On Things I Love/Hate About Me

Ever heard that whole “thin line between love and hate” thing before?  I’m betting so.  Kinda funny because it’s kinda true.  I mean, both emotions are so strong, that it’s almost like saying that whether you love or hate something, both are very strong emotions, and could almost be confused for each other at times.  It makes me think of that movie, remember that old high school classic “10 Things I Hate About You”, in which we ALL knew actually meant the girl was gonna fall for the guy she “despised”?  Yep.  Predictable, and yet, awesome.  I was thinking about that movie, particularly about the title.  It is unfortunately MUCH too easy for me to come up with 10 things (actually many many more) I hate about ME…but not as easy to come up with 10 things that I LOVE about me.  Dang.  Why is that???  Self loathing just comes more naturally than self LOVING I guess!!

So I thought about it some more, and realized that when it comes to things we love about ourselves, they are sometimes the same things that we hate at times too, am I right?  Like…you may love a certain quality about your personality, but at times that same quality gets you into trouble.  Like…you love that you’re social, but you often get told that you’re talking too much…or something of that nature.  Get my meaning?  I thought that this was a PERFECT example of that “thin line”.  It’s the things we are passionate about ourselves, the things we love AND hate.  So here it is.  My “10 Things I Love/Hate About ME.”  (*I’d love to hear yours…whether it’s one, ten, or 20!  So please tell me!)

  1. My Height.  I love being tall.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I love being able to reach stuff up high, never having to hem my pants, and never really having to wear heels.  However, you try being the tallest out of all your friends, or most people in any given photo.  Yes, I am that hunchback looking person on the side, trying to awkwardly be the same height as everyone else around me.  Also, short people don’t realize this often, but tall people often look “fat” next to shorter people because of their height.  It’s just the way it goes, people!
  2. My Eyebrows.  This is again, a double edged sword.  My eyebrows are virtually…perfect.  In the way that they NEVER have really needed to be shaped or waxed because they grow in a perfect arch.  HOWEVER, they will never be like Brooke Shields’ full and gloriously bohemian caterpillars like I WANT them to be.  So…love/hate.
  3. My Tenacity.  I love that I fight for things and people.  I love that I don’t give up easily and that I often will choose the harder way if the results are better.  But I also hate it.  It makes for a lot of heartbreak in the process because I care SO VERY DEEPLY for the things I fight for…and the process can be terrible.  I often get angry at myself for being unwilling to compromise and just do things the “normal way”.  It’s a wonderful quality…and a painful one at that.
  4. My Sense of Humor.  Some people think I’m quite funny, so I stick with them.  I kind of shy away from people who don’t think I’m funny, because…well…I like to make people laugh!  I love love love when people laugh at stuff I say or do.  I love when I get my comedic timing right (I really just quote a LOT of tv shows you guys, and I bank on the fact that most people don’t actually remember the things I’m copying!) and I love it when people tell me I’m funny.  But I also don’t love it when people are trying to be serious or like, pay attention to stuff (um…who really DOES that??) and all I can think of are random comments about llamas or vampires, and NO ONE wants to hear them.  I can never turn off the randomness.  Ever.  So…love/hate.
  5. My Memory.  I have excellent SHORT TERM memory.  I was the quickest studier, easiest A on tests all through school because I could memorize like nobody’s business.  I don’t have to understand stuff, I can just remember it and spit it out.  But it is exactly what it sounds like…it is SHORT TERM.  If you asked me something that was on a test I took just half an hour earlier…I probably couldn’t answer you.  It’s a great tool…but it often means that I have a hard time LEARNING and REMEMBERING like, REAL stuff.  It’s all just data that gets quick shoved into a junk drawer in my brain…and then dumped shortly after.
  6. My Memory…For Randomness.  You guys, I remember actresses and characters names.  I remember tv show plots, quotes, situations…you name it.  I remember stuff from books, movies…anything with a STORY, I get the deets for ya.  Ask me if I remember someone’s name that I have seen every Sunday at church for the past three years.  Yeah.  I don’t got that one.  USEFUL RIGHT???  I love that I am so into stories.  They’re fun.  Sometimes though, just once in a while, it would be nice if I remembered an ACTUAL HUMAN’S NAME in REAL FRICKIN LIFE.
  7. My Commitment.  When people applauded me for losing weight after having my kids, I of course appreciated it.  But you gotta know that for me, it wasn’t optional.  I am HARDCORE about my diet and exercise.  I am beyond committed.  I love this.  A challenge in these areas doesn’t really frighten me, it excites me.  But this commitment level often gets in the way of LIFE.  It makes me stressed out when I go out of town or have a change in my schedule…it makes me rather inflexible at times.  And I hate that.
  8. My Hair.  The fact that this made the list is NOTHING short of a miracle.  I have battled my hair for most of my life, with little success.  After switching to a natural hair routine, I have come to love my hair texture.  I love the curl and the wave, and at this point…I wouldn’t trade it in.  That’s a first.  However…I wish it was thicker and stronger.  I’d love to grow it out.  Up to this point, it’s never grown past like my shoulder blades.  So here’s hoping…maybe this will all change and I’ll just love/love my hair someday soon!
  9. My Nose.  I’ve had people tell me they love my nose.  I’ve always loved my nose too.  I mean, I feel like the shape is great, and I’ve never wished it was different.  But you guys, I’ve ALWAYS struggled with stuffy noses at all stages of my life.  I’ve often loved that my nose is thin and has a good shape…but it’s just that…it’s THIN and that makes it get stuffy often.  The thing that I love about it…often frustrates me.
  10. How Much I Care.  I care about people and things.  A LOT.  Often more than I really should.  I love that I love people.  I love that I feel for people and I want to help them and do my best to.  But yeah, this is a double edged sword.  It’s painful to care for people, because when you care as much as I do, you often don’t receive the same amount of return from others.  Much of the time I am fully aware that I am way more committed to someone/something than they are to me.  That is a hard and exhausting place to be in.  It’s challenging to balance yourself when you feel so much for people and things.  I love it…and I hate it.

This dress is a classic love/hate thing.  I mean look at it!  I had to cut out some serious shoulder pads of this thing.  But the colors…oh the colors.  It’s just amazing and ugly all at the same time.  So…I’ll take it! :)

I’m working on that whole “self loathing” thing.  But it is quite true though, that often our good qualities can have a dark side as well!  It’s just part of being human!

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!
Katy

On Inside Scoops

Okay, okay, I’m just way too excited about this to NOT write about it.  I mentioned before that I am starting a small clothing line…and the test t-shirt I ordered AND the kimono prototype fabric arrived today! How can I NOT talk about this!  I thought, since you all are my favorite humans, the ones who take your precious time to read my (often endless) ramblings about clothing and feelings and things…that I’d give you the special scoop first.  You sure deserve it!

I’ve been trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing for quite a while now.  After my life kind of went crazy for a few years, it took me a bit to get my feet back on stable ground again.  I considered vintage selling for a while, but honestly I love to BUY vintage more than I love to SELL vintage.  It just doesn’t excite me to hunt for vintage for anything other than to wear it!  My husband has repeatedly told me that he thought I would be happiest actually creating things…but this really intimidated me for the most part.  I don’t know how.  I don’t sew, I don’t understand patterns or fabrics very well, so this is not something that I felt like I could just jump in to.  Each time he brought it up, I would veto it based on a poor excuse.  Until a few months ago.

I was driving in my car and I had a revelation.  The car is quite honestly the place I have most of my inspiration!  I suddenly had this “vision” I will call it for a clothing line.  It was specific.  I saw in my mind’s eye these things: kimonos that are structurally asian inspired but with modern breathable fabrics, graphic tees that are primarily California 1970’s looking graphics, hand dyed vintage slips, and maxi skirts that are flattering, fit well, but are still comfortable with an elastic waistband.  Everything will cohesively go together, so you could mix and match if you wanted and create endless outfits with them.  They will all be made in America or be fair trade.  T-shirts that look like you could have found them in your grandparent’s attic…but are comfortable and stretchy.  Vintage look, with a modern feel.  The look to this line is going to be retro (of course) with a hint of bohemian.  Think 1970’s California and I think you’ll get it.  Man.  I’m excited.

Then came the name issue.  My husband and I tossed around a few names, checked their availability online and on instagram…nothing really stuck out UNTIL…he almost yelled out I’VE GOT IT!!!  Velvet California.  And yeah, I’m pretty sure no one could top that.  So there you have it!  Velvet California is slowly becoming a reality!  Gosh.  The level of support and excitement that I’ve had from most of YOU has been overwhelming.  I mean, there’s just no way that I could ever express what it means to me to have you cheering me on.  It’s kind of unreal.

I see this as something that I want to encourage women.  I want it to encourage them to be themselves.  To give some options for everyday wear that are fun, individual, and still very wearable.  Most of my days are spent going to the grocery store.  To parks.  To Target.  And yeah, I don’t wear my uncomfortable clothing or my high maintenance clothes when I’m running errands.  But I still want to dress in fun stuff, to look put together, and to feel like ME.  So that’s what I want this to be.  Alternatives to the necessary, but often boring, leggings.  Workout wear.  Sweats.  The things that, let’s face it, we ALL wear at times and hey!  That’s okay!  We are human!  We are allowed to go out with bad hair, bad breath, no makeup, and gross sweats from time to time right??  But if I do that more than like, once a year, I start to feel much less like myself.  I feel much better when I can dress like me and STILL chase my kids around or load up the car with groceries.  Yep, this is me trying to do the impossible…make real life and fashion WORK together cohesively and beautifully!  Seriously though, if it’s not at least a little impossible, I’m probably not interested in trying anyway!

Yeah I really wish I had some pieces done for this post.  But that’ll be so soon anyway, I thought I’d just go with my vintage dragon kimono because it’s fierce :).

Thank you for being you, for always spending time with me, and for listening and responding.  I always appreciate it.  Always.
Katy

On Shopping and Homework

Since it’s a holiday three-day weekend, I thought a fitting subject would be “how to do your homework before buying an item.”

Wait just one tiny minute.  You mean that there’s HOMEWORK involved for shopping?  Here’s the easy answer.  If you want to save money, HECK YES there’s homework to be done!  Yesterday, I was doing a little online shopping, and I realized that I have a total process in which I make shopping decisions.  I didn’t even realize I was doing this until then.  I thought since today’s a holiday, why not have a little homework to do right?  I mean, it’s a day when lots of stuff is on SALE so shopping is definitely happening, so let’s talk about how to do your “due diligence” before you commit to buy!

Now for sure, there are a couple of things to consider when you’re shopping.  One of them is this: is the item you’re looking for very specific…like maybe you found it online or you saw it in a store and you know exactly what brand it is…if this is the case, there’s still homework to be done, but it might change the end result.  There have been times that I’ve done all my homework, and not saved a dime because it turns out I really just had found the best deal to begin with!  But more often than not, if I don’t do my homework before buying, I end up overpaying.  Plain and simple.  You want to get an A+ on your shopping skills?  Yeah me too!

Here’s my usual disclaimer…this is just MY process, you may have your own AND you may have some hot tips I don’t know about, so PLEASE share with me if you do!  I’m always looking for extra credit! :)

HOW TO DO YOUR SHOPPING HOMEWORK:

  1. Google the item you want.  This may seem simple, but how many times have I happened upon something I want, and not taken the two seconds it takes to just google it before buying it from the first place I found it??  OR maybe you are looking for a Free People dress and you just go straight to the Free People site without checking other retailers.  Here’s something I’ve found.  Often, places you don’t even suspect may carry a brand or an item that you want.  Once I desperately wanted a Novella Royale jumpsuit and I googled it, only to find it had gone on sale half price on freepeople.com.  Boy I was glad I googled it!  When you find what you’re looking for, google the exact name of the item, and who knows? You may even get lucky and find it listed on hautelook.com or gilt.com!  Wouldn’t that be amazing?  It kind of surprises me how simple this is, and yet how few people actually do it.  I have purchased things for a fraction of the normal price that it’s listed for AT THE SAME TIME as it’s listed for more…simply because I googled it.  This is also SUPER helpful if the thing you want is sold out in your size.  Sites like swell.com, revolve.com, shopbop.com, zappos.com, lordandtaylor.com, asos.com, as well as all the standards like Nordstrom and Macy’s, ALL carry a variety of brands and sometimes they will have a sale specific to their store that applies to that item!  Did you know that Minnetonka is also carried by American Eagle Outfitters and Urban Outfitters?  Yep.  Google will be your best friend!
  2. Do a search for the item…in different ways.  Sometimes things go by different names.  There’s really nothing new under the sun, we just often call things by different terms than they did in say, the 1960s.  I’ve often run into people who were teenagers during the original time a clothing item was popular and they always say: “in MY day, we called those dungarees” or something like that.  So, say you’re looking for a kimono.  Search for “kimono” of course, but don’t forget to use the term “robe” because often they are synonyms for each other.  This is VERY useful if you are looking at vintage items because people from different generations will call things by different names, so depending on the person selling it, you may need to use different key words.
  3. Check other sites for knock offs or similar items.  I have a few places that are my “go-tos” for this.  I’ve learned that as much as I love Free People, not all of their stuff is unique.  Not only do people knock them off very quickly, but some of their stock is not really unique to their store.  So, I check a few places first.  I check second hand retailers like thredup.com and poshmark.com…this is a great way to find what you are looking for, for less…and sometimes it’s even new with the tags!  I always check zara.com too, because yes, they can be just as expensive, but they often have similar items or sometimes things I like more for less money.  vicicollection.com has had items IDENTICAL to Free People for under $20!  I do a quick scan of their site to check.
  4. Search for a coupon code.  This actually works a lot of the time.  When I find something I’m looking for, I do a quick search for the name of the retailer and “coupon code” and I’ve gotten codes that save me money.  If it’s a smaller retailer or seller, check their instagram or Facebook feed for sales.  Get on their email list to save off your first order AND to get deals.  Once I was ordering something from England and was just about to click the magic “place order” button…when I thought I’d better check my email first.  I did, and since I had subscribed to her emails, I saw that she had sent out a code for free international shipping.  Yep, I just saved myself like $30 just by checking my email first.
  5. Look for the item that inspired the piece you want.  This is kind of interesting to do.  Sometimes I will be obsessed with something…and then I actually find a vintage piece that is virtually identical to what I want.  Um, I’d rather have the original thanks!  Sometimes it’s expensive yes.  But SOMETIMES it’s a fraction of the price.  Here’s a great example.  I bought this dress from Spell Byron Bay that is gorgeous.  I literally had not seen many things like it, so I went for it, shelled out the big bucks, and of course it’s beautiful.  Then I went down to Venice Beach and walked into a vintage store and they had four dresses on the wall that were virtually identical to my dress.  The owner of the store informed me that the Spell girls had just been in their shop to get inspiration!  The dresses were the same price as the Spell one I purchased.  Do you get my drift?  This is the reason I chose this kimono for today’s post.  I have been in LOVE with a Spell kimono that is quite similar to this one, but haven’t been ready to shell out the money for it.  I was on poshmark.com a week ago, and I could not click BUY fast enough when I saw this.  It is almost the same thing, at 1/4 of the price.  And it’s vintage, so it’s the original!  Yep.  Homework pays off you guys.

Okay so this kimono.  I’m freaking in LOVE.  And again, having a little patience and persistence really saved me some money in the long run!  These necklaces are BOTH handmade by amazing women, please support them if you need some new jewelry in your life that really wows people!  The choker is from Desert Mermaid on Etsy (it comes in white too and it is really the most comfortable choker I have ever worn) and the leather fringe one is a BRAND NEW creation by my DEAR friend Jessica of Hillbillygypsy Boots.  She’s selling them on Poshmark too!  The boots are Sam Edelman (they’re like almost completely sold out, so if you want them, I’d shop NOW for them), and even though I own so many fringe boots, boy am I glad I bought these babies.

Argh.  It is most definitely a Monday.  Will someone please tell my kids it’s a holiday?!?
Katy

On Photo Shoots (and How I’m Not a Model)

I don’t usually let people take my photos.  Because if someone else is behind the camera, they see all the crazy weird expressions I make.  The expressions I make best are usually:  “goofy”, “serial killer”, and “lazy eye”.  (gosh why has Victoria’s Secret not called me back??) And the expressions I am typically less than successful at are:  “sexy”, “fierce”, and “intense”.  (if you correlate those two lists, you’ll see exactly what happens when I try and make the latter expressions and it will all suddenly make sense.)  When Randi of Guts and Grit Clothing asked if I’d be willing to do a photo shoot with her awesome stuff, I said yes right away…I love her and her stuff so it was an easy choice.  Also, I thought if she’s trying to sell her stuff to serial killers with lazy eyes, then I’m DEFINITELY the best choice for that target market.

Thankfully, she brought Kaitlyn (@hippiesandlippies on Instagram) who’s not only a doll, but is ABSOLUTELY FREAKING HILARIOUS so I had way more fun than I even thought I would!  Sure, it’s kind of the worst trying to “model” (I put it in quotes because it’s something I’m quite bad at) next to a tiny little perfect human being, but when that perfect human is constantly doing weird lunges and trying to grab your rear, it makes it all better.  I think like more than half of the photos are of my with my giant mouth wide open laughing hysterically…(I’m sure Randi appreciated that) because I could not stop cracking up!  It really helped me get over myself a little bit, deal with the fact that my hair, makeup, and nails are basically a hot mess 90 percent of the time, but who the heck cares because the clothes are cool.  So.

Here’s what actually happened for most of the time:

All the tops are hers…she takes vintage jackets and shirts and prints on the back, adds patches or fringe, and basically makes them awesome!

I’ll share more as she sends them to me!  She took SO many that it’s taking a while to transfer them all, so stay tuned for part two :)

Happy TUESDAY!  (You made it through Monday, good news!)
Katy

On Social Media, (not really) Feeling Beautiful, and Finally Seeing The Light

I have a complicated relationship with social media.  I both think it’s amazing and a wonderful tool…and also that it’s very discouraging and harsh at times.  It’s wonderful because it connects people.  It inspires people and gives them a platform to have a voice that they can project across oceans and to audiences they may never even meet face to face.  It is a place to share ideas and recipes and tips and it can make you feel like you’re not alone when you get to see other people doing the same things (like parenting) that you are.  But then there’s the other side of the coin.  It can make you feel very VERY alone when you see the amazing and incredible lives (snapshots of lives really) that others are seemingly leading.  It can make you feel like you have no friends.  That you’re not pretty enough, don’t have good enough skin, and need to lose more weight.  Then you wonder how all those moms on Instagram have kids who are always in cute clothes and they’re CLEAN…when my kids have mac and cheese buried in their hair on most given days.  Dang.  I should do better.

I only just came out of the darkness.  I went through a few years where I was broken down.  I lost most everything that I thought made me who I was.  I kind of died and now I’m coming back to life again.  It’s a hard thing to describe.  It was a slow process, but of course, the realization that things weren’t right and that I was broken came overnight, so it felt like all of a sudden.  One day I thought it was all going to be ok and it would just get better (and that my life as I knew it would continue on) but instead it all fell apart and Rome crumbled.  I stood in the place where I once belonged and felt like I was a stranger.  My friends felt miles away and when I tried to let them in, it only hurt me more.  I felt like I was at home, but didn’t belong there anymore.  And believe me I tried.  I worked so hard to try and feel the way I thought I should.  To slip quietly back into my old life and be who I used to be.  It only left me more empty and lonely.  It was over.  I had to let it burn and try to move on.

Instead of getting to start over quickly, I had to sit in the ashes of my “failed” life for what felt like an eternity.  I had to look at what was gone.  I was a ghost, moving amongst the living and not sure if I’d ever really rejoin them.  Things that I know I love so much like shopping or putting together outfits brought me no joy.  In fact, I had lost so much of who I was without even realizing it during my old life, that I honestly didn’t even know how to get dressed anymore.  It was strange.  I would stand at my closet and cry.  I would put things on then immediately tear them off because I no longer felt right in them.  I no longer felt beautiful.

Things like “fat” and “beautiful” may be physical descriptions, yes, but any woman out there will agree that they are also feelings.  No matter how many times my husband tells me “fat is not a feeling!” I disagree.  (can I get an “amen?!?”) You can look beautiful but not feel it.  I could put on amazing clothes but I didn’t feel beautiful.  This was a symptom of a deeper problem for me.

I had changed, outgrown my old life, and all that time I spent trying so hard to be who I was no longer had left me feeling like a failure.  Why could I not make my relationships or my job or my life work anymore?  I still don’t really have the answers.  But I had grown up and had become someone else.

For some people, clothing is just clothing.  But for me, it’s an expression of who I am and how I feel on the inside.  When I couldn’t figure out what to wear it scared me because it was a huge symptom of the fact that I no longer felt confident enough to be who I am and be proud of it.  Taking pictures of myself and posting them online after where I’ve been and how much I didn’t even want to look at a photo of me (let alone show someone else) has been kind of terrifying.  But the fact that I’m doing it and I’m feeling creative and confident in my clothing again means that I’m finally seeing the light after a long darkness.  And I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter how many people read this, or even if anyone reads this because for me, just doing it is a massive success.  And if one person reads it and is encouraged, then I have done well.

 

There are days when I feel like my old life will never stop haunting me.  And times when I see these pictures and know I still need to lose the rest of the baby weight.  But little by little, I have more and more moments where I actually FEEL beautiful again.  And that’s a start.

I’m no longer a slave to fear.

I am a child of God.

I hope you’re feeling beautiful today.

Katy