Behind-The-Scenes with Debra Shirley

We had the opportunity to meet the very talented and creative Debra
Shirley at our first Oak Brook Polo match of the season!

Her hats and fascinators are not only fun and stylish, but very
beautiful and transformative!  She continues us to inspire us to think outside the box, dream big, and just do it! She has amazing energy and can turn anything into a beautiful creation!


We are so excited to share a few of Debra’s favorite things:

BEHIND-THE-SCENES with Debra Shirley

FAVORITE PLACE TO RELAX: The Alfred Caldwell Lilly Pool in Chicago.
It’s nearly a hidden spot in back of the Lincoln Park Zoo. I find it
to be such a tranquil place where if you sit still for a while, you
may have a magical encounter with a dragonfly, or with one of the many
other creatures that live there.

FAVORITE ACCESSORY: My pink, cropped jean jacket with a soulful
woman’s face on it. The beautiful face is made out of leather pieces.
When I was a teen I found this amazing leather jacket in a vintage
store from the 1960’s that had this woman’s face on the back. It cost
$5. It was a very small size that did not fit me but it was the most
incredible garment that I had ever seen, so I snatched it up! It sat
on the back of my desk chair as display only, until one day when it
occurred to me that I could un-stitch the lady and sew it onto a
jacket that did fit me! I first put her on a baby blue jean jacket
that I cropped, she’s also been on a plum jacket, and now she has
returned to her original pink and here she will stay.

FAVORITE TRAVEL COMPANION: Steven Fonti a story board artist in
animation. He’s my best friend and confidant. We have traveled across
the United States several times in a 1986 Pontiac Fiero.

Love of hats at the age of 10, when I borrowed a book on her from the
library. She was so stunningly beautiful in all the  hats that she
wore that I think she seared my 10 year old brain into linking beauty
with hat wearing.

I ALWAYS HAVE…AT MY DESK: A tattered pin cushion, and a pair of purple
hologram scissors.

FAVORITE PLACE TO GO FOR INSPIRATION: My local thrift store. I’m often
inspired by color combinations on an article of clothing or a piece of
jewelry. Often times  I restyle and repurpose pieces as I want them to
have new life on a hat.

FAVORITE WORDS OF ADVICE: Where given to me by Raymond Hudd a renowned
Chicago Milliner who’s career spanned from the 1950’s to the early
2000’s. He was known as the Mad Hatter of The Midwest. When I was a
Millinery student I brought him four of my hats designs to see what he
thought of my workmanship. He looked at the four hats and said.
“They’re good, now make forty”.

my Mother, Mary.  She passed away 16 years ago, but I would Love to
thank her for all of her hard work, struggles and sacrifices raising
me alone as a single parent.

FAVORITE PLACE FOR VACATION: Los Angeles. It’s urban, but a stones
throw from the beach or mountains. I always feel like anything is
possible when I am there.

past curfew with my best friend Linda in downtown Chicago.  We noticed
a movie was being filmed and we stopped to watch. It was a car crash
scene with a young good looking actor about our age. We watched them
film the scene many times where the good looking actor gets out of the
car to access the damage. During a break, the young actor came
sprinting up to us and says to me “I like your hair, I think it’s
really cool” ( An important note to mention is that my teenage self
had very tall, “Punk” spiked hair ). This was the best looking guy
that I’d seen in my 15 years on the planet, and he’s giving -me- a
compliment. The actor, by the way was the late River Phoenix. Later we
ended up chatting with him and one of the other actors from the movie.
A Night In The Life of Jimmy Reardon. They thought that we were cool
because we were regular teenagers and we thought that they were cool
because they were actors. At one point I asked River if I could have
his autograph, he replayed “Sure, can I have yours”? I was trembling
with nerves but I wrote my name (and my phone number) down and stuck
it in his pocket! In retrospect I wish I would have put it in his
hand, I’ll never know if he realized that I put it in the pocket of
the costume that he was wearing.
This was a tremendous experience for me that reinforced that looking
different can be a great thing.

SONG YOU CAN LISTEN TO ON REPEAT: Cabaret by Liza Minnelli. I like to
turn it up loudly and belt it out in unison with Liza. It feels great
and satisfies my theatrical side.

BEST PART ABOUT MAKING A HAT: To watch it evolve past my own
imaginings. I may have a general idea or silhouette in mind when I
start a piece, but the fabric and details always tell me what they
want to do. I have learned over the years to listen.

There is an amazing quote from Marianne Williamson that inspires me…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear
is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our
darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be
brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to
be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the
world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as
children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is
within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we
let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission
to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence
automatically liberates others”.

When I wear a hat, I feel my most beautiful, my most confident, and I
want other women to feel the same way.

DEBRA SHIRLEY can be found:


Things We Love: Confused Girl

Intelligent Leggings en route to the gym

Recently, I was walking out of our gym, Lifetime Fitness, and Celeste,
one of our yoga instructors had the cutest yoga pants on!  “I said,
those are beautiful, who makes them?”

She said, “They are by Confused Girl, they are based in LA! You should
look them up!”

Ashley wearing the Serenity Leggings during spin class

Being the Capricorn that I am, I instantly looked them up, and
contacted founder, Giovanna Silvestre directly.

Giovanna has such an amazing story and is so quick, efficient, and responsive!

Her brand started four years ago as a blog, but everything changed
when a healer gave her two crystals.  Every time she would walk past
them, she felt a sense of joy!  It was during one of her meditations
that she actually saw a vision of making an active apparel line and
incorporating the crystals.  The best part is, she did not know how to
start this project, but found a way to make it happen!

Photo Courtesy of Giovanna Silvestre

Fast forward two years, and Giovanna has created a really neat brand
based on the unique patterns of the different healing crystals.

Intelligent Leggings in yoga class

We have the Serenity Leggings, with the fold over waist, that come
from the Turquoise stone.  It is a stone of purification which
benefits the overall mood.

Brittany testing out the Serenity Leggings on the balancing swing

We also have the Intelligent Leggings that
come from the Agate Motley crystal.   This good luck stone enhances
creativity! We love how we feel in our Confused Girl leggings!  They
fit and feel great, and we love the different patterns.  We’ve gotten so many compliments on them!

Ashley showing off her Intelligent Leggings before barbell class

Our absolute favorite part about Confused Girl is Giovanna’s story and
the idea that it is so important to just be yourself!  Don’t worry
about what others think, just follow the path in front of you!  We are
all on different missions!

Photo Courtesy of Giovanna Silvestre


1.) Where’s your favorite place to go to relax?
I relax most doing yoga by the beach. I’m a beach girl. There is
something about the water that completely calms me.

2.) Favorite accessory?
My amethyst crystal bracelets.

3.) Who are your favorite travel companions?
My gratitude journey, mala beads and iphone. I love traveling alone. I
meet so many people and always feel brave for doing it. I like getting
myself out of my comfort zone.

4.) If someone inspired your success in the fashion industry, who
would it be and why?
Coco Channel! She was a fearless woman that built an empire from
nothing in the mist of two world wars during a time when women were
expected to be wives and mothers. She also made clothes women could
move freely in.  Remember, this was a time of skin sucking corsets.

5.) I always have…at my desk:
Espresso and flowers

6.) Where’s your favorite place to go for inspiration?
The beach. The water soothes my soul and allows the creative energy to flow.

7.) What are your favorite words of advice?
Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.

8.) If you could have dinner with anyone (past or present), who would
it be?
Oprah, Cleopatra or Princess Diana

9.) Where’s your favorite place to go on vacation?
I would say the Amalfi Coast in Italy because that is were my family
is from but I have a world to see still.

10.) What’s the best part about making apparel?
Creative freedom. I do make what I want to make.

Intelligent Leggings and Serenity Leggings c/o Confused Girl

Sunday Brunching at Proof Canteen

Sundays Are For Brunching!

After a busy week, Brittany and I always make sure to treat ourselves
on Sundays!  Typically, we look forward to sleeping in, going out for
brunch at a new restaurant, going shopping at Last Chance, and hitting
an afternoon Yin Yoga class.
We love a brunch with good coffee, mimosa, and a selection of our
favorite foods!  We recently discovered Proof Canteen at The Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North.
When you walk through the doors, you are about to go “on a
cross-country road trip down the main streets of America” as
professional road trippers, this is right up our alley!  The staff is
dressed in the cutest red and blue gingham shirts, and the decor is
stylish, classic, and tasteful.
The menu offers American classics such as chicken and waffles and
fried green tomatoes.  Brittany and I tried the weekend breakfast
buffet, offered every Saturday & Sunday from 7-11:30 AM.
We loved the made to order omelets and the vast selection of the
different meats and cheeses.  You are bound to find something you love
on the buffet, as there is just about everything you can think of!
Lox, eggs, bacon, potatoes, French toast, waffles, omelets, cereal,
and oatmeal.  I fell in love with their jams!  I mixed them all
together with maple syrup on my French toast!  It was amazing!
Everything looked so picture perfect!  The atmosphere was beautiful!
Brittany and I loved sitting outside sipping our mimosa.  I tried the
fresh squeezed grapefruit mimosa and Brittany had the classic orange
juice mimosa.  We drank just over a pot of coffee enjoying our Sunday
morning and making plans for our next rendezvous!
If you are in Arizona, Proof is definitely worth checking out!  They
are open every day, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and happy hour.
We can’t wait to come back to Proof for Happy Hour!
Special thank you to Proof Canteen for this wonderful brunch experience!
What your favorite Sunday routine?

Brittany is an award winning fine art photographer and internationally published writer who is more than busy, and happy, putting her skills to work on TheJeepGirls and TheJeepGirlsBlog with her little sister. She never thought that she would be managing a blog biz, but if she admits it, she has been “blogging” for 15+ years through internet platforms. She loves learning about neurolinguistic programming, is a voracious reader, sometimes sappy romantic fiction, and works best on deadline. Her best buddy is her white Pomeranian, Glacier, but her family and her boyfriend make her world possible. She feels at home in Spandex with sparkling water, and a 1lb. bag of baby carrots beside her and her furry friend.

Things We Love: Elizabeth McKay & Brunch at T. Cook’s

Treat Every Day Like You’re on Vacation

There’s nothing like spending the warm Summer days in resort
wear.  In Arizona, the summers are very warm, but to get
through the hot days, you just need to treat every day like a vacation!
Drink lots of ice tea, make fancy drinks, and spend time near the

Ashley wearing The Alexia Shirt Dress in OAR

Brittany and I have realized that light, quick dry, and stylish
apparel that is for both the Summer heat and brunch is the
best way to go.

Brunch at T. Cook’s wearing Elizabeth McKay

After doing some style hunting, we’ve found that Elizabeth McKay makes
a variety of dresses that are perfect for every occasion. For brunch,
Brittany wore The Elizabeth Tunic Dress and I wore The Alexia Shirt
Dress.  We loved that these two dresses don’t wrinkle, they are
lightweight and really easy to wear!

Ashley in the Alexia Shirt Dress in OAR

 Resort Wear

We also picked out the Scotland Dresses in two different patterns.
Brittany picked out the Navy White Elephant patterned dress and I
picked out the blue and green patterned dress.  We love the way that
these dresses look.  Collectively, it’s one of our all time favorite
styles!  Elizabeth McKay makes this dress in a variety of patterns!
I’d like to have one in each pattern!  This is easily a dress I could
wear every single day. The ruffled collar and wrap dress combination
are perfect!  The dress has pockets and it even comes with two
different belts.  I put the belt with gold buttons on the dress and
tied the matching wrap belt in my hair like a headband.  I’m
constantly looking for headbands to match my dress, so this is

Brittany wearing The Scotland Dress in Navy with White Elephants

In an effort to vacation in our resort wear attire, we spent the
day at The Royal Palms Resort in Scottsdale.  The property is one of
The Historic Hotels of America, and is conveniently located near The
Biltmore Mall and Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall.  We headed to
T.Cook’s Restaurant inside The Royal Palms Resort for a mid-morning
brunch.  The Spanish style decor inside the restaurant is not only
beautiful but very inviting and charming.

Ashley wearing The Scotland Dress in Salute with one of the two matching belts tied like a headband

We started our brunch with red and white sangria, Brittany had the
white and I had the red.  It was so refreshing to have such cool and
delicious drinks on such a hot Summer day.  As we sipped our drinks
and looked over the menu, our fabulous waiter brought us pesto and
bread.  I ordered the Huevos Rancheros and Brittany ordered the Flat
Iron Steak.  Both items were wonderful and very nice sized portions.
For dessert, we shared the Mocha Valencia Torte and we each had Illy
cappuccino.  We absolutely loved the atmosphere at T. Cook’s
Restaurant. The staff is phenomenal, the food is great, and the entire
experience was really fun!

Brittany wearing The Elizabeth Tunic Dress in Pearls

We can not wait to come back later this Fall for their traditional Sunday Brunch buffet.
Special thank you to T. Cook’s for the fabulous brunch experience.
Dresses c/o Elizabeth McKay

Kicking Horse Coffee

Wake Up & Kick Ass!

 As big coffee drinkers, we love sharing our favorite coffee with our
fellow adventurers.  We recently stumbled upon Kicking Horse Coffee
this year at Overland Expo West, in Flagstaff, AZ.
Their coffee is so good that you can drink it black (I usually love a
splash of half and half, but you don’t even need cream with Kicking
Horse Coffee).
We love that Kicking Horse Coffee began with two adventurers that
wanted more in life! They loved traveling and made a fabulous business
from their love of coffee.  They settled in the Canadian Rocky
Mountains and started roasting small batches of beans in their garage.
They rated as  Canada’s #1 selling Whole Bean coffee.  All of
their coffee is an Organic and Fair trade.
We are so excited that we have found some coffee that literally “kicks ass!”
As they say-
Now… “How will you wake up and kick ass?”

Things We Love: BigMouth Inflatable!

Pool Party!

When our family was house hunting in Phoenix years ago, we NEEDED a
house with a pool, fast forward 13 years, and we wish we never had a
pool.  It’s kind of like a full-time job to babysit the pool.  We
haven’t been in the pool in years!  It has turned neon green on my
watch, the walls looked moldy, it always needs skimming and
brushed…we’ve seen it all!
After Ultimate Adventure this year,  our friends Harry and Fred visited, and the
first thing they did was cannonball into the pool!  They loved it!
In the Spirit of Resort, we pulled out some fun
inflatable rafts from BigMouth Inc.  Fred used TubeSock’s onboard air
compressor to fill up the giant Red Gummy Bear, the slice of pizza,
the pink donut, giant green gummy bear, and the donut drink
We had a blast floating in these fun food themed floats!
We were knocking each other over and enjoying the warm temperatures
in the perfect temperature pool!
We can’t wait to have another pool party with these guys!