Sister Style: Arkansas Shots

Bright light

 

I feel like every time my sister and I get together we end up taking photos of each other. Me, for the blog, her because I want to shoot her. It’s fun to play photographer and art director for twenty minutes and tell her what to do. Plus, redheads in the woods are probably my favorite type of photos to edit. That red and foresty green UGH it gets me.

hi!hi!

I shot these on our Hot Springs trip last Thanksgiving. Our house backed up to these woods and there was this perfect treeline. It’s so easy to photograph someone in front a treeline. Nobody looks bad in front of one. Pro tip.

selfieselfiederp

Can’t decide if she was doing this on purpose, or I caught her in some weird sneeze snart thing.

hi!light

I love photographing my sisters. They’re easy targets. Plus, Shelby has a pretty great Etsy shop where she sells graphic prints. She’s updating it now so go check it out!

Shel is currently in her second year at Truett Seminary at Baylor in Waco getting her Master of Divinity with a concentration in worship leading. She lives in a jealousy-inducing apartment with dark hardwoods, 12 foot ceilings, and glass doorknobs. It’s sickening, really. Shel is younger than me by just one year but we might as well be twins. People either mistake us for twins or for me as the younger one, which I’m fine with. When we’re 75 I’ll look younger. I hate that she’s not three seconds from me like she was when we lived at home, but the road trips back and forth are worth it. It never seems that far.

If you want to read more about my sister who is almost as cool as me, check out her blog! And then bug her to update it, cause seriously. It’s time. (UPDATED: Shelby apparently deleted her blog, MUCH to the dismay of ME.)

 

What Mel Wears to Canton

YES

 

If you live in East Texas or really anywhere in Texas probably, you’ve heard of First Mondays in Canton, Texas. Every, you guessed it, first Monday weekend of the month there is this expansive flea market there. And when I say expansive I mean people bring their RVs and camp out for the weekend. My aunt and uncle are actually opening up an RV park there! (Rolling Oaks, holla!) Wear comfortable clothes, be prepared to eat fair food and drink the best lemonade you’ve ever had, and bring ca$h. You can find anything from antiques to cheap China crap to local farm food to “handmade” crafts to here. And the vendors are willing to deal. Just do me a favor and skip the animal part. It’s seriously all heartbreakingly awful puppy mills. (Do not support them!)

Several years ago I got a campaign style dresser here for $25. I had no idea what I was buying at the time but I’m so glad I was smart enough to snag it. This year I scored a rattan plant stand for $5! Everywhere else I’ve seen them for at least $50. Dude clearly didn’t know what he had. I also got this hilarious director’s chair that says “Miracle Whip” on it. No clue where that’s gonna go but I had to have it, obviously.

If I had a signature pose.

flannel/bag: thrifted, top: gaudy me, jeans/shoes: target, charisma: me

Don’t be a dummy like me (or do) and not wear sunscreen if you’re gonna pop off and wear no sleeves. I am glad I got a little color though. Summer’s a coming!

xx

Dallas Bucket List: Rooftop Nights

LG

 

I’m really not sure where my obsession with rooftops began. Really with all outdoor spaces. One of my requirements for an apartment here was that it have a porch or patio or balcony. (Thank you, Jesus, for giving me one!) I follow a photographer on Snapchat that lives in Deep Ellum, a mile and a half or so from me, and has the most gorgeous rooftop in her loft building and she CAN SEE THE SKYLINE SO CLEARLY and it kills me. #loftgoals

bffbff

Since I got my haircut Friday (YAY!) I was feeling sassy and needed to go out. Kalie and I found a poppin’ rooftop in Lower Greenville and drank Pimm’s while watching the tipsy people balance on the sidewalk.

Remedy Skyline!

You see those lights in the distance? Yeah. That’s the skyline. I swear it’s so much closer than it actually appears! It’s no Deep Ellum loft rooftop, but it’ll do. For now.

 

xx

Finding My Blogging Voice

I started blogging in 2009 just before getting engaged, a whopping seven years ago. I had just discovered fashion blogs and was coming into my own figuring out what my style actually was and it seemed like the perfect avenue to explore and experiment. Back then, the clothes were sponsored by ModCloth and everything was thrifted or vintage. There was a uniqueness to fashion blogging then. Everyone had a story to tell or a witty quip. Now the clothes are sponsored by higher end brands and the photos are all bright white and the clothes are all neutral. (There’s a really good blog post from Jessica at What I Wore about this exact thing.) Don’t get me wrong! I enjoy those neutrals and those bright photos, but at some point, are we just adding to the noise?

black shirt

WEARING FAKE GLASSES EVEN BACK THEN. Some things never change.

I remember being so terrified of using the Nikon D40 I had. What is exposure? ISO? F stop? Focal lengths? It petrified me. But I wanted to learn so badly. I wanted that skill. I read so many articles, watched YouTube videos, practiced, practiced, practiced, researched, researched, researched. My first outfit post was called ‘Cranberry Legs’. I wore a white button up, a light blue pattern chiffon skirt, cranberry colored tights, and black boots. I didn’t have a tripod and I was too embarrassed to ask anyone to take my picture, so I took a mirror selfie in a full length mirror. That post is long gone now, and I would hope I’ve improved the photo aspect a little bit.

WHOA.

(seriously squealed when I found out I still had this photo. LOOK AT ME. OMG. Did I mention it was in a bathroom?)

I did alright for myself for a year or two on the fashion blogging front. I posted as often as I could and even got sent two dresses from a company I like. That was never my goal, though. I just liked clothes and had a knack for putting together weird things. I still have that passion, but I keep coming back to the same thing: are we just adding to the noise?

oldies

Everyone and their boyfriend is a fashion blogger these days. It’s hard to want to be something that everyone is trying to be. How would I find success? How would success even be defined? How could I create original content in a world where everything looks the same and is dominated by trends? How do I put forth my own voice and not be drowned out?

wowmocspolka

Let me tell you something. If you have a passion for something, do it. If you want to do something, do it. Learn all you can about that one thing and do it. Because you’re the one doing it, your voice will inevitably shine through. Your colors will be all over that thing. Sure, it’s still called what everyone else is calling it (side note: I really hate the term ‘fashion blogger’. ick.), but you’ve got your own spin on it. You have a story to tell. You have a life to live. And maybe some people wanna follow that and jump on board. I have no idea why because all you ever post is photos of food and your dog, Pepper, but sure. Someone will like that.

shortscheetahhair

Do I still question every single time I post if it’s good enough? Original enough? Catchy enough? Yes. Do I still wonder if I’m conveying myself enough? Being funny enough? Publicizing enough? Every day. But I know that I love blogging. I love writing. I love taking photos. I don’t care if this thing ever has more than ten followers, because that’s not what it’s about for me. It’s about doing something I really like that keeps me sane throughout the boring days. I know I’m weird enough to have something original to say. I hear it from my friends every day.

 

So let’s do this. Together. Let’s do what we’re passionate about and find our own creative voices. Okay? Swear? Don’t back out on me. I’ll find you.

 

 

xx

My First Christmas

Christmas!

I’ve had a lot of firsts in the last seven months: my first apartment, my first real night alone, paying my first electricity bill, first time melting an extension cord into the socket. Lots of stuff. But this Christmas was mine. I had complete control over the entire holiday. I could make my own traditions, decorate however I wanted, watch and listen to Christmas music all day long.

I normally get pretty melancholy around Christmas. Not because of the holiday itself, but because of the weather. It’s always dreary and cloudy and it’s hard to feel festive when you come home to an empty apartment every night. But I made it work. I figured out ways to be cheerful! I made myself listen to Christmas music on the way to and from work, I decorated my tree, I made Christmas cookies for my neighbors, I even bought myself an ornament to document my first Christmas (a gold ‘M’. Fitting, as I have been recently called ‘basic’. A term I wholeheartedly disagree with.) I began my own traditions.

And that’s really what it’s about, right? We spend the majority of our early years Christmasing with our families and adopting their traditions. But what happens when we move out? When we have our own families? We have to make our own! I’m already thinking about things I can do this Christmas. (Too soon?)

Treei like foodThanks, Urban OutfittersPepperLove!

Christmases have kind of notoriously been hard for me. Lot of breakups tend to happen around this holiday for me. Just me? No one else? Cool. No matter who you are, if you’re lonely or not, just surround yourself with people. Shine those twinkle lights all night until you run your electricity bill through the roof. Make your neighbors cookies and then get anxiety knocking on their doors in the dark and then when the one neighbor you’ve deemed ‘Hot Neighbor’ doesn’t answer his door when you knock, make yourself crazy wondering why you heard his floor creak then leave the cookies outside his door. (This is so incredibly incriminating.)

 

Happy Christmas in March, folks.

 

 

xx

Experiencing Hot Springs

Farmhouse

My mom’s side of the family has started a two year long tradition of renting a house in Arkansas for Thanksgiving. A bulk of our family lives in Springdale, AR and staying up there for a time allows our actual entire family to be together. This Thanksgiving we rented an enormous farmhouse on gobs of land. It was so refreshing to spend time (with wi-fi, hallelujah) with family just walking around the grounds, breaking into buildings we probably shouldn’t have and eating our weight in food for four days.

CuzAndrewLadybugWeeds

If you’re like me and have never been to Hot Springs, the downtown there is full of non-working old bathhouses, old bathhouses that still operate, hot water fountains outside of every building, and dozens of spigots flowing hot spring water where residents come and fill up crates of old milk jugs with the stuff. The spring water is supposed to have healing powers. All I know is that soaking in that hot water would’ve really warmed me up after walking around downtown in the cold all night.

SistersOzarkHot SpringsDowntown

Thanksgiving day was glorious. A storm started rolling in so we gathered on the front porch for a family portrait. Our stomachs were growling, but the wait was so worth it. Smoked turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, stuffing, bread. All the good things.

FoodMom and Aunt StephShelLauraPawPawAunt StephUncle Brad

(Now, look. I don’t want to hear any complaining about there being a terrible picture of you on here. You saw me with the camera, thus mentally signing a waiver releasing you of looking ridiculous.)

Moral of the story is rent yourself a house in the woods, the mountains, anywhere. Bring your family along. Force yourselves to spend time together. You’ll thank yourself 15 years from now when things look a lot different. I know we will.

 

 

xx