Whether relaxing at home with her family, publishing picture books and devotionals, or teaching about faith, Classic Sophisticated Mom on the Street Tara McClary Reeves has a style that shines.
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I'm a wife, mother, daughter, sister, patriot, award-winning children's book author, speaker, and passionate teacher of the joys and challenges that come with being a committed follower of Jesus Christ. I live in Williamsburg, VA with my husband Lee, and our three children: nineteen-year-old twins, Caroline and Daniel, and seven-year-old, Harrison.
Which three words best describe your style? Classic, sophisticated, sporty
Where are your favorite places to shop? I love boutiques. Three of my favorites are The Joggling Board in my hometown of Pawleys Island, SC; Mine by Sandy in Davidson, NC; and Three Sisters in Williamsburg, VA. Banana Republic is one of my go-to global apparel brands. I have broad shoulders and a long waist which their designers seem to understand.
Who’s your favorite style icon? Ivanka Trump’s style is admirable. Whether attending the annual pardoning of the turkey during November at the White House or appearing at a UN Security Council briefing in NYC, she always seems to know what to wear and when to wear it.
However, when it comes to the “iconic” status, I would choose Coco Chanel who popularized “the little black dress” and inspired elegance in fashion and fragrance.
What’s your best style advice? Never get too old for playing dress-up, and a string (or two) of pearls is always fitting.
What article of clothing/accessory would you not want to live without? Well, my engagement and wedding rings are never taken off, so I would have to say those. But it’s also hard for me to pass up a stylish pair of sunglasses.
Which trend would you want to see make a comeback? Hats. I am a proud American and would not want to live anywhere else in the world, but I hope to one day be invited to a British wedding just so I’d have an excuse to don a chic topper.
What should NEVER make a comeback? Neon clothing. I’m a writer so I can tolerate highlighter on paper - not on people.
What fashion/style did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos? Ha. I was 12-years-old when Lady Diana Frances Spencer married Prince Charles. Our family was on summer vacation in Durango, CO and I can remember awakening before sunrise to watch the royal wedding on television. A few years later, I decided to cut my hair like Princess Diana’s. Let’s say she could pull off the “page boy”. It just made me look like one.
What’s your best style secret? I’ll expound on Annie’s advice: You’re never fully dressed without a smile - or a pair of MAC #36 false lashes.
Stilettos or flats? I’m with Marilyn Monroe on this one: “I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!”
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family? I once overheard my husband quip to his friend: “My wife makes every day like Disney World in our home.” It is one of my all-time most heartening compliments and it wasn’t even said to me.
Truly, there are no other people I’d rather spend my time with than my hubby and our three children. And, yes, I’m writing this 6 weeks into a nation-wide “shelter in place” order. “Makin’ memories” is my mantra and we do it with gusto from family game nights, backyard scavenger hunts, to baking (and decorating) cookies in the kitchen.
What’s been your best family vacation? I’m a patriot so I’m biased to the beauty that is within our borders here in the grand ole’ USA. However, hands-down, my most memorable was taking our little ones to Normandy, France and walking where heroes tread during World War II. The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial should be on every United States’ citizen’s bucket list.
What’s your go-to family dinner? I’m much more of a slow cooker than an instant pot kinda girl. Plus, there are a lot of great teachable moments for our children on planning ahead and delayed gratification when cooking with a crockpot.
I’ll share my most simple and favored recipe: 1 package Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing & Recipe Mix; 1 Philadelphia cream cheese brick; 1 can cream of mushroom soup. Dump these three ingredients over 4-5 salted and peppered chicken breasts.
Turn on low before leaving for morning drop off and enjoy after evening dance practice. Serve with a yummy green salad and hot, crispy ciabatta bread.
What’s your favorite family restaurant?
There are many great restaurants where we currently reside in Williamsburg, VA. The Cheese Shop, Blue Talon, Lokal, and Aroma's are literally walking distance from our home and we frequent each one. Food for Thought's menu is diverse enough to delight the unique eaters in my family. Ingredients are fresh and organic, making this mother’s heart happy.
Best parenting advice: Attendees at baby showers always joke that children don’t come with an instruction manual, but I totally disagree. The Bible is a life-giving guide and the perfect parenting handbook for all ages and stages of development.
Parenting true confession: All three of our children have been delighted at the prospect of a loose tooth. Wiggly teeth, however, stress their mother out. I’ve pulled enough pearly whites to hear the roots crack and see the blood, and I’m hurting just typing about it. I feel the Tooth Fairy should be slipping some paper money under my pillow.
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch? Two of my longtime friends are Dallas and Amanda Jenkins. Our older children, Caroline and Daniel, actually attended prom together with their two oldest, Sam and Maya. Dallas is the creator, writer, and producer of The Chosen, the first-ever multi-season show about the life of Christ.
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be? Julie Andrews. I’m her biggest fan.
Actually, for my fiftieth birthday, our daughter Caroline tried to reach out to her through Instagram to see if she would call me. The call never came, but Julie probably has a handler for her social media that doesn’t have her heart. Although she’s 34 years older, I feel Julie could do just about anything. And without a doubt, my life story would be a musical.
What’s your favorite beach read? Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I’ve lost count of the number of copies I’ve purchased to share with my girlfriends, and they couldn’t put it down either.
What’s the best song to dance to when nobody’s watching? I’m a terrible dancer. I romanticize being on Dancing with the Stars, but I’m not sure the judges would tolerate the suggestion of a square dance.
Being from South Carolina, I should know how to shag dance better than I do. My parents can still glide gracefully on the hardwoods in their bare feet and loafers and steal the show.
I have grown up with beach music in my blood, so I’ll have to choose Carolina Girls by General Johnson & the Chairman of the Board.
If you could go shopping with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be? I’ll never forget the excitement of opening a beautiful Kate Spade gift box my husband, Lee, brought home for Valentine’s Day years ago. Inside was the most gorgeous leather purse - a vibrant green.
Once seeing a picture of Kate, Lee commented: “Tara, if we lived in the same town, I could easily see you two as friends.” Honestly, I could too.
I imagine our shopping spree involving lunching and laughing. Kate helping me by telling me what works and what doesn’t for my style, and me reminding her how much God loves her and has gifted her with a talent beyond comparison.
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? I’ve been blessed to travel extensively, but the one place I have always wanted to visit is the Holy Land. Growing in God’s Word is one of my passions, and I would thrill to see Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem; climb the Mount of Beatitudes; witness where Jesus walked on water; see where He was crucified for my sins on the cross at Golgotha, and visit the garden tomb where they laid Jesus before His resurrection.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day? Before bedtime prayers, reading to our three children has always been an evening highlight. With two freshmen in college and a first-grader, one of the blessings this season has brought is to have all of our birdies back in the nest.
Caroline, Daniel, and I are going through Robert McGee’s Search for Significance and our youngest Harrison and I are enjoying Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie.
Walking downstairs after sharing the gift of reading with our children, I relish snuggling in bed next to my handsome husband, Lee, with a cup of hot chamomile and honey tea - and a heart full of gratitude to God.
We love how Tara lights up a room with her style and her joy. Her strong commitments to faith and family free her to laugh and give wholeheartedly. Tara would be delighted to connect with you on Facebook, and Instagram @TaraMcClaryReeves, and on her new online platform Point Me to Jesus.
And for more inspiring and stylish moms, be sure to check out Mom on the Street!