Outfit: Robin Redbreast

Another day, another cute animal print. I know what I like and what I like is for my clothes to have little animals and sometimes insects all over them. Completely in the figurative or print sense, but taking pictures outdoors in woodland or other pastoral settings does mean I do get my fair share of actual insects crawling on me. It just goes with the territory; like getting dirt on your shoes because the paths aren't paved or getting grass stains on your skirt because you sat before you thought. But I think it's my love of vintage clothing that makes me a bit careless or at least relaxed about staining or damaging my clothes. Because I do love clothes, you can't really be a fashion blogger for this many years and be indifferent to clothes, but I don't mind them looking lived in--I want them to be lived in. When you buy vintage pieces there's always some quirk or flaw to it; an old zipper that takes forever to pull or tiny holes in the fabric that you can't stitch up but aren't really noticeable to anyone but you. You accept the flaws because you love the piece and sometimes the flaws are what is charming about them; you wonder how these happened or you admire that the dress is still in such good condition after being worn by someone so many years ago. Sure it has a few wrinkles and scars, but it has "lived" and it is still here to share its story. I don't know if any of my current pieces will ever be treasured vintage for someone else one day, but I don't mind if they get a few scars (or mud stains) in the mean time. I feel good when I look cute, but I want to take that feeling with me wherever the dirt path leads me...

*all pictures by me*

Outfit: A Quiet Mouse Of A Girl

I decided recently that I have a thing for mice. I'm not sure I like the little critters in real life when they invade your home, but there's something sweet and cute about them (especially as accessories and prints!) that I'm quite enamored with. A lot of it comes from a description I read once in a book that burned itself into me. "She was a quiet mouse of a girl, with grey eyes that hold secrets like the sea." I used a version of that phrase as my bio for ages because it resonated in me. It holds quite the punch because it establishes her as someone small, maybe insignificant, but then you realize she has unseen depths (as all of us do). I relate to it as well because I am also mousey in some ways; I am petite and quiet and can seem timid, but I end up surprising people because they underestimate me. I've even had people call me mousey in a mean way, which just makes me smile a bit because yes, I am like a little mouse, but I hold secrets as deep as the sea. Sometimes we see certain aspects of ourselves (like shy or introverted) as negatives when they're actually neutral, sure some people would try to say you are those things in a negative way but we don't have to accept their perspective of ourselves. So, I think I might try to introduce more mice into my wardrobe, to bring this signature and symbol into my style more--and all symbolism aside I just really want this mouse purse because it's adorable. Although of course my sweet dress doesn't feature actual mice, but little quolls. They're pretty adorable and I wouldn't mind being described as quoll-y but I somehow doubt that will take off!

Outfit: How To Be Ridiculously Good Looking In Pictures

I couldn't resist titling this blog post after a line from Zoolander since I often cry "I'm not a model!" when posting pictures and yet today I'm going to share some tips for posing in pictures. As unqualified as I feel to give advice for posing, it's a question I frequently get asked and came up recently on Instagram when I did a little Q&A session. I think the fact I am unqualified is part of the appeal though; there are shows (America's Next Top Model) and tips out there for people who aspire to be models, but what about the rest of us who don't dream of a major cosmetics contract but still would like to look decent in a photograph? Well here are some tips for my fellow non-models, in no particular order:

Tip one: Posture is key. This is especially important if you're petite, but always stand up straight and push your shoulders back in photographs. I've done a couple of wedding/engagement shoots recently and it's also the main direction I tend to give to couples. So many of us naturally slouch a bit in real life, but that translates very poorly in photographs so pay attention to your posture when posing.
Tip two: Work with the light. Avoid shooting in direct sunlight on a bright day. If you can't avoid shooting in that time of day look for areas with shade and put bright light behind you--never face bright light! It will create harsh shadows on your face and you'll usually end up squinting.
Also work with the light with your posing, try to "find the light." For example don't tilt your head down too much where it's going to be in shadow. Although today's post doesn't include a good example of this, I often tilt my chin up a bit where my face will catch the light more--it's sort of like using actual natural light as a highlighter and trying to get it to hit you along your cheekbones.
Tip three: Move around. A lot of us amaetur posers look stiff in photographs because we strike a pose and then just stand there, the key to looking more relaxed and comfortable is moving around. If you're working with a tripod and set focal point then you obviously can't move around too much because you'll go out of focus and I don't think big dramatic changes (like "vogueing" for a camera) are the best anyway. Instead try little micro changes by tilting/rotating your body a little in front of the camera and moving your head around a bit as well. When I'm holding flowers (like in the photograph above) I'm slightly raising and lowering the flowers and swaying so my body is slightly more side view or back view to the camera as the camera snaps. I don't really know what angle or way to hold the flowers will look most natural or best, so I try a few different ways. This also offers variety within a post; instead of shooting a hundred photos of you standing straight facing the camera, if you move around and try different things your shoot will be more dynamic and interesting.
Tip four: Look at your photographs as you go. This won't really work if you're getting wedding pictures or the like done because most photographers don't like to show you in-camera shots, but if you're shooting by yourself or with a friend then look at the pictures after a few shots. You can't correct whatever posing mistakes you're making (or get that lipstick off your teeth!) if you don't know you're doing them, so look at the pictures as you go and make corrections.
Tip five: Take several pictures at a time. This tip goes hand-in-hand with the ones above, but as I take photographs (either by myself, or posing for Thomas, or shooting a bride) I take several pictures rapidly. It's the "continuous shooting" setting on my camera which means I get around 10 shots in a few seconds. This allows for those micro movements/changes to be captured and helps things look more natural and relaxed. Since it's digital there's no reason you can't shoot a load of pictures with movement (even trying to capture wind in hair with a static model) and delete as you go or later when you're editing.
Tip six: Hold the camera lower. For my fellow petite ladies, one of the keys to looking taller in photographs is really the same as it is for clothes that make you look taller: elongate the legs. One of the ways you do this is by holding the camera a bit lower. For me it's usually a little above waist height if I'm using a tripod. Don't go too low because it's not a flattering angle to shoot below your face, but for a full-body you can usually have the camera a little bit lower. Also point your feet towards the camera and try poses that have you leaning away from the camera (or against a wall), these will again help elongate your legs. Again don't do that sort of pose in extremes because it can make it look like you have giant, monster feet!
Tip seven: Be yourself. I've had people suggest I pose in a different style and not smile as much in photographs, but honestly I don't want to look like a model with a blank or neutral expression in my photographs, that's not how I "see" myself or how I would be if you met me in real life. Granted I'm not grinning ear-to-ear 24/7, but the point is: it feels natural to me to smile for photographs, to spin a bit and so on. So do what comes naturally to you as well, if you aren't a big smiler, then don't force one in pictures. If you're very active or high energy, try to convey that in a photograph, maybe focus on movement or walking shots rather than static, standing posing. This can also help you develop a "signature" pose or look.
Tip eight: Don't be afraid to use props. One of the biggest struggles when posing for pictures is trying to decide what to do with your hands. Do you let them hang limply at your sides or pull a Wonder Woman power pose in every shot? My answer is props. There are natural props within an outfit; like your purse or your pockets or scarf or jewelry, etc. But there's no harm in bringing other props into pictures either, like using your vintage camera collection for something more than collecting dust, or grabbing a few random flowers (or autumn leaves) and playing around with them. There are things around your environment to interact with as well (like tree branches or walls) and you could even bring whatever book you're enjoying along with you for a prop. Get creative.

*pictures by Thomas*

Outfit: Wild Sunflower Field & Mustard Yellow Dress

At least once a month while they're in season we buy a bundle of sunflowers for our house.

Outfit: First Fruits Of Autumn

In a modern world it's very easy to forget that autumn also means harvest time. When your family (or in laws!) are farmers then you begin to understand the importance of this season and just how busy it can be. Even if you aren't out picking all day, it's easy to see the abundance this season has brought to the earth. It makes me want to grow things myself and gets me in the mood for Thanksgiving, even though that is so far off! Thomas's family's farm has a modest patch of plum trees that are the first to yield their bounty this September. We went by one day with borrowed baskets in hand and greedy fingers picking plums to our hearts content. The trees produced so many plums that some of the branches broke under the weight of them. Plums were never my favorite fruit in the past, but after nibbling on a few fresh picked ones I'll be looking forward to this harvest every year. They taste so sweet when they're so fresh and perfectly ripe. We've been enjoying our plum plunder for a few days now, eating most as they are as snacks between meals, but turning a few into sweet pastries perfect straight from the oven with a scoop of ice cream.

I love this vintage style of scarf. I got a couple of ascot scarves last winter in white and a light blue and didn't wear them much. I thought those colors would be very wearable since I love blue and white in theory, goes with everything, but they didn't look right with most outfits I tried to pair them with. This year I picked out a mustard yellow one (my *signature* color) and have already been wearing it loads. Proof that when you know a color works for you (and in your wardrobe) you should just go for it and get it in everything! I've also been adding a little brooch in the center to set it off because I think it's little details that make an outfit feel personal.

*pictures by Thomas*