Monique is a fashion professional focused on growing brands and their identity, providing creative direction for product through to content and brand experience.
How did you capture that dreamy gauzy lighting?
Our anniversary is in January, and after all the winter snowfall in the Sierra Nevada, we had been dreaming of a quiet weekend in the mountains with a cozy fireplace. We were lucky to find this little pet-friendly cabin in an idyllic spot up in Meadow Valley. The Sierra is a wondrous beauty in any season, but the winter light is breathtaking. To meander along the highways with views of the majestic mountain peaks and tiny historic gold rush towns is something we never take for granted. My husband Josh is a portrait photographer, and he captured these moments of Sunny and me soaking up the crisp morning air and sunlight on the porch. He has a way of working magic with light and color tones.
We know that you and your husband recently moved from New York to California-- how have y'all been settling into that new scene?
We always knew we weren't city folk, so when the pandemic first hit New York, it gave us the push we needed to leave. We decided to head for my husband's family in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, a place where we could be surrounded by nature and think about what kind of life we wanted to live from this point. I'm Australian and grew up with the ocean a stone's throw from my house, and the older I get, I am happiest when spending as much time as possible outdoors.
Can you tell us about some adventures you've taken to explore out there?
When we moved to California, our priority was to explore in a different direction every weekend. This area of NorCal has opportunities for endless adventures. We can be in Lake Tahoe and El Dorado National Forest if we head east into the mountains, the Yuba River is to the north, Napa, Point Reyes, and Big Sur if you go west, and Yosemite is to the South. A typical summer weekend for us is spent at one of the many rivers or lakes to escape the heat with a packed picnic (a gentle reminder: always pack in, pack out and leave no trace :)). In the winter, we love to wind our way along the scenic highways, a snow day at one of the recreational SNO-Parks in the Sierra, or hike the local ranch trailheads that take you across rolling hills and oak woodlands with access to the American River. It's always fun to watch the rafts and kayaks navigate the rapids in this part of the river. Or the artful casting and endless patience of the fly fishermen.
Would you give us a few words that describe your personal style this season? Has it evolved since your cross-country move?
Moving to California and spending more time outdoors has had an influence, I still wear the same clothes but in a more rugged and carefree way than I did in NY. I'm not one to wear synthetic fabrics and sportswear, but you know, you can do physical activity in linen pants, a cotton t-shirt and a wool sweater. And I have been known to hike in dresses and boots! I have always been drawn to ease when it comes to getting dressed, and my style tends to be more effortless and relaxed. I think it comes from being Australian and growing up with a laid-back coastal lifestyle. My preference is for high quality natural fibers like linen, cotton and wool in undyed or non toxic dye colors. Pieces that will never require drycleaning, that can be tossed in a gentle cold wash and hung to dry in the sun. Styles that will last a lifetime of doing things and show the patina of good memories made. I think a lot about the importance of circular design, and how re-learning to live in harmony with nature is the only way forward for a more sustainable future. That's a very simplistic way of talking about something so complex, but in short I give a great deal of consideration to every new purchase that I make. Katherine and I have had many conversations over the years about how we can do better and be better when it comes to putting more stuff out into the world, and I am continually inspired by how much heart, questioning, research and thought has gone into Lake Jane.
What is the story with that sweet pup featured in your shots? So cute and shaggy!
We had wanted to adopt a dog for the longest time, so when we moved to California we decided it was time to grow our family. Josh has a big heart and wanted to adopt every rescue dog he saw but one day he laid his eyes on Sunny and declared that she was our dog. We drove 4 hours to meet her at the animal rescue and it was love at first sight for all of us. He was a little miffed that she bonded with me first, but it didn't take long for him to become her #1 love. Adopting a rescue dog is the best decision we have ever made. We will always be indebted to Sunny for the unconditional love, companionship and endless laughter she brought to our life during a time when we needed it. Our wild pup has grown into some seriously big hair and an even bigger personality, she brings a smile to people's faces wherever she goes.Monique is incredibly talented and we are grateful to call her a friend! See some of her portfolio here and follow her on instagram for more of her beautiful work.
Mentioned in this article
Meet Emma Allen, founder of Everyday Oil. Read on to learn a little bit more about Emma Allen, fellow North Carolinian and founder of the best-smelling, plant-based skincare brand, Everyday Oil, and how she effortlessly styles her Lake Jane blue wireless bralette.