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.