Holidaze

“Travelling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.” ― Lisa St. Aubin de Terán

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of the living.” ― Mary Ritter Beard

My Man and I decided to take a vacation to Phoenix, Arizona with the kiddos to spend time in the sunshine under the palm trees and saguaro cactuses. I thought it would be fun to bring clothes and makeup created by Designers in Winnipeg to show off some Canadian talent in the Valley of The Sun. I brought custom denim jeans by Lennard Taylor, bathing suits, cover-ups and tops by Gracetta Fashion Designs and makeup by Dandizette Cosmetics.  It’s amazing how a change of landscape and scenery can fire up your creativity and inspire something new in you to come to the surface.

IMG_0116

The Fam Jam (Gregory, Lief, Finnley and Moi) I swear, we were accidentally coordinated!

So what is that “thing” a vacation does to us?  What happens to us when we’re on holidays?   Why do some of us crave travel and others don’t?  What is it we are after really?  We can argue the position that all of us who crave a getaway are doing just that!  Trying to get away from some boring or mundane life. You know the quotes, “Choose a life you don’t need a vacation from”, or  “It’s not Monday that sucks, it’s your job!” Or maybe it’s not as simple and black and white as all that.  Maybe a holiday is a huge opportunity for personal growth.  Maybe we sense stagnation in our daily routines and it’s actually a biological need to shake things up so we continue to change and grow as humans.  I don’t know about you, but I definitely change and grow every time I step outside of my daily routine, and a vacation is a short but intense opportunity to do that.   I don’t think that anyone can deny the value and enrichment that comes from travelling, but what about a week long poolside or beach holiday?  It’s light on culture and effort, but what does it offer?

IMG_0126

Phoenix Sunset from my Father in Law’s back yard, where we stayed.

In my experience, a vacation is an opportunity to live like you would if the world as you know it was going to end.  It’s an opportunity to live bigger, fuller and free-er. It’s a chance to totally be present in each moment and to suck the marrow out of life.  It’s an opportunity to do whatever you want to do from moment to moment without a routine or agenda.  A holiday let’s you experience true freedom and the joy of spending your time almost completely on the “want to’s” instead of the “have to’s”.  It shows us the potential of what our lives could be more like, if we were brave enough to take more chances and worry less.  There is something incredibly liberating and freeing in making decisions from moment to moment based solely on how you feel, instead of always worrying about the perceived consequences like we do when we are home in our “real” life.  On vacation, you spend more money, you have one more cocktail, you stay up too late, you introduce yourself to strangers, you watch the sun set and rise, you say YES more, you stop to smell the flowers and take a picture, you order dessert, you flirt, you feel a little sexier, you take a longer shower, you eat dinner at 9:00 p.m., you have long meaningful conversations about the meaning of it all, you live it up, and then you hit your pillow totally exhausted and completely satisfied.  Wouldn’t life be absolute magic if it could always be like that?!  Well, maybe it can’t be exactly like that.  You still have to take out the garbage, do your job and pay your taxes.  But maybe it can be a lot more like that than it currently is!  Maybe, just maybe, we place endless limits and restrictions on ourselves unnecessarily that directly impacts the level of joy we experience in our lives.  Why can’t we let loose and live a little more a little more often?  Just humour me, and think about all the times you felt most alive and happy in your life.  If you are like me, then those times were the ones when you were taking a chance, or blissfully neglecting something you “should” be doing.  They are the times when you throw caution to the wind and break a few of your own rules. Think about the you that you were when you were falling in love, reading a sexy book for fun on the beach, trying something scary for the first time like taking a road trip alone, or sky-diving, or performing or speaking to an audience.  Think about the you that applied for that job even though you were under-qualified, or the you that stood up for someone or something even though it wasn’t a popular opinion.  Think about all those moments when you were scared, but did it anyway and it was invigorating as hell!  Couldn’t we stand to do that more?  I think we can.  And I think the consequences aren’t nearly as scary and real as we tell ourselves.

IMG_1199

Gracetta tank top, Lennard Taylor custom hand-painted jeans, booties from Rooster.  1983 Excalibur

I think that the person we are on vacation is closer to who we actually are (provided you don’t give in to total debauchery) than the version of ourselves that lives in so-called “reality”.  I truly believe we are meant to live fuller and be happier than we seem to allow ourselves to be, and going on a holiday serves as a reminder of how it could be and shows us our potential if we can just let go of the reins a little and stop restricting ourselves so much. So let go, stop making excuses and say YES.  One day when you are old and looking back over your life, you will thank yourself for getting out of your own way.

IMG_1581

Just getting a better view!

 

 

IMG_0983

Love this Thai wrap skirt from Shakti! BTW, totally not my car!

IMG_0172

La Vie en Rose bikini

IMG_1281

Lennard Taylor custom hand-painted jeans and Gracetta Fashion tank top

IMG_1378

Lennard Taylor custom jeans, and Gracetta Fashion tank top

IMG_1176

Lennard Taylor custom hand-painted jeans and Gracetta tank top

IMG_1265

Lennard Taylor jeans and Gracetta top

IMG_1239

Lennard Taylor jeans and Gracetta tank top

IMG_1172

IMG_1136

Lennard Taylor custom hand-painted jeans

 

IMG_1187

Gracetta tank top

IMG_1196

Lennard Taylor jeans and Gracetta tank top

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ― Marcel Proust

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Gregory Chomichuk (my main squeeze!) Note: photos were shot on an iPhone6 and are un-edited.

STYLING BY: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

MAKEUP: Eye shadow (Jungle Babes Collection) Provided by Dandizette Cosmetics

FASHION: Lennard Taylor custom hand-painted jeans, Gracetta Fashion Designs; bikini, monokini, tank top, fringe bikini top, men’s baseball shirt, and bathing suit cover-up. Booties are Coconuts by Matisse from Rooster.

SWEET ASS CAR: Shout out to my Father in Law for lending us his sweet ride, a 1983 Excalibur.  Perfect for desert adventures!

 

Kaleidoscope Heart & Soul

Oh! joy for he who has escaped from this world of perfumes and color! For beyond these colors and these perfumes, these are other colors in the heart and the soul.
-Rumi

IMG_9364

IMG_9434

Today is April 5th and it snowed. Giant floating fluffy white snowflakes. A thick white blanket covered the entire city within a couple of hours.  Where I’m from this is not an uncommon occurrence this time of year.  In fact, it’s quite common. Yet it still elicits an intense reaction from even those of us who have lived here our entire lives. You can actually feel the tension in the city.  It’s tangible.  The reactions range from mild irritation, to overwhelming frustration, to absolute disgust and anger.

Why do we do this to ourselves?!  It is a choice after all.  Not the snow, although you can move if you hate it, but how we choose to feel about it.  How we choose to see things and react to them is one of our most valuable abilities. I would go as far as to say that how we choose to react to our current reality is possibly the most important factor in how happy our life will be!  Yet, we are so trained as a society to be reactionary to our current situation or surroundings like everything is happening to us and we are victims of some unknown force that is trying to keep us down and make us miserable.  Are we crazy?  What an insane way to go through life?  As much as our 5 senses are a gift, which allow us different ways to experience our current reality, they can also be our downfall!  2 days ago, I was on vacation in Phoenix, Arizona.  It was hot and sunny, the air was filled with the smell of newly blooming desert flowers and I spent most of my time listening to my kids laughing and splashing in the pool. Everything I ate tasted better there.  It was heaven.  Today, it’s cold and wet, there is no smell because everything is frozen, and I heard so many people complaining about the weather it was baffling. I don’t even remember what I ate today. But, today is only today.  A drop in the bucket of a lifetime, and tomorrow will have something new to offer. What if I don’t particularly like what tomorrow has to offer, am I going to complain tomorrow too?!  How long will this go on?  Maybe it will continue until I lighten up enough that something I do particularly like happens.  Then will I be happy?  Do you see where I’m going  with this?  If we are so dependent on the circumstances of our life to decide how we are going to feel about our life, we are essentially choosing to be victims of life.  How sad is that? Shouldn’t we be deciding for ourselves how our life is going to be?  I don’t mean choosing each experience and circumstance.  I mean how we choose to feel about each experience and circumstance that comes our way.  I do believe we have much more ability to choose our reality than we are currently tapped into…but that’s another blog post!

Why not look at your life as a gift.  Possibly the greatest gift you have ever been given!  Look at each moment with wonder, like a child.  Have you ever seen a group of kids sitting around and bitching about the weather?  No!  It snowed in April, so they built a snowman and told everyone they saw about it with complete joy and exuberance!  When did we start using our senses to decide if we like things or not, instead of just experiencing things? It’s just black or white.  Good or bad.  Right or wrong. And we feel the need to share each harsh opinion with every single person we encounter!  Why can’t we just observe, and if we don’t like it, move on without reaction. Why must we waste so much energy on what we don’t like, when we can turn our attention to the things that make our hearts sing.

So, you don’t like snow in April, me neither, but I’m not about to waste my whole day focusing on it.  Sometimes, if you don’t like what you are looking at, you should look at it differently and suddenly it becomes something different.  In the absence of colour and smell and warmth, you can create your own.  When was the last time you looked at the world through a kaleidoscope?  Snow and ice as far as the eye can see, until you look through a different lens and suddenly everything is magic!  The beautiful thing is, you don’t need a kaleidoscope to do this, you just need your heart, your soul and your imagination which you carry with you at all times.  It works the same, but the effects are even more magical because there are no limits!

IMG_9414

IMG_9426

“You can get to where you want to be from wherever you are—but you must stop spending so much time noticing and talking about what you do not like about where you are.”
― Esther Hicks

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”                                           – Wayne Dyer

IMG_9441

IMG_9404IMG_9403IMG_9358IMG_9402IMG_9384IMG_9362IMG_9376IMG_9378IMG_9413

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Gregory Chomichuk 

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

CURRENT FASHION: Velvet bellbottoms from Lenni the Label

THRIFTED: Boots, dress, coat, scarf, vest, arm warmers and hat.  Special thanks to my son’s pre-school teacher Mrs. May for snagging this amazing wrap-skirt for me before it was donated.  It will be worn with love!

*Thank you to my sons for lending me your kaleidoscope and reminding me daily that I have one of my own with me at all times.* 

IMG_9422

Death of Winter

For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
 – Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)

patron-dow-9268

Spring arrives quietly and coyly.  She does not make grand entrances.  She plays a teasing game of hide and seek, popping in and out of our view with a faint and echoing giggle.  She is flirtatious, but innocent and child-like.  She wants you to chase her and catch her if you can, but no one ever has.  She is an apparition.  Nostalgia personified.  A playful creature who runs between the headstones of winter’s graveyard, gently placing flowers on the graves of other people’s loved ones.  She dries the tears on the cheeks of the grieving with a new warmth that pushes through the heavy clouds.  She cracks the hard protective shell they have built around themselves over the dark cold months, seemingly effortlessly like a tulip pushing up between stones.  She warms their reluctantly exposed skin, and then tickles them awake with shivers as she blows her spring breeze, raining down apple blossoms like pink and lavender kisses from a thousand goddesses. They smile in spite of themselves. She whispers warm and breathy in their ear in the early morning half-sleep.  “Wake up my dearest, the world is waiting for you.  The trees are sighing, the water is trickling and the sun is reaching out to touch you.  Come outside and play with me.  It’s time to put your sadness away with your wintery things and feel the earth beneath the souls of your feet. It’s time to open your eyes and awaken. Spring is here, it is time to live!”

patron-dow-9277

And Spring arose on the garden fair,

Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;

And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast

rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”

As spring yawns and stretches itself awake, I encourage you to let go of the things that no longer serve you.  It is a time of new life, of rebirth and growth.  This glorious natural cycle does not dis-clude you.  You too are part of the whole and can take advantage of the natural energies of change and ride the wave into an improved self.  Every year the buds pop and the flowers bloom, but they are never the same as the year before, and they don’t strain to exist!  Why should you?  Why should you carry the weight and worry of the previous seasons on your shoulders?  Why can’t you be new? If you allow yourself to let go and surrender your need to feel in control of your life, you may discover your natural place as part of the whole and like nature, you will pop and bloom effortlessly into a life that flows uninhibited by the weight of the past or the fear of the future.

patron-dow-8711

patron-dow-9242patron-dow-9108patron-dow-9038patron-dow-8865patron-dow-8849patron-dow-8832patron-dow-8795patron-dow-8622

patron-dow-8978patron-dow-8734patron-dow-8470patron-dow-8556-2patron-dow-9274patron-dow-8440patron-dow-8416-2

patron-dow-9263

Photography, Cinematography and Editing by: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

Hair & Makeup by: Laura Warren, Hat Trix Hair Salon

Styling, Artistic Direction, Music & Modelling by: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

Assisted by: Leanne Sanders, Marc Greene and Dylan Fries

WEARING:

Vintage: Victorian-inspired blouse, leather pencil skirt, rabbit fur stole, pearls and pearl earrings.

Current: leather corset by Rampant Design Leather, leather platform boots by Jeffrey Campbell

*Special thanks to my friend Accalia for lending me her gorgeous silver finger tips for this shoot.

SHAKTI

Shakti  “is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe. Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Divine Mother’ in Hinduism. In her avatar as Akshara Mandhapati, her power is her uncontrollable energy. On the earthly plane, Shakti most actively manifests through female embodiment and creativity/fertility, though it is also present in males in its potential, unmanifest form. Hindus believe that Shakti is both responsible for creation and the agent of all change.”

-Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4534

Photo by Michael Sanders

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4615

Photo by Michael Sanders

Welcome to one of the most beautiful looking and feeling stores in the city of Winnipeg!  Shakti is one of my favourite places to shop.  It is absolutely jam packed with treasures from all over the globe, and is positively brimming with light and colour and inspiration!  The store’s owner and staff are warm, approachable, and exceptionally helpful and knowledgable about their products. I always look forward to my visits there! If you are from Winnipeg and you haven’t shopped here, you absolutely should!  I also highly recommend it to out-of-towners.  It is a perfect place to pick out a meaningful gift to bring home to a loved one, and it is conveniently located in Osborne Village which is a hotspot of shops, restaurants, coffee shops and bars in Winnipeg. Definitely a place to see and be seen while visiting!  Also, good news for everyone not from Winnipeg.  Shakti has an on-line SHOP they are currently developing, where many of their gorgeous treasures are available for sale.

Shakti is a boutique shop which carries beads, clothing, home accessories, jewelry, and jewelry making supplies. They even offer jewelry making workshops to help get you started on your own creative projects.  Their goods are sourced from various countries around the world. They prefer to buy directly from the artisans, individuals or families that make the beautiful items, and they try to use suppliers who are committed to fair trade.  These are just some of the reasons it makes you feel good to shop here!

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4753

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4587

Photo by Michael Sanders

So, why do we choose to become regular patrons of some stores/brands, but not others?  What do the stores/brands where we regularly spend our time and money say about us? I think it is a question worth asking ourselves, because it is one of the concrete ways in which we determine what types of goods are available to us in the future. Every time we spend money, we are voting with our dollars.  We are saying “I like this, and I want more of it!” We are determining what our future shopping experience will look like. Where we shop can say a lot about what we value.  The fact that I am a regular at a store that sells items from all over the globe says something about me.  It also says something that I am infinitely more supportive of Shakti  because the store’s owner travels annually herself across the globe to meet face to face with artisans and hand-pick most of the products that are later for sale in her store.  Not to mention how appealing it is to me that Shakti is clearly promoting creativity.  Endless rows of beads and jewelry making supplies call out to you and remind you that, not only do we need clothing and housewares (which are also available there), but we need to make things and be creative too.  Creativity is an essential part of life.  The same can be said for the stones and crystals, singing bowls and smudges.  They tell us that we are spiritual beings as well as physical beings and we need to nurture that part of ourselves as well.  The entire store has a holistic essence.  It is a well rounded experience to shop there and it keeps me coming back again and again.

So, I implore you as a consumer to think about what you want more of in the future?  Who deserves your patronage?  Where will you spend your hard earned dollars?  What stores/brands do you feel really good about?  Shop there!  And do it with a smile because you are a driving force in the world we live in!  You do have a say and, like SHAKTI, you can be responsible for creation and an agent of change.

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4639

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4861

Photo by Michael Sanders

 

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4777

Photo by Michael Sanders

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4842

Photo by Michael Sanders

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4563POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4662

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4875

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4736

Photo by Michael Sanders

POD-Shakti-ARTNight-4509

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photography By: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

Styling, Modelling, Makeup, Hair and Artistic Direction: Tara Cole-McCaffrey, Patron of Dreams

Styling and Prop Assistant: Kelsey Purves, Metalsan Jewelry

THANK YOU to Shakti’s owner and staff for all their hands-on help during this photo-shoot.

*All clothing, jewelry, and props shown are from Shakti, located at 194 B Osborne St., Winnipeg, Manitoba.* note: earrings, nose ring and wedding ring are my own.

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