Fashion Feelings: Candy Stripers and Tattoos

I’ve always been freaked out by hospitals.  I have what you call extreme hypochondria.  When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had high blood pressure.  I have NEVER had high blood pressure in my life.  And then, I bought a blood pressure monitor and realized that my numbers were completely fine…until I would round the street corner and see the doctor’s office.  Yep, I am one of those types.  I could be in a conversation with someone and then realize they are a doctor…and I’d probably find a way to exit the conversation so I could find a place to go hyperventilate in a corner somewhere.  Awesome, right?

I grew up with parents who were in the medical field.  And they both liked to tell me stories, you know, sweet childhood stories about people who got their ears pierced then they got infected and THEN THEY DIED.  Here’s a clip from my childhood.

Hahahahaha you think I’m kidding?  I’M NOT.  So whenever I’d have a random ache or pain, I’d ask my parents about it, and they’d inform me that I was probably fine, but that it could be a life threatening disease as well.   And there you have it.  Thank goodness there was no google when I was a child.  Because I’d probably be committed to an asylum by now if I had the vast wisdom of google to back up my parent’s anecdotes.  Yikes.

When I was 24 years old and about to get married, my husband and I went through pre marital counseling so that we could find out how deeply jacked up we were, therefore giving us hope for our marriage.  Just kidding, it was actually quite helpful in a lot of ways.  But hey, we are all deeply jacked up, so that part is pretty true!  In one of my individual sessions, the counselor looked at me in my eyes and asked: “have you EVER done anything rebellious in your life?”  This is a story for another time, but I was the kid who wanted to please my parents so I was very obedient and compliant with them to a fault.  And I looked at her and said: “no.”  This question was radical for me.  Out of fear, I had spent my whole life avoiding rebellious acts because I didn’t want to end up like that poor dead girl who only wanted pierced ears.  So I got a tattoo.  And I didn’t tell my parents.

A lot of you are laughing right now, because for many of you, a tattoo is like, the least rebellious thing you have EVER done.  But for me?  This was RADICAL.  I went to work the next day, and everyone thought it was fake.  I promptly responded: “yes, I got a fake scabby tattoo” because I mean, gross, right?  Basically it was the most shocking thing in the world that I, little Katy Carnohan (I grew up in my church where I worked) got a TATTOO.  And my parents just looked at it, asked if they had used sanitary equipment, and then kind of just moved on.  And I DIDN’T DIE.  Always a bonus.

I call this my “candy striper dress” because it looks like one of those old fashioned candy striper dresses you always see on tv shows and in movies (do people actually ever still wear those things unless it’s essential to a story plot?).  And yes, I would be the world’s WORST candy striper.  I’d be the one panicking because there were doctors and needles all around me…trying to help people but instead shaking and knocking over people’s medication and stuff.  For now, I’ll just wear the dress and work on my crippling anxiety.

The moral of this story is, if you get your ears pierced, you probably won’t die.  Probably.  And also, no one actually wears those red and white striped dresses unless you’re in a tv show mystery where you have to sneak into a hospital unnoticed.  As always, good educational stuff right there.

Happy weekend-ing!

Advice In Style: How To Dress Like A Cult Leader

At some point in my fashion journey, I have had a revelation.  I have seen the light.  And it has beckoned me towards it.  Yes, my style is often an epic mashup of lots of things, but amongst those style elements, one of them has emerged frequently.  I like to dress like a cult leader at times.  I know, I know.  I am as horrified as you are.  How can this be?  I seem so mild mannered and sweet…(well now I’m just straight up lying through my teeth, how very cult leader of me!)  But yes, I have realized this, and I wanted to do the right thing and share it with all of you.

After having this, um, spiritual-like enlightenment, I had another epiphany.  Lots of cult leader style is in high fashion.  Often.

Let’s stop for a moment.  Doesn’t high fashion sometimes just…make you LAUGH???  I mean, if I was wearing all that couture, I would NOT be wailing and acting like someone just died.  I’d be doing a happy dance with a permanent smile affixed to my face.  (How very, un-cult leader-y of me).  But this is it.  High fashion meets cult leader.  And I have signed up.  I’m drinking the Kool-Ade.

If you’re kind of confused about what on earth I mean by “cult leader style”, let me break it down for you.  It’s pretty simple.
1. Sleeves.  Cult leaders need long bell sleeves because they do a lot of hand and arm gesturing.  The flowy sleeves really help drive their point home.  I don’t think I’m very convincing at all in short sleeves.
2. Dress Shape.  You don’t see a lot of waistbands or belts on cult leaders.  I’m not sure why…but you have to wear tunic shaped dresses, no matter male or female.  No pants, no belts, just a long piece of fabric.  Keep it simple.  That way, you can focus on more important things, like naming new planets and coming up with a theme song.  (Cult leaders have those right?)
3. Demeanor.  You must always appear calm and put together.  Aw crap.  Guess I can’t be a cult leader after all guys.  Or I guess, as in the photo above, you can wail at random like a crazy person.  But I don’t recommend that in a normal setting like in, say, a coffee shop with other humans present.  Also, patting people’s heads and saying “my child” a lot is a bonus.  This will definitely give you that extra authority…mixed with those long sleeves…that you need to gain followers.

Here’s my look that definitely says: “come follow me, my child” (see how I did that?) and I know you want to go and do the same.  Okay.  Gotta go finish up my theme song now…

Real World Style: Magazine Fall Style

I love pouring through those amazing haute couture spreads in the latest (or even old editions really) issues of Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire…basically you name a magazine, I love it.  One of the things that’s always a struggle though, is to make the looks they put together actually wearable in real life.  I mean, a lot of haute couture is more art that inspires fashion than pieces that are really supposed to be worn to the grocery store or to a holiday party.  Let’s get real.  Some of those girls on the runways or in the photo shoots…aren’t wearing any underwear.  Sorry guys, I love fashion a lot, but I’m not showing my nipples while buying diapers at Target.  At least intentionally.

Challenging as it can be, sometimes there are looks that are more easily reproducible in those glossy pages than the ones that consist primarily of mesh and body paint!  These are the most fun looks because they are great outfit inspiration when I’m feeling like I don’t know what I want to wear!  One tip I’ve learned…vintage is often a GREAT substitute for haute couture pieces.  Often times vintage is what inspired those pieces we all see and love, and it’s at a fraction of the price and more accessible to those of us who don’t live near a Versace or Gucci store!

I love this look.  The fall feelings…the mixture of the menswear blazer, the feminine pleats, and the gritty rainboots all creates a beautiful piece of art.  This is one of those looks that, may be fantastically pricey and couture, is easily replicated out of normal clothing that is either already in your closet, or is somewhere around you at a normal store!

Everything on me is vintage, except for those Hunter boots.  And you know what, everyone needs a pair of Hunters!  It barely rains here, but when it does, I bust out these amazing things happily!  Micro pleats are a huge trend for fall 2016, and micro pleats are SO VINTAGE!  Here’s a basic option from H&M for a micro pleated skirt dress.  My jacket is an amazing Goodwill find (I watched another girl try it on and waited for her to put it back before snatching it up!) but here’s an incredible velvet blazer that would be SO good with that H&M micro pleat dress!

And there you have it, proof you can dress haute couture without spending the big bucks (unless you wanna, and there is NO judgement from me on that!).

On New Beginnings And A Dress

I’ve always struggled a bit with transitions.  I mean, they kind of trip me out.  I remember graduating from college and having the sudden realization that for four years I had been driving to the same place, seeing mostly the same people, and spending a large portion of my life in this spot…and then suddenly I just stopped going there.  It’s weird isn’t it?  To think that at your old job or school or neighborhood you talked to people every day and then one day, it all changed.  Suddenly the people who you said hi to frequently can almost become complete strangers.  It’s an odd concept to me.  I struggle with it a lot because I grow to care for people sometimes more than they care for me and I grow fairly attached to places and environments.  I’ve tried and tried to make the transitions out of places smooth and maintain relationships with people, but I know that I have failed at times for one reason or another to do as good a job as I wished I could have.  And now, here I am, at another transition in my life.

I’ve been working at a resale clothing store for almost two years now (hard to believe it’s been that long!) and it’s been so amazing.  It helped me gain confidence in my styling abilities.  I have met friends and amazing people through it.  I’ve learned a lot about social media, blogging, and about women’s shopping habits too.  Plus, I’ve gotten some amazing clothes out of the deal too, let’s just be honest!  And now, a good friend of mine will be taking over my responsibilities there as I move forward in my own business (got the business license in the mail hooray!) and start up this whole Velvet California dream that’s been cooking for a bit here.  I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s exciting, it’s scary, and it’s just…new.  And yes, it’s a transition.  I mean, sure I’m still gonna be hanging around the store lots because I’ve ALWAYS loved the store, the clothes, and the owner…so I’m not outta there or anything.  But I’m definitely launching into something that’s different territory for me.  And different is, well, different.

I have realized that it’s often easier to stay in things that are comfortable than it is to move into the unfamiliar.  I often have a tug of war within myself between the side of me that is driven and wants to always be learning, growing and moving forward…and the other part of me that just likes the familiar routines.  Because both are good.  We need both to survive and not just do that, but to THRIVE.  I need a good mix of my routine and of newness to keep things from being too stale or too overwhelming.  But to be very honest, sometimes the thoughts that go through my head are more like: “if I just stayed here doing this same thing…it would be much easier and way less scary than _______” than I’d care to admit.  I’m half adventurous and half completely safe and boring.  I’m working on not letting the safe and boring side get the best of me!  Because as they say, “nothing ventured nothing gained” right?

This dress was sent to me from this amazing girl who I met on Instagram, @bumblebeecats who just opened her own depop shop selling amazing vintage!  I just thought it was SO incredibly sweet for her to think of me and send me this adorable piece!  I think the support I have experienced from so many amazing women and friends is what has been helping me keep going on this project and enter into new territory…and not feel alone in doing it.  New beginnings are exciting.  But sometimes things have to end to make room for the new things!

Happy Wednesday all you amazing girls

On Man Repelling Clothes and Layers

I’ve always had this theory that women dress for other women primarily.  I mean, think about it.  For the most part, when you get dressed in the morning, are you really thinking about what guys are going to notice your outfits or your jewelry?  Now I get that if you’re going out and trying to meet guys and all that, there is most definitely an element of dressing for men.  That’s a given.  But that scenario aside, for the most part, we dress for other women.  Because as women, we are the ones who typically notice clothing.  We do what’s called the “outfit once over”.  You know how this goes.  You see another girl, and you look her up and down.  Discretely of course.  All you who are into clothing (I doubt you are reading this blog post if you are NOT into clothes) give the girl in front of you the “once over”.  Hair, makeup, jewelry…is that a LOUIS bag…wait no it’s a knockoff…clothes, shoes…and now you have formed a picture of who the girl is in front of you.  I don’t really mean this in a judging kind of way…although we’ve all been victims of the judgey once over so we know it does exist.  But we all do it no matter what simply because WE LOVE FASHION.  So we do the “outfit once over” and then we compliment each other on our stuff.  “Love your boots…oh my gosh that bag is amazing…I want to get a dress like that…” it’s all just our normal girl dialogue.   And it’s why we get dressed in the morning in all our cute stuff right?  To share it with our friends and to project an image of who we are, or who we want to be!

This brings me to my next point.  Another theory that I’ve always had, was that clothing that girls wear for other girls is typically what I call “man repelling” clothing.  What is “man repelling” clothing, you ask?  The Free People catalog.  Bohemian, crazy layers, fringe, overalls, Mexican embroidered tunic dresses, gladiator sandals…all of these things (which we all happen to love right?!) are what I call “man repelling” clothing. I learned recently there is a whole site called dedicated to this very subject…so apparently I’m not alone in my theory!  I used to watch that show “Millionaire Matchmaker” where the matchmaker would sort of “cast” women to date rich dudes.  It was kind of a gross concept in some ways because typically it involved a guy who was over 50 seeking a woman under 30 with big boobs, a big brain, and oh, could she also be blonde please?  But it was kind of fun to watch.  My favorite part was when she would bring in the potential dates.  The same thing would invitably happen in every episode.  Into the room would walk this super cute girl.  She’d be wearing a tunic dress and adorable boots…and have some fun jewelry on and curly crazy hair.  I’d be thinking “oh my gosh I love her style she is SO cute!!”  And then, the matchmaker would start her rampage.  “Where are your boobs??  Do you even have any in there?  And what about your waist?  I can’t even find it!!”  She would rip apart everything that I (being a girl) LOVED about her.  She would send her home with instructions to buy a push up bra, wear something fitted, straighten her hair and make it, well, blonder of course.  Why would she criticize the girls in this manner?  Because she was telling them how to dress for MEN not OTHER WOMEN.  I got a kick out of this process every time just because it’s so typical.  There are some guys who actually love the average “man repelling” clothing.  But the norm is, most guys hate overalls and gladiator sandals.  But do we care?  No.  Because we dress for other women.

I consider myself the queen of man repelling clothing.  Although, Mary Kate and Ashley may have a bit of an edge on me… I love layers, crazy stuff and clothing where you really can’t find my boobs and my waist.  Good thing my husband appreciates my “art” because otherwise I’d be in trouble :)

Classic man repelling outfit.  A chambray flutter sleeve top from Urban Outfitters layered over a vintage billowy skirt dress layered over bell bottoms with a vintage turquoise bolo.  Yep I’m not man hunting in this outfit :)

Love all your man repelling style.  It’s just so much more fun when we get to dress for each other isn’t it?  It’s our art!

Happy Wednesday!

On Being Gracious and a Spring Dress

Yesterday something amazing happened.  We ALL took naps.  Then we watched the Oscars.  I mean…it was like finding a magical unicorn or something.  That stuff never seems to happen around here.  Usually one of the kids won’t nap and one of us then has to stay awake to try and keep the non sleeping kid pacified and quiet while the other either works or rests or something…and watching something other than a cartoon on the big tv is also never an option.  Okay, I will admit that we let the kids watch the iPad while we watched, but hey, we got FULL USE of our television for once, so it was worth it!

I also have to admit that I never watch the Oscars.  I generally have no patience for the speeches that thank endless amounts of people I don’t know.  The commercials.  The movies that I’ve never seen or have no interest in seeing because let’s face it, Oscar worthy movies usually include someone dying at the end of them and that’s just not my jam.  But this year, I don’t know maybe it’s because I haven’t really been able to watch them with the kids being so young, or the fact that there were some movies nominated I want to see, but I actually kind of wanted to watch.  Plus there was the whole “is Leo gonna win the Oscar” thing that kind of had me hooked.  I mean if he didn’t, I was going to most likely scream at the tv “THERE WAS ROOM ON THAT FREAKING DOOR LET HIM LIVE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!”  and throw something at the tv, but otherwise I probably would have survived.  And from what I’ve seen in the clips of The Revenant, the man can pretend fight off a bear like none other.  No matter what the movie was he was nominated for however, I think the thing that had me on the edge of my seat is that he’s been nominated SIX TIMES AND HADN’T WON.  Dang.

I think even if it was a completely different actor who I had never ever seen in a movie before, or even wasn’t a fan of, I still would have been rooting for him for that simple fact.  It just made me think of how life can be.  Doesn’t it sometimes feel like you make Oscar worthy choices, do everything you were supposed to, and even feel like such a shoe-in that you have your acceptance speech prepared (I don’t mean that literally, but I think you know what I mean right?)…only to watch someone else get the “award”?  I think this is just kind of part of life.  I’m sure he thought he deserved that award multiple times before.  He may have worked harder, preformed better, and even had a better attitude than the guy who won HIS award.  But it doesn’t change the fact that we sometimes have to wait much longer than say, someone like Brie Larson who won on her first nomination.  That’s awesome!!!  And yet how funny to think that someone like Leonardo DiCaprio who we would all think would be MUCH more DESERVING of an Oscar won on the same night that someone who literally JUST started won.  Did she “deserve” it less?  No.  But it sure does hurt sometimes when you’re the one sitting on the sidelines feeling like you’ve been passed up so many times before.

You know what’s so awesome though?  He didn’t throw in the towel and say “to heck with this!” when it took so long to get recognized.  Nope.  He continued to work at what he did, get better and better, only to get passed up over and over again…and yet, here he is.  If he had quit because it “wasn’t fair”, he wouldn’t have that award today.  And that’s the part I always need to remember.  Just because it sometimes feels like I’m just sitting here, waiting to get to where I want to go, waiting to BE someone…doesn’t mean that I can’t keep getting better, working harder, and being gracious to the people around me who do happen to get what I want or do what I want to do.  Timing and attitude are just so important!  Yesterday I was kind of having a little bit of an attitude, getting kind of mad when I heard that someone had gotten something I kind of didn’t think they “deserved”.  Gosh what a horrible thing to think!!!  I later realized what I was doing, and decided to change my way of thinking and be gracious and happy for people, regardless of my own opinions about them.  Because it’s not like I am perfect and deserving of stuff either!

I love this Free People dress paired with this scarf because it’s just like a spring dream.  I love the neutral tones and the flowers…and it’s just a gracious outfit I guess.  It feels lovely, kind, and beautiful…all things I want to be on the inside!

Happy Monday lovelies :)



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 :)



On Knowing Yourself and The Perfect Dress For Me

I had a small epiphany the other day.  I’ve been really battling with this last 10-15 pounds I want to lose since having my babies back to back.  I mean, I’ve lost 100 pounds, but this last 15 is just driving me CRAZY!!!  I have lost this kind of weight before having kids, but no matter how much I work out, how much I do not eat sugar, or how clean I eat, it just hasn’t budged an inch.  Literally.  So the other day I was frustrated.  I was thinking back to when I lost weight before and trying to remember how I did it.  Then it hit me.  I was eating very differently than I am now.  Why had I not figured this out?  Because I’ve been listening to other people’s versions of what works for so long that I forgot what works for ME…and when it comes to most things, that’s all that really matters.

This whole epiphany really made me realize how beyond just weight loss, this is WAY too easy a trap for me to fall into in so many areas.  I mean, getting inspired by other people and learning from them is awesome!  But attempting to copy someone else is not.  There are just certain things that I KNOW about myself, and when instead of just sticking to them I copy someone else, I end up frustrated.  I’ve done this with the way I dress.  My makeup.  Even the way I talk or behave towards people.  When I forget who I am and how my body, personality, and passions work…things just don’t work the same.

You know what I think is funny?  That it takes me multiple times to learn the same simple lesson.  Once I was at Whole Foods and the checker’s lip color was like off the charts incredible.  It was this natural pinky flushed color, and I was just completely obsessed.  Of course I asked her what it was, and she told me.  Now I’ve tried that product before.  It’s fairly popular, and I’d tested it out and it makes me look like I have Barbie pink lipstick on.  It’s not natural, it’s not flushed, it’s more like I just drank pink Kool Aid and forgot to wipe my mouth.  And not in a good way.  So what do you think I did when she told me what the color was?  You got it, I went out and got it right away.  Like how on earth did I graduate college if I can’t even learn this simple lesson?!?  You can guess how it looked on me the second time I tried.  Yup.  Kool Aid.

I haven’t lost the rest of the weight because I’ve been eating in ways that help OTHER people lose weight.  And you want to know something?  I’ve already tried these same things before with the same results.  Lemme just go try that Kool Aid lipstick one more time…hang on…WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?!?  Okay all yelling aside, I think trying new things is awesome.  I want to always be learning and growing.  But seriously, some things are not, and never will be, ME.  Certain colors will never look good on me.  Some diets will never be effective for my body.  No matter how pretty another girl looks or how thin she got, that’s not me. And focusing on what makes ME the best version of myself is infinitely less frustrating than trying to copy someone else.

It’s easy to do though.  You know the story.  You see someone on instagram and you think she’s gorgeous and you want her hair color and that dress and oh yeah her makeup too.  Then you try it all on (and avoid a hair color correction disaster by discussing this with your hair stylist first thank GOODNESS) and it’s terrible.  Instead of looking like a glowy goddess, you look like a sallow slightly heavier (and with fat arm too) version of yourself.  And then you wonder WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED???  Oh yeah.  You didn’t do what makes YOU look like a glowy goddess, you did what makes HER look like a glowy goddess.  And therein lies the problem.  I am constantly trying to work at this.  I forgot a lot of what makes me, ME for a few years, and I’m kind of getting a new chance to learn all of that over again.  So some of it is me remembering stuff that I really do love, and some of it is unlearning habits and thoughts that just aren’t me at all.  

As much as I adore vintage, not all vintage looks good on me.  I just can’t do most empire waists (without looking pregnant), tunic straight styles (which I love!), and some off shoulder tent kinds of styles.  But I now know this after years of trying and buying the wrong styles, and this dress is one of those dresses that I feel great in.  The bell sleeves and the colors are just exactly right.  The waist line is flattering and it fits my shoulders perfectly.  My boots are these amazing Wild And Free Jewelry ones, but I don’t think she’s doing custom boots anymore so you can special order some from Hillbilly Gypsy Boots.

Full disclosure.  I’m not technically allowed to wear this vintage scarf because my son has claimed it as his own, and he uses it to ribbon dance with (all the while conveniently hitting his sister in the face), tie up treasures and use as a knapsack, and pull out of things like a magician.  But he was napping so I briefly borrowed it back for a moment. :)


On Thinking Less and Wearing This Dress Wrong

You know, sometimes I feel like thinking LESS is better than thinking MORE in life.  At least for me.  I mean, I feel like I just think too much about stuff often, and just psych myself out.  Like putting together outfits for example.  I need to almost like turn on some music (I’m very very distracted by music…I can barely type right now while my three year old is listening to music haha…) and kind of just DO IT.  If I try too hard to analyze stuff and pay too much attention to the details, I start overthinking it and it just comes out like too much or just not good at all.  I have been thinking (see there I go again, thinking!) about the whole “new year’s resolution” thing, and this has been on my mind a lot.

I’m probably going to write a post about resolutions, but it’s probably going to be different than the standard “resolution” style list.  Mainly because I’ve learned a thing or two about life throwing curve balls…and about how the journey can be kind of ruined by focusing too much on the destination.  When I was working full time, my absolute LEAST favorite thing, the thing that struck fear into my heart, was that time of year where we had to come up with our goals.  Let me clarify.  I love having goals…I make incessant lists and have often been so consumed with the future at times that I’ve missed the present.  The problem was that our “goals” had to be quantifiable, categorized things that got us to our actual GOALS.  That’s where it broke down for me.  Because when I focus on the teeny tiny things that get me to my vision, it often seems like I lose my perspective and can’t accomplish anything at all.  Of course those steps are important, and often should be written down so that you know HOW to get where you’re going.  But if you put all your focus on those things, you can often get bogged down in details and forget the big picture.

I think what I’m saying is that my resolutions are probably going to be more like “goals” and less like steps.  Like…instead of “losing weight” I want to “cook healthy and creative plant based meals for my family and complete the Way of Gray workout series”…and the weight loss will just be one of the byproducts of this goal.  I’m going to try and write them based on my gut and not on my brain.  Because usually when my gut overrides my brain, it’s awesome.  It looks scary and crazy and kind of like what on EARTH did I just do, but the results are so much more amazing than if I were to line it all out on a piece of paper and go step by step.

Here’s something I learned by going with my gut…I got this vintage velvet black dress at a thrift store for a party.  As pretty as it is, it kind of felt…matronly…when I put it on with heels.  I kind of didn’t know what to do with it.  Then suddenly I kind of had a weird gut feeling that if I put a fringe vest with it and some boots it would look totally different.  Younger, more fun, and actually wearable during the day.  Because it’s TOTALLY an evening gown.  But I did it, and realized that (here’s the vintage wearing lesson for you!) SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO WEAR STUFF WRONG!!!  Evening gown?  Put a denim jacket on and some cowboy boots.  Ugly weird sweater?  Put it with some bell bottoms and amazing jewelry.  Sometimes you gotta stop thinking, and just do something different.  And you have a whole new outfit out of it. :)  The squash blossom is from Free To Wander and the vintage vest is from Brahminy Exchange.  The boots are of course, Minnetonka (if you don’t have these, you NEED THEM).

So cheers to a new year coming up, cheers to the past year and all that we’ve accomplished, and CHEERS to taking the leap and flying this coming year.

Love you guys


On Yet Another Caftan and New Life in the Winter

Between the town where our house is and the town that we “live” in (where we shop, work, and play), there’s a big hill.  It’s about a 15 minute drive down what is referred to as “the grade”.  Usually it’s used in contexts like: “Oh you have to drive THE GRADE?” or “well, I certainly don’t want to have to drive THE GRADE!” as though it is some type of immensely challenging mountain that needs to be scaled up with brute force.  When we moved “over the grade”, I was a bit uneasy about this transition, since all my life I’ve been hearing about driving THE GRADE and it kind of freaked me out.  Turns out it’s just a big hill, and not much more.  And as much as I do miss living in the town we “live” in, I’ve come to enjoy that aforementioned dreaded drive because of the views.  It’s just a moment of peace where I get to look at nature and think for a few seconds before running my errands or whatever I’m heading into town to do.  As long as the kids aren’t screaming.  Haha.

California has been remarkably dry this year.  I mean to be honest, we’ve gotten less rain in the past few years than I ever remember in my lifetime.  So little rain that the lakes have been dry.  And when I say dry, I mean, DRY.  All that dryness translated into a pretty bad fire year and well, THE GRADE has a lot of fire issues when it gets like this.  All of this lack of rain led to a massive grade fire a few months ago.  It was an epic fire.  I mean, dozens of fire trucks lining the freeway (and those were just the ones we could see from the road), helicopters flying over the area, and flames.  The flames!  Right up to the freeway, you could see massive billowing black smoke rising from the fires engulfing the dried out area.  It was quite an ordeal.  Needless to say, this huge fire has left the whole area pretty blackened, dead, and even more dry than it was before.  For months now, the drive has been less scenic, and more of a landscape filled with blackened bushes and dead dirt.

This morning I got the kids ready and began our descent down THE GRADE.  I was kind of having a bit of a rough morning…just wrestling with some of the choices I had made in the past, and thinking about the dreams that I have had in my heart for so long that have long felt dead and dry.  I was thinking about all of this as we drove and then I sort of looked up at what was around me.  I mean, clearly I was looking out the window as I drove, but I wasn’t really SEEING what was around me.  When I actually SAW what we were passing by, I almost thought I was hallucinating.  It was like a scene from a movie where things are magically transformed or something…the hills had green LIFE on them.  The trees were green.  The ground that had been dead and dry had patches of grass on it.  It was so beautiful, it took my breath away for a moment.  You see, we’ve actually been getting a little bit of real rain over the past month.  And it’s almost like overnight, everything looked different.

I actually started crying when I saw this because it really felt like just yesterday the ground was all singed and just plain dead.  Now, there’s life there.  Beautiful, hopeful…life.  It really reminded me how things can change in an instant.  How a dream that can be long gone, even feel so dead that it has no chance of living again, can actually breathe again.

My longest and closest friend who is more like a sister to me just got married a year ago.  She had long dreamed of getting married and for years and had struggled with not meeting the right guy, and with losing hope that it would ever happen.  I remember talking to her and hearing in her voice that she wasn’t sure if it would happen at all.  Hearing that tone in her voice that basically had given up hoping for this thing that had long been in her heart.  Then one day, she went on this date and she was on it for EIGHT HOURS.  When I heard from her after that date (I of course texted her a few times during just to make sure she was OKAY…I mean this was a set up and she’d never actually MET the guy!) I knew he was it.  I think she knew too.  In one day, everything changed.  If she had truly given up and not even gone on the date because of how many times she had tried and failed to meet the right person, she never would have gotten married.

Sometimes it seems like it’s just not worth it to keep hoping for something when it hasn’t happened yet.  I know I often feel like that.  But it’s in times like that, when all it takes is a simple reminder that in one minute, things that looked lost can be found again.  And that’s what I’m hoping for in the new year.  More than anything else, I hope that it’s a story I get to live for myself and hear from other people too…that things that they thought were dead and gone, are alive and well.

This dress felt fitting for talking about new life.  Because I know this floral is so NOT a winter weather pattern, but it just makes me so happy I couldn’t wait to wear it!  I have a bit of a caftan problem.  I already have a few amazing ones, but when I saw this one, the bright floral print really just couldn’t be resisted.  I got it from this awesome Instagram vintage shop called @hustlevintage and I paired it with a thin scarf that I tied into a bow to keep it sweet, and some vintage red cowboy boots to keep it kind of monochromatic in all of it’s craziness.

Sometimes you just need to put on a crazy bright floral dress in the dead of winter and call it.  New life is coming, whether it looks like it or not, because all it takes is one minute…and the flowers will be blooming again!

Happy Monday