If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

~ Matthew West


It is 1995 and a boy sits alone at the lunch table. He’s skinny and quiet, wearing a tattered Polo shirt. His name is Don. He typically roams the halls during lunch to avoid scenes like this, but today he is starved… So he eats, dodging occasional cheeto bullets from the next table. It is Friday so pep rally excitement fills the air. Don stares at his food, likely battling an internal voice yelling GET UP! RUN AWAY! And perhaps the voice almost wins. He’s picking up his half-eaten tray when a cheerleader takes the seat beside him. She glares at her friends who sheepishly put their chips away as she starts a conversation. His behavior is often odd, to be sure, but he means no harm (years later he will be diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome). The bell rings and she rises to leave. He flashes a cautious smile and holds his head a little higher. This will be the last lunch they share, but also the last time he feels humiliated and alone. One girl, one small act of courage and kindness changes everything.

What did her parents do? Why, in the midst so much wrong, did she choose RIGHT? And how can we grow little humans who will become assets to humanity? 

Bullying, my friends, is alive and well… And not isolated to children. Social media has exacerbated the problem, allowing people to abuse one another behind the relative safety of their computers. And, good people, fearing they might be the next victim of widespread attacks, are unwilling to defend or protect the wronged. Like wildfire, negative news spreads, lies become truth, and wrongdoing is praised and passed on. Yikes. Thought it was hard being a kid in 1995? Good luck to our children if we don’t make a stand now.

We started Well Dressed Wolf with little more than a dream, a few sketches and our innocence. Somehow, little by little, our baby company started growing… and in just a few years has become something we never imagined. Along the way we have made friends (so many friends!). We’ve gained wisdom, honed our craft, learned valuable (sometimes costly!) lessons in business, and watched women come together for the good of eachother and the world. We’ve celebrated babies being born and literally watched children grow up through pictures (wearing WDW!). In the early days, we jumped right into social media, joining the many groups that popped up in our name. Having never been involved in the underground world of children’s clothing, it was a rush! Interacting with customers on such a personal level was thrilling and gratifying… Until it wasn’t.

Recently, we have stepped away from all groups (most of which are lovely places full of wonderful women!) because it was necessary. We didn’t start this business to referee or participate in sparring factions of clothing lovers and buyers and sellers. We aren’t politicians and have no desire to be. Our daily posts shouldn’t be planned like a State of the Union address– each word measured and monitored for potential hidden meaning or intention. We started this journey because we LOVE to design adorable things for your children and we LOVE getting to know so many good people who have rallied around our brand (and there are so many good people). In fact, a positive and inspiring community group will soon be launched exclusively for friends of Well Dressed Wolf. We hope you’ll take part! We plan to pop in periodically and you’ll get sneaks, make supportive friendships, take part in giveaways and have opportunities to help make the world a BETTER PLACE. It really is time to make social media a more positive experience again- for our children; for ourselves. Adults bullying one another and harassing businesses should never be okay.

As we tell our own children, you have CHOICES every day: seek darkness or seek light. Make a positive impact on the world or a negative one. Seek to inspire or to destroy. Do what you know is right- even when it isn’t “cool”. Don’t seek revenge (no matter how much you want to!) and pray for the people who hurt you (this one is a toughie!). You aren’t perfect and you’ll make mistakes, so learn to apologize and forgive. Be honest, but be kind. Truth doesn’t have to hurt… THESE are goals for our own lives (and business), and though we sometimes fall short, we are confident in the path we’ve chosen.

You’re living the one and only life that God has gifted you, so make it count.

Love,

Sarah and Shannon

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On that note, let’s celebrate being good today. We have some sweet giveaways and links to happy places below:

  1. Our mantra for the day is BE A NICE HUMAN! And guess what? Our dear friend launched a company built to inspire just that! Our new favorite tank reminds everyone we meet to behave nicely in a modern, graphically pleasing font (bonus!). Danielle has generously offered a shirt, bag, candle and bracelet to one lucky person! Sidenote: you’ll want to buy some for everyone you know, so here is their facebook page (where they happen to be hosting a giveaway of their own, so go check it out!).
  2. We are all works-in-progress. The Finishing School is a book we genuinely look forward to delving into! Several of our friends have also purchased the pre-order and we plan to work through the chapters together, encouraging one another along the way. Valerie of Val Marie Papers has generously offered a book for one of you!
  3. This little cardi/vest/sweater is the most versatile thing our my closets (yes, we both have one!). Dress it up, dress it down… Wear it as a long sleeveless vest or long-sleeved cozy cardi. Add a tank, skinnies & boots – and you’re ready to hit the streets and make good things happen. One lucky winner will receive this beauty, but keep your eye on Buckle for restocks or similar items!
  4. Luxe by Virtue is a good friend’s jewelry line. Tracy’s pieces are stunning and available only through boutiques and high end retailers… and here for one lucky person! This brand stands for all of the things we love: goodness, righteousness, integrity, dignity, honor, nobility, purity and worthiness (a portion of all proceeds go to Giving Hope NOLA, dedicated to feeding needy elderly in New Orleans). We are so excited to share these pieces with one of you. You can see more of her glistening beauties by following her Instagram and you can purchase online at Shop Bella Vita.

So how do you win? Simply comment below with your BEST ADVICE to other parents about how to raise KIND, GOOD, COURAGEOUS little people. Include true stories, wisdom passed down from generation to generation or practical solutions! 4 winners will be selected from the comments and announced next Thursday. Also, help us support the fine businesses above by liking their pages!

Inspired by Heartcease Higgins
Our Aunt Heart Tunic & Bloomers

I can’t say exactly WHAT made Heartcease Higgin’s house my favorite place in the world… It could have been her bathroom: pearly pink bathtub, frilly curtains with eyelet trim, magical oil-filled melting balls in translucent shades of red and blue, soaps in happy shapes of birds and seashells; the scent of lilac… Maybe it was her kitchen: sun streaming through lace curtains; caramel cooking on the stove; dining table squeezed next to a mirrored folding door that concealed a washer, dryer and countless art supplies; the scent of slightly burned pie crust in the oven… Her living room? It was a mix of humble furnishings and fine antiques- a rusty pink velvet love seat with wooden arms and legs, a crochet pillow, stained concrete floors before they were commonplace. Aunt Heart’s home was a reflection of her– full of happiness and hazy light, brimming with comfort.

She was sister to my grandmother (making her our great aunt in actuality) and she seemed elderly to me- even as a child. Her lily white skin and hair, a huge smile, gentle voice and unending patience made her seem like a real life angel. In her younger years, she was a school teacher. In later years, she taught us Hawaiian songs & dances (quite exotic to her Louisiana protegé). I still hum that tune so many years later… “We throw our nets out into the sea.. and all the `ama`ama come a-swimming to me– Oh, we’re going to a Hukilau… huki huki huki Hukilau”...

Aunt Heart’s kitchen was a little girl’s dream come true. Siblings, neighborhood friends, cousins- anyone within reach- was welcome at anytime… and she let us cook. More than that, she taught us to cook (mostly dessert which was our shared favorite meal). We made pies (see recipe below), candy, cakes and caramel frosting from scratch. On every formica surface were spatulas, glass mixing bowls, thermometers and little water glasses for testing caramel. Side note: When bubbling and browned melted sugar is dripped into water and remains in droplet form, caramel can be pulled from the heat. Bet you didn’t know that…

Aunt Heart hosted art classes from her kitchen table and dubbed me the Chief Assistant. She aided in the production of countless plays, movies and short stories. Her brick fireplace was the central backdrop to more Sunday luncheons, Easter extravaganzas and costume parties than I can count. Aunt Heart nurtured the very creativity that formed who I am today.

In my memory, she will always be ruffles and lace… sweet, soft, dainty and utterly comfortable. She was a home away from home. While we can never capture her essence in an article of clothing, we do hope our little dress and tunic evoke a nostalgic feeling for you and that in a very small way- a part of Aunt Heart will live on forever.

XO~

Sarah (clearly, I was her favorite, too)

Wedding Day
The beautiful bride
Heart in Spain
1964 Aunt Heart in Spain (far right)… look at the cute little Spanish dresses!
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Mimi (of Mim’s Attic); Aunt Heart, Sally (aka: Honey, aka: our mom), Gigi all in one picture!
Aunt Heart as we remember her...
Aunt Heart as we remember her…
recipe
Her FAMOUS chocolate pie recipe! In her own handwriting.

Aunt Heart’s Chocolate Custard Pie

Crust:

  • 1 and 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 level tsp salt (plus a little more)
  • measuring cup filled with 2/3 cup vegetable oil and 1/3 cup milk

Dump oil/milk mixture into flour/salt and mix with hands until it forms a ball. Split in half  and refrigerate (reserve 1/2 for later). When ready, press into pie pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes (watch until it browns). Remove and let cool.

Filling:

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla

In a double boiler, heat condensed milk and milk over medium low heat. In the meantime, make a paste with cocoa powder and egg yolks. Add to milk mixture and stir continuously until a pudding-like consistency is formed. Pour into cooked pie shell and refrigerate overnight. Top with whipping cream. Enjoy!

Scenes from our Aunt Heart Inspired Birthday Party

stair climbing
Birthday escapees
cake walk
Cake walk…
presents
Birthday gifts!
collage
Shannon & sweet Naomi; the girls survey the scene; ready for cake

 

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Who is your hero?

I met mine in May of 1998. He was fresh from Basic Training and I was coming out of my freshman year at LSU. A series of odd events brought him to my dorm room on the very day I was packing up for the summer. It took one afternoon to convince me that I’d found “the one”. I have really great instincts. We were married in September of 2003, had our first baby in September of 2004 during flight school in Fort Rucker, AL. In 2008, he was deployed to Iraq, where he remained for a year (missing the delivery of our third baby and his first 6 months of life– read more on that here). We recently celebrated the birth of our fifth child- and while he is no longer in the army, he’ll  always be my hero.

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Even being a former military wife, I’ll never fully understand what our hardworking soldiers go through in times of war or separation-  or that well of strength deep inside that draws them to military service in the first place. I do, however, understand the network of heroes who are left behind: the husbands and wives and children of those servicemen and women… the ones who didn’t necessarily choose a military life- but proudly, humbly, bravely follow their soldiers to lands unknown.

So in addition to the amazing men and women who are willing to fight and die for this country, we applaud the lesser-known heroes in trenches of their own: the tired mom who fixes toilets, mows the lawn and remembers to take out the trash… the anxious dad who drives carpool, braids hair and bakes cupcakes for class, the child who puts one foot in front of the other every day- a weary smile on his face. Our military families are the backbone of this country- and we all owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.

Having said that, W.D. Wolf wants to honor a hometown hero with “Hometown Firecracker” outfits for his or her family. So, who is your hero? Leave your nominations here. Please tell us a little bit about your favorite soldier, military spouse or family- and what makes them so very special. We will select and announce the winner this week.

Love,

Sarah & Shannon

Long time, no see! Let’s start the new year with a new party dress–perfect for any celebration your imagination can concoct!

joyceform

And of course we have so many other exciting things in the works this year! We are getting ORGANIZED the old-fashioned way (pen & ink) thanks to this blog post by Val Marie Paper

We bought the Emily Ley Life Binders  (below):

2013 Shay Cochrane

And the 2014 Power Sheets by Lara Casey.

Shannon and I are so excited about the future of this company- we have been so blessed (we have to pinch ourselves daily) by our AMAZING customers and the crazy growth spurt we had in 2013. Please follow us on facebook to keep tabs on our secret sales & giveaways- you all know how quickly the dresses go once they’re loaded! Right now we have a share-to-win featuring our Joyce Party Dress, 25 custom thank-you cards, and a darling cowl by Well Dressed Toddlers!

JOYCEpromo

Promise to blog more this year!

XO~

Sarah

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We are so excited to launch the W.D. Wolf Picnic line- designed with emphasis on vintage style, simple sweetness and playful fabrics that maintain our subtle, soft aesthetic.

April 26 is the big day– we’re giving away 13 “Petit Four” dresses to our fine facebook fans (visit our page to see them and read all about it) and introducing a few others that we know you’ll love (like the charming “Bake Shop” dress seen here)!

If you haven’t already, like our page on Facebook to receive the latest updates, deals and giveaway opportunities!

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This fanciful little dress seems to have crossed over- the Taylor Swift of children’s clothes. Loved by fans of smocking, non-fans of smocking, mothers, grandmothers and little girls. We really could not be more pleased with how it turned out. And it looks even better on a child than on the rack! Round 2 of pre-orders is taking place right now on our website, so get your orders in! Shipping early July.

http://www.welldressedwolf.com/pages/pre-orders

lavender

We couldn’t be more pleased to preview this darling little number! It is so different than typical smocked dresses out there. This one is ethereal. simple. natural… The colors and fabrics of  “french lavender” create the sweetest juxtaposition- a simple tan cotton bodice evokes images of burlap while the wispy lavender tulle adds a fairytale twist. Let this dress carry you away all summer long (and into the fall with the addition of tights!).

“French Lavender” will pre-order March 8 through March 11 via the Preferred Pre-order Program. Sign up now if you haven’t already: http://www.welldressedwolf.com/collections/pre-orders .

Estimated to ship in early June.

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