Advice In Style: Costume Couture

Drop everything you are doing right now, stop reading this, and run, RUN to your local thrift store.  Okay, okay, maybe finish reading this so you know why you’re running.  I went to my local Goodwill the other day, and do you know what I saw?  THE COSTUMES ARE OUT!  (I know, I need to switch to decaf, I hear you loud and clear).  You guys, I cannot emphasize enough how much this is the BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO THRIFT.  (*Pouring decaf now).  Now, you may be saying: “Katy, I don’t wear weird stuff like you, I don’t want to shop in the costume section!”  But that’s why you need to read this post.  From the weird to the conservative, there is something for you in that costume section.  Lemme break it down for you!

Sure.  This looks like madness.  All together, you’re thinking: “Well THIS sure doesn’t look like couture to me!”  That’s where you’re wrong.  I would bet money that a runway stylist could shop the costume section at the Goodwill, send a model down the runway in it, and you probably wouldn’t even know which model was wearing the “costume couture”.  Why?  Because styling is everything.  Sure, that jacket doesn’t look expensive siting on the rack next to the Spiderman costume!  Nothing would!  But here’s how you can shop top trends and regular style staples in the COSTUME SECTION!


This jacket is a real vintage jacket.  It’s only in the costume section because someone deemed it “costume worthy”.  That’s something to remember if you are feeling insecure about this whole ordeal!

Check out this black beauty of a duster I found!  I just saw this style on the Today Show this morning you guys.  Top trends in the costume section.  Under $20.

Retro Denim
This is a GREAT time to find some classic 1970’s bell bottoms, some 80’s overalls, or pretty much any era of great denim.

How about this patchwork denim vest, totally on trend for Fall?

Metallics are so hot right now.  Thanks to the costume section, you won’t have to pay much to give this look a shot!


There are skirts a-plenty during this time a year!  I’ve seen vintage petticoats (which make amazing prairie skirts, think Spell Style), square dancing skirts, and even just simple solid colored vintage midis…on trend for Fall.

This black skirt is full and perfectly flattering for the upcoming season!

You know I love me some fringe.  I saw a fringe vest today and really, the crowning jewel of my costume couture hunting happened right here:

This is a vintage, handmade, leather fringe tunic.  I know.  I know.  I got no words you guys.

Pajama Couture
Pajamas are so hot right now…you can wear the top with jeans or the bottoms with a graphic tee…or just rock ’em together, devil may care!

Maxi Dresses
Sometimes vintage nightgowns make the best maxi dresses.  They often are what the new bohemian maxi styles are modeled after!

I fully plan on wearing this bohemian maxi with cowboy boots and lots of turquoise.

Yeah, I said it.  This is THE TIME to find traditional gorgeous asian couture!

Just look at those pretties…perfect with jeans!

Military Jackets
These are out in spades right now, and they are always so chic!

And So…
I decided to make my very own thrift store dressing room costume couture chic outfit (over my athletic leggings obviously)!

Sure, the dressing room isn’t quite couture, but hey, the prices and the finds make it worth it!




DIY Styling: Gucci Style Part One

If you love fashion and you’re breathing oxygen, you most likely have some kind of Gucci obsession.  The eclectic style has trickled down to almost everything we see in magazines and on television shows these days, and for good reason.  What is Gucci style?  Kind of…everything, all mashed up together!  That’s what makes it so glorious!  It’s a 70s meets bohemian meets fur meets prairie meets 60s meets harajuku meets menswear…and somehow after they all meet, they all get along grandly.

So welcome to a new series I am starting, called DIY Styling: Gucci Style.  I’m in no way, shape, or form, a TRUE DIYer…so these do it yourselves are mostly gonna be more like “put it on yourselves” which, as long as you typically can dress yourself, you are quite qualified to do!  Today’s post has a little bit of a DIY, but if you are scared of the DIY’s (like I am), have no fear.  Today’s DIY involves an iron.  Period.  Sure, sure, I hate ironing.  But this is ironing for GUCCI, and that makes it all worthwhile!

Unless you are living under a rock or are not on social media (if you say you are not, then I know you’re lying because you’re reading this post!), you have seen these embroidered bomber jackets.  They’re simultaneously chic and kitschy all at the same time.  Add one to a t-shirt and jeans and you suddenly look like a rock star.  They’re probably the most perfect jacket, ever.  Gucci came out with one of these bad boys and the world went bomber jacket mad.  Now you can find them almost everywhere…from Zara to Asos to Urban Outfitters to those fabulous reversible vintage ones that you will pay a pretty penny for.  The upside?  Spending money on one of them will inevitably be worth it because they’re comfortable, warm, and look Gucci-licious with everything in your closet, even your pajamas.  The downside?  Unless you’re spending over $200 or so on one, then you’re jacket is most likely mass produced and not all that unique.  It’s not a bad thing, but it’s a consideration for sure.  I decided that I wanted my own.  Here’s what I did:

I got a cotton bomber from Asos.  I chose this one because a. it is 100% cotton which means it’s breathable (in California this translates to “wearable for more than one season”) and the iron on patches I bought will stick to it without ruining the jacket b. it was a great price and c. it is a neutral color which will make the patches pop.  If you’re gonna do an iron on patch jacket you have to use cotton and not a silky fabric.  If you’re gonna sew them on, that’s a different story, you can use any fabric you like.  I found some patches I loved locally, but there are just so many on Etsy for such great prices, you will have no problem at all finding any look you like!  I found this incredible back patch on Etsy HERE for about $15 including shipping!

I ironed them on, and voila!  Instant Gucci style bomber jacket, in my own unique design!

Don’t want to DIY it? Here are a few of my favorite ready to wear jackets that won’t kill your budget!  Asos, jersey Asos jacket, this men’s Urban Outfitter’s bomber (since it’s men’s, size down!), and this Zara tiger jacket.

Happy Gucci styling!

On Hiking and Mini Dresses (But Not At The Same Time)

Waiting is the worst.  We all know it.  Toddlers remind me this every single day when I inevitably ask them to wait for their food, or for me to fix one of their toys, or for me to finish something I’m doing.  They hate it.  And of course, while this is a natural part of life, I can understand their simple frustration with this concept.  It’s not fun, when you really want something, don’t like where you’re at, or simply can see something better…to have to wait for it.  Regardless of the circumstances.  Whether it’s dessert after your dinner or finding the right person to marry…it’s not very fun.

I’ve talked about this before, and I think it is one of those things that just pops up a lot in our lives because either we are “waiting” for something, someone, or for a change, or we know someone who is.  I think it’s interesting too how often this situation goes.  We sludge along, we keep trying, we put one foot in front of another…and…nothing.  It sometimes seems like we make no progress, or so little that the “wait” or “work” or whatever we want to call it can seem like it was all for nothing.  I mean, gosh, sometimes it can even seem like we have gone BACKWARDS.  It’s massively frustrating and horribly discouraging.  But then, it’s almost like in one instant, everything can change.  The job you needed but couldn’t find is suddenly available.  The person you thought you would never meet is suddenly sitting right in front of you.  But literally, moments before this occurred, you may have laughed at someone saying that this would EVER happen.  Now of course, often things don’t change “out of nowhere”.  I mean, most of the time we’ve been working our butts off and putting in time and energy to get to where we want to be.  But it usually feels like in one instant, it happens.

I’m not what you’d call an “outdoorsy” person.  I mean, really.  I like nature and all, but I’ve tried my entire life to figure out what plant is poison oak…and I still couldn’t identify it if you paid me to.  However, I have hiked before.  A few times. But still, this is actually from my personal experience and I’m not just making crap up here!  Hiking is the worst.  Okay just kidding.  That was not my point at all.  I mean, yeah yeah it’s got it’s merits, but it’s basically WALKING UPHILL CONSTANTLY.  I digress though.  In the few times that I’ve been hiking, I remember a lot of hard work, and a lot of bends in the path as you weave up the mountain.  And for reals, it gets harder and harder as you go.  The beginning is easy…you’re all gung-ho ready to conquer this mountain, the land is usually less sloped at the start of the trail, and you’re got all this energy saved up.  And then you get going.  It gets a little harder, you’ve been doing it a little longer, but you’re still determined.  Then, about halfway up, you start to wonder if this was such a great idea, and whether you maybe took a wrong turn somewhere because SHOULD the trail be this steep and this covered in this much brush?  Should it be this hard??  Maybe you did something wrong earlier on because this seems to be taking more time than it should be.  But you’re already committed to that path, so you keep on going.  Three quarters up the mountain and you’re getting mad.  Your legs are on fire, your water supply is getting low, and you should have BEEN THERE BY NOW.  What the heck?  This is stupid.  You see people coming down all happy and glowy from their successful hike and you hate them all.  Why did THEY make it to the top before you?  Some of them were BEHIND you when you started, and they made it up to the top, basked in the glory of the view, and are already racing down the hill.  All before you’ve even seen your destination.  It feels unfair.  You feel like maybe you’re not as good as they are…maybe you did something wrong that slowed you down?  You want some answers at this point.  But, you keep going because you have invested way too much time to give up now.  And then, right when you’re near the top, THAT’S when you want to quit.  I mean, you’re WAY too tired to keep going.  You wonder whether this is all even worth it after all.  Every time you think “this is it! This is the LAST bend in the path!” you are disappointed.  You discover that you are only facing another climb…one that you feel like you’ve got nothing left to give for. This is the worst part of the whole climb.  You want to give up.  You even start to think that maybe there isn’t anything waiting at the top of this horrid climb.  But then, at curve in the road number 2,436…there it is.  In that ONE INSTANT, you are there.  You spent ALL that time and effort getting there, and it felt like nothing.  You saw nothing.  There was no view up to that point.  It was dark.  Difficult.  Exhausting.  Discouraging.  And in one single moment, in one single breath, all of that is gone.

Some of you may love hiking and not really be able to feel the pain I’m talking about.  But can you feel what I’m talking about in other situations?  I’ve had friends who waited so long to get married.  Dated guys they hoped were right, but it never really worked out.  And then, I’ve heard the “almost-there-discouragement”, the “maybe I’m never going to get married” hopelessness come out.  The “I’ve rounded too many curves in the road, only to discover that I wasn’t there yet to think this will happen” statements.  And then, one day, they meet the love of their life.  I’ve had lots of moments like this in my life.  With jobs, with finances, with friendships, with weight loss…with all kinds of things.  And yet, here I am again, battling the same old thoughts.  The “I’m too tired for this and I’m not even sure if it’s worth it” thoughts.  The “I’ve been climbing for so long and it feels like I’ve gone backwards” feelings.  Yep.  This is a life-long thing for all of us.  And yet, if we can just hold on to those moments where we finally rounded the bend and saw the light…then we can remind ourselves to just keep going.  We may be tired, we may feel like giving up…but that THING we’ve been waiting for may be one single step away.  We don’t know, we just have to keep going!

Summer can feel like a discouraging season to me.  Sounds odd, I know, but I kind of get weirdly depressed when I am too hot to wear what I like to wear!  So I’m trying to make due, and remember that fall is just around the corner.  Before I know it, I’ll be back in my velvet pants and robes and all that madness!  Until then, I’m trying to be comfortable in mini dresses and shorts!  I’m not compromising on the boots though.  Those stay with me year round :)

Now you know my true feelings on hiking.  Well, they were gonna come out sooner or later…
Happy weekend to you all!


On Tips For Customizing Your Wardrobe

You know what I’ve discovered?  That if there’s a “custom” option for a piece of clothing, I will ALWAYS choose it.  There’s just something about having something that ONLY you have…no one else…that makes my heart go pitter patter.  Somehow I’m always willing to spend more money to have something that was created just for me.  I think it’s even funny how if I find something that’s from Forever 21, but at like, a thrift store or a second hand store, I’m WAY more likely to buy it than if I actually found it at…Forever 21 itself!  Because the appeal of a single item hiding on a rack is WAY stronger than a giant rack full of the same thing.  It just seems…cheaper and way less cute than if it was standing alone!  I know, I know, it’s totally a trick of the mind because it’s the EXACT SAME THING that was at a box store on a huge rack maybe just months before…but it’s just different somehow!  I get it.  Custom stuff takes time and extra moolah, but to me, it’s worth it.

I had a revelation a long time ago when I found out that basically ALL celebrities who wear vintage and, well, anything else…get ALL their stuff altered to fit them. Wow.  That means that it’s not like, my body type or my height or whatever, it’s just that EVERYONE’S BODY is different!  I think this is what makes me place extra value on custom clothing.  It means that it will be literally made..for YOU.  Now I know we can’t all afford to get every piece of clothing custom made, and honestly that’s not necessary.  Sometimes you walk in to Target, and something fits you like a glove.  But when you’re really having trouble finding something, it might be worth the investment to just get it specially made!  I had trouble finding overalls that would fit me, so I special ordered them from LykkeWullf.  It was so worth the money.  Now I have a pair of overalls…made to fit me.  My exact measurements.  Comfortable AND cute.  Same with all the loads of stuff I have ordered from my FABULOUS friend Arwyn (@township31).  You are going to see a lot of stuff from her because, well, I love her, and she is so dang creative, I can’t stop!

Tips for customizing your wardrobe: (hint: you don’t need to buy all new stuff!)

  1. is your best friend.  I mean, gosh golly you can’t even go a few seconds of searching without finding something that you can custom order.  It’s a mecca for creativity and custom fits.
  2. Contact people over Instagram/Facebook and ask.  I’ve been surprised sometimes at the people who actually do custom orders but don’t necessarily advertise for it!  I’ve honestly just asked people…”hey can you make me one of those?” with GREAT success most times.
  3. Find a local tailor.  This can be the BOMB when it comes to thrifting.  Often it’s cheaper than you think, so just ask.  You never know what will happen!  This is a great way to take things you already have, but don’t fit you right, and make them AMAZING.  Also, it can be a great way to bargain shop for stuff.  Granted, you need to take into account the cost of the alterations, but you may still be getting a grand steal if you buy a pair of jeans at Goodwill for, say $15, and then it costs $20 to alter them.  Still can be much cheaper than buying them new!
  4. Know your measurements, even if it hurts.  I’m not gonna lie.  When I sent my measurement to LykkeWullf to get my overalls, I actually apologized.  Darn that stupid measuring tape that makes me feel like a loser!  It’s JUST a number, and remember it’s better to have clothes that fit well and make you look good, than it is to lie about your waist for vanity’s sake.  But darn it if it’s not tempting too…
  5. Decide what’s worth it and what’s not.  Some things can be belted, safety pinned, or just worn oversized, and it’s just fine.  Other things, like jeans for example, need to fit to look good.  So remember that it’s okay to invest in certain pieces, and you don’t always have to get a crazy bargain on every single thing in your closet!
  6. Find a creative friend who sews.  This is another great way to upgrade stuff you already have.  I mean, say you have a dress you never wear, but you love the fabric.  What if you had a friend who likes to sew cut the bottom off and add an elastic waistband?  Voila!  Instant skirt!  The options are endless when it comes to this kind of thing.  I mean, honestly I just cut stuff up sometimes and see what happens.  Some fabrics don’t fray easily and simply cutting off the sleeves or cutting a dress into a top can make an instant difference.

Okay.  This vest is like a dream to me.  I mean, when I saw that Arwyn had made one I immediately asked if I could commission her to make me one!  I am in awe of this craftsmanship.  I put it with this vintage Gunne Sax dress and my fringe boots from Sam Edelman…because it gave it a nice bohemian prairie feel!

I’m sweating bullets.  No, I’m not nervous, it’s just freaking hot.  Hope you all are staying cool out there…

On First Impressions and Cowboy Caftans

First impressions are so interesting aren’t they?  I know you should “never judge a book by its cover” and all that, but of COURSE the cover has at least a TINY bit to do with the book doesn’t it?  Sometimes it doesn’t have as much to do with it  as we THINK it does, but it’s most definitely part of who/what that book is.  Funny how some people make such a strong impression that it kind of defines part of who you see them to be forever really, and other people just kind of somehow “come to be” in your life and you don’t really remember the first time you met them.  Some people I feel like kind of just fade into our lives and they just always ARE, and others, well, you most CERTAINLY remember what kind of impression they made right off the bat.

When I was at Cal Poly, in one of my classes we had to give a mini presentation about who we were during the first day of class.  Nothing major, we didn’t have to prepare anything, it was more of a “who are you?” type thing so that we knew more than each other’s faces and maybe a name or two.  This one guy, let’s call him “Joe” (*names have been changed to protect the innocent/guilty and I most DEFINITELY DO remember his name), decided that just simply answering the question was not enough.  While most of us sat in our chairs and gave the usual: “my name is ______ and I like shopping and reading and long walks on the beach blah blah”, when it was his turn he leapt up and ran to the front of the room.  He immediately grabbed a dry erase marker and began drawing on the board as though we were playing some sort of Pictionary game.  We watched as he drew, not sure where this was going, and honestly it didn’t look like it was going anyplace good.  He finally finished his “work of art” and turned to face the class.  “Hi!  I’m Joe*!  And THIS (he motioned dramatically at the drawing on the board) is a diagram of my butt.”  He proceeded to explain where there was hair, as well as where there was not hair on his butt, why this was interesting, and probably some other details about himself that no one remembered because we were all stunned into a silence, memorizing that image of his butt against our wills.  When he finished, the professor gave him a long hard look, said: “Okaayyyyyy…thank you?” and later gave him QUITE a talking to about how inappropriate this presentation was.  Uh…YOU THINK???  I remember this guy’s real name.  But I called him “butt guy” instead, and he has been henceforth known as “butt guy” by my husband too.  I mean, the other day, I saw someone I went to college with and Eric said, “Oh was that butt guy?”  You SEE???  His first impression will NEVER DIE amongst those of us who were in that class that day.  I know nothing about him.  But I’m a wealth of information on his rear end.  Unfortunately.

Ah yes, first impressions.  There have been times when people have told me their first impressions of me.  Usually if I’m getting told by people what they thought of me initially, it’s because they formed a bad impression of me, and not a good one.  Otherwise it’s not really a great story.  Like “oh when I met you I thought you were super nice haha…” yeah not nearly as good of a story as “I thought you were vapid, popular, ditzy, and vain.”  Pretty sure I’ve heard some form of all of these things about myself.  Weird because I’m really not popular and I’m so self deprecating most days people would not think I was all that vain.  I do say a lot of dumb stuff probably too loudly so sure I’ll take ditzy no problem…whatever I used to be a blonde right!?  Anyway, whenever people are telling me their first impressions of me its because they were wrong…(“hey you’re not popular at all!” just kidding, see there’s the self deprecating side speaking up!) and they’ve realized that I’m not who I came across as at all.

To be completely honest, UNLESS you are talking about your butt along with diagrams and stuff, I’m pretty sure what you are wearing comes into play largely with your first impression.  Sure it’s also your facial expressions, body language, and what’s coming out of your mouth…but clothes are an easy first impression maker.  This is partly why I love clothes though…it’s a way of expressing yourself in a very visual way that’s immediate.  It’s like you get to put together your own piece of art, then wear it to show people:  “Hey, I made this outfit!”  It may not always come across as who you are completely, but it’s your creation and it expresses a part of your creativity and your personality!

Yep I’m two posts in a row with the caftans guys, what can I say.  I didn’t plan it that way, but I bought this thing the INSTANT I saw it on The Hippie Shake‘s website it was too amazing.  I mean, most caftans are like 1970s Florida beach wear, which I LOVE.  But this one, this one is like 1970s cowboy meets California beach!  The choker is from PrickliePear and the boots are handmade…get similar ones from Hillbillygypsy Boots!

Hope your week is starting off well, and that you haven’t seen any diagrams of anyone’s rear ends lately.  It really does stick with you…

On Basics…Maxi Skirt Wearing

It’s week three of “Basics…Anything But”!  Now I totally realize that MY definition of “basics” may not be the same as everyone else’s.  For example, I would qualify a slip dress and a kimono as “basics”.  However, I’m trying my darndest to keep THESE basics ACTUAL basics that may be in the average person’s closet.  After I’m done with those, I’ll probably move on to things like the slip dress and kimono and all that just to keep emphasizing how much every woman should have them in her closet!  But for now, I’m trying to stick to BASIC basics!

Today, let’s talk MAXI SKIRTS!  I decided to take a solid maxi skirt and show you some fun and unpredictable ways to mix in this basic with some other pieces you may have in your closet…or you may be looking to buy!  As always, you can use a lot of different fabrics, patterns, and styles of skirt to change up this look!  The sky is the limit!  But let me tell you about what I used, and why!

THE SKIRT:  I purchased this skirt from Free People new a few years ago.  It was exactly what I was looking for, and at the time, there weren’t a lot of maxi skirts to be found, so I looked at it as an investment piece that I could wear a lot of different ways, and boy have I used the heck out of this skirt!  Now truthfully, these kinds of skirts are a lot more plentiful, so getting one at a thrift store or at Target is highly likely, and at a fraction of the price.
FIT: The skirt I used has an elastic waistband, which is KEY for these looks.  Why?  Because the elastic allows you to wear the skirt at a variety of places and not just on your waist.  I have done some of these looks with a non elastic waistband maxi, and it can work, it’s just not as comfortable or easy.  I used a slightly gathered skirt, but a more gathered skirt will add a little extra bohemian glamour, while a non gathered one will be a more fitted look.  Either way works just fine!
FABRIC: This skirt is a stretch jersey…again, you can use a non stretch cotton, but the stretchy flowy fabrics will lay a bit better, be less bulky on, and simply be more comfortable!

Let’s get down to it!  A maxi skirt can go SO many different directions!  This look is great with a solid, striped, floral, or aztec print as well.  You decide :)

To be honest, I bought these two skirts together…to wear exactly like this!  I saw them in a Free People magazine and went out and bought them (they are the same in two different colors) because I needed a dress for a wedding and I couldn’t find one I liked!  However, I have done this EXACT same thing with multiple different variations of skirts, so you do not need to have two of the same to do this!

Okay, so you get the idea?  One skirt pulled up above your boobs like a strapless dress, the skirt underneath at your waist, belted, and…boom.  Flowy strapless bohemian goodness.  I’m a BIG fan of belts that tie on, but a regular belt would work just fine too!  I love gladiator sandals with this look because it’s cool for summer and adds to the boho flair!  The Free People skirts I have are sold out, but HERE is a really cool more fitted and rusched sides one (it has an extra sale code right now too!) If you want to splurge and get a great piece, try HERE.
THRIFTY TIP:  Shop your local thrift shops for maxi skirts!  They are much more common than they used to be.  Also, places like Target, Old Navy, and Forever 21 often have them for around $20.  Don’t forget to check ThredUp too!
SWAP IT OUT:  Change out the gladiator sandals for cowboy boots or just regular boots.  It changes the look of the outfit!  Also, a cool pair of palazzo pants underneath instead of a second skirt is super fun!  I’ve done this before and it looks really cool!
CRAFTY DIY:  Don’t have a tie on belt?  Get some thick ribbon or a strip of cool fabric (denim would be super cool!) and tie a bow at your waist!  It adds a whole new look to the outfit!  Wear it this way with some heels and you got yourself a brand new vibe to the same outfit!

This look basically turns your maxi skirt into a dress…with a little extra flair!

Okay, so again, you pull up your skirt as a strapless dress, then use the kimono belt to create a “waist” for your new dress!  I used some boho inspired accessories because it really seemed to go with the look of the kimono/skirt combo.  For kimonos, a splurge is HERE or HERE and to save some $$, try vintage robes on Etsy or look HERE.
THRIFTY TIP:  My necklace is from Child of Wild, so if you want to splurge on a statement piece, check them out.  However, this look is available for SO MUCH LESS now!!  Check THIS page out!
SWAP IT OUT:  Use a more fitted stretchy skirt.  Almost like a pencil fit maxi.  You’ll get a really sexy sleek strapless dress effect!
CRAFTY DIY:  If you don’t have a kimono, use a large square scarf, OR a large square piece of fabric, fold it in half, and put it over your shoulders with the point in the back.  Tuck in the front pieces into a belt, and you’ll create a poncho like effect and still get the same type of look!

The beauty of an elastic waist skirt is that it can sit anywhere on your body.  It can be low waisted or high waisted…and that gives you versatility for what kind of top you can wear!

For this look, I pulled up my skirt to make it high waisted, allowing me to knot my denim top and go full western gal!
THRIFTY TIP: I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  Chambray tops tend to be fairly easy to find at thrift stores.  Also, I got mine from Target and it is awesome!
SWAP IT OUT: Use a patterned top!  A plaid flannel would be adorable!
CRAFTY DIY:  Don’t have a bolo?  I got mine from the FABULOUS Hillbilly Gypsy Boots (email her and ask for a custom order!)  Here’s a SUPER fun DIY post on how to make your own out of things like bottle caps and stuff for all you UBER crafty peeps out there!

What’s not predictable with a flowy, girly maxi?  A tough graphic tee!  For this look I added some more masculine elements to balance out the skirt and make it interesting!

I thought that a Harley tee, desert booties, a belt, and a squash blossom would be a fun addition to the skirt.
THRIFTY TIP: I got these J Crew booties at a second hand store, but I highly recommend the Tom’s ones since the J Crew ones are sold out!  HERE is a FABULOUS alternative however, and at half the cost!
SWAP IT OUT: Swap the booties for cowboy boots, and use a floral or a sweet girly print tee.  Still adorable, but just changes the look a bit!
CRAFTY DIY: I got this shirt in the men’s section at Goodwill for $4.  I took my scissors to it and made it more awesome!  Find some great old tees and cut the sleeves down (makes the shirt look less like a men’s shirt!) and cut a few holes in it.  You’ll have a great vintage looking tee for a fraction of the cost!  Also, places like Forever 21 are doing GREAT replicas of band tees for CHEAP!

Give it a go!  I hope these posts are super helpful for you and inspire you to be a tad more daring with what you already have!  Once I discovered that I could wear some of my skirts like dresses, it opened up a whole new realm of possibility for my closet!


On Ponchos, Hipsters, and Hair

I was a little late to the hipster party.  I mean, when I was younger, I wore pastel plaids, denim maxi skirts, big turquoise glasses, and most definitely listened to a cassette player and records because my parents didn’t feel the need to advance in technology.  The problem was that these things weren’t COOL at that time.  Let me tell you, it took me a LOOOOONG time to appreciate denim skirts in my life because they used to be something I associated with being out of date, out of style, and socially awkward.  So I guess you could say that I was one of those original hipster types…but clearly not by my choosing!

I remember when I got my first “real” haircut, like one that my mom didn’t give me.  It was when layers hit big and although I was much too young to be allowed to even know what Friends was, but I sure as heck knew who Jennifer Aniston was.  And yes, I wanted to BE her like most girls.  I went to my mom’s friend who cut hair out of her mobile home (you can tell how this story is going to end!) and asked her for “layers like Jennifer Aniston”.  Well, I didn’t get them.  I got layers like Courtney Cox, who at the time had MUCH shorter hair than Jennifer did.  It was terrible.  I’m not saying that in a self depreciating “I know I looked cute but I’m going to pretend I was awkward” way.  No.  It was simply BAD with my textured hair and lack of knowledge on how to style it.  I spent most of my sophomore year trying to undo that travesty.  And then came (cue the scary music) THE PERMS.  I don’t understand who in their right mind would ever allow someone with such textured and odd hair to get a PERM, but it sure happened.  In that same mobile home, I spent hours with my nose jammed against the screen trying not to vomit from the smell of rotten eggs and chemicals slathered all over my head.  The result was ALWAYS the same.  Me, desperately pulling at my strangely kinky hair, wishing I had never done it.  Again.  But I asked for a “BODY WAVE”!!!!  Yeah, we know.  That’s what EVERYONE thinks their getting, and yet they leave looking like Diana Ross.

It really wasn’t until my junior year that I began to even START to get a clue.  That less can be more when it comes to layers, perms are most definitely NOT for me, and that plaid and denim were for home schoolers.  I then transferred ALL of my original efforts into makeup, and ended up wearing lipstick in a deep shade of brown for years.  Makeup was my new passion, and I overdid it like CRAZY.  Once a little kid told me: “your lipstick is as DARK AS THE MOON.”  I had no idea what that meant, but I figured it was not good.  I also wanted boobs and didn’t have them, so I wore one of those 10 pound water bras from Victoria’s Secret that basically sloshed when you walked.  I desperately tried to undo all of my faux pas by creating new ones…which is kind of human nature right??  We feel dorky so we try really hard to be cool, and thereby end up just being dorky in new ways!  Ahhhhh yes.  I considered piercing my belly button (my dad said over his dead body) and I bleached my hair as much as possible so as to look like Britney Spears.  Glitter, baby pink lipstick, and tight white tank tops were my jam.  I tried, but I never could really rock that look either.

Finally, FINALLY, I am starting to feel like I have a little bit of my groove.  Maybe it’s that I’m finally not bleaching my hair, or that I’m not addicted to dark makeup, or that I stopped trying to make my boobs look like a porn star…but I feel like while I’m stilly just kind of a dorky person, I’m more ME.  Sure.  I overdo the HECK out of my clothes.  But that’s just ME, isn’t it?!?

I’m totally wearing this poncho backwards.  Because I like it better that way!  It’s super fun vintage and was $10 at a local thrift store…and I mean, how could I pass that up!  I immediately wanted to wear it with some orange bells, although I’m definitely gonna wear it with jeans too!  I loved using the circle jewelry to compliment the stripes of the poncho.  Kind of a juxtaposition of shapes!  I have on some vintage men’s loafers that I thought classed up the whole thing too.  It’s fun, bright, and backwards, just like I can be :)

Keep being you


On Being Born Free and This Tee That Reminds Me

I heard someone say something that really resonated with me today.  He said: “We were built for victory.  But fear keeps us in defeat.”  It really struck me for two reasons.  One, I don’t often believe that I was actually BUILT for victory.  I just assume that sometimes, dreams just don’t work out and accepting reality is just part of life.  And two, fear has been a major sticking point for me on a lot of things in life.  I was born a bold risk taker, and then rewired to be fearful and overly cautious to a fault.  So when I heard that statement, it really rocked my mind!

I was talking with my husband yesterday about how before we went through our few years of intense struggles, I had this very specific and intense goal and plan.  It was something that I had literally dreamed about since I was a child…and it was this thing that sort of drove me to keep going in a lot of ways.  I’m SUCH a goal oriented person, that it was a large, and sometimes too large, part of my life and my thoughts.  Then, when we lost all of what we had worked for and basically had to start over (and at a deficit no less!) I had gone for so long without even the hope of this goal, that it was gone.  It was like it was completely dead and buried in a graveyard of dreams that would never be.  And for a while, I was sort of “okay” with that.  I think in my recovery process, for a while I just couldn’t really deal with any more loss…I had lost enough, so the thought of dealing with things I never had and lost was just too great a burden to bear.  But after a while, I began to feel more and more of a whole person and then, the actual hole that the dream had left became more apparent.  In straight terms, I sometimes feel like I lack the vision and passion I had before.

Maybe some of that’s good.  That vision and passion drove me so hard, even to the point of depression at times because I could not immediately attain it, that it needed to take a breather.  It needed to be there, encouraging me forward, but not in a way that I could not enjoy life in the meantime and the journey to get to it.  However, I think I would like to regain some of that vision.  Because if I was “meant for victory”, then this story isn’t finished.  I told my husband that I go back and forth between thinking that my goals and dreams are not dead and that they’re still going to happen…and that I should just let them go and assume that they are a thing of the past.  His response was that the latter of the two options was dangerous, because it would allow me to slip into a state of apathy and acceptance for something that is temporary.  He was right.  I was not “meant for defeat”, even though defeat is sometimes part of the journey.  I was born free of fear…and the fear of hoping and dreaming again is what can keep me from that victory.

I have to remind myself that sometimes my leaning towards fears and accepting defeat are not part of who I am.  They were learned, and now I must UNlearn them and stand in the victory I was meant to.  Because I can still work for, believe for, and hope for the things that I was meant to experience.  THAT is victory even in the times when things are not obviously victorious!

I know you probably can’t read it, but this shirt says: “Born Free” so I thought it was appropriate for this post!  I gotta say, this outfit is pretty much straight inspired by Spell Designs…I can never get enough of their bohemian eclectic colorful fringy goodness!  The boots are old Sam Edelman, but fringe booties are EVERYWHERE now, and an absolute essential for the fringe lover like myself!  The skirt is Free People, the top is Bandit Brand (amazing vintage inspired graphic tees!), and the jacket is Off Fifth.  The belt is from “my” store (I call it “mine” because I love it and I have the privilege of styling there!) so it’s second hand amazingness!  Don’t forget about the necklace.  Ohhhhh that necklace is new from Zachary Pryor on Etsy.  Gotta love a good statement piece!

I hope you’re dreaming big and feeling free today!

On an Epic Dress and an Epic Life

If you haven’t noticed, I love epic things.  Epic stories, epic songs, epic clothing…you name it, if it’s epic, I’m probably all about it.  I have a very “all or nothing” personality where I tend to go to extremes quite easily.  I’ve learned this over the years from people’s comments about me and by recognizing that I am a very committed and on board person…as long as it’s for something epic.  The funny thing is, I don’t really feel like much of an epic person.  Now of course, my personality is quite epic.  I know that.  It’s loud, sometimes annoying most likely, and just THERE in everyone’s faces.  But my life has been pretty boring for the most part.  Save for the few years where we went through some pretty epic struggles, I have no real amazing stories to share.  Sometimes I get to hear other people’s stories and I realize how insanely boring my own story is.  Okay.  “Boring” is the wrong word.  My story is quite weird and has some great parts to it, but it’s overall pretty safe and pretty uninteresting.  I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I wish I had travelled more after college or had a big family growing up, or had parents who liked to take more risks…something to add excitement and flavor to my childhood.

I dream of big things.  I want my life to be epic.  And I guess I’ve realized that in order to have an epic life, you must have some life experiences that are, well, less than enjoyable.  I struggle often with what I went through.  Sometimes it feels like it is a shadow over my heart and mind, keeping me from really experiencing life to the fullest.  Sometimes the shadow dims and I feel better, but it’s just kind of a memory that’s “there”…pulling at the corners of my thoughts.  It’s something that I’m trying to reconcile at times, trying to let go of at others, and trying to accept all at the same time.

I got this really amazing handmade couch pillow from a thrift store a little while ago.  Someone had taken all of their child’s equestrian ribbons and sewed them into a pillow.  What a genius idea!  It makes for a really great throw pillow and it just has so much character.  Now, I know absolutely nothing about horse showing or competitions.  I was a kid who desperately wanted a horse, but since we lived in a mobile home and my parents really had no knowledge of horses, I didn’t get any experience with them.  This morning I was taking a closer look at the pillow on my couch as I was cleaning the house, and I realized something that probably would have been quite obvious to someone who knows about horses.  All of the ribbons are different colors because they are all different places in the competitions.  There’s one blue one…clearly first place.  The rest range from second to fifth place.  I had been admiring the pillow just minutes earlier for it’s different colors and how beautiful those colors made the pillow, and I realized something: if this child had always won first place, the pillow would be all blue ribbons.  How boring.  It would have lacked the uniqueness and variety that all the colors gave to the story of the pillow.  And then I realized something else:  that same variety of different colors represents our life experiences, and how when we experience the struggles and the successes of life, it gives us the depth of character that we need to be beautiful and interesting.  It gives us what we need to be EPIC.  No movie or story is epic without the last places, the struggles, the pain of loss.

So there you have it.  I and that pillow are the same.  I am a painted tapestry of highs and lows, of epic struggles and the yet to be epic triumphs.  I AM epic.  I just didn’t realize it!

I love this dress.  I got it from a vintage shop, and when I saw this necklace on Free People, I just KNEW they went together.  It was just…EPIC.  The gold Toms were just because, well, why not add in some more epic gold sparkle, right??

I think sometimes things that don’t go together at all, actually go together perfectly.  Like a fifth place ribbon and a first place ribbon.  One may think that fifth place is really nothing to celebrate, but in reality it’s ALL of us put together that makes for a beautiful story and a beautiful person, not JUST our blue ribbons.  Although those are the ones we like to talk about the most!

I hope your week is off to an EPIC start!

On Letting My Husband Choose My Outfit

I’m one of those people who often has fantasies that I can control stuff.  Like my surroundings.  Like how things are going to go.  And then, I remember that I have toddlers, and that the nice family dinner we were all trying to have has ended in screaming (me),  food all over the floor (them), and general crankiness (all of us). And there went that fantasy.  I swear that social media is ESPECIALLY damaging when it comes to the whole “being in control” fantasy, because you could seriously take an amazing, perfect, and beautiful photo…but then what we don’t see is that everyone melted down two seconds later.  All we see is that bright and shiny photo and our thoughts go to that place: “why can’t I get control of my life like that girl SO CLEARLY can??”  Yep, I am guilty, guilty, guilty on this issue.

I suffer from a split personality when it comes to the issue of wanting to be in control.  I love surprises (the good kind, obviously), and I love to feel like I can just let go and let someone else take care of stuff for me.  BUT (I made it big, because on this point, I have a HUGE BUT), I ALSO have a super hard time letting go of control.  My poor husband gets the brunt of this split personality.  I mean, when he comes in and offers to clean up the kitchen after dinner, what do I say to him?  Do I jump at the opportunity to let someone help me so I can sit down for a few precious minutes?  Aw heck no.  I say: “yeah…um…okay…maybe…well…you know…why don’t I just go ahead and do it?”  What is my problem you are asking? (I know you are asking that, because honestly I ask myself that multiple times a day).  I LIKE TO DO THINGS MY OWN WAY.  Because if I let someone help me, things might not get done quite the way I like them to get done.  And that’s a hard thing to let go of for me, and quite frankly I think there’s a lot of others out there who suffer from this control disorder.

I learned a lot about control the hard way over the past years.  I mean, I worked hard, I didn’t get into debt, I was kind to people, and really felt like I did everything as right as I knew how to do.  And things still fell apart.  I think it’s interesting when I hear younger people say things like: “he worked really hard, so he deserves to receive _______ (fill in the blank with some reward)”.  I don’t disagree with that statement at all.  Of course, hard work deserves reward.  However, I learned in a painful way that the reward doesn’t always come right away, and sometimes it seems like all the illusions of taking control of your life in the world can often lead to the opposite of what you intended or even what you thought you “deserved”.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am still more of an idealist than I am a realist, even given what I’ve gone through.  I am not going to sit here and say “sometimes you work hard and get nothing, life is crap”…NO, on the contrary.  What I’m saying, is that sometimes the reward doesn’t come immediately, in the form you thought it would, or in the time frame you thought you “needed it”.  I really did need that reward.  I mean, like if I told you the circumstances, you would fully agree with me that I truly NEEDED things to be what I worked for them so hard to be.  Instead, for a couple of years I lived in a state of fear, panic, and need.  It hurt.  It felt like it killed me, because it did kill part of me.  And it turns out I actually kind of NEEDED that to happen.  The reward is still out there, for sure, but I have learned though that no matter how hard I try, I don’t control the outcome of much of anything.  Except for cleaning that dang kitchen.  Haha.

I love this outfit.  And you know what?  I didn’t pick it.  My sweet, amazing, thoughtful husband bought this dress and vest for me, styled with the help of Stephanie at Ruby Rose.  And he did an awesome job if you ask me!  It’s proof that letting go sometimes yields amazing results!

The tunic dress/top and denim vest is from Ruby Rose, the necklace is from Bauble Bar, but since it’s sold out, you can get one just like it here. The bells are from Show Me Your Mumu.

My husband did an incredible job on picking this outfit and also on cleaning the kitchen last night.  I guess I don’t have to always do everything myself :)