Adventurer in Aztec

It has been a great start to the new year and I am so excited for what this new month brings – there are so many opportunities that I am looking forward to jumping into and so many plans to travel in the name of rodeo and fashion.

We are so used to being on the rodeo road with our horse trailer and a truck full of people, but this will be the first year I do more traveling in my BMW than my F350, which is very different for me. I hope y’all continue to follow my adventures as 2017 begins to unfold!

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I based this outfit around a lovely Aztec sweater dress from Wrangler. Guys, this is the most comfortable fabric imaginable, plus there are so many ways to wear this maxi in more seasons than one! I threw an Ariat denim pearl snap over top and tied it up to define my waist. This pearl snap has embroidery detailing and even some beading on the shoulders and back, which gives it some character.

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Once again, I had to bring out my burgundy floppy hat to accessorize. It goes with so many different outfits, it blows my mind! I also added silver bangles with fringe detail, bronze/turquoise statement earrings and a turquoise cross necklace.

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That about sums up this look! I love how simple it can be to throw together a fun outfit without a lot of effort. I used some of my favorite accessories to pull together two basic pieces and it really steps up the overall style.
Did you like this outfit? Let me know in the comments.

 

Stay unique, sisters!

 

Spring Favorites: What I’ll be Wearing

Hey Everyone!

I swear it was just Thanksgiving and here we are in the second month of the new year already. Just like the seasons, the fashion changes quickly, which means new trends for the new season! Here’s a handy guide to some of the big must-haves for every sweetheart of the rodeo. I will be rocking all of these trends at the pro rodeos this spring!

 

 

COLOR:

The first thing I did in 2017 was look at Pantone’s spring color choices for this year. Holy gorgeous! pantone-color-swatches-fashion-color-report-fall-2017

I am DYING for that flame orange, hot yarrow pink and rich lapiz blue. Already, the color labeled “Pale Dogwood” is blowing up in everything from blazers to dresses to bell bottoms. This palette is so versatile and can inspire you whether you like being bold and bright or have a more neutral style. Need inspiration? Pick any three colors and run with the combination!

 

FABRICS:

 

Velvet. If you thought that velvet was only for fall, you are mistaken. Velvet is everyone’s favorite fabric to grab off the hanger these days and designers are incorporating it into everything from dresses to shoes to pants. It has such a cool, vintage vibe that also feels kind of luxurious – check out a couple velvet numbers from Lil Bee’s Bohemian Boutique!

 

 

Suede. Suede has always been a cowboy fashion favorite but it is getting a lot of attention in the high fashion world as well. You can find this fabric in every color and being made into every piece you could ever want in your closet. Don’t be afraid to get creative with this one – pair a traditional camel suede piece with big silver and bright color!

 

DETAILS:

 

Mexican Embroidery. I am SO excited that this is becoming a trend! The colors are so beautiful and you can truly rock the style by buying from artists who hand make each garment. How cool is that? This would look beautiful with a pair of boyfriend jeans and a pair of booties, or go totally boho with a pair of bell bottoms!

Fringe. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has been in western fashion for any amount of time. We LOVE our fringe and it just keeps getting better since the rest of the fashion world is embracing the love for it as well! We wear fringe in every season but consider wearing it in a bold spring color, or in a new accessory! Fringe adds beautiful movement, texture and interest to any piece. Wear it on anything, honestly, you’re set.


Statement Everything. In 2017, we are breaking all of the accessory rules. It’s all about layering – necklaces, rings, bracelets. Chunky statement pieces in silver, turquoise, coral and lapis stone is all the rage. Switch up your usual accessories by keeping your outfit very simple and layering on the hardware. Go big or go home, y’all!

 

PIECES:

Hats. I am SO into hats and we are now venturing past a simple cowboy hat with a pearl snap. I honestly see cowboy hatters as artists and they are now getting recognized by making custom pieces for fashionistas and cowgirls alike. Everyone is playing with the shape of their cowboy hats, investing in unique, vintage numbers and even sporting colored versions of the classic. But, we aren’t just limited to cowboy hats now, oh no. Pick up a fedora, flat ranch hat or a bowler hat – you can’t go wrong!

Bolos. The year of the bolo tie is upon us! This has always been an old favorite for me and its comeback makes me get this huge vintage vibe with the other comeback trends that are accompanying it. Totally about to throw one of these on with a blazer and a graphic tee!

 

Well there y’all have it, my favorite trends for the spring season! I love western fashion for its free-spiritedness and no rules attitude. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds for new styles. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

Top Five Reasons to College Rodeo from an Alumni

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My time spent traveling with the Iowa State Rodeo Team will forever be among the best college experiences I had in my four years. If you are considering joining a college rodeo team but haven’t decided if you should do it, here are my top five reasons I would get involved.

1. It is great practice before getting your PRCA permit.

If you have those big NFR dreams but don’t know where to start, college rodeo is a great way to prepare for running down the road with the big boys. You will get the chance to ride in a new, unique venue every week and learn to adjust to each environment as it comes. You will compete against cowboys and cowgirls who take the sport seriously and may already be on the pro rodeo circuit as well. College rodeo is a perfect setting to get used to the travel, the atmosphere and the competition of pro rodeo without shelling out thousands of dollars learn the hard way.

2. You will learn how to travel – the right way.

If your college rodeo experience is anything like mine, you will become an expert traveler in a very short amount of time. The planning sometimes feels endless to make sure you have all your gear and enough underwear to get you through a rodeo weekend, but you will figure out how to pack light and have everything ready to go the moment the trailer rolls in to pick you up. You will also (probably) learn how to use a good ole paper map for that time when you get lost with no cell service.

3. You will meet new people from everywhere. 

One of my favorite things about being on a rodeo team was meeting people from other states and parts of the country. My first year, I jumped my horse in with a girl from another Iowa college to a rodeo ten hours away. She drove an old Dodge pickup with no aux port, so we talked the entire way. Turns out she was from Wyoming and I got to hear her tell all kinds of stories about where she grew up. That was cool. I also have friends in the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois thanks to my time on the road with our team.

4. You will see places you’ve never been.

No matter how much you travel, you will never see it all. I always thought I knew the midwest like the back of my hand, but that was before I traveled through a new part of it every weekend. No matter what region you compete in, there are so many cool places you will get to drive through with sights unique to that area. Every rodeo you ride in, you’ll get a chance to see where another team is from and how they do things.

5. You’ll get to be apart of something bigger than yourself.

You don’t have to be in college rodeo to rodeo in college. You can always haul yourself to the next event, whichever association is hosting. But there is something to be said about wearing the same vest as your teammates, knowing they have your back if you win or lose. You may not always get to choose who rides in your truck, but you’ll feel pride when you all stand together for your school knowing you share one thing in common – the love of cowboy culture and the sport of rodeo.

 

Cozy and Casual

Hey Guys!

For today’s post, I wanted to share with you one of my FAVORITE outfits from my fall photo shoot. Yes, I know that it is January but this look is so versatile that you can totally wear it through March or April, so don’t give up on me just yet! I wore this exact outfit in Vegas but swapped out leggings for some flair jeans and it looked just as awesome. How you want to wear it is totally up to you and what you are in the mood for that day.

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The key component to this look is the bold aztec sweater. First of all, the word is COMFORTABLE. It is seriously so fluffy and warm but if you wear it with a tank top it isn’t so warm that you can’t wear it outside of winter. Plus, since it is black and white it literally goes with every color, which is what I look for in a statement piece.

In order to kick up this casual outfit, I was striving to add details that made everything flow together and look well thought out. This burnt orange tank top by Wrangler looks stunning against the black and white and has adorable embroidery detailing as well as black fringe.

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In order to keep this outfit low key, I opted for black liquid leggings and my Ariat cinnamon caiman boots. I accessorized with a simple bolo necklace. I love this outfit for going out for coffee with my friends, running errands or going out on a casual date night with Marshall. I strive to stay away from sweatpants these days (since I’m not in college any more) and this is a great option. When you can combine comfort with style, you hit the jackpot!

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I hope you all enjoyed this outfit and are taking home some cozy vibes after reading this post. Do me a favor and snuggle up with a hot cup of coffee and appreciate cuddle season while it lasts!

 

Stay unique, sisters.

 

Living for the Journey

I know I’ve mentioned New Years resolutions in a few of my posts so far in 2017, and I’m going to do it again to point out something important. Whether you make resolutions or just have long term goals, we can all become obsessed with our #lifegoals and forget about the here and now. Yes, it is important to strive for the next milestone, the indicators that say you’ve improved, but there is no shame in embracing your reality today.

Accomplishing your goals will be amazing, but if you can’t find beauty in each step, it will be hard for you to be satisfied when you get there. What is a goal without struggle? Without looking at yourself once in awhile and having a good laugh at your flaws? There are so many hidden gems on the journey of life that you miss when you demand perfection from yourself.

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I would put money on this theory: people give up on their resolutions (or goals or dreams) not because they set their expectations too high, but because they didn’t see value in the times of failure and weakness. Maybe they were making progress but the victories seemed too small, not grand enough to fit their vision of that goal they set.

I don’t consider myself a perfectionist by a long shot, but I am very competitive with myself. I am my worst critic, and beat myself up over simple mistakes or falling short of my expectations for myself. When I look at the things I’ve accomplished in my life, I look back on my mistakes and see the value in the missteps and the lows. I see the place I started and don’t look down on my old self, I simply see the grace God gave me to do better and be better.

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No matter what you are striving to accomplish, remember that God knows you make mistakes and will not have a perfect performance. Embrace your weakness and use His strength to move you along in your journey. Let Jesus take you to new places until you look back, see the change and have thankfulness in your heart that He cares for you, even if you took every detour on your journey.

Don’t ever give up, friends! You are radiant and can accomplish anything you put your mind to, even if it gets a little messy.

Changing for the Better

Hey guys!

This week was a big one for me as I found myself on the verge of accomplishing some personal health goals and I thought it was worth taking both of my posts this week to talk about health, confidence and a little bit of will power. At first, I was hesitant to share with you my personal trial with weight and how it has affected me but some great friends convinced me otherwise: there are so many women who struggle with the same thing, and I could actually encourage others.

Over the past seven months I have been working on my health and losing extra pounds I put on in college. I have always struggled with my weight even when I was a kid, but this time it was different. I lost my heart for the things I loved because I felt I didn’t belong – I saddled up my barrel horses less and stayed away from rodeos because I felt I was no longer worthy of competing. That was devastating. I knew I had to do something but like every other girl like myself, I had tried EVERYTHING with no luck.

I didn’t have money for a special gym membership or a pack of shakes and pills that would magically make me skinny. I started doing the most cliche things – packing salads for lunch and doing a 30 minute home workout six days per week. Let me tell you, results didn’t come fast and it was HARD. In the first week, I actually GAINED weight and I almost accepted my fate of being overweight for the rest of my life. But I kept going. I failed so many times but I kept moving forward, kept modifying my diet, kept finding ways to be active until it stuck.

Over the past seven months I lost 25 pounds and I feel so much better than I did at that higher weight. But here’s the kicker – I’m only HALFWAY THERE. It’s exhausting to think about it honestly, the fact that there is still so much work to be done and lifestyle changes that still have to be made but I’m going to keep moving until I reach my final goal.

Since this is a long term journey, I of course spend a lot of time thinking about my body image and what I am striving to achieve. Is it to look toned? Run faster? Be smaller? When will I reach the point where I say “this is enough. I am happy with this.” The thing about people is this – we are never satisfied. I could obsess over my physique every day, to the point of neglecting my other priorities and still find new insecurities and doubts about my body.

I decided on day one of this journey that I am not trying to simply look better or “fix this flaw” but I am trying to better myself with each new day. I had to make peace with myself on that first day that I wouldn’t criticize or hate my body at any point and I would keep enjoying each small victory, even if it wasn’t the ultimate one. For those of you in the same position, realize what your body is capable of, what God designed it to do. Taking care of yourself shouldn’t be a chore, but a blessing. Being thankful for having a functioning body is something to keep in mind even when you slip up or gain a few pounds back.

We are capable of amazing things at every size and there is so much pressure on us girls to be THAT girl, whoever it is in your mind. Abandon those thoughts and remember that you are here, first and foremost, to love God and people. You don’t need a hot body to do that. Second, remember that your body is your own and will never look exactly like the girl in the picture on your Pinterest board. Accept that and own it. Be the best version of yourself.

I hope I am able to encourage someone from this post to start their journey or feel empowered to be the best version of themselves both mentally and physically. Please don’t be afraid to reach out to me if you need a friend or someone to lean on in this struggle – I am right there with you.

Stay unique, sisters!

Confidence From Within

When I was in middle school, I was the late bloomer. I wasn’t physically attractive and was made fun of often for being chubby, having braces and not having fashionable clothes. I found myself comparing and striving for acceptance at every turn. I changed everything about my appearance, trying new hairstyles, makeup and even buying new clothes that I thought would make me more liked. Nothing changed. Even though I felt like an ugly duckling, there was something interesting about me.

I was loved.

I made people laugh.

I had empathy for everyone.

I was a great friend.

I was wanted.

I lacked the things that the world found value in but yet I had value to everyone…except myself. Even to this day, I carry the thoughts of a teenage girl who was outwardly undesirable. Sometimes these thoughts rise up to try to overtake my confidence but I know now that I am in control of how I feel about myself, which is why I want to talk about it.

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As a girl who finds herself writing about fashion and beauty all day long, talking about confidence from the heart can seem a little bit foreign from time to time. There are days when I find myself so wrapped up in sequins and fake eyelashes that I find myself having empty spaces in my heart, like I neglected parts of my soul for appearance.

I think fashion is one of the greatest ways to be yourself and show off your confidence, but I cannot stress how important it is that fashion isn’t your confidence. Makeup isn’t your confidence. And the opinions of those around you are DEFINITELY not your confidence. I love being dolled up but it’s important for me to be able to look in the mirror first thing in the morning and know that I am enough before anything gets done. Not because of my looks, but my heart. When I look into the mirror, the first thing I want to see is –

integrity.

love.

self respect.

intelligence.

patience.

a peaceful spirit.

I know what it feels like to look stunning but to feel empty. I know what it’s like to long for attention and acceptance but only find loneliness. Girls, I know we all struggle with this but remember that no matter what you wear, what you look like, people will remember your soul, your personality, your demeanor. Your beauty and your worth comes from the inside and it is the most important part of you to maintain.

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You do not have to look a certain way, fit a certain stereotype, prove that you are important, you simply have to BE. Think about this: your worth was established long before you were on this earth, and nothing can change that fact. What you can change is how you view yourself and what you value.

It’s a new year, which is a great time to sit down and take a real look at yourself. How do you see yourself? What do you value? Who do you want to be? How will you get there? Where does your confidence come from? I don’t necessarily believe in new years resolutions but I definitely believe in the power of some serious goal setting. Make goals that develop your health and your character and more than anything, spend time with God and let Him show you your true worth and purpose.

What are your goals for 2017?

Let me know in the comments!

Stay unique, sisters.

Simple Looks: Beauty in Berry

Hey Y’all!

I hope 2016 closed on a good note and you are taking 2017 by the horns. I have been making so many plans for this year and I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been coming up with! Here is a new outfit that captures a few of my New Years Resolutions:

Be Bold.

Be Colorful.

Keep It Simple.

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I’m sure you guys have figured out by now that my style aims for the most bang for your buck with the least amount of effort. I like to do this with pieces that have that “wow” factor, allowing me to do less with everything else. This poncho is one of those pieces for me.

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Letting the poncho take center stage, the rest of my outfit takes backstage simply complimenting the focal point. I paired this poncho with leather leggings and Corral boots. These leggings are great for dressing things up or down and the texture adds a level of style that regular spandex or cotton just doesn’t give you. The boots are one of my personal favorites – they go with EVERYTHING and are the perfect shade of gray that will blend with brown or black tones, however you want to style them!

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Finishing off this look is of course – my burgundy fedora. Both the color and aztec details were too good to pass up with the berry and tan tones in the poncho. Once again touching on the simplicity of this ensemble, my only accessory was a pair of silver bangles. If you want to jazz it up, you could add a bold concho bolo tie, native american pearls, a squash blossom or statement earrings.

I think the key to pulling off this outfit is finding a color that really accentuates your features. For me, jewel tones make my eyes and hair pop while also complimenting my skin tone. It’s amazing how one new item can give what you already have more use, and inspire you to try some new looks.

I hope y’all enjoyed this look. Happy New Year to everyone, use it wisely.

Stay Unique, Sisters!

 

 

How to Land a Rodeo Internship

I’m sure a lot of you reading this are in college and wondering how in the world you can connect your passion to your work. I was in your shoes not long ago, and honestly, part of me still is as I adjust my vision for The Rodeo Mrs. and the work that I do around it. I remember feeling a lot of pressure to land the perfect internship – it was actually required in my degree program to have one and write a portfolio on my experience.

Being a student of a midwestern university that barely knew what the sport of rodeo was about, I knew it would be a challenge to find an internship that I truly would enjoy and learn from. But, looking back, after three awesome internships in the rodeo industry, it’s all about the work that you are willing to put in and planning for success.

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At an awards banquet with my fellow media interns and Susan Kanode at the College National Finals Rodeo

If you are a freshman, it’s time to get involved.

I surrounded myself with every rodeo-related person I could find, I ran for a position on the Rodeo Club board, I volunteered on our college rodeo committee and never looked back. Our club was small, but I learned so much about leadership and what I liked to do from being in a few different positions in our club. It’s okay if you feel nervous about jumping in, but that’s not an excuse to stay home. Put yourself out there with an open mind and be prepared to learn.

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In the press room at the CNFR before a performance.

Be prepared to make an impression.

Even if you don’t have much to show yet, put together a portfolio of your work. Keep an updated resume. Have business cards printed. (Read vistaprint for free) Be confident in your abilities, passion and willingness to learn, and be honest with people if you are just starting out. When you put in this extra effort, it shows you are ready to make things happen and are serious about your work. Since the rodeo industry is so specialized, you must be willing to treat every event as an opportunity to market yourself.

The first image you saw when you clicked this post was of my first ever business headshot taken when I was a senior in high school, preparing for the competitive world of rodeo internships. It is never too early to start acting professional and setting yourself apart from others. They say dress for the job you want to have, and that my friends is a motto to live by.

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Excitedly showing off my all access pass for the CNFR. What a cool experience to stand next to some of the biggest names in rodeo in the back pens and media platform!

Know your facts.

Take time to keep yourself updated with the industry. Follow the changes that are proposed, be familiar with the issues that are facing our modern-day cowboys, pay attention to who is on the rise. I keep myself updated through social media – following rodeo media outlets, major competitors, associations, stock contractors, announcers, pickup men and rodeo clowns. It is already part of their job to know what is going on and they will be talking about it ALL the time. This will give you a way in the conversation and keep you informed.

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Headed to the rodeo in my Team Rodeo Austin shirt! I interned under the Senior Operations Manager, helping plan the grounds set up.

Know your strengths and how to market them.

Do you like marketing? Working with the media? Are you passionate about running a smooth event or do you enjoy working with numbers? Figure out what you are good at and run with it. Take every opportunity you can to develop your skills and make yourself more well-rounded.

When I was offered my Operations internship at Rodeo Austin, I had been building my resume around Marketing and Media Management. I was hesitant at first but took it hoping I could learn something and incorporate my skills into the job. BOY did I learn, and I refined my skills into other parts of the industry I hadn’t thought about. Never be afraid to step outside your box, it just makes you more interesting and qualified for the work you want to do.

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Marshall and I attending the Rodeo Austin Gala, where we worked with the rest of the Rodeo Austin team to raise over $75,000 in one fabulous night.

Make friends with people who do their job better than you.

The first thing you should do when you’re trying to get a foothold in the industry is check your pride. Always remember that you are just starting out and you aren’t too good for anyone’s advice or experience. Make friends with the people who are already successful and doing the job you want to do. Pick their brains if you ever get a chance and be open to learning from them.

Other than learning, there are obviously benefits from making connections with people who are already in the industry. Whether you interact with them on social media, add them on LinkedIn or approach them at events, you are making connections and an impression on people everywhere you go. Always put on your best face and be confident enough to introduce yourself to whoever you think is worth knowing. Confidence is KEY.

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Overall, I hope you guys realize that every dream needs a plan and right now is the time to get started on that plan. I know it can be discouraging at times, frustrating at others but when you get the call saying you’ve been picked for the position, all the hard work will pay off. Keep working on your character, your resume and your work ethic always and never stop dreaming.

The Rodeo Mrs.

 

Have questions about rodeo internships? Have any good tips to share? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

 

Sweet Little Boho Vagabond

Hey Y’all!

So, I was totally inspired to post this outfit based on a new Miranda Lambert song. If you haven’t heard her new album, please stop what you’re doing and go listen. In my opinion, it’s her best music to date and is totally road trip worthy!

Speaking of road trips, I would totally wear this outfit for one. One of Miranda’s new songs, “Highway Vagabond”, has me day dreaming about riding around in an old hippie van, headed to rodeos with my best girlfriends. In our house, any trip short of twenty hours is a “day’s drive” and we love to be on the road whenever we can.

So of course, I aim for chill and stylish when I pick out what to wear while traveling. Sometimes, I really just want to wear sweats with no bra and call it a day, but then I think, what if I have to stop at a Cracker Barrel? You gotta at least be decent for the Cracker Barrel, amirite?

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For this very chill hippie outfit, I paired some Rock 47 palazzo pants with a Twisted J squash blossom graphic tee. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that graphic tees are not just in, but a HUGE must have. This is great because they’re versatile and of course comfy!

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To dress it up just a tad, I added a casual black lace vest with fringed edges. It looks effortless on and adds a touch of laid back style. For boots, I have on my Corral pointed toe inlay boots, which are my go to for fancying up a look.

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To keep with the laid back feel, the only accessories I added were bronze & turquoise drop earrings. Hair and makeup is simple as well – just a messy fishtail braid and a little fuchsia lipstick!

 

I hope you guys enjoy this look and find some time to get out on the open road. Nothing will clear your mind like a long talk with God on the highway.

What do you like to wear on road trips? What is your favorite destination? Tell me in the comments!

Stay unique, sisters.