Fashion Feelings: Waiting for Spring

Sometimes in California, it seems that we barely get winter.  We often head straight from summer into indian summer…and then we get like a few days of “cooler weather”, and we are right back where we started in warm temperatures.  I’d say it’s been like that for the past few years here on the Central Coast.  We all buy sweaters and jackets and there are a few bold enough to attempt a pea coat or trench coat (usually the attempts are in vain) and then we stare at our closets, dripping sweat, and wonder why on earth we thought it was a good idea to buy cashmere. You know the story, we got caught up watching Gossip Girl reruns and  had visions of tights and scarves, then came crashing back to reality that you can’t dress like that when it’s 75 outside.  That’s the norm I’d say around here.

However, that is not the case this year.  On the contrary,  we are actually getting our winter.  My rain boots have been worn more in the past few months than they have over the entire time I’ve owned them.  No exaggeration.  Sure, we’ve had a few glorious days that feel like spring, but they are bookended with rain, and LOTS to it.  There’s dams breaking and flooding and mud sliding…all the things that you typically DON’T associate with California…where literally six months ago people were STANDING IN the bone dry lake taking Instagram photos.   And after all that waiting for rain and wondering if we’d ever have a winter again, how do you think it makes us feel?  Yeah.  For the most part, we are all just waiting for spring.

I’m not going to use this post to complain about the weather, no, I’m really talking about the seasons more as a metaphor than anything else.  Because, OBVIOUSLY the rain won’t last forever, and it’s not even all that bad compared to other parts of the world.  What I’m talking about is waiting for newness.  Most of the time, I feel like I am surrounded by people who are waiting for a change to happen.  You can hear it in their conversations as you pass by, you can sense it in them…that urgency to move past something, be it school or a temporary job, to get to where they are going.  Sure, that’s kind of part of life.  A lot of life is spent in waiting rooms, boring classes, jobs we aren’t excited about, grocery store lines…that’s normal.  I’m not really talking about THAT kind of waiting.  I’m talking about the WAITING.  You know, that deep-down-in-your-soul waiting that you can’t talk about without either getting so fired up that you can’t stop thinking about it OR you completely dissolve into tears because you “just can’t” anymore?  THAT kind of waiting.  It’s the kind where you desperately want to get pregnant and have been waiting for what feels like your whole life to be a mom.  It’s the kind where you just KNOW that there’s a job or a purpose for you outside of working at a dead end job filled with busy work you could not care less about.  THAT kind of waiting.  Waiting for spring to come.

I must confess that I have had this kind of waiting in me my whole life.  It’s very painful to even admit that sometimes, because it means I’m still doing it.  It started when I was a child (because I grew up with parents who were “waiting” and unfortunately they passed their torch to me at a very young age in that area).  I was more of a grown up child, who wished and hoped to solve everything for my parents at an age when I should have been more concerned with what the hot new toy was rather than my dad’s income comparative to the home prices in our town.  So even as a child, I was waiting for something that was not my responsibility to wait for.  That sucks.  Because now as an adult, instead of waiting for a “normal” amount of adult years, it’s mostly feels like I came out of the womb with a burden, not only to change things for myself, but to fix it for everyone around me.  And trust me, I’m not the only one suffering from this kind of waiting here.

So what do you do with this kind of waiting?  To be honest, on days like today, I feel like it is actually going to crush me.  What then?  Do you just put on your winter parka and decide that winter will last forever?  Do you just hunker down and accept it?  No.  You put on your spring clothes.  It may be freezing (so maybe don’t LITERALLY do that if you’re in a snowy climate, okay?) and it may feel VERY VERY WRONG.  People may stare at you.  They may even ask you why you’re dressed for spring when it’s CLEARLY still winter outside.  And you tell them: “because spring is right around the corner, and I want to be ready for it when it comes”.  Do you get what I’m saying?  Emotionally, we need to “dress” for spring time.  Because the winter won’t last forever.  Seasons change, and believe me, I know people who are living in spring time and they are still bundled up for the deep freeze.  They’re scared to change their emotional attitudes because they believe it’s still winter time.

On a lighter note, I am quite guilty of dressing for the season I WANT it to be, rather than the one I am currently in.  I think it’s partly just my creative nature, and partly the fact that most of the time if someone tells me something is impossible I tend to take that as a challenge.  Dressing for the wrong season is my forte, quite literally.  Days like today, I humbly admit that I’ve been in my parka all day long even though the weather has been beautiful.  I have gotten it all wrong and it’s time to put on my cropped floral pants and say screw that, I’m dressing for spring!

Who’s with me?

Pants: Vintage, similar HERE (and on clearance!)
Top: Old Urban Outfitters, similar HERE
ombat Boots: Jeffrey Campbell, similar HERE (and a screaming deal too!)
Earrings: H&M in store, black version HERE

On “Flaws” and Not Paying Attention To Them

I could be wrong, but I feel like no one really actually “loves” their flaws.  Tolerates, learns to minimize, and even appreciates maybe, but “loves”?  That’s a mighty strong word when it comes to being a woman and looking at things you consider “flaws”.  Now I get it…the word “flaw” can mean things like “an asymmetrical face” or “lots of freckles”.  That’s a little bit like cheating in my opinion because those things aren’t necessarily “flaws”, they’re more like “unique features”.  However, I do understand how those things could be seen as flaws to the owner of them!!  It’s just girl life though…we see a lot of “flaws” that aren’t really flaws, they’re really just things that make us uniquely us.

Obviously everyone’s body type is different.  It always amazes me how something can look so great on one person, and then the next girl who tries it on looks five months pregnant.  Yeah, sometimes it just sucks to be a girl huh??  Of course it’s best to try and dress to flatter your body, but there are exceptions to this rule.  Something that I’ve learned from time working at a clothing store, is that when a girl walks out of a fitting room and asks: “what do you think?” the best thing to do is to read her cues.  I mean, there have been times when someone walks out dressed in something that doesn’t fit exactly right and it’s not necessarily the optimal piece of clothing for her body…but she’s lit up like a christmas tree when she says: “what do you think?”  You can just see the excitement on her face and that she is absolutely thrilled with this thing she is wearing.  In those cases, I say: “I think it looks incredible.”  Is this a lie?  No.  Because she’s totally owning that piece of clothing.  She’s happy, glowing, and excited to wear it.  Therefore, she looks beautiful in it.  There are times when women walk out and ask this same question…and I can tell they are unsure.  That’s when I will feel the freedom to offer suggestions…”do you feel like it fits you right?  Is it pulling on your arms?” those kinds of things because in these cases I can tell there are currently doubts in her mind and she’s asking for me to look with a more critical eye.

The worst though is when you see two girls shopping together and one is shooting down every single item that makes her friend light up.  I absolutely hate to see this happen because you can see how it affects the body image of the girl who’s getting the constant criticism.  Suddenly her “flaws” become larger and larger in her eyes.  That top gives her fat arm.  That dress gives her a back roll.  Those pants are ugly.  She is now fully aware of her “flaws” instead of just enjoying her hunt…instead of being creative and seeing things on her the way SHE wants to see them.  Who cares if it gives her “fat arm”?  Does SHE like it on herself?  Ladies, we may not “love” our “flaws”, but if we stop looking at them so much they will get smaller!!!

This outfit is not the optimal for my body.  This vintage kimono robe totally gives me “fat arm” (you can tell I have been educated in the previous type of exchange!) and this dress kind of doesn’t flatter my tummy in the best way.  But I don’t care.  When I put it on, all I see are the beautiful colors and how it makes me feel.  So take that “flaws”.  I’m not looking at you!

The kimono is totally a robe thrifted from Goodwill (HERE’S another lace edged one).  The dress is MinkPink, but I thrifted it at Crossroads Trading Co. in Santa Barbara (similar HERE).  The boots are my Frye cowboy boots I’ve had for years (similar HERE) and the necklace I got on sale at Free People but it’s by this amazing company Sun and Glory.   It’s not available anymore, but GOOD NEWS!  THIS ONE is a straight copy and under $25. :)

I hope you’re not looking at your “flaws”.  Because I’m pretty sure you don’t have any :)

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 Flowers in Winter and Sharing Your Story

Everyone’s got a story.  I mean, just start talking to anyone and you can discover so many things about them…stuff you’d never expect sometimes.  You know what I find really interesting though?  Some people can tell a story filled with struggles and hardship, and you can walk away feeling encouraged…and others can tell a similar story and yet you leave feeling depressed.  Because it’s not always the contents of the story that set the tone…it’s the FOCUS of the story and the ENDING that really matter.

I have a good friend who wants to have a baby.  I know she’s going to soon.  But the timing hasn’t clicked yet and so it’s just one of those things that she’s dealing with and trying to wait patiently until it happens.  A few months ago, she told me that she was going to spend some time with one of her friends who was just about to have her second child and was feeling kind of lonely.  So she did.  Later on in the day, I got a text from her asking for encouragement…basically asking for me to remind her that it WOULD happen for her.  I was puzzled, I mean, she had spent time with a friend who was literally about to give birth, and yet I could tell that she was feeling very discouraged and afraid in her own situation after spending time there.  So I asked her what had happened, and she told me that the entire time, her friend had shared with her all about the struggles of infertility and warned her about all the things that could go wrong…and on and on and on!  I was kind of shocked…I mean, sure her friend had experienced difficulties, but CLEARLY she had been successful in overcoming them, right?  I mean, the triumph of having TWO healthy children after struggling so much should be a joyful story, not a cautionary tale!!!  And then I started thinking more about it…and realized that we ALL do this more than we should.

How many times have we come through difficult situations and overcome…only to still be talking about the same old thing…the hardships, the pain, the bad, instead of the amazing outcome?  Can you imagine if you were to read a book about a historical event, like a war or something, and the author didn’t spend any time on the ending…only because, well the triumph is implied right?  What a TERRIBLE book that would be!  And what if you were to read a book and the WHOLE thing was the struggle, the difficulty, the conflict, and then there was one line at the end that said: “oh yeah, and they won by the way.”  Again, that would be a terrible way to tell a story.

Our lives are so much like books.  There’s the premise, the “who we are and where the story all began”, and then begins the character development.  We grow up and enter into the conflict(s) in our lives and sometimes, the end of the page or the chapter looks very bleak.  Sometimes it looks like the main character has lost everything, or died, or has lost hope.  And if we keep telling that story, forgetting that tomorrow or next month or next year begins a new page or chapter…we really aren’t telling the story correctly.  You guys, we HAVE to share our stories.  And yes, that includes the conflict, of course, otherwise the triumph means nothing.  However, there is so much power in your story…for good or for bad.  If you share your story as one of triumph or even triumph yet to come, you are encouraging someone in ways you may not even realize.  And if you share it as one of defeat, one where regardless of the ending, it’s just a lot of hard and sad and bad…then you are discouraging someone in ways you don’t even know.  You are passing on the heaviness, the hopelessness, and instead of inviting them to share in your triumph or to wait hopefully for it, you are telling a story without a proper ending.  And that is just miserable!

So sure, this isn’t really “wintery” per say…but I know winter is not the end of the story!  :)  Spring is right around the corner, so I really felt like busting out this vintage floral chambray shirt from Ruby Rose and these 1970’s inspired wedges I’ve had in my closet from when I was buying 70’s stuff and had no idea that I loved it yet!  Orange pants are my weakness…I bought these for Easter a long time ago and I love them just as much as the day I spotted them online! The squash blossom is sold out on Baublebar, but you can find some similar here and here.

Sharing your story is as important as wearing flowers in the winter…it brings hope and encouragement in ways you don’t even know!


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