Can you tell us a little a bit about your family, where you live and what you do?
I live in a little 1920s storybook cottage in southern California with my partner of 12 years and our two children. Adam is 4 and Edie is 20 months. Most people don’t know this, but I actually went to culinary school and started out as a Pastry Chef, but after starting my blog in 2008, I eventually broke into my first job in the fashion industry and have worked in fashion ever since. My primary job these days is my blog, calivintage, and vintage shop of the same name.
I LOVE your blog, calivintage, and am really inspired by your style. You always look so cute! I’m always visiting your site to get tips on styling. Why did you start calivintage?
I was just a kid who was really into fashion, but didn’t have an outlet for that interest in my day-to-day life. I was a pastry chef and my free time was spent riding a bike around Oakland, going to punk shows, and giving my friends stick and poke tattoos. But I also spent hours browsing through runway photos and digging through the racks at the thrift stores to find cool clothes. So when I figured out that there were communities of people sharing their outfits in places like Wardrobe Remix on Flickr, I tentatively decided to start taking snapshots of my outfits and sharing them online. Almost instantly, I connected with all of these awesome people (many of whom I still know today)! My follower count started growing, so I decided to start my blog.
What is one styling tip you could share with us?
Well, I guess for starters, I would say that it doesn’t matter! A lot of people I know outside of the whole blogging world will always come up to me and say that they feel bad because they aren’t as “dressed up” as I am every day. But that’s ok! Not everyone has to be as into it as I am haha. I don’t walk around judging others for their clothing choices or lack thereof, really!
But yeah, in terms of styling there are two things that I do: 1. Elevate your basics. So like, instead of jeans and a t-shirt, I might wear Kamm Pants in denim with a linen t-shirt. It feels the same, but it stands out a little bit more. 2. Find a uniform. Same idea as the first, just basically think about what you’re comfortable in and try to fine-tune that. So if you know you like dresses, then focus on that. If you’re more of a pants type of person, then don’t try to wear dresses, you know? Or if you love accessories, then let that be your thing. I always run into the most trouble when I try to force things too much.
Have you always been into fashion and design? What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Yes. My mother can attest to this. I started making multiple outfit changes in one day as soon as I could dress myself. My mom says she would find me in my room, sitting in an explosion of clothes and crying about having nothing to wear-- at like 5 years of age haha!
I never entertained the idea of fashion as a career because I think it was just way too outside of my world growing up. I was mostly interested in art and writing. By college, I figured out I wanted to do graphic design and started getting really interested in logos and branding and things. I got accepted into a really nice art school, but I wasn’t prepared to make the leap. Instead, I dropped out of college and got a certificate in Baking and Pastry arts. In hindsight, I should have just went for it, but the road in life is long and winding!
What are you inspired by and what drives your creative process?
I always feel the most inspired looking at art and design, watching films, listening to music. I spent a lot of time watching all of the old Hollywood classics when I was a kid, so that has always captivated me. And my dad owned a record shop when I was growing up, so the different music scenes have always been a big source of interest to me as well. And just looking at art, at color theory, that usually gets me going!
Who are your fashion icons?
This is always changing, but usually it’s a rolling roster of really badass women like Georgia O’Keeffe, Marianna Breslauer, Teddy Girls. I’m also a sucker for the women of the French New Wave. I had an Audrey Hepburn phase in high school. Punk was also a big part of my formative years, so that has shaped my style quite a bit as well.
Do you have a uniform? If so, what is it?
The go-to when I don’t want to think is a pair of super high rise pants with a cropped length shirt or sweater. Add low heels and a simple bag, done.
Favorite piece in your closet today? One piece you are coveting at the moment?
Ok, this is always changing. I have a pair of super worn-in Kamm pants from quite a few years ago that I’ve been loving lately. They get softer and more faded over time, which is really comforting to me. And I really want this pair of By Far Suede Boots! I think they would be perfect with cropped jeans now that the weather is cooling off here.
What is your favorite accomplishment in your business/work?
I really believe that the best hasn’t happened yet! But it was a pretty big deal when I was offered a job for a very large, fast-growing fashion retailer based on my merits as a blogger! To go from a pastry chef with no direction to getting a legit job offer in the fashion industry was unbelievable. That was a huge boost for me, and it made me feel like my voice was being heard.
What is your favorite accomplishment as a mother?
After having both kids, I went through a rough patch where I basically just forgot to take care of myself. I wasn’t prioritizing my owns needs and I stopped being assertive. I started getting panic attacks every night. It was not good. Once I figured out that things were going downhill, I decided to take charge and focus on what I needed to do to get to a healthy place again. That was major for me because it gave me the space to speak up and ask for what I really wanted. Being a stay-at-home mom just wasn’t for me, and that was really hard to say. But now that I’ve said it, we’ve been rearranging things in our lives to allow more time for me to focus on my work and career. In the end, that really is the best thing I can do for myself and my kids. I want them to see me happy and thriving.
Do you have any tips, tools, tricks you could share with us about how you juggle motherhood and working?
I think the goal should be less about juggling and more about really confronting yourself and figuring out what you want out of life rather than constantly trying to do everything. I have to stop myself all of the time and ask myself if I really need to be doing everything all of the time. So really sitting there and figuring out what you want to prioritize. Someone recently told me that every time you say no to something, you’re saying yes to something else. I think saying no has become a very powerful tool for me in that it has started to open up new opportunities for me in both life and work.
Adam and Edie are so adorable. What is one word to describe each of them?
Adam is the old soul and Edie is the wild child. They perfectly complement each other while keeping me on my toes at all times!
What is your dream for your children?
I don’t want to put too many expectations on them, I just want to give them a strong foundation to allow them to really go out into the world as independent people and to be happy and healthy above all else. My hope is that I can teach them how to be loving, compassionate, and creative people. The world needs more creativity and I really want them to be able to think outside the box.
I love the tradition you shared on your blog about how you and Adam go on walks every morning. You mentioned that it helps you slow down and be present. We could all use a little more of that in our lives. How else do you stay grounded and present and disconnect from it all?
This is so much easier said than done! The daily walks were something that I did to keep myself busy when Adam was born, and that routine just continued on through his life and has grown to become a very meaningful way for me to spend a bit of time with him.. I think as busy moms, we all have a tendency to forget to slow down, or feel like we aren’t allowed to. Oftentimes, just sitting still, I get anxious thinking of all the things I need to do. So planning that time into my day is the easiest way for me to get it done. I also take out an hour or two to myself in the evenings to take a bath or do a face mask or some other little luxurious thing to help me wind down and to give myself time to think and reflect. At first, it almost felt selfish, but now I see how important it is to have that down time to myself.
If you had to impart a single nugget of wisdom for expectant mothers, what would it be?
Ask yourself the hard questions! I didn’t allow myself to fully explore and understand all that motherhood would entail. And I’m not talking about diapers and breastfeeding and baby puke. That’s the easy stuff! I’m talking about really confronting your fears and understanding your realities, and really exploring all of your options. I am not a planner, but I really wish I would have sat down and made like a 3-month plan, a 5-year plan, a 10-year plan. Once those kids arrive, a lot of things go on autopilot, so you need to have direction!
Imagine you have 24 hours of free time to yourself with no obligations or responsibilities. What would you do?
I think about this sometimes and as much as I wish I could say that I would just sleep all day, I literally don’t know how to do that. I would probably go out and explore-- I would want to go to a ton of cool places like the farmer’s market, the flea market, cook an amazing meal, finish it up with a massage or spa thing, but then still go out and party until the early hours of the morning haha.
When your children are grown up and out of your house and you have more time for yourself, how will your Saturday morning look?
Oh my goodness, what a question! Remember how I said I’m not a planner? I should take my own advice because I’ve literally never thought of this before! I think I’d be heading out on a different adventure every weekend. Either hopping on my bike to do a tour, going on a little camping trip, or driving out to a new place to check out flea markets and antique shops.
Dream vacation with Brendan? Dream vacation with your family?
I really love doing the whole cheesy tropical vacation thing. I love traveling anywhere near the equator, lounging around on the beach, drinking ridiculous cocktails. That really is my idea of a good time! Brendan and I have decided that 2018 is the year we’re going to try to make that happen.
I also used to go on a lot of bike tours with Brendan before we had kids, and I remember one time, we ran into a family with two kids who were all touring together along the California coast. Brendan and I talked about how cool it would be to do something like that if we ever had kids of our own, so I hope to eventually do something like that with the kids. It’s fun because it’s super challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. I learned so much about myself and my strength and abilities while doing those tours, so I would love to give that experience to my kids and maybe grow together in new ways as a family. We’ll see!
Ideal date night?
These questions are fun! Since we don’t get to do date nights as often as we’d like, I always have fun just going to a semi-fancy restaurant (where there won’t be kids) and then getting smashed at the bar and talking all evening. We used to love going to the movies all the time, but now I never want to do that because you can’t talk at the movies!
What are you most excited about right now?
My daughter just started school full-time, so it’s the first time since Adam was born that I’ll have a big part of the day to myself. This is a really big deal because for the past four years, I’ve literally been doing all of my work on only two hours a day! Now I get to work until 3pm every day, uninterrupted. So I’m very excited to have this time to do the work that I love, and I honestly have really big hopes for what is in store in 2018.
What can’t you live without?
Coffee and beer, haha!
My partner is a total comic book nerd and he’s always trying to get me to answer this question! I always just say whatever pops into my head at that moment. Right now? I wish I could stop time.
Final Question: I (Meghan) am a hawk and Liz is a mountain goat. What’s your spirit animal?