You have seen it everywhere about now. Fall is here! Today is the last official day of Summer, so what can we expect to see tomorrow? Sweaters and layers? Well, not quite yet. Or at least not here in Texas. We all often pray here for a cool front, just to break out the booties and scarves. Oh you know you do, and to complete the look, a trip to the nearest coffee shop for a pumpkin something. Oh Fall, it’s like the starting line for the holiday season. Kind of like the warm up before the big race.

So what do you wear? How do you get your closet in Fall shape? One main thing that I learned while shopping with stylist Lisa Tello of Refined Mode, was to have some basic essentials on hand. These serve a layering purpose that can be used in every outfit as well as taking your look to the next level, or how she simply puts it, “refining” your style. This can include, hats, textured tights and socks, textured cardigans, a great chambray shirt or flannels and even basic tees.

How many times do you find yourself standing in front of your closet at the hangers and hangers of clothes and still say, “I have NOTHING to wear”? I do it every single day. My husband even gets so tired of me saying that, that he begs me to shop long and hard so I never say it again. Poor soul, doesn’t he know to be careful what you wish for?

So you can imagine my excitement after I had shopped with Lisa. I felt like I had a fresh pair of eyes, when it came to picking out clothes to wear. She made it so simple, when I was over complicating it. It was all about finding things that were my style, but keeping it simple and polished. I thought this was PERFECT for the every day girl. Especially, the everyday girls who mentally travel in their minds. You know, when you are walking the streets of NYC, with your latte in hand…in your mind.

Doesn’t it just feel so good to be wearing something that just works? Sometimes the difference maker in an outfit was just the added accessory, a belt to pull it together, or even the right tights or hat. Although, I can say that I have a pretty good idea of what my style is, it is so fun having someone else put their spin on it! This is where we brought in Lisa to style five different looks on five different girls. She styled for the Classic, the Sporty, the Boho Chic, the Modern, and the Urban girl. All of these looks serve as inspiration for when you are picking out fall clothes. So go have FUN with getting your closet ready for Fall! This is your chance to put some pep in your step with a look that is all yours, but a little refined.


Let us know what some of your favorite fall trends are in the comments below!  Want to continue to receive free styling and beauty tips? Don’t miss a thing by subscribing to the Twelfth Element VIP list HERE!  It’s all about taking who you are on the inside and FEELING it.  When you FEEL it, you LIVE it, and when you LIVE it, you can create great vibes.  The kind of vibes that people want to be around, because they are so good!  Ahhh! Doesn’t it just want to make you flip your hair to the side and say, “look out world, I am all here and I am bringing EVERYTHING I got”?  And, if not yet, you’ll get there.  Just keep on keeping on.   Because, it is when you are in that very state of mind where you feel like you are owning every bit of who you are.  When you let go of what’s expected and you know, just be you.  When you are in your element.  xo, Sandra

Makeup by Lucy Gonzalez // @lolalavern

Makeup by Cynthia Rodriguez // @misscyn7

Share to FacebookTweet PostPin PostLink PostEmail Post

When I began brainstorming this post featuring Madi’s shoot, I was hit hard in the head with writer’s block. I was looking at these beautiful photos of an incredibly gorgeous eighteen year old girl and I couldn’t think of a headline. I was over thinking what I would write to share with readers and how Madi’s photos would help illustrate what I was trying to say. One large Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte, a few failed selfless, and a random web browsing on Albert Einstein later, it hit me. It is what it is. Or as Aristotle put it, “the what it is”. I have no clue why I have gone all philosophical on this post, but it made me remember that one time I had a 101 average in my philosophy class in college. I know, that was random, but so true.

Madi wanted her senior photos to say, “this is me”. She wanted them to encompass who she is, show her sense of style and to have an artistic edge. She invited me to help her nail down her outfits for the shoot based on some looks she had gathered and I was a bit confused, because her usual boho chic that I saw from our initial meeting and by stalking her instagram…Yes, I said stalk the…um…it’s research guys! The looks she had picked were more “chic”. She is killer on the piano though guys, so I am not surprised that she is also refined.



This changed EVERYTHING. Well, so I thought. We opted of her beautiful and lush back yard over the over grown open fields and saved half an hour of drive time. Everything that I had envisioned and planned, based on this young and free, boho chic style was different now. So, I thought. Then something happened. We allowed for the change to happen and went with the flow. We talked, laughed a little bit at ourselves and each other. She laughed at herself, because she realized the swing idea was harder than it looked and I laughed at myself, because I along side her tried to make it happen. And amidst of it all, I kept photographing her. She was free spirited, down for anything-adventurous, and although she wasn’t dressed as the stereotypical boho-hippy to show it, her essence exuded it. So, I like to think that years down the road when she is working in her career, wearing a polished outfit or even further when she has her own family, her heart will still beat to the drum of her free spirit.


As you may have guessed, the post isn’t solely for Madi, but to every girl. Your essence is the basic nature of who you are, and I hope to capture that for you too.



Share to FacebookTweet PostPin PostLink PostEmail Post

My most requested type of senior shoot is a sun drenched shoot. My second most requested type of shoot is a country type of shoot. I mean, we are in Texas here. I have to say that my interpretation of a “country setting” is so different than what my client initially brings to me. My idea of country is stripped way down to the state of being. Not so much about all of the things you could wear to a rodeo. It’s more about the country heart.

Allison is the perfect example. She requested sunny and natural, but also country. We talked about Miranda Lambert being her inspiration, because she stood for everything that Allison saw in herself, strong and independent. I am going to go ahead and add that she is also a complete knock out.

We chose some old textured backdrops and a sunny field to give the country feel and her clothing choices were just enough to affirm her country roots. Nothing overpowering, because she wore country on her sleeve. It is who she is and she didn’t need a whole bunch of accessories to prove it.

A beautiful blonde girl, who is strong, independent, has a caring heart and looks radiant sitting in some sunlight. That is as country to me as a glass of sweet iced tea and a wrap around porch.

Here are a few photos from Allison’s shoot. Oh and the cowboy boots? A total must for a country shoot.



I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into this country gal’s senior shoot!

Until next time!


Share to FacebookTweet PostPin PostLink PostEmail Post

You have picked the perfect date for your senior shoot and now the questions arises, “what to wear”? This topic is one that can be easily over complicated and a little stressful if you let it. Yes, it’s important to put thought into what you are going to wear, because the outfits can make or break your shoot. Especially, if you want your photos to truly tell who you are. Also, as a photographer, I personally feel that I photograph those “magical” shoots, when my clients have taken the time to pick outfits that help tell the story we are trying to photograph and if they feel AMAZING in what they are wearing.

These two sisters didn’t have one set of outfits to plan, but two! They really knew their sense of style and being twins, were used to coordinating things and of course, sharing things. I LOVE the energy and bond that they have. They are so on the same page with what they share in common, a love for fashion, but are still two completely different souls.

In addition to sharing with you these two stunning newly graduated seniors, I wanted to also share with you five tips to make picking your outfits a FUN process!


Number 1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

I have to admit that some of my best ideas come out of procrastination. There is just something about the pressure of being last minute that stimulates ideas for me. However! It is never enough time for me to get the tangibles that I need! Give yourself time to plan and get the things you need for your shoot.


Number 2. Get Styling Assistance

Stylists do exists and they are worth every penny! Some photographers have a knack for it and offer assistance themselves as part of their process. You may even know a friend or someone who has a talent for styling that can assist you.


Number 3. Use Pinterest for Inspiration and to Organize

You can create a “Secret” board on Pinterest and pin things that are visuals for your photo shoot. Invite your stylist, photographer, or even a talented stylist friend to your board to help you pin. Looking at your board really helps you get a visual and some of the pins link directly to where you can purchase a needed item if the pin is current.  Follow me on Pinterest to get some of my own ideas and inspiration!


Number 4. Think About the Mood that You Want to Convey

Use the adjectives for the mood that you want to convey and pin things that are in line with that mood like colors and textures. For example, if you want a “dreamy” vibe, then creams, pastels, lace, and sheer fabric may be in order.


Number 5. Photograph Your Outfits

Once you have your outfits together, invite a friend over to snap some shots of you in each outfit. You can make it more fun by snapping with a fun polaroid camera like, the Fuji Film Instax Mini 8. You can keep them as memories and see how they photograph. If you feel amazing, then it’s a winner!

Now you can go have fun while you pick your outfits like these gorgeous twins did!  Having a little bit of direction helps make any planning process easier and more enjoyable.  If you have any styling tips that you would like to share, I would LOVE  if you shared them in the comments below!  What has helped you make picking out outfits for ANY occasion more enjoyable?


Until next time,



Share to FacebookTweet PostPin PostLink PostEmail Post

Many times, people get stumped on the question of describing their style. I know that even though, I may think I know my own personal style, I still over think describing it myself. I ask my seniors to tell me what their element is and this question is by far, the hardest to answer for them. Well, I am going to give you five things to think about that will get you closer to discovering what your element may be. I also would love to introduce you to a beautiful senior who just graduated this year and played such a HUGE roll as a leading 2014 Senior Model.

Madison is far from being a Pinterest novice. In fact, I even follow her pins to get ideas. She really knows her style as well as her element. Her element is confetti and adventure! She loves color and she loves adventure, whether it be a yearly mission trip to Africa or hiking up a new mysterious trail with friends, she embarks on each adventure with eyes wide open and her heart all in. The preview below is not even a fraction of what we shot, let alone her outfit collection. We shot until the last drop of light. We started out with some inspiration from Max Wanger on Pinterest and ended up in nature wherever the river and trail took us. I knew this was her element, because I could feel that I was in it also.

I have even sharpened my own skills of honing in on what my style and element is, thanks to working with out of this world talent like Promise Tangeman, Alejandra Vidal of Imaginale, and Alexandra of Avestyles. More to come on these talented ladies, when I blog about the hot new brand film. But today, I’d love to list out five great ways to help you discover your own element.



Number 1 // Your Taste

What things would you buy if money were not an issue? This question was asked of me when I was brainstorming for my website design. Your tastes are your tastes no matter what. You may not be able to drop $895 on an itty bitty Chanel clutch, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t call to you. Would you buy it if money weren’t an issue? I am probably totally way undershooting that price by the way. Think about your likes and take the price tag off. This is your taste.

Number 2 // Your Style

This is probably just as hard to pin point as describing your element, but let’s dig in. This may change as your “lifestyle” changes, but more than anything it evolves. I feel that some people get really confused about their style as a result of an identity crisis. If you really like the color black, you probably will keep buying clothes in this chic color even after a period of buying a trendy color like mint. Find the consistency in what you already own. Take a look at your closet and if you have a row of blingy things, then more than likely you have a flashy style. If half your closet is filled with earthy tones and flowy skirts then perhaps you are more Bojo. It is okay to blend descriptions such as, J. Crew meets Anthropologie, but it’s going to take a little more work than that in finding the true foundation of your style.


Number 3 // What Makes You Smile and Makes Your Heart Leap with Joy?

I once read a quote by Justine Willis Toms that said, “Notice when your heart leaps up in joyous exuberance…in these moments the voice of your spirit is speaking directly to you”. Our passions often lead to this happening. What do you feel so strongly about that either you smile, cry, or get worked up when talking about? These are usually things that you are passionate about. I can always tell when someone begins to talk about something they LOVE. Their eyes begin to widen and twinkle and the octaves go up in their voice. I am guilty of doing the same, but I get flushed at the same time, a.k.a red face.

Number 4 // What Do You DayDream About?

We all do it. Most of what we daydream about is what  we have and LOVE or what we LOVE and desire to have. Pay attention to what you daydream about, because it leads to number five.


Number 5 // Who are you now and who do you want to become?

Take the time to think about who you are now. Include the good the bad and the ugly. Not one single one of us is perfect and I must say, it’s quite liberating. Who you are today, whether you are happy with it or not does not determine who you will become. What gets you closer to who you want to become is taking your dreams and creating actions steps to get there as well as living a life that leads you to what you want to become.

It’s important to me to challenge my seniors to really think about discovering their element, because it’s something that continues through life as they cross different milestones and stages during growth. I truly believe that it begins during this transition of being released into the world and it is so challenging to break free of other influences a teen encounters during high school. When I was young, I still remember my grandmother telling me, in her heavy Mexican accent, “find who jew are and never let it go”. That wasn’t a typo, she really said “jew” instead of “you”.

Cheers to discovering your element!



Share to FacebookTweet PostPin PostLink PostEmail Post
  • July 12, 2014 - 7:51 pm

    Mailinh - LOVE the updated look, Sandra! Can’t wait to see what else you have in store for all of us to see. :0)ReplyCancel

    • July 13, 2014 - 12:01 pm

      Sandra Bludau - Thank you, Mailinh!! So happy you like it and I am so grateful for a friend like you!! XoxoReplyCancel