Obedience

What a week. I got back in town on Thursday and hit the ground running back to work. With so much happening on the East coast and in Arkansas I haven't had time to sit down and write. It's Saturday morning at 10:10A and I'm ready to get back to my 2017 goal of publishing daily. Stick with me because I've got a few scattered thoughts before I get into what is on my heart today.

My first thought – Have you ever noticed that when away from the office everyone automatically thinks you're on vacation? Let me put those rumors to rest and say that couldn't be further from the truth. Now, what everyone sees on social media is the fun, high points of travel, but it isn't always "fun." 12-16 hour days are a lot when away from home.

My second thought – Coffee isn't always the answer. Just plain and simple. I didn't add this to my goals for 2017, but I think I'm going to cut back. It dehydrates, and for me personally, I drink 4-6 cups a day. I'm not sure that's healthy. Can someone give me insight on this?!

Anyways, moving on to today's topic...Obedience. The past few weeks I've really been looking at what it means to be obedient to myself and what I've been given. I've gone my entire life making choices to please others and ultimately sacrificing myself. Sacrificing opportunities, sacrificing relationships, sacrificing career moves even, all because I thought I needed to take the heat for myself and others. Sacrificing is in short an act of surrender. It's an act of saying, "I give whatever I'm holding to someone else." Usually, a sacrifice results in death.

Let's bring this home a little. At points in my life, I've sacrificed a career move for something more stable or sacrificed a relationship for something a bit more comfortable. Sacrifice, at times, seems right. It seems like the right option, it seems as though we should reward ourselves for sacrificing something we want for something we know we need to do. However, I'm not sure this is the right way to look at it. We are never short on opportunity. Regardless of who you are, where you came from, we are never short on opportunity as individuals. Sometimes we sacrifice opportunities for others, but what about if we just obeyed and let God lead? If we look at the story of Samuel in the old testament, he gives us some very insightful information about sacrifice vs. obedience.

"Samuel replied, “Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. He is much more interested in your listening to him than in your offering the fat of rams to him." – 1 Samuel 15:22

If that's not spelled out, I don't know how else to make my point. God simply wants us to act in obedience with what He's put in front of us. Stop sacrificing things that don't need to be sacrificed. Simply move forward with what He's put in front of you. For me this brought freedom. It brought a sense of peace knowing that my simple step in the direction of His obedience puts me at the center of His will and purpose for my life.

Whether it's a career move, a relationship, a family issue, just obey. Do it. Don't think. Simply move forward in the direction God has laid out. It's much better than sacrificing that opportunity for something a lot less fulfilling.


Enough of the heavy stuff. Here's so photos of me in the snow! Thank you, Brian J Green!

 


Arkansas Hotel Series + Take Me Back to NYC

This #FollowFriday goes to Ian Crumm and HYATT Herald Square. I photographed these two while I was in NYC for Fashion Week in February. As I'm gearing up for my Best of Arkansas Hotels series, I'm going back through shoots to get some inspiration! For my Arkansas Natives, or those who have traveled through Arkansas, what are your favorite hotels? We've got some gems in this State (no pun intended) and I want to know what they are! Comment below and let me know. 

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! Get out and enjoy the weather!

-Mason

Blogger: Ian Crumm
Hotel: HYATT Herald Square
Photographer: Mason Kesner


What I Learned From Fashion Week FW15

The last two weeks of my life have been the craziest I’ve ever encountered. Remember the first time you ever thought your life was crazy? Remember what that felt like? Then you approach an even crazier time in life and you begin to realize that life is just one crazy train that just so happens to stop at different stations along the way. Just in 2015 alone, I started a new job, added two huge clients, and I’m attempting to write a blog that maybe someone besides my grandma will want to read. 

When I landed in NYC all of this was pulsing through my brain. “Where will I end up?” “Is this really what I should be doing?” “What if no one likes my photos?” “I don’t think I’m crazy enough to be at this show.” This season was very different for me. I went with the intention of gaining content for my blog and photographing other bloggers. I’m proud to say that I did that. I learned a few things this week that will be sticking with me for a while. I’d like to share those with you in hopes of inspiring someone else.

1. THERE IS NO REPLACEMENT FOR AUTHENTICITY.

You be you. Over there years this has been one of the hardest things for me. I’ve conformed in so many different ways over the years. It pains me to look back and see what I missed out on because I wasn’t truly myself. The best version of you – is you. It has taken me a long time to figure this out. I realized during Fashion Week it is so easy to get lost in the hype and the glamour. It’s easy to look at someone and wish you were as influential (or stylish) as they are. God gifted you with everything you need to be successful. Don’t waste time trying lower yourself to someone else standard of beauty.

2. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THOSE WHO "GET-IT."

This one is easier said than done. I had several meet-ups with old friends, new friends, people I liked, and others I didn’t. Find those that aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. In any industry, relationships are the key to not just success, but survival. When you add value to the relationships you are in, something magical happens, it’s called genuine friendships.Those friendships are what will elevate you, not because you’re using them, but because they are nature and authentic. 

3. "JUST DO IT."

The Infamous Nike slogan. We’ve all heard it, yet how many of us quote it but don’t actually follow through? I’m not talking about YOLO. These are two different things that many get confused about. So What do I mean? This year I had the chance to sit on the sidelines and watch my friends do incredible things. I also had the chance to participate in those things. Every opportunity will lead to something. When the thought of NYFW came across my mind, I didn’t even hesitate. I went. I just did it. Because I did, my world has forever changed. You might have also heard, “Don’t let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game,” I’ve never thought this to be more true than this season of my life. To some extent, I’m not even thinking, I’m just going. At any age, you’ll never get back time you could have used to do something great. I had an english teacher in high school who was an incredible influence in my life. She would always say, “what are you going to do with this moment, because you can never get it back.” She’d then pause and say, “you just lost a second, what are you going to do?” That has always stuck with me, because it’s so true. Even now as you’re reading this, your life is getting shorter, how are you going to make the most of it?

I can’t wait to show you all I’ve done in the upcoming week, as I get my sessions edited, I’ll be posting them on here so you can see as well. Thanks for engaging with my Instagram and tweets while I was traveling. I feel like you guys are family, even if you’re thousands of miles behind a screen somewhere. 

Until tomorrow…

_M


Delta, I Cheated and I’m Sorry – Please Take Me Back?

4:30P - I left my NYC Hotel for LGA to head back to Arkansas.
5:45P - Arrived at LGA for my 7:00P connection flight to CLT.
6:20P - Got to the gate and learned my flight was delayed almost 50 minutes. 
6:25P - Found Dinner (This isn’t relevant to my post, but it was extremely good).
7:30P - Finally able to board.

Around 9:45P I’m realizing that my connection flight is at 10:10P and I’m not going to make it. The U.S. Airways flight attendant reassured me that due to the massive delay they would surly hold my connection. 

10:10P - As I deplaned, I began sprinting to my express gate at the other end of the airport. (I was in Loubitan boots that I attribute to slowing me down significantly.)

10:15P - Got to the gate and sure enough my flight was gone. 

10:15.5P - I realize how sweaty I was and had to take moment to process everything that had just happened.

And so began the layover process from hell, and why I will reconsider flying U.S. Airways when I’m in a crunch.

A little backstory before I go on: I booked with U.S. Airways because of the in and out times I needed in NYC. I’ve never flown with U.S. and was looking forward to the experience. U.S. Airways is now owned by American Airlines, which has lost my luggage twice, and so I haven’t flown with them in a while. I was a bit hesitant, but proceeded anyway. My departure flight was incredible. Everything was on time and we even arrived early at LGA. Return was obviously a nightmare, but I digress. 

10:30P - Standing in line at the customer service area with about 60 others from my previous flight, I sent a tweet to @usariways to see how they could help. 

11:05P - I was finally able to speak with a customer service agent who was very pleasant. She rescheduled my flight but didn’t even bother getting me in first class. She said due to an “Air Traffic” delay they couldn’t compensate me for a hotel.  

*Keep in mind, I’ve had this SAME issue while flying Delta, and both times they have gone above and beyond to compensate me and make sure I am comfortable while I wait for my rescheduled flight. This was not the case with U.S. Airways*

11:30P - I was given a “hotel voucher” for a discounted rate. When I called the 1-800 number, the discount was only $5 and their booking service sounded like it was based in Asia. They weren’t very helpful. So I booked independently at the Hyatt (life saver). 

11:45P - I made my way to baggage to get my luggage, here’s where it gets crazy. I asked the U.S. Airways attendant at Baggage Services where my luggage was, he responded with “It’s not coming out.” Those literally were the first words out of his mouth. He hadn’t checked my flight number, he was simply saying, “it’s not coming out.” I explained to him I had time sensitive documents that I needed first thing in the morning (in my carry-on bag they made me check due to lack of overhead space on my inbound flight). He still was no help. I said I’d meet someone wherever to get my bag, I just needed to get my things. He responded “If you even think about going down there, I’ll call security.” Finally, I pulled the “but I need my medicine,” (even though I didn’t) he looked at me and said rudely “If need be, we can call an ambulance, but your bag isn’t moving.” At this point I was livid, but composed. I did nothing to spur his insensitivity, he just simply did not want to help. He handed me a sad excuse for a toiletry kit and said “next person in line.” 

Every time this has happened on Delta, they have gone out of their way to make it right. U.S. Airways was inconsiderate and basically non-responsive to accommodating their passengers during a situation that was their fault.

12:20P - My car finally came for the Hyatt. Luggage-less and smelling pretty horrid at this point, I checked in and enjoyed the comfort of a suite that I paid for. Some may say, well that’s just part of it, but I don’t by it. Keep in mind, I fly sometimes up to 3 times a month, so I’m no stranger to dealing with airlines, but this has been my worst experience yet. 

I would be overjoyed if U.S. Airways could compensate my hotel. Even more so, I would love if they could train their employees to take care of their passengers. I’m always up for giving anyone a second chance, but not until something happens. 

Thank you Delta for loving me as much as I love you. I want to get on a flight and go somewhere “just because” to make up for my awful experience.

My advice to those booking trips this week and in the future: Don’t risk it, play it safe and fly Delta. Their gingerbread cookies are the best and I would dare to say they have more legroom. 

Have you had a bad airline experience? I’d love to hear about it, comment below and let’s have a group therapy session together.

_M


Why Is It So Cold?

Let me start by saying that IT IS FREEZING. I woke up this morning not wanting to leave my bed. Just hearing the wind blowing against the buildings made me curl up and ask for five more minutes! This week I'm staying at the Moderne Hotel between 8th and 9th Ave. This hotel is steps away from Columbus circle and Lincoln Center. I got a suite that overlooks West 55th and there is an amazing Thai place right next door. Every time I come to NYC I experience something different. I've never staying in MidTown and I'm in love with it's fast pace vibe. How about we talk some fashion?

As you could imagine during Fashion Week, the entire city is filled with fashionistas that are trying to look their best. Instead of aiming to try and "out-do" someone, I went for my personal style that's best said as a mix of Modern with an Urban flare. Below I paired camo skinnies with a simple ASOS overcoat. Underneath is a black knit sweater. I used a Dior scarf to add a pop of color and bring in some "label." Nothing complicated, just easy. 

GUYS - don't be afraid to take a risk. Camo is making its' way big box stores and in my opinion, should be used sparingly. Don't be afraid to accent with some patterns you are afraid of. 

On a completely different note, I'M STILL FREEZING. I'm headed to times square to find earmuffs and coffee. Apparently Chris Brown is having a concert in Brooklyn, you think Rhianna will be there???

Until tomorrow, 
_M

WHAT DIDN'T MAKE THE CUT...

Subway rides to Century 21 Stores...
Subway rides to Century 21 Stores...
Life of a Blogger...
Life of a Blogger...
It's snowing and all I want is a macaroon. 
It's snowing and all I want is a macaroon.