Haute On The Ranch: A guest blog by THE Western Revival -- Mama, Wife, Model, and Friend.

Business. Friendship.

Our Taos photoshoot vacation with the Savannah Sevens team was a blur of fashion, family, friendship, business, hair, makeup, beautiful views, and A LOT of laughter. It all ran together, so I’ll go ahead and tell you about all of it.

My favorite part of every story, is how people connected. You know, the love story, if you will. I always get asked how collaborations began, especially with Savannah Sevens, so I’ll start there. I met Ryley (Owner) and Sammie (Marketing) at a conference in Ft. Worth. Not only were they incredibly sweet to me, but also full of wisdom in the industry, which they humbly shared. I collaborated with them soon after and developed a great working relationship.

I was at a barrel race and they called asking if I’d be interested in modeling for Savannah Sevens in Taos. Umm… no brainer! I rode my horse over to Chance and asked him if we had anything planned. I was one hundred percent prepared to try to change any plans that may have conflicted. I mean, Savannah Sevens styling, Savannah Sevens team, Taos… no brainer.  

Did I mention that our families were coming along for the ride? The guys had never met and would be taking care of the babes together. We decided to all stay in an Airbnb, like one big happy family.  Let’s just say, the guys were “the three best friends that anyone can have” in no time! Looking back, they probably united forces, to show us mommas up. They did make it look pretty easy.

Hello Taos.

Friday, we arrived in Taos, and pulled up to the most gorgeous, southwestern style, Airbnb. We all went out to eat and feasted on Christmas (red and green chili) blue corn enchiladas, tacos, and relleno plates. Right off the bat, it was obvious that the babes were going to run the show all weekend.

From there, we did a little touristing and went to see The Gorge (Rio Grande Gorge Bridge). I’m pretty sure that that’s where the ‘gorg’, in gorgeous, comes from. It really is breathtaking. Chance asked, “Can you imagine being the first one to ride up to it?”. We took pictures with our fam-bams and did a little shopping with the local makers and vendors.

We headed home, then the guys played pool, while we took our strollers and went shopping at the historic Taos plaza. We got called the ‘mommy train’ by a passing car, and I enjoyed a red chili coffee drink. I’ve been craving another one since. Anything Southwest was there, but the ability to drive our strollers into the shops eventually determined where we shopped. Even the window shopping was good though!

The Spacey Kacey.

The next day was photoshoot day, and 7:00 am came early! Crossyn decided to be a total ninja all night. I didn’t get much sleep, but that’s why it takes a team! My under-eyes were no joke! Danielle, the hair stylist and makeup artist, was no joke either. I love having someone else get me ready; it always pushes me out of my comfort zone. She showcased my widows peak and did a much lighter eye than I tend to think I need. It was refreshing! Danielle waved my short haircut, then clipped in my extensions and styled those. She had my hair prepared to transform five times throughout the shoot!

We started shooting at 8:30 am, in thirty-degree temperatures, and I was in shorts. The cutest corduroy short overalls ever (The Cordys), so I wouldn’t dare complain. I would’ve rocked them in the snow. The rust color, and corduroy material, make these perfect for any season. I’d change it up through the seasons, by switching up the top and footwear.  I think it’d be really fun to wear with some tights this winter!

Ryley nailed it with this boho-western style. She achieved something that I love to try- mixing two seemingly clashing pieces, to create a little interest and a little balance. When you get that right, you end up with an outfit that’s creative, but not hard on the eyes. It makes a statement that the fellow fashionistas can appreciate, but it won’t make your man cringe.

Pictured: The Cordys (overalls), The Shawnee (blouse), The Lonesome Dove (hat), The Texarkana (footwear)

She paired The Cordys with The Shawnee blouse. The dark teal and the rusty colors just happened to be the two tones that I’ve been hunting. I felt so flirty and playful (you can probably tell by the photos) in this look. In the same breath, the blouse made me feel so classy and sophisticated. I picture The Shawnee paired with some trousers or flares (like The Cedes), as well.

Did you notice The Texarkana shoes? Well I put some miles on them, and can vouch that they’re as comfortable and functional as they are pretty.  We trekked around, dodging cactus and rocks. They have some pretty dang good cushioning in there!

I believe in a good statement hat, and I’ll be sure to tell you more about this one (The Lonesome Dove). This look wouldn’t have been the same without it! I posted some previews of these photos on my Instagram stories, and a few people told me I was channeling Kacey Musgrave vibes. I’ll take that! I think this outfit was my favorite.

Here’s to nailing the fake laugh pose. If you’ve tried it, you know the struggle.

Lunchbreak and ‘Nut-Stuffed Olives’.

We went home to meet the guys and babes. We made plenty of jokes on the way, imagining their day without us moms, and talking about how we didn’t prepare food for them.  When we walked in, the babes were happy, napping, fed, and the guys were bonding. I guess they did just fine without us! We took the baby train downtown again for lunch. Our house was walking distance to the historic downtown area.

We laughed. A lot. Following a little discussion revolving around the olive appetizer, Chance grabbed one and took a bite. He seemed a little disgusted, a little confused, and proceeded to tell me, in complete shock, that the olives were stuffed with big nuts. Apparently, he had never had an un-pitted olive before. Oh my gosh, we all laughed so hard!

The Western Perfection.

I got my makeup touched up, and we headed out to the Earth Ships. Yep, Earth Ships. Basically, a community of solar homes, made out of natural and up-cycled materials, like tires and glass bottles. That’s nice and all, but our eyes saw beautiful backdrops full of all the right tones and texture.

I got to wear my other favorite outfit. This look was more of my everyday style, but in a dream. You know, like exactly what you would wear, if you had everything you wanted on hand.  I’m not one for telling people what to do, but I’ll make an exception. You need this corduroy puffer coat, AKA, The Royce.  I didn’t buy it, despite my obsession, and have thought about it more than I’d like to admit. Corduroy, that perfect rust tone, the perfect length, and the collar stands right where it should. It wasn’t noisy, or stiff--just cozy as could be!

Halfway through shooting this look, Danielle transformed my hair into a big messy top-knot. Instantly, I felt about five notches funkier on the funk scale. And I know, I know- those earrings. They’re The Casco Earrings. You, are, welcome.  

I own The Brockton Belt, which I wear all the time, but this tooled leather buckle took it to another level.  I think it will always be “in style” to rock a buckle, and if it isn’t, I’ll just step right out of style. Can’t stop, won’t stop. They just give your look that bold, western factor.

Pictured: The Royce (jacket), Ariat Icon Straight Leg (jeans), The Fenix (footwear), The Casco Earrings, The Brockton Belt, The Moline (beaded choker), The Tallon Necklace

These jeans… oh, these jeans. I decided that I’d copy this cuffed look on some of my own jeans at home. Not a single pair of my straight legs have worked. They’re just not the same. These just fall right. Go ahead, try it on your own jeans, and you may understand my appreciation for these Ariat Icon Straight Leg jeans. Thanks to Savannah Sevens, I am hung up with rocking the cuffed straight leg and bootie look.

This pretty gal right here, is Elley. Besides being a total bombshell, she was a sweetheart to work with. I love working with new people! And how about this truck that was parked at the Earth Ships? Totally proves that rust is the perfect canvas for everything, and retro is always a good idea.  Keep that in mind this season!

You may be wondering what’s going on behind the scenes, or assuming not much was going on. Well, Sammie was more than likely on her belly or creeping around behind brush getting behind the scenes content, Elley and I were changing in a parking lot, and people were stopping to watch the shoot. Danielle was on top of hair and makeup details, and everyone was jumping in to hold the shade. Ryley had her eye on wardrobe details and was pretty talented at balancing stacked hats on her head. Julisa, the photographer, was often demonstrating specific poses she envisioned and getting down and dirty to get all the right shots.

A sweet little elderly woman told her husband, “Well look at that honey, they’re taking pictures of the sun.”, as she checked things out. I think the shade may have threw her off a little.  

The Cinched Blazer

It was time to move on to our next destination, a gorgeous mountainside near The Gorge. It looked like rattlesnake country to me, and I made the mistake of mentioning all of the rattlesnakes that came out last October. Everyone was on their toes!

Elley had a hairstyle change -- an undone fishtail at the crown, that flowed down with her relaxed curls. P.S. the back of her jacket has an eye-catching steer head along the shoulder blade area. Danielle reworked my hair into a pieced together fishtail.

Pictured: The Stockyards (hat)

Pictured: The Stockyards (hat), The Lonesome Dove (hat)

Something I’ve started to do this season, is wear a concho belt up high on my waist, even over a blazer. I have gotten so many compliments! This petite concho belt is perfect for that.  This rust colored corduroy (Catching a trend yet?) blazer was everything. Sammie added a nifty double cuff on the blazer sleeves, which I definitely plan on replicating. I wore The Fenix booties again. They work with everything!  I’m telling you, they’re the perfect heel height, the perfect pointy toe, and have studs along the distressed leather. I cannot tell you how many messages I’ve gotten about these.

The Bingham

We moved across the road, just along the breathtaking ridge, for the final outfits. Mine, was officially dubbed the “female version of Ryan Bingham”. Yellowstone, anyone? From that moment on, I could not have felt cooler. I had the most fun shooting in this look.  I was really into character, acting as nonchalantly bad-A as I could. Okay, so it was a four-way tie for favorite look. That’s totally allowed. Danielle removed my extensions, giving me a completely different, care-free short hair look.

Pictured: The Lonesome Dove (hat), Ariat Icon Straight Leg (jeans), The Fenix (footwear) 

Now is probably a good time to talk about this hat, the Lonesome Dove.  It added character to all three outfits. With the first outfit I wore, it pulled all the romantic and playful vibes from it.  With the blazer, it felt so classy.  With this outfit, it just made me feel legit. The sage velvet hatband softened the look up a little, and the feathers and the subtle distressing me gave all the rugged, cowboy-cool vibes.

I’m waiting for this sherpa-lined denim jacket to hit the site and am counting on Chance’s hint-taking skills. Write it down, Chance. I mean, who doesn’t look cool and sexy in denim and sherpa? It felt so soft and worn in. Details are everything, and the flannel top has pearl snaps! Did you notice the cuffed Ariats and booties again? We had other options ready to go, but I loved this look so much, we decided to do it again.  

 Pictured: The Stockyards (hat)

Danielle gave Ellie some moody, wine colored lips and made her final hair transformation- a low side pony, with a tousled-messy piece stacked on the hair-tie.  I plan on attempting to recreate it! Look how awesome it is with a hat.  Speaking of that, how amazing is The Stockyards hat?  I think Savannah Sevens is ahead of the game with this one. Retro is all the rage, and this hat truly embraces that.  

While we were shooting here, and really into whole experience, Ryley enthusiastically says, “Oh- look at that pile of rocks over there!” I’m laughing as I write this. I can’t even get to the next line. I look in the direction that she’s pointing and see a puny little fire pit. Confused, and convinced that Ryley is in fact a dork, I say, “Ooh wow!  Yeah, that’s SO cool.” I was just trying to support her vision!

I think she realized I was mistakenly referring to the fire pit, but she didn’t say anything eitherShe was probably like, “Yep, Shanna is a nerd.”. I happened to look in that direction again, and saw the actual big, stunning rocks that she was referring to. I guess that makes me the only nerd! Everyone realized what had happened, and once again- burst out laughing. I was already mentally committed, thinking of how to look cool by a pathetic little firepit - with no fire. Did you see my outfit, though? I would look cool anywhere in that.

And that’s a wrap.

We drove down to the river below. It was a steep, long, winding road. More beautiful around every corner.  We were trying to beat the setting sun and get some shots at the bridge below. Julisa would still be taking photos if they let her. It was a wrap, so we took a group photo, using a timer. The entire team had been working together on these Savannah Sevens shoots for years. I was the newbie, and everyone embraced my family and I. Thank you, ladies, for bringing me in on this one! I was honored to contribute and left so inspired by all you boss babes.

We finally called it a day and headed back to the house. Earlier that day, Sammie had asked me what cattle ate out here. I stumbled around mesquite beans for a while, then said, “Shoot. I don’t know. That’s probably a question for Chance.” It really bothered me that I was unsure of something I knew the answer to. I was the only brunette in the vehicle, but felt like the blondest one there. Jokes. That was an actual thought of mine, though, haha!

On the way back, it just dawned on me that they may have not recognized our New Mexico grass, as grass.  So, quite randomly, I said to the two Oklahoma-Kansas girls, “See that short stuff out there in the dirt, it’s not real green, well that’s still grass. That’s what they eat.”  They died laughing, and I realized how hilarious it was.  I just wasn’t sure if they realized that qualifies as grass, here in New Mexico!

Okay, just one more. I risk sounding inappropriate here, but I assure you it wasn’t how it sounds! Just when we thought we had all caught our breath, Ryley joked that she hoped her husband didn’t drink as much as he did last night (A total exaggeration--she was jokingly referring to her husband being a hoot the night before.) All I could say was, “I just hope mine doesn’t try to keep up.”  Again, we were cracking up. I was gunning for my very own #S7sQuotes, Savannah Sevens quote graphic all weekend. Ryley and Sammie are one sarcastic and funny duo, now I see where their quote material comes from. 

Remember how I told you the guys were pretty well bonded? Well, when we got home, they had taken the babes to the grocery store and got food to prepare for dinner. I bet that was a sight to see. Three men, cowboys, and three babies... cruising around together in the grocery store. We got home, to a delicious steak dinner. One of my favorite moments from the trip--the guys broke out into children’ renditions of Gin N Juice. They were IN-TO it too.  See, “the three best friends that anyone can have”.

The most significant aspect of this entire trip, was the fact that six adults left Taos with “Baby Shark” stuck in their head for at least three days. I’ll take the blame for that one.

On Sunday, we ate lunch and somehow ended up playing Dirty Minds over lunch. Our game pieces were toddler yogi bites and Teddy Grahams. That game had everyone blushing and cracking up. We then drove to some shops on the outside of town. All of us ended up driving around and parking while the babes napped. Eventually, we all made it inside to shop. It was nice to not be the only couple on ‘baby time’.  We were all on the same page. The ladies snuck away for some desert and hot chocolate. We all took a group photo, and Chance and I decided we needed to get back home. Sammie said it best, “We love, love, love, when good business turns into an even better friendship.”

Taos Takeaways

  1. Never underestimate a good dad.
  2. Teal. Rust. Corduroy
  3. Retro
  4. It takes a team.
  5. Baaaaby Shark!

By All Means,

The Western Revival

Shanna Means

Instagram: @the.western.revival | Facebook: @thewesternrevival | www.thewesternrevival.com


PHOTO: Julisa Haines Photography

HMUA: Danielle Markley


1 comment

  • Shanna’s mama-in-law

    What an awesome experience! I can see Shanna as the only blonde acting brunette in the bunch!
    Write on, Shanna~

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