Any given Monday, if I bump into you on the street, if I’m out for coffee with a friend, or if I’m at my desk editing all day, I have somewhat of a uniform.
Getting all dolled up is one of my favorite things to do as a woman. In fact, it has gotten to where I feel a little naked when I’m not wearing red lipstick. However, on a day to day basis I’m a simple girl.
If there was one outfit that could be described as my uniform it would be this: oversized button down (preferably mens), skinny jeans, riding boots, and my Coach purse.
It’s simple, easy, and I feel me in it.
Also, did I mention that fall in New York City is magical? Em and her husband have been in town all weekend (insert happy dance here), and we have been all over town. Yesterday we walked through Central Park chasing food trucks and a beautiful sunset, and snapped some photos along the way.
When Em and I get to hang in person (which is never often enough); it’s always such a blessing because we just seem to pick back up right where we left. I always walk away from time spent with Em so thankful that we’re doing this project together. She truly is a gem!
Last Saturday I purchased the same above Ralph Lauren button down in blue from Crossroads Trading Co. in Williamsburg, BUT then Em + hubby and I went this Saturday and I found another one in pink. How could I pass it up!?!?
Photos by: Emily, The Refined Woman
(Brooklyn Bridge with coffee in tow yesterday. Check out the video I made on Instagram.)
Last year I was walking on Crystal Cove Beach with a friend, and she told me about a phrase her and her husband use with each other. They use it when they see that the other is heading towards a bad decision, or in confession of their own mistakes. They simply say, “HALT”.
Halt. Are you…
Most of our poor choices, mistakes, those moments when we really blow it come from a place where we are experiencing one or more of those things. Most of the conflict I had with my old boss happened when one of us was hungry; it almost became a joke between us. We’d start getting really annoyed with one another, and then ask…hey are you hungry? More often than not the answer was yes! When I’m hungry I get short, irritable, and foggy headed. (Note to my future husband: if I start getting really cranky, it’s probably because I just need some food in me!)
One thing I have noticed since being out here in Brooklyn is life has felt just a little more messy than usual.
My boundaries with friendships (specifically guy friendships) have felt wobbly. My desire to people please has been much higher than normal, and I have felt more insecure my photography than I have in a long time. Out of this place I have blown it more than a few times. Whether by being rude to an innocent bystander on the subway, or over sharing parts of my life with someone I hardly know, or not guarding my heart fully in some guy friendships I have.
This week I had a meltdown with a girlfriend…what is wrong with me? why do I feel so insecure and unsure of myself? Why am I blowing it in areas where I usually don’t? When is this going to stop???
And then a little voice inside me so graciously said HALT. Are you: hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?
The past few months of moving has involved change and transition beyond what I expected: getting acquainted to a new life, new city, new roomates, new career, new transportation, new culture, new church, pretty much new everything.
As exciting as it has been; it’s been lonely and exhausting at times.
Patiently and sweetly my dear friend reminded me that life is messy, and that no…it won’t always feel this way, and that there is a multitude of grace to cover my mess-ups and mistakes.
Everything feels new, I’m out of my comfort zone, I’m a little lonely, but you know what? That’s ok, because life is messy and within that I find beauty.
Call it a blanket. Call it a poncho. Either way I LOVE IT.
Constantly in search of cute clothes that are also comfortable, I stumbled upon this poncho at Free People the other day … and just like that, I got inspired to start getting dressed again.
But if you want to know the truth, I couldn’t get motivated to put on any eye makeup. I’m pretty sure that’s why they invented sunglasses, and red lipstick.
#makeitwork ladies. You can’t win ‘em all.
Poncho : Free People
Boots : Madewell (old) / Similar
Jeans : GAP Maternity (I’m wearing Ankle length)
Satchel : Coach (I got mine on eBay for $20 though! Try it!)
Sunglasses : Dior
Necklace : c/o Kerrie Yeung
Maybe it’s because it’s Football season, maybe it’s because the Holidays are around the corner which means I’m going home to Texas soon…or maybe it’s just that I’m a Texan, and sometimes I just like dressing like a Texan.
Let me be honest…sometimes when I am getting ready to get my picture snapped for an outfit post I feel pressure. Not from anyone in particular, but I think I just put pressure on myself to keep up. To want validation from other people that I can dress well (*note* that is the wrong reason to get dressed). When I put this pressure on myself the last thing I want to do is go and get my picture taken.
But then you know what I remembered?
I remembered that Em + I started this blog to fight against keeping up. We wanted this to be an honest place where the both of us shared our journey of style with you. After Em reminded me of this (because you know that even though she’s in San Fran and I’m in NYC we text each other what we’re wearing on the daily), I just wore what I wanted to, and I felt pretty:)
Yesterday was a perfect autumn day in Brooklyn. I walked to church, went to the book store, grocery shopped, read a book at Prospect Park, made a yummy dinner, and watched Friday Night Lights with my roommates. All in all it was a lovely day, and it made me so thankful to live in this wonderful town:)
Thank you Miss Lauren Kallen for photographing me! I can’t wait to spend more time with you!
One reason I love being a part of The Refined Woman is that in the past 5 years of being a photographer, I have become just as passionate about what my subjects wear as I am about taking the photos.
There’s just something about the right outfit, in the right location, in the right light … when it all comes together, that is something that really fires me up.
A few months ago, when Aaron and I celebrated on our 5 year anniversary, I wanted to get some photos done by a photographer I greatly admire in the city we have come to love so much.
It was the best opportunity to get to STYLE a couple just how I would want to photograph them. And honestly Tec captured us better than I could have imagined.
I love these photos but more than that I’m hoping and praying for more opportunities to come along to style more photo shoots. So if you’re looking for a stylist…
All photos by Tec Petaja
Hair + Makeup by Elizabeth Chang
Em’s OUTFIT - Jacket : H&M (old) / Dress : All Saints (old) / Pumps : Christian Louboutin
Aaron’s OUTFIT - 3 Piece Suit : Indochino / Tie : The Tie Bar / Shoes : Cole Haan
Last week I had the joy of attending a baby shower in honor of the sweet Taylor Sterling's baby girl (Elodie!!) - hosted by the wonderful Caitlin + Meg at the beautiful new Margaret Elizabeth store on Union Street in SF.
And you know what … I had to actually get dressed. Not just sweatpants and stretch pants.
So I went simple + black… easing back into things here! And a little shift dress worked wonders - since I don’t have too much of a bump yet. It just looks like I had too big of a burrito for lunch.
Huge thanks to Delbarr Moradi for snapping a few quick pics of my outfit. You da best.
Shift : Target
Flats : Jcrew factory
Purse : Kate Spade (old) / Similar
Each day further into fall here in the city is something completely new and exciting to me. Never in my whole life have I experienced a true fall, and especially not on the East Coast. It seems like with every passing moment the leaves are changing colors before my eyes, creating these majestic reds, oranges, and yellows. I’m in awe with it all.
This weekend I had my first trip to The Hamptons, and it was everything I had hoped and dreamed that the small east coast beach town could be. Small shops, cute cafes, and just so very quaint.
Saturday I shot a wedding, and it was such a lovely day. The bride wore Monique Lhuillier + the groom Tom Ford…so you already know that I was sort of in heaven. Though it was lovely; it was a long day. Sunday morning after grabbing some pumpkin coffee I raced back to the city to photograph the Sareh Nouri Spring 2014 collection at The London Hotel.
I had about 30 minutes to get changed and out the door for me shoot. My wool cropped jacket was perfect, because it wasn’t cold outside but it was definitely crisp! Shooting in this outfit I felt professional, true to my brand, and comfortable!
PS…here’s one of my favorite from backstage at the Sareh Nouri show I shot yesterday.
Skirt: Club Monaco
Plaid Wool Jacket: Old (Similar)
Glasses: Warby Parker
It’s been two months since I packed my bags, left the comforts of Southern California for city life in New York City.
In some sense, I feel like I’ve been here for years, and in other moments I feel like I blinked my eye and found myself transplanted into this crazy new culture.
The other night I was so homesick for my dad. I don’t know what hit me the other night; it was just like the only thing in the world that I wanted was my daddy. For a hug, a shoulder to lean on, the familiarity, being known.
He asked me, "How is the transition of letting go of your life in California going?" Stammering my way through answering that question, the only real thing I could say was it’s been amazing, but one of the hardest things I have ever done.
This city has so much love in my heart, and I know that I know that I know that God has me here. BUT everyday I miss my life in California, my roomates, hiking Runyon Canyon with my friend every Sunday before church, walking 8 miles Crystal Cove with some of my favorite people laughing and talking life, the golden hour that seems to never end at sunset. I miss it all so much. Sometimes I feel like a crazy person for leaving all of it for a world of unknown here in the city.
It’s so interesting to me that I can feel two such totally opposing emotions about the same thing. The one part of me feels like being in New York is me being a little girl running barefoot in a field, arms spread wide, without shame chasing after the deep dreams that are in my soul. It feels like utter freedom, adventure, excitement. The other part of me just wants to run back to California, and hug my community, and say sorry I was wrong I just want to be here with y’all forever!
I feel like I’m stumbling my way through this transition, yet each step of the way I just want to be honest: with myself, with God, with my community, with you.
It’s one of the hardest, most beautiful, electrifying, uncomfortable seasons of my life.
This is transition, and in this place I see beauty.
We all go through seasons where it’s tough to feel inspired to dress well. Whether we’re overworked, overwhelmed, sick, or just tired, it’s real life. I confess that I am right in the thick of one of those seasons.
While I’m so grateful for the gift I truly feel that we’ve been given, I’ve been struggling to keep everything running and get inspired to get dressed. The reality of most days is that it’s a struggle to get out of my sweatpants.
During these times I think it’s important to find a few staple pieces to help make it through. Things that are easy to layer, throw on together, things that coordinate - whatever it takes to not look just like a real hot mess.
Recently when my dear friend Gina was in San Francisco I showed her around the city, and she snapped a few photos for fun on her film camera. I didn’t plan out a big outfit. I haven’t had my hair cut or colored in months. I barely got out of the house with mascara on.
But I love these photos - this is real life. These are my staples right now that I throw on when I am just trying to hold it all together.
Scarf : Jcrew (old) Similar here
Coat : Urban Outfitters
Tee : Everlane
Leggings : American Apparel
Moccasins : Minnetonka
Sunglasses : Dior
Cap : Jcrew
Bag : Dooney & Bourke
Thanks for listening, friends.
And seriously thank you to Gina Zeidler for these images, a true snapshot of my life right now.
ps. More posts with army jackets HERE and HERE!
I think Em and I have super powers. When one of us is feeling a certain thing, the other is too. We are both feeling camo for this fall. You know me and my fear of prints? Well slowly, in my own way, I am incorporating some louder pieces into my wardrobe.
Mixed patterns + prints is where I would love to be one day in my style, but for now I like to have one bold piece i.e. my camo pants, and keep everything else very classic + simple.
Sidenote…when I tried on this collarless blazer from Madewell, I melted. I already worn it a gazillion times, and it’s quickly become a wardrobe staple for me.
So how do you feel about camo for fall? Are you in?
Photos by: Sarah Shreves; Wardrobe styling by: Johan Khalilian
Collarless Blazer: Madewell
White Blouse: Madewell
Camo Pants: Madewell
Red Belt: Target
Stewardess bag: Coach