Casual, Daytime Look, Spring/Summer

The Beautiful & Damned

“Mine is going to be outstanding. It can’t, shan’t be the setting – it’s going to be the performance, the live, lovely, glamorous performance, and the world shall be the scenery.”

I’ve been reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned since my first summer trip waaayyyyy back in May. I feel super literate and cultured when I sit on the train and read this book, but honestly, I’m reading it because that one season of Gossip Girl when Serena is hired to intern on a movie set and oversee the script adaptation of the book. (OH TO BE SERENA VAN DER WOODSEN)

The story chronicles New York’s privileged and eccentric who are kind of just kicking around and spending money and avoiding having to work for anything (this is probably why Serena VDW loved the book). In the book, the two main characters keep having these seasons of panic where they realize they’re running out of money but also don’t have any skills to keep afloat. I can empathize with the panicky times, but differ from them with the lack of skills category. I feel a huge swell of pride when I think of the things I can bring to the table in life – for one, I can cook, so I can literally bring things to the table. Another skill in my repertoire is dressing for summer – this week I’m wearing my most favorite print-on-print, two piece playsuit. This outfit is especially special to me because I bought it for my first trip to NYC and subsequently lost it during my move to NYC but then FOUND it at the beginning of this summer. A whole year gone, but now we’re back together. #truelovewaits

On an unrelated, but related note about NYC’s eccentric. We shot these looks in front of the house featured in Wes Anderson’s film, “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Be still my perfectly symmetric heart.







Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some reading to do.

xo – Haley

Key Pieces // Playsuit – ASTR Clothing c/o Nordstrom | Necklace – Vanessa Mooney | Bag – Longchamp | Shoes – Rowan

Real Talk, Spring/Summer

Enjoy the ride, OKAY!?

Recently, I’ve taken to recording the conversations I have with the people I interview for my #BringYourOwnCoffee series. I am a very novice interviewer, so when it comes to actually writing the interview pieces out, there’s a ton of playback and re-listening to the conversations. And a lot of hearing myself talk. When I was writing last week’s piece with Julia Hembree, I was supremely disappointed with my words. It wasn’t how they sounded. It was what I was saying. As I was talking to my subject about the quest to “figure out” life and career, all she could talk about was how open to possibility she was and set a very realistic pace for herself. Plus, she was happy. She was relaxed. I, on the other hand, sounded jaded and downright whiney about “possibilities.” YUCK. I had become one of those girls.

Suffice to say, my BIG DREAMS that I had for living in NYC have been slow to come to fruition. Honestly, I wanted to be a head stylist or an editor for an esteemed publication or some title preceding by VP by the time I was 24. And seeing as that has not happened, for very obvious reasons, I have seasons where I feel discouraged or like I’ve failed. Yep, I’m one of those: very lofty dreams + perfectionist = deep sadness/fear of failure. I’ve watched dreams come true for others with relatively little effort and thought there was something wrong with me because I’ve put SO much effort into the next step and it has yet to arrive.

After a long week of more false starts and maybe some poor decision making, serious heart to hearts with dear friends and praying through my emotions, I’m beginning to see the light. People always tell me, “Haley, slow down.” “Stop beating yourself up!” “Enjoy the ride!”

Enjoy the ride?” I think, “I’m crushing the ride! I’ll enjoy it more when I get there.”

Stupid mentality. I could have been enjoyed deeper relationships with friends, giving more to my day job or more to this blog. I could have been connecting with people, which, by the way, is the secret to getting ahead in this town. I could have been loving my husband better, rather than leaning into him for … any and all emotional support.

Talking to confidants also provided perspective. If I look at my dreams on a more macro level, I’m right on track. Here’s the short list:

  • Become a professional stylist – many people have paid me to get them dressed, both commercial companies and private clients, check
  • Move to New York – coming up on two years here, check
  • Work for a major fashion brand – coming up on two years with one, check
  • Own my own business – this happened last month, check
  • Create fresh content on a consistent basis – I’d say that’s happening here at Hihaleyannie, check

So yea, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I think I’ve watched Devil Wears Prada too many times.

I’m casting my net now. Something will swim along in due time. But I have to believe that I’m being taught how to cast my net in the proper way – without anxiety and with patience. If you’d like to truly know who you are – allllll the good and bad, please by all means, move to New York City. This place has a funny way of breaking you down and building you back up, frequently.

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Photo Cred: Julia Hembree

With a quiet heart,


#BYOC, Real Talk

#BYOC – Julia Hembree: Smart, Young Thing

Sunday afternoon in the West Village seated in overstuffed chairs at an al fresco pizza place. I’m testing out the voice recording app on my phone, making sure that my co-diner can be heard across the enormous wooden table. She leans forward:

My name is Julia Hembree. I am 22 years old, I just graduated this spring – I live in NEW YORK CITY, the Big Apple. Life’s great, Life’s grand.

Julia Hembree, a quiet mega-talented photographer who, only a few months ago, sent me a quick note asking if I needed a photographer for my blog. Having just finished discussing the fact that my images were a little weak with my then-photographer (my still-husband) literally moments before, I freaked out and sent back one of my infamous ALL CAPS replies. It read something like this: YES YES YES!


Up until this pizza date, our shoots have consisted of micro photo-sessions. Julia peers up at the sun and then back at me and starts snapping. At the end of about 30 minutes, I’m checking my watch and Julia’s saying, “No. I feel good. I’ll have these in Dropbox tonight.” and then one of both of us is off running to the next thing. Then I get home and check my Dropbox and scream with sheer joy and thankfulness that Jesus has placed this angel into my life.

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If I’m being honest, she’s really just doing me a favor. Julia is a curator of light and stories and aesthetics. Rewind to her first few months here and we are grabbing lunch at Grey Dog in Nolita. Upon her arrival to the city, this girl had initial internship opportunities with some of photography’s most esteemed and accomplished. But she passed up the chance. She tells me of these options and how amazing it would be to work (for free) under these celebrity-in-their-own-right creative minds. But then she casually mentioned, “I think I’ll have to work about 22 hours a day though.”  My eyes widen and I try my best to be as equally casual when I say in not so extreme terms YOU CANNOT DO THAT. But now, a few months later, she’s able to reflect on why passing up an insane work schedule was the right thing to do:

JH: When I first moved here, I was a little naive. I just thought I’m going to live in New York and shoot for VOGUE. But to get to shoot things like that means taking a really hard path. 

HHA: What do you mean by that?

JH: It means working a ton. [High profile] photographers are managing so many other people at one time. There’s assistants, lighting crews, makeup and hair, and producers, while you’re talking agents and pursuing new jobs. You’re constantly having to be aware of so many elements and forgetting one thing may mean ruining a whole shoot. These people are so stressed out – most high profile photographers I’ve met have been uptight and stressed out. Annie Leibovitz and Steven Meisel are not, like, chilling out on a Friday night. Their lives are very, very busy.

HHA: Do you want that life?

JH: (Very decidedly) No, I don’t. I want to stay creative and be able to support myself, but there are other elements that are important to me, like hospitality. Everyone to a certain extent has to figure out what that balance looks like for their own job and own family.


HHA: Every day, New York City asks us the question, “What’s it worth it to you?” We’ve moved here to “do” our dreams and do them in the biggest way possible. But so often it isn’t the movie that we had playing in our heads. It takes time, it takes networking. Do you feel pressure to meet people and network?

JH: I feel pressure to learn a lot more at this stage. I have a lot of skills that I need to pick up, which often means free work. So I have to find other professionals who are willing to let me borrow their equipment, learn and still do a good job for them. Assistants who aren’t experienced really have to fight. But, I find networking relaxing actually. The fashion world seems exhausting because I don’t know everything about it yet. I don’t quite know what I’m doing in that realm, so that stresses me out. 

HHA: Has your time in New York looked like you thought it would so far?

JH: I told myself it was going to be hard and planned to not even focus on photography my first year here. But then the opportunities came. I thought I would network more and I’ve networked less.

HHA: What’s your end goal for photography? Fashion or fine art?

JH: Whatever I fall into. When I’ve reached out to others in the industry, I’ve found that there’s no set answer. So many photographers in fashion are considered fine art photographers. If you devote your life to one craft, then yeah, you’ll get really good at it. But the photographer I currently assist (Daniel Castro) began as an industrial designer and only later realized that he was passionate about production and lighting and photography. And he’s been very successful.  

HHA: What do you get most excited to shoot?

IMG_0306JH: I get excited if the images turn out and they make somebody happy. I get most excited about creative expression. Finding a narrative, following a narrative, interpreting it. Creating a whole set of images that have a tone and a feeling. I’ve recently been looking into art direction and what a job like that entails.

Julia’s most proud of the We’re Making It shoot, a 5 day online art show. Each day was a different theme; she produced a shoot based off of Wildwood and ate up the producing aspect.

“I’m open,” she says. I love Julia’s career outlook because she isn’t afraid of change, she isn’t afraid of falling out of love with photography (she won’t, I bet). “Why force yourself to do something you don’t enjoy?” Fair point, Jules.

“I’m gonna keep shooting what I enjoy and see where that takes me.” And I’m willing to put money on that fact that she’ll be taken onto big things.


Cheers, Julia. And thanks for the pics.

You’ve got to see all the amazing images this girl has created. If you’d like to follow her more closely and see her work, please visit her site!

xo – Haley

Casual, Daytime Look, Real Talk, Sporty, Spring/Summer

Weekend Warrior

My week days start at 6:30 am with a 3 mile run (only if I’m really on it, 7:20am and no run, if I’m not) and they end at 12:30am with me putting the finishing touches on a blog or a tweet or a post or something that requires brain power that I usually don’t possess at that hour. I fully work full time. Day to day outfits are skirts and dresses and heels and intentional outfits – attempts to subliminally make people respect me and think “hey, she should probably style our next campaign.” But the weekend is when the magic happens.

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Weekend warrior. That’s what I am. Rather, that’s what my new summer obsession called THESE OVERALLS are. Only recently have I started experiencing this thing called “weekends” and, glory be, those two days off in a row are life changing. Saturday and Sunday lay open before me and my closet. So here I am, with two days of adventurous, city-life bliss up for grabs and this denim hero. You better believe I am wearing them TO EVERYTHING. Beach trip – over my bikini. Day at park – make it french, opt for a Breton striped shirt. Concert in Brooklyn – racer back tank and platform sandals. Fourth of July Weekend in Connecticut – still not sure, but will report back about this on Monday. I think my husband is a little over the ‘alls, but I honestly can’t stop. I feel younger and cuter, I feel patriotic, I feel gutsier, I feel this weird mix of nostalgia and the pride you get when your outfit is actually ‘on-trend.’

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I guess if I had an Independence Day wish for you, I would wish that you find what I’ve found. Whether it’s overalls, a vintage army-green jacket, or a sundress that just won’t quit, I hope you stop thinking about what you need in your wardrobe so much and just buy what makes you feel happy. Make my July 4th wish come true (please, sorry mom) – shop these pieces I’m loving and experience the Overall Attitude life change. Be the weekend warrior you’ve always dreamed you can be. And then let that bleed over to Monday.  Deal? Deal.


Hoping God blesses you, your closet & our lovely country this weekend.

Happy 4th ya’ll.

– H

Key Pieces // Overalls – Forever21  | Top – JCrew | Watch – Skagen

Fabulous images by Julia Hembree

Real Talk

Let’s Begin

W E L C O M E to my new Z O N E.

You came! You made it! I made it. It’s been a little bit of a journey to get here and I have that weird feeling of tentative success that one might feel when hanging the first picture up in an otherwise empty apartment wall. This could look terrible or amazing, but it’s honestly too soon to tell.

I decided that it was time to launch a new space for myself largely for selfish reasons. I want a space that reflects me and hopefully acts as a little emotional vehicle for me to ride around in while this weird, weird time called my mid-twenties is happening. This is my house, my space; we are gonna get honest and thoughtful and hilarious up here.

For me, writing (and blogging) has been such a satisfying way to navigate life, share what clothing and trends I’m completely in love with (or scared of – that means you, crop tops!) and enlighten others about the wide world of fashion. This industry has a way of transforming lives and totally shaping the way a person views the world. If you’re in the industry – you either fully accept this (moi) or are totally oblivious to this bubble in which you reside. If you’re NOT in the industry, you  most likely think we’re all crazy to consider investing a small fortune on bags/shoes/denim and simultaneously have no idea what we do on a daily basis.*

*This part is dedicated to my mom. I know she has no idea what I do for a job.

I won’t be alone in this enlightenment process either. THIS IS WHAT I AM MOST EXCITED ABOUT. Each month, I’ll be grabbing coffee with a comrade in the fashion or entertainment industry to learn more about what their little slice of pop culture contribution looks like. I can not give you internet coffee, but I will definitely be reporting on the conversations had at said coffee meetings. Wait til next week – you’re going to LOVE my first guest interview, seriously, it’s gonna be good. smp (111 of 121)

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#BYOC (Bring Your Own Coffee)

So that’s the rundown. New space. New outfits. New chats. All this and more peppered in with tales of the city and how I constantly manage to inappropriately over or under think normal situations.

Really, really excited you’re here. Cheers.


Key Pieces // Top + Bottom – Fashion Pills | Shoes: The Kooples | Jewelry: Anthropologie, JCrew X BaubleBar

All photos taken by the amazing Julia Hembree.