Trial By Fire

Style, Travel





There’s this universal piece of advice when it comes to personal growth. Do something that scares you.

Well, I find this to be absolutely terrifying: traveling alone.

I consider myself pretty independent. But as much as I enjoy my alone time, I’m sometimes too intimidated to be in public by myself. It’s something that’s kind of embarrassing to openly admit, but I typically need someone to motivate me to get ready and get out of the house.

Call it anxiety. Call it depression. Call it laziness. But I’ll shrink away from experiencing something cool if it means doing it solo. I’ve skipped out on meals, concerts, events, certain hikes — and vacations.

News alert: Fuck. That.

So I’m putting myself up to a massive personal challenge this year (and no, it is not joining a gym).

I will travel alone in 2018.

Because I am done with feeling like I’m missing out. And I’m especially done waiting on other people.

This applies to family members, partners, or friends. Reality check: Of course we all operate on limited time, money, and vacation days. (A perk of modern American living, isn’t it? Ugh.) But in some cases, I’ve suggested various excursions for years — only to be consistently shut down. So I guess I just won’t go.

But hold up. Why should someone else’s bullshit excuses suddenly become mine? What’s the point of sacrificing hurt feelings when I can just… do it myself?

As a woman, traveling alone can seem vulnerable, and scary, or maybe not so smart. But it can also be an exhilarating life experience that stretches one’s perceived capabilities. I’ll go with the latter.

So whether it’s a weekend or a week. Domestic or international. This year, I will travel somewhere alone. And it will likely scare me. But I will document it on this blog. Hopefully, you’ll hold me to it… but I’m already researching destinations.

Here’s to girls doing whatever the fuck they want in 2018. Either join or be left behind.

PS — To my adventurous friends, where do you want to travel this year? (Let’s plan something?!) To the solo travelers, shoot me a line with your advice!


Sweater: Gifted (Thanks, Mom!), but this one looks super comfy. Jeans: Kohl’s. Boots: Kohl’s (major bonus: ortholite comfort insoles), similar here. Hat: Target. Bag: Thrifted, Goodwill.

2017: A Metamorphosis

Life, Style




Welcome to the end of another year.

As if we’ve wandered through time and space — blissfully, or maybe miserably — unaware of the past 364 days, it’s suddenly society’s time to reflect.

Our accomplishments. The difficulties we endured. Famous people we loved and lost. (Still mourning Tom Petty and Chris Cornell.) The unhealthy habits we developed… or never dropped.

Much like we drift through space, oblivious that we’re actually moving 67,000 miles per hour, it seems like society meanders through time on autopilot — incognizant of the passing days — and collectively, what they meant.

What happened? What did I do? Shit, time to assign some meaning to my life!

However, I’ve thought this many times throughout 2017: What a transformative year.

I moved to a new city, started a new job, and channeled enough courage to create this blog. But when reflecting, I can’t help but incorporate the past several years to get a better picture of personal growth.

In 2014, some traumatic experiences changed me forever, followed by a very dark period of depression in 2015. I was encouraged to seek help in 2016, and made strategic moves to get back on track. Finally, 2017 felt like hitting a stride towards a happier and more fulfilling existence.

That seems like something to celebrate. But full disclosure, I plan to quietly ring in the new year at home with Saki. (In case you didn’t know, she’s my little sidekick in the pictures!)

It’s been years since I partied into oblivion and greeted January 1st with a lack of conscious awareness. But I do spend more time than I’d like to admit outside of the present moment. And that brings me to the point I want to make about the year ahead.

I want 2018 to be more mindful. Intentional. Less escapism through apps and technology. More deliberate, and less apologetic.

At 12:01, nothing will be strikingly different, except maybe our attitudes.

Happy New Year!


Dress: Asos. (Intergalactic and extra AF! But you could wear this one anywhere.) Boots: Asos. Ring: Flea market. Dog: Shelter. #adoptdontshop

Let me explain…



Hello! This is Sides of Shadows.

Created by an introvert who doesn’t easily open up to others — or litter your social media feeds with innocuous posts about my life — this is another “side” of me that’s been kept in the metaphorical “shadows” for a very long time.

You know that “creative project” I always wished I could’ve started, about 10 years ago? (It’s totally possible you didn’t know, but you can still play along.)

Well, you’re lookin’ at it.

Sides of Shadows is a lifestyle blog that will cover fashion, travel, mental health, the macabre, and more.

It’s a creative outlet to express my personal style, interests, thoughts, and experiences.

…You might be wondering where all of this came from.

I recently turned 29, and realized the only person holding me back from doing what I want… is me. And the only real obstacle I face? That nagging, dissenting, anxious, insecure voice in my head. (You know, the one that says, it’s not even worth trying because you’ll OBVIOUSLY fail miserably and embarrass yourself? …Yeah, that one!)

To protest that super unproductive and dark aspect I’ve always battled with, I chose to make this relatively rash decision — one totally out of my comfort zone.

And it feels sorta cool.

So, for the sake of feeling somewhat unhinged (because I don’t really know what I’m doing), and kind of empowered (because fuck you, anxiety!) … welcome to my blog.

Since I work a pretty demanding job during the week, my goal is to post new, original photos and content weekly.

In the meantime, you should learn a little more about me here.

Hope to see you back!

— Sara

Dress: $9, original $100, 6pm outlet store (but digging this one) Tights: Target, old (these are $10) Shoes: Kohl’s, old (similar here)