Cranking out content is important… I get it. But, I’ve always been dedicated to authenticity. So, when I say that sometimes it just takes a minute to get into your groove… I mean it. I typically only write when I’m feeling inspired and know that what I have to share with you is bigger than just some random musings. I want you to feel inspired, empowered and just a little more jazzed about getting out there and trying new things for yourself.

Recently I’ve been feeling very inspired by all things culture, lifestyle and art and there is no better place to wake up my brain cells and truly inspire me than Colorado.


A couple of weeks ago I made the trekk to Denver for a few days. I packed lightly and was ready to see more of what Denver had to offer. This time was different from the last, the call of the mountains was a bit louder and that landed me in some beautiful moments. One of my favorite Colorado adventures was my trip to Boulder… I fell in love with that town. Let’s just say the girl who has always had her eyes on New York miiiight just be having eyes on, well… Boulder (and that’s a big deal, y’all.)

I was lucky enough to wonder into what I think might be one of the coolest restaurants I have ever been to…. Emmerson Restaurant . I’ve been to some pretty amazing restaurants throughout Kansas City, NYC and Chicago, but Emmerson in Boulder absolutely won my heart (and my taste buds) over.

I’m now going to try to explain why…

Emmerson opened in August 2017 as a Cafe, Neo Bistro and Cocktail Bar and I must say it is all of those things and more. The craft cocktail list is extensive with vintage comic book style characters representing each drink… And just to really drive the whole “cool” argument home… There’s a fricken Mezcal cocktail called Queen of the South. You win, Emmerson.


One of the minds who helped craft all this coolness is Benjamin Foote, who was artfully preparing our cocktails for us as we chatted about tattoos, restaurants and other things life and style. I love hearing stories about how places like this started, especially when they are told by the people who cultivated them. There is a passion and joy that is all their own.


The interiors where retro meets vintage perfection with pops of light pink and a delicate mix of modern and eclectic…. Yeah yeah you know that’s my style.


Adventuring is fun, especially when you get to do it with people you love. Some of the coolest experiences I have ever had were because I let myself stumble through the randomness. Walking along Pearl Street, I had no idea where I wanted to go (other than Buffalo Exchange). I followed my senses and landed in the right place. Sometimes you have to trust the call of the mountains to guide you. When you do, you’ll end up in towns like Boulder and in spaces like the Emmerson Restaurant.

– Photos taken for TSO by Kyle Graas + Kinsey Cates



We love and are endlessly grateful for the lessons and values our mothers taught us… But tonight I’m taking a moment to celebrate the ways our mamas have impacted us via fashion and personal style.

For some of us, our mothers have been the closest to our hearts, minds, and actions and they share a bond with us that is unrivaled.  Designers like Jeremy Scott, Angela Missoni and Michael Kors all credit their mothers for inspiring them the most.

And I must say… I agree with them. My mother is my muse.

I often recreate and reincorporate my mothers iconic 1970s fashion pieces into a majority of my looks. I’m obsessed with the items she wore while engulfed in the beauty of that era. Because of her, I’ve learned to love quality pieces over quantity and respect the idea that when it comes to statement pieces and accessories, sometimes less is more. This chamois jacket was purchased at a North Beach boutique in SF in 1974.

Photography by Nicole Bissey // Styling by The Style Operandi // Makeup by Maria Flowers

In addition to what some of the worlds most famous designers had to say about their mothers, I asked a few women how they would define their mothers style…

 “My mom is my role model and the main reason I have the style I have today. She’s trendy, inspiring and cool. This Easter she picked out my jumpsuit and I’m in love with it.” – Fashion Model, Braydie Elliott

Braydie Elliott

“My mom has a Colorado mountain lady vibe… She’s natural, flowy and athletic.” – Yoga Instructor + Adventuress, Ali Judy

Ali Judy

“My mother dresses for herself. She’s simple, classic and honest.” – Blogger and Designer, Courtney Newell

“My mom has always been elegant, chic and comfortable in her own skin.” – Holistic Lifestyle Blogger, Amy McDaniel

“She’s everything 90s prairie tomboy.” – Singer/ Songwriter, Terrah Schultz

Terrah Schultz

Our mothers have shown us some of the most classic styles and inspired our aesthetics. Aside from being graceful, classy and timeless, my mother taught me that one of the best ways to express myself or my feelings was through the outfits I wore.

Leslie Cates

Leslie Casterman Cates // Mama of The Style Operandi

Some of my most beloved accessories were passed down to me from my mother and grandmothers. Often I mimic my mothers love of Southwest styles and colors into my outfits. From Native American jewelry to concho belts and turquoise… These are some of my staple pieces.


Photography by Nicole Bissey // Styling by The Style Operandi


Photography by Nicole Bissey // Styling by The Style Operandi // Makeup by Maria Flowers

Tonight I want to thank all mothers, and mine in particular, for being our muses.



Typically clad in leopard print and accompanied by amazing friends, I usually have successful brunches, lunches and dinners. My first choice for brunch is almost always Westport Cafe and Bar and if you ask me, they have the best blue point oysters in Kansas City. Not to mention that whenever you order off of the brunch menu you receive a complementary Bloody Mary, mimosa, or Bellini with your meal. There’s something about that place that totally warms my heart.

Continue reading SUNDAY BEST


As November draws to a close, I find myself being pulled in a direction of deep self-reflection. First, because I think it’s important for all of us to take a moment to be mindful of the space we are in as the holiday season approaches. Second, because we often times don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve, or the criticism. How can we truly know ourselves and celebrate all that we are as individuals if we don’t take a moment to examine where we are and why we’ve arrived at that particular place?



Starting The Style Operandi was the best choice I ever made. At the time I had no idea that this fun little blog would actually end up changing my life. For years I dabbled in the idea of creating a space where I could further express myself and share some of the methods to my madness (why I am who I am, do what I do and dress how I dress). After years of brainstorming, styling, searching and trying, I finally got it. So, two years ago I created this space. This little corner of the internet that is dedicated to celebrating the original and unique pieces of life and style.

Continue reading TSO TURNS TWO


When I was a little girl I went to my grandmother’s house every afternoon. I spent these afternoons adventuring in her backyard and watching her make the most delicious apple sauce known to man. No, I never found big foot or any hidden treasure and I have yet to make the perfect batch of apple sauce. However, somewhere between my adventures and cooking lessons, I picked up a magical little “book” called Vogue. Here’s to the brands, people and styles that started it all. I’ve always been drawn to styles that stand out. Although I was once mocked for wearing things that were “too daring” I’ve stuck to my guns and it has paid off. When I was five years old I got my first pair of Dr. Martens. They were gold and bold and amazing. I grew to love that brand because they appealed to the weirdo’s, the rebels and the kids that stood out. They appealed to the kids like me. It’s no surprise that I rock the same classic 1460 style boots even today (just a little bigger). 

The punk/grunge scene of the 90s was a big inspiration in my life. It’s still the fuel to many of my fires and you’re likely to find very 90s inspired items in my closet. However, between my plaid shirts and liquid leggings you’ll find one of my most beloved brands, Lacoste. I love the simplicity and classic look of Lacoste. It’s clean, classy and Euro-chic.

Among all of the lessons I learned throughout my childhood, the most important was to always march to the beat of my own drum. I’m less concerned about what people wear and more concerned with how they wear it.

It’s easy to dress well when you have unlimited funds and access to the trendiest new pieces. What matters more is how you make outfits authentically you. You should always feel confident and stick to your own path. Hell, you might even inspire a few people along the way.


Why are you so obsessed with New York? That’s what everyone always asks. I take a deep breath and try to explain the reason why that city will always have my heart. There’s something about the beauty among all of the chaos. The lights that reflect off the busy sidewalks at night. It’s that smell when you get off the subway and then walk straight into a food truck that makes your mouth water. It’s the fashion on Fifth Ave and how the store windows give you goose bumps. It’s the trendiest kids in America sipping lattes in Washington Square Park. New York is like having the world at your fingertips. You can go anywhere you feel you fit in, be anyone you want to be, and lastly, no one will criticize you for being different. So, when people ask how in the world I could love a city so much, that’s what I say…


My recipe for success when it comes to visiting NYC is to do as the New Yorker’s do. Get this… I actually managed to eat and drink my way through NYC on a budget. Here are some of my recommendations about where to go when you’re in the city.


Some of my favorite places to hang and grab a bite to eat or a drink are Pianos, Dinner on Ludlow, pretty much anywhere in the LES and Hotel Chantelle. Jack’s Wife Freda. Jacob’s Pickles. Shake Shack. Le Pain Quotidien. Gina La Fornarina. Joanne Trattoria. Bryant Park Grill.


Oh… And that food truck in Columbus Circle, right next to the enterance of Central Park. Don’t forget about that.

What are some of your favorite restaurants and bars in NYC? Share in the comments below.