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Ho-Down Show Down

“Most girls know the scenario; it’s inevitable when two crazy bitches become friends. At first its a wild ride of fun & gut-busting laughter… true partners in crime. You’ve got each other’s back & you divulge your deepest secrets. Until one day your partner in crime becomes your nemesis & the friendship ends in a shootout

I shot this set with western styling because of the dramatization of the wild west, lawlessness… & also I had a pair of killer boots that I wanted to shoot.”

Styled Directed Shot: Heather Van Gaale @photohussy
Model: Amber Flowers @ambersflowers
Model: Sky @hausofsky
Leather Pieces: @hos_leather  website: hosleather.com
Published in: @sticks_and_stones_agency  web  SticksAndStonesAgency.com



Sensual Wine Tasting Tips 101 – Stop and Smell the Rosés

I took a survey on olfactory pleasures: What are the best things in life to sniff?
Some said they love the smell of a campfire on the beach.
Others like garlic sautéing in olive oil.
Many prefer the subtlety of clean air the morning after a lovely rain.
Quite a few enjoy the fresh pine scent of a Christmas tree.
I asked my boyfriend what he likes to sniff and he said… Well.. never mind what he said.
But by far the most popular reply was, “A glass of great wine!”

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Wine holds a beautiful mystery which can be deeply explored with a swirl of the glass and a twitch of the nose. Properly sniffing the wine’s aroma prior to tasting it, will bring forth a plethora of fragrances from your scent library allowing the many flavors to be revealed. Whether you prefer the earthiness of fresh dirt or love the aroma of sweet cherries, chances are you will find your opthalmic ecstasy in a glass of fine wine. But before you slip into wine bliss and share the Nectar of the Gods with Dionysus, you must first release yourself of common sins that many wine mortals are guilty of and learn to bring out the best in your spirits.

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Do Not Hold The Wine Glass By the Bowl

Eeeek…I’m guilty!! I know it’s a taboo and not recommended, but I sometimes tend to hold my glass by the bowl too. It can be as comforting as caressing a mug of hot cocoa with two hands on a cold winter day…mmmm. However, I vow from this day forward, I will never do this again (certainly not in public), and neither should you. If you want to hold the glass by the bowl, I suggest you take your snifter over to the Cognac Club where it is considered desirable to warm your glass with your own awesome body heat.

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I used to believe the wine glass was a poor design; I have knocked over, spilled, and broken more wine glasses than I’d like to confess. Combining stemmed glasses and wine is like pairing yoga and stilettos; they can both be tipsy turvy once you start having too much fun.  So can you imagine my delight when stemless wine glasses came to Target? Not only did I look hipper, but I had no other choice than to cup the bowl. However, numerous wine years ago after I started thinking outside of the Chablis box, I realized that the stem of the glass is there for good purposes. For one, your body temperature is a hot 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If you wrap your paws around the crystal clear bowl of your spotless stemware, you are not only making your glass look like a greased baking dish, you are dramatically altering the temperature of your wine. Red wine should be served from 62-68 degrees Fahrenheit and white wine is chilled anywhere around 49-55 Fahrenheit (depending on the type). So unless your are tasting in Antartica, please keep your heating pads off the glass.

Learn to Do the Twirl

Come on try it…Oxygenate your wine. Wake it up. Take your glass by the stem, the axis for your wine whirligig, and release the complex aromas to enjoy the full spectrum of your vino. Don’t be shy, give it a whirl. Gently spin the wine around in a circular motion and expose its legs (the streaks left on the glass that clue one in on the alcohol content). If you do it right your glass will be barely moving but your wine will be rocking & rolling, but not rockin’ like a Black Sabbath concert. Be gentle and rhythmic like a Billy Ocean tune with a touch of samba. It’s okay if you aren’t a master spinner at first…baby steps please. Soon you will get the technique just right…little circles. You’ll want to start practicing at home with your glass on a table, and then again while you are standing up. I personally don’t stand and twirl often; I’d rather sit n’ spin. It’s actually quite fun and in the wine world it is socially acceptable.

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Just Do it! Sniff the Wine!

I’m not suggesting that you sniff like a blood hound on a search & rescue mission, but after mastering the art of holding your glass, and refining your swirling moxie, you now MUST put your whiffer to work. Give your tastebuds some foreplay. By sniffing the wine prior to drinking it, your taste buds will be turned on and ready to receive. Hover your nose just above the rim of your glass and gently breathe in the aroma. What does it remind you of? Can you describe the bouquet? Swirl it around in your mouth and let the notes linger on your palette. See how long the flavors last and notice how they change from the tip of your tongue to the back of your mouth. Keep from taking another sip for a few moments; savor it. Remember, we aren’t shooting tequila so don’t just toss it back. Your nose and tastebuds are companions that enhance each other in the sensual experience of wine tasting. Allow them to interplay with each other, like lovers do. Together they will help you discover the essence of the wine and your personal preferences, thus leading you to, what I call, wine nirvana.

Wine nirvana is not alcohol induced; it is reached by practicing the above wine tasting tips and finding a wine that satisfies all your senses. A good wine is a wine that YOU love. But how will you know if you love the wine if you aren’t fully acquainted with it. Price alone doesn’t indicate a good wine; there are plenty of good wines in the twenty dollar range and lower. The artist in me is enticed by clever names and beautifully designed labels with touches of gold leaf, but that in its self doesn’t make a wine fine either. So whether you go through life with your Reidel stemware half empty or half full, take a moment to stop…. swirl…. and smell the Rosés…. and the cabs..and the rieslings etc etc..along the way.

Bon Apéritif!

Heather Vine Wine ~~


I love writing about and photographing wine, food, fashion & travel.  I split my time between my home near Temecula Wine Country, our villa in Baja Mexico that is close to Guadalupe Wine Valley or wherever fine food and wine are found. If you are looking for a unique touch for your photography, writing and promotional needs, I’d enjoy working with you.

Photograph of the 5 little piggies was taken at Peltzer Family Farm & Cellars in Temecula, California.

All photographs and text are copyright: Heather Van Gaale

 

 

 

 

Day of the Dead In Tijuana – Learn How to Party with Your Now Departed –

Dia de los Muertos is a fall celebration in Latin America dedicated to welcoming the return of the dead. Ooooh don’t be scared, its really quite beautiful. In fact, I am so in love with the traditions of Day of the Dead as opposed to the gore of Halloween that I vow to never “Trick or Treat” again (yes I am 45).   Even though they are both harvest celebrations and share many similarities in theory,  I totally love that Mexico’s Day of the Dead isn’t scary or fear based. It’s all about family, humor, love, festivity and honor.  Rather than wearing spooky costumes & carving pumpkins to scare away spirits and all of the other frightening traditions that Halloween has morphed into;  families in Mexico invite the dead to stay for a feast and have a party! Woop Woop! No tricks just treats! For it is the only time of  year when the gates of heaven open up and allow the dead to return to earth for a quick visit!!! The dead are greeted with flowers, candles, photographs, fruits, toys for the children, dinners, and maybe some of their other favorite things. It might be a pack of Marlboros, a deck of poker cards, her favorite lipstick and even Mezcal, if thats what they like!

fashion editorial tijuana mexico by  fashion blogger heather van gaale

To see, if only a small portion of traditional Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico, we headed to Tijuana for the day with “Pancho & The Boss” (pictured above with Beva the Zebra). Shhh she doesn’t know she is really a painted donkey.

dia de los muertos celebration tijuana mexico november 2Pancho (aka Andrew Hussey) is wearing green velvet vintage Prada trousers with a silky 70s button up featuring a saguaro cactus print with a Tequila sunrise on the back…so Baja!

The Boss (aka Amber Flowers) is wearing a traditional Mexican gauze dress that we purchased locally. We chose orange because orange represents the marigolds (cempazuchil) that attracts the dead to the altars. We also chose it because orange is fall!  Come fall everyone flocks to orange. Suddenly it is everywhere; pumpkins, autumn leaves & the glow of campfires have us embracing orange. Orange is enthusiastic, inviting and it stimulates the appetite! Face it, there is nothing bad you can say about orange. Well, fashionably speaking it had its hey day in the 70’s and although you may opt out of getting an orange carpet with an orange sofa and matching orange curtains, as soon as October approaches the orange/fall wardrobe desire strikes. Finally, one can wear a long orange dress and perfectly rustic brown leather wooden platforms (Hecho en Mexico of course) and embrace the change of seasons without looking like an inmate in the state penitentiary.
tijuana mexico fashion editorial by fashion travel bigger heather van gaale and model amber flowers

OK I’m ranting I know… its just that Im feeling really passionate right now with a severe case of the warm and fuzzies. Maybe I’ve had too much orange…or perhaps its the Mescal (that was served with an orange). Either way I love this holiday!

Pictured above Amber drops flower petals on the ground in honor of the Mexican tradition of creating carpets with a mosaic of dried flower petals, colored sawdust and other natural materials during religious holidays.
flower petal dia de los muertos celebration tijuanaMexican religious holidays always include traditional dishes & festive foods. Market places are energized as families and businesses prep for the holiday with seasonal displays of exotic spices and rainbows of colorful produce, thus we headed to my favorite place in Tijuana, El Mercado Hidalgo. Mercado Hidalgo is Tijuana’s historic open-air market that appeals to all your senses. Approximately 80 vendors are centered around a chapel and a parking lot which hosts elaborate holiday displays.

heather-van-gaale-photoPlan on spending a couple of hours here roaming through the maze of produce and homemade sweets while interacting with the welcoming vendors who are happy to practice their English on you. The people are genuine and the prices are plenty affordable that even the toughest haggler will surrender his sparring match and gladly pay the low prices.

During Dia de los Muertos a symphony of decorative paper flags rise from the center of the parking lot which features a massive altar covered with marigolds & offerings in anticipation of the souls returning. Framed photographs of the departed, candy skulls and seasonal fruits are placed on the altar with generosity and good humor.

catrinas katrina fashion dress cultural for dis de los metros tijuana blogger at hidalgo mercadoSkeletons dressed in clothing that feature the hobbies, occupations or characteristics of deceased loved ones poke fun at the inevitable and clearly show the Mexican cultures acceptance and relationship with death.

Mui fashionable are the lady skeletons with the large fancy hats called Katrinas. Katrina’s are inspired after upper-class Spanish women and I must say the dresses these slender skeletal ladies wear is all I want for Christmas (size 4 please). Talk about fashion inspo! Minus the fact that the ones pictured above are made out of paper mache and not velvet or dupioni silk, I can see myself in any one of them..strutting the catwalk for my favorite label…(ok maybe next life). But I do think the black & white outfit would be perfect for my upcoming art show.dia de los muertos children skeleton

I love watching the children at Mercado Hidalgo with painted faces and starry eyes selecting sugar skulls and candied trinkets to place on the altars to welcome back their ancestors. Sugar skulls are intricate little folk-art forms decorated with dyed sugar and colored foil. Pinatas in all shapes and sizes greet you at the entrances to the candy stores that sell Mexican sweets by the pound. Lets just say, if Willy Wonka (bless his soul) were a Mexican, I would expect to see Oompa Loompas helping customers with their selections of which chile & salt covered lollipop to purchase (tamarindo is my favorite). Hey, maybe Willy will make a guest appearance.

scull candy sugar for dia de los muertos celebration in tijuana

Store owners set up altars in their shops such as the one below during the week leading up to Dia de los Muertos. I too will be making an altar with marigolds, incense and chocolates in hopes that my grandpa will pay me a visit. I might need to add some Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch to the list of gifts in order to lure him out of heaven for the day.
dia de los muerots november 2 tijuana by blogger heather van gaale

There are so many cool things to see and taste at the Mercado Hidalgo that my camera and my mouth were at war fighting for my attention. I’m a foodie, but in this case… my camera wins.

mercado hidalgo market in tijuana vendors flowers and produce

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It was a wonderful day at the market where preparations for the honored ‘out-of-town’ guests begin, but we also wanted to see where the actual celebration Dia de los Muertos takes place…the cemetery.

street vendors tijuana selling marigold for dis de los metros

couple fashion editorial with sunflowers and retro fall fashion in mexico baja california

marigolds dia de los muertos fall halloween mexico travell blogger

Flower vendors and trucks selling marigolds galore are on every corner in Tijuana. We purchased a bouquet of 15 large sunflowers and some marigolds (for only $3.00 USD) to place on some lonely gravestones as we wondered around.

dia de los muertos at the cemetary in tijuanadia de los muertos tijuana cemetary travel blogger mexicoAttention Gringos: There is nothing scary about this cemetery, not even at night. It is like a Sunday in the park. There are musicians, children running around, families picnicking with Mexican blankets spread out on the lawn while they adorn the grave sites with their gifts.  Upon entry we were asked not to take pictures without permission so out of respect we kept our shots to a minimum and just took it all in.
altar-tijuan

cemetery tijuana dia de los muertos

 

 

orange dress fashion mexico bloggerCredits & Info

We divide our time between California and our beach house located just outside of Rosarito Beach in Baja California Mexico. We have a great appreciation for the culture and love to share information about Mexican food, travel & fashion with our fellow gringos from the states.

We are available for all  your photo needs throughout the country or the US.  Message us, (our Spanish isn’t too bad).

Photographs & story: Heather Van Gaale @photohussy

Male Model: Andrew Hussey @andrewthehussey

Female Model: Amber Flowers @ambersflowers 

Mercado Hidalgo: Corner of Blvd Sanchez Taboada & Independencia Tijuana Mexico

 

Magic Carpet Vibes

Model Amber Flowers takes a magic carpet ride back in time wearing treasures from our vintage clothing trove! We are Rock n’ Roll bohemes and we loove jewel tones, rich textures and mixing it up with pieces from the 40s thru now!

bohemian fashion ideas fall rock and roll hippie chic with miink stole shot by bohemian blogger heather van gaale

Amber is styled in all vintage and thrifted finds. “Eek” you say…”but those poor wee minks”… Well.. before you throw red paint on my furry friends with their precious little faces.. talk to your great grandma..because its antique. I know the heads weird people out, I suppose I could alter it and clip them off so we aren’t reminded that it was once a living breathing creature with feelings too, if that makes you feel better. But really we are essentially being “green” and we are actually helping the planet by shopping vintage.  Everything in our shoot is recycled fashion, handmade and sourced from local charities. The 70s striped ruffle blouse with gold metallic threading and off-center buttons that extend high on the neck is bold, feminine and handmade. No-one at the party will be wearing the same shirt. It looks great mixed with a floral skirt of the same tones and a suede color block mod/hippie era belt.

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bohemian fashion blogger photographer heather van gaale in vintage editorial with model amber flowers

Below Amber wears a 1950s genuine leopard fur coat. Yes, it’s really real. We are Bohemians, we love authentic! We don’t do fake or “faux”.  Maybe you weren’t that upset over grannys petrified varmint accoutrement pictured above; everyones grandma had a fur stole. When it comes to big cats though..whoa.. watch out. I understand, it ain’t right! I don’t support hunting cats nor do I long for exotic furs. I inherited the coat from my grandmother and because of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) it is illegal to sell even vintage leopard furs. Sooo… I’m stuck with it. Oh poo. Rather than have a medium perform a seance and try to bring it back to life or release my hoarding tendencies and actually give it away, we store the heirloom lovingly… in 1 of my 7 closets. Amber rocks it with 90s purple crushed velvet leggings, a vintage Kiss tour tee, a tangle of silver and antique glass bead necklaces and a delicious pair of 1970s glam rockstar platforms.

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bohemian rock and roll hippie blogger photographer heather van gaaleFor this look,  Amber wears a slinky green slip dress, and to make it more rock n’ roll glam and less “night at the theater dahling”, we added contrasting red fishnets, a green leather and brass studded blingy belt and a glass bead choker that we embellished with a gold star.

 

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Photographer: Heather Van Gaale

Model: Amber Flowers @ambersflowers

Hair and Makeup: Amber Flowers

Wardrobe: Speaking Bohemian. Contact us for purchase or rental.

Amber is also available for makeup and styling.

If you would like to shoot at our Orange County bohemian lair, it is available for rent. We can accommodate small and large crews.

 

The Creature From the Blue Lagoon

In the heart of the jungle (at our Orange County residential studio compound) we pay homage to the 1950’s horror film The Creature from the Black Lagoon.   Wearing a mix of hard black leathers and antique french lace we photograph the amphibious lagoon creature that frequents our pools, model Amber Flowers. I do admit that Amber is much more representative of Kay (the gorgeous synchronized swimmer bombshell) and I am more like Gill Man (scaly & mesmerized by pure beauty), but for this story, Ambers seductive allure represents the mysterious lagoon creature that many have come to believe to be an anomaly.

model poses by waterfall for fashion story wearing wet jeans

heather van gaale photo for fashion blog of  tropical film location in orange countytropical editorial by heather van gaale or model with wet hair

Above Amber wears wet sexy ass black Rock & Republic shredded denim with a custom made wrap around bikini top that can give cleavage to the tiniest of titties (my fave). She also wears a handmade vintage belt with fringe and scalloped edges that looks awesome against her bare belly. Her scarf is macrame which was died black for the shoot.

Below Amber wears a thrifted vintage 80s high-waisted Wilsons Leather skirt that was chopped into a mini.  Around her neck she wears remants of antique french lace.  The belt is from my large stash of vintage belts, its an extra wide Argentinian gem made from leather, horse hair and adorned with genuine antique coins.

topless model tropical editorial shot by fashion photographer heather van gala

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pit-bull-fashion-shoot

As you can see Buddha is a huntress and thinks she is a cat. She has just snuck up on Amber to pose for our jungle shoot. I think she is a good sub for a jaguar prop.

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For the next looks we used a vintage lace kerchief as a sexy wrap around and a hard-core spiked collar that I saved from my punk days. Oi!!

heather van gaale with amber flowers

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Model Amber Flowers @AmbersFlowers

Lighting Assistant Eric Helmle

Photography Heather Van Gaale

If you would like information on filming at our secluded lagoon  in Orange County  please contact us for rental rates.  We can accommodate small and large crews.

Model Amber Flowers is also available for fashion styling and makeup.

 

 

The Emerald Triangle


The “Emerald Triangle”, the triad of Trinity, Humboldt and Mendocino Counties in Northern California. This is the home of BigFoot herself and secluded StarWars filming locales.  The forests are a hyper-saturated green with carpets of lacy young ferns and cushy vibrant moss clinging to rocks and dripping from the branches of giant ancient Redwoods that extend over to the rocky coastal cliffs. Drive further inland and there are endless rows of “emerald” colored grapevines undulating over hillsides, weaving striking symmetrical patterns like something straight out of M.C Escher’s mind. With all of its green-osity, no wonder its nicknamed “The Emerald Triangle” right?? – Wrong!  Because unless you’re following Prop 215 and have a lifetime subscription (or should I say ‘prescription’) to High Times, you will likely think that “The Emerald Triangle” is the latest OZ iteration or someplace west of Bermuda. The average tourist has no idea of its nickname which stems from being one of the worlds most abundant marijuana growing regions.

Check out our vibrant fashion  story of California’s ultimate laid back hippie utopia on our 3 day road trippin’ camping adventure to Glass Beach, Avenue of the Giants and the Russian River.

 

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Shot for C-Heads

Model Amber Flowers @ambersflowers & Andrew Hussey (Next Models LA)

Wardrobe: Photographers personal vintage collection & models own etsy.com/shop/AintYoMommasCloset

 

The Birthday Suit

The Birthday Suit, a classic that you made your first debut in, a woman’s most beautiful outfit, a present from God! Any size goes, S M L or XL, all thats required is a love of femininity and your joy to share it unabashedly. Join us as we celebrate the playful woman in her birthday suit. Feel the power and liberating delight of being au natural.  Wear it alone or pair it with your favorite accessories. In this case we paired the birthday suit with superstar glitter and outrageous vintage 70s purple high-waisted palazzo pants with orange,blue and bronze stripes. We also thought her long-haired boyfriend and a piece of cake added the perfect icing to top off her birthday. Remember, take good care of your birthday suit and treat it well, so you can wear for many years to come.

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Model Amber Flowers blossoms in pink

On our studio property in Orange County,where the the bougainvillea bloom a vibrant hot-pink all year long, we photographed model Amber Flowers in our vintage clothing collection. Amber wore a vintage 60s bubble gum pink lace blouse with delicate pleated shoulders. The sleeves taper down to a narrow wrist finished with scalloped lace making it super feminine! The waist is also scalloped at the bottom and features a bakelite & rhinestone centerpiece that cinches up the fabric for a little peek-a-boo of the belly. To add a stunning contrast we paired the look with an antique Whiting and Davis chain mail mesh bib necklace and an oversized vintage brass Indian belt.sexy model, girly model, pretty brunette, brown hair, blue eyes, blue eyed brunette, pale skin, white skin, waif, model, pink, gold, gold lame, chain mail, vintage, pink, pink lace,heather van gale, photographer, fashion photographer, fashion blogger,fashion-photographer-vintagepretty girl, brunette, fashion, model, san diego, orange county, waif, fashion photographer, heaher van gale, speaking bohemian,fashion photographer orange countytopless,topless model, fashion, waif,gold lame, artistic fashion, bougainvillea,hit fashion,pretty girl, sexy model, brunette model,california,los los angeles, orange county model, heather van gaale,speaking bohemian,fine-art-fashion-topless

The vibrant gold-lame leggings by See You Monday hug her frame while embracing her rock n roll flair . All clothes are available for purchase at our store COMING SOON!

Shoes are models own.

 

Photos with my lover: California desert road trip


biker hippie man from the 60s cool senior citizen


The desert always centers me. There is something really wonderful about cruising on the open road with the windows down listening to classic rock. I love the approaching clouds of a desert storm and  the otherworldly landscapes.

americana remains in the desert of route 66 vintage gas station

Random relics of days gone by are always perfect for impromptu photoshoots. Even though it’s extra super hotttt with the temperatures reaching 115+, the washed out lighting at high noon is my absolute favorite time of day to stop and take pictures.

vintage fashion gym shorts budweiser on model torso in the desert

When I wear my cut up half tops and vintage mens budweiser swim trunks rolled at the waist, then you know i’m ready for a mid-summer-desert-road-trip-photo-adventure.

 

american folk art by photographer heather hussey of installation in the desert

Long down the road we stumbled upon the socially interactive installation of the shoe wall. Smack dab in the middle of nowhere, passers-by stop and contribute to the ever evolving collection of mostly tennis shoes. They’re strung from remaining fences, poles and wires. I found a great pair of vintage 80s Nikes spray painted kelly green that I would have loved to have grabbed but my conscience said “no”.  Instead I contributed a woven pink easter hat with a polka dotted ribbon that my man found earlier on the side of the road.

cool biker hippie man with short shorts in desert

He’s always finds the most awesome shit just laying on the ground. I grabbed this shot of him while he was roaming around searching for treasure. He looks so cool with his red tinted aviators and a grungy old Harley Davidson tee. Also, if you have the balls to sport them, I’m seriously diggin’ on the cut off denim shorts as a sexy ticket for men.

 

 

Photographs with my lover: Summer in the mountains

woman nude on ladder in cozy cabin

In a delightful cabin in the middle of the woods I found a beautiful feather and wrapped it in my hair. It was all I needed to complete my wardrobe for the warm summer day! Finding a feather is a sign of encouragement and means that you are on a higher path spiritually. It also symbolises a lighter outlook on life.

fashion stylist photographer los angeles

It was a little chilly later on so I dug out this fabulous vintage fur coat previously owned by Adolphine Getty. What fun it is to wear a long fur coat with nothing on underneath!