Wednesday, November 26, 2014

stamps of life

I was thinking the other day about how life leaves scars.

It's a common concept, this idea that we're all constantly healing from, repressing or feeling the residual scar tissue of past pains and heartbreaks and memories. Sometimes they're seen as a good thing - these invisible (or sometimes quite visible) marks of trial and error, betrayal and tragedy. Learning experiences that make us stronger in the end.

This is a little bit different than my posts on clothes and movies and books (which I still love to write about), but sometimes this blog is a reservoir of my thoughts and various rabbit hole adventures. Other stories that come from perhaps a deeper place inside my mind.

As I thought about life's scars, my mind began to tumble down that rabbit hole and eventually led me into a gallery of imagined people. I'm there too, and we're all covered in our vivid white scars, wounds of all shapes and sizes. What do they mean? Where did they come from?
I then started thinking of other invisible markings we may have. If we have marks from the troubling and painful times, shouldn't we also have markings to prove our triumphs?

I began to imagine the white scarred skin covered by stamps of color. The people became hosts to a vivid myriad of high-resolution experiences. Stamps made from words of love, traveling and discovery, blossoming friendships, victories, memories, and more. Stamps of flowers, maps, pictures, places, people, things. Tattooed from head to toe by the blessings.

It's kind of a miraculous picture in my mind. Because I think sometimes those scars can be pesky. They can be blinding. Just like our daily imperfections that preoccupy and frustrate us. Just like that story in the Bible where Elisha and his servant are surrounded by their enemies in the mountains, and Elisha asks the Lord to open his servant's eyes. When He does, the servant is dumbstruck to discover that the hills are packed with horses and chariots of fire - an army of angels standing guard around them. There is so much we cannot see and do not know.

There are two very basic things I learn from looking at my own stamps and scars.

1. This World is Broken
2. There is Hope

This world is broken and always will be. It's called sin and if you don't know about it, I suggest taking a look at the definition. You can't walk out your door without garnering a cut or a bruise - there are sharp weapons shooting across the air at every moment. It's a dangerous place to be.

But there is Hope. And His name is Jesus. He has scars too, because He was magnificent enough to walk in this world and is living proof of its weapons. His scars are real. If you don't know about Him, then welcome to the Truth, my friend. He is the author of those stamps of life, and I guarantee He's already made some on you. You may call them blessings or luck or karma but those are just empty shells assigned to the true source.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and brings so many thoughts of family and memories and above all, gratitude. Second best to gratitude are my grandma's mashed potatoes. But even in my short 26 years this life has managed to scar me. And I have been renewed, every time, by a brilliant stamp. Scars are real and they sometimes last for a long time, but there are things that are bigger and better. Things of color and life. Like purpose in Christ, like truth, like eternity.

I generally know what my scars are and how I got them, but I'd like to think that if you put on those magical glasses (or those God-given eyes) that allowed you to see life's many marks on my skin, I'd be a radiant kaleidoscope of color.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

this time last year

spider lady of shalott

Looking back on my style posts around this time last year has brought on a very acute sadness for the lack of changing leaves here in AZ. Part of me absolutely loves the gorgeous Fall weather here (gorgeous meaning sunny: a tad nippy in the evenings but bright and almost warm during the days). The other part misses my collection of boots and tights and scarves and gloves and hats. I've kept them in boxes, more content to keep them out of my sight than to remind myself how beautiful they all are.

This morning I did break open one box labeled "Caitlin Winter" (can that be my alter ego? because I dig it) and clutched all of the beautiful sweaters to my chest. Oh, how I have missed them. It felt like an early Christmas gift.

In looking back on last year's style, I grabbed a few photos of my favorite looks from the end of October through November for this wintry recollection post. More for me than you, but even so, I hope you enjoy.
This was around the time I started getting restless with my hair, and began curling it every day and going rogue by parting it down the center. I then dyed the tips red in an act of uncharacteristic edginess. It was also a rather glorious time of friendship, afternoon dates, road trip adventures, sleeping in, discovering new things, and loving life. Great memories swirling among those Autumn leaves.

frocktober: the end
afternoon dates
the tapestry bag
the vintage slip

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I have always wondered what it would be like to have a sister. 

My mom and I went to Home Depot last night to run some errands, and I wandered around in the garden section for a while, eventually stumbling upon the two gorgeous pink roses pictured above. They were growing side by side. Rosy sisters. Something struck my heart in that moment. Perhaps it was longing, or a little bit of remembrance for my younger self, who always begged and wished for a sister. Or maybe it was a little twinge of something else entirely, a nameless emotion tied to seeing something simple and beautiful. 

I grew up with 3 marvelous brothers whom I love deeply, and friends and cousins that I attached myself to as a surrogate sister. I always envied my friends who had sisters, and would chide them when they fought because I couldn't comprehend fighting with a beloved sister. As I've grown up and my siblings and siblings-in-law have gotten married, I have even gained sisters-in-law, which is such a delightful bonus to my collection of siblings.

Funnily enough, every sister-in-law I have is just like me: we all grew up without any sisters. It strikes me as very strange and kind of lovely. What are the odds? We are a gaggle of sisterless women who love each other all the more because we are each other's first experiences with sisterhood. 

Dress (remixed 1, 2): Ruche
Star Sweater: remixed

Don't get me wrong: many of my friends have been like sisters to me over the years. I do not belittle those relationships in any way. I had several "sisters" growing up that I still love and cherish. They allowed me to share my room and giggle over secrets. And my sisters-in-law expanded that realm of relationship even further, filling up our family and making it more of a girl's club!

Even so, I realize that there is a very real question tucked away in the stitches of my being that will never be answered. I'll never know what it's like to have a real sister. Which in many ways is fine, because as they say, ignorance is bliss. I don't really understand the intricacies of what I'm missing. It's not a devastating or a heartbreaking thought, it's just something that I know to be true.
There are positive influences to growing up entirely with brothers, too. I owe so much of myself to them. My interests and many aspects of my personality. I think it's possible that I am the friend that I am because I never had any sisters.

In one of my favorite parts of the movie In Her Shoes, Maggie is trying to explain her sister Rose to her husband-to-be, Simon. The first half of the movie is very dark and sad, illustrating the strain and heartbreak that has wedged the two sisters apart. Maggie is basically telling Simon that her little sister is irresponsible, frustrating, immature, selfish - and that he'll end up begging her to throw her out of their lives.

But I won't. Because she's my sister. Without her, I don't make sense. 

That part always makes me cry, mostly because of the restorative nature of forgiveness and the steadfast love and loyalty that is inherent in sisterhood. I have been blessed to know and love many sisters in the world, catching a peek at what that relationship is really like. I know I get glimpses of it. 

I shall continue assigning myself as a surrogate sister to the many kindred spirits in my life, knowing that sisterhood is a beautiful thing, in every form. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

the whole world

Necklace (shop!): Sheinside
Sweater: LOFT, Skirt: Ruche

Do you remember that rather fabulous teaser trailer for The Boxtrolls that gave an inside peek at the making of stop-motion animation? 
That's the first thing I thought of when I got this globe necklace from Sheinside, (And also, that it's adorable and only $6!). 

I remember seeing that trailer for the first time and being absolutely fascinated and awestruck by the intricacies of such an endeavor. Even after seeing (and loving) the strange, charming, dark, stunning, steampunk, oddball movie in all its glory I couldn't wrap my mind around the hundreds of hands and hours it must have taken to create such a masterpiece. 

I grew up watching claymation Christmas movies and adoring hand-drawn animated movies and videogames. There is something really overwhelming about envisioning the actual artists behind those stories. Especially because of the advancements that have been made in filmmaking and animation, and the overall modern preference for digital artistry. I'm not saying that CGI isn't art, but I am saying I would rather have seen a hand-drawn Frozen

I know it's not realistic to demand hand-drawn everything, because the creation of digital animation is rather wondrous. There's no denying it. It saves a lot of times and produces much more detailed results, I'm sure. And it still requires artists. And in reality it would probably take 20 years to develop a hand-drawn movie at the artistic level of these concept images
Even so, I think people have come to the erroneous conclusion that people don't like 2D movies anymore simply because they aren't made as often. Princess and The Frog, Disney's last hand-drawn animation, didn't do as well as Tangled, so that must mean people are just done with hand-drawn things. Horrible flawed logic. No, no. 

I think there are a few reasons why Tangled performed better at the box office, and I'm very sure the reasons are things like Zachary Levi. And better music, and a valiant horse named Maximus. 

There are still plenty of artists out there who are loyal to the olden days though, and who long to revive, restore and relive them. People like Tim Schafer who crusade to keep classic adventure games alive.

They create these marvelous stories for us to be a part of, and they quite literally have the whole world in their hands. 

So, there's hope, and that's all I need. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

reign: style profiles

Are you watching this yet?

One of my favorite things about Reign is that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they dress. The creators have attributed distinct personality traits into their wardrobe choices, and it makes for an interesting commentary on the development of each character. (Listen to my Reign soundtrack to get in the right frame of mind).

Because it's a Thursday and on Thursdays we watch Reign, I thought I would do a little breakdown of the things I've noticed via beautiful clothing, sparkling jewelry, and fetching crystal belts.

Let's start with...

Queen Mary Stuart:

She is fierce. Of course, she wasn't always that way. She arrived fresh from the convent, nervous and excited and very naive. At the beginning she wore a lot of white and pastels, a brand new baby at court. But now she is bold, I-am-woman-hear-me-roar, strong and golden.

She often wears stunning metallics and striking patterns. Her go-to colors tend to be darker like black, navy, and red, or incredibly posh like head-to-toe gold.

She rocks a plethora of crowns and headpieces, and tends to wear more form-fitting pieces because if you've got it, flaunt it. She also favors incredible earrings. Her hair stays pretty basic, down and side-braided. Not a lot going on there lately. I'd love to see some giant, va-va-voom curls on her.
She still occasionally veers into that bohemian territory, with flowing blouses and sheer fabrics (most likely influenced by fairy princess Kenna, who I'll get to later). Her bohemian nature tends to come out more when her and Francis are in blissful happiness, which unfortunately is quite seldom.

All of her clothes make a statement.

And that statement is I am queen, bro, lookit. 

Lady Lola:

She loses major lady-in-waiting points for having an illegitimate child with Mary's husband (pre-marriage, mind you), but I have to say she's growing on me. She stumbled around for a bit, but I think she's trying her best to be a good friend. And I'm not going to pretend like I don't secretly love the idea of her and Narcisse hanging out. I have a feeling on tonight's episode they will be having that tea date.

Her style is actually one of my favorites on the show, which probably endears me more to her than anything else.

She is a romantic, through and through.
Red, peach, purple, cream, lots of beads and embroidery and flowers. Always flowers. If Lola isn't wearing a flower of some kind in her outfit, something is horribly wrong.

She is very faithful to the empire waist, and tends to have some of the most intricate details of anyone on the show. I always pay close attention to her clothes. She has been quite unlucky in love (does anyone remember her first love, who was forced on Mary by Catherine and then unceremoniously murdered in the woods? Yikes), as evidenced by her brief fling with Francis that produced a son and her brief marriage to an impostor who had to leave her to save them both.

Let's hope her romantic clothing will nurture some actual romance in her life.

Lady Greer:

Oh, Greer. She is our resident blonde bombshell, and she has always been my favorite of Mary's ladies.

She is the only one of the ladies who is untitled, so her sole purpose is to find a suitable husband to give her wealth and title to save her family and yadda yadda.

From the very beginning she has been lavish. Most likely to make up for a lack of title, she has always adorned herself with decadent jewelry and accessories. She's nervous and stressed about finding a rich husband, so naturally she falls in love with a kitchen boy.

Her daily elegance works well to counter-balance her insecurity, though. She dresses in rich, earthy, cool tones. A lot of grey, blue, and green. Since she's also a sexy beast, she employs sweeping gowns of black and navy and occasionally white to illustrate her dedication to virtue. She wears strapless dresses more than anyone else on the show. The richer, the better.

Also, her wedding dress? Amazing. 

Lady Kenna:

The hippy child!
(Also, RIP Aylee and her exquisite head of braids).

Kenna is 100% bohemian. All of the time. One time her dress was just one giant butterfly on her chest.
She wears flowing, sheer garments. She utilizes layers, lace and tassels. She rarely wears anything truly form-fitting, but since she's so slender her clothes are always flattering on her.

She pretty much functions exclusively in headpieces and flower crowns. They're dainty and sometimes crystal, probably to hold all of her wishes and dreams. She also loves to sporadically braid tiny strands of her hair, sometimes stringing them with beads.
Despite her flower-child appearances, she's actually quite feisty. She's strong-willed and very stubborn. She is also unlucky in love, but unlike Lola, it has been entirely her own fault. She tried to be the king's mistress for a while, and that backfired horribly. She's definitely my least favorite, but I am enjoying her and Bash together.

Her clothing style is the result of her very free spirit and her forward thinking. She's a physical being (that's my way of not saying anything truly insulting about her). She's a bit ditsy and selfish, but she completes the ladies-in-waiting and brings her own flare to their interactions.

Queen Catherine de Medici:

Possibly my favorite character ever. She is so evil but deliciously so. The fact that she's played by the one-and-only Megan Follows of Anne of Green Gables makes it even better.

Her style strength most definitely resides in her absurdly opulent jewelry and her crazy collection of crowns. So many crowns.
She bathes herself in fantastically monstrous necklaces and giant rings topped with super-sized pearls and gems. I want them, just once, to show us her accessories closet. It has to be absolutely magnificent.

She is matronly, which is fitting for her station and her level of sophistication. She is dangerously smart and wickedly talented with poison. She wears rich, shimmering fabrics and is always rocking the up-dos. She never lets her hair down, both physically and metaphorically. She did once, but that was only to seduce the king so she wouldn't be beheaded. She's a sneaky gal.

My favorite dress of hers so far was at the end of season 1, and it was this glorious, shimmering black and cream gown. She normally utilizes thick, flattering layers with capelets and the castle-era version of a business blazer.

And lastly, the men of the show.
Francis, Bash, Condé, Leith, Castleroy, and every single other man.

Black, brown, leather, the end.

Unless you're freaky like Narcisse and employ the many talents of a rather stunning blue peacock coat.

Ugh. I wish I could say I hated it. But I did not.

Reign airs TONIGHT at 9/8c!

(p.s. see all reign posts)

Major credit to Fashima's Fashion of Reign Tumblr, which is one of my favorite sources for Reign details! I borrowed many photos from her site. Check out her page for exact outfit and accessories info, as well as countless Reign-inspired conversations and inspirations. She's fantastic!