A little bit older (Josh) & a little wiser (me)

This isn't my usual style post. It's definitely more of a Mom-blog, catching up, what's new with us kind of post. But hang with me, and I promise to bring it back around to fashion. 

Life has been such a cyclone lately that fashion has taken a temporary back seat to the many happenings that have been swirling around in our house. My head feels a lot like a snow globe lately! 

There have been hurricanes that thankfully, at the last minute, proved uneventful for us. No loss of power, no flooding, but supplies still had to be bought and evacuation plans still had to be made.

Next was the Big Fat Holiday Gift Guide project for Grand Strand Magazine. I can't wait for you to see the finished product that is the result of me scouting fab gift ideas from over three dozen stores from Georgetown to Shallotte (that's a 75 mile span from point A to B). I had such a good time meeting so many people at the many places I visited, and I found more amazing gifts than the guide can even hold! You might have seen me post the items that didn't make it into the guide. I'll repost them soon too since surely by now you are ready to get your holiday shopping started (or finished up if you are one of those Super Women that I aspire to be!). 

At the exact moment that I met my magazine deadline, the departure date of our week-long mountain vacay was unexpectedly moved up, so that I immediately had to do a fire-drill job of packing us up for a week of wintry weather. Dig out the coats! Where are the gloves? Iris doesn't have any fleece jammies that fit right now! All no big things, but suffice it to say that I was extra dog tired when my cheeks hit the seat of the Tetris-packed car. I'm that person who knows a car is never full. You can always find more room. And I try to pack light, but with a toddler, you need all the creature comforts you can get.

The trip was really a nice time to be together as a family. Josh pointed out that time away is really the longest stretch that he gets to enjoy time with Iris and me. We love our time with Dada, be it a few short hours in the evening, our Sunday walks, or a week of togetherness. 

While traveling can wear me out, as a stay at home mom, I am always appreciative of being someplace where I don't have to cook or wash dishes. We stayed one night in a newly remodeled Hampton Inn where Iris enjoyed a breakfast pajama party, during which she personally (and loudly) greeted every guest. She's such a morning person! It's super duper cute, provided you are caffeinated before she wakes. 

The rest of the trip we lodged in a cozy condo at  Chetola Resort, perched high up on a mountain that offered privacy (not a footprint to be seen...), amenities, a fireplace, and the best water pressure that Josh or I have ever experienced in a shower. 

In many ways traveling with Iris gets easier, and in some ways it gets harder. She's eating so well these days that she requires her own meal when we dine out, or I need to order a larger meal if I intend to share with her. I made the mistake of plying her with peanut butter crackers before we went out for dinner one night, in hopes that she wouldn't also require her own steak, but being full, Iris was Over It before the salads arrived and began pitching a Terrible Twos fit in the Outback. ;) Josh and I took turns distracting her with a tour of the restaurant while the other one ate in solitude. Still, it became evident that the best thing for all of us was to haul tail back to the condo, so I hastily shoved one parting bite of steak into my mouth and cursed myself for ruining Iris's (and my) dinner with snacks. Rookie Mom mistake. 

Here's Iris chowing down on my three-egg breakfast when we got back home last week. We shared and then she requested more eggs. Can you say growth spurt?? 

We took Iris to Tweetsie Railroad, a small scale amusement park if you've never heard of it, and she fell madly in love with trains and horses, both of which she rode multiple times. She reminds me of these fun rides almost daily on the hour. It's pretty cool that she's so excited about the trip still.    



Here's a few more highlight pics from the trip: 

Josh living the high life atop Blowing Rock. 

Iris and Mommy sporting the latest in fall fashion (see there, I did include some style notes! My jacket is from Stitch Fix and it is fabulous. Soft knit, double-breasted with stretchy inset panels for ease of movement)

The color change was just beginning in earnest. 

Conquering fears at Grandfather Mountain's mile high swing bridge.  

Josh met some other non-morning folks.

Then it was Josh's birthday!

After our week in the mountains, we celebrated Josh turning the Big 4-0. His official birthday dinner had to be postponed due to a swanky cocktail event that he needed to attend for work. We had a great time and it was essentially like an amazing birthday party given that he knew lots of attendees, there was an open bar, a band, and coconut shrimp. I refrained from asking the band to sing, "Happy Birthday" knowing how low key Josh is about the spotlight. 


Style notes: This fun and festive Kate Spade sketch was the inspiration for the look I wore to the cocktail party. I searched for a quick tutorial on how to tie a half bow, and it was SO easy. I highly recommend it! I laced up a pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes that I have had since I worked at Foxy Lady in college. They were the retail version of Stu's Million Dollar Shoe released somewhere in the 2000-2002 window. They're basically vintage at this point! 

If that wasn't enough going on, mere moments after Josh's birthday, Halloween befell the land!

Not wanting to spend much on a one-time-wear costume, I set out to shop Iris's closet and see what she had to whip together Fairy Godmother style. 

I discovered that last Christmas's red ruffled dress (a gift) still fits, and I dug the Minnie ears from the belly of the toy box. They were a gift from my friend Ashley. Next I pulled polka dot leggings out of the hand-me-down collection from another set of friends and fashioned a treat bag from a brown paper bag that happened to be a free find in the gift wrap closet. I colored in mouse ears with a Sharpie and hot glued a red polka dot bow onto the bag, which I snipped off a pair of too-small socks that were also a gift! The only thing I paid for were the must-have yellow shoes, which I snagged brand new off eBay for $12. They hardly count toward the cost though since Iris wears them with three of her church dresses. All in all, a pretty affordable costume! 

I've been working with Iris on what to expect for Halloween for a week or more, preparing her that she would dress up as Minnie Mouse and that if she kept her ears on, people would give her cookies and candy--because she doesn't really know what candy is, but cookies are her dessert jam. 

She seemed to understand the concept in theory but it really clicked for her today after several of Josh's coworkers treated her. 

HEY, anyone else feel like you blinked and missed October???? 

While I will miss my dear October, I am embracing the spirit of November by being supremely grateful for a moment to catch my breath--but only a moment! The holiday hubbub starts in 15 minutes due to my in-laws moving the Christmas celebration to Thanksgiving this year. There are presents to buy and cookies to bake, and I am thrilled to do all of it    ...right after I put my feet up, open these two back issues of Real Simple Magazine that are begging to be read, and pour myself a nice big glass of wi--- well, no, scratch that. 

I'll have to take a raincheck on that wine at the moment because there's even MORE going on in the Wise family. We're getting a little Wiser! 

Amid all the things we've been up to these past couple of months, I've been juggling life with a toddler and life in the first trimester. Is it any wonder I'm so tired? Being worn slap-out aside, I'm so excited that Iris will get to enjoy having a little brother or sister to play with and show the ropes to. She's got so many things figured out about life already and I know she will want to share her findings with her new little sibling.

Obviously fashion and style will be shifting for me a little bit as I dress to accommodate my growing bump. (I'm 16 weeks today!) Thank goodness for that flowy polka dot dress hanging in my closet for last week's cocktail soiree, right? I'm in that odd stage of being too big for regular clothes but a little too small for maternity clothes. But two things: I am relieved to be pregnant during the same season as I was with Iris so I am able to wear many of my maternity clothes, and I am relieved to be able to share my bump rather than attempt to conceal it! Looking forward to sporting some fab and fun maternity pieces. 

Even though there will be some fashion elements that I can't participate in right now (high heels and cropped sweaters are not my friends at the moment, but peasant tops are!), I will continue to post scouting reports and sales details to keep you informed. Please bear with me if my Insta feed is a little baby product heavy, Iris heavy, and mom-ing heavy for a time as I nest and shower Iris with attention while her only child status ticks down to zero.  

I'd really appreciate your prayers for healthy baby and healthy mom too. 

Stylishly yours,

Fall Fashion Goes Folksy with Matilda Jane

The forecast for tomorrow morning where I live is a glorious 57 degrees, and I've got big plans to set my alarm for an earlier hour than I normally like to see just so I can savor my morning cup of coffee wrapped in cool, crisp air (and a sweater) while I tingle and twinkle over the joy of the fall-feeling mornings that I've been daydreaming about for months. (No disrespect to summer!)  

Iris and I are embracing the current romantic, folksy vibe of the fall season with pieces from the  Make Believe Collection from Matilda Jane. Every month Matilda Jane launches new pieces to make for an entire season's worth of delightful looks for babies, girls, tweens, and ladies. The Make Believe Collection is brimming with enchanting finds from dresses to tights to jackets and beautiful bedding, all based on the magical adventures that await in this wonderful season of family traditions, getting outside to enjoy leaves changing color, and celebrating the season's holidays. I personally can't wait for our upcoming visit to the North Carolina mountains to celebrate my dear hubby's 40th birthday. I'm so looking forward to sweater weather, mulled apple cider, and the beautiful colors ablaze in the trees. It's always a treat to get away and see some place new for a change, and I love taking Iris on our adventures.   

When I comes to Matilda Jane, Iris and I are relatively new to the MJC family. We've had friends who have loved the brand for years, and I confess, what really drew my attention was when Joanna Gaines designed a capsule collection for Matilda Jane last year. Her little girls looks so cute in Matilda Jane! The clothing is age-appropriate, modest yet packed with personality, fun and high-spirited. Matilda Jane seems like a natural fit for Iris and me given that pattern mixing and vibrant colors are two things that I really love. As a new customer with a tendency toward a critical eye, I'll attest that what I like best about Matilda Jane clothing is how well-made the items are. They wash and wear very well and last a long time without looking like they have aged. They also fetch a good price at resale in case you ever decide to pass them along to another lovely girl or friend. 

If you missed Iris's video on Instagram, she loved spinning around in her new frock and proudly beamed, "Dress!" when she finished twirling. She loves a great dress, much like her Mama. 

Iris is wearing the Fairy Tales Dress, a beautiful floral dress that can work for both fall and early spring. It's got a fun color palette of pink and wine on a background of blue with touches of rust and apple green. The striped hem gives it a really fun almost French flair. The fit is one of my favorites with a slightly high waist falling to a twirly skirt that ends below the knee, depending on how tall your little love is. Iris can wear this now and as she gets taller as it will gradually inch closer to knee length. Matilda Jane offers some adorable polka dotted tights that would be great layered underneath this dress. I've linked all the cute accessories  HERE for you to see. 


Matilda Jane doesn't just carry adorable looks for the little girls. They offer separate lines for tweens and women too. The clothing is always exciting, comfortable and stylish, and functional for a woman's life whether she teaches school or chases her own kids around all day.  

I'm wearing the  Visionary Dress, a tiered floral dress that gives off boho, folksy, prairie, Americana and 60s and 70s vibes, depending on how you style it. By adding a floppy hat and over the knee boots in tan or chocolate, you would have a very on trend 70s look. Flat wellies, knee socks, and a toggle sweater would give it a more farmhouse feel. A fringe vest, braids, and moccasin booties would wax a bit more 60s flower child. Try cowboy boots for an Americana feel. This Visionary dress is really versatile!

I've paired the dress with low booties and a yarn-wrapped necklace for a feeling in keeping with our setting that reminds me of an English garden near the country. Style Encore, my favorite resale store, helped me complete the look with these booties, and I am so excited that yet again, they had the exact style of shoes I was seeking in my size! I went in looking for a neutral suede bootie and discovered these never-worn Candies booties on the shelf in my size! They were priced at $15 but I had a trade in of some of my gently-worn clothes so the booties were FREE to me, plus I got an additional $100 in cash for the clothes I brought in.

I tend to dress in a more clean-lines, preppy way, but I admit that I just love the beautiful blue florals of this dress, with touches of pink, tan, and gray. It's really romantic and feminine, and as I wore it, the banded-bottom sleeve made me feel a little like Jenny in Forest Gump (her woodstock look). Btw, I had no idea until I was googling Jenny's outfits for reference just how popular it is to dress as Forrest and Jenny for Halloween. You know, in case you're looking for a couple's costume idea! ;)

To shop the Visionary Dress, click HERE.

ALSO, I'm still thinking about shoes... here's a fun fashion tip for you from the fantastic Shari Braendel: your best neutral shoe is one that is similar to your hair color. Brunettes choose a rich brown shoe, redheads try a port or cognac shade, and blondes try a taupe or tan. This gives the illusion of height and balance to your look.

I have to laugh at these pictures because despite my big plans to wash and blow out my hair for the shoot, life got in the way that day, and I had to improvise with verrrrry dirty hair and extra dry shampoo. There is a shelf life on dirty hair and product for me or my locks start to look very ashy, almost gray, as they do here. But they sure do match my booties so I think it works!

Speaking of hair colors, I also applaud the Visionary Dress for flattering so many complexions and hair colors. I think these shades of blue are gorgeous with blonde, red, brown, black, and silver hair. Every combination is beautiful in its own right.

I give my little strawberry blonde Iris a lot of credit when we shoot looks. She is usually cheerful and cooperative, and if she isn't, I just work with her, chasing her around and taking fun candids of her being her (curious, energetic, and on the moooove!). During the day that we shot these sweet pics, I prepared Iris for the pictures by asking if she wanted to wear flowers in her hair. I even showed her that iconic picture of Drew Barrymore with daisies in her hair. Iris thought it looked beautiful and enthusiastically expressed that she would love to wear flowers in her hair. "Yes, pretty!" So when it came time to tuck a few in her headband, she stood very still and wore this adorably serious expression, waiting for her flower crown to get into position. We're not fancy. We just grabbed a fall bouquet from the closest grocery store, but we sure had fun with these beauties! 


These two dresses are just the tip of the Matilda Jane iceburg! The entire Fall collection is incredibly charming and joy-filled. I'm already planning out my next MJC looks for both Iris and me! I will be hosting a Matilda Jane Trunk Show in November so if you would like to join in the event, be sure to comment or direct message me to send you the details. It will be a wonderful way to celebrate the girls and women in your life and maybe kick off your holiday shopping, if you're ready to get going!

I've got a few more peeks to share from the collection. The October installment just dropped and I am SMITTEN with the color palette! My favorites are:
Evergreen Top (ladies)
Envision This Sweater. (ladies)
Family Tree Dress (girls)
To the Castle Dress (girls)
Autumn Sunset Sweater (girls)

Before we go, can I show you my favorite pic of the shoot? It's a picture of me, so that feels REALLY vain to say, but I promise I'll explain... Hear me out. :)


This one. Regardless of the subject (me), I just love how dreamy and downright bucolic this whole scene looks and feels. It's like that tiny sliver of peace in a mom's day: delicate, fragile, fleeting, but SO perfect for a split second. This image is the feeling I get when I shut Iris's door for nap time or finally put a forkful of warm food (or warm coffee!) to my lips that have used the word "no" too many times to count. When I do these things, this scene is what my head space looks like! Maybe you can relate. #serenitynow

Also, I just love how this scene seriously looks straight out of the English countryside, blissfully overgrown with ivy and clover. It's actually the golf course behind my house! We had to tiptoe out to this spot after the course closed for the day and then work quickly to chase the daylight. As far as I am concerned, we could be in Essex or Lancashire. That's what the Make Believe Collection is all about, right? Imagining new places and possibilities!

Take a look through the images and by all means, comment or message me if you have questions about the looks or styling or parenthood. I'll take a stab at anything, friends!

Stylishly Yours,

Iris has been learning all about affection lately. She loves giving hugs and likes to get kisses. And boy is she all about the goodbyes before bed, telling all her stuffed animals goodnight, telling the pictures hanging on the wall goodnight, even telling her bathing suit hanging in my bathroom goodnight! This age is so very sweet, and I am soaking up hugs like a coffee-soaked lady finger in tiramisu.