Boot Kick in the Desert

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

“Don’t tell a girl with fire in her veins and hurricane bones what she should and shouldn’t do. In the blink of an eye, she will shatter that ridiculous cage you attempt to build around her beautiful bohemian spirit.” – Melody Lee – Moon Gypsy 

Outfit Details:
Boho Maxi, Petal Maxi, Cowboy BootsNavy HatTaupe Hat, SunniesCuff Bracelet, Hoop Earrings, Escape Tote, Ottoman

I’m a 60’s child although I missed all the fun at Woodstock! Ok, I’ll admit I wasn’t a hippie, a protestor or wearing tie-dye and covered in peace signs, but I’ll always be a Boho girl at heart. This week, I’m taking you back with me to Joshua Tree National Park as the Desert series and the fun in the sun continues! Come on, let’s go!

It was right after New Years. I needed a break, a respite, a recharge, and some space to reflect and allow inspiration to flow through. I’ll always love the beach yet there’s something special that tugs at my heart and soul and pulls me straight to the desert. In a recent post, I opened up about a new direction I’m taking having found both the courage and the inspiration to do so on a trek to Joshua Tree National Park. The “Joshua Tree” is a unique species, found only in the High Mojave Desert. It was given that name by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave in the mid-19th century. The tree’s fascinating shape reminded them of a story found in the Bible where Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer. The desert has a way of becoming a spiritual experience…at least it is for me. It’s where I head when I’m searching for clarity. There’s nothing like the stark, barren, peacefulness and silence of Joshua Tree to create that perfect nature’s vacuum leading to an internal space where inspiration can’t help but flow through.

My photog and I tend to have a “take no prisoners approach” when it comes to photo shoots. Having spent over five decades shying away from the camera, shrinking back in sheer terror when a lens came within 100 yards of me, it’s been a wild journey finding both myself and my confidence through my Midlife reinvention and a bit of modeling. A passion for fashion was in my DNA. Confidence was not! Most of my life was spent getting in my own damn way! I would tell myself every story imaginable as to why I couldn’t be in front of a camera. I was too ugly…too fat…I didn’t know how to smile…I wasn’t photogenic…and on and on the stories went. I certainly didn’t think anyone would care! Who would have believed thousands of women around the world would join me in my mission in the Forever Fierce Revolution? I would have been the first to tell you – no chance…no way…no how! The last few years have been a real baptism of fire, a rebirth on every level, one in which I’m hitting the erase button on the old stories. Remember that old Etch a Sketch when we were growing up? Ok – I’m dating myself! I’m shaking the sand, erasing the old picture and stories, and creating a brand new and empowering one.

They say when you’re feeling fearful of something, don’t run from it…run toward it?! (Does anyone happen to know who “THEY” is by the way???) That’s what I did. I ran full steam out right into the lens of the camera to bare my soul and take my life back. When you’ve spent an entire lifetime beating yourself up and feeling absolutely worthless, what have you got to lose by allowing yourself to be utterly raw and vulnerable? In my experience, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. At 57 years young, the “Middleness” of this stage of life added both power and a bit of urgency to my mission. That’s the beauty of Midlife. That Phoenix isn’t going to wait forever to rise. Truth is, you can’t stop it anyway. When it’s ready, it’s ready! The Phoenix has a way of crumpling those old stories in an instant and burning away what no longer serves you into a pile of ashes.

Back to the desert and why I selected a Boho “Spellbound” Maxi by Free People to star in the show. I’m half introvert and half extrovert by nature. I’m also a combination of Boho Style meets Red Carpet. On this particular foray to Joshua Tree, I brought along a collection of looks that mirrored various aspects of my personality. This maxi was the perfect mix of Boho with just the right touch of femininity in its design with hints of lace and ruffles. I’ve always been partial to shades of blue and this dress was no exception. The v-neck on the front of the dress dips very low. I could have chosen to wear a pretty cami underneath. Instead, I grabbed an oversize vintage turquoise pin found in one of my flea market outings with my daughter. I was raised on sale racks, thrift shops, and layaway. Mixing high low is not only practical, it’s a lot more interesting when it comes to creating your own style. The cowboy boots naturally lent themselves to this look. This particular style from Jeffrey Cambell was an easy choice with its subtle paisley design and soft taupe hue. It’s a style that sold out quickly but I’ve linked a similar pair from the designer. The desert tends to expose you to a variety of conditions, including lots of sunlight, which means bringing along a collection of hats for protection. The navy one has a large brim and is a classic from Rag and Bone. It’s easy to change up the look with a different color hat. The taupe hat is from Michael Stars. These hats are from prior seasons but I’ve linked a few current styles to choose from. The sunnies are classic RayBan style and seemed to fit the vibe. I didn’t need much in the way of accessories. I found this unusual and intricate turquoise cuff bracelet on a clearance sale at one of my favorite online sites, Samantha Wills. Did I mention I love a good sale? The hoop earrings were another major find at 90 percent off during Macy’s Black Friday sale last year. I’m a bit like a good hunting dog trained for the scent of a clearance sale! When one’s close by, I’m likely to sniff it out.

You can’t help but notice one of my favorite weekend totes by Forest Bound. The “Escape” bag is the ideal size for a short getaway. Made of high-quality canvas with a touch of leather detail, it’s one of those travel pieces people always stop and ask me where I’ve found it. I absolutely love experimenting on photo shoots. I bring a carload filled with different looks, accessories and a hand full of props and canvas the area as we drive along. All of a sudden, we’ll come across an ideal location with the perfect light and make our way across the expanse of desert or carefully scale a variety of rocks, desperately trying to avoid the cacti that seem poised to attack at any moment. This particular shoot began at the crack of dawn, just before sunrise. I’m definitely not a morning person but there’s something about a gorgeous sunrise that lures me out of any slumber. The desert can be deceiving. At first light, it was close to 30 degrees! Let’s just say I was “frickin’ freezing” tossing on a fuzzy coat I brought along in between shots. One of my favorite props to tag along on shoots is this bohemian ottoman. It’s not only the perfect prop but the ideal piece of furniture to have on hand at home. My former career was as an interior decorator and casual ottomans like this are not only practical for extra seating, they add a lovely touch to any room decor.

By this time, we’d made our way across miles and miles of desert expanse. You may be surprised to know that it can take 4-6 hours to drive through Joshua Tree if you want to see everything. And…trust me…once you get there, you’ll want to take full advantage of the scenic beauty. From the high desert to the low desert and everything in between, the vistas are out of this world not to mention to transformative and life-changing. I have lots more on the way to share in my desert series and I hope you’ll come along for the ride. If you’re looking for inspiration on a regular basis and some Moxie on your Monday to start your week off right, please subscribe to my newsletter and let’s Master Modern Midlife together. Yes, you and me…I hope. Cheers Beauties. Until next time!


17 comments

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Dear Catherine,
It is refreshing to hear all the amount of work involved from your clothes, accessories, errr cold weather, sun protection, and the hike to get the perfect shot. Interesting about your personality, I can relate to your introvert and extrovert personality too, I am typically shy in a group and more personal 1:1. When you spoke at the fierce con revolution, you were a natural beauty and I so admire your public speaking skills as I tend to get nervous and lose concentration. As to photo shoots and modeling jobs etc., I have lost much of my confidence in the past, felt too fat, not photogenic, negative feelings about my skin and so forth similar to your experience. The power and the energy your bring in a group of women is amazing. Everyone wants to surround themselves with all involving midlife and Catherine’s energy, and we are NOT shy to take pics with you! I can never have enough of your knowledge, your wisdom and your sweet self my lovely sister.

Kind regards always,

Rosie Bermudez fashionablerosie

Reply

Hi, Catherine
Beautiful post, in every way: the desert, your clothes, your poetic prose.
Thanks for sharing your true self,
Angie, http://www.yourtrueselfblog.com

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I have so much fun in the creative process. I so appreciate your thoughtful comments sister!

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Love the pictures and the great inspiring story behind them. You rock.

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Thank you, Erin! I do love the desert!

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Wow, I love the desert southwest so much… gorgeous backdrop. Those BOOTS you have on are fantastic!!!!

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Hi Laura, Isn’t it such fun??? Jeffrey Campbell always has some fabulous styles. I tagged some similar ones but they do change them from one season to the next.

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Love the Boho style and you look beautiful in the blue dress! I must make my way to Joshua Tree before it gets to hot for me! You’re such an inspiration! Love to you

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Don’t you just love the desert, sister? I really appreciate your thoughtful comments. How are you feeling?

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I’ve been wanting to go to the desert forever…your pictures are awesome

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Hi Eva, The desert really calls to me. I’m headed back this week to film the wildflower bloom. There’s something so special about spending time in nature.

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Gorgeous pictures! You make me want to go to Joshua Tree! The dress is lovely on you! Of course I love the boho style!

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Hi sister, you are the queen of Boho style! I hope you get to Joshua Tree. It’s just fabulous. Maybe we need a retreat weekend there.

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I swear I learn something from you every time you speak. An ottoman?? Of course, why didn’t I think of that!!
As for your boho style. I think that’s why the first time I saw you, I fell in love. Totally different then me, but amazing!!
One of these days, ask me about Woodstock…Rob has a good story..
XOOX
Jodie
http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

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You know me sister…the idea queen!!! I’m always filled with ideas. And, now you have my attention…did you say story???

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Oh my stars! Catherine this is a fantastic shoot! I told my son Jake all about it! When we do photo shoots, we load up with props too, but I never thought of an ottoman! Great idea! And your shots, the lighting, the vibe, and You! Everything is simply stunning! Thank you for sharing all about this photo shoot! I’m a boho fan so this really resonated with me! And I never made it to Woodstock either, but picked up a lot of the same vibes you did! Just gorgeous, Catherine!

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Thank you, sister. I can’t say I do it in an organized fashion. It’s more haphazard but we get the job done and have a blast doing it!

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