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REFLECTIONS

REFLECTIONS

2016 RECAP

As 2016 comes to an end, It’s about that time to reflect over everything that has happened over the past year. Personally speaking, I was feeling unhappy for quite some time and one of the contributing factors to this was my day job. Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful first job straight out of college but after working there for three years (which I hadn’t anticipated in doing but that’s what life does to you), I realized that I was slowly beginning to lose my passion. The breaking point was when I would consistently find myself uncontrollably crying in the passenger seat of my boyfriends car after a long day at work. I lost that fire I once had and longed for that feeling of doing things that make my heart come alive.

Mid way through the year, I decided to call it quits and take on freelancing in order to dedicate more time towards Sheselle. I invested countless late nights editing photos and creating content with a limited freelance budget. Although there were moments of stress, it was a good kind of stress. Ya know, the kind that doesn’t really feel like stress because you’re doing what you love.

It’s only been half a year since I decided to really focus on the potential of Sheselle and I’m so grateful for all the little opportunities that have come my way so far. I got the chance to collaborate with amazing brands like Aeropostale, Fossil, Pocky, Revolt Clothing, and Scentbird. I also got features by Nylon Magazine and GAP (and yes I fangirl every time this happens). Through it all, your support and engagement has been so positively overwhelming. It’s scary to jump head first into something new and try to build a career out of something deemed unconventional but the creative community I’ve found on Instagram has definitely pushed me to keep going!

This is still the beginning and I can’t wait to see where next year takes me. In 2017, I’ll be working even harder to create colorful and inspiring content for Sheselle. Thanks again for following me on this crazy little journey of mine so far. What are you hoping to see from me next year? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

xo, Donna Belle

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REFLECTIONS

5 Lessons in 5 Years

5 years ago today, I had my first date with my boyfriend. I can distinctly remember having to borrow a floral dress from my roommate at the very last minute because “I had nothing to wear.” We decided to meet at the street corner where our apartments met to take the bus to downtown. We ended up eating at a Dumpling House (because we’re fancy like that and hey, what do you expect from two broke college students?) and strolled around downtown with hot cocoa in our hands. While going down memory lane, I began to reflect over the last five years and what I’ve learned from this relationship:

EMBRACING THE WEIRD

The longer we’ve been together, the more comfortable we’ve become around each other. We fully understand each other’s weird quirks and don’t ever have to explain our witty jokes or mannerisms. There’s comfort in knowing our true selves. I think Dr. Seuss said it best: “We’re all a little weird. And life is weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual weirdness and call it love.”

DOING LITTLE THINGS

As we’ve aged through different stages in our lives (from college into work), we began to deal with a lot of our own personal stresses. Life is tough and sometimes we get so overwhelmed by it that we forget to take care of each other in the midst of it all. I learned that it’s important to continually put effort into nurturing each other and occasionally planning special moments for one another. Whether it’s cooking each other a meal or listening to a one hour vent session after a tough day at work – it’s the little things that matter.

SUPPORT EACH OTHER

Whether it’s switching careers or moving across the country, AJ has always been supportive. Sharing encouraging words and helping each other out in any way we can to achieve our goals has been something we always strive to do.

FORGIVENESS

We occasionally have arguments over petty little things. I’ve learned to push my ego side and not get swept up over who’s right or wrong in these situations.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

You’ve probably heard this everywhere but this is probably one of the most important lessons I’ve learned and is something that we’re actively working on. I’ve never been the best at confrontation and grew up avoiding it at all cost. I can’t tell you how many arguments have stemmed from miscommunication but overtime, I’ve learned to openly express myself when I’m feeling sad, angry, or even happy.

What the biggest thing you learned from being with your significant other? Let me know in the comments below!

xo, Donna Belle

Disclaimer: I’m not here to give you advice on how a relationship should be or claim that mine is perfect in any way – It isn’t and every relationship is different. This list is more of a personal reflection of our growth together.
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REFLECTIONS

MY MOTHER

It’s been challenging day for many of us as we process last night’s election results. With everything going, I just want to take a moment to shower my mom with love on her Birthday. She was the first of her family to immigrate to America from the Philippines in order for us to have a better life, worked tirelessly at countless jobs, and faced a tremendous amount of daily injustices as she navigated unfamiliarity – all while raising two children on her own. Through out all of this, my mother was a pillar of strength, courage, sacrifice, and resilience. I love you and thank you for always inspiring me.

With that said: To any of my readers who are and/or are allies of POC, Immigrants, Women, Muslims, LGBTQ+, and other oppressed communities – let’s spread love and solidarity more than ever moving forward. This has been an ongoing battle for marginalized groups and this election is a strong indicator of how much work still needs to be done. Do not let them erase the progress we’ve made and continue to fight.

xo, Donna Belle

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REFLECTIONS

LETTER TO SELF

I came across this video of Uzo Aduba speaking words of wisdom, advice, and encouragement towards her eighteen-year-old self. Having gotten another year older, I’ve been in quite a reflective mood these past couple of weeks and was inspired me to write a letter of my own:

Dear Donna,

You’re struggling to fit in and don’t quite know how to be yourself yet. You feel awkward, quiet, and different. It’s okay to be all those things – they’re what make you, you. But don’t be afraid to use your voice – it’s powerful. Keep writing, creating, expressing yourself, and sharing your stories. There will be times when people around you (even those closest to you) will put you down but don’t let their negative opinions define who you are and what you’re capable of.

You’re applying to college right now and amidst all this stress, you’ll experience your first anxiety attack. It’s scary and something you’ll unfortunately have to deal with throughout your life. Try not to be so hard on yourself. You’re 18 and you’re not supposed to have everything figured out yet. These next few years will be a chance to explore your interests, figure out your passions, and navigate your way through life. You’ll also realize that there’s so much more to high school than you think. This is only a small fraction of your life and a bubble outside the real world. Those people who bullied or never gave you the time of day aren’t important. You’ll be entering college soon, where you’ll meet an refreshing community of people who inspire you to be yourself and embrace your identity. This brings me into my next piece of advice: Surround yourself with people who inspire, encourage, and challenge you to be a better person. It’s also equally important to learn how to let go of the toxic people in your life.

With regards to love — you’ll get into your first relationship soon. You’re young, naive, and it will take you awhile to realize how unhealthy it is. You’ll also fall in love for the first time and experience your first big heart break. Because of this, you’ll go through a lot of self blame and will struggle with trust. However, you’ll realize that these experiences are not a reflection of your self-worth and will slowly learn the importance of loving yourself first.  Somewhere down the road, you’ll meet someone who loves you the way you deserve to be loved and sees your beauty at all angles.

I just want you to know that whatever difficult things that you’re battling in your head, at school, or at home, don’t let it get in the way of achieving your dreams. Everything you want is within arms reach as long as you work hard, stay passionate, and be kind. I love you, I’m proud of you, and exciting things are coming your way.

xo, Donna Belle

I highly recommend that you write a letter to yourself – it really puts everything into perspective and reminds you of how far you’ve come. What advice would you give your younger self? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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REFLECTIONS

ANNIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

It’s officially been 1 year since I created this blog. At the time, I was feeling incredibly uninspired from working 9 to 5 at a mobile gaming company in San Francisco. Although I was designing, everyday was a routine and I felt no sense of fulfillment from it. I would wake up at sunrise, come home at sundown, commute hours to and from the city, and spend the remaining time I had creating content for my blog. It got to the point where I was at my absolute lowest so I finally took the plunge mid July to quit my job.

I still have a long way to go (this is only the beginning!) but I’m so thankful for all of the opportunities that have come my way these past few months such as locking down a long term partnership with Fossil, collaborating with amazing brands like Aeropostale, and most importantly, being able to do what I love. If there is anything that I learned this past year, it’s that if you’re ever feeling unhappy with any aspect of your life, you have complete control over it. Don’t ever feel pressured to follow a conventional career path, let monetary value define what it means to be successful, or compare your individual journey to anyone else. To celebrate this feat and to thank you for following me on this crazy journey of mine so far, I put together a mini giveaway for my readers.

prizes-final

Here’s what you can win:

  • Set of 3 Rifle Paper Co Lined Notebooks (these are my favorite!)
  • Set of Decorative Pencils
  • Anthropologie Letter Mug of your choice
  • Collection of Stay At Home pins and decorative cards
  • Sock Smith Lucky Cat Crew Socks
  • Tiny Little Sprinkles of Joy Confetti Pop
  • An additional surprise!

Guidelines

  • Follow me on Instagram @sheselle
  • Comment under the giveaway photo what your proudest moment this year was
  • For an additional entry, leave a comment below with your Instagram handle letting me know you entered
  • Contest starts at 1PM on September 21st and ends on 11:59PM on October 20th
  • 1 person will be chosen, announced, and contacted via DM on Instagram on October 1st

Good luck!

xo, Donna Belle

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REFLECTIONS

LESSONS FROM MOM

Happy Mothers Day!

Growing up without the presence of a father was difficult but I consider my sister and I incredibly lucky to be raised by such a selfless, strong, and beautiful woman, who taught me invaluable life lessons that shaped me into the person I am today:

  • Passion + Creativity: From a young age, my mom always encouraged us to be creative and to use art as an outlet to express ourselves. Through her, I found my passion in both singing and drawing and up until now, she has always pushed us to follow our dreams and pursue a career in the Arts.
  • Stay Humble and Appreciate the small things: My mom grew up with very little in the Philippines so she always made it a point to remind us of where we came from, how lucky we are, and to always give back to those less fortunate. She also taught us that money and other material possessions do not define wealth or amount to any true happiness.
  • Sense of Humor: Through all the hardships that life throws at us, she taught us that life is too short to take everything too seriously. Don’t dwell over every minor thing and laugh at yourself from time to time.
  • Work Hard: My mother sacrificed so much for my sister and I to be able to have a fulfilling life in America. As a single mother, she worked countless jobs in order for us to be able to pursue higher education. I took this mentality with me throughout college and my work life and only hope that I can work hard enough so she doesn’t have to anymore.
  • Love Yourself: Through all the unfortunate heartbreaks that i’ve seen my mom experience,  i’ve learned the importance of taking care of yourself first because this is the foundation for any relationship that you have.

If you have the opportunity and are lucky enough to have a positive relationship with your mother, please take the time to show her how thankful you are to have her in your life.

p.s. this DIY project was created using flowers straight out of my mom’s garden 🙂

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