Terrenea Beach, California

“The older we are, the more we learn that confidence comes from within. Confidence, in turn, becomes beauty. The more confident we are, the more beautiful we feel.” – CatherineGraceO 

Outfit Details:
Palm MaxiMaxi 2Maxi 3Maxi 4, Palm Jumper, Belt 1, Belt 2, Hat 1, Hat 2

When you think of palm leaves, does your mind immediately travel to summer vacations and beaches in tropical climates…oh and Gilligan’s Island…like me? What woman born in the 60’s didn’t grow up with Gilligan, The Captain, Ginger and Mary Ann? I spent most of the first 50 years of life in the northern suburbs of Chicago but I’ve always been a California girl at heart. Bare feet and Boho beaches are far more my style than boots and blizzards! And so is this lovely tropical maxi dress from Chelsea28 at Nordstrom!

I’ve been sharing some of my favorite maxi dresses over the last few months. (Black Maxi and Pink Ruffle)  When you combine palm leaves, ruffles, and a strapless maxi design, you have the perfect pairing to take along on your summer vacation. I happened to discover this maxi while I was combing through the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It wasn’t one of the sale finds but I scooped it up anyway. It’s one of those dresses that easily transitions from day to evening, from a day at the beach to an evening out with the girls. I tend to favor Boho Style and bare feet. My photog and I are partial to the beautiful landscapes of the South Bay of Los Angeles. In one of my recent posts, we decided to create our own version of a Vogue editorial spread at the public beach at Terrenea. It’s surrounded by the most breathtaking stone cliffs that make an immediate and dramatic backdrop for a fun shoot and we used the scene for this shoot as well. This gorgeous maxi is made of the most beautiful lightweight fabric that’s perfect for the warmer days of summer. The temperatures in LA have been int0 the 90’s and even breaking 100 degrees which made this palm leafed beauty an ideal choice. Making a dress your own by bringing some of your personality into it is what fashion is all about. I brought along a fun belt from my own collection and linked a few options for you. The dress came with its own tie as a belt and I decided to wrap it around my wrist for fun. It could also be used as a belt, a hair tie or even a fun touch on a beach bag or handbag. Anything goes when it comes to fashion! I believe fashion is life changing. As a young girl growing up in a household filled with 4 boys, I was raised as a tomboy. I didn’t own a Barbie doll or a dollhouse. I remember being so desperate for dolls and “girly things,” that I even helped myself to some of my friends “Little Kiddles,” and shoved them into a large purse I had saved my pennies for at the Catholic Church rummage sale. I’m quite certain I did my share of “Hail Mary’s” to do penance back in the day!

Raised in a wealthy community in the North Shore of Chicago, we were anything but wealthy. My Father was an orphan who was abandoned by his Mother and raised by the Priests at Mercy Boys Home in Chicago. My Father’s ethics were to teach us to work hard at a young age. In 8th grade, I remember getting my first pair of Wrangler jeans…they just happened to be my older brother’s hand me downs. All of my friends had the latest Levi’s that I was coveting but I made do with my brother’s jeans. Thankfully, he was lean and lanky like me and they almost fit.

I learned early on that fashion could change the way that I felt about myself. The hand me downs from my favorite cousins were like Christmas morning to me. In high school, I took a job at the mall which was a 45-minute bus ride. I didn’t mind as fashion was an escape for me. I happily rode the bus to Hawthorn Center to work at Charles Stevens, purely for the joy of being surrounded by beautiful fashion and for the glorious discount! Most of my paycheck would go to buying my clothes for school. My friends had the latest styles and “fitting in” was so important in high school. I discovered early on when I put on something that made me feel beautiful, I felt better about myself. Mornings were a style frenzy as I would try on a variety of looks, with clothes strewn across my tiny room, until I found just the right outfit to lift my spirits. I would shop at J.C. Penney and refer to it as “Jacques Penne” just to feel a bit more elegant. Fashion magazines would become my best friend as well as my fashion school. I would teach myself how to be a girl as our driveway was filled with motorcycles, minibikes, go-carts, and snowmobiles – with a house clearly dominated by testosterone.

Fashion was exhilarating, an instant pick me up. I found that happiness (or so I thought in the day) could be purchased on layaway!  Dresses delivered instant femininity, elegance, and grace. Back in the day, maxi dresses were reserved for proms or dances. Today, maxi’s have gone mainstream and can be worn just about anywhere, from the beach to a black tie affair and everything in between. An amazing way to camouflage a few extra pounds or a pear-shaped body type, they’re both comfortable and figure flattering. Women come in all shapes and sizes and so do maxis. Certain patterns are particularly flattering. Vertical stripes elongate a more petite woman and offer a slimming illusion. Maxis tend to be universal with a style or shape for every woman. The right style can make you look taller, slimmer and more beautiful. Fashion has the unique ability to change the way we feel about ourselves. Beauty is both internal and external, within and without. When women hit Midlife, fashion becomes particularly important as our sense of self-esteem can take a hit with our cultural perceptions of aging. Transform your look and transform your life. Find your own sense of style and watch how your confidence begins to grow. Consider adding some maxis to your wardrobe. They’re available at every price point from HM and Forever 21 to Neiman Marcus and everything in between. Watch the way you feel when you try something on. There’s only one rule that matters in fashion – the look that makes you feel beautiful is the look that’s meant for you. Cheers beauties… I would love to hear how fashion has changed your life!



Having self confidence has been a lifelong battle for me. I moved every 3 year’s growing up and each time I had to start over — starting a new school, making new friends, etc. For someone who had little confidence and who was incredibly shy as well, this was really tough! As I got older, I realised that a great haircut, makeup and fashion totally transformed how I felt about myself. Beauty does come from within, but when you feel you look good, it gives you a sense of confidence and well being on the inside as well Thanks for a great article!


Thank you so much for sharing and it has been for me as well. That’s why I share so openly. It takes time to peel away the layers, doesn’t it? Sending you so much love. Keep me posted on your journey.


yes, back in the day, maxi dresses were reserved for special occasions. It’s great that we can wear them whenever we want nowadays, isn’t it?
You look fabulous in that tropical print maxi dress. Such a fabulous location as well! Stunning photography.


Yes, I’m told not to use the language “back in the day” but how can I not? It was so different. I do love a beautiful maxi and I appreciate your kind comments! Catherine

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