RMI school children in Haiti
2019 was quite a year! One of our very favorite things about our job has always been you, the community, and your desire to make the world a better place. It truly is about so much more than pretty dresses. Your support has radically improved the lives of women and children all over the world, and our dream is to keep growing in order to keep giving. Take a look at the impact your purchases have made in the last year:
Mighty Acorn Foundation:
In 2019 we were honored to donate dresses and finalist prize packages for the Snapped for a Cause fundraiser that was able to generate over $50,000 for The Mighty Acorn Foundation this year. Established in 2013, this organization is currently working in Kenya to "restore hearts, ignite dreams, and empower the futures of children across the world". We are so thankful for each person who contributed to this life changing event.
Snapped for a Cause photo shoot fun!
Giving Hope NOLA:
For the second consecutive year, we were blessed to partner with Giving Hope, where the simple mission to "give glory to God and promote human dignity" is one that fuels our passion. The organization is involved in numerous outreach programs that aim to feed, clothe, house, and provide fellowship to those in need. More specifically, our donation will aid in the completion of an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, currently under construction. What an honor to change lives in such a tangible way! THANK YOU for caring!
Reciprocal Ministries International (RMI):
In 2019, both Shannon and I felt deeply compelled to give to an organization that would improve the lives of children in Haiti. However, as we neared the end of the year, we still had not found the right one. The very morning before our weekly meeting to finalize, we received an email from a friend and fellow business owner, apprehensively asking several companies to consider donating to RMI-- an email she felt called to send, regardless of how awkward it felt. What a blessing that was! Upon reading more, we both knew this was the opportunity we were looking for! Through several initiatives, and by employing and empowering a Haitian team on the ground level, RMI is able to feed over 10,000 school children per day, in addition to providing over 700,000 meals to needy families each year. Our contribution was instrumental in keeping their humanitarian programs running during a very tumultuous time in their history.
RMI School Lunch Program
In what seemed like the perfect end to a year of giving, we were presented with an opportunity to contribute to Coreluv, whose primary goal is to defend the orphan. Our donation will directly aid in the construction of a special needs orphanage, the first of its kind in Haiti. Built and designed with these beautiful children in mind, it will provide not only a home, but hope, joy, and a future. On a personal level, we feel incredibly blessed to have been given this divine opportunity, with both adoption and special needs playing a major role in our lives in 2019. We cannot thank YOU enough for supporting our brands and making this all possible.
A legacy, to quote Coreluv founder, Mike Reiszner, "is a future without you, still influenced by you." There's a chance none of us will see the full manifestation of our giving during this lifetime... but those touched by your generosity will feel its impact for generations to come. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
A Christmas in our family just wouldn't be the same without some of Aunt Heart's favorite sweet treats. This year the color of our Emily dress reminded us so much of pecan pralines, one of her specialties, that we've decided to share the recipe for this famous Louisiana confection with you! Just a head's up... it's basically like eating a handful of sugar, so in all honesty it's not my favorite treat to eat... but making them brings back memories and that makes it worth the calories ;)
P.S. Adding another recipe that we (and our kids) like even more!
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 1 1/4 cups white sugar
- 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk or half & half
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans (raw pecans can be used, but toasting makes them more flavorful)
- Prepare your countertop or table surface with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Cut butter into 1 inch pieces (roughly) and freeze butter for at least 10 minutes.
- In a sauce pan, combine evaporated milk with white and brown sugars and cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches "soft ball"* stage- or about 232 to 236 F with a candy thermometer.
- Remove from burner and stir in the frozen butter. Add pecans and mix until no longer shiny. Careful here- it stiffens quickly.
- Spoon mounds onto paper. It should spread slightly.
- Let candy stand until firm. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
* Candy thermometer will work best, but Aunt Heart taught us to test for "soft ball" stage by dropping a small amount of the mixture into cold water. Once in water, it should form a small, soft ball. If its not ready, the sugar mixture will disperse into the water.
* Making candy can be a little tricky. If your recipe turns out less than perfect, it can still be saved! Crumble and serve over vanilla ice cream!
Named for the use of graham crackers, traditionally "cracked" into pieces... but also for its extremely addictive nature.
- 24 graham crackers
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Heat oven to 350 F
- Arrange graham crackers in a single layer large pan
- In a sauce pan, heat brown sugar and butter to boiling. Boil for 1 minute, stirring continuously.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecan pieces.
- Pour mixture over graham crackers and spread evenly.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Sugar mix should be slightly bubbly.
- Allow crackers to cool and then cut into squares.
As we approach the Christmas season, I’m overcome with so many conflicting emotions... Thanks, frustration, love, longing- but most of all I’m overcome with hope. This year was a hard one, one that came so unexpectedly. As many of you know, and some may not, last year we welcomed baby Ezra into the world just weeks before Christmas... our seventh child. As we prepared for his birth, I just knew that God had a big purpose for his life. His wasn’t a “planned” pregnancy on our part, but he was always meant to be part of God’s larger design. While nothing could have prepared me for what came on December 11, 2018, God’s plan was set in motion long before that day. I suffered a complete uterine rupture that left our little guy without oxygen and blood flow for a period of time and resulted in damage to his brain. We both could have lost our lives that day but it would not be the end for us.
The hard hospital days in the weeks after Ezra's birth
Instead it was the beginning of a new journey, one we are still learning to navigate day by day. This new experience has brought me (quite literally) to my knees on so many occasions. The road we are on with Ezra is a long one, yet I feel such hope as we get closer to 2020. While the end of last year felt so dark, I’m able to see flickers of light now.
Cousins meeting for the first time
2018 / 2019 were hard years for our Well Dressed Wolf team as well. In addition to the unexpected and traumatic birth of Ezra, the world tragically lost an amazing young man to a terrible disease.
Mason, Beverly’s son, who’ll always be loved and remembered
All of it made working harder for everyone, with our heads, hearts, and bodies all over the place. We struggled through loss and pain, and in doing so watched our team and the amazing WDW community pull together and push through. It was truly an inspiration to behold. When I was unable to see beyond the minute that I was in, Sarah so lovingly and graciously continued on in my absence, all while having a newly adopted baby of her own, supporting and encouraging me along the way. The dresses you see this Christmas season are in large part thanks to her- and I’m so proud of every single piece! Our team has grown in number and rallied together like never before and WE MADE IT THROUGH and I am so grateful for each and every one of them.
As we journey into the new year, I’m reminded of the words from a favorite Christmas song:
“a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn...”
I really can see that new and glorious morn on the horizon... and boy, is it beautiful. We are so excited to show you our Christmas collections this year... they remind me that God CAN bring beauty from ashes! We hope you love everything as much as we do ♥️
Having spent the last Christmas in the hospital, I've never been happier to be home for the holidays. We pray that our "Home for the Holidays" Christmas collection fills your heart with joy and hope this season.
* written and contributed by Shannon *
God Bless you & happy holidays,
Shan, Sarah, and the Well Dressed Wolf team
Our advent calendar features 25 banners embroidered to represent each part of the Christmas story. Fill back pockets with small treats, encouraging notes, holiday activities, or kind "deeds" to accomplish.
We encourage you to read the Christmas story and discuss the meaning behind each banner. We can't wait to see how you use it to bring the Christmas season to life.
Below is the basic meaning behind each banner:
1- The first Noel: celebrating the birth of Jesus and the first Christmas
2- Represents the angel Gabriel who appeared to Mary to tell her that she will carry the son of God
3- Luke 1:28-31 “The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.’”
4- 5 At first, Mary and Joseph were scared and confused by her pregnancy. Angels brought them peace with news of the impending birth of Jesus
6- A census was issued ordering people back to their homes in order to be counted
7- Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem for census
8- The journey to Bethlehem was hard and tiresome
9- Mary & Joseph had faith that God was in control. They had no proof that things would work out but they believed.
10- Luke 2:7 “and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them”
11- Angels appeared to the shepherds watching their flocks, exclaiming the upcoming birth of Jesus
12- 13- Luke 2:13-14 “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’”
14- The shepherds believe and travel to meet Jesus
15- Jesus, the Hope of the world, is found wrapped in swaddling cloths in a manger
16- 21 The wisemen saw the brightest star and followed it to the newborn king with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh
22- Joy of the world- Jesus will bring joy to all of the world
23- The star sat over the manger where Jesus was born- and the wisemen came to worship him
24- Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”
25- Christmas Day- the nativity!
For those of you who don't know, Beverly is your go-to for anything and everything customer service related. She is wise and wonderful, kind hearted and loving. She puts her whole heart into her work, but is even more passionate about her number one job: motherhood. Two days ago, her courageous firstborn, Mason, lost his battle with cancer. Like all of you, we wanted to help immediately and felt completely powerless to do that.
But God truly cares about the details. It's beautiful to watch how he weaves circumstances in ways we don't expect or even fully understand. Early feedback on our recently released Fall/Winter maxi dresses was that they were perfect for Spring. It also happened that many boxes were running late in transit. Worried they might not arrive in time for our delivery deadline and armed with the Springtime perception, we made the unprecedented decision to change course and sell the remainder later in the year. In a similar twist of fate, we unexpectedly received an extra shipment of Omi Jo "Magic" tunic sets months after their original release. Those first "Magic" sets were named in honor of Beverly’s precious children when we learned of Mason’s diagnosis.
This season can only be described as Winter for Bev & her family. Yet Mason’s legacy WILL bloom into Spring and beyond. His story, his life, his legacy will live on and on. And waiting in our warehouse is a dress designed for Winter but headed for Spring & a late-but-perfectly-timed tunic (in all three colors) named in honor of the Wilson family.
Many have asked how you can help. Your prayers are coveted. Your kind words are like a healing balm. And if you planned to donate, these dresses have now arrived in full and 100% of net proceeds will be contributed to the family. While it will never heal their unimaginable loss, we hope it will ease some of the burden. We love you so much, sweet Wilson family. Mason will never be forgotten. #masonwilsonstrong
Sarah, Shannon, and the WDW & Omi Jo team
P.S. 100% of net proceeds on any other Omi Jo or Wildling sales made today will also benefit the Wilson family.