What Would Holley Wear: Vegas on the Cheap

Have you ever done Vegas on the Cheap?  Unfortunately, it seems our glory days of casino free-play and comped rooms and meals are a thing of the past.  But trust me…it did not stop us from having fun and “experiencing” Vegas in a whole new “cheap” way!

First, we booked our flights for $150 round trip for both of us on Southwest Airlines.  How unbelievably cheap is that?!? With a little help from Google Hotels, our next step was reserving a suite at The Palazzo…which saved us hundreds of dollars.  That being said, always be sure to check out discount travel sites for special room rates and flights.

Just because you travel on a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t look like a high roller…right?  For the plane ride there, I suggest a button-down blouse or a sweater, blazer, jeans, boots or loafers, and a camel coat…which makes any outfit look classy.  Wearing sneakers is another way to stay comfy and look stylish….perfect for travel and strolling the strip.  

Style Tip:  I’m obsessed with Veja fashion sneakers.  And the good news is you can try on and purchase them locally at Stanley Eisenman’s!

I have to admit, we missed having our meals being comped but still dined at nice restaurants.  So, on the count of three, everyone say, “Hello, Happy Hour!” Our favorite was Buddy V’s at The Venetian.  Even Neiman Marcus offers a happy hour in Vegas on Friday and Saturday from 5 to 6. How posh nosh does that sound?  

One way to achieve a “high roller” look on a budget is with black jeans.  I wore black-coated jeans day and night…during the day with a black and white tweed blazer and in the evening with a pink animal print blazer.  Be sure to take a look at our selection of all black ensembles on our Pinterest board…such a classy look for happy hour and afterward at the blackjack table.

Alcoholic beverages are expensive anywhere you go…right?  Here’s one of our “cheap” travel tips…pack a few wine bottles, (or beverage of your choice), and have happy hour in your room/suite.  WWJD (What Would Johnny Drink)? He suggests packing your wine in a Jet Bag, absorbent and reusable bottle bags. Order them on Amazon. Trust me on this one…they have been well-tested by our family!  And BTW…it’s always 5 o’clock in Vegas!

Years ago, friends told us about an “off the strip” casino called Palace Station, famous for its acclaimed Oyster Bar with the big draw being a seafood chowder called Pan Roast!  For an extra bonus…you can play bingo at the casino for as little as $15 a person for an entire hour! And BTW, wear what you want because nobody there gives a crap (and I’m not talking about the tables).  

Oh my goodness…does this sound like a lot of “cheap talk”?  I hope so because one thing I know for sure, you are going to love doing “Vegas on the Cheap”!  

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, and wardrobe consultation.  Be sure to check her Holley Williams Style on Pinterest.  Contact Holley at [email protected]

It’s Back! Season Two of The Hemline Podcast

I am so happy to be back at the microphone!  I cannot believe it’s been a year since I wrapped up Season One – kinda like waiting for Mad Men to come back from hiatus.  I’ve changed up the name of the podcast to The Hemline. The Hemline is significant because I grew up tugging at the hem of my mother’s skirt. Skirt lengths can change over time, but southern hospitality never goes out of style. I’ll be sharing the same great content with some fun surprises and co-hosts for this season.

In this episode, I bring you up-to-date on why I had to take a break from the podcast and regroup – something called graduate school.  Wow, it’s been great to be back in school, but I had to learn some serious time management skills along the way.

I also had a life change as a 50+ woman – the “M” word – menopause and all that entails (think hot flashes and mood swings). Plus I share some information on new supplements I am taking to put me on track to embrace 2020 in the best health possible.

As always I include links to resources in my show notes.

Dietary Supplements I have added to my daily routine:

Ritual Daily Multivitamins for Women 50+ – It’s the very first daily vitamin I have stuck with mainly because it goes down so easy and it’s got a really nice mint flavor and scent. Let me know if you want a $15 coupon good toward your first month’s subscription and I will send you a promo link. Made by women for women. Many multis have 20+ ingredients you already get enough of from food. Ritual contains nutrients women need post-menopause—in absorbable forms your body can actually use – sourced in verified locations around the world. I take one in the morning when I rise, and one at night when I go to bed.

Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies – I’ve been adding ACV to water for a while now, but these gummies are much easier to take. ACV promotes digestion, more energy, clearer skin, and it’s a natural detoxification supplement. I chew two gummies at night before bed.

Nature’s Way MCV Oil – Medium Chain Triglycerides made only from premium coconuts with no palm or filler oils.  Each serving provides 14 grams of 100% pure source MCTs, including caprylic and capric acids. It helps to promote brain and memory function, boosts energy and increases endurance, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels and helps to promote weight loss because it makes you feel full. I add one tablespoon to my coffee every morning.

Live Well Collagen Peptides – I add one scoop of this anti-aging powder to my fruit smoothie to promote hair, skin, nail growth and joint support. The latter is especially important since I am back in the gym.

As always, be sure to consult with your physician first before starting any new supplement to make sure it’s right for you.

Take a listen to season two, episode one here, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. And remember the sincerest form of appreciation is to share it with your friends.  Thanks for listening!

Just a Minute Centerpiece

I have an easy Valentine’s Day centerpiece to share.  You could do this for any occasion, like a birthday party, ice cream social, baby shower or July 4th by changing up the colors of the flowers.

What you’ll need:

Carnations — I love Carnations and I think they get a bad rap.  They are fragrant, inexpensive and can go a long time without water which is perfect for this centerpiece project.  I bought three bunches at $3.99 each from Central Market.

Red Hots — I bought several scoops from the bulk bin at Central Market, or you could buy a large bag in the candy aisle.

Ice Cream Sugar Cones — I used nine cones which was one box.

Glass Cylinders or Vases – You can find these anywhere.  I just used ones I had in my vase stash.

I cut the carnation stems short enough to fit in the ice cream cone so the bottom petals of the carnation set just around the rim of the cone.  I put all one color in each cone.  As it worked out, I had enough to make three cones for each of the colors.  A rule of thumb, tablescapes always looks better in odd numbers — in this case three vases, three cones per vase.

I filled the bottom of each cylinder with red hots.  You don’t need to measure, just pour enough in each vase so it looks even.  Then, nestle the cones down into the vase.  That’s it!

The carnations went without water for 24 hours, and I put them into water the next day.  They are still fresh a week a later.

I styled the vases on top of cake pedestals I found last year in the dollar section of Target along with sweets we had.  My milk glass collection is always a perfect backdrop for the yummy treats from McKinley’s Bakery. The cute little chalkboard menus are from the Container Store.

These centerpieces would be so cute lined up on an ice cream sundae bar for July 4th, a baby “gender” reveal party or birthday!  If you put love into it, everything turns out amazing!

Your Guide to Girl Scout Cookie and Wine Pairing

Not too long ago I saw an article on Facebook for pairing wine with Girl Scout cookies.  I looked on Pinterest and found three posts with suggested wines for each of the cookie types.  Mr. Bee and I thought it would be the perfect theme for the neighborhood parties we all take turns hosting each month. Since, Girl Scout Cookies are on sale right now, it’s the perfect time to gather up cookies and host your own party. Did you know Girl Scouts have been selling cookies for over 100 years?  Read about the history of Girl Scout Cookie sales here.  Even if you just have a party for one, what’s better than sweets and wine!  

Since Girl Scout cookies are plentiful right now, with the little scouts selling them on almost every corner, it wasn’t hard to score six varieties of cookies.  I made my list and did some research to determine the suggested type of wine for each cookie I had purchased.  Mr. Bee and I headed over to Total Wine last week after our date-night dinner and a very helpful, friendly sales associate helped us shop for each wine we needed.

Thin Mint — Michel Gassier Syrah Les Piliers at $14.99

Tagalongs — Script and Seal Merlot for $9.99

Samoa — A Port Quinta das Carvalhas for $17.99

Savannah Smiles — There were a few suggestions on this and we went with Petals Riesling for $8.99

Trefoils — A sparkling wine was suggested and I already had the perfect bubbly in my wine fridge.  A Petite Cadeau from Wine Shop at Home, an online wine club.

Do Si Dos — We tried a Zweigelt, and Austrian wine,  from Winzer Krems Blauer for $13.99

Total Wine extends 15% off when you purchase 6 or more wines at one purchase, so we saved some money.  The Port was on sale during their Spanish wine promotion.

To prep for the party I used long, white platters (from Walmart) to showcase the cookies – a steal at $7 a platter. White platters are perfect because they draw attention to the detail and colors of your food.

We cut the front off of each box so the guests could see the full description for the cookie.  Then I took small chalkboards and wrote the name of each cookie and placed them at the top of the platters.  We used cocktail napkins and dessert plates.

We told our guests to eat dinner first and to come over around 7:30 p.m.  I asked a few neighbors to bring mixed nuts, and sliced apples and cheddar cheese to help cut the sweet between cookies.

Cindy, of course, went the extra mile to prepare the prettiest platter of five varieties of apples and labeled them for identification.

I used chalkboard placemats (similar here) to labeled each wine and the cookie it accompanied, then we put each bottle in order of when we would taste it — lightest, to medium body, then finish with the dessert wine (Port).

The Petit Cadeau from Wine Shop at Home was so light and refreshing.  It was paired with the Trefoil (a shortbread cookie).  I love sparkling wine and I will definitely purchase this variety again.

The Riesling we selected was light and was paired with the Savannah Smile — a lemon powdered sugar cookie. The price point on this was a great bargain and would make a perfect summertime wine.

The Merlot was just so-so and we felt the peanut butter in the cookie was a little overpowering.

The French Syrah was excellent with the Thin Mint.  The coolness of the cookie with the peppery taste of this wine was superb.  It was rated number one among all the guests as the best pairing. And finishing off the tasting was the Port.  We practically finished the bottle.  I am not a fan of coconut, but the pairing of this Port with the Samoa highlighted accentuated the coconut.

I didn’t get a pic of the Austrian Zweigelt variety with the Do Si Dos.  It was a brand new wine for all of us to try and it was pretty good.  It paired nicely with the peanut butter sandwich cookie.

We had fun tasting each wine.   One of our friends is a wine enthusiast and asked us to smell the wine and with our first taste to try and identify the taste notes — floral, peppery, fruity?  It was fun to come with up with our ideas then compare the crowd’s input with the description given of each wine by the winemaker.  In most cases, each label on the bottle described the wine, but if there was no description we looked it up on the Total Wine website.  All of the wines we selected with just input from the Total Wine expert were worth trying and ones we would definitely try again.

For more ideas for Girl Scout cookie, wine pairing check out my Pinterest board Just a Sip.

What Would Holley Wear: Valentine Vibes

 If “you’ve lost that loving feeling”….don’t despair because we are sharing “Valentine Vibes” that will bring it back!

So I have to ask…are you the type of person who wears your heart on your sleeve?  I hope so…. because I can’t think of a better way to show off your Valentine’s style.  Just for you, we are featuring a few Chic Wish sweaters with heart-shaped elbow patches.  

Amazon has a fabulous selection of casual V-Day t-shirts….such a fun way to add love to everyday jeans and sneakers look.  And here’s the good news…if you only wear hearts on Valentine’s Day, Amazon’s prices won’t give you “heartburn”!  

Roses are red, violets are blue…and we think a pop of pink is perfect for you!  An oversized pink sweater paired with jeans is all you need to look pretty in pink.  And for extra fun, match your jeans ensemble with a pair of glittery Golden Goose sneakers.  For a less expensive pair of glittery kicks, be sure to take a look at the selection on our Pinterest board!

For a “Galentine’s” Party with your besties, why not shine in a pink sequin skirt.  I adore how San Francisco fashion influencer, Lombard & Fifth blogger, styles her clothes.  So, no wonder I’m loving her J Crew ensemble featuring a pink sequin skirt worn with a winter turtleneck.  And one more thing….“cheers” to her handbag!  

We are smitten with silk skirts on this year’s fashion “it” list!  One of my favorites is a pink silk midi from Etsy. It radiates sophisticated elegance with a tan turtleneck and looks adorable with a striped sweater.  I’m thinking a pair of pink heart-shaped sunshades from Amazon would be the cat’s meow!  

A fun little tip:  Go to page 29 of the February issue of Oprah Magazine to get 20% off Draper James heart shades at eyeconic.com.

If you love shopping online at Bloomingdale’s, then you are going to love their exceptional selection of red and pink handbags.  The ultimate V-Day bag is a beaded heart shape tote by Loeffler Randall, and it comes in pink and red! Tory Burch’s red Gemini canvas tote is a great year-round bag and “cupid approved”…of course!   Be sure to check out our Pinterest board to view more Bloomingdale’s bags!

Well, bless your heart…it looks like you found that “loving feeling”!  Happy Valentine’s Day!  

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, and wardrobe consultation.  Be sure to check her Holley Williams Style on Pinterest.  Contact Holley at [email protected]

Mrs. Twist Reads This – The Family Upstairs

It’s time for our February book. This month we are reading The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell.

Gifted musician Clemency Thompson is playing for tourists on the streets of Southern France when she receives an urgent text message. Her childhood friend, Lucy, is demanding her immediate return to London.

It’s happening, says the message. The baby is back.

Libby Jones was only six months old when she became an orphan. Now 25, she’s astounded to learn of an inheritance that will change her life. A gorgeous, dilapidated townhouse in one of London’s poshest neighborhoods has been held in a trust for her all these years. Now, it’s hers.

As Libby investigates the story of her birth parents and the dark legacy of her new home, Clemency and Lucy are headed her way to uncover, and possibly protect, secrets of their own. What really happened in that rambling Chelsea mansion when they were children? And are they still at risk?

Jewell’s novels have been praised as “sure to please fans of Ruth Ware and A.J. Finn” (Library Journal), and her latest is no exception. The Family Upstairs will keep you guessing until the very end.

We are meeting Thursday, February  27 at 7 p.m. for a casual gathering of snacks and discussion. If you are local to Fort Worth, feel free to join us – my doors are always open to new members.  Unless otherwise notified, we always meet the last Thursday of the month.

Even if you aren’t local to my area, you can join our book club, membership is free, through Bookmovement.  By signing up you will receive notifications on our upcoming meetings and the books we will be reading.  Plus, you can create your personal queue of books you want to read outside of our group and find out new releases and trends in all genres of books.  Friends are always welcome.

No matter where you live, we’d love to have you join our community of women spending more time reading and less time using technology.  Join our movement!

Get Noticed – Wear Red Lipstick

I read an article from the New York Post “Will Red Lipstick Kill or Kick-Start Your Career?” Then, I read another one from Allure Magazine. While neither of these are scientific, it was fun, and reaffirming, reading the interesting opinions on red lipstick.

Aliza Licht, author of Leave Your Mark, a career guide, is consistently asked by women if she thinks a red lip sends the right message.  So, Aliza took to social media asking nearly 15,000 online followers to get answers.  Her findings are in the New York Post article, but I thought I would sum up her results:

Q.  Do you think that red lipstick is appropriate to wear in the workplace?

A.  91.2% of women said “Yes, people should look and dress as they see fit.”

Q.  What does red lipstick say about the wearer?

A.  78.8% said  “She’s confident!”

Q.  Do you think red lipstick is appropriate to wear to an interview?

A.  46.6% said yes (so, I’m guessing 54% say no?).

Q.  Do you think people are judged for wearing red lipstick?

A.  14.7% said negatively

The other article I read was from Allure magazine which listed “Four Scientifically Proven Reasons You Should Wear Red Lipstick All the Time.”

1.  People will think you’re younger.  This is the #1 reason I like to wear red lipstick!  As you age, facial features, like eyebrows and lips, get noticeably paler as you age because your skin gets darker. When I was younger I didn’t like to wear lipstick because I didn’t need to.  But, seriously, ladies in their 50’s need color on their face. However, you also have to not go wild all over your face with makeup. My favorite way to wear red lips is with a paler eye color. That creates balance.

2.  One study showed if you are a waitress, you’ll get more tips if you wear red lips.

3.  A 2011 Proctor and Gamble study with Harvard found that red lips could make you look more competent at work.  Men and women were asked to look at 25 photos of women of all races and ages with different degrees of makeup on.  The photos of women with dark eyes and lip makeup were viewed as more competent than one who were bare faced.

4.  You’ll take more selfies.  Studies have shown if you wear red lipstick you are likely to post twice as many selfies in a week as those who go with natural lip color.

Here is my favorite lipstick to wear…Bobbi Brown Harlow Red Art Stick.  It’s a cherry red.

Mother, a gentile southern lady, was a firecracker in the lipstick department.  She embraced colorful, bright lips so it’s no wonder I have inherited her love of kissable lips!

So, pucker up, look smart and be bold. Life is not a dress rehearsal.

The Perfect Breakfast Casserole for Your Next Brunch

I love brunch. Sleep in, have brunch with a mimosa or a good cup of strong, hot coffee, relax in your loungewear and, if you are like me, maybe go back to bed! I hosted a bridal shower recently for a dear friend whose son is getting married. I wanted my friend to be celebrated along with the bride-to-be, so I hosted a bubbly and brunch.

For decor, my springboard was the bride’s color scheme navy, pink, and blush. I found beautiful custom invitations on Basic Invite and used my navy and white urns as the vases for the flowers.  I always purchase the florals from Trader Joe’s because they are affordable, and they are long-lasting. This centerpiece took three bunches of white hydrangeas and one bunch of pink roses.  Mother’s white milk glass buffet plates looked fresh and pretty on the table. I already had the blue and white checked tablecloth from Sur la Table.

It’s important to me to plan a menu that’s traditional with a twist. I like breakfast casseroles because they are a “one and done” meal encompassing eggs, meat, bread, and cheese. But, I was getting tired of making, and eating, the same old egg and sausage casserole.

On a recent getaway with girlfriends, we popped into Euna Mae’s kitchen store, and I purchase the cutest cookbook – The Southern Sympathy Cookbook by Perre Coleman Magness.  The Southern Sympathy Cookbook includes unexpectedly humorous obituaries and anecdotes alongside staples of Southern funerals – comforting casseroles; jugs of sweet tea; creamy, cheesy potatoes― providing sympathy and sustenance for the bereaved.  Whether feeding a congregation, delivering a meal to a friend in need, or cooking with weekday leftovers in mind, home cooks will embrace these recipes, guaranteed to comfort and to please a crowd. 

I flipped to the brunch section and knew this book was for me. I made Perre’s Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast Bake, and I will never look at another egg casserole the same. This recipe is heaven.  It has a drop biscuit base with eggs on top, grated cheddar cheese, then a sausage gravy layer with more cheese. It came out of the oven all bubbly and delicious. There was maybe one tablespoon left – no kidding.  I served it alongside Mother’s recipe for cheese grits – a staple we always had Christmas morning. You can find her recipe in a vintage post here.

I made Ina Garten’s Morning Glory muffins you can find on my Pinterest board.  Full of plump raisins, grated carrots and crushed pineapple, they make about two dozen muffins that freeze beautifully.  And lastly, I set up Greek yogurt, a big bowl of fresh berries, granola, and almonds for a “make your own parfait” bar. We washed it all down with cold-pressed orange juice mimosas and southern pecan-blend coffee.

Here is the printable recipe for the Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast Bake to file in your recipe box!  Let me know if you give it a try. I can’t wait to try other recipes from Perre’s book.

A Page from My Planner: Create Themed-Days

This Forbes interview with Mike Vardy, a productivity specialist, addresses how daily theming is a great way to boost your productivity. It gives you an overarching focus for every single day.  It’s a framework, but it’s a framework with flexibility. “What day is it? This day. This day means this.” Vardy’s website Productivityist is full of all sorts of articles, tips, and resources to help you better manage your time.  His company is built with the quest to help people stop “doing” productive and start “being” productive through developing practical and tactical approaches to their work and lives.  He also has a podcast here.

In my 90-day planner (My Next 90 Days), there is a section designated for “structure” and an outline on creating my themed-days. This allows me to batch projects together, creating a weekly rhythm and gives me peace of mind.  I sat down and created mine:

Motivation Monday – start the week with the mindset to have a positive attitude and practice flexibility so I can overcome unexpected obstacles with as little stress as possible. I want to achieve the desire to profit from my week ahead, professionally, and personally.

Try it Tuesday could be lots of things – listen to a new podcast while I get ready for work, try an original recipe, try out a new machine at the gym, and so on. The goal for Tuesday is to be open to new things.

Weed Out Wednesday is dedicated to decluttering and organizing. I will set this weekly goal to drop off one new bag of things for Goodwill, or clothes to take to the resale shop, go through a junk pile, or sort through old mail I’ve stacked on my desk, organize a drawer.

Thoughtful Thursday is intentionally thanking someone with a hand-written note, and the best part it could be for someone not even expecting it. Keep a stash of pretty thank you notes in your desk, a few stamps and set aside just a few minutes every Thursday to express your gratitude.

Feel Good Friday  – yay! I finished the week! Today I get to do something that makes me happy.  Meeting a friend for a cocktail after work, going on a date-night with Mr. Bee, taking my dog for a walk.  This is my day to choose to #celebrateeveryday.

Self-Care Saturday – Whew, I made it through the week, and today I focus on putting myself into a charger for a reboot for the next week. Self-care could be napping or cleaning my house – because a clean house makes me feel productive and happy.  Or it could be “nesting” in my home – moving furniture around, decorating for a holiday, and planting flowers on my front porch.

Strategy Sunday – Prepare my weekly meal plan for dinners and lunches, get out my planner and schedule days I will go to the gym, look ahead at meetings or evening events on my calendar where I might need to adjust my free time.  Get my clothes ready for the week, or make my grocery list for Walmart pickup on Monday.

Do you see how I have planned my week, so I am intention and not spinning my wheels overlapping things or double-dipping? The spinning makes me feel out of control and overwhelmed.

To help you give this strategy a try, I am gifting you with a blank printable here. Print and create your themed-days.  Put into your planner, in a frame on your desk or your fridge.

Let me know how it works for you! #nourishtoflourish

What Would Holley Wear: Five Winter White Coats

We think white coats and jackets are the perfect winter wrap.  From dressy coats to puffers, they can be dressed up or go casual…you get to decide!

So let’s start with a casual look…puffers!  Calvin Klein’s quilted coat with a faux fur hood from Dillard’s is great for our Texas weather ($101.40).  And a bonus…it’s water-resistant. Another Dillard’s white puffer we are smitten with is Donna Karan’s faux fur-trimmed hooded puffer ($143.40).  The good news…both coats have been permanently reduced!

 Shearling and Sherpas meets the warm and cozy test!  A shearling knock-off we love is Top Shop’s biker jacket trimmed in brown faux leather ($150.00).  Wear it with slacks or jeans…the ideal “town and country” look. The perfect coat for our Texas weather is a Northface water repellent, reversible Sherpa parka…available at Dillard’s ($179).    

For the ultimate in a dressy coat, a wrap sets the pace for elegance.  Point proven with a Theory ($635) crepe wrap coat from Neiman Marcus. If you are like me, and like a bargain, you will love TJ Maxx’s wrap coat or H&M’s ($109.65) wool blend wrap.   Wear them over a dress or with slacks to the office, and after work to a Cliburn Series concert.

Ever since real furs became a fashion “no”…the quality of faux furs has escalated to a whole new level.  Bloomingdales proves my point with an affordable faux fur by Bagatelle NYC ($103.60). Popular style influencer, Fashion Jackson, shows us how to look ultra-chic in a white faux fur by Aqua from Bloomingdales ($134.40).  She’s pairing it with black-coated jeans, booties, and bag to give it a classy edge.

Rain, rain, come our way!  Be sure to take a look at a few of our favorite trenches from ASOS ($76), and Belk’s ($60) on our Pinterest board.  These coats are terrific for the office and also for those days you need to dash out in the rain. Calvin Klein’s trench jacket in faux wool is ideal for our winter/spring transition in Texas! ($101.40)   

I don’t know about you, but wearing a white coat makes me look forward to cold winter days and evenings!

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, and wardrobe consultation.  Be sure to check her Holley Williams Style on Pinterest.  Contact Holley at [email protected]