My friend Shannen took maternity photos for me the other week. We drove to Malibu and she had this crazy way of making me feel comfortable while being photographed. I was feeling nervy about it but it ended up being really fun. We were romping around the fields saying, we are Gwyneth, we are Gyweneth, while unknowingly there were tiny little bits of weeds making their way into every segment of our clothing and bags. It was worth it though and I totally sobbed when she sent them to me. I debated doing maternity pictures but I'm glad I did, I'm happy to be celebrating and documenting this crazy season of life.
I'm not going to gripe about this warm California fall because we know it's ALWAYS this way. Just know I'm upset about it. If I needed warm clothes and I did the capsule shenans this is what I would do.
If it were real summer and not June gloom summer, below would be my wish list. I said I would never get into overalls, but now I want them. I'm also on snapchat and use it sometimes. I don't even know who I am anymore.
A friend told me the other day he has learned a lot about faith and fashion from my blog. He may have learned a bit about basic women's fashion for which he has no use, but he's probably on genius level in matters related to religion and philosophy, but still…I'll take the compliment.
Faith and Fashion - I thought, that sounds like a really confused blog. But so it is...
I don't do the capsule closet because I can't keep up with that, but sometimes I think about what I would do if I did. So...
My mother gave me her fur coat from the 90’s and I love it. I just looove it. It makes me so happy and feeds my little materialistic soul. It carries with it the spirit of Carrie Bradshaw and I swear I’d move to New York just so I could wear it more often.
I’m also a vegetarian. I don’t believe in eating meat for a lot of reasons, but one of them is the inhumane raising and slaughtering of the animals. I was just giving a hate speech to a friend the other day about Halal meat and the absolute cruelty involved in the way the animals are killed. I used all these terrible and vivid details about blood and pain and slow deaths so I could successfully ruin his favorite lunch spot…it worked :)
I feel like Phoebe in friends when she gets the fur coat and she ends up giving it to a squirrel because she can’t handle all the animal judgment.
Now let’s talk about it. Should I really feel bad? No, my mother should. She purchased the beautiful, beautiful thing, so the blood is really on her hands. But I don't judge her, I mean, it’s just one coat and besides she eats meat anyways so she's not breaking her own moral code, plus she’s just so generous. They don’t actually kill it just for the coats right? It probably lived a fulfilled life in the wild and died by natural causes.
It’s a fox fur - that makes it worse doesn’t it? It makes it worse because foxes are so in vogue right now, they’re littering my pinterest page, and I love it because of their tiny cute faces. Also Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of my all time favorite movies. How can I wear a fox fur?
You should see it in real life. I would let you try it on and you would feel like a queen (man or woman, you would). Maybe I should just accept that I’m not a consistent person. I’m a hypocrite. Maybe we should all accept it about me and then we can just move on and we can celebrate with a nice dinner on a really cold patio with no heaters!
Here is what a California girls learns from short periods of time in winter. First, you basically look the same every day. The big coat and scarf are necessities to survival, and since most people don't own a closet full of coats, you just sort of have them on repeat…every day. Same boots, maybe switch the jeans from grey to black, and the shirt is rather irrelevant.
Second, winter is heavy, for the amount of clothing weighing down my shoulders I figure it's a few of the push-ups I need to do every day. I never do push-ups.
Third, feet matter! I never thought about my socks before, if they cover my toes it's really all I'm looking for in a pair of socks, and sometimes they don't even do that since I buy them once a decade they tend to wear out a bit before being replaced. A friend recommended wool socks and without them I would have been a significantly sadder person for it. Also waterproof shoes are super helpful, I will educate you and tell you that they keep the rain out of your shoes which will add significantly to your quality of life because when your feet make a swooshing noise every time you take a step, you probably aren't a super happy person.
Final pointers: get an umbrella that doesn't invert itself the moment you open it, they can be avoided by never purchasing anything ever from a store with any sort of eiffel tower paraphernalia in it, and don't buy new natural deodorant right before a trip because it may not work and it gets warm under all seven layers.
Cheers! Let me know if you need more advice.
I hope you all had a fabulous holiday. Fourth of July is the introductory celebration of Summer time. I look forward to it every year. Being with friends who are fun and a little crazy. It starts with pool time, chips and salsa and catching up. Friends who are planning a wedding, friends who are contemplating new jobs, friends who just returned from a trip, friends who are healing from breakups, friends who are weird, some loud, some with purple hair, they’re all there laughing and eating watermelon and re-applying sunscreen. The sun is warm and water cool, and blow up toys become vehicles for races across the pool. After lots of time spent together we all know the individual details of the people that make up the whole. The loud laughers, the couple that will never get enough of each other, the creative ones, the bantering siblings, the smart ones, the one in jeans, we all have our place. Once we are sufficiently exhausted with chlorine skin and wet hair we get on dry clothes and warm sweatshirts while we ravenously eat our BBQ burgers in the lawn and watch the competitive ones play games. Walking to fireworks, a big pile of people huddled together on a few blankets on the grass looking up at lights and explosions and a spontaneous painful rendition of God Bless America, which our fellow lawn mates loved I’m sure. Apple Pie and ice-cream, a few more laughs, car rides home, warm beds and warm skin for the win.
With that, here are some summer time poolside or beachside basics!
With sunshine and summer time, our hair gets lighter, our skin salty and warm like copper, and freckles bronzed with the sun are embraced never covered. It's the perfect time to tone down the beauty regime and give a bear hug to the natural. Moisturize with beachy oil, leave the wind swept waves in your hair, embrace nude and golden face colors and keep it all low maintenance. After all, that's what summer is for.
Zara Wide Brim Summer Hat // Anine Bing Paris Sunglasses // Gabriel Cosmetics Natural Lipstick // Madewell Bikini Top // Anine Bing Gold Bar Earrings // Mark Shami Gold Cuff // JCrew Short Sleeve Popover Shirt // Madewell Striped T // Madewell Graphic T // Topshop Suede Skirt // Zara Denim Short // Madewell White Jeans // Zara Printed Dress // Topshop Cardigan // Gold Sandals
I’m sitting on my balcony on a striped beach towel circa 1980 with the grossest combination of colors, each stripe another poor choice. My hair is the nast, and I’m in the same workout clothes that I’ve been in since 8am when I decided I would go to the gym and never went. I’m scrolling through social media and looking at my dead basil plant that was given to me as a house warming gift two years ago and subsequently died three weeks later now resembling a set piece from a Tim Burton movie. I’m so proud.
When I’m jealous of people, I’m never drawn to the overly styled homes, or the girls with eyelash extensions and so much makeup I find myself contemplating the hours it would take to accomplish such a task. But I am drawn to the minimalist; she lures me in to thinking she’s so simple. She’s the one in photos with the flawless white walls, oversized knit sweater that lays perfectly on her little frame, dewy skin, beach waves with no frizz or a top bun that’s about to topple but never will. She’s probably wearing boyfriend jeans on a white bed with sheets undone tousled and fluffy, peonies perched in a table-top canvas bag, one small green plant hanging from a rope contraption not dying, and one lone piece of art perfectly curated for it’s large white walls flanked by mammoth sized windows. I can’t do it, let me out.
I’m trying to simplify my life because I’ve been convinced that the excessiveness of our lives can be overruled if we really want to. We have the power to bow out of the race and minimize, not in the perfect way, but the ‘I like pretty things but I’ve stopped giving a damn’ way. I’ve stopped following people on instagram that make me discontent. If you’re traveling every five seconds, and you always look perfect and I’m pretty sure you don’t work but just take pictures of you and your kid at the Eiffel tower or in your abnormally large apartment, you’re stressing me out. It’s nothing personal, it’s just your life is annoying to me. I want you to go and enjoy your happy and your blonde hair and I’m going to enjoy my happy here on my striped towel with my cat who definitely does not have an L.A. body, but we’re both content just the same. So cheers to messiness and minimalism that isn’t always white and pretty. And cheers to the happiness that comes with being grateful for my imperfection, dead basil plant and all.
Photo courtesy of the West Elm Blog
I think one of the best ways to simplify your wardrobe and make it usable and interchangeable is to pick a palette. I found that when I chose to only buy clothes in neutral colors it simplified my purchases and my mix match decisions in the morning. This is a very good thing for me, as I have a tendency to walk around like a zombie until noon because I'm still waking up. Waking up is the hardest part of my day, and I'm a counselor.
I recently read an article about the Science of Simplicity. The premise is that some of the greatest modern minds (Steve Jobs, President Obama & Mark Zuckerberg) choose a uniform they wear every day. This is a strategic choice for them because they are so busy making decisions that change the world, they get decision fatigue and want to cut out any superfluous ones, like what to wear or what to eat (I've started calling Trever every day at noon asking him to choose my lunch for me…no).
I have a former boss who wears "the uniform". He's so crazy, it isn't just his uniform, it is the uniform and all of our co-workers refer to it as such. The uniform is just all black, and every time someone wears all black they get compliments on their uniform. What a nut. I'm obsessed when people are unapologetically weird.
In this article I refer to, they quote Henry David Thoreau who says, "our life is frittered away by detail…simply, simplify". I don't know if I could go so far as wearing the same exact thing every day because I enjoy change, but the notion of simplifying decisions about what to wear in the morning, I can get on board with that.
So, stick to a color palette, then you can still feel good about what you wear but it takes up less of your brain time.
I may not be making wartime decisions, but I like the concept…thanks Obama.
My husband is a fashion photographer; I think he’s a really good one. But basically he makes really beautiful women look even more beautiful for a living. People often ask me how I’m able to handle it, they ask me because they love me, but it’s a common question so I’ve had to really think about my answer. A lot of people assume I must be a really strong woman, I guess I might be, I was raised by a very strong mother. But let’s be real, I have serious insecurities like everyone else in the world. Others might think me naïve or too lenient – ‘that poor couple must be struggling because of Trever’s work’…good news, we’re not.
But here’s what’s hard about it. These women will be eternally 18 and I will continue aging. I think aging is a beautiful thing, and I would NEVER wish to be 18 again…but sometimes I have to remind myself of that when her skin is just. so. perfect. Add to that, he is always aiming to bring out the best in the subject’s features. This means he is naturally analyzing all the aesthetics, but specifically the model, finding her best angles and subsequently and maybe subconsciously her worst. So, I have to remind myself and he always reminds me that he isn’t doing this with me.
One of the hard facts of life is that physical beauty fades, but I think that’s ok. It’s a tragedy that our culture prizes physical beauty above everything else, and it is such a huge loss that we don’t see the greatness in age. I guess I am just lucky enough to be getting over my own hang-ups about my appearance earlier on in life, because I will say this, a big huge mirror is shining on my own obsession with appearance and the only thing I can do is try and work it out.
The topic of beauty isn’t generally what people ask me about though; rather they seemed more concerned with the potential sexuality of the situations or the photos. I can really say this is not an issue for me. Partly because I have been on set with him and see the way he works, and partly because I honestly, and not naively, trust him. During a TED talk radio hour from NPR, Guy Raz interviews Alexander Wellman who did a scientific art project. In this project he interviewed people in 17 countries to ask what they liked in art. Through these interviews he was able to get an understanding of beauty and cultures affect on one’s perception of it. The whole radio hour is fascinating so I would recommend listening to it, but in the interview he discusses the results related to nudity. The French seemed to see nudity as art and saw it as being very beautiful, where Americans disliked it, as in our culture nudity is only sexual and can never be artful. I think the point I’m trying to make is that the human body can be viewed differently depending on someone’s upbringing personality and perspective. I truly believe that Trever's work is about form, beauty and fashion, and not sexuality. He grew up in one of those weird artist families where they had painting tutors in their garden while listening to Yanni…sounds pretty weird to me, but whatever.
I am also well aware that a lot of men couldn’t, and many don’t, do a fashion photographers work with integrity. But for those who do, I think that fashion is really beautiful. I love the images and work that’s coming out of that industry. Ask me about these women as symbols of perfection, or unrealistic body types being propagated…I don’t have an answer for you. I guess I’m still working out my opinion on that.
Trever and I talk about this topic a lot because we want to be aware of it’s potential to be harmful to our marriage. He’s still working this out too - how to do well in a career he loves and not only be a Christian and faithful to his wife, but exemplify that in his professional life as well. Conversations always end with that fact that Trever respects me as a person, finds me beautiful and honors me as his wife, and that really is what matters to me…on my good days.
Paris is obviously the best city on earth…don’t even start to argue with me, it is! You already know I have a love affair with the Isle De La Cite and the surrounding areas including the St. Germain, Le Marais and the Isle St. Louise. The City of a Thousand Greys, Life in Pink, The City of Lights, it actually is that magical.
When we were there in May I made a point of paying attention to the fashion on the street. Why are the French known for their fashion? Here’s what I discovered, it’s not mind bending so don’t go getting all excited…buuut I basically discovered the secret to good fashion. Simplicity. Yes that’s it, write it down and remember it every time you go shopping. As Leonardo Da Vinci says, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”…that’s a nice quote, I should put it on a plaque.
The French wear a lot of basics (yes I know I already gabbed about this, but it's true). You may not look at them at think, wow that’s a fashionista, but that’s just it. They don’t ride the rollercoaster of trendy fashion, they keep it classic, and high end. Even among the wealthiest, it might look like a basic tan handbag, but with a closer inspection it’s an Hermes satchel. The point is, it’s the right basic tan handbag. Now that doesn’t mean they don’t lead the fashion trends for the world, but they do it with subtlety and close attention to details, nothing is overstated.
Clothes are in neutrals and not overly fitted, there are less bright colors and patterns, and both men and women are dressed fairly formal on a daily basis. Women’s Makeup is light and natural and their hair is less done- it isn’t overly curled or ironed, they let it wave with its natural shape and color and maybe twist it into a bun on a sunny day.
To contrast that, they are also never undone although they may give the air of breezy carelessness. Grubby clothes and old sneakers aren’t the norm, but pristine flats and a nice blouse with a scarf around the neck for good measure.
So I changed the way I shop. I buy less, I buy better, I buy understated, I buy elegent. It keeps me from the utter exhaustion of trying to keep up with every new bold and trendy fad floating in and out of Urban Outfitters…omg I love Urban Outfitters.
So - detailed well fashioned basics. Simplicity. Write it down.
If you do it right, you'll look exactly like this girl…right?
Ok the first thing we need to talk about is my hair whipping, I feel like you should be impressed. Are you?
Moving on...I generally like to dress well, but I don’t like to roll out my paycheck for it - it's not worth it. So I’m always making precise decisions to keep my closet interesting and my bank account positive. There are so many other things I would rather do with my money than spend it all on clothes. When I have the temptation to want to drop ungodly amounts of dollars on clothes, I just think about my memories of travelling with my husband then I try to remember if I still have the shirt I bought myself a year ago and if it means anything to me now. Ok, so you see where I’m going with this.
I believe in buying good quality basics and sticking with a style. It will keep you from riding the trend train and help you save for your trip to Iceland, or whatever.
I used to go in stores and be so overwhelmed by the options and all the items I needed in order to be with it, so I would just get one statement piece. A floral, calf length, sweater, smock thing. Then I just had a ton of statement pieces that I couldn’t wear that often, and they couldn’t really be layered or switched around much, and then I don’t feel like I have clothes. Lame.
So the key to fashion happiness for me, is a good solid set of basics. Then, every once in while if I want the weird smock thing, I go for it. It’s a no-excess approach to fashion, and it will solidify your look. Am I the bohemian hippy girl? Or the LA rocker type? Or the urban Birkenstocks type? Pick one and stick with it.
Here are my basics, all day e’rrday -
Oh, and I'm pretty sure my socks aren't matching…but I can probably find the link to them if you want.
This blog is the “deep and profound brain things inside my head” (if you know that quote you know I have bad taste in movies). I am starting it at the recommendation of a sister of mine, who probably has a great deal of bias towards me and finds me to be mildly interesting. In another life I was a farmer, or philosopher, or religious studies major, or potentially a gypsy. I have an interest in fashion but a no-excess, simplified version of it. I find art and travel and culture fascinating and I am constantly striving to learn new things about new people. I’m a Christian Counselor by training and will be forever grateful to my educators for teaching me how to think. I’m a pescetarian with mediocre cooking skills and an adventurous attitude, a.k.a. I’m trying new recipes all the time and totally failing quite often, to the chagrin of my ever-compassionate husband. This is a place I will write things and show pictures of things…if you’re interested, join me.
Oh, and the photo was taken by my fab Husband - the great Trever Hoehne