Casual Western Flair

When it comes to style, I am not a simple girl. When I graduated college and was supposed to wear Business Professional attire, I struggled not to add a bolo, statement earrings or some kind of fringe or sparkle.

I just don’t quite get the idea of getting dressed to get dressed. Style is one of the easiest ways for me to be myself, and that means adding flair to even the simplest outfits.

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The beauty of this outfit is that its centered around the basics. Who doesn’t have a go to pair of jeans in their closet and a selection of t-shirts to throw on with it? I totally love the graphic tee trend for the fact that its easy, its familiar, and anyone can work with it. My jeans are Miss Me’s in the trouser style. I put them with a sweet graphic tee from Twisted J, one of my favorite small western businesses.

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To add to the basic jeans-and-tshirt look, I layered first with a denim pearl snap. Since I’m adding a bold third layer, I thought the denim gave the outfit more depth and made it step up a level in the fancy department. And of course, the gem of this ensemble is the red fringe vest. This vest is suede and super comfy to wear, with dramatic, eye catching, long fringe.

For accessories, I put on this cute turquoise and pearl cross necklace and beaded earrings. I added a dark lip to bring a little color to my face and boldness to the entire look. Of course, I have messy hair which matches my fringe flying around!

 

I hope y’all enjoyed my take on a casual tee-and-jeans look. How do you like to style your graphic tees? Let me know in the comments.

No matter who you are, remember that you can rock anything you want. Don’t let anyone’s opinion on your style go to your heart. Just be yourself and never be afraid to say I AM HERE, THIS IS ME, whether you wear a t-shirt or sequin pants. (or both at once)

Stay unique, sisters!

Styling the Vintage Soul

Sometimes I look at photos from the past and feel like I just missed out big time. I hang out with the kind of people who feel like they were meant for a different time, just not fitting in with what is popular today. I can honestly say I have nothing in common with those kids that run around on hover boards (okay, Back to the Future, we get it) and don’t believe their parents used to be cool.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t go back to be born in 1945, and I do really like having a phone that isn’t connected to a wall and an operator…BUT, that doesn’t mean I have to dress like it!

The coolest part about fashion is how trends come back around and we can remember how cool the past was and still is. Obviously, I was trying for some 70’s old-school-cool with this ensemble! Let’s all appreciate the decade of soul for a minute.

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I put this little number together around these awesome rusty bell bottoms. The denim shirt balances the rich bottom half and adds some new texture to the look. I popped on this white fur vest with embroidery because, hello…70’s street glam anyone?

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To accessorize, I put on my beaded statement necklace that y’all have seen in a few of my looks. I especially like this piece against anything denim. Finishing off the accessories is this pair of rust turquoise drop earrings and my favorite burgundy fedora.

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I hope I left you guys with a little bit of vintage spirit today. Always keep moving forward but never forget to look back every once in awhile to appreciate the past and those who lived in a different world than you.

Stay unique, sisters!

 

 

How to Make the Most of Your Next NFR

Let me be honest with you guys. I have the WORST vacation hangover ever this week. We had SO much fun and got to experience so many things at the NFR that we had overlooked in the past, and it was an absolute blast! I’m lucky I even got to go, but now that I’m home, all I can think about is my FOMO (fear of missing out) on all the fun of the last five rounds.

If you have been thinking about planning a trip to the NFR, let me tell you it is worth every penny to hop a plane to Vegas for a week to experience it. But, we all know Vegas is a pricey place to hang out, so here are my top tips to making your dollar stretch a little further and while still taking in as much as possible.

Let the NFR 2017 planning begin!

  1. Book your hotel early and ask for deals.

Obviously, the longer you wait to get your digs tied down, the more expensive it will be, so once you decide to go, book as soon as you can. You can always go the modern route and book on Trivago or Travelocity, but I suggest calling the hotels directly instead of bypassing them.

They want to get your business, especially with so many great places to stay on the Strip. Ask them what they have for room deals and don’t be afraid to haggle a little. If you mention you are coming specifically for NFR, some of the hotels will have packages that include crazy cheap rooms, gambling credit or even buffet & drink vouchers that will cancel out your initial room fees. Check MGM, Mirage and The South Point out first for NFR packages!

2. Buy a monorail pass.

Cab fares are the WORST. Our first time out in Vegas, we stayed less than a mile off the strip and thought we would be able to walk everywhere…wrong. We shelled out more than 300 dollars on taxis over the course of four days! Bypass this expense and buy a pass for the Las Vegas monorail.

The monorail runs from MGM, through the strip, out past the Las Vegas Convention Center all the way to where the Stratosphere is located. Long story short, you can get to almost ANYWHERE taking the monorail with only short walks to and from the stations. Most of the hotels hook up to a monorail station, making it easy to jump on and off when you need to. A four day pass costs 35 dollars, which will pay for itself in less than a day. Plus, you get to meet all sorts of people and strike up conversations with other NFR goers!

3. Check out the NFR experience website and plan your activities.

Don’t get hung up on just watching the rodeo and seeing Cowboy Christmas. There are SO many things to do that are going on throughout the ten days of NFR. You can watch team roping invitationals, clinics by NFR qualifiers, live music by huge performers, bull fighting championships, go round buckle presentations, go to the numerous viewing parties throughout the city…the possibilities are endless!

During our time this year, we watched the live feed at MGM, Mirage and the South Point. We saw Randy Rogers Band, Sam Riggs, Aaron Watson, Casey Donahew and Lonestar live in concert at all different venues, saw multiple NFR shopping venues and went to many of the special events. You can see what’s happening every night at every place on the website and plan what you want to do. And the best part? Most of it is FREE admission!

4. Book a Hotel that is Centrally Located

If it is your first time out in Vegas for NFR, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many activities that are spread out all along the Strip and even off the Strip in different parts of town. Booking at MGM or South Point definitely has the bonus of being where the action is (which is also a great option) but I would recommend staying somewhere centrally located on the Strip.

You will be guaranteed to be close to all the action and it will almost always be an easy trip back to your hotel if plans change or you went the wrong way (which happens, by the way). We stayed at the Paris which is literally the central stop on the Monorail and is only a short walk to many of the main hotels and music venues we visited. We took the monorail to get to most places but could have easily taken a ten minute walk to almost anywhere. The Strip is only four miles long but there is so much going on that it can be daunting!

5. Take Advantage of Coupons and Explore Your Food Options

Usually when you check into your hotel room on the Strip, they will give you a little book full of coupons to use around town. Some of them may not be relevant to what you want to do but make sure you take a look at them! There are usually offers for 2/1 drinks or meals, cheap buffets or great deals for restaurants off the Strip that want your business.

Also, as a rule of thumb, the more convenient the restaurant, the more expensive! The cafe that is sitting right in the lobby outside the elevator of your hotel is placed there for a reason – there are lots of great places to eat for cheap when you venture into the depths of the casinos and hotels that are friendlier in price. Exploring the town is not only fun but can save you a lot of money verses stay in the safe spots of the main lobby and directly off the main Strip.

 

I hope these tips help you guys plan a successful NFR trip in 2017! It is such a privilege to attend such an iconic event and be apart of the sport that we are all passionate about. Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for stretching your dollar on a trip to the NFR.

Stay Unique, Sisters!

Floral Maxi with Some Punch

Hey Guys!

It has been a whirlwind of a week between going to Vegas and coming back to a heap of homework and finals. (p.s. I graduate college NEXT WEEK!)

I hope some of you took time to follow me on Instagram where I posted all of my outfits from Vegas and filled y’all in on what Marshall and I were up to all week! I got to see four rounds of rodeo action, go to amazing live concerts every night and of course, admire all of the STUNNING fashion.

Seriously guys, they don’t call the NFR “Rodeo Fashion Week” for nothing. Everything you ever dreamed of in your Pinterest closet could never compare to what these ladies bring out. I picked up a lot of great tips on where to shop and found some super cute boutiques I may have to share with you guys!andrea-fall-2016-227-of-243

Here is one of my outfits from the week that I wore to a Casey Donahew concert at the Mirage. This dress is a total red showstopper with bold floral patterns. I threw a black lace vest over top to give it a little more dimension.

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I paired the dress/vest combo with a concho belt with turquoise details to define my waist and added a bolo tie for flair. I am also wearing silver bangles and simple black fringe earrings.

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For boots, I picked these Corral inlay boots. I think they are a match made in heaven with this dress! While I was in Vegas, I tied the side of this dress up to show off the boots a little more since I liked them so much.

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As usual, I am saying my daily prayer of thanks that messy hair is in! These are leftover curls from earlier in the day. I simply threw some dry shampoo in for texture and a thin spritz of hair spray to keep it from going flat. With such a bold dress, I decided to keep my makeup simple as well, just defining my eyebrows and putting on a dark, fall lip.

 

I really hope y’all enjoy this look and you continue to follow my journey down the rodeo road.

Stay unique, sisters!

 

Cowboy Christmas Fashion

Hey Guys!

Today is the day. Like, it’s really here. Round one of the National Finals Rodeo starts tonight and everyone in the cowboy world will be watching!

We arrived last night (three flights and twelve hours later) and spent today walking the Strip and perusing Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center. If you have never been out to Vegas for NFR, let me tell you, the shopping alone is reason enough to come! We walked booths for four hours and didn’t even make it through the entire first (yes, there are two) floor. Not to mention the shopping at Mandalay Bay and downtown that we haven’t even visited yet!

The fashion, of course, was on point. I have been watching the NFR 2016 trends for a few months and they all came out full force today:

Mexican embroidery that came in the form of bright colored vests, jackets and shift dresses.

Fringe on everything from shoes (HCC mocs of course!) to boots, to vests and dresses.

Velvet pants, body suits and wraps in all kinds of fun vintage colors.

Statement silver & turquoise has always been in and is bold as ever.

 

As for me, I tried to channel a “swanky Vegas” day look that has touches of vintage and modern trends. Obviously, these photos were not taken in Vegas, but I wore the exact same outfit today for hanging around the town.

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I picked up this black velvet shirt from the thrift store last month, and it goes with everything! It’s amazing what a little texture can do for the style of a shirt. I paired the velvet with Rock 47 palazzo pants.

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I accessorized with a burgundy floppy hat, bronze statement earrings, a rhinestone belt and pointed toe Corral boots.

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I did change my hair style and wore it all down instead of the messy braid, but I like it either way depending on your plans for the day! I also rocked a hot pink lip and a brown smoky eye with this look.

I will be here in Vegas until Monday, so keep checking back for more of my adventures here and to talk NFR of course.

Stay unique, sisters!

 

Fierce for Fall

First of all, my great friend and wonderful photographer Mackenzie Moffitt (look her up) outdid herself with these gorgeous pictures we took during golden hour on Marshall’s family farm. I’m obsessed.

Second, for some reason I have really had a time finding cheetah print pieces that I genuinely could work into a lot of outfits. I’m not sure why it has been so difficult considering my second skin is usually cheetah print, but I finally found something I could pair with a lot of different outfits in this slouchy vest.

I picked up this little number from a boutique in Galena, Illinois, just over the border from Dubuque, Iowa. If you’re from my area, do yourself a favor and have a girl’s day out there. I have found some of the most unique pieces at the numerous boutiques, plus there are multiple chocolate factories and wine shops, so…that explains itself.

Okay, seriously, the best part about this vest is not only that it is a fierce print but it’s also fleece lined. I don’t know where all of you are from, but here in Iowa, warm fashion is good fashion come winter time. You could totally put a long-sleeved thermal under this with a bright scarf and jeans or even throw it over a graphic tee and a flannel for layering bliss.

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I paired this vest with a denim, bell-sleeved dress and pleather leggings for a cozy fall feel. This is a look I would wear to the office, to dinner with friends or to church on a chilly morning.

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I added a bit of pop with my favorite beaded statement necklace, bangles with fringe details and a large concho belt. The belt is understated with the vest over top, but it adds a nice focal point and gives me a waist, which I definitely need.

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In case you wanted to see my favorite concho belt in it’s full glory, here I am showing it off in the golden glow of the late afternoon.

I hope you all enjoy the fall weather while it lasts! Never forget that winter is just around the corner and these golden days will be gone in a flash.

Stay unique, my sisters!

Authentic & Proud – When You Feel Like an Outsider

 

The first time I remember going to a rodeo was when I was around five years old. My parents had brought me to my mom’s hometown of Bellevue, Iowa for the weekend in the middle of June. Bellevue hosts an annual PRCA rodeo which always has the town buzzing with excitement.

I remember sitting on a bull, eating a funnel cake and wearing a white straw hat that had been spray painted purple around the brim. I remember how proud I was of having the rodeo queen’s autograph on the crown of that little ten dollar hat. But the moment I got hooked was the minute I watched the first barrel racer come flying out of the alleyway, and I just knew it was for me.

I didn’t grow up in a family with a rich rodeo history. My grandpa was the only one in the family who rode, and I was the only grand child that ever pursued it. I was that kid who tried everything – ice skating, basketball, violin, piano, volleyball, gymnastics…needless to say, it took some time to convince my parents that I was serious about riding. But after some time and a little piece of paper with a “pony plan” written on it, I had a horse of my own and was free to develop a deep passion for the sport of rodeo.

Even though I was wildly passionate, I learned quickly that rodeo culture was not abundant, and it would be a struggle to be taken seriously sometimes. When I was in high school, I was ashamed to be from Iowa and felt like a fake within the sport I loved. How could I be a cowgirl from a farm state? I tried so hard to be someone else, to rewrite my history to feel like I fit in. Even now, I can feel intimidated every now and again. Working in the industry really made me see how different I was from all those kids who are 4th generation ranch kids or grandkids of NFR legends.

But, even though I’m not from Texas or Montana, I belong. Even though I grew up surrounded by corn fields and combines, I have a passion that connects me to people from all over the country. The more I work and travel, the more I realize how many unique people I get to meet and befriend. How amazing is it that you can tell where someone is from, simply from the way they shape their hat? How cool is it that you can meet someone from California, South Dakota, Maryland and Georgia all in the same arena?

I’ve come to understand that diversity is what keeps life interesting, and what keeps you from becoming stuck in your own ways. It is so freeing to represent your heritage while also being apart of a culture so much bigger than yourself.

So this goes out to all those kids who feel like underdogs because they didn’t grow up in a ranch family. To all those kids who grew up in a farm town or a suburb but fell in love with a lifestyle they pursued on their own, I salute you and stand with you. Never apologize for who you are, how you grew up, your traditions, your culture or your personality. It may not be the most popular thing, but being yourself is so much cooler than trying to be someone else.

Stay authentic & stay proud, y’all.

The Rodeo Mrs.

Authentic & Proud – When You Feel Like an Outsider

 

The first time I remember going to a rodeo was when I was around five years old. My parents had brought me to my mom’s hometown of Bellevue, Iowa for the weekend in the middle of June. Bellevue hosts an annual PRCA rodeo which always has the town buzzing with excitement.

I remember sitting on a bull, eating a funnel cake and wearing a white straw hat that had been spray painted purple around the brim. I remember how proud I was of having the rodeo queen’s autograph on the crown of that little ten dollar hat. But the moment I got hooked was the minute I watched the first barrel racer come flying out of the alleyway, and I just knew it was for me.

I didn’t grow up in a family with a rich rodeo history. My grandpa was the only one in the family who rode, and I was the only grand child that ever pursued it. I was that kid who tried everything – ice skating, basketball, violin, piano, volleyball, gymnastics…needless to say, it took some time to convince my parents that I was serious about riding. But after some time and a little piece of paper with a “pony plan” written on it, I had a horse of my own and was free to develop a deep passion for the sport of rodeo.

Even though I was wildly passionate, I learned quickly that rodeo culture was not abundant, and it would be a struggle to be taken seriously sometimes. When I was in high school, I was ashamed to be from Iowa and felt like a fake within the sport I loved. How could I be a cowgirl from a farm state? I tried so hard to be someone else, to rewrite my history to feel like I fit in. Even now, I can feel intimidated every now and again. Working in the industry really made me see how different I was from all those kids who are 4th generation ranch kids or grandkids of NFR legends.

But, even though I’m not from Texas or Montana, I belong. Even though I grew up surrounded by corn fields and combines, I have a passion that connects me to people from all over the country. The more I work and travel, the more I realize how many unique people I get to meet and befriend. How amazing is it that you can tell where someone is from, simply from the way they shape their hat? How cool is it that you can meet someone from California, South Dakota, Maryland and Georgia all in the same arena?

I’ve come to understand that diversity is what keeps life interesting, and what keeps you from becoming stuck in your own ways. It is so freeing to represent your heritage while also being apart of a culture so much bigger than yourself.

So this goes out to all those kids who feel like underdogs because they didn’t grow up in a ranch family. To all those kids who grew up in a farm town or a suburb but fell in love with a lifestyle they pursued on their own, I salute you and stand with you. Never apologize for who you are, how you grew up, your traditions, your culture or your personality. It may not be the most popular thing, but being yourself is so much cooler than trying to be someone else.

Stay authentic & stay proud, y’all.

The Rodeo Mrs.

Embracing Your Chaos

 

I have some of the coolest friends someone could ask for. Each of them is interesting in their own individual way and they are all bound to be wildly successful. Honestly, they are all no-brainers when it comes to the possibility of doing great things. But honestly, I am not them.

If you were to ask any of my friends what kind of person I am, the general consensus would be messy. I am the kind of person that always takes on too much, is overconfident and learns from her mistakes after three or four tries. I am smart but not a straight A student. I am ambitious, but not to be a doctor or an engineer. I have drive but sometimes lack direction. I am a self-proclaimed hot mess.

But despite owning up to all my messy tendencies, here is what I know:

I know that I have just as much potential even if it is vast and wayward. I know that the only thing bigger than my passion is my heart. I know that I am being myself and not someone else. I know that my flaws make me unique and my scars are evidence of my lessons learned.

It’s okay to not be the girl that has everything figured out.

Have you ever stood on top of a mountain? In the middle of the desert? By the ocean? with nowhere to be and no plan? There is a kind of freedom in that. It is okay to have passions that span into a million different directions and to have no idea what to do with them yet. It’s okay to be creative. It’s okay if it takes a few tries before you learn the lesson intended for you.

I know it’s easy to compare yourself to others and feel inadequate, as if you were not cut out to be successful or fulfilled simply because you are not conventional. Don’t fall for it. Embrace your chaos.

Vegas Glam for the Farm Girl

Rodeo friends, brace yourselves. The National Finals Rodeo is literally just around the corner!

The first time I got the chance to see the NFR in person was three years ago as a sophomore in college. For those of you who have never gone, let me just tell you it’s a magical feeling to see it in person, and totally worth the vacation days to go.

For the first time since our first trip, I am heading back to Vegas this year to once again marvel in the lights, music and western culture that engulfs the desert for ten full days. I can not wait to show you all our adventures throughout our time there as I’ll be covering all kinds of events and talking about the fashion of course!

To me, Vegas is synonymous with flashy, so of course I had to pack an outfit that included a TON of sparkle. These sequin pants were definitely the ticket to glam for me this year – so unique, not itchy and eye catching!andrea-fall-2016-65-of-243

I paired my new fave Elvis pants with a graphic tee and a red wrap for a relaxed but vibrant look.

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I am LOVING that messy hair is in! All I did for this textured look was apply dry shampoo to dirty hair and put a beaded headband on for flair.

I kept accessories to a minimum wearing silver bangles with fringe detail and a pair of Kendra Scott earrings.

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And the look is finished off with a pair of red patent leather Ferrini boots.

 

For all of my girls who don’t think they are fancy enough to pull off this look, you’re probably wrong. Remember, fashion is about confidence. You know I’d rock this outfit on the Vegas Strip or grabbing some milk from Walmart.

Stay unique, sisters!