Monday, August 1, 2016

Outfit Conversations With Tanya Dawn

Tanya is a musician, and a writer of words that can make your soul dance. Her poems are empowering, and uplifting. I truly think that I could benefit from a daily dose of Tanya's poetry in my inbox. That would be perfect, thank you very much...Her work is just so heartwarming and encouraging. Here's one of my favorites

I was thrilled when Tanya agreed to share her thinking behind one of her favorite outfits. She also reveals a trick for getting rid of itchy scalp...

Tell us about yourself...

My name is Tanya Dawn, and I’m a writer, musician and music advocate from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I’m an avid TV watcher whose favourite shows include Parks and Recreation, Once Upon A Time, Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Orphan Black and most recently Nashville.

I’ve been with my husband, who I consider to be the best man on the planet, for almost 11 years and we’ve been married for 7. We don’t plan on having children, but we do hope to have at least 2 dogs someday: a Corgi and a Westie who are sure to be besties. 

What do you love about your work? 

I’ve been a writer, a bookworm, a singer and a music-lover for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until this year that I decided to finally commit to building a fulfilling and sustainable career as an artist, a healer and an advocate. 

My mission as an artist is to share the story of who I am with my whole heart by writing songs, stories, essays and poems that encourage people to connect with their inner wisdom, honour their feelings and celebrate who they are through self-expression, creativity and love.

I’m currently in the process of writing an EP of children’s music inspired by the Pixar movie Inside Out, as well as the first in a series of short stories about The Dawn Squad -- a team girls who set out to heal their ravaged world by recovering mystical artifacts with their elemental magic. I like to say it’s Warehouse 13 meets Tinkerbell and the Disney Fairies.

Where can we see/listen to your latest creations?

The best way to stay up-to-date on the happenings in Tanyaland is to join the Fear Less Family Email list or follow me on Patreon 

Do you dress up for work or dress down? 

Right now I’m in the craft-building stage of my career, so most of my time is spent at home writing, practicing and connecting with people online. This means I have the freedom to choose what I wear without having to adhere to anyone else’s dress code -- and it’s one of my favourite things about being self-employed. 

And while I could absolutely show up to work wearing my pjs every day, putting on an outfit that I would wear outside the house has become an important part of my daily self-care routine. It helps me to feel pulled together and professional even if the only person I see that day is my husband. 

I may not dress as conservatively as I did when I was working in an office setting, but I do make a point of wearing clothes that make me feel confident and comfortable in my own skin. Typically this means I wear jeans, my favourite bralette, a graphic muscle tee and a sweater or scarf when it’s cooler out. 

I’ve also started to think about what kind of outfits I’d like to wear for my live performances, which is really fun because those can be more like costumes than everyday outfits.

Are you a homebody or outgoing? 

I’m very much a homebody, even though I love connecting with people and having intimate and meaningful conversations. As a highly sensitive person who struggles with social anxiety, it can be very overwhelming for me to be out in public, especially in large cities, where there are so many forms of external stimuli -- smells, noises, close contact, etc. 

That’s one of the things that makes the internet so wonderful. Not only can I meet people there, but I can share my work and build a business there too, all from the comfort and safety of my own home. And while it may not be a substitution for real world interaction, it is a forum that I can participate in while I heal my social anxiety and become more confident in taking my work out into the physical world.

Do you like wearing makeup on a regular basis? Which products do you recommend or always wear?

I experimented with makeup a lot when I was younger, but later in life I developed a soy allergy that makes it difficult for me to find products I don’t react to, so now I go makeup free every day. Although, I’ve heard that Lancome makes soy free lipsticks, so I’ve been thinking about dipping my toes back in, because I LOVE a sassy fuchsia lip.

I do have a couple of skincare products that I swear by -- Perricone MD’s Hypoallergenic Gentle Cleanser and Nourishing Moisturizer -- which helped me heal a severe burning sensation on my face that none of my doctors could diagnose and no other cream, oil, lotion, cleanser or product could fix. And I tried them ALL! The moisturizer can be a little heavy in the summer, but at this point I don’t dare use anything else.

What's your favorite scent? Do you have a staple perfume? 

Perfume is another thing I stopped wearing as I got older because my husband is scent sensitive and he finds most brands very overwhelming. I have started experimenting with essential oils, more for therapeutic purposes, but I really LOVE the smell of Frankincense. It’s very earthy and comforting with a hint of spice.

What clothes do you LOVE to wear when you want to feel comfortable but look nice at the same time?

When I left my corporate library job and started working for myself, I had a closet full of conservative clothing that was great for the office, but didn’t really express who I am. At the time I was also big into Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map -- a program that helps you decide what you want by first helping you discover how you want to feel, what she calls your Core Desired Feelings -- and I decided to try and apply her principles to come up with some Core Desired Feelings for my wardrobe.

Then I identified some style icons who I thought embodied those feelings -- edgy, confident, classic and bright -- and basically stalked them on Pinterest, pinning every outfit that had elements that resonated with how I wanted to feel. There were lots of skinny jeans and leggings, long tunics, muscle tees with bralettes and a mix of jewel tones and neon to pair with navy and black basics. 

I decided to call the style Cali Edge and the Pinterest board is still up if your readers are interested.

What's  your approach to beauty? Is it fun? Is it a necessity? 
There’s always room for me to add more fun to my routine, and as I transition my wardrobe I’ve also started adding extra little touches like rose tipped bobby pins in my hair. 

Even though my approach to beauty is pretty minimal, I like to see it more as an act of self-care than a necessity. I try to enjoy the moments when I’m engaged in a beauty ritual as much as possible by taking my time, noticing the textures and sensations and appreciating how I feel and look when it’s over. 

Of course some rituals are easier to enjoy than others, especially on a bad hair day when I have an appointment downtown. That’s when those rose tipped bobby pins transform from an adorable accessory to an absolute life saver.

Do you have any beauty icons or people that you consider truly beautiful and timeless, inside and out? 

When I was putting together my Cali Edge Pinterest board the first person who came to mind was Gwen Stefani. I’ve always admired her confidence, and I love how she mixes classic pieces with edgy ones. She does wonderful things with bright colours, and even her most casual outfits seem comfortable and pulled together.

I was also inspired by characters from some of my favourite TV shows, particularly Emma Swan from Once Upon A Time, Claudia Donovan from Warehouse 13 and Peyton Sawyer from One Tree Hill. They’re often dressed in slim fitting jeans or pants, lots of tank tops with the occasional sweater or concert tee, and they’ve all been known to rock cute boots and motorcycle jackets.  

Beauty secrets, or tricks?

My number one beauty tip is for people with dandruff, itchy scalp or seborrheic dermatitis. I’ve been using a 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water rinse at the end of every shower or bath for almost 5 years now, and as long as I’m consistent with it I have zero issues with itching or flaking.

So if you find treatment shampoos to be too harsh for your skin, or you don’t like what their ingredients lists have to say, I encourage you to try this rinse for at least a week and see if it might work for you too.

Final thoughts on body types and rules.

I want to thank Alina for starting this conversation and for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to it. (Thank you Tanya!!) When I was younger I spent so much time trying to figure out what body type I was so I didn’t end up wearing something I “shouldn’t” that I ended up with a wardrobe full of clothes that reflected the “rules of style” more than they reflected me. And as a result I was never truly comfortable in what I wore.

As I get older, I’ve stopped worrying so much about the rules and started exploring fashion as yet another medium of self-expression. I’m still in the early stages of figuring out what that means for me, so of course I still struggle, but it’s all about taking it one step at a time.

For example, I love crew-neck tank tops, so I wear them, even if the magazines say that girls with large breasts look better in v-necks. I also choose to wear bralettes because I find bras excruciatingly uncomfortable, which is traditionally unthinkable for women of my cup size. 

What I’m learning is that it’s not about what anyone else thinks, it’s about feeling good in my body and in the clothes I choose to adorn it with. And I think that’s a freedom that everyone deserves.

Thank you so, SO much Tanya!! I feel extra lucky to be able to share such a positive message here on my blog.

P.S. #2 If you (yes, you dear reader) want to be featured and share your thoughts behind your favorite outfits please e-mail little old me at Thank you for reading!

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