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.

Chic Canoe

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Voyager upon life’s sea,
To yourself be true,
And whatever your lot may be,
Paddle your own canoe.

Never, though the winds may rave,
Falter or look back;
But upon the darkest wave
Leave a shining track.
Paddle your own canoe.

Nobly dare the wildest storm,
Stem the hardest gale,
Brave of heart and strong of arm
You will never fail.

When the world is cold and dark,
Keep your aim in view;
And toward the beacon work,
Paddle your own canoe.

Would you crush the giant wrong,
In the world’s free fight?
With a spirit brave and strong,
Battle for the right.

And to break the chains that bind
The many to the few
To enfranchise slavish mind,
Paddle your own canoe.

Nothing great is lightly won,
Nothing won is lost,
Every good deed, nobly done,
Will repay the cost.

Leave to Heaven, in humble trust,
All you will to do:
But if succeed, you must
Paddle your own canoe.

-Sarah T. Bolton

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

I have come to realize over time that each of us as individuals are made up of a combination of unique interests and characteristics that often seem unrelated, random and sometimes even in direct contrast with one other.  If you are truly being honest with yourself and not trying to play a role that you know others will approve of, you may discover this about yourself.  After years of trying to come to terms with how I could equally love the untamed outdoors with the messy hair, dirty fingernails and wood smoked clothes that go along with it, as well as the the glossy, camera ready glamour of fashion, I discovered that our strengths lye in embracing the strangeness of ourselves! Our unique combination. Instead of resisting the weird contradictions of the things I love, I began to embrace them as “myself”, who I truly am, whether it makes logical sense or not.  When I say embrace, I mean that I did not second guess my natural desire to be true to myself as weird or wacky as it might seem to others.  For example, when an overwhelming desire to wear vintage lace, Scottish tartan and paddle a canoe at the Lake occurs, I go with it!  It’s truly incredible what happens when you give yourself permission to be you.  You discover a flow and purpose you never knew you had and somehow, it just works!  And so the expression goes, “paddle your own canoe!” ,I dare you!

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

 

Photography by: Gregory Chomichuk  (Note: photos were taken with my iphone and un-edited)

Styling, Hair & Makeup: Tara Cole-McCaffey

On Trend/Current: Manitobah Mukluks moccasins

Vintage: lace Victorian-inspired blouse, tartan skirt (made in Scottland), felt hat, Afghani carnelian and silver earrings, wool Hudson’s Bay coat.

**Special thanks to Guy and Colleen for the use of their gorgeous canoe for this photo shoot.  Also, to our good friend Stuart for making us these beautiful paddles for our wedding gift.  They now have an honoured place hanging at the entrance of our family cabin. xoxo**

Photo by GMB Chomichuk

Photo by GMB 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

Urban Mermaid

Cool town, evening in the city
Dressing so fine and looking so pretty
Cool cat, looking for a kitty
Gonna look in every corner of the city
Till I’m wheezing like a bus stop
Running up the stairs, gonna meet you on the rooftop

 Lovin Spoonful – Summer In The City

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

Summer has arrived! If you are like me, you will undoubtedly endeavour to carve out as many opportunities for fun in the sun. I will spend as much time as possible at the beach, with family at the cabin and camping at music festivals. I will commune with nature, feel its rhythms, watch the clouds during the day and the stars at night. But…
I will feel the pull of summer in the city. The sultry nights at street festivals and carnivals, picnics in the park and the thrum of downtown energy.  And of course, let’s not forget about creating fabulous outfits to strut your summer stuff around town!

I am an urban mermaid. A city slicker with messy hair and bare feet.  I want the best of what both nature and the city have to offer! What nature offers is boundless and requires no explanation, but the city, the city is full of hidden gems and discoveries to be made by anyone adventurous enough to explore it. For instance, did you know that the Delta Winnipeg Hotel in the heart of downtown has a rooftop pool?  An urban oasis with turquoise waters tucked in the middle of the concrete jungle.

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

Many thanks to the Odyssey Health Club at The Delta Winnipeg Hotel for your gracious hospitality. What a pleasure!

PHOTOS BY: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

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

Sequin skirt, H&M; t-shirt and hair extensions, Ardene; booties, Pyramidis by GVD from Winners; vegan leather moto jacket, American Eagle Outfitters; sunglasses, Urban Waves Winnipeg; lapis earrings, created by Tara Cole-McCaffrey

VINTAGE: turquoise and lapis lazuli rings

THRIFT: shell and freshwater pearl necklace and bracelet

I would love to hear about the magical places and hidden treasures you’ve discovered in your own city! Please share! Maybe I will visit them some day…

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

 

Love Story

This is not your typical love story.

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders

There are no tall handsome strangers or knights in shining armour. There is no “you complete me” or long lost lovers reunited. This love story is the most important love story, the self-love story! This is the story about how YOU, and only YOU all by yourself, are ENOUGH! You with all your apparent flaws and imperfections. You who sometimes battles with worthiness and self doubt. I am the same as you, and we are both more than ENOUGH. This is the story about how at the end of the day, the most important person is ourself and how we must all have the courage to love ourselves unconditionally if we are to reach our full potential and have the capacity to give love fully to the world in which we live. A world that is deeply in need of our love.

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

This blog post was in collaboration with an amazing woman and artist, Kal Barteski. She is courageously throwing love like confetti all over the world. Her gorgeous and meaningful script “enough” in gold stainless steel graced my neck for this shoot. I strongly encourage you to check out her incredible work at You Are Awesome!

PHOTOS BY: Michael Sanders, Electric Monk Media

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

VINTAGE: Jade and gold butterfly ring

THRIFT: Belt and purse from Ruby Slipper in Winnipeg, booties from Value Village, vest by Le Chateau, gold plated leaf earrings

NEW: Floral romper by Rose Gal, felt hat by H&M, Green turquoise cuff and ring (bought at a gift shop on vacation in Sedona, Arizona), heart-shaped sunglasses and faux septum jewelry from Urban Waves in Winnipeg, “enough” pendant and chain by You Are Awesome.

Photo by Michael Sanders

Photo by Michael Sanders