Memphis, Real Talk

The Very Best Day of Junior Year

Everyone has that one year that, when they think about it, even decades layer, makes them cringe. For me, that was junior year of college. A really tough (hindsight caveat: I guess?) break up and (hindsight caveat: mostly) years of my own insecurity all mounted together to send me spinning into a well of depression. I struggled with some unhealthy habits with food and exercise, and felt very lonely for several semesters.

But amidst all of that yuck, there’s one day in that year that glows as a happy, glorious memory: The Very Best Day of Junior Year.

  • First Win: The caf was serving salmon and because lunchtime was a very stressful time for me—I was thrilled because salmon felt like a healthy indulgence
  • Second Win: While waiting in line for my salmon delight, a friend texted me saying he had an extra ticket to the John Mayer show in Memphis and wanted me to join. I, like most college girls in 2010, LOVED John Mayer desperately. Not because he was hot, but because, you know, he was a true musician 😉
  • Third Win: He actually had two extra tickets so my very best friend, Ellen, could come along too
  • Fourth Win (!!): No need to pay them back, tickets were on them
  • Throw in a cancelled Management Information Systems afternoon class and boom – I had myself a five star day

Ellen and I went to the concert that night and had a total blast with our friends, in complete disbelief that we were sitting a mere 20 rows from “The Greatest Guitarist of our Time” for free and by surprise. It truly felt like a giant silver lining in a stormcloud of a season. But it was after all, the very best day of junior year.

Haley Hoover HiHaleyannie

Ellen and I living our best life—and check out that fashion 😉

 

Nearly 10 years later, I was sharing with my husband, Ryan, how much that day meant to me and what a wash of relief it sent during a particularly tough time. (We went to the same university, but we weren’t very close then.) When I think about that day, even now, I smile because blessings were raining down on me. And when I told him about it, he looked up and quietly said, “Those were my tickets, I gave them to Jordan and told him to invite some friends. I was too busy and couldn’t go.”

That revelation of my own story knocked me over. Somehow, my generous, kind, and patient husband who gives me really good gifts almost daily, managed to gift me my very favorite day out of an entire year, even when he had nothing to do with me.

I believe that God is good, even when things are hard. And sometimes it takes years to unravel the little pockets of blessings He’s hidden in my story. And I’m sure there’s some things I’ll never know about. But I’m certainly glad one very good day involved the person who now makes all of my days even better. Salmon fillets and all.

xx – hh

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Shopping Guide, Spring/Summer, travel diaries

4 Days In Paris & 5 Things You Need

Bonjour mes amours!

Reporting to you live after a month of waiting to go away to Paris, four days actually in Paris, and then ten more days wishing I was back in Paris. One of the blessings of being in a relationship with two incomes and no children is the ability to be a petit willy-nilly from time to time—including jumping on a plane and running around Paris for four days with your friends. I say this with only the utmost thankfulness and disbelief that I get to type that sentence. 

Since I’ve arrived back stateside, I’ve spent no less than 1,700 hours staring longingly at all of the photos we snapped during our getaway. Some of my faves are the shots of two of my closets girls—Jenna and Kate—and myself; I love how we all have different styles we gravitate towards, but how well they work together.

Meet Jenna, a poised and ultra-femme social media and photography dynamo. She laughs at all my jokes and could easily be best friends with Taylor Swift. Her style is ladylike, effortless, and incredibly chic.

Meet Kate, my Aussie angel who never met a designer brand she didn’t like. She rocks her Valentino heels like no one else, but also looks fabulous in an oversized jersey from Rag & Bone. Basically, she’s glam, and she’s my style icon.

And you know me, Haley. I think I fall somewhere in the middle of road between these two, which seems fitting because I identify best with street style.

Drawing inspiration from the three of us, I thought I’d round up five things that I suggest you add to your “To Shop For” list for the summer months, all while taking you through some of the amazing pictures from our trip. Two birds, one stone! Between the three of us, I’m sure you’ll find a piece or two that speaks to you.

Un: Fresh Sunnies

For sunny days, and ignoring people.

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L to R – Jenna: Le Specs, Haley: Quay, Kate: Maison Margiela

Deux: A Flirty Dress or Jumpsuit

For beating the heat and making ’em sweat.

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L to R – Jenna: Reformation, Haley: FaithfultheBrand, Kate: Rachel Comey

Trois: A Bag That Goes Everywhere

Can’t stop, won’t stop, and won’t be weighed down.

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L to R – Jenna: Chloe, Haley: Gucci, Kate: Saint Laurent

 

Quatre: Frilly Tops

For feeling—and looking—lighter than a cloud.

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L to R – Jenna: Sezane, Haley: L’Academie, Kate: Veronica Beard

 

Cinq: The Perfect Jacket

Sealing the deal, just in case a chill sets in. 

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L to R – Jenna: Alice & Olivia, Haley: IRO , Kate: Zara

 

It only takes five little pieces (and maybe four days in Paris) to jumpstart your summer style. Happy shopping, mes chéris.

xx — hh

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Shopping Guide

How We Curate Our Style

By now, if you know me, you’re familiar with my small extreme addiction to shopping. If I’m being honest, it has always been the one thing in my life I’m positive I’m good at. But in our world of shoppable social media, a continuous stream of ads, and retail stores for days, even I get a little overwhelmed by the options.

Enter my husband and style crush Ryan, who keeps a list of five brands that he loves and shops exclusively. It takes all the guesswork out of where to start when he needs something new. And it means that typically, more things go together. (We have two tiny closets; focus is everything!) We’re into quality over quantity and wear our favorite pieces repeatedly during a season. Exhibit A, B, C, D.

To help my friends who feel clueless when it comes to a “capsule” style aesthetic, I’ve done it for you! I’m sharing five brands that work for four distinct styles. And I left out the obvious choices of J.Crew and Anthropologie, because it’s nice outside of the obvious choices, pinky swear. I even curated Pinterest boards with a style icon for each vibe to help you stay inspired as you build out a thoughtful wardrobe, click on those to shop items that fit within each aesthetic. Use my picks to inspire your own “Top Five” list and challenge yourself to go to those brands first when you need something new.

Capsule Collection Examples

My Capsule Style Reco’s

THE FRENCH CAPSULE

Style Icon: Camille Rowe – Effortless sexiness in a killer pair of jeans

Brands To Start With: APC, ALC, L’Agence, Levi’s, COS

For the girl who loves J.Crew, but really wants to branch out. Keep it simple and no fuss. Look for high-waist, vintage denim, stripes, stripes, stripes, sexy silks, and a tailored jacket or blazer. Shoes are loafers, pointy-toed heels, or plain sneakers. Bonjour, chicness!

THE FEMME CAPSULE

Style Icon: Taylor Swift – America’s sweetheart with an unabashed love of all things girly

Brands To Start With: Club Monaco, Ganni, & Other Stories, Aritzia, Banana Republic

I basically built this for my friend Jenna, using Taylor Swift as inspiration. Need I say more? No, but I will. You love frills, florals, and Anthropologie. The wild card here was Banana Republic, who has been turning out some exceptional pieces lately. Look for pleats, ruffles, and prints that make you sigh with happiness.

THE STREET CAPSULE

Style Icon: Any Editor at Vogue 😉 – No-one does it like a Vogue girl with a love of crazy layers and anything different

Brands To Start With: Adidas Originals, Acne Studios, Rag & Bone, Zara, Opening Ceremony

This is for the girl who longs to get her photo snapped coming out of a fashion show. Pair sporty pants with structured button downs. Go for oversized pieces and t-shirts that make you say “Is this cool or ugly?” Honestly, it may be both. Stan Smiths are the go-to shoe, and a street style star’s best friend!

THE PATTERN CAPSULE

Style Icon: Miroslava Duma – This former editor of Vogue Russia slays all day in checks, stripes, and cheetah—sometimes all at once

Brands To Start With: Sandro, Kurt & Lyle, Être Cécile, Equipment, MINKPINK

For my ladies who love Lilly P, but maybe want to elevate a little. You’ve never met a colorful dress you didn’t like and the thought of #allblackeverything makes you very sad inside. Look for high-impact tops and pair them with a “neutral” print bottom like small polka-dots, hounds tooth, or stripes. Don’t sleep on Kurt & Lyle, a Brooklyn-based brand with killer outerwear.

Can’t narrow down to five brands? That’s fine! But take note of the pieces in your closet that you feel amazing in (yoga pants don’t count, y’all) and shop those brands first when you want something new. Tip #2 – make a list on your phone of what you actually need so you don’t come home from the mall with 7 items that look like that top you already have in your closet. Smarter shopping = less days where you say, “I have nothing to wear.” I promise.

Happy Shopping!

xx – hh

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Real Talk

The Part With The Reality Show

I once told someone—and still stand by this statement—that part of living in New York is crying in public places. Once I decided to walk from Union Square to my job at Longchamp in Soho. Not far, but I ended up getting lost in Bowery—in a full on snowstorm. I was freezing and soaked and my phone was dying and I went into a Whole Foods, walking through the produce with tears half-rolling, half-sticking to my face.

There have been rough mornings with Ryan when something dumb was said that left me frustrated and upset, and I had no choice but to sit in meetings, staring straight at the table while silent *hopefully unnoticed* tears have crept down my cheeks.

But one of the most memorable cries was when I full-on wept in Madison Square Park. Even when I think about it now, my heart hurts a little for my 25-year-old self who had heartbroken tears streaming down her face in February amidst teams setting up tents for Fashion Week parties and FIT students struggling past, carrying sketches and garment bags.

Did I ever tell you about the time I was in casting for a reality show? It was a few years back for Season 2 of House of DVF on E!. I filled out the unbearably long and introspective application and was shocked—thrilled!—to get a call from a casting producer. Ryan filmed me going through my closet, dancing like a lunatic, and wearing my sole piece of DVF: a green printed dress I won for selling the most of the brand’s dresses during my Nordstrom days. A producer called me every couple of days, encouraging me to prep for my on-camera test, which he said was a meeting and also sometimes said was a job interview. The producer kept telling me to bring my husband to my interview. “It’ll really set you apart,” he’d nudge. I declined; TV show or not, I didn’t want to be pegged as the girl who couldn’t do anything without her guy by her side. To meet them in the middle, I printed out pictures of the two of us, and packaged those on top of my portfolio for my Test/Interview/Whatever.

The big day finally rolled around, and I found myself in the DVF showroom, waiting to meet Stephanie Greenfield, the brand’s creative director and resident terrifying lady boss. At one point, a camera guy pushed a door back and as it swung open, I saw a brunette sitting on a tufted love seat, looking petrified. It turned out to be a mirrored door and that brunette was me. “PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER, this is your shot” I remember think-screaming to myself.

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Me In DVF, 2017

After shaking Stephanie’s hand about 17 times for the camera, we sat and she opened my portfolio, and I watched as a look of what I can only describe as “High Brow Disgust” washed over her as she stared down at an image of Ryan and Haley Hoover. “What’s this?” she clipped, with one eye-brow raised. I crumbled into a puddle. And will spare you from all of the ways she proceeded to poke holes in my dumb resume and tear me down and how I failed to stand up for myself. DVF had just written “The Woman I Wanted To Be” and I often think if I had repeated a few soundbites from the book, I wouldn’t have gotten a call later that night that casting needed 12 girls for the show, and unfortunately, I was lucky number 13.

 

But I knew I was out after my 15 minutes were up in that showroom. I called Ryan and told him it was bad. She hated me. I missed my shot. We had moved to the city in hopes of sky-rocketing to fashion success, and this was the break I had been waiting for. And I blew it. So to the park I went, at 10am, and cried. I cried most of the day, only breaking to host an event for Models For Christ to kick off Fashion Week, and then went home to resume my misery. I would liken the feeling to having the most beautiful diamond ring, and accidentally losing it down the drain in the bathtub.

I learned 2 things that day:

  1. I would keep trying to pursue my fashion dreams
  2. Other than that, I had no idea who I was

I could pursue the former, but needed to really invest in the latter. Self-discovery is no easy or instant task. It was a tough year. I struggled through knowing myself and understanding who I am—and still do. Being “fearfully and wonderfully made” has long been a very tough concept for me to grasp, although I do believe that the God I serve is so good and wants only the best for me.

When I recount my story, the part with the reality show serves as a pivotal moment for me. Growth hurts, the stretching and the bending can be painful. Somehow that burden of that rejection gave way to a sting and then to an ache, an ache to a winch, and a winch to a memory that simply makes me shake my head. I constantly second guess myself and my worth, but bit by bit I know a little more about the woman I am, and the one I want to be. Optimistic, enlightened, and persistent.

xx – hh

 

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Fall/Winter, NYFW, Recap

Throwing Spaghetti

I have a friend who is the right hand to an acclaimed New York-based designer. Every season, I anticipate his shows and no matter how weird or unwearable, I love them. So it totally threw me when this friend informed me that it’s not uncommon for him to have NOTHING ready six, five, even four weeks before the runway show date. Uninspired or just the creative process? I call the former. And as someone who comes up with ideas for a living, I get it. More than once, I’ve sat in brainstorms where our best ideas were a dog fashion show (wait, that’s actually an AMAZING idea and should 100% be pitched) or some half-baked concept that only evokes “Yea, that’ll work.” Creative fatigue is real and we can tell when we’re phoning it in.

I think there’s three responses to brain drain: you do what you know, you take a risk, or you throw spaghetti. And as fashion month wraps, I thought I’d pull out the designers who did just that.

I DID WHAT I KNOW

These tried and true fashion forces have a vision, and they’re sticking to it. The importance of this is really illustrated in the documentary “House Of Z” which chronicles the rise and fall, and rise again of Zac Posen. He talks about how he lost sight of his vision and the detrimenta it was to his business and creative journey.

Oscar De La Renta – Isn’t this an easy choice? It is, but I really appreciate that ODLR is a gown house now and forever. There’s two relatively new designers at the helm, and while the collection didn’t seem exactly groundbreaking or fresh, it was gorgeous and full of ODLR’s greatest hits – namely A-line gowns and punchy, strapless numbers. It’s clear Team Oscar stays inspired by the past, but I’ll take it.

Carolina Herrera – I wasn’t going to choose Carolina, but I read it was her final collection to design and decided she’s the perfect example of a designer who has stayed inspired by her own iconic self. There aren’t many “youths” channeling the CH look—her famously chic, polished, and immaculately tailored isn’t big with the street style set—but the colors, shapes, and taffeta coming down her runway were truly stunning—and classic Carolina. She’ll be surpassed by none other than (gasp!) the ex-lead designer of Oscar De La Renta, so fear not, the dresses will still be on point.


I TOOK A RISK

“You know what, I just got out there and tried.” These are the designers that constantly zag when everyone else is zig-ing.
Gucci – If you know me, you know my love for Gucci in recent years runs oh-so-deep and oh-so-wide. When I first watched this season’s show, I thought I’d position it as a spaghetti, but then I read about Alessandro’s inspiration for the collection and changed my mind. Is this just excellent BS? If it is, he sold me. Yes yes, people carried heads down the runway and that is freaking WEIRD, and I’m crying because the looks are SO. OVER. THE. TOP., but someone also carried a little green lizard and that redeemed everything for me.

Dolce & Gabbana – Get ready people, Dolce drones are now a thing and officially ruling the world. Relying on technology is risky enough, but it’s just so cheeky to nod to the fact that we don’t even need models anymore to show runway collections. And when the girls did hit the catwalk, they were Spanish divas layered in all kinds of crazy. I’m kindof confused, but also kindof obsessed.

I THREW SPAGHETTI

I had a history teacher who would give us participation points for throwing spaghetti, i.e., just talking. Sometimes you’d stick your neck out and cobble together an answer that would get a nod of approval, and other times, a laugh and, “You’re throwing spaghetti, but nice try.” These people did that, but with fashion…and it pretty much worked. 

Saint Laurent – Hedi Slimane is long gone from Saint Laurent and it seems like some of the black magic that is YSL is gone. Anthony Vaccarello is doing his own dark thing now, and also his own floral thing, I guess. But I’m calling Spaghetti because the collection just seemed so…random: hats, architectural dress, so much leather that I’m worried about our cow population. The worst thing for me is the knitted belt with the rhinestone, ahem, Swarovski crystal, centerpiece. There was a lot, and although I’m not into it, apparently sales are up, so undoubtedly other people are.

Moncler – Honestly, Moncler gets the gold because they dropped a wintry, puffy bomb at Milan fashion week. Comprised of 8 mini-collections that will “drop” on a month-to-month schedule, this collection was LIT. Seriously, it’s heating up in here, and it’s not just because I’m shrouded in a floor-length Moncler parka. They threw the spaghetti, and it stuck.

 

 

Stay risky out there people.

xx – hh

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Real Talk

Intro To An Unplanned Year

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Photo by @jennajuby

Hi there. It’s me. Haley. And right now in this moment I’m not quite sure if I’m re-introducing myself to my WordPress account or my readers. Probably both?

Drake’s dropping singles and so am I; I’m back in 2018. I stepped away because I got burnt out, got mad that I didn’t have a rich dad to fuel any insta-fame. But I did land a great my dream job at a magazine, and had a hand in opening a business with Ryan on the side. I traveled, reveled in New York City, and then we stepped away from that business a few years later. And when I did that I found myself back in a clear space. One that was open, and offering a shot at sorting out exactly what I want to do with my life, again.

Unfortunately I haven’t figured that out (and my mom tells me I won’t ever) ((and I know she’s right)), but I do know that I missed writing. I have missed pouring over runway shows, and thinking about cool and funny sentences while I ride the subway, among other things. So I thought I’d give this another try. Once a month – for myself and for my future and for my Now, because this life is too good, too sweet, too challenging and too damn #blessed for me to miss out on something I love.

So I’m saying Hi to Hi, Haleyannie this year. And I guess you are too. This is month 1, so I’ll see you back here in February.

xx – hh

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Casual, Cold Weather, Color, Real Talk, Recap, Shopping Guide

What Am I Even Wearing – Part 2

A few weeks ago, I started a blind trek into my fall and winter wardrobe, feeling a little under-prepared and undereducated on what’s hot and trendy for Autumn 2016. In need of a little fashion inspo-I turned to the street style stars of fashion week to figure out just want to put in my cart during my late night shopping sessions. I’m thrilled to announce that the 90s are alive this fall, but so are some new looks. I’ve rounded up my top picks to make your weekend trips to the mall a little more streamlined.

TREND 4 – WEIRDLY-SHAPED SWEATERS

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Photo Cred: Vogue.com

Thank goodness for the asymmetrical sweater, because its sister-knit, the regular sweater, really needed an upgrade. Be on the lookout for splits, cutouts, and dangling hems on brightly hued, deeply saturated knits. Last winter, I finally ponied up the cash for an Equipment sweater and it quickly became my go-to (as evidenced here and here), so I recommend shelling out a little more for a squishy-soft designer piece. But if that’s not your jam, try out a steal option.

 
TREND 5 – SAY IT WITH SLEEVE

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Photo Cred: Vogue.com

If summer was about the shoulder, fall is all about the sleeve. The statement sleeve is here and taking every mass retailer by storm. Some tops are tied up, laced up, or cinched, while others bell out or puff in the middle. For the first time in a long time, we have the opportunity to express ourselves with the bottom portion of our arms (FINALLY, amiright?) and I find that novel and exciting. If you’re gonna say something, say it with a sleeve that screams, “NOTICE MEEEEEEE.” Choose wisely how much you spend, or just be careful when eating large bowls or soup or reaching by open flames.

Quick shop = Tibi or F21

TREND 6 – PANTS YOU CAN REALLY LIVE IN

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Billowing bottoms are totally what’s up for fall, as as a women with hips and a booty, I’m thrilled. Skinny jeans aren’t going anywhere, but I’m so aware of my lack of stick-skinniness when I wear them. Say it with me: Wide leg pants that float away from your widest part are your friend. I live in a black trouser from Zara and can’t wait to take their cold-weather counterpart for a spin. A light-colored hue will keep chunky sweaters feeling too heavy. Pro-tip: A heel is best with these pants so your ankles still look lean and pretty. If you’re a flat devotee and you pick up some full-length wide trousers, have your tailor hem your pants so there is no break; this will keep your legs from looking stumpy or frumpy.

 

TREND 7 – BLOCK PARTY

booties

Photo Credit: Vogue.com

This season’s boots go in two extremes: high or low. You can either opt for the sexy over the knee boot—highly recommend this – it really will boost your morale!—or the street smart block heel bootie that literally goes all day and doesn’t bat an eye (if booties had eyes that is..). Having nearly walked holes into my Stuart Weitzmans, I’m seeking out a relief hitter from Rag and Bone, but these nearly identical ones really gave my designer dreams a run for their money. I love the block heeled boot because you get the lift of a pump, but the mobility of a flat. #cantstopwontstop

TREND 8 – SLIDE TO THE LEFT

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The uber trendy slides are the perfect way to show everyone that the world is your bedroom. These super-chic, difficult to walk in slides a la Gucci’s Alessandro Michele are popping up everywhere. They certainly have curb appeal don’t they? Shop at Saks for a pair, or head to Zara, to join the club of ladies slip, slidin’ around.

Happy shopping! I can’t wait to see the fabulous outfits my friends start putting together; and with the temperature dropping every day, I’m pretty sure I won’t have to seek inspiration from social media much longer. We’re taking it to the streets! Be sure to follow my  N E W Pinterest board for more fall-fashion picks.

Stay cozy, lovelies.

xx – Haley

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