Meet my mom!
This incredible woman beat breast cancer last year and look at her now — she’s glowing! I just want to jump up and down when I look at these pictures — they make my heart beyond happy.
I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot this week. After her battle with cancer last year, Mother’s Day feels monumental this year. I’m so grateful for her.
If I could distill all her wisdom and grace into a single sentence, it would be this:
She makes people feel valuable.
I’ve noticed it countless times over my life.
With her fellow teachers. With her students. With her chemo nurses. With the checkout girl at the grocery. With her best friend. With someone she just met.
If someone is in her path, she’s going to give them the gift of being valued.
She’s been a teacher since I was in middle school, and I always remember how she’d befriend the “outsider” kids and, over the course of the school year, she’d let them know they were Valuable with a capital V.
You might think that it would be a complex and complicated process. But all it took were simple + small actions.
Stuff like making eye contact and smiling. Lending a listening ear for a few minutes. Following up to see how things were going. Remembering someone’s name. Remembering birthdays. Giving grace instead of jumping to conclusions.
Those simple + small actions added up over time and made a big difference.
And you know what’s amazing? To this day, her previous students will still come up to her + hug her + thank her for changing their lives.
It’s amazing. And it makes me so proud.
So now — when I’m out and about, doing my daily life stuff — I ask myself:
How can I value people today?
And I think of my mom. <3
02 | Pants by Splendid (made in USA)
03 | Shoes by Lucky Brand
04 | Bag by Fossil (old) | similar by FashionABLE (socially responsible + empowers women)
01 | Dress c/o Everlane (socially responsible)
03 | Necklace by Madewell (old) | same necklace by Madewell in blue | similar necklace by Madewell in gold
04 | Bag c/o ONA
So tell me, what’s your favorite thing your mom ever taught you?
P.S If you want a bonus post today, head over to the Cladwell blog where I wrote a guest post: 11 ways to repurpose your unwanted clothes
Your mom is the cuteness. And her outfit is fantastic of course – timeless, comfortable, and classic! Her advice is a great reminder on how simple kindnesses benefit everyone, including yourself (avoiding a rush to judgement = less anger and frustration, etc). Lovely :)
Oh Caroline!! These pics are such a treasure. Too sweet. Love to you and mama bird. xoxoxoxoxo
this is so beautiful! You both look so happy in these pictures, it put a smile on my face! Happy mothers day to your mom! Very sweet photoshoot :)
I LOVE your dress! So simple and elegant!
Pam Looney says
What a precious mom you have. Thanks for also spotlighting clothing for those older women (like me) who love to follow your blog!
Wow Caroline! You two look amazing. I’m so proud of your mom for kicking cancer’s arse! You both look so happy. My mum taught me to follow my heart and do the things that make me happy. She’s the business and I love her to bits. Gemma xx
Gemma, I’m proud of my mom for that too. And I love what your mom taught you :) xo, Caroline
Your mom is the cutest!
Best thing my mom taught me: how to cook, clean, and be a hostess. Hospitality!
Caroline, all super important things! Go mom! :) xo, Caroline
This is gorgeous, you and your mum have a special bond. I don’t have that but I can recognise it in others and think it’s so lovely. I do however have lessons from my mother, and that is to slow down, enjoy life, be empathetic to others needs and listen.
Carla, all beautiful life lessons. xo, Caroline
As a person who turns 51 very soon I too appreciate the photos of a more ahem, mature person and would to hear more about ideas that suit my age range. Love these pics. Just too sweet.
When you get new neighbors, welcome them with a jar of homemade jam.
Elaine, that is too cute! :) xo, Caroline
Your mom is beautiful!
Maia, I think so too! :) xo, Caroline
Stefanie Murrer says
First off – the pictures alone made my heart well up. It is clearly evident the love and joy you two share. Your mom has such a beautiful gaze. Makes me want to be friends with her. And then reading your post – it makes me smile. My mom has a similar thing that I’ve only just started to see/appreciate. She will strike up a conversation with anyone. It’s typical when visiting, it takes us twice as long to do anything because of how much she talks to others. She has always gone out of her way to love others – truly and genuinely. I don’t even think my mom would get it if someone was trying to be hurtful to her. She does the right thing and when asked why, she’ll say something like “because it’s the right thing to do.” Her love is so simple and yet so powerful. As I age, I can only hope to be more like her.
Stefanie, what a beautiful tribute to your own mom. Hope you tell her these things too! :) xo, Caroline
Wow, thank you so much for sharing this Caroline! Your mom is indeed a beautiful woman and is very inspiring too!
I think the best thing my mom has taught me is to always look for ways to bless + serve others.
This is so beautiful Caroline! Really glad your Mom is recovered, and doing well! You said it so well, my Mom is the same way too, and I try so hard to be like her: leaving good tips, knowing cashiers and baristas’s names at places I go, being kind to myself, and family at home… It really is the little things. ❤️
Making people feel valuable is an amazing gift, and you’re lucky to live in that orbit. :) Your post made me cry. In a good way. I miss my mom, but if I had to pick one thing she taught me it was how important friends are. She had friends from every single phase of her life, and she was incredibly welcoming to my friends, too. Decades ago, when her neighbor-friend was sick with cancer, she went over and just lay down next to her in bed. Mom never told me this, the neighbor never told me. The neighbor’s husband told me, with tears in his eyes (imagine a big burly Greek man welling up with emotion, that’s the impact my mom had).
I hope to be a friend like my mom. I’ve got a lot of work to do.
Maureen, what a wonderful lady she must have been. Hugs. xo, Caroline.
Love this! Thank you:-)
Oh, I love this. Your words about your mom inspire me; it’s easy to forget these things that are most important in the stress of everyday life. As for my mom, she is incredibly selfless, generous, smart, and graceful in spirit, and I try to be more like her! She is also a breast cancer survivor (of more than 10 years!) and I’m so grateful to have her around.
Emily, congrats to her!! We are so lucky. xo, Caroline
I’m only in my twenties but I’m seriously loving your mom’s style! It shows how timeless style can be too. Of course I love your look as well! :) Thanks for both the looks and the stories Caroline!
Really cute, your mom seems to be a great person!
xx, Chloe // http://stylebychloe.com
You and your mother are so lovely <3
Best wishes from Germany!
Your mum looks fabulous, and so healthy! She’s just glowing.
Ah, I love reading this. My mom worked as a teacher too, and I remember once when she was out sick, another pupil at my grade school came up to me and asked when she was coming back. When I said I didn’t know, the disappointment was written all over her face! Moments like that (I’m proud to say, one of many) has shown me what an important job she has done in the schools, and is an inspiration for me now that I work as a teacher myself. How wonderful to put this into the notion of *making people feel valuable*. It is so important! Thank you for sharing this.
These photos are the absolute cuteness! You two look beautiful and your mom sounds just like an amazingly kind and caring woman, and a really strong one too! Way too much love in these photos so thank you for sharing them with us, it really gave me a huge smile to read that post <3
Liyana Aris says
What a beautiful post, Caroline, I loved reading it. And your mom looks absolutely beautiful here – you two make quite the pair!
As for my mom, she teaches me how to be selfless; not through words, but through her daily actions. Her patience is simply unrivalled. I constantly, constantly wish I could be more like her!
KErry Mossler says
Love this! Thanks for sharing! xo
Your mum is beautiful and I am so inspired to read about her influence on so many of her students, she is a true pearl.
Marie @ The Business of Blooming says
It’s so beautiful that you admire your mom so much. I’m so happy you can celebrate Mother’s Day with her :)
Jan Tymorek says
That’s so lovely and loving, and way more powerful than the clothes :-) It’s clear she made YOU feel valued too. You are lucky to have (and appreciate) each other.
And I thank you for sharing such a wonderful lesson on what’s important in life, and makes this world a better place.
Sarah wAtts says
Such great news about your mom! She’s just gorgeous! Also gorgeous is your dress! If it’s not too personal would you mind sharing your size/height so I can gauge for ordering?
Hey Sarah, I don’t mind sharing! It’s an XS. :) xo, Caroline
Lana @ the joy blog says
I’m so happy she beat the cancer demon! My mother sadly did not. Hers was a brain tumor and we lost her in 2014. I’ve thought a lot about her words of wisdom ever since, especially because I’ve had to feign advice to myself as if it’s coming from her, now. It’s wonderful to be blessed by having amazing mother’s isn’t it?
The two things that come to mind are her ability to make things fun. We always played. She was queen of just hanging out and chatting. We went on adventures together and she encouraged our creativity as children and adults. She was a talented singer and musician, and was beloved by our entire small town. So much so there were 400+ people at her funeral!
The other is how forgiveness is vital to our happiness. She forgave even the hardest things because the baggage a grudge makes you carry can destroy your life!
Tell your mom, from me, that I am over the moon for her recovery! And so happy for you all.
Lana, I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounds like a great lady and I’m glad you have those wonderful lessons to carry with you. Hope you have a peaceful Mother’s Day and find joy in the memories. xo, Caroline
Adria knol says
Caroline, thanks so much for sharing these beautiful photos and stories about your mom. She is a special lady (as are you)! My mom has recently been fighting her second battle with cancer, and we’re so fortunate to have gotten some great news yesterday about her latest CT scan & blood work — no signs of active cancer! Just in time for Mother’s Day. My family is on cloud nine. Enjoy the holiday with your sweet mom and thanks again for the lovely post!
Oh Adria! That is so great!! Happy dance :) xo, Caroline
Your mom’s classic style, combined with her rich life experience, would make for some interesting guest posts. I’d love to see more of her on your blog; she seems like she has a lot to share… especially for your more mature audience : )
I look both of your outfits as they look very comfy and clean. I like those mules!
Respect to your mom!
Kate M says
Ah Caroline, these are such beautiful photos! Your mother is a beautiful woman and her strength and wisdom shine through in such a radiant way.
Also, quick and very non-important question, what size are you wearing of the Everlane dress? You look almost exactly my size and I’m stuck trying to decide whether XS or S would be a good fit. Thanks in advance!
your home is so lovely! can we have a home tour? :)
Rachel Moore says
This is precious! Such a sweet idea. Thanks for sharing!
all of my love to you two! thank you for sharing.
Leeann Rohde says
So Cute! Thanks for sharing
I love these outfits! I am also jealous of your mom’s hair. It looks fabulous! Mine is just a couple inches long after chemo last fall and I can’t wait to actually have a “style.”
The biggest lesson I believe was never settling for mediocre. She is a single parent by choice and is one of the happiest people I know. Growing up and watching her thrive without a partner gave me the confidence to be a happy thriving single myself. Unlike some of my girlfriends who dated for the sake of not being “alone”, I chose to wait until it felt truly right and not make it a priority. It was worth the wait and I have my mother to thank for me meeting the love of my life.
La cALEYA says
I definitely LOVE your blog, colours, pictures, everything seems so beautiful and in harmony! <3
Lovely words for a mum :)
Ginny Fisher says
What lovely pictures! Your mom definitely has been the source of your blog full of wisdom and simple grace. Hope you have many years of great memories and laughter with good health always.
Beautiful ladies, classic style. I see where you getbyour timeless beauty.
I am just starting my teaching career, but I hope that is what people say about me at throughout my careeer – that I made students feel valued. The greatest and simplest gift we can give and yet so often it is not given. Happy Mothers Day and Teacher Appreciation Week!
So happy for your Mom and your whole family. What a strong sweet lady!
My darling Mum is battling round three of her her cancer. I look at your Mum and I see hope. Also a lady with great style;-)
When my Mum is up to it I think a mini “makeover” and some serious spoiling is in order.
After all, our Mums are super special.
Great blog xxx
Sara, what a great idea to make your mom feel special after all you guys have been through! :) Love it! xo, Caroline
I am one of your followers from overseas (The Netherlands). I really like your style (as many Dutch women :)). Good to read that your mom survived breast cancer. Gratitude and value others are the important things in life! Wise woman your mother :). I had breast cancer 15 years ago and I survived. But since 2,5 months I know I have cancer again. It developed in my other breast (completely new cancer) and this time I will not survive it. Hopefully I will be around for 2 more years. And now…. live life to the max! And live life in and with love! And I am blessed… surrounded by love! I will not beat cancer this time, but mentally and spiritually cancer will not beat me! Take care and be close to whom you love!
Jowen, it is heartbreaking to read — but thank you so much for sharing your story. My greatest hope is that you accomplish everything you set your heart to!! You will be in our thoughts. xo, Caroline
I’m so happy and grateful that your mom recovered I followed your blog just when you moved back to your hometown and it broke my heart to see you and your family suffer!!! I’m really so happy for you guys send all my blessings and love to your mamma from a teeny tiny town called Tunis in North Africa
Katou, thanks for the kind words. We are all so grateful for her recovery! :) xo, Caroline
Diane Negron says
Great to hear! Hope you’re both doing well :) awesome outfits
Thank you so much for sharing this! Your mom seems so inspiring and you two are adorable. :)
Totally unrelated question – I own this dress as well but I find it to generate a lot of static cling! Do you have any tips for avoiding static cling with this dress? What works for you?
Hi Katrina! It sounds kind of silly, but I sometimes take a dryer sheet and wipe it along the inside and outside of the dress. That helps some. Or you can try an anti-static spray like Static Guard Fresh (available at any market). The last resort would simply be a light mist of water! Hope that helps :) xo, Caroline
The dryer sheet and the water are super helpful! Thank you. I find Static Guard has an absolutely horrible smell that I like to avoid, but maybe the Static Guard Fresh is better. Thank you so much! This dress looks great on you and I love Everlane. Can’t wait to wear mine!
I have looked at this post several times. I was wondering how you calculated your size for Everlane. I have looked at their clothing and am uncertain of what size to buy because they provide 1/2 measurements.
Hey Jacqui, I actually just took my best guess. Their clothing tends to run a little big (unless otherwise mentioned) and a lot of items have a loose fit anyway. But even that being considered, they will usually do free exchanges :) xo, Caroline
Marian Butcher says
Do you wear a slip under this dress? I recently purchased it and found the material to be completely see through. My husband could see my thong and my butt!!
Hi Caroline! I have been reading your blog for about 2 months and love it! I ordered this dress in navy and love it too! I’m wondering if you have hand washed it? I wore it yesterday for the first time and am trying to decide between hand washing and dry cleaning!
Hi Caroline! I am new here and I’m glad I found your blog. Your Mom is very beautiful inside and out. You are very lucky to have a mother like her. :)
Daniela Soriano says
This is such a beautiful post! You’ve got an awesome mom!
Hi Caroline! Thanks for you blog! What about a slip? I love this dress and have a similar one from Everlane but it is see though.