blushing bridesmaid

something i have definitely appreciated about every wedding i have been in was the bride allowing each person in the bridal party to pick their own dress. while this may not seem like a big deal to some, unless all of your bridesmaids are similar in weight, height and shape, it is unlikely that the same dress is going to look equally flattering on each bridesmaid.

the wedding i was in most recently was for my dear friends, christine and karl. christine and i met in grad school and i do not know how i survived a casual 25 years of life without her.

photo cred: olivia smartt photography

one of the things that made the photos so beautiful (outside of olivia’s amazing skills and ability to direct us in a clear and concise way) was seeing each bridesmaid exude confidence in the dress they selected.

photo cred: olivia smartt photography

my dress was a convertible maxi dress from torrid. the color was dusty quartz, which really looked good against my chocolatey complexion. it also came in black and a deep merlot for those of you who are in weddings with a more sultry vibe. something i appreciated about this dress (in addition to the affordable price point of just under $120) is that i truly can wear it again. and when i wear it again, it can look like a completely different dress.

because the wedding was in the berkeley hills in winter, it was definitely chilly. i knew i had to have a faux fur coat for the occasion. i got it from asos and you can find the link in one of my previous posts about a winter weekend in san diego.

photo cred: olivia smartt photography

wedding photos are treasured for a lifetime. i am grateful to all of the brides in my life who wanted us to look our absolute best on their special day.

where have you purchased your bridesmaid dress(es)? were you allowed to select your own dress? i would love to hear about it.


k. tap

casual friday

happy friday!


one of my favorite things about friday (other than it being the start of the weekend) is that we can wear casual attire to work.  with this off and on rain we have been getting in la, my hair has been less than cooperative.  on the days were my mane is out of control, the item in my closet that has been saving me are these dad caps from forever 21.




the gray cap above is a faux suede and is ridiculously soft – it just molds to the shape of my head.  this is a big feat as my head is gigantic.  i literally compare it to the size of a watermelon on the reg.  when i first purchased this hat, it only came in gray and black.  now it comes in a green that i need to get my hands on (and a maroon).


another dad cap i ordered from forever is this black velvet cap…




this one has a wintery feel whereas i would wear the faux suede one year around.  for just under $10, it is worth stocking up on these while they are still available.


whether it is a bad hair day or just going for an athleisure look, these hats are now a staple in my wardrobe.



k. tap



thought of the week: it’s not a healthy to keep a ‘game face’ on all the time…

we all do it.  i know i have definitely been guilty of it.  i have one of the world’s best game faces.


whether it is at work, with family or with friends, sometimes, i just find it easier to keep a game face on.  when i thought about why i do this (and used to do it more frequently), i think it mostly stems from wanting to appear as put together as possible as often as possible.


at work, i wanted to appear to be put together to be viewed as reliable, stable and someone who could be utilized in any given situation.  i also wanted my students to feel a sense of calm while they were in my presence.


with family, after the passing of my grandmother, having a game face seemed like the easier choice.  she was the person i would call when i was actually having a meltdown so once she was gone, i could feel myself starting to clam up a bit.


in the bulk of my friend groups, i am typically the one people go to when in need.  why would they want to reach out if i was a fucking wreck?


but here’s the thing:  while i have no plans to violently cry at work in front of my boss or my students, i have not found a way to bring back grammy aka my meltdown supporter, and i will likely always be the person people in my friend groups go to when in need, i also owe it to myself and those around me to be authentic.


part of authenticity is breaking the fuck down.




“it’s not healthy to keep a ‘game face’ on all the time…it’s ok to have a meltdown. as leaders, the best example we can set is how to recover.” -danielle weisberg & carly zakin


around this time last year, i had to have surgery on my uterus which i dove into on my post about why you shouldn’t ask women when they are going to have kids.  during that time, i was not always able to maintain my game face.  i thought i was still good at it but when a student who typically comes in and is silent for the first several minutes of our sessions that she initiates immediately asked me what was going on with me, i knew i did not have my game face together.  she asked with genuine concern.  now, my rule about self disclosure is that i only do it if it is beneficial for the client/session.  i did not think sharing about my uterus surgery would be beneficial, i thought it would just scare her.  however, i did share that there was just a lot going on for me in the upcoming weeks and that i was looking forward to spring break and a new month.  she said, “i totally get that.” during our session a couple of weeks later, she thanked me.  when i asked what for, she said, “when i saw you last, it was the first time i realized that even the people i look up to most don’t always have it completely together.  but what i appreciated is that you were still able to hold space for me.  and now, you look bright the way i am used to seeing you.”  what she didn’t know was that in that two week gap, i had the surgery and it was confirmed that there was no cancer.  i was breathing deeper.  from then on, i felt she was more comfortable having her own meltdowns because she knew that perfection was not my expectation, unlike many of the other adults in her life.  not wearing my game face made me more relatable.


after my grammy passed, i more or less stepped into her role of caretaker, confidant and planner for our family.  from writing her obituary and speaking at the funeral to late night calls and visits with family members where they share their secrets to organizing and cooking christmas eve dinner, i have had some incredibly big shoes to fill.  because everyone has been dealing with their grief in their own way (and it was all consuming), i was not truly feeling like i had space to grieve with my family without burdening them.  something i realized was that my godsister was someone who could truly empathize.  she was someone who didn’t just see her granny for the holiday season, her granny was so much of who she was.  and with my godsister, i had multiple meltdowns.  meltdowns when things were taking a turn for the worst.  meltdowns immediately after it transpired.  meltdowns some months afterwards.  and while i have found each meltdown to be utterly exhausting, i have felt significantly lighter after each one.


the monday before my birthday, i met my gorgeous friend, christina, for dinner.  gorgeous is the word that i had to use to describe her because her smile is so big, bright and sparkly that it literally looks fake and she has the most gorgeous spirit.  immediately upon me walking into dinner, she mentioned that something was off.  she said it was all over my face.  once again, that game face was off.  i had a meltdown over two glasses of pinot noir.  i felt heard and more importantly, understood.  work was insane.  my love life was not going as planned.  i was wondering how my birthday was going to pan out if this was the start to my week.  but here’s the thing – christina did not criticize me for not having on my game face.  she created a space for me to just be.  there is nothing better than that.


now, what does recovery look like?


at work, it was addressing the shift in my disposition from session to session and thanking the client for noticing and caring while reminding her that i am here for her and every single one of those 50 minutes belong to her.  it also looked like looping in my boss and principal so they were aware that of what i was juggling.  it is no one’s expectation that i am superwoman.


with family, it looks like creating healthy boundaries with my family members.  it looks like seeing my godsister weekly and creating space for one another.  it looks like being the strong enough to admit that i cannot handle it all.


in my friend groups, it looks like being vulnerable and not pretending like everything is bright and shiny.  it looks like keeping it 100.  it looks like being able to reciprocate the same for christina, or any other friend, if they were in the space i was in.


i am a leader at work, with my family and in my friend groups.  i am also a leader who has meltdowns.  most importantly, i am a leader who recovers because my ability to persevere is unparalleled.


where do you wear your game face most?  what would it look like to take it off?


let me know in the comments below.



k. tap





pale pink + polka dots

part of the reason i gravitate towards dresses, rompers and jumpsuits is because each of them is a full outfit and typically looks effortlessly chic.  now for work, i stick to dresses, jumpsuits or zellas paired with oversized cardigans to cover my tush.  i typically keep my arms covered to hide one of my tattoos.  this is one of the things i have to consider when working at an all girl, catholic school.  while i love my job, i definitely miss my tattoos being able to be visible and having colored hair.  i am pumped to not work this summer because there are so many new colors i want to try with my braids.  anyway, i digress.


so for this particular polka dot jumpsuit, i paired it with a pale pink waterfall blazer – both are from asos.



photo cred: gracelyn bateman 


when i get dressed for the day, i typically think about what makes me approachable to my audience and what i have planned for that day.  this is something i would wear on a day i was presenting or had parent meetings.  surprisingly, i would also wear this to an interview.  i know a lot of people think all over prints can be risky or are a no-no.  i disagree.  i think it is more about doing it well.  i am all about something i feel confident in that also makes me stand out just enough from the other applicants.  when i interviewed for the job i currently have, i wore an oxblood wrap dress with goldenrod yellow polka dots.  it told them a bit about my personality while also remaining professional.



photo cred: gracelyn bateman 


because i am also a little superstitious, i believe it is good luck on an important day (like an interview) to carry or wear something that holds emotional significance.  for me, it would be this vintage louis vuitton bag that belonged to my grammy.  i carried it the day of my final interview (which was less than two weeks after she passed) and found out i got the job exactly one week later (on the day of her funeral).  i truly felt like she was with me every step of the process.  plus, let’s be real – who doesn’t love a little louis in their lives?


unfortunately, both both items are out of stock.  here are some similar work appropriate jumpsuits and blazers that can be found at asos:


what is your go to outfit for presentations at work or interviews?  let me know in the comments below.



k. tap

thought of the week: loving ourselves works miracles in our lives

in working with teen girls, i am constantly asked questions about myself.  some of them are relevant to the session, some are them being nosey and some of them are just the client’s attempt to stray from the topic that really needs to be discussed.  the one thing that is true no matter the question asked is that i really stop to consider it.  i want each of my girls to know that i am truly listening and that i value their thoughts.


this week, one of my girls and i met and had a session that made me smile from ear to ear.  during last school year, she was in an incredibly toxic relationship with a boyfriend who was manipulative and at every step, she was questioning her self worth.  at the beginning of this school year, i could sense that she was reaching a breaking point.  even though i was hoping she would make the decision to end the relationship, i could not instruct her.  that is one of the common misconceptions about therapists – there is this idea that we just tell people what to do.  on the contrary, i rarely give my opinion – my main focus is holding a space for each and every girl to feel safe to bring up whatever is going on for them at that time.  i knew i was at least doing that piece right because she said “for 50 minutes every week, i know that someone is truly listening and listening without judgment.”  that is all that matters to me.


anyway, before she ended the relationship, she asked me a question: “ms. tappan, what do you think is the most important thing you can do in any relationship?”  i do not know that i had ever been asked that question by anyone, much less, by a 17 year old.  and without hesitation, i flashed to this quote i saw on the wall of a hospital at the end of november…




“loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.” -louise l. hay


i explained to this girl (who was much stronger than she knew at the time) that the most important thing is loving yourself.  at first, she looked at me with a puzzled expression.  she even went as far as repeating the question.  i simply repeated the answer.


then, i did something i do not do often.  i self disclosed.  in a therapeutic setting, if i am self disclosing, i have to be sure i am not doing it to make me feel or sound better – it has to be for the benefit of the client.  i explained to her that i have been in relationships/situationships of a romantic nature (and also, purely platonic relationships) where i am so focused on loving the other person that i had lost sight of loving myself.  and then, when i took a moment to step back and recalibrate, i realized how much i had been missing out on because i was not watering the most important plant in the garden.  i compared it to being on a plane and needing to first put on your own mask before assisting others in applying their masks (in case of an emergency).


in that moment, i saw her eyes light up – it literally looked like the lightbulb turned on instantaneously.   she thanked me and left.  not even a week later, she had ended the relationship.  fast forward a few sessions…


this week, she walked in and looked vibrant.  we talked about current stressors and of course, i checked in to see how she had been doing post breakup.  she said she was doing better than she thought she could and i believed every single word.  we laughed about how now, the tears she sheds in session are from actual laughter and not from sadness.  we celebrated her ability to put herself first without guilt.  and then, she asked me another great question: what changes have i seen in my life since i made loving myself a priority?


i told her i would need a whole day to go through them all but the top five are:

  1. increased self confidence
  2. healthier relationships with friends, family and love interests
  3. a higher success rate in accomplishing goals i set for myself
  4. an increased bandwidth for my clients, her included
  5. less stress in my life (fewer headaches, better sleep more often that not, a better ability to focus on tasks day to day)


loving myself really has worked miracles in my life.


what has loving yourself done for you?  tell me about it.



k. tap