o n e

fierce, daring, with a dash of classiness mixed in with little pieces of crazy.

Happy first day of Spring sassy cats! The weather might be dreary here in DC, but I'm definitely in a celebratory mood. As of today, SCOPES is officially one year old! Pop the cork! (Hard to believe this journey started a year ago...time flies when you're having fun!) And if I had to give one word to describe this past revolution around the sun, it would be growth. 

Crazy amounts of growth. The girl who started SCOPES 366 days ago is definitely still here, but she's a much better version. She's more refined. More confident. And more willing to take risks. There's still room for improvement - always and forever - but it's nothing short of amazing to realize how far a year will bring you. 

Wisdom says you change a lot between 20 to 25. And even more from 25 to 30. Transitioning from 26 into my (golden year!) of 27 was certainly no exception. I feel like the 6th grader who grew four inches over the summer, and my old uniform no longer fits. (Thank goodness my face hasn't changed since I was two, or I might not recognize myself.) I've noticed the biggest change in my confidence. Which is odd, because I've had the good fortune of feeling secure in who I am as an individual for most of my life. But the girl who introduced herself on this day last year had a fraction of the confidence of the one writing to you today. 

This is more than feeling comfortable in my own skin. (I'll own and love my quirks all day, everyday.) This is a feeling of finally coming into my own. It's a type of confidence that transcends beyond thinking, it's manifesting itself through action. It's me tackling goals, burning bridges, and being more than willing to take a risk...it's me excited about risk. 

If I had to pinpoint where the change began, it would be August 3rd. The day I took a new job. Each and every day since has been an absolute challenge. In every sense of the word, and the steep learning curve isn't flattening out anytime soon. I've been close to breaking (more than once), but each time I've learned to bend to match the curve. That curve is confidence. Confidence in my work product. Confidence in how I communicate. And confidence in my decisions. There is still plenty of room for growth, but I already see the change seeping into other aspects of my life.

I have two prominent examples from this past week alone. The first being my work trip to New York City. For me, the City has always boasted a certain intimidation factor. One I wasn't sure could be conquered. I might live there one day, but it would be for a job I loved and not the place. Prior trips always required a period of adjustment to feel settled in such a harsh and overwhelming environment. But for the first time, I was ready for that City. I walked with purpose and pounded the pavement without any hesitation (albeit with massive blisters - please remind me never to wear new shoes on a work trip ever again. Brutal.) I boarded my acela back to DC thinking I could love both having a job and living in New York City. And - without question - the past seven months changed how those twenty-four hours played out.

a sign that NYC and I are finally vibing

a sign that NYC and I are finally vibing

The second, was my extremely odd and completely out of character order last night at dinner...salmon. If you know me, you know I do. not. eat. fish. In fact, I walked into that restaurant with the sole purpose of ordering a ribeye. There was a moment of panic as the waitress walked away with my order for fish, but I took a sip of my drink and said, "we're doing this." Disaster averted...I enjoyed the salmon. Much like I enjoyed my first plate of sushi in Las Vegas one month ago. And much like the realization two weeks later that gin is a solid contender to vodka. (In fact, gin was my drink of choice last night!) Confidence is instigating these small moments of risk, and they are beginning to snowball into noticeable changes. Not only in my four year old palate, but also my wardrobe. 

gin and salmon might be the new trend, but Diet Coke never goes out of style...

gin and salmon might be the new trend, but Diet Coke never goes out of style...

I love having an outlet to capture my favorite memories, and share snippets of life for others to (hopefully!) relate to and enjoy. But one of the best things about SCOPES is having a place to chronicle my evolution. Both in my writing and personal style. If you have been here from the beginning (thank you!!) you might have noticed my ensembles have morphed from bright colors and whimsical, pattern-play into black on black on black with a dash of navy. I still have my optimistic and playful personality, but I've also discovered I have a very real edge. Previously labeling this part of me as a "rare gem," I now understand it's another manifestation of confidence. Like all gems, I sparkle because of those edges. And with each life experience I continue to polish and refine. 

in my world, black is the new black.

in my world, black is the new black.

My best friend recently described me using the quote from above...fierce, daring, classy, and crazy. He not only made my day, but also perfectly described my classic core and validated my growth. You act with confidence to be perceived as fierce and daring. You take risks to be considered a little bit crazy. (Or try to wear black clothing while owning an orange cat...) And you will grow and evolve, but the key elements that define your core will always remain the same.

I am extremely grateful for all of you who have read SCOPES this past year. For all the friends and family who supported my growth and change. And for all the new people (looking at you Dean and Loren!) SCOPES has brought into my life. The adventure is still young, and I can't wait to celebrate "t w o" with all of you next year. Until then, here's to living each day more confidently than the last. I sign off this evening to fight the Sunday Scaries with The Real Housewives, and leave you with Chanel's famous words: "a girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." 

Hope to see you again soon! 
- Christina Marie 

Since starting SCOPES, I've gotten endless compliments on her design. Below is the piece that inspired her colors: