What Would Holley Wear: Four Ways to Wear Gingham

Since I consider myself a “gingham girl”, I want to share my four favorite ways to wear gingham….with skirts, shoes, tops, and pants.  

Are you a “gingham girl” too?  I knew you were! Since skirts are my favorite, let’s talk about gingham skirts first.  I just can’t get enough of all the fun skirts on our board, and from ruffles to wraps it’s the perfect summer look!  So what would make you want to straddle a scooter and channel your inner Sofia Loren? I’m pretty sure it’s a yellow gingham midi skirt worn with a white printed t-shirt, bohemian straw bag, and brown leather slides.  So “Bella Italia”!

To take summer’s “it” print to the next level, think about print mixing. A great look is a yellow gingham skirt mixed with a blue striped off the shoulder top.  A red checked ruffled skirt paired with a red striped blouse is another fabulous print mix.  And both of these skirts can go casual and be worn with a white t-shirt and sneakers. And here’s a little fashion tip….when mixing prints, it instantly elevates the look from “girl next door” to “style maven”.  You get to decide which one is your style!

Do you get a kick out of gingham shoes?  We sure do! From Talbots green gingham slide with a block heel to J Crew’s navy and white checked wrap-around sandal, we suggest you wear them with everything from skirts to cropped jeans.  Between Sam Edelman and J McLaughlin, you can find a fabulous selection of gingham flats, block heels, and ballet flats in black and white. Check out our Pinterest board to browse all the cute options!

Are shirts your go-to gingham style?  For an easy breezy style, think about wearing a button-down gingham shirt with cropped jeans or a skirt.  Oh…and be sure to tie your shirt at the waist and roll up your sleeves. Since you are a classy girl, you will want to consider pairing your pearls with your gingham.  Hmmm…looks like classy girls wear pearls and gingham! And again, think about mixing your prints. We absolutely adore a red and blue floral skirt mixed with a blue and white checked shirt tied at the waist.  Another “style maven” look!

We are also loving all the gingham tops with ruffles and bell sleeves, especially the ones that wrap around the waist.  How cute is a blue and white wrap top with bell sleeves worn with white cropped jeans and a bucket bag? Pretty cute…right?  The J Crew off the shoulder blue and white gingham top paired with white jeans and a Cult Gia bag is so stylish! BTW…I love her fabulous statement earrings and think a red bandana scarf tied to the bag would totally take her outfit to the next level of chic!

Gingham trousers are not only trendy but are also perfect for work and church.  A pair of navy and white checked pants paired with a Chanel-inspired white jacket with red and navy trim is a great work and church look.  Just so you will know, matching checked pantsuits are on-trend and so versatile. A sweet look on our Pinterest board is a pair of navy gingham trousers worn with a white eyelet shirt.  For the perfect touch of summer, they added a round wicker bag complemented with a navy polka-dot scarf. Can gingham get any sweeter?

I just love sharing my four favorite ways to wear gingham….skirts, shoes, tops and pants.  Seems like us “gingham girls” are ready for a little summer fun! 

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected]   Be sure to check out Holley’s updated Pinterest board here.

Easy Style Tips from Ballard Designs

I had so much fun attending the Ballard Designs Fort Worth store preview last evening.    Located in the Shops at Clearfork, this new store is a stunning.  Beautiful lighting, creative displays and very attentive staff will make this newest jewel to Clearfork sparkle.

I have been a longtime customer of their catalog, but have never had the chance to actually shop in a store.  It was a treat to meet the management team, including Ryan McKelvey, President of Ballard Designs.  We chatted about his excitement over this new store to the company’s over 30-year history.  I also got to meet the darling Lindsey Pfeiffer from Ohio, who has the fun job of traveling to open new stores.  I smell a new job for me someday!

I wandered the store and snapped inspiration ideas.  One of my favorite things to do is nest at home on the weekends moving furniture and accessories around the house.  So, to be able to spend time studying how their design team styled the accessories was a real treat.   The store features a huge design center central in the store layout, so you can sit and study features and fabrics to customize your choices.

I loved this pillow.  I think it would be a perfect house warming or wedding gift.

And this bag, well it just says, “welcome to summer, darling.”  It’s lined with the cutest black and white striped ticking.  It’s quite roomy so it will fit your beach reads, laptop, towel and flipflops.

I tried to find ideas to share with you on how to style what you already have.  Good style doesn’t have to be expensive.  Focus on being creative and thinking outside the box on how you display your treasures.  Case in point, look at this wooden bowl filled with spools of twine!

Or these glass jars in your laundry room filled with soap, clothespins, and twine.

Blue and white.  I chatted with the store manager Joyce Tarter and asked her what her favorite color was and she said, “blue, because everyone looks good in blue!”  Mother always told me that blue is nature’s color and it will go with everything, and she was right.  I loved their vast selection of blue and white ginger jars.

Look how they used one of the ginger jars to hold paint brushes!  I love this inspiration.

Pops of color were everywhere — hot pink and orange.  But, there were also subtle touches of blush pink and coral.

Coffee table books were everywhere!  Stacks of books are the perfect accessory on a table.  Add a candle and some fresh flowers and call it day.

This book from Eddie Ross in on my wish list…

One last thing, one of my newest favorite podcasts is How to Decorate:  Ideas and Inspiration from Ballard Designs.  Every week they dish on all sorts of fun things.  Be sure to subscribe!


Breakfast Fit for a Queen

You’re invited to join me for a look back at a post I penned on April 29, 2011 when William and Kate were wed.  It was such a special day with my mother, Miss Bee and me enjoying royal breakfast while we watched the nuptials.  My photography has improved since then, so indulge me more on the sweetness of the occasion.  Enjoy this “best of” the blog.

Earnie and I shopped at Central Market yesterday in preparation for the big day today.  I set the table last night with her Wedgwood Wild Strawberry china and wedding crystal.  We set the alarm at 4 a.m.  Even Little Miss Bee wanted to be in on the fun.  She came in at 3:45 a.m. to make sure I didn’t oversleep…

Up at 4 a.m., Diane Sawyer on the telly and Cinnamon Bun coffee brewing.  Here’s our feast…

I didn’t prepare a traditional English breakfast because that would have involved frying eggs, frying bread, mushrooms sautéed in butter and fried sausages.  Did you notice I used the word “fried?”  Mr. Bee is English and when we go to see relatives, this is the typical fare.  It’s good every once in a while, but not everyday if you’re trying not to die of coronary artery disease.

Rather, we enjoyed the fare I would have liked prepared for my own coronation. We had Quiche Lorraine, chocolate filled croissants, scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves, fresh fruit, strawberry goat cheese muffins, coffee and fresh squeezed pineapple orange juice.  I really think food tastes better when it’s dark outside (as seen in the lower right corner of the photo).  The cats weren’t quite sure what was going on…why are we getting to eat so early…they weren’t complaining..

Mr. Bee said no thank you to our invitation last night.  He said he would watch the reruns on CNN today.  So, it was just Little Miss Bee, me and the Queen Mum.

At 6:15 a.m., Little Miss Bee went back to bed….and so did the Queen Mum.  I got ready for work…and a wedding reception!

My co-worker and I brought in a cake we had made at Central Market and prepared a mock Champagne punch.We also asked everyone to make a name tag with their “Royal Name” — Lord or Lady, the first name of your Grandmother, the name of your first pet, and street name of your childhood home.  It was a lot of fun seeing people’s names…mine was Lady Ruth Orange Oliver on Meadowbrook.  Some day, I’ll tell you about Orange Oliver.

So, like the Windsors, I will retire tonight in my castle bedroom, without servants, however.  And recall the day’s events.  How excited I was to wake up this morning to watch with the world the beginning of a new life together.  Best wishes, Prince William and HRH the Duchess of Cambridge.  God save the Queen!
This Saturday, May 19 at 6 a.m. CST, I will be up again to witness true loves kiss again with Harry and Meghan.  I am gathering up my breakfast stuff and will be enjoying noshing with my bestie whilst we watch the telly.  God bless you Harry and Meghan.

What Would Reese Wear

This week’s article is all about Hollywood/Nashville “it girl,” Reese Witherspoon and her style.  Though Reese lives in LA, she’s a Southern girl at heart…born in New Orleans and raised in Nashville where she started her own clothing line, Draper James

“I started this company to honor my Southern heritage and in particular my grandparents who were, and still are, the greatest influences in my life: my grandmother, Dorothea Draper and my grandfather, William James Witherspoon. My grandparents taught me everything I know about gracious Southern living. From them I learned to dress and act like a lady, to take pride in my home, to reach out to help a neighbor, and to always invite everyone in for a visit.”

So let’s get started and talk a little about her style roots!  Reese’s clothing line, Draper James, has Southern charm written all over it. We are loving their peplum denim jacket. It drapes perfectly over one of Draper’s striped or printed t-shirts worn with white jeans.  And it would also look adorable worn over their bright yellow magnolia print dress. By the way…we are loving all of their printed tees, especially the “Inspired by a Strong Woman” t-shirt!

Draper James teamed up with iconic shoe designer, Jack Rogers, to create their own version of the classic 60s-era sandal.  From their “Howdy Y’all” to their “Hello Darlin’,” and what I like to call “Steel Magnolia” sandals…they’ve got us Southern girls covered!  Wouldn’t y’all agree?

From phone covers to accessories, Draper James, has so many delightful items to choose from. Don’t you think a cute canvas pouch with a fun phrase is a great incentive to staying organized? With their spill-proof lining, the “Keep it Pretty Please” and the “Strong, Sweet, & Southern” pouches will definitely keep all of your primping essentials organized.  And be sure to check out all the Draper James clothes, shoes, and accessories on our Pinterest board!

Mrs. Twist loves Draper James!  Their iconic “Totes Ya’ll” bag was perfect for a trip to the Clearfork Farmer’s Market and was shared on the Draper James social media!

But then there’s the Hollywood Reese, stepping out on the red carpet so many times we can’t even keep up.  One stunner was the strapless red gown by Jason Wu she wore to the 2015 Met Gala…beyond elegant. But the time she got the fashion world’s attention was when she wore a knee length canary-yellow Nina Rica strapless dress to the 2007 Golden Globes. Redbook magazine said, “She made everyone a believer in the idea of short dresses for formal events.” And, I only have one word to describe her look…exquisite!

Like her red carpet style, her everyday style is always spot-on. She claims it was the influence of her mother and grandmother that laid the foundation for her good taste.  To share her tasteful style, we’ve posted “11 Style Lessons Reese Witherspoon Can Teach Us” on our Pinterest board.  One of her lessons is “Feminine is Fun,” where she states “it’s okay to look like a woman.” Reese loves tailored jackets and suggests sticking with tweed for the ultimate femme look.  Pair it with tapered jeans and classic pumps to give off that…”oh, I always look this good darling” vibe! Don’t you just love her?

“Bold Colors” is another WWRW lesson we plan to copy.  Bright hues are hot this season, and Reese shows us how to rock them. She suggests wearing a bright color whether on top or bottom, but keep the rest of the look neutral.  We are loving her bright red top worn with white jeans and gold jewelry. OMG…super classy!

Like a true Southern lady, Reese is never one to shy away from prints…especially gingham.  She brings her Southern charm to a blue and white gingham dress, which she makes look modern and current.  She also loves wearing gingham tops with shorts, jeans, and skirts. Wow, so many cute looks to copy!

True to her Southern roots, Reese is also a Hollywood power player who’s an advocate for women…in a charming and delightful way, of course!  So, for her style and for all she does to encourage women, I only have one more thing to say…. “Bless her heart”!

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected]   Be sure to check out Holley’s updated Pinterest board here.

Banana Walnut Crumb Cake

The recipe for this delicious cake is brought to you by Pizzazzerie, a beautiful blog I follow.  This recipe arrived in my inbox one day and I pinned it to my cake board on Pinterest knowing it would be something I would want to try.  We had a bunch of ripe bananas left over at work, and I had a ladies event at church coming up — the perfect combination to set this cake into motion!

If you are looking for a Mother’s Day gift for someone who loves to entertain, Courtney Whimore’s book Pizzazzerie Entertain in Style is the perfect coffee table book.

The Banana Walnut Crumb cake has all the right elements going for it — it’s easy to make, it bakes beautifully, it slices perfectly and it’s a great way to use up ripe bananas.  I am not a walnut fan, but I did make sure to include them just in a smaller amount and I substituted buttermilk for the milk.

You can either access the recipe here or below.

Ingredients For the Crumble:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used 1/2 cup)

For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk (I used buttermilk)

For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick spray.
To make the crumble topping, melt butter and set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add flour, salt, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Mix in chopped walnuts, use a rubber
spatula or back of fork to crumble the topping together. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until blended. Add mashed bananas and beat until just combined. Add
eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Stir in the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the milk.  Pour half of the batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle half of crumb topping. Then pour the
remaining batter on top. Finish with the remaining crumble topping. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (my cake was done at about 45 minutes so be sure to check it)

TIP: Cover cake with aluminum if top begins browning too much. Allow to cool before glazing.

To make glaze, whisk together powdered sugar with vanilla extract and milk. Add more powdered sugar if you want a thicker glaze or more milk for a runnier glaze. Drizzle on top of cake.

It’s perfect for dessert, a snack or morning brunch.  It’s a keeper and I hope you will buzz over to Pizzazzerie for more ideas.

What Would Holley Wear: Five Free Tips from a Stylist 2nd Edition

Welcome to our second edition of “Free Styling Tips”!  We hope you love the idea of making the most with what you already have in your closet and repurposing your clothes and accessories!  

“The more you have…the more you are occupied, and the less you have…the more you are free”.

Isn’t this true when it comes to fashion?  If you have a closet crammed packed with clothes and accessories…it not only occupies your space, but it can also occupy your spirit.  

So, let’s get started and talk about some ways to repurpose our stuff and free our spirits at the same time.  Have you thought about wearing a scarf as a belt? This is a cute and fun way to add style to some of your spring and summer outfits.  Another idea is to tie a scarf on a belt loop, which adds color and flair. For a classic look, tie a scarf around a handbag handle or your ponytail, and a scarf tied around your neck is so classic.  For a trendy look, try tying a scarf around your wrist or ankle!

Spring and summer are a great time of year to roll your jeans.  To do this, fold your jeans up one or two inches, then fold again leaving a peek of the hemline visible.  How easy is that? The jean roll is a fun way to show off a cute pair of shoes, and it also makes your boyfriend jeans look a touch more tailored.  Be sure to check out the hem-roll tutorial on our Pinterest board.

Did you know there is an art to tucking your shirt?   Here are some tips on how to tuck your shirt: The fronttuck works best with long shirts and blouses. Tuck the front in and leave the back untucked.  This also looks great with blazers. The half-tuck is my favorite.  It’s so easy…just tuck in the buttonhole side (left side) of your shirt into your jeans or pants and leave the button side hanging out.   Go to here for 16 Ways to Tuck, Tie, Roll and Twist your Clothes like a Stylist on our Pinterest board including the snappy way JCrew styles their sleeves!


And then there’s the twist-tuck with 4 easy steps:  1…Unbutton the five bottom shirt buttons. 2…Tuck the side with the buttons into the opposite side. 3…Cross and fold the button-hole side over the buttoned side and tuck it in, and 4…If you like, unbutton the remaining shirt buttons so the shirt doesn’t bunch.  Be sure to check out the easy tutorial on our board.

The easiest way to define a waistline without a belt is by knotting or tying your shirt or blouse in the middle.  I have to admit this just happens to be one of my signature looks, especially in the spring and summer. A cute vacation look is to wear a button-down shirt off-the-shoulder, unbuttoned but tied in a knot.  Such a cute way to repurpose an old shirt into a swimsuit cover up….just add a pair of flowy pants or maxi skirt! Don’t you just love free styling tips that are fun and creative?

Speaking of fun and creative…another stylist secret is tying a knot in the hem or middle of a maxi or midi skirt.  This is a great summer style that looks so light and breezy worn with sandals, and in the fall… just trade your sandals for boots.  It also makes for a great resort or poolside look….such a frugal way to repurpose a skirt you were thinking about giving away. And one more thing, it costs nothing to tie a knot…right? Unless, you are tying “the knot”…now that can be very expensive.

With air conditioning, it can be freezing inside in the summer. That’s when you will want to add a jacket or light sweater. A classic way to style your summer jacket or sweater is by draping it over your shoulders.  A draped jean jacket will definitely give you the cool factor! And when you warm up, just tie it around your waist. Classic and cool…can’t beat that!

I don’t know about you, but I love how being content with what I have frees my spirit to be stylishly creative!  

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected]   Be sure to check out Holley’s updated Pinterest board here.

The Best (and those to avoid) Flowers for Allergies

Here’s a quick  guide of the best and worst flowers for the allergy prone. And the good news is that a whole lot of pretty made the best list.

The Best….

RANUNCULUS.  First up on the A-ok list, we have one of the current “It girls” of the popular-flower crowd. Pleasingly symmetrical and packed with layer upon layer of tissue-thin petals, ranunculus are style chameleons that can play romantic, whimsical, or modern depending the vessel and setting.

TULIPS.    True story: Tulips come in a mind-blowing 3,000 varieties. So there are puh-lenty to love. And luckily, you and little Sneezy can! Especially since they’re one of the most no-arranging-needed flowers around. Just stick a bunch in a clear-glass vase highlighting the clean lines of their stems and you’ve got yourself an allergy-free display.

HYDRANGEAS.  As puffy as clouds, these blossoms are conveniently hypoallergenic and great for adding easy (affordable) volume to arrangements. It’s a win-win!

ROSES.    Whew. Your man can bring you a dozen of these beauties—long-stemmed—and you two won’t wind up with a red-eyed, runny-nosed kiddo on your hands. Allergy-issue solved, now you’ve just got to work on the hinting-you’d-like-flowers-every-now-and-again aspect of this equation.

Other blooms generally in the safe zone: Peonies, begonia, clematis, columbine, crocus, daffodil, orchids, geranium, hosta, iris, calla lilies, periwinkle, zinnia.

Sadly…the Ones to Avoid…

HYACINTHS.   Allergy sufferers will need to take a pass on these stalks bursting with fragrant, bell-shaped blooms. They have high concentrations of pollen likely to bring on the snuffles.

SUNFLOWERS.  Though nothing says summer like a bright, mood-boosting sunflower, each sunflower center is a little pollen factory and majorly allergy-triggering. Bummer.

DAISIES.  That fantasy of running through a field of daisies, plucking them willy-nilly, and sticking them devil-may-care in mason jars back home for the perfect just-picked look? Yeah. Forget it. And forget the daisy chains of your youth, too. Allergy central over here.

CHRYSANTHEMUMS.    Spiky, bold, and striking, these old-school classics should come with a tissue box on the side. But the good news is that several recent hybrid varieties have been developed with more petal, less pollen, so just take a careful look when purchasing.

Other blooms to avoid: Freesia, chamomile, jasmine, asters, single-flower baby’s breath.


Courting Mrs. Twist and 21 Years Later





In celebration of my 21st wedding anniversary today, I am sharing a “best of” post from last year on this date with a few updates.  Enjoy!

This week Mr. Bee and I celebrated 21 years of bliss.  I thought it might be fun for you to know the story of how we met.  It’s my version and someday soon I will let Mr. Bee give you his.

I was newly divorced and relocated back to my hometown of Fort Worth. It was the summer and I offered to help my sister set up her classroom for the first day of school.  I met all her friends for lunch, in particular her friend Mandy, which will be the critical part of the story here.

Summer went, and fall arrived.  Around October Mr. Bee was helping a friend work on his car (he’s very handy like that) and mentioned that his access to females suitable for dating was pretty slim, did his wife Mandy know of anyone?  Mandy asks Sister Bee if I would be interested in meeting her husband’s friend.  Sister Bee, with my permission, gives Mandy my name and phone number.  Radio silence.

We are now into winter.  It’s cold.  Mr. Bee later said he sat on my number because his dad had surgery for an aneurysm, but I think it was because he didn’t want to do the whole Christmas gift exchange for a girl he just met.

Mr. Bee called.  I was dating someone, and didn’t call him back.  He called again.  I didn’t call him back.  Meanwhile, back to helping Alan with his car, Mr.Bee mentioned that he wasn’t having much luck getting me to call him back.  This was reported back to my sister who promptly told me I was being rude and to call the guy back. That she and Mandy went to a lot of trouble to make a love connection and I was being inconsiderate.  I always do what my sister tells me to do.

It’s January by now.  I call Mr. Bee.  I am still dating the same guy (although by this time I was finding him annoying), but offered to meet with Mr. Bee as a networking opportunity for him to meet maybe one of my friends.  He picks me up on January 3 (see, it was after NYE so no party for him to worry about taking me to).  I open the door. Since he says it wasn’t a “date” he didn’t bother dressing up.  He looked like a lumberjack — jeans, a red flannel shirt, and hiking boots.  I, on the other hand, had just arrived home from work.  I was wearing a suit and rain coat and my three cats were standing next to me at the front door.

We get into his pristine Volvo and he turns on the classical radio.  Snooze alert. This guy is either boring or a serial killer because there is absolutely no trash in the car.  I wanted to go to Uncle Julio’s for a swirl.  He said it was too loud and wanted to hear me talk so we went to The Original for Mexican food.  I thought this means he’s either got hearing loss, he’s cheap, or both.

During dinner, I found myself thinking about my grocery list as he droned on about scuba diving.  I gave him my life story and I am sure he thought I was delightful.  The night came to an end.  He took me back to my house, asked if we could see each other again, and I said yes (I didn’t mean it). We shook hands, said our goodbyes and he drove off.  I realized I forgot to give him the gate code to exit the neighborhood.  As I was walking toward the gate, he realized he couldn’t get out, started to back the car up to drive back to my house, didn’t see me and almost ran me over.  Great, he can’t see either I thought.

He called me a few days later and I agreed to meet him for lunch.   This time he showed up all shiny and clean in a suit because he was meeting me during his lunch hour.  Hmmm.

Sister asked how things were going.  I said they were okay.  He’s nice.

Next meet up — still networking here — coffee at Starbucks.  He was 20 minutes late and I was getting more steamed than my coffee.  He finally arrives, apologizes profusely saying he got caught on the phone with a client. We laugh and linger over coffee. I forgive him for being late.

Sister asked how things were going.  I said, you know he’s really nice.

Next scene — Kimbell Art Museum for dinner.  We tour the exhibit, chat about art, enjoyed dinner.  On the way to the car, I made a comment and he didn’t hear me (again with the hearing).  He leaned down, put his hand on the small of my back and asked me again what I said.  Suddenly, I was all warm and fuzzy inside.

Sister asked me how things were going.  I said, I really like him.  Alot.  I think at this point she was probably cashing in her tickets thinking she’d scored big finding him.

From there, I dumped the weirdo and Mr. Bee and I never looked back. Since we both had been married before, and loved the idea of marriage but just didn’t marry the people right for us, we knew we wanted to be together forever.  He asked my parents that fall for their blessing, and the next May we married.  We toasted Sister Bee and Mandy at our wedding reception, and as far as I know they retired from matchmaking since their first go at it was a success.

Mr. Bee, Sister Bee, me and Mandy

Twenty-one years later we’ve loved each other through miscarriages, the death of our baby boy John, the birth of our beloved miracle child Miss Bee, the loss of Mr. Bee’s parents, sold our house so we could have my parents live with us, the death of my parents, and my brother’s suicide.  We loved being married so much, we’ve renewed our vows twice — once after Miss Bee was born. We put her stroller between us and held our hands over her while we refreshed the vows we had said a few years previously.  Then, we renewed our vows again as a new family with my mother and Miss Bee by our side after Daddy passed away.

Christmas 2017 in Mr. Bee’s vintage Willys jeep

It’s been the best 21 years of my life.  It’s not always been easy, but it has not been hard.  I think that’s when you know you are with the right person. There really aren’t any secrets to our success other than we work at keeping the lines of communication open, we apologize when we are wrong, we speak to each other with respect and most importantly, we’ve always made God present in our family.  And he makes me laugh.  Alot.  This year we will embark on a new journey as “empty nesters” when Miss Bee starts college.  That’s bringing a whole new set of emotions.

Miss Bee on the TCU Campus

Here’s to another 20 years.  As his dad said at our wedding reception, “May all your landings be smooth and your lights always green.”  Amen.

What Would Holley Wear: Garden Party Style

Can you think of a better introduction to spring and summer than a garden party?  I can’t! From tea sandwiches to beautiful spring ensembles, it’s one of those traditions us Southern girls keep close to our hearts.  

When I decided to write this article, I reached out to my P.E.O. sisters to see if they would be willing to participate.  Our lovely hostess was Susan, and her beautiful home and garden was the perfect garden party setting. The ladies came dressed to the nines!  Floral scarfs and dresses were definitely on-trend, and our president, Mel, wore a beautiful floral scarf complemented with a monogram brooch….so classy!  Some of the ladies wore their finest pearls and others donned beautiful hats. Be sure to take a peek at all the party photos on our Pinterest board!

Dresses and hats go together like peanut butter and jelly…right?  We are loving the selection of hats from J Crew, Tory Burch, and Tuckernuck.  A floral yellow maxi dress paired with a straw hat is perfect for any outdoor soiree’.  Another Pinterest board favorite is a burlap dress with a scalloped hem, trimmed with red embroidered flowers.  And the best part is the watermelon picnic basket handbag. Can’t get any cuter than that…right?

And speaking of baskets….A tisket, a tasket, a woven leather basket full of berries from Kate Spade is the perfect accessory for any spring/summer occasion. Wicker and wooden handbags are definitely this season’s “it bags”.   We think J McLaughlin’s bamboo clutches are the perfect bag for parties, luncheons and resort wear. Another favorite is the black wicker honey pot bag from Frances Valentine. Ready for a spring fling?

To give your garden style a casual vibe, you can’t go wrong layering a denim jacket over your shoulders.  For the P.E.O. garden party, I wore a pearl enhanced denim jacket over a white blouse tied at the waist with a bright yellow skirt and blue denim blocked heels.  To add additional flair to my ensemble, I carried a wooden handbag with a navy bandana tied to the handle. BTW…the jacket was a gift from Susie, a dear P.E.O sister.  

Denim and chambray are the perfect combo for lace and florals.  Don’t you just love mixing casual with fancy? Think about wearing a denim jacket over a floral dress….and be sure to add a cute bag and sandals.  I bet you love eyelet and lace too….though it may seem a little dressy for a casual outdoor party. No worries…just wear a denim jacket with a lace dress or a chambray blouse with an eyelet skirt.  How casual and fancy does that sound?

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again…you can never go wrong with black and white!  There are so many fun options on our Pinterest board, and we are especially loving black and white stripes.  Sundresses, pants, and skirts….oh my! White lace dresses complemented with black accessories will definitely dress-up your garden party style.  At the P.E.O. party, everyone was crushing on Ann’s white eyelet dress accessorized with a straw hat and statement earrings…so garden chic!

So here’s my definition of a garden party:  A beautiful garden complemented by a really cute outfit, a few adorable accessories, delicious finger food, and most importantly…your friends and sisters!

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected]   Be sure to check out Holley’s updated Pinterest board here.

Mrs. Twist Reads This: The Recipe Box and our First Birthday!

Time for a new book to read!  For the month of May, Mrs. Twist Reads This bookclub will be enjoying The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman.

Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life—including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.

Why this book?  First of all, I am totally a sucker for pretty book covers.  I love the charming hot pink jacket, kelly green skirt and the much-loved, smudged recipe cards reminiscent of my own family recipes.  I think recipe cards are a becoming a long-lost way to record recipes.  I had a millennial ask me recently “what’s a recipe card?”  Cue tears.

Second, I love the story behind the author.  Viola Shipman is a penname for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his writing. To date, The Charm Bracelet and The Hope Chest have been translated into over a dozen languages and become international bestsellers. The Recipe Box was hailed by #1 New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans as “filled with cherished memories and treasured recipes … a touching tribute to the women and food that unite us and connect our past to the present.”  “My novels are a tribute to my Ozarks grandma, Viola Shipman. The jangling of her charm bracelet was as ever-present as the call of the whippoorwill, the scent of her hope chest as vivid as cedars after a spring rain, and her burnished wood recipe box stuffed with family recipes that still make my mouth water.

Her heirlooms, life, lessons and love not only inspire my fiction but also inspired me to become a writer and, I hope, the person I am today. She taught me that the simplest things in life – family, friends, faith, fun, love, and a passion for what you do – are truly the grandest gifts. My fiction is meant to honor the elders in our lives whose sacrifices and journeys helped make us who we are today. I couldn’t be prouder of my novels, which I hope reconnect you to your own family’s stories, heirlooms, histories and traditions.”

Join us on Thursday, May 31 at 7 p.m. for a fun birthday celebration – Mrs. Twist Reads This turns one! I can’t believe it will be exactly one year ago on the 31st when I hit the publish button for a personal journey to read more.  It has warmed my heart to hear you tell me how much this bookclub has helped you grow as a reader, too!   We now have over 50 members!    We’ll discuss the book, swap family recipes and enjoy birthday cake.  Bring copies to share of a treasured recipe, we’d even love to taste the actual recipe, too!
If you are already a member of our bookclub, be sure to RSVP.  New to Mrs. Twist Reads This?  Terrific, we’d love to have you read along with us.  Even if you are not local and just want to be a part of a community who is making strides to read more and spend less time using technology, membership is free.  Click here to create an account with access to our club’s page through Book Movement.  Happy Reading!