Category Archives: Style


Sometimes it works...

Sometimes it works...

Sometimes it works...

Sometimes it works...

It is lovely to be able to go into the garden to trim a bouquet for flowers around the house. Also, it gives me a smug sense of satisfaction to be able to use something I already had in a different way, and add color to our home for no expense. With any luck, I’ll get some lavender and bulbs planted so we have lots of flowers next spring too.


Bright Baubles

A few of my favorite accessories, all lined up:

Pop of color

Pop of colorPop of color

Pop of color

{Click on photo for detail}

Ever realize you absolutely love something once you start moving and have to group like items? Apparently I love loud necklaces, especially if they are African.


November Fashionistas

My darling Kara,

Hello from the chilly, snow covered Rockies!

Okay. Fine.

Hello from the kinda cold, sprinkled with snow Foothills. Days like these, I like to imagine I’m writing you from a log cabin, wrapped in a plaid blanket by a roaring fire. Two really well behaved dogs rest at my feet. Reality looks a bit more like me wearing gloves at my desk so I can clutch a Diet Coke over my laptop. Nelson’s likely farting in his sleep at the foot of my bed.

Almost the same, right?

This month’s fashionista theme is a bit mean spirited and totally my idea. I love the Fug Girls. Their view of fashion cracks me up and the fact they made George Clooney their fake intern makes me giggle. (Javier Bardem is the intern at the casa de Heirloom Homestead.)

Sorry. Got of track there. Phew. Javier!

This month’s theme is what not to wear. Things we see in public that make us shake our heads and wonder if people are either living without mirrors or are actually blind. Oddly enough, most of my observations have to do with shoes. Really, really bad shoes.

November fashionistas

Kara, these are an actual shoe I saw for sale while traveling in California last week. And! They cost $200. To anyone interested in these shoes — let me save you $190. Go to Target. Buy a pair of fake Chucks for $8. Buy a stuffed teddy bear for $2. Hot glue.

You’re an idiot, but you’re welcome.

Now — for the shoe choices seen on feet in the wild:

November fashionistas

Denver International Airport: sweat pants tucked into boots. DO NOT.

Fashionistas November

Manhattan: Great jeans tucked into nice boots. DO.

Fashionistas November

Phoenix Sky Harbor: Lace stockings under boots with a lacy top. When it was 92 degrees outside. DO NOT.

Here is what I’m wearing this month:

November fashionistas

Lots of stripes. Skinny jeans. Boots. (I’m traveling like a maniac at the moment.)

November fashionistas

An Africa shirt I love.

November fashionistas

More stripes and boots. And that trusty jean jacket I live in this time of year.

November fashionistas

Even a silk skirt and bare ankles on occasion, I really do like this look and I’m thinking I’m going to treat myself and purchase more shoes that compliment this style, such as looking to buy Pikolinos shoes online or others similar. Although this night I should have really worn tights. We ended up in a cab for an otherwise short walk because my teeth were chattering. You can take the girl out of Phoenix…

November fashionistas

Found the tights! And my signature red jacket, boots and wrap dresses.

November fashionistas

And a bit of new bling from H&M. Cheapy plastic baubles make me happy with they give a splash of color.

So, what do I know? Not much about fashion, or otherwise. But there is something about wearing sweat pants getting on a flight that just seems off. I like dressing up for flights, and am doing so twice a week at the moment. And wowza am I loving my skinny jeans.

What are you wearing for the holidays? I’m off to spend Thanksgiving as a guest in a secret locale, but I will need both somewhat formal and totally casual clothing (including pajamas) to wear in front of others. Terrifying — right?



Fashionistas: September

Dear Kara,

Have you noticed this strange turn in fashion where everything is a little off? A bit wonky? Animal prints with stripes and mixed fabrics all wrapped up in one? Also: are huge stacks of bracelets in, or what?

A few of my favorite looks from Fall lines:




Wait. What’s that you say? It’s pretty much the same outfit three ways? All classical. Nautical. Jackie O-ish? No weird mixes of fabrics?

Well, let me shake it up. How fantastic is this?

RrrNYFW 3 038

I LOVE HER. Her name is Blair. And she mixes and matches the same pieces in varying ways to make her wardrobe look like something both Audrey Hepburn and Lady Gaga would chase after.

Yeah. She’s that good.

I am also loving Dooce’s cousin and regular fashionista, Cami. Some of her outfits are way more my style than others. All the same: I appreciate her courage and creativity.

Our challenge this month: copy a cute outfit we liked. Donezo.

Fashionistas September

Fashionistas September

That is about as fierce as I get without a feather mini skirt.

I am not shopping this season. But if I were to splurge on a few new fabulous items:

Shoes: amazeballs To be worn with tights and skirts and amazing scarves as it starts to get chilly.

Bag: oh, I’d rock this hard

Dress: because, yes.

And you — Miss Young Fashionista, thang? What are you rocking this season?



Fashionistas: Red


Well, I find it nothing short of hilarious I am posting after reading your monthly essay on fashion. And we pretty much did the exact same thing. After agreeing this month’s fashion post would focus on red, what did we both choose to feature?

Red jeans.

Oh, mama. I love me these pants. I bought them last week for a pittance and I am going back to the same big box store to buy them in other colors (purple, olive.)* That said? These red pants make me feel stylishly funky. And they are so versatile! All women should have a flattering pair of red pants. Your random shoe collection will appreciate being flaunted too:

Sassy summer:

La Fashionista: Red

Sassy fall:

La Fashionista: Red

Sassy cowgirl:

La Fashionista: Red

Sassy hippie:

La Fashionista: Red

The other red item of my wardrobe I absolutely adore is this red coat. It cost a small fortune last year, but I waited for some holiday weekend sale and nabbed it 40% off. Love. I will be living in this thing come fall and winter:

La Fashionista: Red

Another reason red is one of my favorite colors? We are in the middle of a great tomato season at the Heirloom Homestead. Little ones, big ones, red ones, green ones. Salsa. Marinara. Bloody Mary’s. Pizza.

La Fashionista: Red

A few other shots of red from around la casita:

La Fashionista: Red

La Fashionista: Red

La Fashionista: Red

Yeah. That’s Nelson. Worst. Haircut. Ever. I was, wait for it, seeing red.

Next month’s theme?

Much love to you!


*Yes. The red pair of pants that cost me $15 are my new favorites. This is the Murphy’s law of fashion. It’s the random cheap things you pick up that you fall in love with, while those expensive designer jeans that make your leg itch/ pair of designer heels that make you limp for days after/ handbag that cost a fortune but doesn’t have a single functional pocket? Yeah.

Fashionistas: What Not To Wear


First of, I’m sorry I missed June. I know you’ve heard, but the month was mean. I’m glad she’s gone, and I rarely have such a sour attitude. Thankfully, July has already been much sweeter.* And July! Not just fireworks (we had none, thanks to actual fires) and sunny days (plenty of those) but also one of my very favorite words in the English language: VACATION. (Road trip!)

New gardening hat

So, so many options on what to wear, with splashy bags, sandals, fun earrings and big JLO-inspired hats. Oh, summer. I love thee. For bright pink pedicured toes. For popsicles in the middle of the afternoon. For running around barefoot once the sun drops behind the mountains, watching with awe as the sky sparkles to life. For fly fishing. For spending time in the garden. For watching as everyone comes out of their homes and spends as much time as possible at the park. By the creek. In the community pool.

JennieI’ve been doing a lot of clothes shopping recently and I’ve certainly avoided the items mentioned below. That said, I have bought some beautiful summer dresses and I even bought a range of suede baseball caps too. After all, you can never have too many hats in your wardrobe!! But this month’s theme is what we won’t wear. Those items we buy on a whim only to later realize they look awful. The ways we won’t bend to trend. The sections of the store we completely avoid. The looks we try not to laugh at when seen on others in public. (Crocs, embroidered outfits on anyone older than age 5 — especially those featuring Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, who is essentially a striped predator, man-pris, high-waisted anything.)

That which does not look good on me/that which I will not wear:

1. Strapless. I am not built for strapless dresses, tube tops, etc. My shoulders are broad and strong from years of swimming and I have an hourglass figure. I guess I should be happy about that, as a lot of women aspire to have an hourglass figure and it is not uncommon for women to undergo waist training to achieve it. I, myself, have even looked into buying a gym waist trainer in the past so I could enhance my figure as I wanted to make up for my muscular shoulders. And it’s quite flattering to think that so many women aspire to have a body shape I’m blessed with naturally — even if I do think I’ve got swimmer shoulders! If you are considering this, please educate yourself about waist training before you start so that you do it right. Anyway, because of my figure, strapless make me look like the Hulk. Halter dresses, however — are delightful:

april 2, 2011

Yeah. So are babies.

Mad Men Season 4

And open toed shoes.

2. Yellow. It does nothing for my olive skin. So this dress? Super cute on her, a disaster for me.

3. Ankle length pants. This is more from childhood trauma of being a jack-and-the-beanstalk-grower, but my pants never fit. I showed ankle before it was a option at the Gap. (At that time, it was called “waders.”) I like capris. I like wide leg pants. I don’t need to intentionally show ankle. They’ve seen enough light over the years.

4. Shorts. Unless I’m running in heat, yoga pants or a skirt are my go-to options. I have a pair of dark jean shorts I love that my brother recently mentioned remind him of our mom. Huh. I’d much prefer this skirt, my current fave.

Donk Runs

5. Triangle top bikinis. Le. Duh.

Honestly, my tastes are classic. Pearls. Heels. A-line dresses and skirts. Dark jeans. A great pressed white button down. An expensive handbag paired with Target bracelets. Don’t give me loud prints. Or elastic anything. I want the lines simple, the lipstick red and the eyeliner black. (Like my coffee. And President.)

So, Kara — what’s on your no-go list? You are far more adventurous than I am in the fashion department. I am eager to see what your courageous soul avoids.

Also, on the flip side? I’d LOVE to be wearing these this season.


*July includes the added benefit of heartbreak. But hey, at least I haven’t hit my head yet.

Envelope Clutch #3

My first try at piping.*

Envelope Clutch #3

I bought the exterior fabric at my local thrift store. The 3 yard piece cost $.75. Sometimes, life just seems too lucky.

Envelope Clutch #3

Envelope Clutch #3

Envelope Clutch #3

The interior reminds me of my first car — the Hornet. I bought this fat quarter for something like $13 at Fancy Tiger. It’s Japanese and was an impulse purchase. The bamboo handle and zipper I had on hand. My summer tote — a fair reflection of my quirks. Thrifty, impulse, vintage and off to the rodeo. And yet — still a touch of Betty Draper.



No, that isn’t a reference to 50 Shades of Bondage. The fact some 20% of all books purchased in the US right now are tied to that series makes me wonder if I will ever make my mark as a writer (of characters who don’t own handcuffs.)

Before + After Week: Dresser

About 4 months ago, I bought a bunch of second-hand furniture. A hutch, dining room set, antique mirror and this dresser — painted a dusty rose.

Before + After: antique dresser

Before + After: antique dresser

The dresser is well made of heavy wood, with tongue and groove joints, but needed some attention. The paint was worn and the hardware did nothing for me. Enter Adam and his favorite stripper:

Before + After: antique dresser

Before + After: antique dresser

Before + After: antique dresser

Before + After: antique dresser

Before + After: antique dresser

Before + After: antique dresser

Surprise! There are five layers of paint already on this thing. Let’s sand it down and see what happens…

Before + After: antique dresser

Wait. That’s kinda pretty as is. Or as Adam said, “Someone would pay $1000 for that at Anthropologie.” 

Before + After: antique dresser

I loved the antique barn wood look of this when it was outside. And when I installed the new hardware. And when I lined the drawers. All until I finally got it back upstairs and in place. I’m not sure if it is the lamp that’s throwing me off, or if it just looks too shabby now that I have it in place.

Before + After

Before + After: antique dresser

Am I fugly? Or unique? Hmmm. 

Interwebs, what do you think? Change up the lamp? Repaint the dresser? (The original idea was a bright barn red.) Change up the lamp shade? I’d love to hear what you would do.

Also, many thanks to my trusty sidekick and his stripper. They are quite the team!


UPDATE: I am going to repaint this red. After looking at these photos, I can’t help but think this looks like a Pepto Bismol massacre.


Fashionistas: Runway Edition

Sweet Kara,

Friend, I am tired. This post is more than a week late because I’ve spent more time at Denver International than my own home in the last two months. And let’s be honest: I’m a homebody. Sitting in my adirondack in the backyard watching the bees fly in and out of their tree hive? Seeing the hydrangea bush bloom? Smelling the lilacs — out in full purple force? All better than being waiting in another TSA line. (Although I’ve started looking forward to the pat-downs. Yet another sign I’m not spending enough time at home with the Mr.)

silver bullet, big

So! This Runway edition of our monthly fashion blog is not based on Milan, Paris or New York fashion week walkways, but those of Charles De Gaulle. JFK. DIA.

Tarmac, baby.

And thank you dearly for playing along. I’ve been traveling a lot for work (Texas, Arkansas) and some for pleasure (California, Texas, Indiana.) I am typically not a fan of checking luggage. I like being a minimalist and carrying on simply makes sense. That said, this latest adventure to Austin with Finny resulted in pulling out the Silver Bullet — the giant luggage. Because with Finny, you just never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes we swim. Sometimes we go to dinner at fancy restaurants, or burrito huts. With bike rides. And museums. And CHEESE AND RICE the costume changes are endless.


Hence, the Silver Bullet. A few glimpses from the latest packing adventure:

clean/dirty underthing bags

A friend gave me these bags when I was traveling in the Philippines some ten years ago. I still use them for nearly every trip as a way to organize undergarments and swimming suits.


Stacks of clothing. For less than 3 days worth of vacation, I’m pretty sure I brought 50 possible mix and match options. What? A girl has to plan.


Ready to rock and roll.

Runway fashion

And my new standard traveling outfit: as much comfort as possible without looking like a slob. I like an ironed blouse, linen jacket, dark jeans and my Cole Haan Nike Air flats that will allow me to get through that TSA line with minimal headache and maximum cushion. Also, lots of beaded hippie jewelry. Because you can take the girl out of Colorado, but … so it goes.

hippie jewelry

Now, hit me — show me your best travel fashion! Let’s see you work the runway!

Much love from the mountains,


*click on the photos for more details.