The first time I met Kara, I found her to be so kind... and approachable... and remarkable. I loved her style and nervously asked her if I could take her photo. (I had never before, nor since, asked a vendor if I could take their photo!) The following year, I returned to NYC and to the Young Designers Market and was astounded that she even remembered who I was. She came out from behind her table and gave me a big hug! It was only upon reading her blog submission below that I realized why... I will always cherish my Kara Laricks originals as I fear I will no longer be able to afford her! :-) You can follow Kara on Facebook and on Twitter.
Kara, it is a thrill to know you... You are one classy lady!
As a former fourth grade teacher turned Fashion Star, I cannot help but put those things I am grateful for into acrostic form.
But before I do, I must share the story of how I met the incredible Jo-Anne, author of this blog and one of the most positive, “can do” (and “does do”) women I know. Several years ago, I had taken a huge leap of faith, changed careers from education to fashion, moved across the United States from San Francisco to New York City only to be laid off from my very first design job in NYC. As I sat jobless in the middle of Times Square, I decided to pick myself up and start my own accessory line by the name of Collar, Stand + Tie. Collars attached to ties were what I could afford to produce. I sewed my accessories during the week and sold them at local markets throughout NYC on the weekends.
the day we met
Jo-Anne was the first person to purchase one of my ties – I'm not sure she will ever understand how grateful I am for her unique sense of style and the pivotal boost of confidence she gave me the day I met her at The Young Designers Market. Since then, I have gone on to win a design competition by the name of Fashion Star on NBC and have created and sold collections in H&M, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Over the years, Jo-Anne has continued to boost my confidence and support me, so when she invited me to write a blog post for The Gratitude Project...well, I was simply grateful to have been asked.
Back to that acrostic...
G stands for Greetings from Good People. In our busy day to day lives, I am so grateful for those who take the time to smile, say 'good morning' or simply 'check in.' Whether it comes from my family, friends or the the great guy who makes my morning latte – a little bit of human connection makes life so much brighter.
R stands for Risk, Reward and Recovery. I am grateful that there is risk around every corner and quite often taking a risk comes with a reward like growth, knowledge or satisfaction. Sometimes taking a risk ends up in a 'recovery period,' and though things may not have gone as I planned, the rewards are still there.
A stands for Almost 40. Yes, I am almost 40 years old and I could not be more grateful for the relationships I have had, the experiences I have gained, my careers both as an educator and as a fashion designer and the lessons I have learned along the way. Here's to the next 40 years!
T stands for Trying Something New. I am grateful for the freedom in knowing I can try something new at any time. Whether it's switching to almond milk in my latte or visiting Rekjavik for my 40th birthday, I am grateful for this world and its people we have to explore.
E stands for Experience. Grateful for Each and Every one...
F stands for Fashion Star and Failure. As I mentioned above, I recently won a design competition by the name of Fashion Star. A little bit of money and a little bit of fame came along with the win for which I am very grateful. However, I cannot put a price on the things I am most grateful for that came out of my Fashion Star experience - new friends, the opportunity to create a full women's wear line and see women feeling confident in my clothing, the chance to reconnect with old friends, colleagues and students and the affirmation that the risk I took in changing careers paid off is only an abbreviated list! I am just as grateful for the failures (I prefer the term 'growth opportunities,' but that does not start with an F) that I have encountered along the way. Failure reminds me that I can problem solve and that I am stronger than I think.
U stands for Understanding. I am eternally grateful for those who treat me with understanding. We all make mistakes, we all have good days and tough days and we all experience success and strife. My partner, Melissa, is extra good at understanding – she gets my 'highs' and 'lows' and loves me through it all – is it possible that 'grateful' isn't a strong enough word here?
L stands for Love, Laughter and Life. Oh, and a Layoff...which ultimately led me to my friendship with Jo-Anne and the opportunity to write this blog post, for which I am most grateful.
With love and gratitude,
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