5 HEALTHY HABITS THAT TRANSFORMED MY LIFE

1.  Adding greens wherever and whenever possible -We live in a time where our produce is not nearly as nutritionally dense as is used to be, so we have to eat a lot more to get the correct amount of nutrients our body needs to perform its daily functions.  Leafy greens are absolute super foods!  There are so many wonderful micronutrients in them, they help boost your immune system, and encourage good gut bacteria.  I will get a giant batch of spinach or spring mix from the grocery store at a time so that I’m motivated to finish it before it goes bad.  I’ll add it to my eggs, smoothies, sandwiches, wilted on the side of my entrees…basically wherever I can fit greens into my diet, I will!  Fruit is a great healthy option, but we should also be striving to have vegetables with every single meal.  The more greens I eat, the easier it is for me to ward off a cold.

2.  Mixing up workouts -Because I played volleyball in college, my love for the weight room is real.  I have adored lifting and lifting hard since I was about 17, but that is not sustainable for my body!  Light cardio, yoga, long walks and resistance training regularly make my lineup these days, and it has benefited my overall fitness immensely!  When I tend to stick to lifting on its own, I get locked up and my body takes longer to recover, but if I mix things up, I notice how much better my body feels overall.  Sitting in front of a computer screen all day was leaving me stiff; diverse workouts have been my number one weapon to combat the terrible desk body.  I am much more flexible, I have increased stamina, and I feel as though I’m actually in much better shape compared to when I was only lifting.  Our bodies weren’t meant to do the same motions over and over again; try something new.  You never know how much it could benefit your overall health.

3.  Supplements are your FRIEND – I was against supplements for a while…simply because I always had the notion that you should be able to get all of your essential vitamins and minerals via diet.  In a perfect world, that would be true, but we don’t live in a perfect world.  The fact is, most of us don’t get enough of what we need, even if we eat healthy and nutrient-dense foods.  The key to supplementation is research.  For example, I take a collagen supplement and have noticed a significant difference in my skin plumpness.  Collagen itself is too big of a molecule to be absorbed in the body; however, hydrolyzed collagen can be absorbed into the body.  I have done substantial research on the kinds of supplements my body needs based on its uniqueness, what I regularly uptake from my diet, and what the absorption requirements are.  And I’m not talking about a quick google search.  If you have access to them, make sure you are looking at scholarly and peer-reviewed articles!  It takes a little bit of time and dedication, but it is worth it to see your body working at full capacity.

4.  Eliminating all Toxins – It’s pretty much common knowledge by now that that parabens are regularly found in cancer cells, petroleum is terrible for your health, and that harsh chemicals wreak havoc on your immune system.  What we don’t often hear about are how these synthetics are effecting our hormones, causing infertility, and worsening allergies.  I have been slowly but surely switching over my skincare, haircare, household products, and food over to natural.  What’s important about this switch is reading ingredient lists.  DO NOT ever trust a “Natural” or “Toxin-free” label.  Those are not regulated and there isn’t a requirement to meet in order to label products as such; they are simply marketing grabs.  Always turn to that ingredient list!  In terms of skincare, I typically refer to ewg.org/skindeep.  This resource breaks down each product and its ingredients to tell you which ingredients might be harmful and why.  It also tells you how much research has been done on the ingredients and what we know about long-term effects.  Eliminating toxicity has not only increased skin and hair quality, but also a peace of mind knowing that I’m not putting potentially dangerous ingredients in/on my body!

5.  Only drinking what will proactively help health – I know it sounds crazy, and if you would’ve told me this a year ago, I would’ve thought you were crazy too, but I quit coffee.  Yes, it brings disbelief in me even typing it now.  And not just coffee, but all caffeine as well.  The only caffeine that enters my system is the trace amounts that are left in decaf tea.  Now, I only drink water, tea, smoothies, and protein shakes.  I cut out all coffee, soda, caffeinated anything, alcohol, etc.  This has made a dramatically positive change in my life.  I’m going to be honest with you, it took about 10 days to completely detox from caffeine.  My days were filled with headaches, tiredness, and simply feeling gross, as I was full-blown addicted.  Then, it took about two months for my energy levels to be restored to what a normal human’s should be.  Since then, I’ve never looked back.  I no longer wake up groggy, I don’t have a mid-afternoon crash, and I don’t have to worry about those dreaded caffeine headaches anymore.  I honestly feel like I’ve reached the Promised Land and encourage anyone who’s willing to wade through the suck of a caffeine detox to try it!

6.  Making your sleep work with you, not against – Sleep is a crucial part of our daily lives.  We heal, recharge, and balance out while we sleep.  Yet so many of us wake up feeling worse than when we went to bed!  That is not the way God intended our sleep to be.  One key to making sure you get a solid night’s rest is your mattress.  Invest in a good mattress that meets your individual body, and watch your sleep be transformed.  The number of hours you spend asleep won’t matter if it isn’t a quality sleep.  I know so many of us also suffer from the inability to shut off our brains at night.  Taking care of yourself by slowly winding down in the evening takes stress out of your life and prepares your mind for a restful night’s sleep.  Instead of doing chores until it’s time for bed, draw yourself a bath, light a candle, and enjoy a good book.  If you know me, you know that I am a stickler about screen time!  At least an hour before I plan on actually going to sleep, I will turn off all the screens and not look at them until the morning.  The blue light that screens omit messes with our sleep cycles and confuses our brains a bit.  Sleep cycles are often overlooked, but I believe they are key to ensuring quality sleep.  Another great tip is to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.  Since creating a nighttime and morning routine with purpose to get better sleep, I actually wake up feeling refreshed!

WHY THE MOVEMENT MATTERS

Last week, I posted a blog about a movement towards authenticity, towards being real and showing your true self – the self God created you to be.  There has been an amazing response; women have reached out and told me about what they’ve been going through, about how they cover up and why they cover up.  I’ve been told to continue spreading the word and encouraging.  But today, I want to talk about why it matters.  Authenticity is a very broad term.  It can mean being genuine.  It can mean being brave enough to show your makeup-less face when you really struggle with the raw picture.  It can mean admitting to a friend what you have been going through.  It can mean telling another about the battles you’ve faced to help get them through their battle as well.  And that’s the part I want to focus on.

Women empowering other women stems not only from encouragement and being a cheerleader, but also from getting down to the nitty-gritty and saying “hey, that eating disorder you’re facing, I’ve been through that.  I understand.  And I’m here.”  It’s staying up late with a boutique owner because they’re this close to quitting not only on their job, but their dream.  It’s letting people see your flaws in all aspects because that makes you human.  It’s admitting mistakes and honestly asking for forgiveness.  Women have the power to be so influential, so caring, so understanding, and so incredible together, but first we have to be authentic.

I was a completely different person a little over two years ago.  Plagued with trials of circumstance, my soul felt heavy.  It became panic attacks on the train or randomly at the bar.  It became needing a drink (or five) right when I got home.  It became angry and uncontrollable outbursts towards family members that didn’t do anything wrong and were simply trying to give me grace.  It became starving myself.  It became depression.  It became hating everything and everyone I came across.  And I had no idea how to fight it.  It was a nasty, multi-faceted beast that would come back to haunt me in the fall and winter.  I couldn’t even identify where it came from.  I didn’t know why it was happening or why I was like this; I only knew the pain.  Oh no, I didn’t share any of this at the time with anyone out of my inner circle.  There were too many demons and I had an image to uphold.  I was the farthest thing from authentic.

But what if I had shared sooner?  What if I had reached out and been real about my pain.  Maybe I wouldn’t have suffered for a year and a half.  Maybe I could’ve found help sooner.  Eventually, I realized I wasn’t being myself and I sought therapy and seriously sought God.  The therapy helped my pinpoint where my pain was coming from and helped me to control my thoughts.  My God restored my soul and set me free from my pain…and the idea that I was alone and had to hide.

When women send me messages about what they have been going through, it is a truly courageous step in reaching out.  Those women are why authenticity matters.  Women struggling with addiction, insecurities, perfectionism, mental illness, poor marriages, eating disorders, the not-enoughs, terminal diseases, and everything in between.  Anything that isn’t in alignment with what God says about you, it is why authenticity matters.  Because if you realize that you are the way you are for a reason, but you aren’t celebrating the way God made you, then something isn’t lining up.  You can have the confidence to ask for help.  You can take those steps, as big or as little as you need, toward resolution and healing.

Authenticity is called brave because it’s rare, but it should be normal.  It should be celebrated and encouraged.  It’s not only about leaving behind the compulsion to dress up, Photoshop images, and presenting an image online; it’s being authentic in person and relationships too.  Authenticity is a destroyer of shame.  And anyone who has experienced shame knows that it’s about time to kick it in the teeth.  As we continue to encourage genuineness, realness, and rawness – to ourselves and others – remember the why behind it.  Remember that motivation has to be authentic.  Reach out – and be available to be reached out to.

I CHALLENGE YOU: THE AUTHENTICITY MOVEMENT

Welcome to the party, 2018.  To some, you were ushered in with open arms.  To some, you came much too fast.  And to others, you were a scary thought that was completely inevitable.  Regardless of how you came into our lives, you are here.  You are ready.  You aren’t slowing down, and now it’s up to us to decide how to handle your stay with us for the next 365 days.

I had enormous goals lined up for 2018: goals of winning my first breakaway buckle, goals of starting a new ministry within my church, goals of expanding my pie repertoire, goals of becoming increasingly more disciplined with Bible studies, goals of training my cow pup to work cattle, goals and goals and goals (I’m a very driven person)!  All of these were whirling around in my head until about two weeks ago.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Instagram; I need it to run Salt Lick Sisters, but the attention focus has always seemed so backwards to me.  I would get frustrated when I saw girls who were doing the same thing as me, but better because they were putting on a face.  I would get angered when I knew someone was trying to be something that they aren’t, and getting hundreds more likes than I was, while I was trying to be genuinely true to myself.  I didn’t find it fair at all that my well thought out attempts at being inspirational would be upstaged by people showing off their cleavage.  I would almost get sucked into the fakeness, and then I would take a step back.  My perspective shifted when I asked myself why these girls were editing themselves significantly thinner, changing even their face shapes, and portraying themselves in a lifestyle that truly wasn’t theirs.  Why would someone be so dedicated to an image of who they aren’t?  Why would someone not want to be and accept the woman that God created her to be?  There are so many possible answers to those questions.  It must be exhausting keeping up with everything.  It must be painful to look in the mirror and not believe that the world will accept that.  It must be so difficult to walk into a job that you believe you have to cover up.

I cannot think of a single person that hasn’t experienced the I’m-not-enoughs.  But what is enough?  What would it take to make you feel pretty enough, exciting enough, interesting enough, or smart enough?  Especially in today’s time, where comparison can take on a terribly false idea of what is real, and what are the false things people want you to see.  We will never be enough if we are chasing worldly standards instead of God’s standards.  And guess what, you have already more than met His list of requirements to be enough of everything.

So in this New Year, I challenge myself and everyone that I come across to be authentic, to be completely and unashamedly you.  God created you the exact way that He wanted to, so nourish that person.  Grow and show off that creation, not the image of what you think the world wants you to be.  God isn’t going to bless what your idea of how you should be is.  He’s going to bless who He knows is best.  If you honor your image and build up your image, but never take care of God’s true creation, you can’t expect Him to bless that.  But if you love that wonderful life and body and mind that He gave to you, wrinkles, quirks, scars, funny laughs, dimples, weird talents, points, curves, freckles, and all, then He will bless you.

Show yourself the grace that God has, and toss aside the pressure to be someone He never intended you to be.  It takes time, trust me, but it is more than worth it.  The #authenticitymvmt is my goal for 2018.  I not only want to keep myself in check to be transparent, but also inspire other women to do the same.  God wants you to discover who you truly are, and He will be there holding your hand each step of the way.  In the end, we all need to support each other as well.  We should encourage authenticity from other women and celebrate their genuineness.  I can’t think of anything better than going around and throwing parties for all of the wonderful things that God, the ultimate Creator, has created.  And that is you.  It may seem scary, and it may take a few tries to get there, but I will be your cheerleader and encouragement.  Let’s take away the image and peel back all those layers of who we think we should be, and simply be ourselves.

Thank y’all so much for sharing a bit of your time with me today.  I hope this encourages you and I would love to see you being yourself and telling your stories!! Tag “#authenticitymvmt” in your incredible journeys so I can keep up with you, and God bless!

Xoxo, Meghan

HAPPY 1 -YEAR ANNIVERSARY SALT LICK SISTERS

A couple of girls living in rural Oklahoma, seeking a creative outlet for their fashion interests, began a collaboration during the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in 2016.  It was a journey that would take them farther than they could’ve ever imagined.  Armed with a mediocre camera, minimal experience in the actual fashion world, tight budgets, a serious passion, and God on our side, we set out to create the Salt Lick Sisters Western Fashion Blog.   I had been following western fashion influencers for a while and always thought “maybe I could do that…”, but never seriously considered it.  While admiring the NFR fashion, I decided to bite the bullet and begin what we had been dreaming about…what did we have to lose?

The odds were stacked against us in all the obvious ways.  We weren’t photographers; there is a big difference between someone with an artistic eye and a professional photographer.  We didn’t have any famous people in our lives to help give us a leg up (we all know how many influencers are rodeo wives).  We worked full time, but were not swimming in the cash.  Budgeting for clothes was no joke and definitely forced us to get a little creative with our style.  Alix and I had about 600 combined followers on our Instagram accounts before Salt Lick Sisters started.  We didn’t have anyone watching us, had no idea how to market ourselves, and didn’t quite have the social media thing down.  Few things were in our favor, but when God has given you favor, you don’t need anything else.

A year and over 18,000 followers later can only be attributed to the Almighty.  The Lord has blessed us with more opportunities than we can count.  We have met other influencers across the country, participated in photo-shoots, been in magazines, and have been featured in blogs throughout the Western Fashion world.  Last year, I attended the Denver WESA market and just a few short months later, we had the privilege of being invited to the Bodacious Babes of the West Conference.  There has been a lot of work underneath everything (seriously y’all, why didn’t anyone tell us how time-consuming corresponding is?!), but we set out with a mission to inspire women to be unashamedly and uniquely true to themselves, while glorifying the Lord, and nothing was going to get in our way.

Over this past year, I don’t know how many times I have felt like quitting.  But one lesson we’ve learned is to only do what we want to do.  When we start taking on too much, when we begin to feel obligated to work with people or please others, and when we start to drift away from who we are, we lose interest and motivation.  There gets to be a point where it’s a good thing to say “no”.  While we are still working full time jobs aside from the blog, my goal is to make things even bigger and better with the New Year.  Starting in  2018, I will be attending Denver WESA as a WESA Wrangler Influencer!  I am over-the-moon to meet even more incredible people.  Collaborations are flowing, inboxes are full, and this whole thing truly is a testimony to how incredible the Lord is.  Thank you to all who have supported us and believed in what we are doing!  I can’t wait to share more and see what God has in store for 2018.

YOUR NEW ADDICTION – PRAIRIE SKY JEWELRY COMPANY

When Kenyon Lomax of Prairie Sky Jewelry Co reached out to us to work with her, it only took a quick peek at her work to know we wanted this business relationship to work out!  “How have the other bloggers not jumped on this?!” Alix asked me while we were flipping through her portfolio.  We were astonished – her silver work hadn’t gone viral yet and extremely flattered that she wanted to work with us.  After some corresponding back and forth, we got a glimpse into not only what Prairie Sky is all about, but the kind of person Kenyon is, as well and how that is reflected in her work.

Kenyon was on a fast track to law school when she had a realization that her passions lay in creating and keeping her wandering heart content…at least for the time being.  She lives full time in a camper with her husband, as they are constantly traveling for his career.  While on the road, she created her own jewelry company.  Yes – you put those pieces together correctly; she smiths out of her camper.  Kenyon has completed two silversmith apprenticeships, so you could say she knows what she’s doing.  I thought I knew my turquoise, until I got a lesson from her about regions, histories, and a whole slew of material that went right over my head.  I truly believe that one of the most sought after qualities in a silversmith, and any maker for that matter, is how knowledgeable they are surrounding their trade.  And Kenyon is definitely that.

Silver and turquoise make up a large percentage of her art, but she also works with copper, and other various stones – including agate, opal, white buffalo turquoise, moonstone, and even vintage Navajo pottery!  This woman is seriously talented.  Did I mention she also does custom orders?  Prairie Sky Jewelry Co can take your vision and turn it into a reality.  Make sure you get your order in as soon as you can though; she tends to be about 20 orders deep at one time.

Kenyon has made a style of her own in the western silver jewelry industry.  Her creative side flourishes when she is given free reign over her projects.  Classic southwestern influences are seen throughout her work, all while staying true to her style and incorporating modern flares.  She creates pieces ranging from statement to delicate and everything in between.  Her jewelry is practical enough for everyday wear, but has the potential to dress up any outfit as you see fit.  She can make anything from stackable cuffs, to hat pins, to custom cattle tag necklaces, to scarf slides, to any ring you could imagine, to statement earrings.  Alix and I have a couple of Kenyon’s turquoise and sterling rings that we wear every day.  The quality that you receive under such fair pricing is an absolute dream.

The Salt Lick Sisters are currently working with Prairie Sky Jewelry Co on more custom work to decorate ourselves in.  In fact, I’m ordering my fiancé’s wedding band from Kenyon (seriously, y’all…I don’t think there’s a whole lot she can’t do).  Stay tuned for more Prairie Sky x Salt Lick collaborations, but in the meantime, don’t just take my word for it – head over to www.prairieskyjewelryco.com and witness Kenyon’s work for yourself.  Try not to be too upset    with me for introducing you to your new jewelry addiction…

Save

Save

Save

NO REST FOR THE RANCHING FAMILY

When I heard the power click off in the middle of the night, I didn’t think much of it.  Living in a small town on the plains makes you a little more desensitized to losing power.  The wind was howling and my tiny house was starting to get cold – nothing another old wool blanket couldn’t handle.  When my internal clock hit seven, I got out of bed and discovered that I still didn’t have power.  In all honesty, my first reaction was “how in the world am I going to get ready for church without water and a curling iron?”  The more I called around for information, the more the reality of weather conditions set in.  A couple hours later, Alix and her husband were at my door, dressed for the blizzard of the decade, and ready to drive us out to the ranch, where a generator-warmed house was calling our names.  Church was not on the agenda that day…

A typically easy 20-minute drive started with over an hour venturing through a white-out, and finished with driving over downed power lines and a sloppy dirt road to reach the ranch.  When we arrived at the barn, more layers were thrown on and we prepared ourselves for the elements.  Stepping out of the pickup, Alix and I had to prop each other up to brace the wind.  We were given a stark warning: “Hold onto each other!  These are the conditions people die in!”  Then my hat blew off and I left Alix to go chase it down and she got blown over (sorry girl…I mean, priorities?).  It’s pretty comical looking back, but when you’re giving it your best against the wind and still can’t move, not so fun in the moment.  The horses were brought in and moved around, sopping wet to the bone and shivering.  After the livestock was taken care of, we got to reward ourselves with dry clothes and hot coffee indoors.

The next hour was the highlight of the day.  We had a hot meal and just sat around and talked, joking about getting blown over, losing hats, and the power lines.  We were sitting in ignorant bliss to what was actually happening outside.  When a couple of the men decided to go check on the roping steers, the rest of us didn’t think anything of it…until they came back with a report that four of them were down.  We sat in silence wondering what to do and how to help.  Nevertheless, we piled our layers back on and numerous thoughts went through my mind.  We are under a blizzard warning.  The roads and pens are muddy, sloppy messes.  Things could get dangerous.  We have to help the steers.

When Alix and I pulled on our boots, we were told that we didn’t need to come along.  It would be better for us to stay in and stay safe, than to come out because they wouldn’t need our help.  Naturally, we ignored that order and went anyway.  When a situation is presented like that, we can always help in one way or another.  The family needed us and we knew it, regardless of what we were told.  Loaded down with a skid loader, a pickup (in case the skid loader got stuck), and another pickup (in case the first pickup got stuck), we headed out to the steers.

After arriving, the first steer was loaded in the bucket and with a little maneuvering, was safely delivered to the barn.  We threw some horse blankets on him and started rubbing him down, trying whatever we could to keep him warm.  The second one they brought us was dead before he arrived.  A little defeated, we awaited the third.  Alix and I took turns wedging ourselves between the steer and the ground to keep him upright while we tried our best to restore his body heat.  About 30 minutes passed before we realized the guys hadn’t come back with the fourth steer yet.  A quick look outside revealed that the skid loader was stuck…and so was the pickup.  Thankfully, the final steer had his head up and continued to look alert as he tried and failed to stand himself up.  He still had some fight in him yet.

We gathered and loaded logs and anything else we could use as traction to get this skid loader unstuck, but try as we might, we couldn’t get it out of the muddy mess.  Minutes rolled by and by, as the steer’s head sunk lower and his eye began to droop.  I knew we needed to get this steer in the barn.  “Can we all pull the steer into the bed of the pickup and drive him over to shelter?” I asked Alix.  She took the initiative (she’s braver than I am to suggest something to a group of worn out and frustrated cowboys) and told them what needed to be done; they agreed.  Our last vehicle that wasn’t drowning in mud didn’t move more than 10 feet before, it too, was stuck with its peers.  How we were going to save this steer without any way to move it?  By hand, of course.  Alix and I had a rope around his back legs, and the guys took hold of his tail.  Through the mud and the snow, we drug that steer out of the wind and towards the barn.  We had to stop every 20 yards or so from pure exhaustion, but with encouragement and determination, we made it.  Sucking air, I sat down and thought about what we had just accomplished – as a family.  I thanked the good Lord for everyone’s safety and remembered how Alix and I almost didn’t come along.  Our bodies were fatigued, cold, and ridiculously muddy, but I knew in that moment this would be a story for the books.  When your family ties run deep (blood, water, or otherwise), and you can band together for a common cause, not a whole lot can stand in your way.

Farmers and ranchers across this country know the feeling of being beaten down by mother nature all too well, especially in the past few months.  The heart of this country has experienced devastating wildfires, flooding, and blizzards.  Yet here they stand, heads held high, because the industry, communities, and families are the backbone.  These people abide by “loving your neighbor”, and often sacrifice a great amount to help others out.  It wasn’t our will.  It wasn’t our strength.  It wasn’t our stubbornness that drove us across the finish line.   It was family.  And with that, we can get through anything.

BODACIOUS BABES OF THE WEST

Being the new kid on the block has its advantages, but mostly comes with challenges.  The Salt Lick Sisters is coming up on its four-month-mark, so we are still newbies in the western fashion industry.  When Alix and I were invited to the Bodacious Babes of the West conference in Fort Worth about two months ago, we were overjoyed, honored, and then very, very nervous.  Being this new and getting the recognition to be invited was extremely flattering; however, that guest list was intimidating.  Ladies that have been doing this for years were going.  Ladies that have more talent in their little fingers than I do in my whole body were going.  Ladies that we looked up to, and followed for so long, were going.  How were we going to be taken seriously?  Thoughts of doubt and insecurity filled both of our heads before we finally talked it out, prayed it out, and decided to go.

After weeks of prep and texting one another pictures back and forth, we had our outfits and were en route to Cowtown.  There was some difficulty and drama with early check in from the hotel (which set us up real well for the night), but we arrived to dinner that Friday evening nonetheless.  We didn’t know exactly what to expect.  We didn’t know exactly how to act.  We didn’t know if we should go introduce ourselves to others or just stay put.  We were trapped in a room of women that already had relationships with each other and we were the outsiders.  We knew most of them from Instagram, but didn’t know them in person.  For those of you that haven’t experienced this situation before, it’s VERY awkward.  Some women came right up to us and gave us a warm hug, some made eye contact and gave a gentle smile, and some refused to even turn their faces in our direction.  Thankfully, a few girls we had met previously came to sit with us, and we all instantly hit it off.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to shake the feeling of eyes on our backs or butterflies in our stomachs.  We tried (unsuccessfully) to choke down the enchilada we split as we felt the minutes slug by before we got the chance to leave.  Tired and defeated, we made it back to our hotel room.  I could feel the disappointment from Alix and I know she felt mine as well.  We said our prayers, gave one another a little pep talk and slept the night off.

The next day was an entirely new ball game.  Cooperative hair and makeup, coffee, and felt hats were our secret recipes for bright attitudes that Saturday.  We started with an ice-breaking mood board activity, where we were separated into groups and were able to let our creative juices flow.  Obviously our team of sweet girls had the best board (not that I’m biased or anything).  After the jitters shook off the more reserved girls, we had the pleasure of hearing a speech from Brianna Hall, who many of you know as the Bleacher Babe.  Her beautiful words and kind soul were truly humbling; all of us were so blessed to have heard her speak.  Then we went on to our lunch break, which was majorly taken up by a jam session in an SUV packed with crazy outfits and wild souls, blaring Marty Robbins and Miranda Lambert down the stock yards.  We got a couple stares, to say the least.  Fast forward to the afternoon, and we were back in the conference room, talking business and getting advice from Lorinda Graham-Van Newkirk and Allie Falcon.  The amount of knowledge and experience oozing from that room was remarkable, and just being able to say that we shared a space with all of that talent was worth the whole trip!    All in all, it was a full day of inspirational talks, group discussion, bonding, and learning.  It was finally fun for us.  We had shaken off that hard, reserved exterior and were able to let loose a little bit.  The whole event was so well thought out, and the entire conference owes a huge appreciation to Kaylee Phillips of the Tin Wagon Boutique and Brooklyn McIntosh of Warbonnet Hat Works for coming up with the idea and executing it so well!

Then the evening rolled around…Alix and I were driving downtown to our dinner reservation to meet the rest of the group, admiring the buildings, still riding on our happiness, when we realized how difficult it is to maneuver a long-bed Chevy in a city.  You can’t parallel park.  You can’t swing the tight corners of parking lots.  And you DEFINITELY can’t fit into a parking garage, as we discovered when Alix had to back out of one.  Needless to say, we didn’t make dinner.
Instead of pouting about it and letting the setback bring us down, we decided to treat ourselves to a restaurant neither of us had been to, but had been scouting out for months.  A dinner to ourselves was just what we needed after being surrounded by dozens of women that weekend.  Alix and I reaffirmed each other, laughed, talked business, made fools out of ourselves, chatted about God, got laughed and pointed at, reflected on the roller coaster we had just experienced, and had the most wonderful time together.

The Bodacious Babes of the West Conference didn’t go as we had expected it to in many ways, but that was why it was so successful and an incredible experience.  My impressions of women on both ends of the spectrum were shattered.  Big players that I thought wouldn’t give us the time of day were tremendously kind and welcoming, and some….well, just weren’t.  I’m not going to sit here and type fluff about how everything was sunshine and rainbows because the truth is that when you get that many women together for any reason, some will like you and some won’t.  Some will fit your personality like a glove, and some won’t.  Some will think you’re the coolest thing since sliced bread, and some will think you’re overdone and old news.  If we learned one thing from that weekend, it’s that what the world thinks about you doesn’t matter, what Christ thinks of you and how God made you, does.  You can control what you can control, and the rest is out of your hands.  I thank the Lord daily that Alix and I had each other through that weekend and that we have each other in our lives.  We promised each other from the start that we would stay true to who we are, and we thank Bodacious Babes of the West for solidifying that cornerstone.  This conference was truly life-altering, and we’re already dreaming up what we can wear to the Bodacious Babes of the West Conference 2018.

Save

THE WONDER BEHIND PURSUE VICTORY

Let’s just get this on the table; Alix and I are ranch girls.  We love dressing up in outfits no one would otherwise see in our tiny town, but when it comes down to the core of who we are, we belong on a ranch.  Salt Lick Sisters work requires a completely different wardrobe than ranch work.  Most often, that line doesn’t get blurred…or so we thought.  Wearing old pearl snaps, tanks, and baggy work jeans has always been the go-to.  When pulling out coffee-stained (and other unmentionable stained) clothes from the back of the closet, there isn’t much thought that goes into dressing for the day unless it involves: do I ever want to wear this to a public event again?  The biggest issue with this is fit.  Shirts are either constricting, or falling off to the point of getting in the way.  When doing any kind of work, these can make a significant difference in the efficiency.

Alix and I were in the dark until Paige Callaway of Pursue Victory enlightened us.  If you aren’t familiar with Pursue Victory’s hand crafted performance shirts, prepare to jump on board.  These button ups are specifically designed for the working lady, the rodeoer, the farmer, the shower, and the performer.  They have longer arms and room in the chest/shoulders for movement, but still have the tailored fit for a flattering look.  Alix and I can ride and work all day in these shirts and not feel constrained or uncomfortable (we actually did it!).  Aside from their practicality, they are simply beautiful!  With colors ranging from classic solids to brilliant florals, we were drooling over every version.

Paige attended couturier school where she learned to construct these beautiful pieces not only to fit properly, but also fit for the ability to move, work, ride, show, and perform in them.  As women, finding a tailored, flattering, comfortable shirt that we could also work in just wasn’t something that existed.  Pursue Victory has provided us with just that.  Paige has come as close as you can get to creating a completely custom shirt by offering five different sizes: Ceres, Epona, Hekate, Pavarti, and Vesta.  Yes, she has made her own sizing and the story behind why is incredible!  But don’t worry, Pursue Victory will help you figure out exactly which size will fit your body and your needs.

Like many other women, Alix and I like a clean, starched shirt.  Pursue Victory shirts are made of 97% cotton and 3% spandex, so there is some stretch and give, but you can also get a nice heavy starch out of them.  Look good, feel good, perform good, right?  I could rant and rave about Pursue Victory all day, because we truly stand behind the shirts, as well as Paige’s mission for the brand.  If you have been trying to find that shirt that fits right, feels good, doesn’t get in the way or distracts, and is gorgeous, then go check out Pursue Victory at: www.pursuevictory.com!

Save

SO – WHAT EXACTLY IS WESA?

This is a question I have received often since attending WESA (Western and English Sales Association) and the stock show in Denver a couple of weeks ago.  As the Salt Lick Sisters is still very young, it was a question I had before attending as well.  I looked it up, did minimal research, heard everyone talking about it, but didn’t actually know what it was about until I arrived.  All I knew was that I needed to be there.  Anyone that’s getting started in ANY business knows how important networking and putting a face to your product/service are.  I had been in contact with numerous boutiques, designers, and owners that I wanted to meet, and they were all going to be in one central location all at the same time!

On that cold Friday morning, in my excitement I dressed in one of my favorite outfits and grandfather’s old hat, and I made my way to WESA…with no real plan.  I saw other people walking into the building dressed to the nines and my stomach started to bubble at the thought of trying to conjure up enough courage to talk to some of these people I have looked up to for so long.  I reached the front doors, took a deep breath, and walked inside…then froze.  Everyone had badges.  There was paperwork piled up for people to fill out to get in.  There was a “buyers” line and a “sellers” line.  My happy ignorance was quickly enlightened at the fact that this was an exclusive merchandise and wholesale vendor market.  Big surprise – they wouldn’t let me in.  Because Salt Lick Sisters is a services business and not a product business, there was no way I was getting around their rules and regulations.

Tail tucked and head down, I quietly walked back out to my car.  As quickly as I could, I sent out apology messages to all the people I was in contact with about meeting.  Not only was I embarrassed at not knowing what WESA was, but I was humiliated at all the promises I wasn’t going to be able to keep.  Not more than an hour later, I received a wonderfully generous message that I would have a badge waiting for me at the front desk the following day.  I let out a little squeal of pure joy and my mood picked up quite a bit.  The rest of my day was then spent sending more messages telling everyone to ignore my original message!

Saturday was a whirlwind of meeting people I’ve been following for some time now, being introduced to new brands, and hearing a whole lot of “we should totally colab on something!” I forgot to eat.  I forgot a bunch of names (thank goodness for business cards).  I forgot my worries.  Attending market on Saturday and Sunday was not only incredible for the Salt Lick Sisters as a business, but also for all the brilliant minds I had the pleasure of encountering.  It was encouraging and inspiring to hear that what we are doing over here is working and recognized.  A potentially devastating weekend turned into one of the best times I have had.  WESA, my feet don’t thank you, but my heart does.

CRUSHING ON ESPUELA

– Meghan Tietze

megz-2If you haven’t heard of Espuela Design Co, do yourself a favor, run – don’t walk – and look them up on Instagram.  I have been drooling over these bags in hopes of one day purchasing one for a while now, before I even became a Salt Lick Sister.  The quality and care that goes into every single bag is obvious as you run your fingers through the luxurious leather fringe.  Individuality oozes from this company, as each bag is one of a kind.  A different strap and concho decorates every purse, so no two is alike.  When Espuela Design Co decided to have a New Year’s sale, I knew I needed to inquire about finally owning one for myself!

Little disclaimer: when it comes to keeping my personal and work social media accounts separate, I’m way below the proficiency line.  I am always thinking I’m logged into one account when it’s the other.  To no surprise, I accidentally used the Salt Lick Sisters’ account to message Espuela about a bag.  They responded with their information on the sale and were beyond friendly, telling me to take my time picking out exactly which bag I wanted (I inquired about two hours before the sale ended…oops).  Shortly after that initial message, I received another message complimenting the Salt Lick Sisters’ page and photographs.  We got to chatting and a beautiful business relationship was born!

megz-purseI ended up ordering my bag and it arrived in the mail a short six days later (the bags are made as ordered).  When I opened the package, I instantly fell in love with the colors and textures!  The saddle blanket material that the bag itself is filled with rich reds and browns.  I chose the “Lonesome Dove” bag, but could’ve easily added any of their designs to my collection.  To my surprise, the concho that was on my bag was a buffalo, a tribute to the Salt Lick Sisters’ logo.  If that doesn’t show you the care and customer service this company provides, wait – there’s more!

After my stunning Lonesome Dove arrived, I wanted to reach back out to Espuela Design Co. and let them know about my new love affair with their bag.  During conversation, we discovered that we were all going to be in Denver at the same time for WESA and the Stock Show.  They ended up putting my name on their buyers list so I could get into the Denver Market and helping me out the whole way.  I otherwise wouldn’t have the networking weekend I did without them.

purse-picEspuela Design Company is not only an incredibly talented and creative team, but also one that goes above and beyond to help others out in the Western Industry.  They didn’t have to extend their sale to allow me to be confident in my decision on choosing my bag.  They didn’t have to add a concho that meant something to me on a personal level to my purse.  They didn’t have to go out of their way to ensure I had a badge for market.  These things speak to myself as a consumer, and I hope to everyone else too.  So please go check out @espueladesignco on Instagram, if not for any other reason than to admire their craftsmanship!