Ask Andrea: Beauty Q & A

Hey ladies!

My inbox is constantly full with questions about my hair, makeup and skincare routines. I’ve been meaning to compile a lot of the frequently-asked questions to make a blog post giving away some of my beauty secrets. Have something you’d like to add for the next one? Leave me a message on Facebook or Instagram!

 

Q: What shampoo/conditioner do you use?

A: Let me start by saying I’m super blessed with low maintenance hair. I’ve used high end products and clearance bin specials and had similar results most of my life. However, as I’ve gotten older and wanted to take a little extra care for my hair, I’ve started using Paul Mitchell moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, which I really like. It’s $30 for the big bottles, but you can shop them 50% off at the ULTA semi annual sale.

 

Q: How often do you wash your hair?

A: I have thick, course hair, so I usually only wash my hair one or two times per week. Working with slightly dirty hair is easier than clean hair, plus it keeps volume and style longer. As long as it’s not totally gross, I like to let the natural oils nourish my hair. One of these days, I’m going to write a post on hairstyles between washes!

 

Q: Do you have a favorite hair spray? What about dry shampoo?

A: To be honest, I don’t use hairspray all that often, but when I need it, I always gravitate toward the Big Sexy Hair spray. It holds well and doesn’t get crunchy or stiff on my hair. On the other hand, dry shampoo is my best friend! I change brands frequently, but I prefer something with coconut or chia seed ingredients. They smell great naturally and don’t get cakey or sticky.

 

Q: What red lipstick do you use?

A: I get this question so often – I’m totally obsessed with the NARS power matte liquid lipsticks, and my signature red is from this line. The shade is called Starwoman, a gorgeous blue-red. I admit, it’s a $25 tube of lipstick but I’m obsessed. Totally worth the investment!

 

Q: I’m new to makeup. Where did you learn?

A: I discovered the Youtube beauty community and have been a junkie ever since. You can find tutorials on anything you want to know, whether it’s contouring or finding you foundation shade. Even now, I love to flip on a tutorial while I’m getting ready in the morning. Also, like anything, lots of practice. I always tell people I had to pay my bad-makeup dues before I ever had a clue what I was doing. Just stick with it and keep trying new things – you’ll get the hang of it!

 

Q: What are your must have beauty tools?

A: I’ve been meaning to do a full post on this topic, but I have a few must haves I can mention. First of all, a beauty blender. It makes your complexion makeup look flawless and blended effortlessly. Secondly, a good curling iron. If I use heat on my hair, it’s a curling iron. I prefer one with adjustable heat! Lastly, a fluffy eyeshadow brush. You can do a whole eyeshadow look with one fluffy brush, so it’s always a must have in my makeup bag.

 

Q: What does your daily skincare routine look like?

A: I try new skincare products often, so what I’m using is always changing. However, I do have an established routine that works for me. In the morning and at night, I wash my face with a cleanser and moisturize my face. Every other day, I’ll also use an exfoliator to clear away dry skin. For a little extra treat, I also love using a mud mask once per week.

 

Q: Do you have acrylic nails? How often do you get them done?

A: No, I actually don’t have acrylics, they’re all natural. I had acrylics for two years before switching to dip powder nail color, which is where they apply powder polish to your nails. I love this method because it’s lightweight, doesn’t destroy your nail bed and lasts up to a month.

 

If you have a beauty question, definitely leave me a comment on this post or send me a message on social media. I’m also trying to put together a weekly beauty chat on Facebook live for you beauty junkies who love to talk makeup, skincare and hair. Have something you want me to talk about? Let me know.

 

Stay unique, sisters!

 

Midwestern Rodeo Dreamer: My Experience Western Obsessed In A Farm State

I used to spend all my time dreaming of moving to Texas. I remember listening to red dirt country on my way to high school, dreaming of joining a college rodeo team in a place that understood me infinitely better than those I found myself surrounded with. I had dreams of taking my rodeo career all the way – I wanted to see myself running down the Thomas & Mack, but how could I? I was from Iowa. No, not Idaho, not Ohio. We’re known for corn and pork, not potatoes – don’t get it confused. I remember feeling like I was an invisible outsider in a world full of Texas, Oklahoma and Wyoming dreams.

I remember telling Marshall I was moving to Texas, with or without him. Then he told me something that pierced my heart, hard.

“Nothing is magically going to change by moving away. Why can’t you be yourself here?”

Ouch. My pride was so deflated, hearing someone ask me the question I’ve avoided with conversation about huge indoor arenas and riding year round. I’d done so well here, why did I have to leave to be who I wanted to be? The truth was, I couldn’t afford out of state tuition. I was going to be swimming in debt by the time I graduated, just to pursue rodeo. I broke down and decided to attend Iowa State, a school with basically no rodeo program, but was completely covered financially. Plus, my dad was pumped I was going to his alma mater.

Little did I know, this disappointment would eventually give me the gift of grit, persistence and show me the power of pursuing your passion with your whole heart.

I pulled up to my first college rodeo in my own rig, on my own dime. I watched other teams pull their horses out of team trailers, each of the top competitors with a travel budget. I spent 400 dollars to get to this rodeo, hauling my one barrel horse in a 1990 five horse living quarters rig. I was the only person on our team for a full semester before others slowly started trickling in over time to eventually form a twelve person team my senior year.

I’ll never forget the look on my college advisor’s face when I told him I wanted to look in rodeo. This man didn’t know a rodeo from a circus – I might as well have told him I wanted to major in carney skills. He told me he had no resources to help me land the internships and work studies, and I would be pursuing all of my experience on my own. I told him that was fine and quietly had a mental breakdown about how I was going to find an internship by the time I graduated.

My first work study was at the Junior High School Rodeo Finals in Des Moines. I asked advice from so many people about getting into the industry and they all told me the same thing – it’s hard to get in. There’s lots of students in Texas who already have the connections. You’re going to have to knock on a lot of doors as a midwesterner. So I did, and I put on my full Iowa nice until I was put through to the right people.

I ended up having four internships before my senior year was over. I worked for stock contractors, rodeo organizations and eventually moved to Texas for a few months to work for a PRCA stock show and rodeo. My advisor never understood how I got those opportunities, or the hot mess I was the morning I ran in with a stack of paperwork telling him I’d be moving to Texas for a rodeo and I had to change my whole schedule around since I’d have to take classes at UT Austin for the semester.

In my last semester at Iowa State, I met this amazing professor who was very passionate about her students and her work. I remember telling her that while I loved working in rodeo production, I was unsure about moving my life somewhere for ONE rodeo. I wouldn’t be able to travel the circuit easily as a competitor or take trips with Marshall to my bucket list rodeos. She told me she thought I would be a fantastic blogger. I’d tried blogging a few times throughout college but couldn’t find something to write about over and over again. I ended up writing about western fashion and before I knew it, I had enough content started for a year of posts. I found a way to combine my passion with work, even if it looked different than I originally thought. Now I’ve got The Rodeo Mrs. blog to work on every day – what a blessing.

Let me sum these experiences up like this: I was an underdog. I know I wasn’t the only kid out there passionate about this industry who felt like they were invisible. Our industry doesn’t live in one place. We hear about the western hubs of the country, but I know so many people humbling doing it the hard way, every season here in the heartland. You might have to work harder to stand next to those who live next door to rodeo legends, but you deserve your place. You can fly your flag with pride because it’s yours: it’s your story, your heritage, your upbringing.

No matter where life takes us in this country, or world, you’ll never hear me talk down about the place that brought me up again. I found solid ground on the soil I used to curse. I’ve found my truth of authentic, humble work mirrored in my neighbors I thought never understood. I’ve learned humility as an underdog and pride in overcoming assumptions about my home. I learned to persist, to fight and to live for the things God placed in my heart to pursue. So here’s to my Iowa kids trying to find a practice pen not covered in ice, or my midwestern fashionistas shooting outfit photos in a corn field – I see you, and I believe in you.

Rocky Mountain High: Thoughts After Colorado

Hey Friends!

It’s another Monday – another start to the week. I’m not one for new year’s resolutions, but I’ve definitely been stuck on the idea of new beginnings this January. We all get stuck in our ruts in every day life, and I think that’s why everyone feels so renewed the first month of the year. January comes as a new opportunity to start over, start a new adventure or set bigger goals.

One of my goals for this year is bringing you all beyond fashion and style on my blog. I want you to see my perspective, my life and my true, authentic self. Not that I’ve been hiding myself, but I want to share more of my story publicly. For being such an outgoing person, I’m also very private and don’t automatically pick up my phone to share my experiences.

After an incredible few days in Denver for WESA and the Western Summit, I came home and just took a few days to decompress. I met so many people, had so many great moments and became a better person through new situations. It wasn’t until I got home and was alone that I realized how much has already happened in a matter of weeks. So far this year, I’ve taken on many new projects and have started to step out on the edge of going after everything I want out of life. In my pursuit of dreams, I’ve learned a few things:

NO ONE HAS IT ALL TOGETHER.

No matter how often Instagram tries to lie to us, no one has life figured out. If you’re feeling alone in a crowded room, you’re probably not alone. We’re all facing our own fears, insecurities and demons when we wake up in the morning. I’ve learned to laugh off the things I mess up and the things I don’t know. I remember taking a cab with another blogger in Denver, and she told me she was totally intimidated by some of the people in the room, some of the business meetings she walked into. For me, this was eye opening: she’s so much bigger than me! She’s one of “those girls” who’s been in the community for awhile. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and just focus on your own path. We all struggle with the same things – the only difference is some of us are more up front about it than others.

AUTHENTICITY ALWAYS WINS IN THE END.

Again, I’m looking at you, Instagram. I hate how there’s an aesthetic attached to our culture and what we do. There’s an expectation that you’re always dressed to the nines in western couture, shooting professional photos in the mountains – tooled leather, thousands of dollars of turquoise and designer everything. While I love all of these things, that’s an unattainable standard that I refuse to hold up. It’s totally amazing how far you’ll get when you decide that who you are in real life is totally enough. If you lose followers over your true self, try to see it as making room for those who will really appreciate you and what you do. No one can keep up a facade forever – if you commit to being yourself, you’ll be noticed. You’ll stand out.

EMBRACE YOUR FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.

I’m one of those people who love to organize and plan. I have calendars and planner and apps that keep my schedule for months at a time – I’m a total lover of control and the familiar. When it comes time for me to do something unplanned or unexpected, I definitely freeze up a little bit. I hear the doubts go through my head when I haven’t had a chance to rehearse, to practice, to not fail. But I’ve learned the longer you sit on that edge of doubt, the more you mess with your own success. I’ve learned that you have to just grab hold of the fear and ride it off the cliff. You have the power to turn obstacles into opportunities – there is no fail, only win or learn.

DREAM BIGGER.

I caught myself looking back on photos from a year ago the other day, and this realization hit me like a wave. I’ve come SO far in a year. I wasn’t even sure what I was really doing, and I grew by leaps and bounds, both personally and professionally. So, what would happen if I shot for the moon, had skyscraper dreams and put my whole heart into every project I put out into the world? Wow. Stop being conservative with your dreams. As a girl from the midwest whose been humbly dismissing her biggest dreams for years, let me tell you: you CAN do bigger. Don’t let your surroundings keep you from moving higher than those who can’t see your vision. Believe it’s possible and work passionately – then look back a year from now and be amazed.

I’m ready to start seeing Mondays as another chance to start over, to do something new. I hope you guys take some time today to reflect on your own thoughts, set some big goals and see the opportunities that hide in the form of hard work.

Stay unique, sisters!

WESA Denver Fashion Show: My Favorite Trends For 2018

Hi Friends!

I hope your week is going well – I’m totally still turned around from last week and can’t believe it’s really Thursday already. For those of you who don’t know, I was in Denver for WESA market last week and came home on Monday.

I had the opportunity to be one of the WESA “Wranglers” – a select group of influences who were chosen to cover market on social media as well as sit front row at the fashion show to see what’s new in western fashion. I had a fabulous time meeting up with some of my friends and meeting other influencers around our tables before the show, and saw some trends for 2018 that will definitely stick.

I’ll be the first to say this – when you invite fashion influencers to a show, we’re looking for standout pieces and things out of the ordinary. The show was definitely heavy on the traditional western apparel, which was to be expected, but my picks are the standouts that are anything but traditional or ordinary. If you follow my social media, you know how much I love to play with color and texture, and my picks definitely revolve around that. Let’s get into it!

 

STANDOUT FURS AND ANGORA ACCESSORIES.

Everyone has been obsessed with the fur coat trend since Fall of 2017, but let’s be honest…this look has never gone out of style. I’m so excited to see floor length, super-extra fur pieces on the runway in both classic neutrals and show-stopping brights.

This first coat is in a beautiful, classic color, and paired with fun textures, it really stands out. I love how big, luxe and unapologetic it is. You can’t beat a classic, especially one this luxurious. Also, have you all noticed the wooly bag trend taking off too? I saw SO many beautiful woolies on the runway and around market throughout the week. I may or may not (I totally do) have a custom one in the works for myself. This model is rocking a beautiful gray version that can be dressed up or down – a totally versatile statement piece for your wardrobe!

This coat is a serious work of art! I really love seeing modern patterns sewn into classic pieces like a fur coat. Not only does this piece show of the artistry of the maker, but looks completely stunning with every neutral color you throw on with it. Of the neutral color coats I saw, this one was a favorite. I’m all for picking something completely unexpected and unique, and this piece brought it for me.

I was living for this neon-bright, color-blocked number! When I was planning my outfits for Denver, I was keeping in mind bold, spring colors – mainly hot pink, cobalt blue and coral orange. This coat totally goes with the vibes I was putting out and I’m completely obsessed. I would love to see this styled with a pair of high heeled booties and my cobalt Charlie 1 Horse everyone is obsessed with! I’m so excited to see lots of bold colors mixed with timeless pieces this year.

This isn’t exactly a fur coat, but can we appreciate the use of the angora in scarf form as well? I rocked a similar style at NFR and have been waiting for this trend to take over the industry. I love how there are so many beautiful colors to choose from – whether you love a deep red, cobalt blue or prefer jet black, it’s a luxe accessory that can take on even a pair of jeans and a graphic tee. I’m looking forward to seeing more unique uses of angora in 2018!

 

TOOLED LEATHER.

I feel like tooled leather is another one of those classic western pieces that has never gone out of style, but I’m seeing it incorporated into more and more things this year. Whether you’re interested in a classic bag like this model is wearing, or a custom pair of shoes with tooled accents, there’s a way to incorporate it into your style. I visited the Juan Antonio booth at market (big mistake, says my bank account) and ordered a custom tooled bag. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a total bag lady.

The piece I ordered is red and black, but you can incorporate tooled leather in any color or style, it all depends on your taste. I’m also excited to see vintage tooled leather in 2018 as well. There’s so many beautiful options floating around online and probably in your grandma’s closet too. Don’t forget to support your makers who create beautiful, custom leather pieces either!

 

DEERSKIN PIECES.

There’s something inherently rugged about deerskin. It makes me think of a different time where we used every piece of the animal and didn’t waste. I personally have a stash of deerskins that my grandpa shot himself over 30 years ago, which I’ve been dreaming of making into something one-of-a-kind and beautiful. I’m so excited to see deerskin coming onto the runway as a fashion statement! Whether it’s a high end piece like this one, a custom satchel with a raw edge or a beautiful, spring weight vest – deerskin is appearing all over the place.

I loved seeing one of my influencer friends, Brandi of Western Atelier, rock deerskin designer pieces at the NFR this year. One of my maker friends, Jennifer of LOV Leathers also makes beautiful bags and clothing from it. I love the raw edges, buttery-soft feel and versatility of color and texture. It also mixes beautifully with other textures, like fringe and lace on this model!

 

What trend are you going to rock in 2018? Let me know in the comments –

Until next time, stay unique sisters!

A Week of Western Wear: Vegas Style Wrap Up

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a chance to follow me along during my time in Vegas at the NFR, but in case you missed anything, I wanted to bring back some of my favorite looks and showcase the brands and boutiques who took my fashion over-the-top.

If we’re being real, I had a fabulous time running from events to trade shows but man, am I tired! I got the chance to meet up with some of my favorite bloggers, make connections with new brands and boutiques, and even have a little bit of fun along the way. Shout out to everyone there working their butts off in our industry – I first hand understand the hustle it takes and the rest that has to come after, which I’m doing now.

On average, I was changing outfits three times and walking up to twelve miles per day. I wanted to pack a punch with my outfits and bring as much western fashion to you guys as possible. I had so much positive feedback on what I was wearing, so I knew I had to break down some of my outfits with where they came from and the brands I worked with in Sin City this year. Let’s get into it!

 

SATURDAY

today’s Cowboy Christmas outfit featuring gorgeous pieces from @stone_feather_road and @turquoiseranch I’m all about the cowl sweaters for a daytime look, especially paired with high end accessories like this Tibetan fur clutch and studded hat. Stay tuned for my @denimandvelvet fashion show look later this afternoon – just picked up my outfit including some adorable @cantyboots!

 

my style is the opening act to my personality – it’s tells a story about who I am. This outfit furnished by @stone_feather_road and @cantyboots introduces who I am perfectly. unique, flashy and covered in red. My perfect fashion show attire!

 

last outfit of the night featuring this GORGEOUS red leopard velvet duster from @rollingranch! Also peep the accessories from @stone_feather_road and @western_glamour ♥️

 

SUNDAY

check out these KILLER red devils from @cantyboots had to show them off in a quick modeling session this morning – make sure to check out their booth at Cowboy Christmas here in Vegas!

 

morning (yes, there’s an afternoon) Cowboy Christmas outfit! This @my3bh sweater tank and @turquoiseranch lace duster were the perfect relaxed glam paired with @stone_feather_road accessories ✨

 

afternoon Cowboy Christmas outfit featuring this rad tee from @rollingranch and serape vest from @turquoiseranch. Recycled my accessories from @stone_feather_road and added a pair of @twistedxboots mocs because mamas feet hurt!

 

Caught up with the beautiful @westdesperado last night at @southpointlv ♥️ Velvet tank: @rollingranch
Jacket: @scullyleatherworks
Jeans: @ariatinternational
Boots: @durangoboots
Accessories: @stone_feather_road

MONDAY

just a casual Monday outfit for Cowboy Christmas! Beautiful @tasha_polizzi pants paired with this @stone_feather_road sweater and accessories, all tied together with a statement concho belt from @therustytrailer
Last night’s round 5 look featuring these vintage fab @cantyboots and emerald velvet choker tank from @therustytrailer. Paired with this vintage blazer, a neck full of @stone_feather_road jewels and topped with my @warbonnet_hat_works, this outfit was ready to rock ✨

 

TUESDAY

had a blast modeling for the @kimesranchjeans and @livewirestyle shoot at the @officialneonmuseumlasvegas ✨ here’s a look at my post-shoot dinner fashion. Shoutout to @westernatelier NFR giveaways, I won the squash, earrings and cuffs featured here. Go give her a follow!
Hat: @charlie1horse
Seed bead necklace: @my3bh
Off the shoulder tunic: @therustytrailer
Vest: @turquoiseranch
Jeans: @kimesranchjeans
Boots: @oldgringoboots
Paired up this laid back outfit last night to watch round 6 after a long day. This is a look you could wear day or night just by changing up a few accessories. Speaking of that, stay tuned for a fun project I’m doing this morning here in Vegas
Graphic tee: @my3bh
Jeans: @ariatinternational
Boots: @durangoboots

WEDNESDAY

spent my morning modeling some cute new denim styles from @ariatinternational at Cowboy Christmas – make sure to check their story tomorrow to see the looks ❤️I’m wearing the Dawn trouser in this photo!
Afternoon casual with attitude featuring this rad vintage button down and killer accessories from @stone_feather_road, @western_glamour and @cantyboots of course!
love love LOVE hanging with these beauties ❤️ thank you @cowboysindiansmagazine and @thebleacherbabe for putting on my favorite party in Vegas to date, the Best of the West ball!

 

THURSDAY

last time visiting Cowboy Christmas for the year kept it comfy (since my bags are all packed) to make our last rounds before we take off for Iowa in the morning. BUT – it’s not over yet – stay tuned for my look from the @rockandrolldenim social rodeo tonight!
need a fun, chic NFR day style? look no further! I’m in love with this denim jacket from @rollingranch paired with my @kimesranchjeans Francescas and a sweet pair of @cantyboots. Don’t miss that leather necklace by @stone_feather_road either!
sequins and fur were my combination of choice for the @rockandrolldenim #socialrodeo at @mgmgrand accessories by @stone_feather_road ✨thank you to @panhandleww for the awesome event for western influencers.

 

I had such a fantastic time at this year’s NFR, but I couldn’t have put together these looks without the help from the brands and boutiques who partnered with me to bring fabulous Vegas looks to life. If you loved my outfits, you NEED to get to know them!

 

STONE FEATHER ROAD: Many of you have seen my looks from Stone Feather Road in the past, and they helped bring the magic to my outfits in the form of accessories. The majority of my accessories (jewelry and handbags) were from their booth in Cowboy Christmas. If you’re looking for incredible one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces or the perfect cowhide tote, you need to pay them a visit. The owner, Paula Lorenz, designs all the pieces in her collection of accessories. Bonus for my Iowa ladies, they’re located in Cedar Falls!

Facebook: Stone Feather Road

Instagram: stone_feather_road

Website: www.stonefeatherroad.com

 

CANTY BOOTS: Everyone knows the key to wrapping up the perfect western look comes down to what’s on your feet. I had the chance to wear several pairs of Canty boots and turned heads with each look. For those of you who don’t know, Canty Boots is a business based out of Montana that repurposes boots into one-of-a-kind booties. Their booth was always packed and they’ve even been featured in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show! Whether you like a classic brown or black look, or love cowhide and snakeskin, they’ve got a pair waiting to join your collection.

Facebook: Canty Boots MT

Instagram: cantyboots

Website: www.cantyboots.com

 

ROLLING RANCH: If you like to shop at boutiques in-the-know, don’t miss Rolling Ranch! Their clothes were featured in the Denim & Velvet fashion show and have a full page of style in Western Runway magazine. This boutique features the perfect mix of trendy and unique, so no matter what your style is, you’ll find something that speaks to you. My favorite piece from Rolling Ranch to model during the week was that gorgeous red leopard velvet duster – so unique and fun! Look for this boutique on influencers and fashionistas alike.

Facebook: Rolling Ranch Boutique

Instagram: rollingranch

Website: www.rollingranchboutique.com

 

THREE BEARS: This south Texas boutique brings the perfect mix of southwestern flair and classic style. Some of my favorite statement pieces came from this boutique, from a striped fur coat to a luxe fur cheetah vest. If you’re looking for something a little bit different and want big style, make sure to check them out. There’s also a ton of adorable, easy pieces that go with jeans or leggings as well. If you’re not following this store, don’t hesitate to check them out.

Facebook: My 3BH

Instagram: my3bh

Website: www.shopthreebears.com

 

WESTERN GLAMOUR: The owner of Western Glamour started her brand as a fashion blogger, so you can bet she’s in the know when it comes to the newest fashion. She sent me a gorgeous cuff and multiple turquoise necklaces to rock, as well as a killer white jacket. Western Glamour is always catching my eye on Instagram with their new arrivals and outfit inspiration. They have a great mix of clothing and jewelry, and are always adding new pieces to obsess over. If you’re looking for your next go-to piece, head on over to Western Glamour!

Facebook: Western Glamour

Instagram: westernglamour

Website: www.westernglamour.com

 

TURQUOISE RANCH: Turquoise Ranch is a Kansas-based boutique with loads of interesting and trendy styles. While I was picking out what to wear from this boutique, I had a hard time narrowing down my choices! Everything from cozy sweaters to fringe and lace, I had outfit inspiration coming out of my ears. One of my favorite daytime looks featured a knitted aztec poncho from this boutique and I got SO many compliments. Make sure you follow this western gem on social media to keep up with their new arrivals.

Facebook: Turquoise Ranch

Instagram: turquoiseranch

Website: www.turquoise-ranch-boutique.com

 

THE RUSTY TRAILER: Last but certainly not least is The Rusty Trailer boutique. This place had one of my favorite accessories of the week – a rust-colored concho belt. I wore it with casual and high fashion outfits everywhere in Vegas and could totally see it being a staple piece in my closet! This small boutique is a hidden gem with so many cute pieces, so make sure you follow them on social media to stay in the loop. I see them coming up and carrying pieces you can’t wait to get your hands on.

Facebook: The Rusty Trailer

Instagram: therustytrailer

Website: www.myrustytrailer.com

 

 

The Rodeo Mrs. In Rewind – Remembering Favorite Moments & Looking At What’s Next

Hey Everyone!

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and are enjoying the last couple days of 2017. After all the busy-ness of NFR season and the holidays right after, I’ve taken a small hiatus from social media to just unwind and enjoy time with those closest to me. As I’m writing this, I’m enjoying a homemade latte, a cozy sweater and a steady snowfall from the comfort of my living room, plus the company of my two mini aussie children.

Marshall plows the roads when heavy snow comes in, which means I’m spending a quiet Friday night by myself so I thought I would use the time to reflect before we enter into 2018.

It’s so crazy to me how fast a year has flown by. I still remember when I decided to start a fashion blog this time last year, simply because I love to write and have a passion for rodeo and the western industry. I scheduled my first photoshoot with a great friend of mine who shot 16 outfits in one day. (that’s exhausting, by the way) I was so excited to start writing my posts and sharing the photos we took that day, but I never would’ve guessed so many opportunities would come from it.

Within the first few months of writing, I realized I really wanted to start working with brands and style new outfits that would inspire those who were reading what I had to say, so I began to reach out to businesses. I was so lucky to have stumbled into opportunities to work with Ariat, Kimes Ranch Jeans and many others. Whether I was modeling or simply writing blog posts, I was having an awesome time working with brands who I truly loved.

Once I realized I really loved to do this, I decided to quit my job and run with writing. I picked up some freelance work for a time to help with my travel expenses and made a plan of where I was going to travel on the rodeo circuit throughout the year. I won’t sugarcoat it for you – taking trips with a hundred dollar bill to last you the week is rough, but it was also a blast.

We never stayed in hotels – we slept in the car and drove across the country, sleeping on friend’s couches when we got the chance. But, it was so humbling to cross off every trip on my list and having memories to take home with me. When we finally got to NFR this year and I was able to afford a nice hotel and round trip flights for Marshall and I, I was BEYOND grateful.

 

Whether we were running around Texas seeing Blink 182 at Rodeo Houston, getting floor seats at Rodeo Austin (we got the hookup as former interns!) or walking into the Daddy of em All in Cheyenne for the first time with my best friend, I’ll never forget that you don’t have to be rich to make memories. Pay for experiences, not things.

By the time NFR came around this year, I was blown away each day with how much had changed for me since the year before. Last year was my first time in Vegas as a fashion influencer, and I use that term lightly as I only had about 40 followers to my name when we checked into the hotel. I remember feeling very overwhelmed, seeing girls I followed online but was scared to introduce myself to. I wasn’t invited to any events, I just went to post outfits for my blog and enjoy the rodeo with my family. I left with bittersweet feelings about my experience, loving this industry as I always had but looking at the mountain I had to climb to find my way in.

After a year of meeting amazing friends, brands and boutiques, everything had changed for me in Vegas 2017. I was fully booked working with boutiques, was invited to influencer parties, was a model for a professional photo shoot and got to meet SO many friends and make even more as the week went on. Every time we left the hotel to tackle a full day’s work, I felt incredibly grateful to even be there and be busy. I learned this year that doing just one thing every day to press towards your goals will put you on the path to success. Just a little bit at a time makes that mountain easier to climb.

2018 is already shaping up to be a very busy, but rewarding year. I’ve spent the last few days planning out my travel schedule and getting business projects set in motion before we ring in the new year. My travels are starting early this year as I head to Denver, Colorado for WESA market. I’ll be attending the Western Summit, a western business conference put on by the Boutique Hub, which I’m super excited about. Don’t worry, I’ll be live streaming and updating my Instagram story with the highlights so you don’t miss out!

In addition to attending the summit, I was invited to be among the first WESA Wranglers ever, a group of fashion influencers with exclusive access to market to cover the event. I’ll be attending their spring fashion show, as well as demonstrations and seminars that feature some amazing brands and new styles. Again, make sure to keep an eye out for an exclusive look on what’s going to be hot in the western industry this spring. Plus, I have some fun spring fashion up my sleeve to unveil while I’m in Colorado!

I wish I could tell you all more about my projects, I can barely keep them a secret anymore. But, stay tuned over the coming months as I’ll be announcing some exciting news about the blog and new opportunities for you guys to get involved in my brand. I’m so excited to start on the next adventure, I hope you’ll come along with me.

While 2017 definitely had its challenges, it’s been an incredibly blessed year. Here are a few of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from my experiences:

  1. Dream huge and believe it can truly, truly happen.
  2. Don’t get discouraged hearing the word no.
  3. You appreciate things much more when you learn to do without first.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to those around you – believe you are worthy.
  5. Be yourself unapologetically. Be bold enough to stand alone on your beliefs.

I hope you all have a happy new year and I can’t wait to see you in 2018.

Stay unique, sisters!

Five Fashion Rules To Follow At NFR

Hey friends!

While you’re reading this, I’m on a Vegas bound plane, but don’t you worry – I’ve got one last NFR advice post for you before we dive into the most anticipated rodeo of the year.

If you follow western fashion, you probably got an earful of opinions about what you need to be wearing during NFR. At first, I just thought it would be best to keep my opinions to myself – after all, they’re just opinions, right? Well, after a little more thought and some advice from good friends, I decided to share my fashion rules anyway. Here we go:

 

RULE 1: OWN THE SPOTLIGHT

That’s right – it’s the biggest week of the whole year for western fashion and everyone is pulling out all the stops, including you. So what are you waiting for? Jump in the spotlight and own your entrance to every performance and every party. You owe it to yourself to soak in the moment and enjoy it – viva Las Vegas, babe!

RULE 2: DON’T WORRY ABOUT TRENDS

But really, what’s a trend? I don’t care if coral was last season, or my vintage jacket is sooo 1986, Susan. You know how trends happen? Someone decides to do their own thing and it catches fire. I feel like that’s something to live by – others are inspired when you march to your own drummer, girlfriend! Light your passion on fire and run until everyone else catches it.

RULE 3: BE YOURSELF 100%

You weren’t put on this earth to fall in line behind everyone else. Be bold enough to showcase the person you are through your clothes and attitude. No one is cooler than when they embrace themselves totally, so what’s stopping you? Walk into Cowboy Christmas with a confident stride and believe that you’re enough, no matter who’s standing next to you.

RULE 4: LIFT UP THE GIRLS AROUND YOU

It’s a tough world out there for girls. We already face so many expectations in order to be valued and desired, why do we make it harder for each other? Make a conscious effort to compliment the girls around you and appreciate their style and how they express themselves. All of us put up fronts, and there’s no easier way to crumble them than to show positivity. Hint: this starts by loving yourself and knowing your own value.

RULE 5: BE GRATEFUL

Whether you’re experiencing NFR for two weeks or two days, LIVE IT UP! This is one of the most exciting events of the year in the rodeo industry and there’s so many girls who would jump at the chance to go to just one round. There’s too much fun to be had and not enough time to worry about your hair or how much your handbag cost. If you’re tempted to feel bad for yourself, remember how many girls at home would switch places with you in a heartbeat. Take a deep breath and be thankful that you’re here and bound to have an amazing time!

 

So obviously, this wasn’t the typical set of “rules” you were probably expecting, but I wanted to put some positivity back into the community that I love. I have no interest in addressing anyone’s opinions on who’s allowed to wear what to an event like the NFR – western fashion should be about the girls wearing the clothes, not the clothes themselves. Let’s all take a chance to lift each other up and appreciate our differences and our love for the western lifestyle.

I hope y’all are ready for the week – it’s going to be a blast! If you’re in Vegas and see me out, please come say hi, I’d love to meet you. If you’re watching on TV, make sure to check my social media for outfits, updates and a few surprises I have up my sleeve.

Stay unique, sisters!

Ball On A Budget – Keeping Your Trip To NFR Penny Friendly

Hey guys!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my NFR marathon leading up to my flight to Vegas. Believe it or not, I fly out tomorrow morning, so make sure to be checking my social media for updates, outfits and the dish on everything NFR.

I’ll be the first to tell you I’m all about balling on a budget – I’ve got no shame in my budget game! Everyone knows that just getting to Vegas is enough to give your bank account a heart attack, so I’m giving up a few of my tips to save that cash during NFR. Read on to see how I make it work in this expensive town.

 

BUY A MONORAIL PASS.

Every time someone asks me for tips on their first trip to Vegas, I always tell them to invest in a monorail pass. It’s not like it’s a secret or anything, but my first year at the finals, we spent SO much money on taxis. Save your cash and buy a monorail pass – it’s thirty-some dollars for a four day pass that can get you just about anywhere on the strip or to the convention center in a matter of minutes.

You’ll save so much money and get around town so much faster than waiting for an Uber or taxi to pick you up. Especially if you’re running between different events during the day or want to take a break in your hotel room in the middle of the day, a monorail ticket is essential.

 

SKIP THE BREAKFAST BUFFET.

This is a classic tip that I use on almost every vacation ever. Instead of spending forty to fifty dollars on brunch for two, we take a trip to the nearest convenience store. I usually pick up a box of breakfast sandwiches, protein bars or oatmeal and fruit. Since every meal is pretty expensive, it really adds up to cut out one of those meals every day. It’s also convenient since you can just use your hotel microwave to get a quick breakfast in.

Of course, another way to take advantage of this tip is to pack some snacks in your bag for the day as well. Instead of grabbing a ten dollar hot dog when you’re hungry, you can reach for a convenient snack from your bag. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the splurge on vacation, but I think it’s more fun when you’re not breaking the bank!

 

CHECK OUT THE GREAT VIEWING PARTIES.

Let’s get real, NFR tickets are super expensive if you want good seats, especially if you’re paying for more than one person to go. Instead of shelling out hundreds to see a round every night at the Thomas & Mack, I like to spend my time hanging around the fabulous live viewing parties on the strip. Sure, I want to see it in person at least once, but it’s actually a lot of fun to hang around the hotels too. They usually have giveaways, door prizes and offer drink specials too.

There’s so much to being in Vegas for the NFR, don’t feel like you’re missing out on the experience if you can’t afford to go to the big show every night. You’ll be in good company at whatever viewing party you decide to go to, I promise you that!

 

GOODWILL HAS THE BEST NFR OUTFITS.

I’m totally serious when I say some of my best NFR outfits have come off a thrift store rack. Don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune on a new wardrobe to fit in at Cowboy Christmas – you can be a showstopper in a pair of vintage bell bottoms or your grandma’s fur coat. It doesn’t have to be new and expensive to turn heads, and that’s the truth.

Use your closet basics to your advantage – good pairs of jeans, leggings, a white tee, a leather jacket…then go pick out some one-of-a-kind vintage items from your local thrift store. You can guarantee your look will be totally authentic and 100% rad. Nothing feels better than having someone ask where you got your outfit and telling them you got it for a dollar. Rock what you’ve got, girls!

 

HIT UP THE FREE EVENTS AND AFTER PARTIES.

While there’s plenty of awesome pay-to-enter acts in Vegas, there are TONS of awesome free parties and events throughout NFR. Hit up the concerts at the South Point, MGM and Mirage or go to the nightly Buckin Ball. During the day, hang around the South Point arena, the Wrangler arena in the Convention Center or just explore all the shopping at the different locations around town.

You can find a lot of information on events and parties on the NFR experience website. They have daily events to see and special events spread out through the length of the NFR. If you dig a little bit, you can find lots of fun things to do, places to be without shelling out cash every day.

 

How are you saving money in Vegas this year? Do you have more tips to share? Let me know in the comments.

Stay unique sisters – see you in Vegas!

Packing Tips From A Fashion Blogger

Hey guys!

Okay, if I’m being totally honest – I have a weird relationship with packing. For instance, I made a spreadsheet (yes, it’s that serious okay) to organize the clothes I’m wearing in Vegas weeks ago, yet nothing is packed up in my suitcase yet. I’m huge on being organized but it takes me a little time to feel comfortable zipping my bag shut before I leave.

I know packing can be a little daunting for anyone, especially when you’re headed to an event that’s huge on fashion. So…here’s a little cheat sheet from me, your local western fashion blogger, on what works best for me and keeps me sane to make sure I’ve got everything I need. Read on for my tips!

 

MAKE A PACKING LIST.

Even though this list gets a little repetitive when you travel a lot (tooth brush…check) it’s a lifesaver. How many times do you stress out about packing only to figure out you left the most basic essential sitting on your bathroom counter? (tooth brush…not check)

When I fly, I split my list up by bag. So I make a section for my personal bag, which includes my work supplies, reading material, chargers, wallet…all of the essentials. Then I’ll make one for my carry on and finally my checked bag. It helps you organize your stuff efficiently and make a mental checklist with everything you need.

 

FOCUS ON THE ESSENTIALS.

I know we all try to do this and end up shoving all the clothes we haven’t worn in three months into our bag in a panic, but hear me out. Think about the pieces that look chic with everything – a good pair of jeans, leggings, a leather jacket, a white tee…etc. Once you figure out what you’ll wear the most, you can start adding in your statement pieces.

So for me, I’ll pick a pair of black skinny jeans then lay out my sequin jacket, my sweater and a tunic that all work with them. That way I pack less stuff I won’t actually wear and have something that works even if I buy something new at Cowboy Christmas I want to wear right away. Don’t forget the same rule applies to shoes too. (that’s where I fall off the wagon) Pack a great pair of boots, some casual shoes and a dressy heel or bootie instead of buying an extra checked bag for your shoe collection, okay?

 

DON’T FORGET COMFY CLOTHES.

We all know NFR fashion is over the top, but don’t think you have to wear sequins and heels during the day if you don’t want to. Let’s be real, it’s a lot of walking and you want to take it easy on yourself before throwing on your all-out ensemble for the night time.

My go-to pieces are chunky sweaters, slouchy tunics, palazzo pants, graphic tees and good ole denim everything. Same goes for shoes – make sure to pack your fave pair of Twisted X’s or Ariat casuals for those long days of shopping and walking around town. Don’t worry, you can still look cute while being comfy at the same time. And P.S. – if you want to wear heels and sequins all day, you go girl!

 

PACK A WRISTLET OR CLUTCH.

This one burns me a little bit, because I’m such a tote bag girl, but make sure you pack a small bag. If you haven’t seen already, there are bag restrictions in the Thomas & Mack AND at Cowboy Christmas now, so you’re going to want a bag that holds just the essentials. Nothing’s worse than having to walk your bag all the way back to your hotel or car because it doesn’t pass the restrictions. It’s not like I’ve done that or anything…(*cough* the American *cough*)

Bring something you can throw an ID, cash and your phone in. If you don’t have anything at home though, don’t worry, there are TONS of vendors with super cute options that meet the guidelines for purchase at Cowboy Christmas. Just make sure you keep it light whenever you leave the hotel or casinos. I wouldn’t be surprised if other venues around town adopt the same policies, so it’s best just to be prepared.

 

KEEP YOUR THINGS ORGANIZED IN YOUR BAG.

This goes hand-in-hand with my first tip, but really comes in handy when you’re pulling out your outfits and getting ready. For instance, I keep all of my work things in one bag, my accessories/jewelry/bags/boots in another, all of my makeup and hair supplies are together and my clothes are separated by outfit. To avoid making a huge pile of mess in your hotel room, I recommend taking the extra time to organize it when you pack.

That way, when you go to look for your next outfit, add an accessory or touch up your makeup, you know exactly where everything is and can keep it together without having to dig around in the depths of your suitcase. You’ll thank yourself when you go to pack everything up when you check out later, trust me.

 

BRING A DIRTY CLOTHES BAG.

This discovery for me was such a duh-moment. I spent years just throwing my dirty clothes under the nearest table or chair to keep them separate from the clean clothes in my bag, and I know I’m not alone here, admit it.

But really, make sure you pack a laundry bag. It keeps your clothes together so you don’t lose anything in the hotel room and makes it super easy to re-pack your bag up when you’re fixing to leave. I mean, it can’t get any easier than throwing your bag of clothes back in your suitcase. Plus, it’s an easy dump in the laundry basket when you get home. Easy, painless, a simple hack that will get you far in your living-out-of-a-suitcase adventure.

 

Hopefully these tips are helpful for making your packing a little smoother and less stressful. What are your best packing tips? Let me know in the comments.

Stay unique, sisters!

A Couple In Kimes

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to bring someone close to my heart to you today, my husband Marshall. He’s been a huge supporter on this blogging journey and has always found a way to lend a hand, whether we were driving to Texas to cover fashion at Rodeo Houston or flying to Vegas to spend a week inside the Thomas and Mack. Simply put, without the Rodeo Mr., I wouldn’t be The Rodeo Mrs.

One question continuously comes up whenever we attend events together – how do we manage to coordinate our outfits? There’s such a fine line between matching in a tacky way and being well-coordinated. Marshall has always found a way to compliment whatever outfit I come up with, so with NFR starting this week, I wanted to share a little inspiration for any of you planning your honey’s outfits for Vegas or just the holidays featuring a staple in both of our wardrobes – Kimes Ranch Jeans!

Together, we came up with two different outfits – one styled more classic western, one styled more contemporary. I love mixing patterns and textures while still matching the colors we wear – it always keeps us polished. While we love to get creative with our wardrobes, one thing we always come back to is our Kimes Ranch jeans – we can match in any situation and look polished – it’s like we planned it. (wink)

 

CLASSIC WESTERN.

Since we are so close to NFR time, I wanted to include a classed up look with lots of old school western style. The key to nailing the classic western look is to incorporate timeless pieces that you and you grandpa could wear, 30 years apart and still look polished.

For my look, I started with the Francesca jean. While this style can be worn rolled down with boots, my favorite way to wear it is with a cuffed pant leg and a cute pair of booties. I threw on a basic, black tank top underneath this beautiful aztec coat. The coat length compliments the jean cuffs so well and really pulls everything together without a lot of extra effort. I topped it all off with a vintage fedora to add to the classic vibe of this ensemble.

For Marshall’s look, we started with Kimes jeans in the Chuck style. They’re a great dark wash with a relaxed fit, his favorite style. To coordinate with the red in my look, we added a red patterned button down. It serves as the perfect pop of color under his suede western sport coat. I love the camel color of this coat – it’s a classic piece that really pops off the colors in my coat. To top off his look, he added a vintage bolo and a pair of flashy ostrich boots – not to mention a matching cowboy hat.

 

 

CONTEMPORARY WESTERN.

The contemporary western style has a more comfy, casual feel while still keeping the style current and trendy. If you’re going for this style, it’s all about balancing the casual and trendy pieces with each other. It’s also helpful to start with a classic piece to really ground everything else – you can start with the perfect pair of jeans!

For my look, I started with the Alex jean. This pair of boot cut jeans is the perfect piece to build a cozy, contemporary outfit on. One of the biggest trends that’s come back around? Denim on denim! I threw on this classic denim button down underneath a fur sweater vest that also has the rich blue color. I wanted to mix up the textures while keeping the colors neutral. I finished the look with some turquoise jewelry and a fun pair of moccasins.

For Marshall’s look, he started with his favorite Kimes style, the Chuck. On the top, he threw on a pinstripe button down with coordinating colors to my denim and sweater vest while not being too matchy-matchy. On top of the button down, we threw on a wool vest. It’s both warm and stylish while not being too dressed up by itself – a great piece that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.

I hope you all got some couples outfit inspiration for NFR and the holiday season. All it takes is a little coordination and some great jeans to be the best dressed couple in the room!