While suffering life threatening consequences of Lyme disease, Catherine resolved to do more of what she loves once she got better. Her fabulous style blog is a direct result. Find out more about this stylish woman and discover her style secrets!
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago and moved out to Los Angeles just over five years ago. I was ready for a complete life makeover as I had just left a twenty year marriage. My intention was to immerse myself in spirituality and do a great deal of inner work.
I worked really hard to overcome some major adversity including a life threatening illness. I’m passionate about what I’ve learned and sharing that with others. I almost lost my life to Lyme Disease less than two years ago and found the way back through personal empowerment.
I’m on fire to spread the message that there truly are no limits in life, only those that we set for ourselves.
As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?
I’m happy to share. I’m 55 and feel that age is just an attitude.
Can you tell us a bit more about your blog Catherine Grace O and why you created it?
Yes. It’s an interesting story. I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in spring of 2014 after over a decade searching for answers. By the time I was diagnosed, Lyme had spread to my brain and the standard treatment ravaged my body and mental state.
I had great difficulty being able to walk for a year. I was bedridden with seizures, my weight dropped down to just over 100 pounds and my organs began shutting down.
I went through a Near Death Experience on 11/11/14. By spring of 2015, I was still extremely weak and could barely walk around the block. My daughter was over and asked me “Mom, what would you do if you were well?” With that one question, a huge shift opened up inside, and I began creating bucket lists and the ideas for my blog. And, more importantly, I began healing rapidly.
Fashion is my medium, it’s not my message. My blog is really about empowering and inspiring women, particularly those overcoming adversity. I tend to be very open with my readers. I feel there’s nothing more important than being real. It allows others permission to be real in return.
How would you describe your own personal style?
My personal style is very Boho Chic. What I mean by that, is that I have two parts of my personality that I love to express. Most of my day is spent dressed down with very little makeup, casual beachy or yoga attire. That’s my Boho side.
My blog and my Instagram gallery show a range from my casual Boho side to my Chic side, which is dressed to the nines for a night on the town. There’s nothing better than having an excuse to play dress up. Slipping into a gorgeous gown or a darling lace mini with fabulous heels and pretty makeup always makes me feel beautiful.
I absolutely love exploring both sides of my personality and expressing them through my images.
What would you consider the most important components of your style?
To me, the most important part of style is your internal attitude. Beauty truly is on the inside and fashion gives us an amazing way to express our inner beauty. Feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin is a key element of style.
Being kind and loving toward yourself and others is another important part of personal style in my book. It’s knowing you are at the deepest and most authentic level and finding a way to express that through fashion and beauty.
Where do you live and how does that influence your style?
I grew up in Chicago and moved to LA just over five years ago to earn my Masters in Spiritual Psychology. I had been on a deeply spiritual path for most of my life. I’ve been a Boho beach girl since childhood. Living in the South Bay of Los Angeles has been wonderful.
I live right by the beach and start my days there with meditation and prayer, followed by a dip in the ocean. I spend as much time at the beach as I can, enjoying nature and the gorgeous sunsets. We try and take advantage of the natural backgrounds for our photo shoots.
Living here has definitely influenced my style. In Chicago, it was boots and parkas, and bundling up. Here, my style is pretty relaxed. I dress up for photo shoots, events and evenings out. I have found that the greatest influence on my sense of style has been internal.
Throughout the past year, putting myself out there, stretching myself and my abilities has built an amazing sense of confidence that previously eluded me most of my life. To me, the most beautiful women are also the most confident women.
Do you feel you have a signature style?
Yes, my signature style is definitely Boho Style. My Boho look is pretty casual with light, natural makeup. Bikinis, tie dye and floaty maxi dresses, mini dresses with gladiator sandals, floppy hats, fun sunnies, baseball caps and yoga attire usually round out the Boho theme.
On the Chic side, I would have to say designers like Self Portrait or Rachel Zoe, really inspire me to look and feel my absolute best! Feminine designs that are cut to flatter and show off a woman’s beauty light my fire every day.
What inspires your outfit choices the most?
It really depends on the day. If it’s a casual work day around the house, I begin my day at the beach in a swimsuit and make a change into my yoga clothes or destroyed denim as comfort is the key. If I have an event or a dinner out with friends, quite honestly I don’t think about it ahead of time.
I always live in the moment and don’t ever stress about what to wear. I love creating new looks. Photo shoots are my absolute favorite!
I do a lot of planning when it comes to our photo shoots. I usually select the outfits and choose a background to match the overall vibe. If it’s a Boho look, we usually head to a beachy location to take advantage of nature. For dressier shoots, we head to urban locations or shoot at various locations such as resorts.
Do you take things like color profiling or body type into account when you dress?
I haven’t actually formally studied the color charts yet have a naturally intuitive feel for what will be most flattering on women. I love helping women first to feel beautiful on the inside. That’s the most important thing in my book. And then, together, we go about creating a look that’s unique to them.
It’s all about a feeling. And yes, body type is very important. It all depends on how a person feels about their body. If they are sensitive to certain things about their body, we will absolutely take that into consideration. It’s not about “covering up” but helping women to embrace their bodies and feel their most confident.
The most beautiful thing about a woman is her attitude toward life. We work to accentuate what they view as a positive about themselves and their body shape.
Has your style changed at all after turning 40?
My style has changed a lot! It’s funny because I wouldn’t have dreamed of posting a photo of myself in a bikini in my twenties as I was way too self conscious. I don’t have any issues with that any longer. I feel very confident in my own skin.
I still have my bad days, like anyone else, but for the most part I live in a pretty happy and peaceful place. My style definitely reflects the changes that I’ve made on the inside. I take way more chances and experiment a lot with my personal style.
I don’t ever think twice about doing a photoshoot in public. It all feels very natural to me now. I’ve definitely changed a lot through this journey.
Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?
No, I don’t believe in “dressing age appropriately.” To me, there’s no such thing. Style is a reflection of you and should never be dictated by social mores. Style is personal creative expression. Always wear what makes you feel beautiful.
On your blog you tell us that fashion has helped you recover from Lyme disease. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?’
Yes, I shared a little about this in an earlier question. My blog and this whole process of creating the blog literally saved my life. When I had that conversation with my daughter, I was extremely depressed. I had suffered greatly with Lyme disease as well as a lot of adversity that I had to overcome in my life.
The process of creating the blog was extremely healing. It was the first time in over a year that I was channeling energy into something positive. Life threatening illness has a way of taking over your life. Particularly unique to Lyme disease is the isolation and the inability to function in any normal way.
Most people with Lyme disease have great difficulty experiencing moments of joy. Much of the time is spent trying to find a way to survive. It’s by far the most challenging experience of my life and that’s saying a lot. I lost everything. I lost my health. I lost my looks.
I felt as though I lost my mind as I couldn’t remember anything. Most days, I could barely function. I lost my personality and any remnant of joy was long gone. Reclaiming that part of myself, my joy, my creativity, my confidence, and my self worth was far more healing than any Lyme disease treatment or protocol.
The blog allowed me to focus on wellness and not on illness any longer.
Has anything changed about the way you dress after your experience with Lyme disease?
Oh sure. For one, I’m a lot thinner. I’m no longer 100 pounds but I still have some weight to gain. I actually work really hard to try and put weight on. I had lost over 30 pounds and most of my clothes no longer fit. I found that when I began to buy new clothes, my style had definitely gone up a notch or two.
I’ve always had a great sense of fashion yet I feel like my game has stepped up considerably. Part of that is in entering the fashion blogging world and opening my eyes to a wide range of designers and brands that I didn’t know before.
I’ve always been a huge sale shopper, having grown up at Loehmann’s and The Dress Barn. That part of me will never change. I love a great sale or an awesome flea market find.
Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more, or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?
I’ve always adored fashion since I was a little girl. I would pore over fashion magazines and dream of being in them one day. I received a lot of negative messages and didn’t pursue a career in fashion.
I would say I’m more into fashion than ever before because of my newfound career and I’ve never been happier. I tend to be pretty natural and holistic. I honestly know very little about makeup or hair.
I do all my own makeup and have my hair done once in awhile for photo shoots. At the age of 55, I’ve never had anything done. I’m pretty happy with the way that I look for my age. I
have a very youthful energy. I’m a total kid at heart. I feel my most beautiful when I’m dancing around on a photo shoot. That happens pretty much every time!
Why is the way you look important to you?
It’s mostly about healthy aging. I love inspiring others. I work for a superfood nutrition company and take great care of my health. I’ve been on a holistic healing path for several decades.
I know a lot about nutrition. I’m an energy worker and I’m very mindful of my energy. The way that we look is a reflection of how we feel on the inside. Hearing from others that they are inspired by how I look for my age means a great deal to me.
Do you follow trends? And if yes, which trends excite you at the moment?
I have never been a trend follower. I’m a big believer in finding your own style. That doesn’t mean that I’m not aware of trends. I just don’t buy into them. I won’t run and buy something because everyone is wearing it. That would actually be a big turn off to me.
I usually go the other direction. With trends like fringe, I embrace them as it’s a natural part of my personality. It’s authentic to that Boho side of me. I pick and choose the trends that I wear.
I consider myself more of a trend setter and not a trend follower. I also feel it’s important to spend most of your budget on the classics and save money on the trends.
Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?
Yes, my biggest tip is to just be yourself! Know that you are beautiful just the way that you are. Try your best not to compare yourself to others. I know it’s hard as I spent most of my life doing just that!
Now, I really try to honor the unique parts of my looks, my style and my personality. I embrace my quirks and there are plenty of those. The greatest accessory is a smile.
Be happy and be YOU! Your attitude is your number one asset and is key to finding your own personal style.
What are your plans for your blog and how do you see it develop over the coming years?
I have a lot of plans for the blog. I’m always coming up with new ideas for photo shoots. I’m working with a variety of brands and collaborations. It’s so much fun! My philosophy is always over deliver. We have extremely high production quality standards.
I’m also still hoping to do some major travel with photo shoots in beautiful locations around the world. I have a fabulous opportunity coming in October that I’ll be sharing on the blog and Instagram shortly.
The blog has always been about my message and that is you can do absolutely anything if you put your mind to it. There are no limits in life, only those that you put on yourself. I sent my story to Arianna Huffington earlier this year and was asked to have my voice on the Post.
I will be expanding my writing on the blog that will include a column with a wide range of topics from inner beauty to personal empowerment.
Quite honestly, I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying the writing. I’m also collaborating on a book about Lyme Disease with a woman who helped empower me. Actually, she kicked my ass and I needed it!
Anything further you would like to add?
It’s been lovely! I’m blessed to be in this world. I feel so grateful to the many followers who have joined my journey over the past year. I’m humbled each and every day by the beautiful and inspirational comments I receive.
You have no idea how it touches my heart and soul. The amazing women and men that I’ve connected with on Instagram has truly been life changing. My followers inspire me to be my best. I am eternally grateful.
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