Friday, January 31, 2014

Denim & Lace

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I raid my husband's closet quite a bit - oversized and cosy sweaters, comfy lounging T-shirts, half of his cycling gear, and most recently this coveted Levi's Cycling Commuter Jacket. I first spotted this jacket from across the room at a party, and unlike anything I've ever experienced with a person, it was truly love at first sight. I made a beeline to the person wearing the jacket and started asking about it - there were little reflective tabs on it, back pockets, a vented back, longer than average sleeves, and all sorts of functional and beautiful details. If you know me I insist on everything being functional and beautiful in my life and this jacket easily met both criteria. I talked the jacket up so much he must have thought I was flirting with him. In reality, though, I was just flirting with the jacket. 

Not too long ago JR and I went to the Levi's store and I saw it, the coveted jacket, on sale for next to nothing. We bought one for JR. I've been "borrowing" the jacket wearing it once a week with various outfits ever since. 

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I'm wearing the Levi's Commuter Jacket over a brand-less lace dress purchased at Buffalo Exchange. The shoes are from Urban Outfitters so long ago they don't even sell then any more. I'm wearing the same two vintage turquoise cuffs and the Wild Horse Feather's equestrian themed bracelet as the last post. The necklace was purchased in Alaska this summer and made by an artist who's card and name I've sadly lost! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Saturdays at the Barn - Barbour, Horses, and a Sweet Little Corgi Puppy

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I've been lucky enough to double the amount of riding I've been doing this month. This means I get to spend much of my Saturday morning at the barn with all the various people who make up that precious community, the horses, and the occasional guest star, like my trainer's 9 week old corgi puppy who thought walking across the piled cavaletti was the most amazing thing he had ever experienced!


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Dressing for the barn means function and form - while this barn doesn't have a dress code or serious expectations about what we wear I still feel it's important to both look nice and make sure my clothes stand up to the beating they get when I'm there and help me be a more effective rider. With one horse I wear gloves, with another I don't because of how I want the reins to feel. I dress in layers and wear protective clothing like a helmet and halfchaps. Today I'm wearing Ariat Paddock Boots, Tuffrider Breeches (like always...), Dublin Halfchaps, a very old sweater from the GAP, my trusty Barbour Beadnell, and Betsy Johnson sunglasses.

I am also wearing two of my vintage turquoise bracelets we've picked up on various trips and a wonderful leather one with an equestrian theme from Wild Horse Feathers. I've taken to wearing it almost every day and have gotten a lot of great compliments and comments on it, both around and at the barn. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Windows and Light

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I collect old windows. White ones, with wobbly, old glass that's become unsteady over the years. I have far too many and they have all been found in dumpsters from the frequent rebuilds a lot of the old houses have had around here. Denver is a city that is very much "out with the old, in with the new," particularly when it comes to architecture. It's very frequent to see an old house being torn down or gutted completely down to the supporting frame to put in a new house or rebuild the old one to the point where you have no idea when it was really built. I've been known to salvage little architectural details like windows from the dumpsters instead of letting them get tossed. 

I keep the windows gathered all in one spot up against a wall. Behind it I have Christmas lights I shoved behind them (this was the backdrop to our tree this year, and I liked the lights in back too much to take them out) and they illuminate our house warmly in the evenings. The windows give one of our enormous, blank walls some texture, and leave the wall open for me to photograph against because they are easily moved. Today I decided to use them as the backdrop they usually are, and add more textures in front of them - wool socks, a faux fur stole, and a white dress woven with pattern and trimmed with lace. 

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There's a whole lotta vintage going on in this picture - the stole, dress, and belt are all vintage. The shoes were purchased from Anthropologie several years ago, and the socks are smartwool and keep my feet toasty warm! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rooftops

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Is it strange to have a favorite parking garage? I guess it doesn't really matter if it is or not because I do have one here. From the roof of the parking garage I can look out over the city all the way to the mountains, and I'm surrounded by the rooftops of the buildings around it. It's rarely open so I don't normally park there but sometimes when I'm parked in the floors below I'll climb the staircase to the roof of it and just look out over the sprawl of the city and peek at the glorious Rocky Mountains. 

The mountains, are in a way, like the sea: Omnipresent but ever changing. They change with the weather, the snow fall, the sunshine. They are green for a brief minute in the spring, covered in snow that reflects the orange and purple and blue of the sky all winter, and sometimes they are invisible from the roof, covered in clouds. 

Today was clear, and I could see the mountains in all of their glory. The roof of the garage was closed so I took the steps up and had it all to myself. It was also very, very windy and my camera was almost knocked over by the wind while getting these shots, too! 

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The jacket was kindly given to me by the folks over at T B Dress. The shirt is vintage. I'm wearing an assortment of vintage pins on the jacket and Michael Michaud earrings were a gift from my fabulous in-laws. The jeans are j.crew's matchstick cut. The shoes are by L.K. Bennett. The flannel purse is from Talbots. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Frozen River

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When I lived on a lake I always knew it was safe to ski across the ice when the neighbors started driving their trucks across it, setting up little ice fishing shanties, and running their snowmobiles in circles. I would cross country ski out to the center of the lake, chat for a few minutes, warm up in their little houses, admire their catch, and keep skiing to the other side, avoiding the part of the lake that was always thinner because of a natural spring. 

In Colorado this kind of ice just doesn't happen along the front range so when we went to visit my grandma, who lives somewhere close to Canada, my dad, sister, sister's fiance, and I took a little stop to run around the river that flows through the little town. The light was perfect, the company was friendly, and we didn't fall in. My sister tagged all her instagram photographs #bonivercountry, and I can see how this might be the sort of weather that makes you go sit in a cabin and sing a lot of songs about relationships ending. It is beautiful, though, and the setting sun that lingers on the ice makes you feel quiet and still.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Red Barns in the Snow

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About five or so years ago I asked my friend A how she figured out how things went together. She was the most put together person I knew. Well, actually, she still is. I was struggling, in my early 20's to figure out how to dress, act, put my house together.  I didn't have a heritage of style like some people do. I hadn't been taught to put things together. My parents endowed many other fantastic things to me - how to manage my finances and how to be kind and smart and relentless - but not style. Growing up was one big battle between my mom's aesthetic and my dads and there was never a compromise so it was just a tangle of objects that various people liked. We also were told almost every single day that we were going to be moving because my parents were going to sell the house. This meant that we could never settle in and invest in the way things looked. 

 To top it off, at the time A and I had this conversation, I was newly married and couldn't get my style to mesh with my husbands and I felt like my tiny house, my clothes, even my haircut was a disaster. I was trying to figure out how to meet his style expectations without compromising my own as well. 

"Well," she told me. "I just look at everything. I look and I look and I look and I look."

That was it. That was the missing piece to the puzzle. So, the very next day I began to do exactly what she told me. As I went through life I tried to notice what caught my eye, what made me excited about things, what was I drawn to. Over the course of the last half decade I feel like I've really been able to narrow down the things that make me happy, and to also reserve a little hidden place for the things that make me happy but don't usually mesh well with the other things. The advice A gave me was super simple but it's completely changed the way I look at things. I wait for things to resonate in a very specific way before I go for them. I acquire things more slowly now. My decision making takes longer. But life is quieter because the cohesion helps to calm things down, both visually and mentally. 

These red barns, dotted around the countryside near my parents house, resonated with me in that specific way. The blankets of sparkling snow surrounded these weathered red structures made me catch my breath and as we drove northward I watched them pass, delighted in the tradition and character that defines that part of the midwest.  
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I'm wearing a blazer by Ann Taylor (Similar here in black). The shirt is an old Ariat western riding shirt. (Similar cut and features here with a different plaid.) The Jeans are Madewell's Skinny Skinny.  The boots are from Frye and the sunglasses are from Betsy Johnson. 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

A Celebration

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These four photographs were happy mistakes - a lens set incorrectly, pressed for time, rapidly pressing the shutter, quick clicks facing a midwestern winter sunset with two beloved people in the frame. 

That same day, as I sorted through these photographs, I read this poem posted on Odessa's blog and smiled because I know it as truth, for me and for them:

You came one day and
as usual in such matters 
significance filled everything -
your eyes, the things you
knew, the way you turned, 
leaned, stood, or sat,
this way or that: when
you left, the area around here rose
a tilted tide, and everything that 
offers desolation drained away.

-A.R. Ammons

Sometimes things just work, just like these two in the photographs. Just like that poem. Just like the sunset fading out into velvet dark. 

Welcome friend, you are loved. 

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Thursday, January 02, 2014

First Day of the Year Ride

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On the first day of the year JR and I decided that we were going to ride around the city from friends house to friends house. We wanted to greet them with the happiness of the new year and keep our friends cozy and warm so we handed out pairs of wool socks, which sound really silly but was way more fun and brought much more joy than we could have anticipated. We got started around noon and took a two hour jaunt around. We handed them out to friends we ran into while walking. We left them at unanswered front doors. We gave them to friends who were up and at 'em. We really got lucky with the weather during the ride - before and after we rode it was snowing, cold, and wet. 

Hope your 2014 is cozy and warm so far! 

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The blazer is by Banana Republic (somewhat similar one here) and the chambray shirt is by The GAP (somewhat similar one here). I'm wearing (again, yes, I know...) Madewell's Skinny Skinny jeans with thrifted shoes. The pearl earrings were a gift from my in-laws and the belt was given to me by my aunt. The bike is a Pashley Princess Sovereign and of course the socks we gave out are made by Wigwam, which are made in my home state of Wisconsin! 

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