Monday, September 30, 2013

blogger of the month: Katie of Alaskan Weredork

I discovered Katie when we were both starting out on our blogs, after she commented on one of my chictopia looks. I was instantly in love with her sense of style, and while gathering photos for this post, I can see that our style is pretty similar! She is a fellow Alaskan blogger and one of my blogger friends, and it's so awesome to finally have her as September's blogger of the month. So give it up for the beautiful and fabulous Katie of Alaskan Weredork!

1. First things first, can you tell me just a little bit about yourself?

I like pina coladas and long walks on the beach. :)

Well, I do actually like those! I live in North Pole, Alaska however so I'm a little ways away from the nearest sandy beach. Hi everyone, I'm Katie and I'm a bit of a dork. I was born in Palmer, Alaska and have lived my whole life in Alaska aside from living for a short period of time in Washington and Oregon when I was three. We've moved around the state quite a bit, slowly moving farther and farther north but I think Fairbanks is about as far north as I can take, cold weather wise! I'm a pretty outdoorsy person, my family has always done a lot of hiking, camping and we fish and hunt for our food so I'm pretty at home in the outdoors. I jumped horses competitively during high school, I worked full time as a barn manager and taught riding lessons to pay for my own riding lessons and show expenses and because I spent all of my own time and money on it, I was pretty intense about the whole thing. I'm sure there were several shows where I broke down in tears because of working 18 hour days and trying to ride well in my classes, my parents weren't super well off so I knew every show could be my last and it really pushed me to work hard. I'm grateful now for that because I stand up well under pressure and I have a crazy hard work ethic which I've been trying to turn into my own riding business for the past year. My brothers, my husband and I all went in together to buy a large piece of property this past spring so I finally have room now to build my own riding facility and start my own barn which I'm really excited about.

Hah, I'm not very good art this summing myself up! I guess I should mention that I come from a large family, I'm the eldest of six kids and my family's pretty tight, more clannish than anything. I have a husband and two adorable little monsters named Gunnar and Isabel, both who are learning to ride our fat little pony Merrylegs. I mentioned we just bought our first house and a large piece of property so we've been spending all summer ripping apart the house and putting it back together, I'm hoping it'll be done or close to done by the time the snow really starts to fall. We're getting our wood stove this week so I'm looking forward to that.

2. What made you want to start blogging? And how to you balance blogging with raising a family?

I started blogging as a fun thing to do during an especially brutal winter and it was interesting to try to learn how to clothe myself in a way that wasn't just jeans, sweater, boots, baseball cap. I was also extremely shy in front of the camera and I thought it might be a good way to break myself of that and to try out photography which I'd just hadn't had the time for before. I can't really say that I balance blogging with anything as blogging falls to the bottom of my list. I don't blog professionally and I've only done one sponsored gig to date, it's been more something that's really fun and I've learned how much I love photography! (I've managed to get a little better about putting clothes on as well.) I used to take pictures in the evening and then write up a quick post that night while the kids were in bed but since our move, we don't have access to internet at our property so I've been typing up and trying to schedule posts for the once a week when I go to town.

3. What's one of the biggest challenges you've run across while taking outfit photos?

The cold! I got frostbite on my ears last winter trying to take pictures in -50 below without a hat on and I was trying so hard to get some decent pictures that I didn't notice my ears where starting to burn. By the time I got back to the car, I couldn't feel them and when they thawed out, it was like they were on fire! They ended up being okay and healed but I learned my lesson, I kept my Stormy Kramer hat on for the rest of the cold days.

4. How has living in Alaska influenced your personal style?

I think living in Alaska has defined my style, I've noticed that you can always tell an Alaskan apart from the new comers of the visitors and I think part of that is because we do dress for ourselves. (When was the last time you saw a trend salad on an Alaskan?) We don't care if it's all the rage in New York or what the current hot thing is in the blogger world, we will probably wear sweatpants to Walmart to get ice cream and you know what? No one judges. I think at the start of my blog I tried to break away from that and I didn't do a very good job of representing myself, mostly because I was really trying to figure myself out after so many life changes. Over the past few years I've started to figure it out and I've been far more true to myself with the blog, I wear more flats and boots than anything and I wear a lot of pants for being a fashion blogger. I also end up wearing more practical winter gear on the blog such as my Boggs boots, Stromy Kramer hat or just the ugly black puffer coat that keeps me warm. (Sometimes, you just can't be cute in the cold and you wear those snowpants!)

5. Now you own a couple of horses, correct? Can you tell me a little bit about that?

I do have a couple of horses! Well, it's actually one tall Yukon Mustang named Dollar and then we have a little registered Shetland pony named Merrylegs. Izzy actually got Merrylegs for Christmas last year, we'd just gone to the Santa Clause House in North Pole and she's asked Santa for a pony and when we got home, there was a fat little black pony tied up to the fence with a big bow on his tail. (Izzy was pretty impressed with how fast Santa worked.) I've been working with Dollar for the past year and a half on dressage and jumping, he hates the dressage but loves the jumping and I'm looking forward to doing cross-country jumping on him here in the next few years. Him and Merrylegs are the best of friends and sleep all curled up together in their little barn, they're pretty cute standing out in the paddock together because Merrylegs looks like Dollar's mini me. We put on a very small show a few weeks back with Merrylegs and another pony, it was just little walk, trot classes for the younger students and my kids with my brother judging but it was quite a bit of fun. (Dollar tried to join in, he followed the ponies around and even lined up by himself at the end of the classes, he thought he was quite the show pony.)

6. How have you seen your style evolve since starting your blog?

Wow, I've really noticed a change since I first started the blog and even just in the past few months. My style starting off was very hodge-podge and thrown together and alas, not very stylish I'm afraid. Taking pictures did teach me a lot about proportion, colors, fit and all of that stuff that I would before ignore, seeing it really helped me be more mindful. I've noticed that since I cut my hair I favor simpler outfits, I've moved away from the really girlish outfits I favored for a while and I've been slowly trying out some different styles.

7. And because I just have to let you give some love to the best state ever, what's the best thing about Alaska, and what's one thing about Alaska you wish everyone could experience?

I think everyone should experience that -fifty below just once. The joy of dashing to your car, praying it starts while trying to keep your nose from falling off should be experienced by everyone.

Hah, evilness aside, I think if you come to Alaska, get out of the city. They're pretty and fun and stuff but if you want to really see Alaska, either rent a car or take the bus or train and go for a drive along either the Parks Highway or the Richardson and it will just blow you away. I love driving to Valdez because you see such a variety of terrain, from going through the pass and gazing at huge mountains to seeing the coastline. (If you can't, go to Seward and go on one of Kenai Fjords Tours boat trips. They have a great variety of trips for any budget or time frame and you see way more wildlife than you will out of Whittier or Valdez and seeing glacier faces up that close is CRAZY.) It's hard to pick one thing about Alaska because it's home to me. I've been lucky enough to get to travel around and while I have lots of love for the west coast, Canada and Mexico, I will always come back home to Alaska. Even with the cold and the long winters, even with the crazy neighbors who mow (yes mow) their snow and mix R&R with the nightly gallon of ice cream and even with the hellish driving conditions in the winter, I really can't imagine ever living anywhere else. I'm probably just as crazy as the rest of them. :)

Thank you Katie so so much for letting me interview you and get to know you a little bit more! Be sure to check out Katie's blog here for more Alaskan goodness.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

my week in instagram #57

1. The first sign of fall is when the pumpkin fairy comes and leaves cute baby pumpkins all over campus. 2. I'm starting a 365-ish thing on instagram (this is the first photo in the series), which you can read about here.

3. Matt took me on a celebratory date to a yummy restaurant because I got a job! I'm now part of a team of super creative and talented people working on a new yearbook, and my job is to lead the photography team. I'm beyond excited for this opportunity. 4. Yesterday Matt and I made candy! He wanted to make some for the Breaking Bad finale, so we spent our Saturday night in the kitchen and came out with two successful batches of candy! Pretty good on our first try, if I do say so myself.

5. I am forever analyzing poetry, and it's really beautiful to dig deep into the poems. If only I could be half as talented when it comes to writing poetry as the people I'm studying. 6. Fun purple hair. Why does our hair always look better right before we go to bed? 7. I've finished several other drawing assignments for various art classes, and this one was my favorite. I like to call it, "Helping Hand."

8. This is a rainy day outfit that I never took outfit photos of. Maybe one day if it ever decides to stop raining here. 9. And finally, my very first yearbook meeting! Kinfolk is one of our inspirations for the asthetics of the book, and we are already dreaming up of different articles to put together. It's going to be so much fun and I cannot wait to see how everything unfolds.

Hope you had a really wonderful week as well!

Friday, September 27, 2013

film friday: SILVER & LIGHT

SILVER & LIGHT from Ian Ruhter : Alchemist on Vimeo.

I never like to have many accompanying words to film fridays, because the films really speak for themselves. All I can say is that I want to have this much passion for something, and pursue it with everything I have.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

shop my closet!

Ah yes, Lauren has finally joined the bandwagon and created a "shop my closet" website. Do I get a blogger award now? But in all seriousness, I'm looking to get rid of a few pieces that don't quite fit me right or that I don't really wear anymore, so I'm turning to you good people of the internet to see if you want any of these fine gems. All of the details are on the Shop My Closet website. The prices are pretty cheap, but if you want to convince me to go down on the prices, I'm pretty easy to convince. ;) Like I said, I want to get rid of these pieces and give them new, loving homes.

Below are a few of the items in the store:

"Blue Embroidered Dress"

"Purple Lace Shirt"

"Velvet Floral Jacket"

"Green and Purple Skirt"

Again, you can scroll through all of the items for sale here. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to send me an email.

Have a great day!

right on track

sweater/button down: thrifted // shorts: forever 21 // boots: borrowed (target)

One of the pluses of living with five other girls is that we get to share each other's wardrobes. This is especially good when I have to leave my pink boots behind at home but one of my friends has the exact same pair as me. This outfit was inspired by this pin that's on my outfit inspiration pinterest board, which is basically filled with outfits I probably couldn't pull off in real life but wish I could. I've actually had this shirt since 2010, (that awkward moment when you actually still wear all of the things in that photo ...) but I put it away in a sack about a year ago (intending to get rid of it) only to rediscover it and consequently fall in love with it all over again. I certainly am fine with that as it's a really fun print, plus I'm constantly living in cold places so I can never have enough sweaters.

As for my classes, they are all going really well. I only wish I was allowed to take more (I'm only allowed 18 credits with my financial aid). Or I wish I could be a triple major. Because if I could, I would literally take every single Art and English class offered. The way the art program is, there is the studio art track or the graphic design track (which has its own particular courses), and each student has to choose three "studies" to complete, which is comprised of three classes each. You can basically pick and choose whatever "study" you want. My three studies are photography, ceramics, and the basic graphic design, which are probably the most unrelated things from each other in the art world as you can get. If I lived in a perfect world though, I would take painting and watercolor and printmaking and sculpture and typography and whatever other classes were offered. My only fear is missing out on a class and thus missing out on discovering that I'm really good at something, you know? All of my high schools' art programs were really small, so I never got to explore many different things. It's a little bit different with English, because I already know that I want to do creative writing, but I just don't know about the art portion.

When I was a little kid, I would paint all the time with acrylic paint. You know, that cheap Michael's paint that was less than a dollar a bottle? I spent all my extra money on that stuff. But I never was very good at painting with it, and I still have never taken an acrylic painting class. So we'll never know if I was gonna be the next Picasso or Gogh (I know I'm not, but do you get what I'm saying?).

But regardless, even when I was really little I knew I wanted to be an artist with my words and with print (photographic, drawing, design, whatever), and it's so cool to finally be able to study those things not in a general high school sense. And I love being able to read other girls' blogs who are studying at universities in the fields that they've always wanted to study. It's really inspiring to watch people fulfill their dreams. (Also on a side note, I'm not saying you have to go to college to fulfill your dream. I know plenty of people who never went to college who are doing awesome things. College certainly isn't for everyone, but it was the right decision for me.)

I just hope that as long as I live, I can live a creative life.

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

my week in instagram #56

My first two finished assignments for my drawing class! Titled "Fancy Fingers" and "Why the heck did I choose to draw this?" Respectively. (The first assignment was to draw our hand, and the second was to draw a doorway. Lockers totally count as a doorway.)

1. I looked up and saw these really cool moon reflections on the blinds. Pictures followed.
2. Recently I volunteered to help clean a church, and found this polaroid hiding among some broken toys, and they let me keep it! Sadly the film for it is really expensive and I have to save every penny I make for college. (Hint hint, this is the film it takes. ;D )
3. 100% preview of this photo! (You can follow me on instagram here to see these photo previews before anyone else!)

Matt being a creeper while I take shameless selfies in cool mirrors, and me making a silly face. I'm finally letting my hair do it's own thing, and now that it's long again, it's starting to curl like it used to. I still get a couple weird straight pieces though.

A super cute family of deer that live on campus. I've already seen them a couple other times at different places. The baby deer is soooo cute!

I hope you all had a very fantastic week!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

casual saturday

shirt/shoes: modcloth // jeans: gift // photos taken by Matt

This is a super casual outfit, but it features my very first modcloth purchase! I got this shirt and shoes (and a pair of shorts) on super sale, and I'm so excited to finally be able to own something from them. It's just a great company filled with inspiring people, and I love the values that they stand for in terms of products as well as models and body image. It's a great work that they're doing, and I'm happy to be able to support it.

Also, it's finally the weekend! I cooked some fancy homemade macaroni and cheese tonight and finished up on some photography work, and fiiinally finished my latest photo that I've been working on for the past few days, which you can take a look at here if you're so inclined. It's nice to start to get back into the art of photography. I actually wrote down a couple of ideas for new photos (what, Lauren actually has more than one photo idea?), so cross your fingers they'll actually come to fruition!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

autumn hues

shirt/blazer: thrifted // skirt: borrowed from Ivy // hat/tights: forever 21 // shoes: target

Hello you beautiful people! I can't talk long because I have a ton of homework tonight, but I thought I would give you a weather update. Oregon weather has been pretty weird these past few days. One moment it's hot and I'm sweating a ton, and the next moment I have to pile on five jackets and drink hot chocolate. As for a hair update, my friends and I have decided that I officially have the weirdest hair because it cannot hold color to save its life. Parts of it are still a dark purple shade, some parts are dark brown, some seem almost black--I'm not complaining about it at all, it's just interesting to see what it does. Needless to say, everyone is having a hair dying party this weekend and I'll touch it up then. Purple hair is way too fun to give up just yet!

Hope you guys have a great day!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

let's talk about: tights

With fall quickly approaching us, people are starting to break out their tights and leggings once more. And like every other blogger out there, I'm incredibly excited for fall. Hello layers! After emailing a very sweet girl back and forth about tights, she inspired me to write a fun little post about the things. I scanned through my archives and found some examples of different ways to wear tights in the hopes that it will also inspire you this fall and winter season!

(here & here)

These tights I purchased from Walmart, I believe, and they are a very versatile pair. With tights like these, I sometimes even wear another pair of tights underneath them (on especially cold days), and the color peeks through the slits. This makes a really fun effect and adds even more interest to the outfit.

(here & here)

Now for some fun colored tights! The green lace tights are from forever 21, and the orange ones were borrowed from my friend. In regards to the green ones, I don't wear them very often because I accidentally bought a couple sizes up from what I needed, and they like to, ahem, fall down a lot, so if I wear them I have to constantly adjust them. In this example, I wore them with a purple dress to contrast the green color. You can read more about mixing colors together here! For the orange-y ones, I decided to go a little bit more natural and pair them with yellows and browns and blacks.

(here & here)

These vertical striped tights I received from romwe when they were having their whole "receive one free pair of tights by signing up" sort of thing, and they are definitely one of my favorites. They're basic black, but with a fun twist. These two looks are a bit "edgier" for me, so it might be fun this autumn to try to style them in a more girly sort of way.

(here & here)

Aaah, my trusty maroon tights. I wear these things once a week, I swear. They're so comfortable and warm, and I've worn them so much the heels are all worn through. And yet I still hold on to them because I am convinced I can wear them with anything (in fact, they're going to be featured yet again in an outfit post for tomorrow!). If you're on the hunt for tights, get these ones. I purchased mine at forever 21 years ago, but I'm sure there are other pairs like them out there.

(here & here)

White tights are also good to have on hand. I borrowed the ones on the left from my mom, and the ones on the right are from forever 21. They are really easy to dress up or down. You can either pair them with a little black dress and red heels, or with a denim dress and boots like I did in the left photo.

(here & here)

These star tights I diy-ed using my friend Annika's tutorial, and even though they are pretty torn up now, they're still one of my favorite pairs. Any patterned tights instantly adds more interest to an outfit, and in the case of the red color here, they can add even more color variation.

(here & here)

These heart tights from forever 21 are another example of patterned tight goodness. It gives an outfit just a touch of magic (though I have to say that people sometimes think I have the chicken pox with these tights on, haha).

(here & here)

Finally there are my thrifted green tights (I also have another pair in blue). Even though green isn't really a neutral color, these dark green tights have worked really well with a lot of outfits I and my friends have worn.

So if you're looking to buy tights for fall, I would say start with the neutrals: first a black pair, then white, then navy, brown, and potentially green. If you're looking to add more, go for some different colors, or even go for some patterned tights, like stripes or polka dots. You may have also noticed that I wore shorts in several of these shots, and it just goes to show that tights aren't just for dresses! With the right combination, you can make tights work with shorts as well, which is perfect for transitioning seasons that are a little too cold for shorts, but not cold enough for pants or thick tights.

What's your favorite pair of tights that you own?