you've have yet to hear about this now record-breaking ordeal, the collapse of the Rana Plaza building is the deadliest industrial disaster to hit the beleaguered South Asia region, and has resulted in three times the number of deaths that devastatingly took place during the Tazreen Fashions fire just five months ago. Despite all of the chest thumping when this disaster occurred, nothing has really changed in the race for trendy, yet cheap, clothes. History is repeating itself; all for a $10 dress that makes us feel pretty and cute and somewhat prepared for speed dating night.

What's that I hear? You can't afford to shop anywhere else but Forever 21, H&M, the Gap, and other similar store? Let's get serious for a moment, we can live without the latest fashions. We don't need all those new things, at least not at the rate that we are consuming them. Most of the stuff that buy, we wear once, if at all. Don't try to deny it, we did the polls and we got the numbers. Ok no one did any polls or did any number crunching on this here blog, but I swear, I have heard statistics buzzing. And let me tell you a little story.

Having gone through a fresh breakup, weight changes, job changes, new city, THE WORKS, I was really ready for a new wardrobe. Just because. I thought I was entitled and deserved one. Life kicked my butt and retail therapy, so I hear, is the answer. Along with a mani pedi and some serious flirting. So what did I do? I hit up TJ Maxx and my favorite thrift shops, blew through money I barely had, and guess how many pieces still have tags on them? Can we say more than half. 

Sound familiar? Between work and a social life that is currently RIP status, I much prefer the uniform of P. Diddy circa 1997, just me in some Jersey sweatpants and a I'm-too-cool-to-care graphic tee. All the other fuss is just a facade and tv commercial marketing that won. Damn, my silly silly gullible brain.

May 26, 2015

beautiful places in the world to visit solo

And for a bit of bucket list envy..or rather, planning, here is a continually updated curated visual orgasm of the most beautiful places in the world to take a spa solo trip. Or bring a friend! Seeking to strike a cord with your summer travel plan indulgences. Come back Wednesday to remember you can explore the world's beauty for free, like I do.

May 19, 2015

10 ways to cure the exhaustion of a material girl life

Consider this simple question: How are you?

Yes, I'm back bitches! I mean that in the sweetest way. Like, as in you're the prettiest damn female dog on the block. Don't fret. But you know my motto, Monday is totally a #basicbitch.

I am here, never really left, and this post is dedicated to all of you who have commented and touched my heart, whether you're anonymous or not, I hope you are still here with me. My biggest wish is that I knew who all of you were because your story keeps me going, knowing I'm not alone in the feelings I feel sometimes. So please do comment again and leave your name if you're so inclined. 

I know its been a NY minute since my last post. Hopefully you have followed me on Instagram to know why. If not, what are you doing? Come join me cupcake! Short answer is I've been busy. Long story is, well, I've been busy dammit! Stop being nosy. I tease, I tease. Besides going through the national alienation crisis that we Americans call the holidays, I launched my first ever home decor collection soon after, moved 3 times, started a new relationship unexpectedly, and now here I am. I have reallyyyy been through the ringer. Can I get a clone now? But enough about me. Seriously, this is important to me. How the heck are you?

May 18, 2015

go for minimalist beauty, don't be a blinded makeup junkie

Note: This is just what I do now, or have done for years. I'll be back with a more eco, vegan, organic routine after some research and trying things out for a while.

Okay I had to check in with you because I'm going through yet another new phase. I finally care about my face. Like, you know, enough to spend money on it. Before it was all - hey, hey I have this genetically formed mirror into my soul that culturally requires utmost perfection at all times and I can get away with sunscreen cuz I'm black so isn't that good enough for now, must I line my lips too! - but now I feel its a fun part of my minimalist lifestyle journey to discover and explore vegan or organic beauty brands that help me wake up and look impeccably fresh with just five minutes of effort. I mean, isn't that all the time we have these days anyway? 23 hours are devoted to texting, so my gosh, make the beauty routine as minimal and harmless as possible.

Hedonism. Such a beastly thing to be born with. Or did I somehow acquire it by growing up in bourgeois neighborhoods and indulging in higher education? Who knows. But I must admit if there was a psychological condition called "make-up OCD", I would already be diagnosed and in rehab! I don't mind though, because I feel a bit of OCD helps in creating a workable make-up routine with a bit of, shall we say, high standards. It helps keeps me focused on simplicity and organization, and not be impulsive. So, a minimalist beauty routine makes things so much easier for me. But, this didn't come naturally. I had to learn and you can join me if you like. This is a whole new Kylie Jenner-ruled world for me and I'm just now jumping on the bandwagon.

After trying to keep up with tons of make-up products when I was a fashion rag editor, I've learned minimal is better. I stick to a great basic skincare routine now that I have found a beloved new facialist to call mine, and keep it to a few everyday make-up products. I also like to have at least 2 of everything: one for home, and one for my purse. By doing that, I never have to worry about touching up and not having what I need. It's that OCD thing I mentioned! Plus beauty is so cute in tiny packages.

becoming minimalist and why more is just more

UPDATE: This becoming minimalist post is back by popular demand. 

Since returning home from my first solo travel trip ever, I immediately fell prey to the "system" yet again. 

This time, the love of my life has seen the light and decided the system doesn't work for him either. So we are off to travel the world, leaving everything behind. This is how my minimalist journey started...


I'm a little fed up. I live in a country where I wake up every morning for the sole purpose of paying bills and taxes. Where my government officials wake up every morning to serve people, so long as those people deal them eight-figure checks under the table. Where capitalist conglomerate CEOs wake up every morning to ensure they're creating the absolute healthiest foods, safest drugs, and the most transparent companies on Earth. If they happen to turn over a tiny profit of 13.6 billion dollars, then hey, that's just a bonus. And who can forget the drones. Oh. No. No no, not the fly by night kind. The 9-5 kind. You know the ones. The sluggish drones who also wake up every morning complacent, fearful, and unfulfilled; plugging in hours at a job they loathe while penning a blog at night they hope will make them rich, perpetuating relationships they dream of having the courage to end, making bucket lists they have no business creating in the first place, and envying the lives of prettier, skinner, more famous [enter names here] while never acknowledging that [enter names here] detests their own lives too. Lindsay Lohan with a side of Amanda Bynes anyone?

May 7, 2015

i only own 139 things so do i know what is a minimalist now?

Why the hell did I try to become a minimalist anyway? I can barely remember when I was diagnosed. Just as text messages really do seem like a good idea while colorfully inebriated, so too did minimalism seem like a good idea to try at the time. Somewhere in between becoming a vegetarian, for like, the third time, and wanting to be the next Adele (my shower voice sounds like doves crying...and I imagine that's a good thing) it seemed like a logical next step in my quarter-life crisis.

But doesn't this minimal style thing seem like a co*kblocker to the good life? I mean lezzbehonest, a house isn't a home unless it wreaks of shit you don't need. Hoarding and conspicuous consumption extends way beyond granny's attic. Who doesn't love a good sale? You know the ones, where you come home with yet another set of glassware, two pairs of ballerina flats, and a gift bag filled with deluxe beauty samples that will sit and expire before your eyes. The linens upon linens, because well, just in case is much better than having only an adequate amount. Life isn't about adequacy, its about excess! Like at Thanksgiving when you go in for a fourth serving because you CAN, and the unjustifiable gassiness and burping is not sexy but who gives a damn, because you just conquered life in that moment, you showed life whose boss, all while gaining five pounds unnecessarily. The freedom of choice is to be abused, duh. All hail materialism! The real religion of this country. Except. Mama didn't raise no fool. I pride myself on intellect and having it be upstaged by peer pressure, cultural norms, media, propaganda, and down right clever advertising campaigns would be such a shame. What kind of legacy would I leave behind if 70% of my time is spent consuming?? Think about it...


Mar 16, 2015

confessions of a designer fashion label whore turned brand ambassador

Label whore.

No offense taken. I whore myself out several times a day, with no reward needed. I'm a voluntary slave to food porn without shame, because life is incomplete without endless chocolate scrolling. Heck, I was willing to sell my body for a puppy back in the day. I mean they are obvs the new accessory of the decade. So the thought that I would work a pole for a custom Birkin bag? You damn right I would!

Label whore. What a sweet phrase, carrying with it all the connotations of a brain dead shopper who swipes her plastic for pieces of the fashion pie simply because they are more expensive, trendy and high in status. Hello me! Or maybe not? After being suckered into purchases that made me one of the many faceless brand shoppers I was, for a time, easily offended by the slightest suggestion that I cared more about brand names than originality and personal style. My crusade, if left to its own devices, would have surely ended in a massive public bonfire where I ran around the flames like a bohemian rabid animal preaching on the evils of runway fashion and the trickle down theory. Okay, so I might be exaggerating a little, but the truth is, I had to come to terms with my brand preferences and that a little whorish ways isn't so bad when we realize the dud nugget who made up the term really meant "brand ambassador". In fact, I've come to believe that knowing and loving a designer brand is an excellent way to become a conscious consumer whom can authentically engage in, what can be, a highly superficial world. In simpler terms, I want to love, wear, and advertise for designers that reflect my values and tastes. And there is nothing that makes you a sell out for that. For example, I value ethics, fabric choices, fit, tailoring, simplicity and now minimalism. I think its important to shop local and to make lifestyle choices that are environmentally friendly. However, if I only fill my closet with shit that doesn't reflect any of those sentiments, I become a walking billboard for hypocrisy. So it begs one to wonder - what the hell are all those "top fashion bloggers" valuing when they wear everything from Anthropologie and J.Crew to Forever21 and Azzedine Alaia or Alex Wang mixed with classic Chanel all at the drop of a paycheck for their c/o shenanigans? Well, we may never know since their blog posts lack substantial thought, but I'll tell you one thing, they're redefining what it means to be a working girl. #justsayin


Mar 9, 2015

stop spending money on shit & budget in freelancing or launching a business

So this one time at band camp, this chick told me how she became a mega fashion mogul by pulling a total #RichKidsOfBeverlyHills by blowing all her daddy's money on sample sales, custom Birkin bags, and Mercedes Benz birthday gifts for friends while also running an online vintage shop and blogging about her style. I was like "b*tch please, that ain't real life!" And she was like nodding profusely, preaching about trust funds being the key to success. So I smacked her. Just kidding. I only locked her in the trumpet closet.

If that were a true story, it would mimic real life today down to the smack. Most of us classy ladies don't go around backhanding people, but we curl up our lips with disgust and envy when we see these dodo brains making six figures thanks to handouts while the rest of us can barely afford the higher-end ramen noodle brand at the corner store.

Don't be like them. Be smarter. Just stop spending your money on shit. Period. Or stop complaining. End of discussion. 

I absolutely promise you that what you think is necessary elements of humane living qualifies as arbitrary bullshit that you can slowly add back to the a la carte menu once you've conquered your dreams. It's really as simple as weight loss being calorie intake - high activity level. Stop playing a part and treating strangers to coffee at Starbucks for "business meetings". Stop paying for internet when its its free at Starbucks. Stop shopping weekly at that Zara around the corner from Starbucks! I learned the hard way how stupidly simple it is to afford starting my own fashion tech company and freelancing.
© Beconing Lola • design Maira G.