Monday, May 18, 2015

Street Style: My Campus Photo Project

All photos from Best Dressed Jeffs -- Amherst Street Style

Hello, hello! 

I am indeed alive, and I'm officially done with my first year of college.

Lately, it's been a frenzy of writing, studying, packing, not sleeping. Now that I've been home for a couple of days, I feel much more at peace. Huge thanks to the readers who tagged along despite my absence--I can't wait to interact with you all again.

I'm confined to my walking boot for another week and a half, so my latest outfits have been accentuated by the big ol' gray cast and a hot pink running shoe (to keep sole height balanced). Eclectic, yes. The refined eclectic? Not exactly. 

So in lieu of an outfit post, I present to you my favorite shots from the campus street style blog I started this year. It's called Best Dressed Jeffs (Amherst's mascot is Lord Jeff--don't get me started on this topic of hot debate) and it features students of all grades, and even some from neighboring colleges. You can read more about the blog's philosophy and see more photos of stylish students on the tumblr or facebook page.

As for other news, I'm going to be out and about this summer (traveling and working at an educational camp for kids), so my blogging schedule may be sporadic. I'll do my best to keep up, but there may be an influx of scheduled posts as I jet off across the world and country.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Broken Body, Strong Soul

dressing with crutches and walking boot
dressing with crutches and walking boot
topshop crop top
topshop crop top
Crop top, Topshop via Nordstrom | Skirt, H&M | Shoe, Forever 21
Photos by Alura Chung-Mehdi

Scheduled on 5/4/15

I almost named this post "Fragile Body, Resilient Soul" because I liked the vocab better, but then I reconsidered. The word fragile imposes a condition--it would imply that there is nothing I can do about these running injuries, that my body is just like this. Yes, I have encountered various ailments over the last few seasons. Yes, I have to be more careful. But more importantly, yes, I can run injury free--I've done it before and can do it again. My body is not fragile, it's simply broken right now. 

Wording can have a big impact on attitude--I'm always quick to correct my friends whenever they utter statements like "I'm a bad test taker," or "I'm a slow runner." While it's true that innate skill may vary, this wording doesn't allow any chance for improvement. It's resignation to a condition that has every potential to change with effort. Switching to "I've struggled with tests in the past," or "I can work on running speed" can make all the difference.

I also almost shed the crutches and boot for the entire post, but thought better of it. Yes, blogs are polished versions of our lives, but for me, shooting photos without all this hardware would've felt like a lie. The crutches and boot aren't pretty and make it more difficult to pose, but they're part of my life now. 

Life isn't always pretty, but pushing through the tough spots is most empowering.

Speaking of tough spots, finals week is almost upon us. I'll be pretty absent from the blogging world for the next week and a half, but I can't wait to catch up with you all once I've completed my first year of college. Leggo!

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Artsy Endeavors + Life Updates: Stress Reaction

20 miles later...{throwback}
 filled a whole journal for the first time in forever
 even rainy days can be beautiful
 mint tea mornings
 when your food matches your outfit
stumbled upon this gem on our morning run
photos from my instagram

Two weeks ago, I ran twenty miles straight.

Today, it's a monumental task to even walk to class. 

My relieved return to normal training was an all-too-brief reverie. Reality soon shattered it--after a few runs, I could barely walk without excruciating foot pain. 

Monday's MRI identified the culprit--a stress reaction of my 5th metatarsal. In an MRI, normal bones should show up black, but this one lit up white. Had I run any longer, the base of my toe might've fractured. The picture also revealed a very strained achilles tendon, which had likely been compensating for the weakness in my bone. 

I'm now confined to a walking boot and crutches, but that's the least of my worries. The physical pain pales in comparison to the emotional battle. After my last injury, I vowed to do everything right: I gently eased back into running, cross trained half my workouts, and continued to do strengthening exercises. I felt bad enough that I had fallen short of my goal once already. I felt like I was falling behind--I couldn't help but feel wistful as I scrolled through updates of old teammates competing in college cross country races, or completing full marathons in impressive times. I wanted to be them for those moments. I was angry at my body for failing me. I was angry at myself.

Similar emotions have definitely resurfaced. I feel incapable, frail, and embarrassed that I've fallen short again. What if I actually can't physically handle a marathon? What else can I do to prevent injuries if I'm training carefully, eating well, and sleeping enough? Why do I keep hurting myself?

But what's happened has happened, and I can't change it. I can only adapt. There's a tough road ahead, especially if I want to tackle another race in five months. But first, I have to take care of my body.

While the result of my second attempt is deeply disappointing, it wasn't futile. The workouts have led me to discover trails I had always dreamed of exploring. Rehab has allowed me to meet the incredibly kind and patient sports med team at Amherst and connect with other injured athletes. Training has pushed me to run the farthest and feel the fittest I have in my life.

It might look like a sad ending, but this story is far from over.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Mint Tea Mornings

fan fringe necklace
mason jar with tea
Sweater, thrifted J. Crew | Collared top, Mom's | Necklace, LucyMint | Pants, Old Navy | Shoes, Keds

Just a quick oufit post if reading about college decisions doesn't happen to be your cup of tea.

I actually almost spoke on choosing a college at a recent Amherst speech tournament, especially since the topic was completely open. I then realized how blatantly irrelevant and ironic it would be with an audience of college students and professors. Instead, I opted to do an extemporaneous (impromptu) speech, and while it wasn't great, I'm glad I took the plunge.

Earlier this week, I also voluntarily subjected myself to a 3-hour math prize exam. Like the speech competition, I thought that even though it was a little scary, it'd be fun. It wasn't fun, but it definitely made me think a lot harder.

I've been stretching myself a little thin with all these extra endeavors--while it's important to me to tackle intimidating tasks, it's also important to be realistic. School is intimidating enough sometimes. Luckily, the final stretch has begun--time to dig in and stride forward.

Also, you may have noticed some layout changes over the past week--I was so lucky to stumble upon Eve's shop, MangoBlogs, on Etsy. She sells some of the cleanest, most affordable designs I've seen--I picked up this design for only $9! While you can't customize the themes in the template editor, Eve was extremely willing to help me with coding changes. I highly recommend her if you're on the market for a new layout. Her sale ends tomorrow, so definitely take a gander soon!

Wishing you the most wonderful of weekends.

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