Did you know Amazon has an amazing fashion website? From designer dupes to the real thing, it’s the first place I go to when I’m looking for a deal or wanting to copy a designer look. I’ve pinned a lot of inspiration on my Pinterest board.
Just so you know, I’m not the only one who covets their relationship with Amazon Fashion. Several bloggers I follow do an “Amazon Haul,” where they order clothes, shoes, and accessories….style their looks and then share their looks on their blogs. My favorite is “Life by Lee”….because I would actually wear some of the looks she styles. BTW…she’s a Texas girl!
I love how Lee styles a long camel vest over black slacks and a long sleeve white V-neck t-shirt. A great look for the office or a board meeting. And after hours, switch out the t-shirt for a black camisole for drinks and dinner. She features the black slacks with two different checked blazers….a large window pane check and a hounds tooth….loving her double-duty styling!
If you are wondering what I’ve purchased from Amazon, here’s my list: a bamboo ark bag, a mid-century bamboo basket bag, a 3-coin pendant necklace, an initial necklace, and a GG pearl belt….just to name a few. The fun part for me is when someone compliments my look and seeing the surprised look on their face when I say….“It’s from Amazon!”
You’ve heard the expression, “go big or go home”….right? That’s a great way to describe the super-sized pearl necklace I recently purchased. I can’t take credit for the way I’m styling it because I stole my look from Pinterest…wearing it with a blazer, button-down, and jeans. Another “go big” look from Amazon is their oversized turtleneck. They offer it in 10 solid colors and 7 striped versions!
Something else you need to know about Amazon Fashion, they sell designer and name brands as well. Just go to “search” and type in the brand or designer name to see if they have what you are looking for. With designers like Steve Madden, Kate Spade, and Tory Burch, they offer everything from clothes to accessories. And the best part, if you have an Amazon Prime membership, shipping is free and your items are typically delivered in one to two days. How amazing is that?
So there you have it….Holley’s guide to Amazon Fashion. The challenging part will be sorting through the thousands of items, so be specific when you are searching for a particular product. And if you need help, message me!
Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation. Be sure to check her Holley Williams Style on Pinterest. Contact Holley at [email protected]
I have three unrelated buzzworthy things to share today. Let’s start first with baked chicken. I have never roasted a whole chicken. Ever. Yes, it’s true. It always seemed so intimidating, so I’ve asked Mr. Bee to roast it on the grill or smoker. I follow Katherine Sasser’s blog – she is also the owner of Hurley House. She issued a six-week challenge recently to try baking a chicken right alongside her. I won’t share all the directions, because she perfectly outlines it here and here. To make it easy, click here to download a copy of the recipe. I texted her Sunday night with the photo and thanked her for inspiring me! Isn’t it funny how something small like roasting a chicken for the first time can boost your self-esteem!
My takeaways: Recently we started making time to prepare Sunday dinner since that seems to be the only day of the week the three of us are caught up on schoolwork, working and sleeping. Mr. Bee and I had fun bonding, cooking, sipping wine and chopping herbs. We decided to roast sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes and added sliced carrots. We also tossed in a big handful of fresh rosemary and thyme I had leftover from another recipe. I followed the recipe exactly even down to the cooking time. It turned out golden, juicy and perfect. The house smelled amazing while it cooked. We served the chicken with a new recipe for a dressing I am trying out for Thanksgiving which you can find here (I am going to modify the recipe to combine both toasted bread cubes and cornbread).
Second, it’s that time of year when I share Mother’s recipe for Sweet Potato Delight. Go here for the recipe – it’s included in my Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving you can find here, here, and here. Miss Bee will not celebrate the holiday without serving this recipe from her beloved Grandmother’s recipe box. Make a double batch – it’s that good.
Finally, I found this very funny podcast called “Sweaty and Pissed.” It features co-hosts comedian Leanne Morgan and her nurse-practitioner Karen. They discuss all kinds of funny — the realities of menopause and female midlife. Leanne adds comedic relief to bothersome symptoms we face, and Karen brings it all home with sound medical explanations and suggestions for promoting relief. I have learned and laughed a lot. Here’s their facebook page and the link to their podcast where you listen to your favorite tunes. It will be the perfect thing to listen to in the kitchen as you prepare for Thanksgiving or the long car ride to your in-laws (headphones will be appreciated, I am sure since only you will find sweaty boobs funny.).
I came across an inspiration on Pinterest in my quest to share ideas with you to prepare for Thanksgiving. The article is “Last Minute Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas” and immediately a light bulb went off! Why do the pies always get put on a side table or the counter when they are the best part of the meal? Flowers, gourds and pumpkins are nice and the Pilgrims did them justice but, this is 2017, let’s put a twist on it! Use your pies, some clippings from the yard and create a beautiful, eye-catching, conversation piece. I guarantee your guests have never seen dessert as the centerpiece.
For this challenge, I enlisted the help of Sweet Lucy’s Pies. Lindsey, the owner, has been my go-to pie gal for a while now. Her recipes are delicious and inventive using the freshest ingredients she can source and her crust is buttery and flaky. Hands down, she makes the best peach fried pies you will ever eat in your life! You’ve probably seen her at the Clearfork Farmer’s Market with her spunky adorable daughter.
The stars in this parade are: Salted Honey Pie, Pumpkin Meringue, and Cranberry Buttermilk.
Once I got the pies home, I went shopping around my house and yard pulling together the parts of my tablescape — Mother’s green glassware and her Friendly Village dishes, vintage thermos containers you could fill with iced tea, napkins, silverware, glassware from the cabinet, pumpkin plates I picked up at Target in the $1 section last season, Thanksgiving poppers from Williams-Sonoma, and a vintage tablecloth I turned on the diagonal.
Once I got the table set, I put three cake pedestals down the center of the table and placed a pie on top of each one. Then my favorite part — clipping pretty things from the garden like holly, fig leaves and mums. On either end I put three fig leaves under each pie and filled in with mums and for the center pie, I surrounded the pie with holly clippings.
Look how beautiful Lindsey’s pies are! By keeping the tablescape simple, your pies can shine!
For each place setting I went old-school and tucked the linen napkins inside the water goblets. I remember when I was little and my parents took me out to dinner, I always thought it was so fancy to sit down and have the waiter pull the napkin out of the glass and place it on my lap!
Don’t be afraid to layer different dishes. I mixed in pumpkin plates and little bowls that say “Give Thanks” and used two completely different styles and colors of glassware.
What is the takeaway from this tablescape? The only investment was the cost of the pies. Everything else I used was from my own collection of vintage and modern serving pieces and clippings from my own yard. The best part, the centerpiece is edible! The clippings can be enjoyed for a while and them composted. I think it’s perfect.
If you are interested in placing orders for Sweet Lucy’s Pies, be sure to check her out on Facebook and Instagram. She is only taking orders through their catering manager by phone at 281-725-2441! These are her pie offerings for Thanksgiving…
If you want more inspiring tips from my Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving, check out this post here.
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When I’m making a purchase for myself or a client, my main goal is to think of three ways to style it. So this week, I’m sharing three of my current favorites: dressy kitten heels, khaki pants, and a brown denim skirt…plus three ways to style them.
Recently, I was gifted a pair of Prada heels from my dear friend and neighbor, Elsie Blum. She even wore them to her granddaughter’s wedding in New York in 2009! The first place I wore them was to the Open Door gala benefiting the Samaritan House at TX Whiskey Ranch. I copied my look from Pinterest…wearing them with an embellished skirt and a black blouse. How “TX Chic” does that sound?
For a party vibe, dressy kitten heels go great with black skinnies…just add a dressy top. And did you know wearing fancy shoes with jeans is a thing? My husband and I love sitting at the bar at Eddie V’s, listening to jazz and sipping a glass of wine…the perfect setting for a pair of jeans and my fancy shoes. Don’t you agree?
My favorite substitute for jeans this fall has been a pair of khaki paper-bag pants from Zara. Though I realize the paper-bag look isn’t for everyone, please know any pair of khaki slacks or crops will do the trick. For an everyday look, wear your pants with a button-down blouse, and when needed, add a denim jacket. Fall-bulous!!!
The highs were in the 60s when we vacationed in Carmel by the Sea in mid-September. All I needed to add to my paper-bag look was a checked blazer and a clear tote. A great way to style your khaki pants this winter is by adding an oversized sweater and a pair of booties. A Pinterest look from NYFW (New York Fashion Week), features a zebra sweater with paper-bag khakis.
Have you ever ordered from ASOS? They are known for having trendy looks at reasonable prices. Their brown denim midi skirt with a side buckle definitely got my attention and has been my go-to this fall. I think I’ve mentioned I’m a style copy-cat…copying looks at a fraction of the cost. Like the look I copied, I’ve wore my skirt with a white button-down blouse tucked in and paired with animal print block heels.
Now that it’s finally turned a bit cooler, I’m adding a denim jacket and snake print booties. Other ideas are a bomber jacket or vest…the options are endless! This winter, I will be styling my denim skirt with black knee-high boots, and one of last year’s sweaters. And please know, brown leather and corduroy skirts are great substitutes for denim.
There you have it….3 items styled 3 ways! So the next time you go shopping…challenge yourself to think of 3 ways you can wear it before you make the purchase!
Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation. Contact Holley at [email protected]
It’s time for a new Mrs. Twist Reads This Book Club selection. For November we will be enjoying Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane. The best part – Jessica will be calling in on the evening of our book club gathering to chat with us!
An Oprah Summer Reading Pick for 2019, and named best book of 2019 by Real Simple and Southern Living magazines, it’s the story of May Attawaywho is more at home with plants than people. Over the years, she’s turned inward, finding pleasure in language, her work as a gardener, and keeping her neighbors at arm’s length while keenly observing them. But when she is unexpectedly granted some leave from her job, May is inspired to reconnect with four once close friends. She knows they will never have a proper reunion, so she goes, one-by-one, to each of them. A student of the classics, May considers her journey a female Odyssey. What might the world have had if, instead of waiting, Penelope had set out on an adventure of her own?
RULES FOR VISITING is a woman’s exploration of friendship in the digital age. Deeply alert to the nobility and the ridiculousness of ordinary people, May savors the pleasures along the way—afternoon ice cream with a long-lost friend, surprise postcards from an unexpected crush, and a moving encounter with ancient beauty. Though she gets a taste of viral online fame, May chooses to bypass her friends’ perfectly cultivated online lives to instead meet them in their messy analog ones.
Ultimately, May learns that a best friend is someone who knows your story—and she inspires us all to master the art of visiting.
We are meeting Wednesday, November 20 at 7 p.m. for snacks and discussion. Jessica is calling in promptly at 7:15 p.m. for a 30-minute chat on her life, her book and is happy to answer our questions.
If you are local to Fort Worth, feel free to join us. Even if you aren’t local to my area, you can join our bookclub, 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!
Growing up, Salado was a fun place to get away during the summer months. My parents could easily drive the two hours down the freeway to stay for a long weekend. The only place to stay once you arrived off the highway was the Stage Coach Inn. You couldn’t miss it – there was an old Stage Coach right in front perfect for photos. All the rooms faced the kidney shaped pool. We’d swim all day, eat hot hushpuppies dripping with butter for snacks, and wander over to float in the creek before dinner. We’d shop in the little stores along Main Street, and sometimes Mother would buy a new dress at Grace Jones – a haute couture clothing boutique.
For a long time I think the then owners of the Inn relied on the kitsch of their motel because that’s what people liked, but over the years the interiors and exterior of the Inn became tired. Coupled with the highway construction that was supposed to only take three years but is still going on five years later, moved the Inn into foreclosure. You can read all about the history of the Stage Coach Inn here.
But, have no fear – the Stage Coach Salado is under new ownership. All 48 guest rooms have been renovated with a mid-century West Texas vibe. The pool is brand new featuring gorgeous landscaping surrounding the pool deck and each 1st floor patio making guest space private. There’s even a bar open on the weekends for poolside sips. It’s definitely got a fresh-new feel, but you can still see the old Stage Coach Inn you loved back in the day.
They moved the entrance to Main Street so don’t be deceived if you cannot enter through the access road like in the past. We were immediately greeted by Jared who drove us to our room via golf cart. You can no longer drive up motel-style and park outside your room which makes for a more upscale vibe that I liked. When we opened the door to our room I was completely surprised, and very impressed, at how different the rooms are. Gone is the carpet and in-room sinks. The floors are covered with gorgeous saltillo tile throughout the entire unit. We had a 2nd floor room with a pool view, but it felt very private with the addition of the landscape. My favorite touch on the patio was the hanging lantern. It was the perfect spot to sip my evening coffee and read.
The accomodations are very resort like – plush towels, matching robes (Mr. Bee gifted me with one for my birthday), luscious smelling soaps, and crisp white linen bedding. Next to the bed was a tiny journal, a pencil and a postcard — all that was missing was the rotary dial phone. Even the ice in our ice bucket was a nod to Mad Men – big chunks of ice perfect for a bourbon and coke. I totally crushed on the bathroom tile – shades of teal, turquoise and cream – made me want to cry out for Don Draper to bring me that drink, and a towel.
We enjoyed cocktails and dinner in the Stage Coach dining room. Most of the menu items from back in the day are gone, and they no longer recite the menu, but it was still enjoyable. I sipped the Lot 10 hibiscus margarita with Cimarron blanco tequila, Hibiscus Caruacao and lime – quite thirst quenching. They still have their famous hushpuppies which did not disappoint, and since it was my birthday weekend they surprised me with their famous strawberry kiss for dessert. The 250 year old tree is still standing at the center of the restaurant.
The next day we did some shopping in town. After chatting with a few of the locals – the highway construction has negatively impacted many of the business owners. Most of the shops were closed or had minimal inventory. However, the Texas Highway Department has responded to this and will be installing all new sidewalks, street lighting, widening the streets and repairing the bridges. Hopefully, this quaint little town can regroup after all the updates.
We got a great tip to drive out to The Vineyard at Florence for a tasting and dinner. About 20 minutes from Salado, the vision for The Vineyard at Florence comes from two ladies who loved their own experience in Italy so much they wanted to share it at home. Sloping hills of limestone and clay surround the valley with its gentle breezes, perfect elements for successful grape growing. Four grape varieties, Blanc du Bois, Cabernet Sauvignon, Norton, and Lenoir were chosen for their affinity for Texas weather and their potential for producing exceptional wines. Thirty-two lush acres of vines remains the focal point for the private homes, Villa Firenze, Villa Ella Amore and guest accommodations. You have got to go see this place for yourself! We enjoyed a few glasses of Merlot and brick oven pizza while we enjoyed the view.
Once we were back at the hotel, we took a dip in the pool right before bed to cool off. It was really quiet and peaceful.
The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at Lively Coffee House and Bistro. We each ordered delicious breakfast sandwiches and Americanos. We made a quick stop at the Salado Library – you may not know this, but everytime I visit a new town, I must take a peek at their library. It’s fun to see how different each one is. They had a nice bookstore of used books in the back and we loaded up on history and self-help books (I picked up a few copies of Brene Brown books for about $5!). Then, we were back on the road for home.
I recently read about a style influencer’s five fall closet staples. Her top five include: a denim jacket, something animal print, boots and mules, a go-to pair of denim, and a cozy cardigan. And of course…I have five more to add to the list: an army green cargo jacket, checked blazer, loafers, leggings, and a blanket scarf or poncho!
Let’s start with a denim jacket which goes with everything and is particularly popular this season, paired with sweats. So after a brisk walk, grab your denim jacket and meet a friend for coffee. Easy breezy…right? My fall staple addition is an army green cargo jacket. Again, it works well as an athleisure look and yet is sophisticated enough for work.
Style influencers love animal print, which never goes out of style. From a scarf to boots, it definitely adds a cool vibe to your fall style. I think the same goes for fall plaids and checks, so be sure to add them to your fall staple list. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I can’t live without a checked blazer…a staple that gives so much bang for the buck!
Influencers definitely have mules and booties on their list! I’m loving a pair of lace-up booties a stylist featured during Nordstrom’s anniversary sale. She wears hers casual with a t-shirt and leggings….such a cute weekend look. Mules are perfect for fall and can go casual with jeans or dressed up with slacks.
As far as shoes go, my fall staple is a pair of loafers…so classic. And BTW….I’m loving a pair of camel driving loafers by Mercanti Florentino from DSW. It makes me so happy to know snakeskin shoes are trending again this fall. A pair of Steve Madden’s pointed toe snakeskin loafers just might be on my wish list….just saying!
When blogger, Allie Provost, talked about her “Come to Jean-us” moment, I have to admit it made me laugh. But don’t you think that’s a great way to describe the moment you find the perfect pair of jeans? Allie’s jean favs are from Madewell and American Eagle. A fall staple that’s a great substitute for jeans is leggings. Like denim, leggings go with just about everything and can be dressed up or down. A good brand to try is Spanx, and Dillard’s has a great selection.
I totally agree with the influencer’s selection of cardigans, because they are this fall’s number one trend and pair perfectly with jeans, leggings, sweats, and pajamas. To add some extra coziness to your fall staple style, I’m recommending a blanket scarf or poncho. And think about mixing your fall prints by wrapping a plaid blanket scarf over a striped t-shirt.
And here’s the best part….I bet if you take a look in your closet, you already own most of these fall staples! Happy fall y’all!
Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation. Contact Holley at [email protected]
“Picnics: One of the supreme pleasures of an outdoor life.” James Beard
Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors, especially if you live where the summers are hot and humid. When I recently saw the quote about picnics from James Beard, I spent some time on Pinterest looking for inspiration and how to put a twist on the traditional picnic.
On a tour through my local antique mall I saw this thermal trio. Two are Thermos and one is Aladdin brand. It made me get all nostalgic thinking how I used to take hot cocoa to high school football games. I plan to just use these for fall decoration on the mantel, but I do think any good picnic needs a thermal carafe for hot cocoa or pumpkin spiced coffee.
Which leads me to the next picnic must, a good sandwich. It’s all in the presentation. So many restaurants make really good sandwiches, why reinvent the wheel? Just pick up several, then take them home and re-wrap them yourself. Here’s a step-by-step from Nad’s Bakery for wrapping them in parchment paper. Butcher paper would be cute, too. I would add the extra touch of bakery twine with a sprig of rosemary.
Instead of a sandwich how about a spin on Frito pie and do a “walking taco.”
Pack small, personal sized bags of Doritos and Fritos and a variety of toppings like taco meat, cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, salsa, jalapeno slices, and sour cream. Package each topping in a plastic container and keep it cold with ice packs.
And last, every good picnic needs lemonade. This is a fun idea from Little Miss Party NYC. Just purchase store bought lemonade (you cannot beat SimplyLemonade or Limeade in my opinion) and infuse it with sliced lemons, strawberries and mint. Fill mason or milk jars and pack on ice to keep it cold.
Here’s some more fun tips from Country Living magazine on how to create the ultimate picnic experience — like using frozen grapes for ice cubes and attaching your blanket to a shower curtain to put a barrier between your blanket and the grass. Brilliant!
In all the personality assessments – like Strengthsfinder, EmotionaIntellegence, and Strengths Deployment Inventory, my top strengths are relationship building. I love to help people make connections. When I am having a conversation with someone I am immediately assessing who I can introduce them to – whether for personal or professional connections. It’s in my DNA to make people feel important, valued and respected. As a result, because I care so much about being respectful of people’s time, I am often cautious about asking busy people to help me, this is particularly so in my career. Our team works so hard producing events, many times well beyond the 40-hour work week. I am reluctant to seek help, because I know they are just as tired as I am. What’s ironic is I sometimes put more effort into other’s feelings than I do my own.
For the last five months I have been planning a very important women’s retreat. I knew this ambitious endeavor was going to require alot of my attention and in order for it to be successful, I was going to have to ask for help. Here’s why. For many years, the older group I also program for have told me “we don’t care what the napkin folds look like, we just want you sit down with us and visit.” Translation – stop making things perfect around you and focus on what matters – the guests. If I can empower other people to take from me the to-do list that pulls me in a million directions, I will feel and look less frazzled. The end result is I get to engage with the people I like to spend my time with. It’s very much the Mary & Martha story. Click here for the 5-lessons we can learn from this parable.
So, I reached out to 10 women and asked for their help and they all said yes! I came up with a list of areas of responsibility, had them choose what they felt was their gift, wrote up job descriptions for each person, and I assigned one member to be the volunteer coordinator. We met twice before the event to review everything that needed to be done, gave them jobs to do before hand so we were prepared – all of which gave me the extra time to focus on details and cross off checklists. By the day of the event, I was confident and rested. It felt amazing.
As I gathered the women beside me for our pep talk before we started, I shared with them my story of letting go and having others help me and how important they were to me. In return they replied how thankful they were that I asked them to help! So, everyone felt honored and valued. That’s the power of asking for help. It creates an alliance, a tribe, a community of people wanting to see each other succeed. See me in the middle of all these amazing women – see my face! That’s happiness. That’s a rested face. See all the women’s faces? Those are faces of joy! If I hadn’t been open to accept their help, I would have robbed them of the joy from our experience.
That day was my best yes. In the over 20 years I have been in the event production business, it was the best event I have ever been apart of. Our volunteers worked every single minute, thinking outside the box to problem solve. Everyone had smiles on their faces. It left me so fulfilled and thankful that I let go and listened to my instincts. I floated on a cloud that day, and the next several days afterward because I allowed someone to help me. It cost me nothing and I gained so much more in return.
Tricia Brouk says, “Saying yes means allowing room for opportunity. It means giving myself permission to try and to fail, while knowing you’ll be changed afterwards having learned something new. Saying yes, can be terrifying, but if you say yes, you might be surprised at what is possible. You can start saying yes right now. Wake up and say, yes, I’m going to hit the gym. Say yes, to how amazing you are each day. Say yes to a project that is out of your comfort zone and blow it out of the water. Say yes to trying something new and surprise yourself at the joy you feel. Say yes to staying at home with a good book because you are that important. Say yes to having the biggest life possible, because your happiness will create happiness in others. And when you say yes in business, people will be attracted to you by your willingness to say yes and your ability to back it up with expertise.”
I leaned in and I feel amazing. Ready to tackle another yes. What can you say yes to?
Cornbread is good anytime, but during this colder weather season, it makes a frequent appearance as a side to chili and soup. I know there’s a debate whether cornbread should be savory or sweet. Here’s a fun article from Southern Living magazine “The Last Word on Cornbread.” In our house, cornbread is sweet. Mother always added a tablespoon or two of sugar, and Miss Bee asks me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. “did you put sugar in the cornbread?”
I always bake my cornbread in my grandmother’s cast iron skillet. I bet it’s easily 75 years old. I love how it makes the edges of the cornbread crispy and evenly browns the cornbread on the bottom. The secret to cast iron is “seasoning the pan.” Here’s a great video to walk you through the process. Your trusty cast-iron skillet will eventually lose its sheen and, as a result, its super non-stick powers. Bringing back its luster and protecting it from rusting is as easy as a scrub, oil, and bake. And never, NEVER, ever wash your skillet with soap and water or run it through the dishwasher. It will rust and you will RUIN it. Plus, I am pretty sure it’s a crime in most southern states to do so. Here’s a helpful article on the proper way to clean cast iron, which folks, is nature’s natural element – hot water.
Here’s my favorite recipe for cornbread…
Download the pdf version here for your recipe file. My favorite way to eat cornbread comes from my brother Jim. He loved to eat it with butter and honey. Jalapeno honey is good, too. Sometimes I will throw in leftover corn or a cup of cheddar cheese to make it more savory.
Here’s a fun idea for a Christmas or hostess gift…print the recipe. Tie a cute tea towel around the handle of a new skillet, punch a hole in the recipe and attach with twine to the handle. A cast iron skillet is the perfect wedding gift because it will last years and years! Happy gifting!