Iris meets Matilda Jane

Texture, pattern, color. That’s the backbone of Matilda Jane clothing, and the first, middle, and last name of my spirit animal.

If you have little girls, you’re probably well-versed in Matilda Jane, the whimsical line that caters to littles, tweens, and women. If you’re not in the know, Matilda Jane’s mission is to bring happiness to its customers by letting little girls enjoy being little girls, twirling in cute as all get out rompers, dresses and pants that incorporate a sweet and eclectic mix of pretty patterns. First Lady of America Joanna Gaines recently designed a capsule collection for Matilda Jane and it was nothing short of perfection. Items in the capsule sold faster than you can say shiplap, naturally, so we’re all out of luck when it comes to owning Jojo's designs unless we snag some on resale sites.


Our first foray into the world of Matilda Jane, comes thanks to a Trunk Keeper party invite by my friend Jenny who is the passion behind From the Stand Store. You’ve seen me sport her wearable faith tees that say Let Your Light Shine and Grace Upon Grace. Jenny hosted a Matilda Jane party, through Trunk Keeper Jamie Dalton, and I dove in to the Matilda Jane experience courtesy of a couple of cute purchases from the annual clearance sale to test drive the line before getting into the current collection.

To start with the practical stuff, because that’s what my mama friends want to know about, the pieces are quality-made, machine-washable, easy to get clean (Iris mashed some chocolate chips into her baby blue dress on the drive home from church and it rinsed right out), and I love that the items all came with extra buttons. Father God, please help me be able to find these buttons if I should ever need them. (That’s my work though, not Mattie J’s.  My friends at Thirty-One can probably hook me up with some clever storage receptacle for all of the spare buttons and thread in my life… Amen)

The fabrics are really soft and the stitching is even and sturdy, which is important for keeping our teeny tiny rambunctious hulks from tearing off their clothes. Iris has this one snap-up romper from another clothing company that she insists on ripping off like a burlesque dancer at a bachelorette party every time I put her in it. Insert “see no evil” monkey emoji here.  

Another noteworthy point about Matilda Jane is on the flip side of owning them. When you’re ready to pass along these adorable duds to a new little girl, resale stores are peachy keen on buying gently used Matilda Jane clothes, based on seeing them on the boutique brand racks of my local resale shop, so you can fetch a fair price for them, should you decide to sell them in the future.

Now for the fun stuff. I LOVE that Matilda Jane let me know where my order was every step of the way because I get super pumped up over package delivery days. It’s a stay at home mom’s thrill! Since my UPS man often doesn’t ring the bell (he knows we have Iris and is sensitive to not interrupting her naps), I rely on the text and email updates from my senders to let me know when a package has dropped. Once I opened my Matilda Jane package, it did not disappoint! Every item came wrapped in a frosted bag and sealed with washi tape in adorable Matilda Jane patterns. 

The first two items I got for Iris were dresses with coordinating diaper covers. I picked a baby blue sundress to wear this summer and a deep red dress with navy ruffle trimmed long sleeves for fall/winter. The baby blue dress is sized 12-18 months and the length fits well. The straps are prone to sliding off Iris’s shoulders, but that isn’t a big deal to me. I cinched them in the back with a bow that matches the coral details on the dress’s pockets. In general, I would say that sizing is true to size to slightly generous so your girls will be able to wear their cute Matilda Jane togs for some time to come.

The red and navy dress has beautiful teal buttons down the placket, which makes the dress all of my favorite colors. This one isn’t available anymore, sorry friends. But I can vouch for its great style and comfy knit fabric so I know that you’ll love a similar style from the new Fall Make Believe collection which drops this week. In fact, there are still 6 spaces for this Saturday to play dress up in the new Make Believe collection and get your little girl's pictures taken on the cutest back to school themed set ever. Take a peek at the backdrop  here.  This session is for those who will be in the Grand Strand this weekend only, and you can reserve your time slot by contacting Leslie Wright  here



After loving the dresses, Iris and I ventured out of the sale section and into the current collection to try out an adorable bubble and a super cute dress for me. You know how much I love making coordinated looks with Iris! May as well enjoy it while I can since the clock is ticking on this Mom-life guilty pleasure. J Soon enough my mini me is going to have her own ideas about dressing. It will probably not surprise you that she already knows the words dress, shirt, skirt, shoes, necklace, bracelet, and outfit.

Iris and I love our mommy and me ensembles, and I had fun styling up my Summer Sunset Dress several ways. It proved surprisingly versatile and it goes with colors you might not even think of, given that they aren’t in the prints at all. The stripes on this dress are butterscotch and ivory, and the floral print skirt has shades of peach, spring-mint, pumpkin, and lavender on a gray background. Yet red, cobalt and jade green looked fantastic with the dress.

I gave my look a bit of a vintage flair by adding a polka dot scarf as a headband. I nearly forgot to tell you that I've gotten my hair cut since the last time we talked, and I LOVE IT! It's lighter than air and quick to dry and style. 


By the way, how beautiful is this quilt? It's been in my family for a hundred years or more at this point and was made by my Great-Great-Grandmother around the 1910s. When my mom became the keeper of it, it had recently been used on the guest bed in my Nana's house. Now it is my favorite blanket during chilly winter nights and summer picnic days. It was just perfect to compliment the whimsical and farmhouse chic style of our Matilda Jane outfits. Back to those now...

The fabric is really soft and stretchy on the Summer Sunset dress. It’s the marriage of a tank top and a flowy skirt so it's really comfortable. I got a size small, which fits just right. Being a petite, I will probably hem this up to right at knee length, but the shoulders fit just fine and the waist didn’t hit too long.   

My favorite look is a denim jacket worn over the dress. It will look cute with boots for fall as well. 

Iris's bubble is truly adorable with its mixed prints and pops of bright blue and fucshia buttons! We styled the look both with and without a bodysuit underneath. I love the blue stripes and hint of lace at the shoulders seen below.

I hope you'll take a peek at the whimsical world of Matilda Jane and the new Make Believe collection debuting now. I've already seen some adorable pieces from the recent Back to School collection that are calling my name so I will certainly be a repeat customer.  If you don't know of a Trunk Keeper yet, contact my girl Jamie who is super friendly and easy to work with! Details below!

Jamie Dalton
Trunk Keeper ID: 389208
Contact me at 843.251.8354

Iris wears: Marco Polo Bubble
Sara wears: Summer Sunset Dress 

You Gotta Have Friends... and the perfect top!

I've been writing since I was a kid and writing about fashion through various publications for years now. But when it comes to hosting my own online presence, I'm still the new kid on the blog.

God has brought some of the coolest, kindest, sharpest people into my network. These talented souls impart wisdom, treat my opinion with the same respect as more seasoned bloggers, and entertain my endless list of questions ranging from big picture musings to technical ins-and-outs to absolute minutiae.

They also encourage me, which I have to say I value SO much in this uncertain time as I take my first unsteady baby steps as a style and mom blogger. Their encouragement helps me gain confidence in my abilities, and my friends prove time and again that they are always there to share the good that they see and help me navigate unfamiliar territory.

...And, they also take pictures of me, bless 'em!

Pretty soon I hope to set myself up with a tripod and a remote so I can gain some independence with my blog-tography, but oh, how grateful I am for Tonya, Josh, and Hatton for snapping pictures of me in this summer heat. Because it isn't just snapping a picture. It's a bunch of pictures. Artfully please. And on my good side, if you don't mind.

As a person who hates to bother or impose on people for help, I have sure learned interdependence and humility in this new season of life as a blogger.

Tonight was a great night spent with my blogger friends Lauren James of  The Olive Shoe and Hatton Gravely of  Fresh Mom, both bloggers and creatives who have been an inspiration to me, especially in the last six months.

Lauren, a fellow Socastee Brave, is a Jill of all creative trades and specializes in custom invitations, stationery and gifts, and creative consulting services. Just a few months ago, Lauren with the wiggle of her nose, rearranged the clouds in the sky so I could see the light of a vision for my blogger life that I hadn't been able to see just moments before. She's good at that.

And Hatton, who I thankfully inherited as a friend by way of our husbands, gave me all the technical details, motivation, and emotional support that I needed to get my blog off the ground. Hatton is deeply funny, no-nonsense, and highly empathetic. She's the friend who gets mad for you when injustice has been served. Her blog is peppered with useful mom/family/kids/style content that gets right down to the meat and potatoes because she gets busy working moms.  

These ladies are some of the best people to know, and I had the joy of introducing them to each other when I heard that they were both going to attend the Blog Her conference in Orlando. Turns out, Lauren's mom and Hatton's mom-in-law attend the same book club that's been happening for 30 years! Lauren and Hatton's lives were destined to intersect, and our meet-up today to share the latest in our blog-spiration sounded like convo between lifelong friends... who all just happen to be bloggers. You know you're in the presence of your tribe when conversation is constructive and to the point, when implications and nuances are understood without need of framing or backstory.

On the way to our Power Hour, I snapped this selfie, excited to show off my new top from my fashion entrepreneur friend Jackie at  Tartan Lane, and asked Hatton if she minded taking a "quick picture" of me to post. You'll see from the shots below that she of course went well beyond the casual cell phone picture, and in the span of 90-seconds, captured some pretty late day light on Howard Ave with her favorite camera. 

A busy day of errands and working on baby shower planning (for my sister in law) meant that time ran short for me to wash my hair, so I donned a lemon-print silk scarf to cover my dirty strands. Josh called it my "little 70s hat," which tickled me. As I wrote this, I looked up head scarves and discovered that each decade has its own spin (and tutorial) on how to tie a scarf. Probably because hair-washing takes time, as we all know, and well, I spent my time today at Hobby Lobby instead of lather-rinse-repeating. ;) Seeing how every decade has adopted the head scarf trend gave me added confidence that yes, we can and should embrace head scarves more. I can see where a lot of us might find the look a smidge intimidating but how can you resist the allure of extending the life of your blowout and adding more color or pattern to your look?    

I didn't even realize that Hatton was snapping pictures because she worked so quickly, plus I was completely distracted by the horse-drawn carriage that was klop-klopping down the street. It gave our beachy town a nice upscale feel, even as it rolled past the sound of Team Trivia kicking off.   

For the evening to have been really muggy, I stayed comfortable in my air-conditioned top. The embroidered floral shoulders are such a romantic and beautiful detail but also a practical one since it makes for a well-ventilated top! The blue striped fabric (comes in pink stripes too) is really lightweight. Thin but not immodest. 

The streamer detail on the sleeves is not only cute but provides yet another option to let the heat escape your body. And let's state the obvious: the streamers make you feel like you did as a girl when your bicycle handles fluttered in the breeze. I totally let my streamers fly in the arctic blast of air conditioning as I drove home. 

Also, here's my Tartan Lane scalloped clutch. The initials might be my monogram or they might stand for Sara Wise Style. ;) The clutch comes in white, gold, red, and green. $18 plain, $25 monogrammed. My friend Diane Dale recently won a clutch in the giveaway I co-hosted with Tartan Lane, and she chose gold with chocolate embroidery. It is so elegant! Since I tend toward bright colors, I wouldn't have thought to choose brown embroidery, and the combo has me sold for fall. 


This top is really nursing-friendly for any of my breastfeeding mamas. Nursing or not, if you need a new strapless bra, I've got on the best one I've ever owned underneath this top. Convertible, wide band (FOUR eye hooks to hold it in place) Here's the link to shop it:

Here's the selfie I snapped the other day so you can see how versatile this top is. Just look at how nicely it plays with pineapples! ;) 
To order your own off the shoulder streamer top, as I have dubbed it, message Jackie Blevin at The top is $36 and comes in sizes XS-2XL. Mine is a Medium for reference. It looks great with navy or denim shorts, white capris, or your favorite summer skirt.

I can't wait for the three blogger babes to reconvene in October when Lauren is back in town (she lives in Greenville, SC). We shared some delicious appetizers and some enticing ideas for future collaborations that I think you'll love. Stay tuned to hear more about some new must-haves for ya from The Olive Shoe.  In the meantime, "keep smiling... keep shining..."

Homemade Pretzel Rolls over July Fourth Weekend


How was your Fourth of July weekend? 

We kept ours extraordinarily low key mostly sticking close to home to avoid crowds since July 4th weekend is a big draw for tourism in our town. Even Iris knows that negotiating traffic in our neck of the woods isn't for the faint of heart. I caught her practicing her road rage expressions in the mirror while I was tidying the front room. 



I mentioned last week that lately we've been trying harder to be intentional with our family time and with the weekends overall, especially honoring Sunday as The Lord's Day. God calls us to rest as He did and spend the day in His word, recharging ourselves for the coming week. That's SO difficult to do as a busy mama that I have basically fought this Sabbath day every weekend for the last year and a half. Because if I am to rest on Sunday that means my Saturday is no longer going to be fun but will be packed with work, right? UGH... Cue my repressed angsty teenage self! 

Still, I reminded myself, as I often need to hear, that God designed the Sabbath for our good, not as a punishment so I dedicated my Saturday to preparation for a total day of rest by cooking and cleaning. I did a few loads of laundry, washed the dishes, made chicken and rice and chopped veggies, not just for Sunday but for the coming week and was feeling my spirits lift at the idea of not having to cook until Wednesday! I was also feeling the music coming from my iTunes and was clicked into such an industrious groove that I impulsively decided to make my homemade pretzel rolls (HPRs as they will lovingly be referred to going forth), especially since Josh doesn't exactly get excited about chicken. Who really does? (No offense if you do, and if you love chicken, could you message me your favorite chicken recipes please? I must know your secrets!)  

Usually I make HPR's for one of the Big Four meals: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's or Easter because they require a little bit of effort and sometimes a little bit of effort can feel like a whole LOT of effort when you have a little one running around and when like me, you combat fatigue from psoriatic arthritis. A lot of days I don't have quite enough energy to make it 18 hours so lots of things remain undone once that bone-aching fatigue sets in. But Saturday I was feeling good and Josh was entertaining Iris so I quickly assembled my ingredients and got to work on the beloved HPR's.  

HPR's are really delicious served as rolls or used for making sandwiches. Think turkey and melted swiss (or cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving) or leftover Christmas or Easter ham with a smear of mustard. They can be a nice vehicle for BEC (bacon, egg & cheese) too. I also conducted a little recipe experimentation this time around which I'll reveal below... 

Sold yet? 

Here's what you'll need to make 12-18 rolls: 

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast (I use this)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 3/4-5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Water for boiling (and a pot to boil water in!)
  • Baking sheets lined with parchment paper
  • A little bit of patience and some stretchy pants 

1) In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water with the sugar and yeast. I let it hang out for about 10 minutes until it gets really frothy.

2) In a large bowl mix the salt and flour. Add the melted butter, egg yolk, and the yeast mixture, which by now is very bubbly, and mix until combined. You can add a little more flour if you need to, just a little at a time, until the result is dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm area away from any air vents. The dough will need about an hour to rise. Pretty much let it double in size.

3) When the dough has risen, divide it into 12 pieces. You can roll them into balls or make traditional pretzel shapes by rolling the dough into ropes and knotting them. Whether they look blobbish or anatomical doesn't matter. They are loved for their great taste and not their shape! Whatever you end up with, place them on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Cover them up (I used saran wrap loosely draped over the dough) and let them rise for 30 more minutes. Part of the experience of HPR is the anticipation of them! 

4) With this half hour of time, preheat your oven to 425 and wash the dishes you dirtied up so you will have less work to do later (the entire concept of honoring the Sabbath. Work now, rest later). :)

5) Bring about 6-8 cups of water to a boil. When the water begins to boil, add the baking soda just a little at a time. It's going to make a nice cirrus-like cloud and it will leave some spatter on your cook top but it wipes right up.  Later of course, because a clean surface is not worth the loss of fingerprints as I've learned. After you've added all of the baking soda, let the water come to a full boil again.

6) Working with one roll at a time, carefully place each roll into the bubbling cauldron. I use a slotted spoon to both gently drop in and scoop out the rolls. Boil for 30 seconds each side. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

7) Whisk together the reserved egg white and 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the egg white over the boiled dough and then sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 12-18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets. 

Go ahead and eat one while it's warm! You've earned it!! You'll find it to beautifully browned like it just got back from a week in the Caribbean. And the inside is warm, soft, and slightly flaky. Keep an oven mitt nearby for shooing your family members away if you hope to have any left for the meal. 


So I mentioned that I did a little recipe experiment with this batch. I decided to tinker with just one roll to give a sweet personality since I have a major sweet tooth! I sprinkled one HPR with cinnamon sugar and otherwise followed the same directions. Here's what happened. 


The finished result was a little blackened from the sugar burning and the cinnamon darkening but really it wasn't as bad as it might look. It was still incredibly edible! Next time I would use just cinnamon and sprinkle on sugar after baking to avoid the burn. Also, there's a good bit of salt in the dough of these pretzels and that wasn't unpleasant if you love sweet mixed with savory, but in the future, I would probably make a separate batch of just cinnamon sugar pretzels and would reduce the salt content by about half or 3/4s. I'd leave just a hint of salt so they still feel pretzely. 

Using powdered sugar and a scant amount of milk, I made icing to pour over my cinnamon sugar pretzel. Nothing scientific here, I simply kept adding sugar or milk until I got the right consistency. That will surely frustrate anyone who likes exact measurements, so here's a link to an  icing recipe

Mine was SO delicious that I really wanted to share it with Josh but he was out doing yard work since Iris was napping and I just couldn't make myself save him a bite! But it's ok, right? I mean he did waltz by and snitch a fresh hot roll off the pan.


Having spent a little time prepping meals and doing chores on Saturday, my Sunday was a beautiful day of rest that included listening to our preacher's last sermon before he retires, napping and cuddling on the couch with Iris, splashing in the pool, playing in the pillow fort, and enjoying family worship. Monday morning I really did feel refreshed! God always knows better than silly ole me!  



Plus here's some sweet shots from our bonus day of play on the actual Fourth! Iris enjoyed her first parade and we ate the traditional meal of our forefathers: hot dogs, chips, watermelon, and beer. Happy birthday America!