When Gianna started kindergarten, we barely knew anyone at Manito School. It was orientation for all of us! As the days and the months flew by, Gianna would come home and give us a play-by-play of her daily kindergarten adventures. A name that we incessantly heard at the dinner table was Sisi! Gianna and Sisi were becoming fast friends and the inevitable play date was upon us.
When I first met Sisi’s mom, admittedly I was intimidated. She was an experienced and super involved mom of 4, who had secured her place at Manito School. I was just a newbie who barely knew a soul! After a few play dates and some run ins at the gym, however, Alicia became one of my first Oakland friends.
She is honestly one of the most authentic people I have ever met. I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. What you see is what you get. There’s no facade. Such a refreshing character trait! She has raised 4 smart, capable, and self-assured kids, works a full-time a job, and still diligently makes time for the gym. Her gym game is insane too! While my 5lb weights induce a full-blown sweat, she is dead lifting over 180 lbs effortlessly! Not too intimidating, right?
More than anything, I admire her individual strength. I watched her endure some very personal life changes over the past few years. Despite these challenges, she remained true to her self, her family, and her friends. I would have crumbled under these pressures. Not Alicia. She picked up the pieces and never faltered or wavered. She truly epitomizes resilience and tenacity at its best. Independence never looked so good. She is an inspiration.
When I started blogging, I knew my lifelong friends would be supportive of my endeavors and understand its origins. I did, however, worry about what others would think. Would the moms in town portray me as shallow or simply self-absorbed? Judgements, criticism, self-doubt, and acceptance impact my blogging journey daily. Alicia, however, was one of my first Oakland friends to embrace this experience and express her support. She likes and comments on all of my posts, texts me with fashion advice, and always provides positive feedback. Every time I feel the urge to quit or give up, I am reminded of people like Alicia. Her strength and genuineness reinforce perseverance.
To thank Alicia for her endless support, I thought it would be fun to style her and document our journey. I was envisioning a closet full of “all black” gym inspired looks. Boy was I wrong. Racks of color and prints adorned her closet. Not to mention, her shoe collection was on fire. High heels and wedges line her impressive shoe rack. A girl after my own heart! We pulled some pieces from her personal wardrobe and borrowed a few of mine to put together a few looks. I wanted to portray a variety of styles from casual to dressier. Alicia was compliant and open to my suggestions.
Thankfully, Lisa came to the rescue and worked her photography talents. We met at a park and snapped away. Alicia looked fantastic and confident in every outfit. I loved incorporating accessories to make it all come together.
Alicia, you are a beautiful soul, inside and out. These pictures are proof. Every new friend is a new adventure. As the teenage years are quickly upon us, I know this is just the beginning of many wonderful, crazy, scary, and happy memories ahead! Genuine people are an endangered species. Thanks for being a “real” and true friend, supporting this small blog, and inspiring me daily!
Photo credit: Lisa Silverstein
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