4th of July Poem by Natalie Wise

From Shore to Midnight Shore 

By Natalie Wise

Oh, what a privilege to watch a star-spangled parade

At the golden-sunrise daybreak with a glass of lemonade

I do believe today’s the day to take back up our cause:

To live and love with honor and to find the time to pause

The mid-day heat is blazing and our thoughts turn introspective

We dip our worries breathless and emerge with fresh perspective: 

Life has some seeds, but that, you see, is part of all the fun

To see who can spit them farthest and laugh when day is done

The sticky night all glowing and the ice cream melting fast

When suddenly it dawns on me:  the year is half gone past

How very blessed we are to receive a second New Year’s Eve

And now it’s time to go and do instead of make-believe 

Give me a Main Street morning, an apple pie afternoon

A warm July night with the moon alight and the stars joined in by more   

Summer’s here and all is well from shore to midnight shore

Red, white, blue, brave and true for a bright tomorrow.

May God bless the USA and may God bless you!

*originally written for and published on Darling Magazine

DIY S’mores Kit Pail Hostess Gift for Summer

DIY smores kit

This easy DIY s’mores kit gift can be made with items all from the dollar store, grocery store, or even a gas station if you’re super short on time! Grab a basket, kids sand pail, or bucket and fill it with all the goodies needed for s’mores! It’s perfect for a bonfire, pool party, campout, night at the cabin, use of their RV, or any other summer get-together.

DIY smores kit

Have hostess gifts gone out of style? I sure hope not. This will make you a welcome guest wherever you go. Even if you aren’t going anywhere in particular, try making this summery, patriotic s’mores kit for yourself and your own family. These days, are, after all, memories in the making. And they’re worth a little extra effort, don’t you agree?

DIY smores kit

S’mores Kit Fixin’s:

-Graham crackers


-Chocolate bars

-Roasting sticks

-Napkins (these are from Packed Party, available at Walmart!)

Then add any extra fun, patriotic, summery items you can grab. Extra toppings/candy (Reeses? Nutella?), candy, patriotic straws, sparklers, pop rocks, pop its, miniature flags, miniature pinwheels, and tinsel galore.

The USA pom poms here are actually pens I picked up at Dollar General. The gold and silver tinsel are cupcake picks. The tinsel in the front is actually a barette! And the star in the middle fell off a party headband! But the overall look is what we’re going for, so get creative!

I stamped a custom tag to make this gift even more fun and personal. I used my favorite Heidi Swapp 4th of July stamp set to make the one here. The miniature wooden clothespin matches the wooden handles of the galvanized pail. All of the details just made me so happy.

DIY smores kit

Want TONS more ideas for easy, simple DIY gifts? Check out my book Gifts in Jars today! OR try one of my most popular crafts ever, the mason jar soap pump.

Happy summer!

Vintage Style Dress: Just Call Me Mrs. W

Just saying hello to the neighbors 1950s-like, you know! White picket fence, tomatoes on the porch, and plenty of patriotic bunting…this coral 1950s vintage style dress has me feeling like Mrs. Maisel. Just call me Mrs. W!

The dress is by one of my favorite designers, Lesley Evers. Her clothes are such high quality, handmade in California. I have this dress in THREE different patterns. It’s so flattering with the fitted bodice and a full skirt. Box pleats make the skirt full without looking overly puffy. I wore this dress to church and someone said I had “Jackie Kennedy vibes” which is like my ULTIMATE compliment to receive, except perhaps for Mrs. Maisel or Princess Kate vibes…

There are also POCKETS so that means it’s pretty much perfect. My hat is by my dear Behida Dolic. The shoes are almost-decade-old Blowfish. If you’ve been here for awhile, maybe you’ll remember this OLD post where I first got these shoes. That was when I lived in Florida! Here’s another adorable outfit with them, too. These are good’uns. Keepers. As are this hat and dress. They might be expensive at first, but they’ll last for years.

I love the vintage style. Both actual vintage and vintage-like. Yes, there were issues in the past. I look back with rose-colored glasses, to be sure, because I didn’t live it. But I can take the parts that I deem good enough to bring forward.

The keepers. Things like big sunhats, perfectly twirly dresses, saying hello to neighbors, patriotic bunting on a white picket fence, growing my own vegetables and herbs. Things like taking time to appreciate the way this dress feels on, that it was handmade, that these shoes have been on so many journeys with me, that wearing them makes me smile and it makes people who see me smile. Those are things worth bringing forward into EVERY day, don’t you think? I think so.

Outfit Deets

Dress: Lesley Evers

Sunnies: Random, not sure!

Hat: Behida Dolic

Shoes: Blowfish

Desk Fan: WFH Must-Have

Vornado pink desk fan

Do you work from home? Are you tired of sweative over your keyboard? I’ve added something to my MUST-HAVES for WFH! (see the entire updated work-from-home list here). Can you guess what it is? A desk fan. Vornado makes my favorite office space heater, so is it any surprise they would also make my new favorite fan? It is called the Vornado FIT Personal Air Circulator Fan (affiliate link). It’s also PINK! Or other colors, if you prefer.

I do have an in-window air conditioner (I live in New England, where central air is only a dream!). But that’s behind me and doesn’t offer the same air flow as a desk fan. It’s also expensive to run all day. So I try to reserve that for the hottest days. On most other days, this fan keeps me nice and cool! Plus it makes a great little hair-style glam booster for Zoom videos 😉

The slim profile of the Vornado FIT fan is actually my favorite part. The back legs fold up. This takes up very little desk-top space. Plus it slips in a desk drawer in cooler months. In addition to being slim and well-designed, this offers 2 speeds. In my opinion they are high speed and extra-high-speed. This desk fan is also very quiet. It’s a little pricey but you won’t be replacing it after a few months.

This gets my vote as a true work-from-home MUST HAVE item!

Read the full article on Work from Home Must-Haves here!

Ooh La La: Americana or French Style?

Americana or French Style?

Do you think this style is retro-Americana or vintage French style? The background says America, but the outfit says France! Don’t you love the word Francophile, which means a person who loves or admires French culture. It’s just fun to say, too…Francophile. So call me a committed Francophile, despite my porch decorations.

Ooh La La!

This outfit is so fun for June…it just shouts SUMMER at the top of its lungs. The striped, French-inspired red striped t-shirt with navy blue embroidered “Ooh La La” is so fun. I love the half-sleeves too…you don’t see those too often and I think they are super flattering. It was thrifted, of course, for 25 cents on quarter day!

I look ready for summer camp!

I paired this cute tee with vintage washed-silk pleated, paper-bag-waist shorts. Also thrifted on half-off day for $2.99 they are vintage Express. Of course, POCKETS add to the appeal of these shorts and they are flowy enough to feel like a skirt. They are keeping me ultra-cool, perfect for this 90-degree heat-wave we’ve been having. I haven’t decided if they’re flattering or not (I’m leaning towards not…leave your vote in the comments!), but they are comfy indeed!

What do you think of the vintage silk shorts? Let me know in the comments if they’re keepers or not!

I wore my rose-gold FitFlop sandals and my new bespoke straw hat. The FitFlop sandals were purchased during their Black Friday sale, of course (always shop a sale!).


I purchased my handmade hat full-price as an “I finished writing my new book!” splurge from my friend Behida Dolic’s atelier in Hudson, NY. She’s a true artisan, creative, beauty-maker, love-giver, and all-around fantastic human being, so it was worth every. penny (AND IT WAS A LOT OF PENNIES). But it makes me feel like a million bucks, truly!

Then I added my favorite red lipstick to complete the French Riviera-inspired look. It’s Jane Iredale’s lipstick called “Natalie,” which is obviously perfect. Don’t you just want to hop on a boat and eat gelato when you look at this outfit? It has a bit of an Audrey Hepburn vibe, don’t you think?


Outfit Deets

Sunglasses: Tiffany & Co.

Hat: Behida Dolic Millinery

Lipstick: Natalie by Jane Iredale

Earrings: J. Crew


Shorts: vintage Express

Sandals: FitFlops

Nails: RedAspen Nail Dashes in Megan’s Mint Julep

The Blog is Back!

pink peony on vintage wooden crate
Happy Pretty Messy

Oh goodness, this has been a PROJECT, y’all. I transferred all of my old blog, Good Girl Style, here, so it now has a HOME! I know so many of you liked and missed my old posts. Here they are! However, they don’t look as pretty. YET! I’m still working on designing the new blog but I wanted you to have your Happy Pretty Messy, Good Girl Style inspiration now. So excuse the messy look for awhile. In the meantime, the happy is ALL still here!

XO Natalie

What is Half Sleeve Length in Clothing?

Half Sleeves, Yes Please!

Fashion Dictionary

In women’s clothing fashions, a half sleeve is a type of sleeve length and style. The sleeve ends *AT the elbow* or *3/4 of the way TO the elbow on the upper arm*. This type of sleeve length is between a short sleeve and a 3/4 sleeve length. As such, they may also be called elbow-length sleeves, but often end just above the elbow. This type of sleeve is regularly found on tee shirts, camp shirts and dresses. The sleeve can be tight to the arm, balloon-style, or loose.

Kate Middleton, or Duchess Kate, is fond of the half-sleeve and is often seen wearing it. She has worn this sleeve length in everything from a simple, casual white tee-shirt to a formal, full-length evening gown.

Who Should Wear a Half Sleeve?

A half sleeve length is flattering on most body types because the sleeve length tends to hit at the narrowest part of the waist. If you have a short-torso and the sleeve lands where your pants do, opt for a shorter sleeve, such as a cap sleeve or standard short sleeve.

This sleeve length is also good for either showing off toned arms (in tight sleeves), or covering less-toned arms in looser sleeves that cover more arm.

Pin Me for Future Reference!

See more photos of this outfit post for an example of a half sleeve tee shirt, this time worn with pleated shorts.

How Should I Wear a Half Sleeve Length?

Shop Dress Here! (aff. link)

This sleeve length is flattering with wide-leg pants and bell bottoms for a 1970s-style, because the longer sleeve length will help balance the visual weight of the wider bottoms. Again, make sure the sleeve is still hitting above the waist and they are not in alignment. It’s all about proportions! The half sleeve top is also flattering with a midi-length skirt or on a midi-length dress. Kate Middleton often opts for this sleeve-length which balances out cropped trousers or midi skirts/dresses as well.

Work from Home: 8 ACTUAL Must-Haves

I’ve been a work from home creative, freelancer, and full-time employee for over 10 years. I’ve got WFH life down to a science. That’s why I’m telling you these no-fuss, no-muss absolute MUST HAVE items for your home office vibe. These aren’t pretty pen containers and adorable tiny unicorn USB essential oil diffusers. These are get-it-done more-productive-at-home helpers.

Me in my home office!

Even if you’ve been working from home since the pandemic started, do you have all of these creature comforts and necessary products? Aside from a desk-height surface (I’m not picky, it doesn’t even have to be a proper desk) and a chair that can keep your elbows in alignment with your keyboard, and your eyes in alignment with your screen (more info here!), here are the other 8 things you absolutely need to work from home.

Work From Home Tips

Please note some of these are affiliate links where I earn a tiny percentage of the sale at no cost to you!

8 Actual Work from Home Must-Have Items

Eye Drops

1) EYE DROPS: The computer screen gets all of your attention when you work from home. With fewer noises and movements to attract your eyes away from the screen, you tend to forget to blink. Eye drops to the rescue. This also helps prevent headaches. Similasan Computer Eye Relief drops are my favorite.

Desk Chair Butt Pillow

2) DESK CHAIR BUTT PILLOW: Oh so glamorous, isn’t it! When you work from home, you tend to sit a lot longer than you might in an office environment. There you’d get up to chat with coworkers, look at someone’s new project, go out for a lunch meeting, etc. Even the cushiest chair pillow goes flat with a butt sitting on it for 8 hours a day. A butt pillow may not be sexy, but it sure is helpful.

Unlimited Amazon Prime Music Streaming

3) UNLIMITED AMAZON PRIME MUSIC STREAMING: I’ve tried the other services. I have. They’re just not as good, so go ahead and fork over the additional $7.99 and let Amazon rule even more of your life. My music-snob husband dug deep into his catalog to see if he could find a song that wasn’t available. He tried dozens, and only one came back as unavailable, because it had been banned in the US. So trust us and get Unlimited Amazon Prime Music now.

Sturdy Slippers or Indoor Shoes

4) STURDY SLIPPERS: My feet get cold sitting at my desk all day PLUS wearing ‘shoes’, even if they are technically just sturdy-soled slippers, makes me feel much more productive. I know they’re a bit pricey, but Ugg slippers are my favorite for winter, and good old Birkenstocks or Adidas or Lacoste slides (my current favorite!) are perfect for summer! All of these will last for years.

Desk Fan/Space Heater

5) DESK FAN/SPACE HEATER: Depending on the time of the year, don’t forget a sturdy desk fan or space heater. Sitting still for a long period of time means you’ll be colder than if you were up and about, or warmer if you’re just sitting in a hot room. Vornado makes my favorite space heaters because they have a vintage-retro style and really do the job. I just added a Vornado desk fan to my desk and it has been a great help this summer too!

Mug Warmer

6) MUG WARMER: I honestly don’t know how I ever allowed myself to drink lukewarm or cold coffee. My plug-in (to the wall, not USB) coffee warmer was a gift from my brother-in-law and I’ve become totally addicted to it for keeping my coffee perfectly toasty. I highly recommend this to avoid cold-coffee-grumpiness. It might seem silly, but it’s not! This is the exact one I have (mine is white).

Laser Printer

7) LASER PRINTER: You absolutely must have a LASER (not inkjet) printer if you print more than 1 page a year at home, in my opinion. I make do with a black and white laser printer, but color laser printers come down in price every year. They print hundreds of pages on one toner cartridge (yes, it’s semi-expensive, but not compared to inkjet cartridges) and prints without fail for those hundreds of pages. Inkjet printers are not reliable nor cost-effective if you’ll be printing anything.

Here is the exact Brother version I have and it has been a faithful companion through 5 books now. You can also get one with scanner/copier capabilities if you need that (but you can scan documents with the Notes app in your iPhone!).

A Bra!

8) A BRA: Ladies, listen to me. You will not be nearly as productive without a bra as you will be with one. Not to mention in winter, you’ll be COLD without a bra. Trust me. If you don’t have any meetings or feel comfortable, go ahead and wear a sports bra or wire-free comfy bra. Just don’t go without some kind of support.

Bonus Items

Nice to have, but not necessary.

-Great coasters to protect your desk

-A wrist gel pad

-A desk candle

-A stash of dry shampoo, hairbrush, and quick makeup or a facial mist for last-minute meetings

Yes, it might be tempting to think you NEED a kitty-shaped lamp for your desk, or a great wall tapestry for your backdrop. You might think you absolutely need Airpods or a standing desk or a fancy gadget that reminds you about your posture. Those things might be nice additions, but the above items will get you working, at home. Which is, of course, the purpose of working from home…right?

Will Work for Coffee Image by Emma Matthews

Warby Parker Fall Collection 2020 + Blue Light Filtering Lenses

**I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

If you haven’t purchased blue-light filtering lenses yet, NOW is the time. With so many of us working from home more and staring at the computer more, blue-light filtering lenses are no longer just a good idea, they’re a necessity. The last two pairs of glasses I’ve purchased have had blue-light-filtering coating, since I work from home and stare at my computer at least 8 hours a day. 

Warby Parker is the place to go for not only the coolest frames, but blue-light filtering coatings. I LOVE how Warby Parker offers new collections each season, featuring old favorites, new cool styles, and great new colors. It’s the way to always have someone saying over Zoom, “I love your glasses!” and you can say, “Thanks! Warby Parker and they’re blue-light filtering too!” Learn more about Warby Parker’s blue-light filtering lenses here.

I was scared into getting blue-light filtering glasses when a co-worker of mine, my own age (30 at the time), went to the eye doctor expecting a regular check-up and came back scared to death, having been told she had the eye health of someone three times her age, and that it was likely from staring at the computer all day. 

The best part is, Warby Parker can put the blue-light filtering coating on ANY style (or lens…even progressives!) you choose! And their new Fall 2020 collection is fantastic. My FAVORITE is the “Shea” Warby Parker eyeglass frame in Peacock Green….

To die for, right? Love that little sweet cat eye and that COLOR. 
How much are we LOVING this lighter celadon green, as Warby Parker calls it, “Rosemary Crystal” (sounds like a book title to me…a mystery!). in the WRIGHT frame…it’s just right!
And let’s talk sunglasses for a second. I am DYING over these perfectly-rounded-rectangle Warby Parker sunglasses called Lila

Warby Parker Lila in Marzipan and Griffin in Pacific

Even now, Warby Parker is still offering their home try-on, so you don’t need to leave your home or GUESS what frames will fit your face and style. Don’t worry, they are keeping things super sanitized. But if you don’t feel like taking advantage of that program, and have an iPhone X or newer, try their app that allows you to try Warby Parker’s latest frames on virtually.

I’m adding these to my Try-On box RIGHT NOW.

What are you waiting for? NOW is the time to give Warby Parker’s Home Try-On program a try!



**I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Freelancers Rejoice!

This is an affiliate-sponsored post. I may also receive a small commission if you click on one of these links, at no additional cost to you. These help keep my blog up and running. Thank you!

I’ve shared my love of Freshbooks before, but they have a fantastic new feature that makes their service even more valuable to freelancers. I’ll tell you  more about that in a minute.

What is Freshbooks? It’s an invoicing and accounting software for anyone who routinely sends invoices (like myself, for my freelance writing/photography/styling) or tracks expenses and/or time for clients. Sure, you could make an invoice template yourself and track everything yourself. Why waste that much time? Why bury your head in a spreadsheet for hours at a time? Sure, you can send invoices through PayPal, but is that really professional? I love Freshbooks for so many reasons, but the first is that the invoices look top-notch professional, and are easily trackable. You can even track your time to add to the invoice IN Freshbooks itself. You can even take credit card payments directly through the email invoice…and clients who can pay by credit card tend to pay MUCH faster (Freshbooks says 11 days faster…that’s more than 2 business weeks!). Can you automate this? Yes.

When it comes to tracking expenses, Freshbooks couldn’t make it any easier for you. Use your phone to snap a photo of a receipt, log it, and it stores it in the cloud until tax time for you (which they make SO easy). You can even mark certain receipts as billable to certain clients or projects. Can you import bank transactions to make logging credit card purchases more efficient? YES. Can you bill a client in a different currency? YES. Freshbooks makes it all so easy, you guys.

All of your double-entry accounting needs are covered, too, so you don’t need Freshbooks plus another app or software. You can keep all your P&Ls, COGs, CAs, BSs (that’s Balance Sheets ;)), and you can even give your accountant direct access come tax time.

So now that you’re already sold, let me just put a little cherry on top for you. Freshbooks just released a new feature: Retainers! No, not the kind you put in your mouth. Here’s what Freshbooks can do for you with retainers: “- Collect recurring client payments in advance, track hours against the allotted time, forecast monthly income, effectively manage project progress and avoid scope creep, set clear expectations with clients, and streamline invoicing.” Your life just got even easier.

Sign up for Freshbooks here!

Learn how to create an invoice that gets you paid fast here!

For more of my favorite resources for bloggers and freelancers, click here!