The 90’s Influence

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“The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” –Kurt Cobain, Nirvana

“Just A Girl”

Take this pink ribbon off my eyes
I’m exposed and it’s no big surprise
Don’t you think I know exactly where I stand
This world is forcing me to hold your hand

‘Cause I’m just a girl, a little ‘ol me
Well don’t let me out of your sight
Oh I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don’t let me have any rights

Oh…I’ve had it up to here!

The moment that I step outside
So many reasons for me to run and hide
I can’t do the little things I hold so dear
‘Cause it’s all those little things that I fear

‘Cause I’m just a girl I’d rather not be
‘Cause they won’t let me drive late at night
Oh I’m just a girl, guess I’m some kind of freak
‘Cause they all sit and stare with their eyes

Oh I’m just a girl, take a good look at me
Just your typical prototype

Oh…I’ve had it up to here!

Oh…am I making myself clear?

I’m just a girl
I’m just a girl in the world…
That’s all that you’ll let me be!

I’m just a girl, living in captivity
Your rule of thumb makes me worry some
I’m just a girl, what’s my destiny?
What I’ve succumbed to is making me numb

Oh I’m just a girl, my apologies
What I’ve become is so burdensome
Oh I’m just a girl, lucky me
Twiddle-dum there’s no comparison

Oh…I’ve had it up to!
Oh…I’ve had it up to!
Oh…I’ve had it up to here!

No Doubt, Gwen Stephani 

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I was a teen of the 90’s.  I went through puberty; graduated high school; used the internet for the first time; fell in love (twice), and moved out on my own.  I went through some of the biggest and most informative changes of my life during that decade.  The 90’s left a significant mark on my character and it still resonates with me today in 2016.

It was in the 90’s that I accepted my interest in fashion and style as a legitimate part of who I was.  I cared about it, and I put time and energy into it. If I wanted something I couldn’t afford, or it seemed unavailable to me (remember this was before on-line shopping), I bought second hand and altered it, or sewed it from scratch. I laugh now to think of what a strange experience it must have been for my parents to have a teenage daughter during the 90’s grunge era.  I imagine it must have been a combination of relief at the blatant lack of overt sexuality being displayed in the popular youth fashion of the time, and a touch of horror at my shabby, oversized, somewhat masculine style sense. Not to mention the very cheap price tag that went along with my almost entirely vintage wardrobe, which would be a relief to any parent. My style fell somewhere between your Grandpa’s closet in the 70’s, and Kurt Cobain’s, with an ever so tiny sprinkling of Charlie’s Angels. There were a lot of chords, bell bottoms, ripped jeans, 70’s big-collered button-downs and my most favourite pair of army pants bought at the local Army Surplus store.  I later regretted trading those beloved pants to my friend Ian, for his tie-dye sarong scarf. Although I do still have and use that scarf today.  Hey Ian, if your reading this, I want my pants back!

I jokingly laugh with my Husband and our male friends now about how they were ripped-off at the lack of skin and female bodies being put on display during their teenage years and twenties. The truth is, we all know how good it was for us in reality. The following generation of Brittany Spears/Christina Aguillera look-alikes made that abundantly clear to us. I feel lucky that I became a woman at a time in history when popular youth culture wasn’t embracing overt sexuality in women’s fashion.  That experience powerfully informed my opinions of how sexuality and the female body is displayed in fashion and it comes through in my taste now and how I dress myself daily.  I wasn’t even conciously aware of my tendency towards modesty in my style until another fashion blogger Miss Mellalina wanted to feature me on her blog as an example of a modest fashionista.  It was an interesting realization. My style is definitely bold and out-there, but it’s not overtly sexual. It’s true that most of the outfits I put together cover up most of my skin and don’t show off too much of my body.  Any skin I do show is typically a result of contextual function (e.g. wearing a bathing suit at the beach or cabin, shorts in the summer), or it’s balanced by a very contrasting counter-style (e.g. plunging neckline paired with oversized men’s trousers or all other skin completely covered up).

That said, I am fully aware of the effect that showing off even the tiniest portion of my body has had on my viewers.  Don’t think I didn’t notice the significant increase in the amount of attention my last blog post got for it’s slightly more provocative nature. It’s both totally predictable and yet completely astounding to me, the effect that a plunging neckline and seeing nipples through a top can have on people.  My likes, comments, and general traffic on all my social media accounts increased instantly and substantially.  Hmmm.  What does that say about us as a society?  It certainly shows why there are so many women and girls showing off their bodies and being provocative and seductive on social media.  The world has told us quite clearly and effectively that that is what it likes and wants, so that is what they keep giving to us. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciate every like and comment that I get, but, here’s the thing,  you won’t see me posting any overt ass or boob shots on the internet simply for more “likes”.  You can be sure that the well established grunge era influence on me will be ever present in my choices to display my body.  Everything I do with fashion, I do for a reason and I can guarantee that if sexuality shows up in my posts, it will be to tell a story or express an idea or as an intentional art piece.  I have no intention of using my sexuality to get attention or gain more followers. The truth is, in my opinion, it’s too easy, superficial, and boring.  It’s also being done to death!  Not to mention it leads too many women down the path of attaching too much value to their physical appearance and then losing their self-worth in their later years, when showing off their bodies no longer gets the attention it once did. Hollywood’s substantial list of women over 35 who have had botox or plastic surgery is proof of that. Now, does that mean that my social media climb will be longer?  Likely.  Does it mean that the followers I do get will be more genuine? Indeed.

As a women who is approaching her 40’s now, I’ve lived some life, explored my sexuality and it’s effect, and I’ve been lucky enough to land in a place of self-worth and confidence that holds me true to my values without compromise.  If you ever find yourself in a place where you are allowing society to define who you are or what you have to offer, take a moment and determine if what others are saying they want from you is in line with what you want from yourself.  If your opinion doesn’t match theirs, I implore you to choose yourself over them. Our current focus on instant gratification, external approval and quick fixes has driven so many down a path that is not sustainable or satisfying in the long term.  In the end, what you create will be for others, at your expense. Gwen Stephani’s lyrics still resonate today as if it was still 1995…

“I’m just a girl, living in captivity
Your rule of thumb makes me worry some
I’m just a girl, what’s my destiny?
What I’ve succumbed to is making me numb”

If you stay true to yourself, you are patient, and you don’t succumb to society’s rule of thumb, you will find that there are many others who share the same values and tastes as you and they will find you, stick with you and help you to achieve the things that are important to you, because they are important to them too.  Everybody wins, no compromise.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

STYLING BY: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

THRIFTED FASHION: Jeans (altered by me), militarty/faux leather sleeve jacket (altered by me with addition of ethnic textiles).

CURRENT FASHION: Hat and purse by H&M, sequin skirt and plaid shirt by Forever 21, boots by Dr. Martens, faux septum ring from Urban Waves Winnipeg.

HOBO CHIC

Down around the corner
A half a mile from here
You see them old trains runnin’
And you watch them disappear
Without love
Where would you be now
Without love…

Where pistons keep on churnin’
And the wheels go ’round and ’round
And the steel rails are cold and hard
For the miles that they go down
Without love
Where would you be right now
Without love
Where would you be now

-The Doobie Brothers, Long Train Runnin 

The Doobie Brothers, Long Train Runnin-Video

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” -John Steinbeck

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Each and every one of us is on a journey.  A journey away from where we have been, towards some kind of unknown future.  In this we are the same.  No matter how organized, well intentioned or thoughtful you are about planning the course you want your life to take, the truth is none of us really knows how our life will unfold.  We have plans, wishes, desires, dreams and many of us have plotted out a course to achieve all those things. But life often has a different idea about where you’re going doesn’t it?  Life seems to direct us all over the map, throwing up obstacles and curve balls and even sending us in what appears to be the opposite direction from our goals.

When I was in my 20’s, I had my life very clearly planned out. In fact, most of it was set out in my mind as a teenager. I was more than a little bit Type A and a bit of an over-achiever, but still far from a perfectionist thank goodness. I knew what I wanted and I was adamant that I be one of those people that accomplished everything that they set out to do, instead of someone who just talks about things but never gets around to doing them.  The truth is, I was rather effective with this approach to life.  I fell in love, started a career in Environmental Science, bought a house and a car, got married, travelled to exotic locations, got a dog, and was pregnant with my first child all before the age of 30. I had accomplished everything I set out to do in record time. Some call this success.  But I wasn’t completely satisfied, and I was only moderately happy.  The key thing that never sat right with me was that the road to get there was really difficult, and somehow I always felt that if I was on the right path, I would find more ease in the process.  If I am completely honest, it was a real slog.  I was exhausted and drained and getting where I was going felt like an up-hill climb against the grain.  I had proven to myself that whatever you put your mind and focus on you can achieve, but what had I put my mind and focus on?  I was completely focussed on all the typical milestones that society has deemed worthy goals.   I put all my attention and focus on the things I thought I was supposed to do. Things I knew people would approve of and encourage and praise. I was following the path of millions who came before me and I was looking for external gratification and approval instead of following my own passions and dreams.  In doing so, I landed precisely where I aimed.  The middle.  I was completely successful at landing right smack dab in the middle of mainstream mediocrity, and it was a slog to get there.  I had created a perfectly average, middle-class, working for a pay-check lifestyle.  Life was ok. Life was beige.  I had very few lows, but I had almost no highs.  Every day was just “meh”.  Rise and grind, sleep, repeat. I was taking very few risks and as a result, was completely un-inspired!  I feel exceptionally blessed that I had a wake-up call in my early 30’s. The road I was on came to a screeching halt when my first son was born.  Not to be cliché, but it truly opened my eyes! I think it saved me from a fate too many experience. The all too common mid-life crises.  At 30 I looked at my life and all my accomplishments and said “what now?”  Is this really all there is?  Is this really what I’ve been working so hard for?  I was bored and stressed out all at the same time.  Something was seriously amiss.

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One of life’s little synchronisities.  Me and ‘ol Chimney Top had a moment.  He gets me! 

So here’s what I’ve learned since.  The more you try to control every experience in your life, the smaller and more mundane your life becomes.  Control is based in fear. The fear that if you let go and leave it up to anyone or anything else, all hell will break loose.  When you live like this, the energy and passion and purpose you are here to fulfill gets sucked out of your experiences and life becomes an endless series of to-do lists.  Life only started to get interesting for me when I started to let go.  I mean really let go. It was an act of loving kindness towards myself when I began to surrender to the twisting, turning, strangely winding road of life with trust and faith instead of trying to control every twist and turn.  This has been exceptionally difficult for me at times, but oh so necessary.  The word surrender has always had terrible connotations to me.  It was something that the weak did when they had no more fight in them by waving their white flag and giving up, whereby ending up a prisoner in someone else’s kingdom. The feisty warrior woman in me was repulsed by this idea.  I’d rather die fighting than surrender!  But life isn’t an action movie and I’m not on a battle field.  The truth is, I’d rather live than die fighting. I had to re-define surrender for myself. I realized that my definition was holding me back.  Surrender really means letting go of the need to control every situation, and by doing so, releasing all of the resistance you create as a result.  I was a ball of tension and I needed to let that shit go!

So, I gave up!  I gave up my average, mediocre, safe little life in the middle.  I started living with passion.  I started taking risks, I started focussing on things that really mattered to me, whether people approved and praised it or not. I gave up on average and started shooting for the moon, so even if I fall short, I’ll land among the stars.  When I started doing this, an amazing thing happened.  My life started creating itself.  I no longer had to force things into place by exhausting myself trying to control everything.  As I took one step towards my goals, things just started to unfold and one positive experience led me to the next.  This is what people mean when they say follow your bliss.  You have to let go and trust and move in the direction of your enthusiasm and excitement. This is where the magic happens and the momentum begins to pick up.  This is where strange twists and turns you could never have planned out lead you to the most incredible people, situations and opportunities.   The second I begin to tightly clutch at life or try to make things happen instead of allowing them to unfold, all the obstacles show up and life gets really difficult again.  This is not to say that life will ever be easy, but there is a big difference between physical exhaustion from the hussle, and mental and emotional exhaustion from just trying to get through your un-inspiring day with no flow whatsoever.  I’m still learning and growing, but I know I am moving in the right direction. Life truly is a journey after all, and there really is no destination.  I know now, that you never really get there.  We are all just travellers passing through and having experiences at every stop.  So trust in the journey.  Let go, surrender, and allow this crazy train to take you on the ride of your life. The life you are supposed to lead.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

STYLING, HAIR & MAKEUP BY: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

VINTAGE: Hat, blouse, vest, jackets, backpack (I’ve had since I was 17.  It came to Europe with me), wrist warmers, rings and pipe.

CURRENT FASHION: earrings from Urban Waves, skirt by Nygard, velvet boots by Shellys London , from Hudson’s Bay Company.

 

Alpine Chill

Climb every mountain, search high and low,
Follow every byway, every path you know.

Climb every mountain, ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow, ’till you find your dream.

A dream that will need,  all the love you can give,
Every day of your life, for as long as you live

                                                              – Climb Every Mountain lyrics, from The Sound Of Music Film

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

I believe we are currently living in a time that will be known in history as a turning point by our descendants.  It is a transformative time where people are waking up and shaking themselves off, like hibernating bears in the spring.  We are starting to respond to that nagging feeling that there is so much more to life and so much more potential in each of us that we have been suppressing and ignoring in order to maintain our mainstream lifestyles and not rock the boat.  We are afraid to be questioned or challenged by friends, family and peers, but the desire to live our dreams is beginning to outweigh the judgment and fear. People are getting off the treadmill of a lifestyle they have been told is the proper way to live and they are asking themselves, “what now?”.  The good news, is that we are not alone.  Many of us are questioning things and changing the way we live to create a more fulfilling life.  A  creative life that is more specific to our personal interests and values and less cookie cutter.  Some people think it’s weird to be different, or alternative.  If you stray from conventional ideals, you are eccentric and strange.  But I ask you, is it not more strange to be exactly like everyone else? Should we all work 9-5, live in a house just like your neighbour’s, drive the same kind of SUV, watch TV every night and shop on the weekends?  Keeping up with the Jones’s, in many ways, has put our creativity and natural uniqueness into hibernation.  It’s time for us to wake up!  It’s time to re-connect with our truest selves and each other.  It’s time to stop being afraid of the make-believe consequences and go after the stuff our dreams are made of.  I believe the world needs us to do this!  Future generations need to be inspired and to make different choices than we have made to improve this world we live in.    I for one, would like to be part of that movement.  If you already know who you truly are, and you know what your heart truly desires, GO FOR IT!  If you are floundering and have no idea what blows your hair back, SEARCH FOR IT!  Search high and low.  Keep your eyes and ears open and be present in every moment.  Notice what gets you excited and fires you up and follow that feeling.  Create that feeling wherever and whenever you can, and it will lead you to your dreams.  And when you’ve found that thing that makes your heart sing, do it as often as possible. Be present with it and then SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD! The world needs you and whatever it is that only you can do, in your unique way.  You will be part of the turning point where history changed and the world became a better place.

So here I am.  Talking from personal experience.  I worked in the Environmental Science industry with Engineers, Scientists and Researchers for a decade.  I quit it all to stay home and raise my two sons.  I quit the income, lifestyle, benefits and everything that goes along with it.  When I got off the treadmill, my life came to a screeching halt. The silence was deafening and the stillness, terrifying.  And in all that quiet stillness, I finally heard myself and all that I truly wanted.  I stopped listening to convention and I started listening to myself.

Now, I’m a Fashion Stylist and Blogger, modelling in these photos a wacky combination of 1940’s Bavarian Alps fashion and 1970’s retro ski bunny glam, and I’m IN LOVE!  I’m totally in my element and having a blast!  I love everything about what I am spending my time doing and I am fully present in these photos. I’m not in a rush to get anywhere.  I am enjoying the ride and the experience. I’m hearing the birds, feeling the freezing cold air on my skin, enjoying the wilderness and fading sun and in wonder at how the heck I got here, and why the heck I didn’t do this sooner! Life is supposed to be fun!

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

 

Photography by: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

Styling, Hair and Makeup by: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

Current/On Trend: Necklace and earrings by Metalsan Jewelry (also available at McNally Robinson Bookstore in Winnipeg); Bavarian style harness, custom design by Rampant Design; Boots by Dr Martens; Gold bodysuit by American Apparel (currently on sale!).

Vintage: Red scarf; Faux fur hat; 1970’s sweater; Leather gloves; Men’s wool Jodhpur-style trousers and German tall socks (Huge thanks to Ryan Bartel of Rampant Design for lending me the pants and socks and for all your beautiful leatherwork creations); Bamboo ski polls (Thanks Dad!).

THANK YOU: To Amber van den Broek, Realtor extraordinaire and Hostess of the always amazing Annual SNOWBALL fundraising event in Winnipeg! Our discussion about this year’s ALPINE CHILL theme for your fundraising event was the inspiration for this photo shoot.  Winnipeggers, DO NOT miss the 4th annual Snowball: Alpine Chill, in support of the Green Action Centre, on Saturday, January 16th at the German Pavilion.  This event is always an amazing time, with incredible performers, music, and a live art battle. All for a good cause!  I will see you there Winnipeg!!!

Instagram: @patronofdreams

Facebook: Patron of Dreams

Twitter: @taracmccaffrey

Living Abundance

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”
-Wayne Dyer

“You are joy, looking for a way to express. It’s not just that your purpose is joy, it is that you are joy. You are love and joy and freedom and clarity expressing. Energy—frolicking and eager—that’s who you are.” – Abraham

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

The truth is, I’ve never been one to put too much emphasis on New Years, until last year. My Grandfather had suddenly passed away before Christmas, and on New Year’s Eve, my Husband’s Mom was lying in Palliative care approaching the end of her life.  I was picking up some last-minute groceries to help prepare a big dinner with his family to ring in the new year.  It was heart-wrenching and awful. My Husband had been spending every spare moment over the last month with his Parents, which meant I had been doing a lot of single parenting of our 2 small boys over the holidays and general support wherever I could.  I was exhausted and sad and lonely. I dug down deep inside myself to muster the gumption for an exceptionally heavy night.  I looked at my sons, virtually untouched by all the suffering going on around them and I decided that tonight, I would completely surrender to them and go with their flow.  I just didn’t have the energy to resist their whims. If it meant we arrived late and without the groceries we needed, so be it.  We had bigger issues to deal with after all.  And then, the most miraculous thing happened! We skipped in the isles, rode around too fast on the grocery cart, laughed, sang, and played I spy.  We were too loud and obnoxiously happy.  We had ended up with way more than we needed in our cart, and I didn’t care.  When we got to the check out, we continued our sillyness.  I giggled along with them like a third child, instead of their Mother, and I revelled in their beautiful innocence.  I let their joy infect me.  And then another miraculous thing happened!  An older gentleman in line in front of us told me that he would like to buy our groceries for us.  At first I was taken aback and said no thank you, we’re ok.  Then he explained that he had been watching us throughout the grocery store and that my children were beautiful and happy and we were obviously a very tight loving family.  Then he explained that he never had kids and that he would likely never have them and it would make his New Years if we would accept his gift.  I was overcome!  This man had absolutely no idea how difficult my last couple of months had been and what we would be facing in the month to come.  He only saw us in that moment in time while we were full of wonder and joy and life was abundant, and like magic, we immediately drew more abundance to ourselves.  We thanked him graciously and as we were leaving, he passed me some chocolates he had bought at check-out for the kids,  but wanted to check with me first to see if the kids could have them.  What he didn’t know was that my youngest son has a nut allergy, and somehow, he had purchased the only thing available that was nut-free.    The kids, as you can imagine, were ecstatic.  So much joy and enthusiasm for such a small thing.  Oh to be a child!

When we arrived for New Years with the family, I felt re-born.  A renewed sense of meaning and hopefulness for the future.  When I re-counted our story, everybody cried.  One small gesture from one man, was immensely powerful and impacted an entire extended family at a very difficult time in our lives.  It truly is the little things that count.

That experience reminded me about the meaning of abundance.  It isn’t about money or material things. While those things are nice to have, they can not be yours when you are feeling empty  and ungrateful, and can not find joy in all that you already have.    It’s about the way you choose to feel at any given moment in your life.  Feeling abundant is about revelling in the mundane.  It’s about living life full of joy and wonder like a child.  Frolicking and playing and laughing and not taking it all so seriously.

So, this is my wish for 2016!  To live a life of abundance and watch the magic unfold.  I want to be silly, and laugh, and go with the flow.  I want to look at the world through the eyes of a child and experience the wonderment of it all.  I want to renew my vitality by not acting my age!  I want to be carefree and drink champagne and celebrate everything!  I want to live abundance!

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photography by: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

Styling, hair and makeup by: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

On Trend/Current Fashion: Glory bells in rust velvet (currently on SALE) and Rumi rust velvet jacket (currently on SALE) by LENNI the label (from their Burning Gold collection), sparkly jersey knit sweater by H&M, necklace (Vegas) by Mirina Collections (use code “tara” and receive 20% off of any purchase on their website).

Vintage: antique Tibetan hat, my Grandma’s fur coat.

Thrift: platform boots, pearl and rhinestone earrings and rings.

Bohemian Homestead

“Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle,                                                             often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties,                             involving musical, artistic, or literary pursuits.                                                                                                          In this context, Bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.”                                     –Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

True freedom to me is the ability to “be” truly and completely oneself, and to walk boldly and bravely through life from that genuine and authentic place .  That is to say, to value your own opinion of yourself above all others’ opinions of you, and be confident in that.  This is easier said than done, especially in an era of social media mania and people evaluating you based on how many “followers” and “likes” you have.  As a fashion blogger, I know about that all too well! At the core of what it is to be human, we all desire love and belonging.  We want to be accepted for who we are. It is that desire that has us deny ourselves the freedom to be who we truly are in order to please others, or at the very least, in order to make them feel comfortable.  We are scared to be misunderstood, not valued and validated and in the worst case, rejected.  It took me years to realize that many people feel uncomfortable and threatened by those people who live a life that is unconventional.  Some are even offended by it.  I used to think that it was just me and that my bohemian tendencies were just too weird for people.  Now I realize that the idea of someone choosing to live an unconventional lifestyle, outside of the popular mainstream makes people uncomfortable because it makes them question themselves and the choices they’ve made in their own life, and that  is what makes them uncomfortable.  When you are living an authentic and genuine life, you light up!  You are full of passion and fire and dreams and that, dear friends, is scary as hell to people who are asleep in their lives and stopped getting excited about life long ago.  It triggers a defensive response in them.  A need to tear you down and discount you in order to validate their own choices and deal with the uncomfortable feeling that they may need to re-evaluate their life which is a messy and difficult process.  Being true to yourself can be a bumpy road.  You learn that surrounding yourself with people of like-mind, who are actively pursuing their dreams, will inspire you, lift you up and make you feel good about yourself. These are the people you should surround yourself with.  These are “your people”.  They will help you grow and evolve and fulfill your potential, and in doing so, you will make the world a more diverse, interesting and fulfilling place for everyone.

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photos By: Gregory Chomichuk (note: photos were taken on my iphone and have not been edited)

Styling, Hair & Makeup by: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

Modelling by: Patron of Dreams and Leotie (lay-o-tee), my beautiful Husky cross!

On-Trend/Current Style: blouse by Forever21 (worn backwards and un-buttoned…cause that’s how I roll), vest by Forever21, sunglasses and silver and carnelian cuff from Urban Waves Winnipeg, watch locket from Out of the Blue, Winnipeg, filigree mixed metal cuff by Metalsan Jewelry 

Vintage: hat, fur coat, Rajasthani textile belt and necklace (which is actually a belt…cause like I said, that’s how I roll), rings, Afghani cuff, scarf

Thrift: leather boots and wool plaid pants from Le Chateau

Special Thanks: To my Husband Gregory for playing photographer and taking these shots for me.  To my Brother Preston for lending me his rad looking pipe, and to my Dad and Pam for putting up with my weird-ass self and helping me practice my art by providing an amazing back-drop at the Lake and scavenging antique artifacts from all over the property!  You Rock! Oh yeah, and thanks to the prairie chicken for your sacrifice.  You can take the dogs out of the wild, but not the wild out of the dogs!

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Witchy Woman

“Echoed voices in the night
she’s a restless spirit on an endless flight
wooo hooo witchy woman, see how
high she flies
woo hoo witchy woman she got
the moon in her eye” 

-The Eagles

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Once again All Hallows’ Eve approaches.  For me, autumn has always been an exceptionally magical time.  A time of change and renewal and new beginnings.  Maybe it’s leftover from my old school days.  Starting fresh, a blank slate and a whole new year ahead.  Or maybe it’s the more obvious seasonal changes.  The cool crisp air, the warm gold and crimson leaves and the sky, moody like a love-sick poet.

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Whatever the reason, there is no denying that the fall air is electric and ripe with possibility! I feel more powerful and charged with intentions.  In the light of possibility and excitement, I do not know fear. I have gained a new powerful insight.

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

There are two story’s that lie before each of us.  These two story’s are always present, every day, and in every situation in our lives.  One is a story of woe’s, fears and worry.  It is the “what if I fall?” story that tells of misery, failure and devastation.  The other story is one of endless possibility, celebration and joy.  It is the “what if I fly?” story that tells of fulfillment and happiness beyond our wildest dreams.  Do NOT let them tell you that the “what if I fall?” story is reality! If they try, do not listen! That story is just as make-believe and full of imaginary ideas as the other.  The beauty, is that which ever story you choose to tell yourself and accept, will become your experience.  And yes, you have a choice!  EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! No one ever lived a joyful life because they worried (a.k.a. make-believed) about all the things that could go wrong. If you are going to put your faith in imaginary things, choose the story with the happy ending!  This, dear friends is the true magic in this beautiful life we live.

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

 

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photography By: Gregory Chomichuk (My talented Husband!) Note: all photos were taken with my iphone and kept raw and un-edited.

Styling, hair and makeup by: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

Current/On Trend: wine velvet platform booties by Shelly’s London (totally divine and currently on-sale at Hudson’s Bay!!!),black tunic with white and black crocheted neckline by Jealous Tomato (for Winnipeg locals, on-sale at Hush Shout right now!), black wide-brimmed felt hat from H&M (a similar wool one here), white and black sunglasses (definitely statement!), silver and garnet earrings and silver and carnelian cuff from local Winnipeg shop Urban Waves.

Vintage: rings and Kuchi pendant, black velvet coat by Bernard Casuals, Brittany Bay, Vancouver, Canada.

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

Photo by Gregory Chomichuk

 

 

Sand Sirens

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

“First you will come to the Sirens who enchant all who come near them.  If any one unwarily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and children will never welcome him home again, for they sit in a green field and warble him to death with the sweetness of their song.”

– The Odyssey, By Homer (Translated by Samuel Butler) 

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

The Siren is both alluring and terrifying.  She draws you in, enticing you with the promise of something you desire, only to destroy you when you finally succumb to her.  Or does she destroy you?  Maybe she is a symbol of your innermost dreams and desires.  A symbol of that nagging feeling you have when you know you are not living up to your greatest potential.  When you are idle and settling for mediocrity because you are afraid. That feeling that draws you back to your dreams. That feeling that you find both alluring and terrifying because you know what it means if you give in to it.  It will pull you towards change, transformation and the death of life as you now know it.  As a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, it must experience the destruction of its old form and the discomfort of evolving into something new and magnificent.  Maybe if you face your fear and answer the Siren’s song, you will find your truest self.  Maybe you will become the greatest version of you that is possible.

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Photography By: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

Styling By: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

Modelling By: Accalia Robertson, Laura Canfield, and Tara Cole-McCaffrey

Hair By: The Rain and Wind

Makeup By: Toban Schioler & Ashleigh Hawrysh Haier

VIDEO:

Produced By: Michael Sanders and Tara Cole-McCaffrey

Music By: Preston Cole-McCaffrey

Featured Designers:

Metalsan Jewelry: Earrings, cuff bracelets, rings and necklaces

Rampant Design Custom Leather: Water Warrior Harness, Long Water Fringe Collar and Water Fringe Cuff

Melodia Designs: Diana Bamboo Wrap Halter tops (Copper, Creme, Teal)

Vintage: Rajasthani anklets and belts

Thrift: Pink faux fur jacket and black shag cardigan.  Harem pants custom design by Patron of Dreams.

On Trend: Sequin shorts and gold chain belt by H&M, turquoise disco shorts by American Apparel 

“When the tides change, you have two choices. You can either stand there, letting the water wash over you and your feet sink deeper into the wet sand…or you can get out of the way. You can move up the beach – or off the beach, if you want. The point is to not get stuck.”
-Tricia Rayburn, Undercurrent

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders