On Comfort Zones….

Texture & Thread Micropleat Wide Leg Pants MADEWELL
top / / pants / / shoes / / bag / / sunglasses

So before we even dive into today’s post I AM SO, SO SORRY ABOUT MY PANTS. Ugh. I love these photos so much and this would be one of my favorite outfit posts ever but. my. pants. I swear to you, the creases in the middle were not visible in the mirror, or anywhere… and then we shot them and they magically appeared. I’m mad about my pants. It’s as if the camera just brought out the lines, like invisible ink. So, I am upset at my pants, I apologize for them, and now we shall move on.

Today I’m wearing a crop top and pants… two things I rarely wear so this is a bit out of my comfort zone. But it works (hideous creases aside), making me think that a) I need more cropped pants in my life and b) maybe I should experiment a little more. Despite being a bit afraid of both things (crop tops and pants), I really love this outfit! This came to me as I sat down to write this post but this outfit is sort of a metaphor for my life right now. Comfort zones – and the importance of getting out of them.

I have spent much of this summer getting out of my comfort zone and doing things that frankly, terrify me a little bit. Launching the podcast. Going to Cuba. Going to Asia by myself. This weekend will mark the last of the things that terrify me (for a bit?) I am the keynote speaker at The Blog Societies’ conference in Atlanta. And I am so nervous. A one hour speech. Yikes. I have it pretty well prepared but I am still s.o.  n.e.r.v.o.u.s.!!! So nervous. I am a perfectionist and I want it to be perfect. I have spent hours rehearsing and going over my talking points but I’m still just so nervous! (As an aside, if you are going, please come say hello. I may be playing it cool but trust me, I’m terrified and it will be great to feel like someone listening actually reads my blog!)

Outfit Details: Ellery Crop Top (a couple years old – similar here , here and here) / / Madewell Pants / / Steve Madden Sandals / / Nordstrom Sunglasses (similar pair here) / / Palmgrens Bag (similar) // gifted Paula Rallis x J Ervan Earrings

Back to comfort zones though. Networking. Networking (for me) is a lot like SLT. Or any sort of high impact, choreographed group exercise, for that matter. I am not good at it, so I avoid it.

What a terrible thing – to not do things we might end up liking, simply because we’re bad at them. I have a great group of friends and in the comfort of my home or with that inner circle I really don’t care about making a spectacle out of myself. I’m the life of the party. Sometimes even funny! But with new people, I am nervous. And because of that I hate networking. Introducing myself. Saying hello to people I don’t know.

Oof. My palms start to sweat. I stutter or make bad jokes. The social anxiety kicks in and I want to run and hide. As a full time influencer/blogger/writer (for the record, “influencer” is my least favorite word ever and I like “writer” best), I tend to show up at events and stick to the comforts of my close friends or phone (and then run out, once I’ve learned about the new product/said hello to the PR person, etc.) I know, I know, this isn’t good.

BCBGMAXAZRIA Tie-Front Cropped Tee

I need to branch out and make more of an effort. And I’m really trying.

This is such a small thing (and sort of an embarrassing story) but last night I said hello to a blogger that I admire. Despite having been doing this for almost nine years, I was really nervous to say hello! I said to myself (internal monologue so don’t judge me haha), “you’re a keynote speaker! you went to Asia BY YOURSELF!!! get it together!” and then decided to just say hello. I mean what’s the worst thing that can happen, right?

She rolled her eyes, dumped her wine on me, and stormed out.

JK. She was lovely. So sweet and down to earth. Like so nice. I wanted to be all like, “let’s be friends! let’s take Pilates!” but am also well versed in blogger life and all of the invites and how damn busy we all are. So we moved along and I kind of just laughed at myself for being such a nerd.

Texture & Thread Micropleat Wide Leg Pants MADEWELL

At the end of the day we are all people. When I go to events and parties I tend to just stick close to the people I know (or if I don’t know anyone, my phone) but I’m trying to branch out a little more. But we are all human. And as much as we love our phones, we all crave genuine connection.

So it’s okay to just say hi. Baby steps. Asia. Saying hello to strangers that I think are cool.

One thing at a time!

crop top Palmgrens BagBCBGMAXAZRIA Tie-Front Cropped Teemadewell wide leg pants

Photography by Trent Bailey.

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Comments

  1. I find networking so hard as well! I guess the thing is, you’re trying, and that’s good enough! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. You are so damn likeable.

  3. Jenn Lake says 8.9.18

    Love this post, lady!

  4. Elizabeth says 8.9.18

    You and this outfit are adorable – I loved this post! Have the best time in Hotlanta!

  5. Shana says 8.9.18

    Madewell is killing it with the wide leg pants this year!! As a newish reader of your blog, I started this past year thanks to Krista directing me here, you have quickly become one of my favorites! You’re going to be great at this conference! and cheers to getting out of ones comfort zone, it’s difficult but also freeing 🙂

    • Aw I so appreciate that! Thank you Shana! And yes – Madewell is killing it this year!

  6. Leah says 8.9.18

    First of all, the creases on the pants are finnnnnne! Second, wow – keynote speaker!? Amazing!! You’re going to knock it out of the park. Third, I went to an event this week where I didn’t know anyone (but they were all SO cool and SO stylish!) I was kind of awkward, but ended up meeting the coolest person who I hope to know for a long time! AND, lastly, want to do pilates?!?! 🙂

  7. Mackenzie says 8.9.18

    When I got more comfortable with “networking” (I hate that term haha) was when I realized that it really is a muscle you have to work! In order to feel more comfortable or natural doing it, you simply have to keep doing it, in my experience. I guess it’s kind of the same as your yoga practice that you recently went way deeper into: you had to keep going to yoga in order to feel comfortable enough to go on retreats by yourself, etc. and not feel like a fish out of water! I found that once I was more comfortable with the concept of me networking I really didn’t dread it, which probably goes back to the psychology that you mentioned of how we don’t mind doing things we think we are good at and avoid the things we aren’t good at. So just keep going and doing things like introducing yourself because I promise it will feel more natural, as I have been there myself!

  8. Jaclyn says 8.9.18

    You look beautiful!

  9. Cy says 8.9.18

    You look beautiful ! Just pretend the pants are linen and they are supposed to be that way! Cute, really , I like the color. I love when you wear your hair up, so chic, really shows off your lovely face. One hour talk that’s intense, everyone gets nervous and no one will notice that you are. I used to get stagefright when I took drama in college, the audience doesn’t notice. Part of your appeal is that you are so sweet and humble. You are going to kill it!

    • Thanks Cy!!! You’re always so sweet. Hope you have a great rest of your week! xo

  10. Allie says 8.9.18

    Grace this is why we love ya!! You’re transparency is so refreshing and still well written. You are going to KILL IT in Atlanta!! And just know there are a lot of us in the world rooting you on even if we aren’t in Atlanta with you for the event. 🙂

    xox
    Allie
    modbroadco.com

  11. Sian Williams says 8.9.18

    I’ve literally just found your blog and I love you already. Great post and great pants as well 😉 I’m glad to have found ya!

    (I will now proceed to stalk your whole blog!!)

    Siân x

    http://www.LoveSian.co.uk

  12. First off, those pants look fantastic and they are really cute. Networking can definitely be a scary thing but hey you are trying! You also seem pretty cool and nice so if someone doesn’t want to give you a chance then boo to them! 🙂 Oh and you are going to do GREAT with your speech. 🙂

  13. Karen W says 8.9.18

    Hi. New to your blog despite following you on IG for quite some time.
    What a great post, and a very honest one! We (your readers) are 100% behind you. You will do great as the keynote speaker. Looking forward to reading your blog about this experience.
    As for the outfit, I think it looks lovely. Recently I also invested in both items … a cropped tshirt and a pair of wide-legged pants (I am typically a jeans & a t-shirt kind of gal.) What I did find out, they’re even more comfortable than jeans (I’m shocked that I am saying this!) I might invest in a second pair. (Madewell? Will check!!!) The one I bought is from Zara and they look similar.
    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!
    xo Karen

    • Aw thank you Karen! I so appreciate the kind words, and thanks for stopping by the blog! I am happy you are here. I love Instagram but this is where I spend the most of my time/work the hardest!

      Also agree – I’m usually more of a jeans and a tee girl but this combo is more comfy! Especially in this crazy NYC heat and humidity we’ve had going on.

      Thanks again for stopping by! XOXO

  14. Tereza Lima says 8.9.18

    You look so effortless chic, Grace! I am in love with pantacourt lately, easy way to look elegant.

  15. Cory says 8.9.18

    An hour long speech?!?!? Yikes! You will kill it though. Sending virtual hugs and wine!

  16. Jada says 8.9.18

    The other day I wore a crop top and high waisted pants in NYC so I can relate with the out of comfort zone! By the end of the day I ended up liking what I wore!

    http://thegirlfromconnecticut.com/

  17. Alex says 8.9.18

    love the outfits and the sentiments – too real! xo

  18. Montana says 8.9.18

    I just found your blog and I LOVE it. Also…. I love the pants… and the creases aren’t bad at all. I just started my own blog and hope one day mine can be as nice as yours. Your writing and photography is stunning!

    Cheers from Canada- Montana xx
    http://livingastana.blogpsot.com

  19. Roxanne says 8.9.18

    Thank you for this post, Grace! It is so hard to be believe that even a rockstar like you is shy at these events. I guess a little self-pep talk is all we need after all!

    So proud of you for taking so many risks lately. And I LOVE the pants – creases and all!
    –Roxanne
    http://glassofglam.com

    • You are so sweet Roxanne! Thank you for the kind words (and mini pep talk!!!) XOXO

  20. Becky says 8.9.18

    After reading the first few sentences of this post, I wanted to scroll to the bottom and comment about how you’re real and genuine and that’s why I love you and this blog!!! But instead I kept reading and your feelings about comfort zones rang true for me as well. I moved to a new city and I’m trying to get out of my comfort zones to make new friends but it’s so hard!!! I feel awkward and uncomfortable! I’ve been saying yes to almost everything in the hopes that these opportunities will bring me to the people I’m meant to connect with. Thank you for your honesty and openness on your blog. Since discovering it months ago, it’s become my new favorite. I’m not gonna say good luck in Atlanta because you’ll do great, no luck needed! You got this!!! xoxo

    • grace at the stripe says 8.10.18

      Aw thank you so much Becky!!!!

      PS – if you moved to a new city and are looking to make new friends there, I definitely recommend joining my Facebook group and posting there! https://www.facebook.com/groups/504698246575512/ That’s why I started the group – based on an older post I did, where a lot of readers mentioned having trouble making new friends as an adult!

      Have a great weekend and thank YOU for the kind words about my blog!

      • Becky says 8.10.18

        I’ve never had Facebook but may have to join for this alone!! Thank you! xoxo

  21. Natmari's Corner says 8.10.18

    Congrats on being a keynote speaker!

  22. Kari says 8.10.18

    I admire your for your honesty, it’s not easy talking to people when small talk is not your thing (well, not my thing) and you’re fabulous. Don’t ever forget that. You have a lot to offer those of us who have not been doing as much or as well as you and I need someone fab to follow and have as a virtual mentor. Thank-you.

  23. Sara Moulton says 8.12.18

    The two best pieces of advice I’ve gotten for networking is to start by asking someone ‘how’s it going?’. My old boss was such a natural at talking to people, and everyone loved him. And I watched him start every conversation this way – and he always said thank you.

    The second bit of advice is to hear about what people are up to and how you can help. Adam Grant talks about the five-minute favor (he heard of it from a Silicon Valley guy named Adam Rifkin). If it takes five minutes or less, always say yes to the favor.

    I used to be so nervous talking to people (and I am quite shy), but I’ve gotten much better. Taking the pressure off and thinking of it more as getting to know someone versus networking has made all the difference for me!

  24. Anna says 8.12.18

    I think it is amazing that you are trying to push yourself out of your comfort zones. And trust me – crop tops terrify me just as much as networking so I know how hard it is. Congratulations on being a keynote speaker, I am sure you are gonna kill it!