Q&A with Mama-T: Blogger/Photographer/Stylist

Photo by Adriane White

I first met Mama-T a few years ago when she was doing fashion and prop styling for a short film that I was acting in. Over the years, she's continued to make headway in those industries, as well as doing wedding photography. (You might have noticed her behind-the-scenes photos of our portrait shoot here.) Mama-T joined The Penny Rose editorial team as a columnist earlier this year. She pens a biweekly post called, "I Love That," where she snaps photos of items that she loves around her hometown of Santa Cruz. In addition to her many talents, Mama-T also is a vintage seller. Locals in Santa Cruz can find her at the Antique Faire every month on the corner of Pacific Avenue and Lincoln Street. We recently caught up with Mama-T to learn more about her.

How would you describe your personal style?

My casual wear is usually vintage Western influenced, and my dress up wear is often retro-inspired.

What’s your favorite brand of denim?

Worn in, pre-owned Levi's.

What fashion designer (or beauty brand) are you eyeing right now?

Zac Posen. I've never seen more beautiful, classic gowns in my life. His work is truly inspirational. Also, I've been buying makeup from Dr. Hauschka. The line carries cruelty-free products.

 What’s your favorite skin care item?

Coconut oil. When I discovered its many uses for skin/haircare, I never looked back.

What fashion tip would you give to someone for the upcoming season?

Set your own trends. Wear what makes you feel happy; your personal style makes you unique.

If money were no object, what spa or beauty treatment/service would you be addicted to?

My current addiction is Rolfing, a type of bodywork. Although it isn't necessarily considered a beauty treatment, I feel that it works from the inside out. It has completely changed my life. I work my butt off to be able to treat myself to it monthly. I recommend Phoenix De Leon at Santa Cruz Naturopathic Medical Center.

On occasions where you need to get ready in a rush, what is your quick ‘n’ easy beauty routine?

Black liquid eye liner, and steam rollers in my hair.

What is the most unusual or surprising beauty product in your arsenal?

Dr. Bronner's liquid soaps. I use their products for everything: hair, dishes, body, and laundry.

What beauty products would we find in your purse?


You’re traveling, and can only bring one bag: what favorite beauty/fashion items stay home, and what must go with?

I bring the basics: mascara and lip balm.

Mani or pedi?

I do my own nails at home, with no polish. I like to keep it simple.

Lip gloss or lip balm?

I use Dermalogica Climate control lip treatment during the day, and Lip Gloss at night. I have a friend who got lip cancer from wearing gloss out in the sun for years; it acted as a magnifying glass on her lips. Scary!

Heels or flats?

There is something infinitely powerful about wearing heels.