Fashion Feelings: To All The Places I’ve Never Been Yet

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m not what you’d call a great traveller.  I get anxiety over if I will be able to get good food, what kind of food I will be eating, and where my food will be coming from.  Basically…I have a lot of food-based anxiety.  Like, if I were to go to a country where they served something and I didn’t know what it was…I may have a panic attack.  Heck, I have a panic attack just thinking about eating fast food (probably because I don’t know where it comes from, so I guess that’s not all that different!) so the thought of being served like squid or something makes me all sweaty and freaked out.  (Do people eat squid?  Don’t answer that.)  All that being said, I want to see places I’ve never seen before.

My first time on an airplane was in high school going to Italy, France, and England.  I’ve written about the flight before, how the girl next to me barfed all over me then we all got scared and over compensated for our fears and got drunk on dramamine on the second leg of the journey…yeah, it was a dramatic first airplane experience for sure.  We arrived in Rome, exhausted from being awake for two days straight, wasted on airplane sickness drugs, and delirious.  This is not a great start to a trip.  We spent the first day dragging our smelly unbathed rear ends around a place made entirely of human bones (not sure what that was all about), following the most hyper tour guide that there ever has been.  He was so excited about everything that we all began plotting ways to murder him so that we could go take a nap.  (don’t worry, he survived our tour…but it was a closer call than he realized.)  We got to our hotel room, which smelled like the inside of a moldy paint can (weird I know, but that’s the only way I can describe it) and the first thing I did was take a shower and then, naturally, plug in my hair dryer.  Being the American “blonde” that I am, I used the adaptor wrong and blew a fuse, burning out the power in the entire hotel.  An angry Italian came up to our room, muttering to himself most likely Italian cuss words, unplugged my blow drier and shook his finger at me.  I’m surprised he didn’t smack me with it.

The entire trip I was in complete culture shock.  Everyone had told me how “Americanized” Europe had become.  What were they TALKING ABOUT????  I was in some of the easiest places to travel, considering cultural differences and relative lack of language barriers, and I felt SO LOST.  The food seemed so foreign, the money conversion made me do math (and I HATE MATH), and nothing looked or felt like home.  This is what happens when you are raised in a small town and never experience anything different until you are a teenager.  It’s hard to adapt if you are not in familiar surroundings.

So I can say this with all honesty.  I want to travel.  I’m scared.  But I want to do it.  I want to see places that maybe are not “the usual” suspects that I would say I’ve always wanted to go.  I want to meet people of different cultures and see what the fashions are and just not be scared to try new things.  Oh boy.  That’s a stretch for me.  But I want to do it someday.

I was in Urban Outfitters and saw this shirt on a mannequin in the men’s section.  I instantly fell in love because it looks like a vintage bomber jacket, but in a shirt form!  The detail is just magnificent!

If/when I travel, I will definitely be chronicling my journeys because nothing is more amusing than seeing the world through the eyes of someone as sheltered as me.  I know it, you know it…it’s just pretty dang hilarious even looking back at myself in Europe, not knowing how to flush the toilets because they were different than American toilets.  And I will most definitely learn to use an adaptor.  Because that was just embarrassing.

Trending: Friday Five Roundup

It’s Fri-YAY!  Oh my gosh did I actually say that out loud?  I guess I could delete it, but that would take too much work…I’m too far in, I’m committed, so there you have it.  Anywhoo… (who AM I today???) it’s time for a recap of all the super fun crazy silly amazing random things that happened this week!  Have some coffee, read on, and enjoy!

Lady Gaga is doing the halftime show at the Super Bowl!

Now, I could seriously NOT care any less than I do about sports.  Sorry all you sports fans, but I just can’t get myself to get into stuff I am really really really bad at.  However, two years ago when Katy Perry dominated the halftime show, it reminded me that it’s worth waiting for all that silly football stuff to be over so I can watch a concert!  And Lady Gaga?  YES PLEASE.

Scream Queens is back in all it’s pink glory, and really finding it’s bloody bubblegum-hued groove.

This show makes me want to wear more pink.  More capes, more fur, and more…earmuffs.  Yeah, the style is off the hook and this week, well this week really felt like we were back in the zany swing of things where we left off last year!  When I find just the right pieces, I will be doing a Scream Queens inspired style post because, anyone who can pull off this level of pink in an outfit has my respect.

Is there anything better than watching two guys try on spanx?  Yes.  Watching two BRITISH guys try on spanx.  

The Daily Mail asked two guys to try on the Kardashian’s favorite slimming under garments, and well, as you can see, it’s just the most awesome thing ever.  If this doesn’t brighten your day, I can’t help you.

I think Kate Hudson is reading my mind.

Among being, like, the perfect human, I think she can see my thoughts.  Because I LITERALLY JUST dreamed up a pant suit very similar to this for my clothing line, Velvet California.  Of course, mine will have something awesome printed on the back of the jacket and all that, but COME ON.  Is she spying on me?  I’ve reached a new level of narcissism.  Haven’t I.

Pumpkin obsession level: MIDNIGHT.  Because, fall.  

I found this new home blog that I’m completely head over heels for called Style Mutt Home and there’s this pumpkin/succulent tutorial that will have you racing to your local craft store.  Because, OH MY GOSH SO PERFECT.

And now, for some more pumpkin spice coffee.  Must find something pumpkin spice colored to wear and then maybe bake a pumpkin, just to switch it up a little.  And Kate Hudson if you’re reading this, GET OUT OF MY BRAIN.



Fashion Feeling: What I “Need”

Have you ever noticed how many times a day we say: “I need ____”?  I find myself saying it all the time.  Constantly.  And then sometimes, I wonder, do I really need what I just said I did?  I’m not always sure I do.  I’m not talking about like, a new pair of shoes, or a fur bomber jacket.  We ALWAYS NEED those things (can I get an “amen” from all you fashionistas out there?)!  That’s not the direction I’m going with this.  No, on the contrary, what I mean is this: I often think I need things to be a certain way before I can go on and do other, new things.  Like, I want all my ducks in a row before I start something new.  (If I had ducks, they would be in a row.  It’s how ducks are supposed to be.)  This is the problem of the non-procrastinating personality.  I was the kid who finished her homework before getting home because I wanted to go have fun, and there was no “fun” for me if my homework wasn’t done.  I like to work first, play after.  It makes my brain feel better.

While that is a good quality to have, it’s not always, shall we say…realistic, when it comes to real life.  It’s all well and good when you’re in school or have a job where you are able to check things off a list and keep everything in a nice spreadsheet.  But in my experience, life is much messier than this.  There’s things that don’t fit into categories, the lines all blur together, and there’s no finishing all the things you need to do…like…ever.

I found myself recently hearing about someone who had basically everything they needed in life.  Like everything.  There was security, there was money, there was space both physically and mentally to be organized.  And I found myself feeling a little…angry about it.  I started thinking things like: “yeah!  That’s what I need.  I shouldn’t be starting a clothing line or trying to work like I am without the space or resources!”  I felt a wave of righteous outrage flow over me.  And I felt completely justified in feeling this way.  I mean, logically, shouldn’t you have everything you need BEFORE you start something new?  The answer to that is as plain and simple as the nose on your face.  No.

Here’s why my “righteous anger” is completely unfounded.  Because when I have the time, the space, and no need to move forward, I will not.  There is something about a small amount of messiness, a need for forward motion in life, and some “lack” I will call it…that can cause incredible creativity.  Diamonds are not made in a cabana on the beach.  They are made in the fire.  Most people in history who did incredible things were not sitting there in mansions surrounded by everything they needed.  No, they actually did not have what they needed, which is what gave them the drive to move forward.  Now I know, it’s not like a recipe for creativity or an equation that says “need causes creating”.  It’s more of an observation really on myself, and on the human race.

So yeah.  I need certain things.  The need is real.  But that “need” shouldn’t be something that I focus on.  When we are in that fire, in that place of discomfort, we have got to focus on what’s in our hearts.  That thing that drives us.  Because often the most beautiful art comes out of discomfort, disappointment, and, well, need.  I got over my indignation when I realized that I only started writing as much as I am, when I ceased having the free time to do so.  Do you see what I mean?  When I had the time, I didn’t use it.  The need has created the desire.

Don’t worry.  I will never every tell you that you don’t need an article of clothing. I’m literally the worst person to ask when you want to make a decision because my default it that if you’re asking, you probably need it!  And no matter if you are in a place of comfort, discomfort, need, or plenty, don’t let yourself forget about what lights your fire.  No matter what space you are in, you can create.  You can build something.  You can move forward.  And if you don’t feel the need to move forward in your own life, you can do it for someone else!  We all have gifts, passions, and abilities that we need to share and use.  Otherwise, the rest of us miss out on what YOU have to offer!

I almost didn’t get this Free People dress.  (I got it second hand). And then, I realized, I needed it.  In the good way :)  The pink vintage concho necklace is from Classic Rock Couture (love her shop!) and the vintage huaraches I thrifted from Goodwill.  All the rest of the jewelry I picked up second hand.

Hope you’re feeling the passion today.  Even if it’s just in your brain while you shuttle your kids around back and forth to school…that’s a perfectly good place to create!



On Rocking an Attitude and Tough Carrie Bradshaw

My two year old daughter is doing this new thing lately, where when you ask her to do something…anything really…and she tips her head to one side and says: “I can’t, mama.  I can’t.”  It’s freaking adorable and hilarious, but at the same time, it’s just so indicative of that little (and sometimes not so little) attitude that she has!  She is full of spice sometimes and has all the facial expressions and words to prove it.  I’m not surprised really, given that she is my daughter and I’ve been known to have attitude at one time or another!!!  I just don’t always express it to everyone because I tend to be sensitive to other people and will kind of swallow my ‘tude when I’m around people I don’t know super well.  But ask my husband, and he will tell you stories of my epic spiciness!

I’ve definitely, and thankfully, been allowed a lot of opportunities to tone down my attitude…I’ve been given the chance to change my attitude so that I can be hopefully more successful and graceful in my life.  Because the whole “I can’t…” thing is really only cute on a two year old, am I right?!?

When I was younger, I was given the chance to sing on the band at my church, the band I eventually ended up leading years later.  This was a HUGE opportunity for me, given that I was so young, had no experience singing in front of people whatsoever, and really had no confidence at all.  It was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me.  I then learned to play guitar so that I could start leading if the need arose, even though I only really learned four chords.  I figured out how to play just enough so that I could play the bulk of the songs, but with a bunch of cheats, and if someone asked me to play a chord outside of my repertoire, I was screwed.  I managed to be just fine, until one day at practice, the leader decided that he was going to play bass, and I was going to play guitar instead of him.  Totally fine.  And then I saw the chord.  It was a Bm.  I was screwed.  I most definitely could NOT play that chord gracefully, let alone be the ONLY guitar playing it.  I left practice feeling frustrated and like “I can’t…” (done with all of my daughter’s drama).  I called the leader, who, by the way, was NOT a very GRACEful person.  I was super nice and explained to him in not so many words that “I can’t” play that chord.  Being the super sensitive person he was, he  ripped me a new one.  He told me that if I didn’t figure out how to do it, he’d just replace me basically.  Yikes.  It was pretty horrible.  I said okay, hung up the phone, and cried.  Honestly, I would never have done or said what he said to anyone in that manner, because the way he said it was pretty unhelpful and made me feel like I was worthless in a lot of ways.  However, WHAT he said was correct.  I COULD do it, I needed to stop making excuses, and FIGURE IT OUT.  I did, I played the stinking Bm just fine, and eventually ended up leading the band (knowing FIVE chords, so basically as a total pro. :))

There was another night that I was supposed to sing, but I had a terrible cough and cold and I had pretty much lost my voice almost all together.  I showed up, started to sing with the leader, and by the end of practice, told him that “I can’t…” and that I pretty much had no voice left.  He just looked at me, and said, “can you sing one note?”  And I explained nicely that one note was about all I had that night.  He just said, ” well, good.  Sing that one note, because it’s not about you.”  Double yikes.  Again, I’m just not gruff like these guys tend to be, but hey, it really rocked my world all over again.  Oh wait, you mean everything is not ALL ABOUT ME???  Dang.  I sang that one note humbly that night, and learned that sometimes I am actually sporting a giant attitude even when I’m not intending to.  I CAN, not “I can’t…” needs to be my attitude for most things in life.  I toughened up so much being under these guys who had no patience or grace for “I can’t”.  I became someone who could learn to play or sing any song pretty much with almost no notice and with all of my five chords, because I CAN.  I learned to do my best and make it work and that it’s not always about me.  It’s helped me to be much more creative in my life and to figure out how things work for me…instead of just giving up and behaving like my daughter.

This outfit is my more graceful way of rocking an attitude in the correct way!  I mean, I feel like Carrie Bradshaw with a motorcycle!

I got this amazing pink tulle floaty Free People slip skirt from Ruby Rose and put it over skinny jeans to make it kind of tough.  I added Jeffrey Campbell lace up boots and a Zara knit turtleneck, because, well, it’s COLD!  I thought the thrifted sunglasses and gold jewelry gave it a nice little edge as well. :)

Well, that’s quite enough attitude for a Monday.  And now, it’s back to the toddlers, who know A LOT about attitudes!!!


On Individuality and A Super Individual Outfit

When I was a kid, I wondered occasionally if I had been dropped off by aliens because I felt so different from my parents.  I mean, I have some of their physical features, sure, but who I was was SO very opposite from them, that I felt out of place.  I mean, I definitely got some of their genetics.  Height from my dad, not a whole lot from my mom, but bad hair from everyone I’m even remotely related to.  I got their love of music and animals, but beyond that…I felt like I was not related to them at all.  It was a strange feeling, and given my lack of siblings, there wasn’t anyone to share this with or to feel like I had someone else to possibly be like.

When my son was born, I was shocked to see his incredibly fair features.  His light blue eyes and bright blonde hair…he is the opposite of my husband and I.  It’s funny, while he looks like us in some ways, he also looks nothing like us in others…he’s his own person.  It’s amazing how some things get passed on and some things don’t.   I mean, we can inherit things from our parents that aren’t just genetic features or things we love to do.  My parents passed on to my my eye color and my hair color, but they also passed on to me other things that are more subtle.  They were quite fearful when I was a child.  So fearful that something might happen to me, that they never ever were apart from me.  This passed on a very strong irrational fear that I could never be away from them, even for a couple of hours, without something bad happening.  I struggled with this through my whole childhood and only was really able to successfully go to friend’s houses without my mom tagging along with me when I was about 12 years old.  And this trait is not something that’s new to the family either.  There are a few people in my extended family who actually never left home at all.  Ever.  It’s a trait that’s been just as prominent as eye color or foot size that has been handed down for generations now.

Have you ever noticed that kids sometimes grow up and repeat the same “mistakes” their parents made?  I’ve seen this before and kind of wondered why on earth they would make the exact same choice their parents did…when they’ve had the opportunity to watch how that choice affected the lives of the ones who came before them.  It’s because we pass down to our kids more than just our talents or looks.  We pass down to them other things, good and bad.  My mom is a ver passionate person who tends to go full speed ahead on issues.  I got that from her.  And my dad has a great sense of humor…which is where I learned to laugh so much.  But there were also the fears, the inability to take risks, and the never feeling good enough…those things also tried to hop right aboard my life too.  And this is why I’ve been thinking so much about it all.  What am I going to pass on to my kids?  I mean, obviously I’m only human so no matter how hard I try, I’m sure they’re going to pick up some stuff from me that’s not super awesome.  But I’d really like to stop making negative comments about myself to start.  Stop being so paranoid about weight loss and eating correctly…I don’t want them to be afraid to eat things that are fun.  I don’t want them to have a mom who gives up on her dreams, thereby enabling them to do the same.  Or a mom who doesn’t feel like she deserves a compliment.  I want to teach them that it’s okay to travel, and that leaving home and seeing the world isn’t a scary thing.  Although, I still battle that fear in myself.  Regardless, I can change these things in myself for my kids and do things that might be uncomfortable for me so not only can THEY live out a full life, but maybe I can also do things I never really thought I’d have the guts to do.  I think it’s worth it.

One thing I’m betting I will pass on to my children is that it’s okay to dress like an individual.  Already they want to wear superhero capes and animal hats and all kinds of fun stuff when we go out to the store.  And I’m sure as heck gonna let them because being who they are is important to me.  I was an individual from birth, and that’s never changed.

The thing I love about this outfit is that it’s kind of crazy, but in a way that all the elements actually compliments each other.  The pants were on super sale on and the lace top was from there as well.  The pink top and the loafers were thrifted, as was the gold necklace.  This outfit just makes me happy.  It’s fun, vintage inspired, and has the right mix of bohemian and structured 70’s that I love.

No matter if you FEEL like you’re an individual or not, you are.  You might have inherited a LOT from your parents…genetically and emotionally…but that doesn’t mean that you are not your own person!  If I can be myself after years of feeling like I couldn’t even survive being away from my parents, then you can too! :)

Happy weekend


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