weekly roundup

I'm currently typing this as my embroidery machine is just a going. Someone asked me about how the whole sewing machine world has been going. It has taken me hours upon hours of research and practice and I still don't even feel comfortable enough putting a monogram on something of importance, but I do have some terribly monogrammed dish towels. The machine I have is the Brother SE-400—and it's on a great sale right now. I didn't know all that was required to stitch a monogram, so in retrospect, I wouldn't have jumped so quickly to ask for it for Christmas knowing what I know now. (Knowing that it would take me two nights up till 5am trying to learn to work it.) I mean, I didn't even know what a bobbin was or why you would even need it before busting this machine out of the packaging. So I am a newbie if there ever was one. But, I am absolutely determined to learn this thing and will stick through it until I love it and feel comfortable throwing a monogram on Baby Boy's jon jons in a skinny minute. I have been using Etsy to buy monogram fonts/alphabets and uploading them into Embrilliance Express, which is a free software program. It only works with BX files and basically only lets you rearrange the letters into a monogram or name, but that's all I need anyway. Plus, for me, it's a heck of a lot better than paying $100+ on a more complex software! 
If you love girl scout cookies and you love wine, then read this. So this should include everyone. 
Since I love reggae music and I love this song
10 prayers for a marriage. 
I'm a huge fan of thin, dainty hoop earrings. These are for sure on my list. 
Don't you kinda want to go now too? 
Garance Dore's book is officially out and it looks incredible. 
Lowcountry ladies like myself, how perfect is this bracelet in every way? I love the stuff Garden and Gun puts in their Mercantile. 
Good tips to keep in mind if you have a job interview coming up. Actually, this website has so many great career + money tips just in general. 
Bloomingdale's is having a one day home sale tomorrow with 40-70% off—you can preview everything today! Their clothing + accessories are also on big sale now because the sale items were just marked down even more, like an extra 50% off kind of "even more." 
Happy weekend, friends! xo 
By the way, my monogram just finished and it looks so good! Maybe the machine is pretty brilliant after all. If I can do it, you can. :)
image via


everyday makeup tutorial (beautycounter and other nontoxic products!)

I've been asked a lot to make a video using Beautycounter products and I'm just so sorry it has taken me this long to get it uploaded! With moving, the holidays, and having those couple of sick weeks where I literally wore no makeup, the time has just gotten away from me. Most all of the products I use on a daily basis are Beautycounter and I am showing them in this video exactly the same way I use them day to day. It's definitely a look that you can make darker with more eyeshadow or with a bold lip. The video itself is a little long and seems to include a lot of steps, but I promise it all goes by so quickly when I'm not chit chatting the whole time!

Also wanted to mention that Beautycounter is including two free Tint Skin sample sets (one in light shades, one in dark shades) with every order right now through January 31st! Oh, and if you missed my post on why I switched to nontoxic beauty products, you can do that here. I also uploaded a video explaining the complete skincare and beauty collection here.

Now for the video—click below to watch!


our home updates

There's been a little radio silence around here on the home front. I haven't felt like there have been enough changes to warrant a post, but I want to keep y'all updated as we go. We are plugging away at this little fixer upper here and there—just trying to make a dent in the big changes the house needs. And by "we," I really just mean Brandon. There's so little I can do since I can't lift much or breath in any sort of fumes from paint, etc. It's been driving me crazy to be so worthless, but he has been doing a great job of picking up the slack. A lot of the things he has done are so not fun—like building a drainage system in the yard, fixing up his shop out back. Fun things for him, though! This house is certainly a labor of love and although it's not always pretty, we are so happy to be here. It feels like home and we are loving being in the heart of town vs. out in the suburbs like we were before. It's convenient and that is so valuable to us.


current wishlist

1. A jane pope jewelry name ring with baby's name.

2. Might look like your typical SD card, but this Eyefi one wirelessly transfers images straight to your computer, iPad, or phone. I just hate having to take out my SD card, transfer images to my computer, then transfer to phone to upload a pretty picture on instagram, etc. This will make the process quick and seamless! I need a new SD card anyway because mine is literally about to split in half, so this is perfect timing.

3. These Charles sunglasses by Krewe are so on my radar.

4. I am a brown bootie snob all the way. Have been eyeing these "Jaeger" booties by Dolce Vita.

5. Speaking of shoes, these Nike Zoom Pegasus Running Shoes are pretty awesome. I love this style Nike makes because they support my feet well, but aren't too bulky at all.

6. It's funny, our old house was so new that I wanted lots of antique and vintage items in it. Our new house, being a creature from the 40s, already has all the charm I want so my antique items just look... old. I am mixing in modern, coastal, and contemporary touches where I can to make the mix "me" again. All this to say, I'm sort of gravitating towards silver decor again. This metal framed floor mirror from West Elm is the perfect place to start because you can never have too many floor mirrors—and that's just a fact.

7. Palm frond everything. Especially this framed print.

8. Still in love with this Cuyana leather wallet.

9. This type of cardigan is my all time favorite—long, shorter sleeves, and super cozy.


weekly roundup

Such a sweet little print for a baby's nursery.

If you love Fixer Upper like I do, then you'll like this a lot.

Obsessed with pretty much everything this sweet shop carries.

This can come in a lot of handy for sorting through taxes if you work from home like I do. I really think my accountant must hate me because I have more paperwork than he possibly could keep straight, but he does. Bless him.

Still my favorite accent eyeshadow—and it doesn't seem to have toxic ingredients, so that's a double win.

Cinnamon rolls are a huge weakness of mine. I could eat fifty of them. (You think I'm joking, don't you?) So, with that said — a million times yes on these.

Love these tips on keeping a tidy home. 

A few top sellers at Shopbop this week: this faux leather jacket (under $100!), this bikini that I wish I could wear on a tropical vacation right now, and these awesome sneakers.

Beautycounter has some new products—this sea salt spray and lots of Valentine's bundles, like this "best of" mini set. Love! (...and while we're on the topic.)

Really, really digging this new Rebecca Minkoff bag

image via


29 weeks update + etsy baby favorites, pt. 2

29 weeks already. I can't believe I'm almost at that 10 week countdown. There is so much to do before he arrives and something about nearing that 30 week mark is leaving me feeling anxious, excited, worried, happy — basically all the feelings. 

Baby W is weighing in at about 3 pounds and is about 15.5 inches. He is moving a lot and has a strong, steady heartbeat. I've continued to feel so much better since my little scare I had a couple weeks ago. We still don't know exactly what happened, but I had a terrible, contracting feeling in my side that basically put me on the floor in pain. My whole belly was pulling upwards into me if that makes sense. Both nights I was at the hospital, they checked for signs of pre-term labor, but baby boy is content right where he is supposed to be, thank goodness. The doctors think I tore a muscle in my belly, ultimately causing the spasms. That paired with the baby compressing my bladder with his head and my ureter with his bottom, on top of UTI symptoms, made for absolute misery. That's what I get for saying pregnancy was uncomfortable in my 27 weeks update. I was fine that morning of the blog post, but in the hospital later that night with that pain!

We are working on his nursery a lot more now and officially have his glider on order. I fell in love with it at first sight and can't wait to share it with you. We want to get started on smoothing the ceilings in the nursery (there is popcorn throughout this old house) and painting the walls. Maybe we will get to that next week or maybe even this weekend. I am thinking Benjamin Moore Classic Gray or Aloof Gray. Really do love the color we used in the master bedroom in our last house, too. 

Oh, we also had another 4D ultrasound a few days ago! His sweet cheeks. They are so chunky and I love it. He seems to have Brandon's nose and my lips and chin. He has great eyelashes, and that I can assure you did not come from his momma. His feet are wide like Brandon's Dad's and my grandfather's. He has long fingers, too, and loves to wrap his arms across his face. That's something Brandon does when he sleeps, so we know where that came from. We were also told that he may have a little hair on his head, which would be a shock since I didn't have hair until I was almost two and Brandon didn't have any until close to that age, too. I look at his sonogram pictures so many times per day. I can't believe how much I can love someone I haven't met.

A while back, I shared some favorite baby items I found on Etsy. I had such a fun time scouring the website for the sweetest monograms and smartest designs that I thought I'd give it another go.

Can be pink or blue!


Jellycat has the best stuffed animals and I'm quite partial to the bunnies. These would be such a sweet Easter basket add-in for a little one. Or anytime—our baby is going to have a cream one at some point soon, promise you that!

The whole shop has the sweetest monogrammed clothing. This one comes in a jon jon style, too! And how precious is this?


Sweetest pillow in the world, I think. Perfect for a baby boy or girl, although it also comes in pink.

Previous updates: 
pregnancy announcement  |   14 weeks  |   16 weeks  |   18 weeks  |   20 weeks  |  23 weeks  |  27 weeks


recent outfits I've worn at 29 weeks

Wore this outfit for some errands the other day.... and wore the exact same thing yesterday if I'm being honest! It's just easy and comfortable, but pulled together. The only thing that is maternity are the j brand mama maternity jeans. Wore them with this blouse (size small), a f21 sweater (under $13!), the GiGi NY Olivia Shopper bag (comes in brown too!), this pendant necklace, a Cluse watch,  and some trusty loafers that are old C. Wonder but these from Sole Society are similar! 

Went to dinner at Virginia's with some girlfriends on Saturday night. It was so, so good. I wore this Vince dress, which runs small in my opinion (I sized up even with buying it before I started showing!). Paired it with this Hyla Dewitt necklace, which has been on major repeat. Booties are so comfortable—they are Rowen and on big sale! Bag is from here, but this is similar and on sale! Oh, and these maternity tights are the best and super cheap. Mix of Vahan bracelets and David Yurman.

This was the night sweatpants became my best friend. These jogger pants can be dressed up or down—they have silver zippers at the bottom! That is the universal sign for versatility in my book. They are also on big sale right now. I wore them with these rowen booties, a favorite denim jacket, and this blouse. Ring is Julie Vos and the necklace and bracelet are both Hyla Dewitt.

One more outfit after the jump!


view from our weekend

Rainy morning relaxation on Saturday. I love this mug.

A sweet surprise from my friends at Murad.

The ugliest/cutest lamb I've ever seen from RH Baby.

Filmed an everyday makeup tutorial using these products—mostly Beautycounter. Coming soon!

Hit up Celadon for their 20% off storewide sale. We really need a glider for the baby's room. Didn't buy this, but I love the look!

But I did get this amazing candle.

...and these hand-stamped pillows! 

Folly Beach on Sunday. It's one of our favorite places and we haven't been in so long. It was beautiful, but cold, and there were girls on the beach in bikinis! We had brunch at Rita's (like, the best/worst thing you could possibly eat—I described it here) and took a walk on the pier.

29 weeks belly! 

My jeans are j. brand maternity, top is express, scarf is topshop, shoes are hush puppies, and glasses are karen walker.


smith & cult nail polish review (5-free!)

The polish in the pretty packaging. That's all I really knew about Smith & Cult nail polishes, but when I learned that they are 5-free, I had to give the brand a second look. Five free means that these polishes are not formulated with Dibutyl, Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor. You've probably heard of "3-free" before, at least. That means the nail polish doesn't contain the first three things I listed above. That should be your bare minimum in terms of safety, by the way. OPI, Essie, Butter London, Deborah Lippmann, etc. fall into this category!

So now that I've switched to safer, I had to try out this Smith & Cult brand. I've tried their lip glosses before and was amazed. Featured one in my favorites here, actually. 

The first thing you're probably going to want to know about these fancy little polishes is the price. They are $18 each, which I agree is a lot for a nail polish, but these have the value to match. Promise. The formula is so smooth and creamy—never lumpy and streaky. The color payoff is perfectly opaque, which I can't say for a lot of other brands that are so sheer and never end up looking the way the bottle depicts. And the bottle/packaging? It so pretty that it makes it hard to just buy one.

I tried three different colors— Ghost Edit, The Graduate, and Lovers Creep, which are pictured left to right below.
Ghost Edit (left) is a peachy nude that makes your nails look healthy and bright. The Graduate (middle) is a warm grey that's definitely a neutral, but gives you something a little extra if you grow tired of basic nudes. Lovers Creep (right) is my favorite kind of burgundy—dark and rich. I wore it on Christmas Eve, which I showed y'all here.

I also tried the top coat, Above it All. It's an extremely glossy protective seal.

Overall, I love these polishes so much that I can't see myself using another brand, even without considering how safe these polishes are compared to the other ones that I own. I'm pretty terrible at doing my own nails at home and prefer to get them done by a professional (I mean, who doesn't?), but I've never been able to swallow the expense of constantly having them done by a salon, so I save that for when I have a special occasion. Even then, I will probably take these polishes with me to the salon because it's kind of gross when you think about how many people get their nails painted with any given bottle of salon polish. Ok, those are things I just can't think about—ha! Now I am just giving myself more excuses to buy these polishes. The next ones I'd love to own are Fauntleroy, Regret the Moon, and Kundalini Hustle, the perfect poppy red. 

Have you tried Smith & Cult? By the way, Zoya is also 5-free, but it sometimes feels a little lumpy to me. What do you think?


websites I keep on repeat

Week by week, there are certain websites I visit on repeat—they are tried and true favorites. I always find it interesting to learn what other bloggers and creative professionals keep typing into their browsers every day, so I thought I'd share which ones I can't go too many days without! 

Of course, there are the givens. Facebook to keep up with friends and family, Blogger because that's where my blog started and I don't do well with change, and gmail because I have five separate email accounts and this is the best way I've found to keep them straight in one place. I've tried websites like evernote and various scheduling types of websites to keep you on task, but I really don't care for them. I find that I get more distracted with the more places I have my "to-do's" listed, so I write everything down in a planner (this one is my favorite). I'm also a big fan of internet bookmarks—I put websites into bookmark categories all day long. I have a category for "Baby Stokes," one for our new house, and so on. I also use the "reading list" (which comes on any Safari browser) every day. Whenever I find an article I want to go back and read, into the reading list it goes. 

Here are some other websites I keep on repeat.

I check them out every day to see the current sale events, since new items are constantly being added and it's all expertly curated. OKL is also a great site to go to for inspiration—the stories in their style section are so good. I've found many of my favorite home tours there. Here are a few pretty things I spotted on the website yesterday: this mirror, these stylish matchboxes, and this jute tote.

If you haven't jumped on this email newsletter yet, it's high time you do. Watching the news depresses me and I don't have time to sift through tons of articles to find out what's going on in the world. If you're like me, you'll love theSkimm.

Definitely one of my go-to's for furniture and decor. The prices are always right and the selection is huge. Here are some things on the site right now: the perfect pajamas for the season, a pouf like the one I had some people ask about on my instagram pic here (although it looks much darker online, doesn't it?), and an antique grey rattan stool that would be the perfect partner to any accent chair. 

amazon  |
I'm sure most of you agree with me that amazon is like internet gold, right? I place on order on there almost once a week—coffee table books, decor, shoes, cotton balls... you name it. We should play a game... let me know in the comments what the most random thing you've ever ordered from Amazon is! 

Since being pregnant, I've definitely been a little lazier getting out of bed in the mornings...meaning I'm less tired at night and am usually up pinning on my iPad while getting sleepy. Especially with us getting started on some house projects, I'm digging deep for inspiration! 

unroll.me  |  
Might not visit this website as often as the others, but I have to share because this is by far the easiest way to clean up your inbox. Somehow, I keep getting signed up for countless junk emails and this is a great way to unsubscribe all at once.

nordstrom  |
This is my favorite shopping website. I jump right to the contemporary section and am able to see what's trending now. If you're logged in, they also monitor your previous purchases and have a section of recommendations especially for you. Right now there are tons of spring collections being released, which has me itching for warm weather already. I swear it was just in the 80s a week or so ago and I was so over it!

buzzfeed  |
Because sometimes you need a little randomness to break up your day. 
What are your most visited websites? Oops, I did leave off Pandora. When I'm accessing the website (as opposed to the app), it's usually because I want some background music for working. My favorite station is probably "Beast of Burden" radio. Let me know what your favorites are!


pop of poppy // what i wore

outfit details:
jacket (similar)  /  sweater (big sale!)  /  leggings  /  bag  /  boots  /  necklace  /  ring 
beanie (similar for $7! and here)  /  sunglasses

makeup worn:
bareMinerals complexion rescue in #3 for the SPF  /  beautycounter tint skin in sand, with this brush—always!
rms living luminizer on my cheekbones as a highlight  /  beautycounter lip sheer in twig

Poppy red is one of my favorite colors to wear. It's so fun and bright, but stays classic at the same time. Plus, it can easily be paired with basic grey and blacks with ease. The coat I'm wearing in the photos above is J. Crew, but from a year or two ago. They keep this color in rotation with their current coats, though. Like this one—it's gorgeous and the exact same color as mine. Also love this one, which is on major sale right now and you can take an additional 40% off with code MUSTSHOP.

My sweater has been on repeat over and over lately. I bought it in a medium so that it would grow with me during pregnancy, but I'll still be able to wear it next year when I get back to normal size since it's supposed to look oversized. It was $70 and is on sale right now for less than $20, so it's a great time to scoop it up! Also comes in green.

As for the rest of my outfit details... this bag by GiGi New York. It comes with a strap to make it a crossbody, but I love carrying it the way you're seeing above. The straps are long enough to go over your shoulder too, so that's basically a triple win. I've used it every single day since I got it about a month or two ago. I honestly love it more than I can remember loving any other bag. 

I pulled out my 5050 boots for the first time this season. It just hasn't been cold enough to wear them until now. The best part is that the boots come up high enough to cover the fact that I am wearing capri-length leggings! These maternity leggings have been my savior. The necklace is Hyla Dewitt's Catalina Pendant. The right hand ring is another long time favorite by Julie Vos in moonstone. My beanie is old, but here's a similar one for $7—oh and this one, too. Glasses are by Prada and although I'm not certain, I think these are the "new version" of mine since mine are basically ancient by now. I think I bought mine in 2011. Prada glasses always fit me so well. I really, really love these.

Today is the first day of my third trimester! Thanks for all of your well wishes last week. I am feeling a lot better now, but still taking it easy so that I don't end up in the hospital a third night. Twice is enough. Come on baby, 83 more days! 


target wins again

Know how everyone says you can't go into Target without spending $100? I agree with that, by the way. They really got me with all of the marked down decorations after Christmas. I bought a ton of ornaments for the baby's tree that will be in his nursery next year, a new tree skirt, wrapping paper, and just a ton of stuff I really didn't need to buy, but the Target curse was upon me and I couldn't help it.

I feel the same way about their website. There are so many things online that I never have seen in the store. I pretty much fell in love with everything below. Ever since getting India Hicks: Island Life for Christmas and looking at it cover to cover about 30 times, I have been even more obsessed with that bohemian/island glam look than I was before. I love mixing in pieces like these with classic and traditional furniture. 

1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6   /  7  /  8  /  9  /  10  /  11  /  12  /  13


new to sale favorites

I've been spending way too much time online shopping the past two days because I've been in bed trying to rest and recover from some pregnancy complications. I basically have a combination of things going on—one being muscle spasms from not taking it easy enough lately. The doctors believe I've slightly torn some muscles in my belly. That paired with an infection and a very uncomfortable position the baby has put himself in have just been NOT fun to say the least. I spent two nights in the ER to get all of this figured out ...the first night I was told to rush there to make sure I wasn't in preterm labor. So incredibly scary, but the babe is appearing to be perfectly healthy! 

The silver lining is that since I've been taking it easy throughout the past few days, I've had more time to just lay here and really notice all of his movements, which I love. Also, I've had way too much time to look at online stores! Shopbop is always on my radar and I found some great things in their sale section that were just added to the bunch. It's all 20-70% off!

Here's what I'm loving:


27 week pregnancy update + nursery tidbits/peeks

How far along? 27 weeks + 2 days

Baby’s size? About 15 inches and over 2 pounds.

Name: I haven't decided whether to keep it a secret on my blog or to announce it! I kind of just want to let everyone know once he is here. But I will say that it starts with a W. :) 

Favorite Maternity clothes? Aside from my J. Brand maternity jeans, I've been living in these maternity leggings, which I have in black but they are only available in gray now. Guess others like them, too! They are nice and thick. I bought these for dressier days, but haven't worn them yet. I've been loving these long sleeve shirts because of how soft they are. The whole Gap Maternity line is pretty great and the price doesn't make me feel guilty. 

Movement: He has been a little wiggly worm lately and the moves are feeling bigger and bigger.  I wish I felt him at all times because it's just a comfort to me. Next week I will start my movement counting, where I take one hour at night and am supposed to feel him move at least 15 times. My doctor said I should feel that within the first 15 minutes.

Food cravings: No particular cravings, but still loving those cheeseburgers and sweets. 

Feeling? Lots of energy and overall, pretty great. But I can't lie and tell you that I haven't felt uncomfortable at the same time. I thank God every day for allowing me to be pregnant and I know this is probably the best experience I will ever go through, but I just wish I felt more like myself. I didn't understand how women could possibly have a single negative thought about pregnancy until now that I'm going through it myself. I'm trying to find that "pregnancy glow" that I see in other people, but I feel like I've been on the opposite end of the spectrum during the past two weeks. I wouldn't say I'm having a tough pregnancy, but it has just been trying at times. I've found myself at the doctor and pharmacy many times getting medicine for this and medicine for that. Uncomfortable things. The extra weight is hard on my joints and my back aches at all times. Pretty sure my hips are out of place, too, because it hurts to lay down. But it's all worth it—I would gladly take these pains any day if that means being able to be a mommy. I'm just keeping it real with y'all so that it doesn't look like I'm painting a picture of rainbows and butterflies, when in my heart I sometimes feel a little different. I feel so blessed to be pregnant—please don't misunderstand my words! I'm just ready for our precious boy to be here in our arms and off of my  bladder! I can't wait to see who he looks like. I'm sure I will forget all about the emotional and physical discomforts once he is here and then I will probably miss being pregnant. Being a woman is tough, haha! 

Baby Goodies Acquired: 

Remember when I mentioned that I had artwork commissioned by Way Way Allen for his nursery? I had the two paintings framed by Framebridge and it was a super easy process. I just went on their website, picked out my frame, and told them how big my artwork was. Then a couple days later, special packaging arrived at my doorstep along with a label to ship the artwork to them! Before I knew it, I had an email from someone at Framebridge letting me know of another option I had for framing if I wanted it. I thought this was such a nice touch that they took the time to offer a personal suggestion. Then about a week later, the framed artwork was on my front porch. I am totally keeping this company in my back pocket for future projects. The price was right and I honestly couldn't ask for a more streamlined process. You can save 10% off your Framebridge order with code HOLYCITYCHIC.

I'm in love with the way it all turned out. 

I have a few other things laying around for his nursery. The wooden fish was carved by hand in Indonesia. We picked it up at Celadon (they just opened up their website for shopping!). I would have loved to have bought every single one of the fish they had in stock to put all together on a wall. Nothing but fish. I would love that.

The Ballard Designs mirror is not in stock anymore on their website. Oh, you better believe that if it were, I would buy about three more. It's by far my favorite piece of wall decor that I own. I would love to put it in our front room/formal living room, but the baby is getting it. :)

And because there was a lot of realness in this post already, here's the dumping ground that will soon be a nursery. I don't know what color the walls are or what color they will be, but we will be painting them. I do like this current color, though. We have it all throughout this house. 

We bought the Ikea Hemnes three drawer dresser and updated the pulls with ones from Anthropologie. They have the best knobs. The ones we bought are no longer online, but I am seriously loving these. And these are probably the most precious knobs I've ever seen.

I can't wait to have our family of three all together. Well, four. Can't forget about my Winston.

Previous updates: 

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