Back when I was pregnant with Lilly, I shared this blog post about my favorite maternity staples. It was warm weather season during my second and third trimesters with Lilly so I mostly wore dresses. … More
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a Solty Friday’s post, but I’m happy to say this popular series is back! There has been so much going on and so many things to share. Keep reading to find out all the things I’ve been loving lately.
> The new Endless Summer Notecard Collection from Jen Strandberg Studio is my new favorite way to stay organized and make to-do lists. Her coastal watercolors are beautiful on this new line of stationary. Be sure to check out her shop and get 15% off with code SHANNON15!
> I’m constantly thinking about the future flower garden I want to plant this summer and this book by Floret Farm has been so educational. Plus the images are just stunning.
> Rob gifted me these gorgeous earrings for Christmas, handmade by my friend Roula. I’ve been wearing them nonstop. They seriously go with everything and perfectly add an extra element of style to any outfit.
> Like everyone else who is confined to their homes this winter, we’ve been watching our fair share of movies and tv shows. Our favorite tv shows lately have been The Bachelor, Wanda Vision, Jersey Shore, the West Wing, and Bridgerton. We also watched the movie the Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix (Eddie Redmayne stars in it!) and it was amazing. We highly recommend it.
> I just finished up an amazingly hilarious, witty, and overall feel good book called Clanlands. It’s based off of the Starz TV show Men in Kilts that airs on February 14, starring yours truly Sam Heughan, aka Jamie Fraser from Outlander. If you love Outlander, scotch, Scotland, history, ghost stories, and men in kilts, you will love this book.
> I have a giveaway with some amazing bloggers scheduled for 12:00 p.m. EST today! Be sure to follow along on Instagram for the details.
And I think that’s enough for this week! Thanks for reading and following along.
Winter in Ohio usually means lots of time indoors. And with COVID still running rampant, we have been spending an unusual amount of time indoors. I’m not going to lie that it’s been tricky keeping Lilly engaged and occupied. Some days we do great, finding creative ways to have fun, and other days it seems like all we want to do is lay on the couch and watch Moana.
In an effort to help other mamas who might need some new and fun creative activities, I’ve put together some ideas, as well as resources I use time and again when I need a new idea.
Indoor Toddler Activity Ideas
- Baking: We’ve been doing this a LOT lately, but Lilly loves it and it’s great for developing fine and gross motor skills.
- Playdough: Lilly likes me to make “pizza” with the playdough and then she has her puppets eat it. It turns into a game and she loves it.
- Set up an indoor picnic: We dump all of our play kitchen food on a blanket, get out all of the stuffed animals and have a big picnic.
- Painting (everything and anything!)
- Art easel: Lilly was gifted one for Christmas that has a dry erase board and a chalkboard. She loves it!
- Hide and Seek
- Build a fort with blankets and pillows
- Kinetic Sand (I could play with this for hours)
- Construction Paper: You can do soooo many arts and crafts with construction paper and glue. We just made mosaic paper hearts for Valentine’s Day and hung them on the window.
- Indoor gym class
- Alphabet games
- Board games
- Sensory bins: We made one for Lilly with rice. It’s messy, but she loves it.
- Drawing: We practice tracing our alphabet letters and numbers.
- Cleaning: Yes this might be self-serving, but Lilly has her own set of brooms and mops and she loves to help me sweep the floors.
- Doing the dishes: Again, maybe self-serving, but the girl loves to wash dishes and play in the sink.
- Clean their toys
- Meal Prep: Every day I have Lilly help me prep her lunch and dinner. Kids love to help in the kitchen.
There are so many different ways to keep your toddler engaged. Some days it may not seem like there is anything to do because a toddler’s attention span is about two minutes, but keep this list handy for days when the creativity is lacking and you’ll never run out of things to do. And if you need more ideas, check out the resources below!
Sweet and Simple Toddler Crafts: A great resource for incredibly fun arts and crafts!
Pinterest: Always a great resource. Just search “toddler crafts” or follow me for ideas!
Samantha Lynch CCC-SLP: My friend Sam is a Pediatric SLP and she shares amazing content on her Instagram for engaging your child and helping them with their speech and communication skills.
Busy Toddler: This Instagram page is amazing for toddler and kid inspired activities.
Michaels and Target also have fun craft kits that are really inexpensive.
I always find following and connecting with other mamas helps me find new ideas to try. If you have some ideas I didn’t list, please share them in the comments below!
STYLE: CREWNECK SWEATER, 3 WAYS
It’s getting to be that time of year where I think we all start to get tired of our winter clothes and we are itching to bring out our spring wardrobe. But alas, living in Ohio means we have at least two or three more months of winter weather (I really need to move south!). It’s usually around this time of year that I start to think of creative ways to mix up my winter staples.
Today I’m teaming up with my good friend Stephanie from Linen and Littles to share three fresh ways to style a staple crewneck sweater. Stephanie and I share a love for classic and timeless fashion and we both own many of the same pieces (especially from J.Crew Factory!). We both just recently purchased this beautiful, crewneck sweater in extra soft yarn in the J.Crew Factory After Christmas Sale. It’s seriously one of the softest and comfiest sweaters I own so I’m excited to be styling it three different ways for you guys!
SIMPLE WITH JEANS
The easiest and most comfortable way to style this sweater is with your favorite pair of denim jeans. I paired this easy combination with a gingham headband (adding a hint of spring!) and some white canvas sneakers. You can easily swap out the headband for a baseball hat and throw on a puffer vest for an incredibly classic and chic look that is perfect for mom’s on the go.
WINTER WHITES WITH A BRIGHT BUTTON DOWN
The second way I styled this sweater is with my white denim jeans (yes you can wear white denim in the winter!!) and my favorite blue gingham button down. I love the monochromatic look with a pop of color. The light blue and the gingham print also give this look a hint of spring (something I’m desperately pining for!). Throw on a pair of leopard or nude flats, some bracelets, and statement earrings and you have a fresh new look that works for just about occasion.
OVER A HOUSE DRESS
The house dress has made a comeback this past year and is growing in popularity. I have always loved dresses so I’m more than happy to see it’s stylish to wear a beautiful dress around the house. I picked up this midi classic striped dress from the J.Crew Factory sale and I’ve been trying to find a way to wear it in the middle of winter! Throwing the crewneck sweater over the dress and adding tights or leggings instantly makes this an easy, put together, and cozy look for working from home. Add some fun bracelets and a skinny leopard print headband and you are ready for a day of Zoom calls.
Hopefully you found some extra inspiration for styling a basic crewneck sweater with these ideas! And if you need more ideas, don’t forget to check out Stephanie’s blog to see the three ways she styled this sweater!
If you’ve been following along for a while, you may have remembered our laundry list of home renovation projects for 2020. We made a pretty big dent in that list over the summer and through the fall. Unfortunately, we did not complete all of the projects on our list so some have transferred over to our projects for 2021, making it a very ambitious list.
But as any homeowner knows, owning a house means there is a never ending list of projects and renovations that must be done. Luckily the 2021 list is a bit more glamorous than last year’s list (no more chimney, dry wall, or roof repairs!). We are aware this is quite the list, but we are going to take each project one at a time and see how it goes!
House Projects 2021
- Paint the exterior of the house (I think I’m still leaning towards navy)
- Install a new front door (If we go navy for the exterior, I’m thinking white, natural wood or light pink for the door)
- Install light fixtures and ceiling fans in the upstairs bedrooms
- Install new carpet on the stairs and second floor
- Transition Lilly from her nursery to a big girl room (I have very mixed feelings about this!)
- Organize and tidy up the laundry room and basement
- Landscape around the exterior of the house
- Plant a flower garden (I’m MOST excited for this project!)
I’m sure this list will change and evolve as the year progresses, but it feels good to have some ideas and goals written down on paper. I’ll share the progress of all of these projects on my Instagram, so be sure to follow along!
I’m so excited to be kicking off my Brand Spotlight series this year with a Midwest based, female owned business. Rudder USA is a timeless, preppy brand with strong American values.
The owner, Nicole, has such a strong entrepreneurial spirit that she created Rudder USA in between her Freshman and Sophomore year of college! She is passionate about supporting the American economy and the American dream. One of the things I have loved most when getting to know Nicole and her brand is her passion for connecting with and getting to know the people she works with. She really invests in helping those she works with achieve their American dream, and to me that is beautiful.
At just 23 years old, Nicole officially launched Rudder USA in August 2020. Nicole created Rudder USA to be a common ground for people that love life around the water, boating, and the lifestyle that comes from those things. This brand is for the water lovers – from rivers to lakes to oceans – this brand values life on the water and the feeling associated with that lifestyle. The products reflect the classic, American style that you guys know I love.
From sweatshirts to t-shirts to baseball hats to seersucker and koozies, there is literally something for everyone. I love the simplicity and timelessness of the styles. The pieces are designed and made to be worn for years and years, all while making precious memories along the way.
I’ve been fortunate enough to style the brand new hoodie in ivory that launches today!! This hoodie is amazing. It’s beautifully made and so, so comfortable. I love the simple, classic logo on the front. I also love the relaxed fit because it pairs perfectly with jeans, leggings, and will be so cute styled over denim shorts this summer.
I also want to gush about the American Flag baseball hat. Is there anything more perfect for boating and beaching on the lake in the summer? It comes with a beautiful leather strap and brass clasp that makes it adjustable.
If you are a passionate boater, water lover, and love supporting small businesses, then you have to check out Rudder USA. You can shop all of their products here and you can say hi and give them some love by following them on Instagram (@rudderUSA). I promise you will fall in love with this female owned brand just as I have.
Receive FREE shipping on orders over $100 with the code SHIPSHANNON!
I’m excited to be sharing my third and final gift guide this season. This gift guide is a round up of all my favorite small businesses, many of which I’ve had the pleasure of working with. From art to jewelry to knitwear to toddler activities to reclaimed lobster welcome mats, each of these small businesses offers a unique product that is created with so much passion and love. If you are still looking for a special gift for someone, consider supporting a small business and shop one of these brands below!
Allison Cole Jewelry: A jewelry collection that is classic, nautical, and all handmade in New England. The owner, Nicole, proudly designs and makes every single piece of jewelry herself. I wear the monogram Essex bracelet every single day. Shop her collection here.
Becky Elgart Art: Becky creates the most beautiful abstract and figurative coastal scenes. Her pieces of art invoke a feeling of peace and nostalgia for a simpler time. I have the pleasure of owning two of her pieces, one in Lilly’s playroom and one next to our piano. Both bring me so much joy. Shop her art here.
Cozy Little Prints: The sweetest collection of watercolors ranging from botanicals, architecture, animals, pets, landscapes, and fashion pieces. Sarah’s art bloomed as a hobby during quarantine and has since expanded to an entire collection on her Etsy shop. Shop her art here.
Jen Strandberg Studio: Based out of NYC and Nantucket, Jen Strandberg Studios specializes in colorful coastal watercolors. Full of coastal scenes, summers on the water, and hydrangeas in full bloom, Jen’s artwork makes my nautical loving heart so very happy. She has since expanded to creating the most beautiful calendars, wrapping paper, and more. Shop her art here.
Little Lavender Lobster: Little Lavender Lobster offers handmade jewelry, watercolors, custom stationary, and so much more – all created and designed by Rachel herself. Everything is inspired by coastal living in New England. The pearl stud earrings are my absolute favorite! Shop her collection here.
Lottie and Lizzie Play: These alphabet letters are a favorite in our house! Lilly is fascinated with learning her letters and Lottie and Lizzie creates the most fun alphabet sets. Many of the letters are themed, but you can custom order a set! Shop the alphabet letters here.
Mermaids and Madeleines: Mermaids and Madeleines offers the loveliest handmade coastal jewelry and art. Heather, the owner, designs and makes all the jewelry herself. I am fortunate to own the most beautiful necklace and alphabet letter print from her collection. Shop her jewelry and art here.
Sewcialite: If you love baskets, bowls, handbags, and jewelry, you will love Sewcialite. All of the items are handmade out of rope (except the jewelry) by Roula herself. The rope creations are truly incredible. Roula recently launched a coastal inspired jewelry line and the pieces are exquisite. Shop the collection here.
S.Lynch Knitwear: If you’ve been following me for awhile, then S.Lynch Knitwear will be no secret to you. I’m obsessed with Sam’s knit creations. Her knitwear are the only accessories I wear in the winter. Plus she offers Mommy and me matching sets, which is a win in my book! Shop handknit scarves, hats, gloves, and more here.
Shop Maddie and Connor: Shop Maddie and Connor offers the most beautiful classic and timeless children’s clothing. Think lovely smocks embroidery, seersucker, and monograms. Your little one will look so adorable in anything from Shop Maddie and Connor. Shop the collection here.
Somer Stay: A female owned and run company, Somer Stays offers ethically made and responsibly sourced products that you can sleep, live and play in. From house dresses to jewelry, accessories, and my favorite Turkish Towels, Somer Stay has a beautiful collection of gifts that you can feel good about purchasing. Shop the collection here.
Surcee Shoppe: The Surcee Shoppe is the cutest online gift giving boutique full of preppy accessories, stationary, home decor, and pet accessories. The Surcee Shoppe makes gift giving simple by including an enclosure card, gift wrap and shipping with each surcee. Shop the items here.
Sternlines: Reclaimed lobster welcome mats, canvas totes, and New England inspired clothing for adults and children, Sternlines has the coolest selection of products. Every doormat they create tells a different story as to where the rope originated from. The brand’s story is so cool and you should definitely check them out if you love coastal living. Shop the collection here.
And that’s a wrap! I hope you found a small business you are interested in supporting this year. Happy shopping!
Christmas shopping is in full swing for most people and every blogger has most likely shared their gift guides. And I myself have two more gift guides I am looking forward to sharing. Today’s gift guide features all Ohio based small businesses, and later this week, I will be sharing the rest of my favorite small businesses. Although we just celebrated Small Business Saturday, we can still continue to support small businesses this holiday season and throughout the year.
I would say it wasn’t until I started blogging that I really became passionate about supporting local, Ohio based businesses. Sure I have always enjoyed shopping at the cute boutiques where I live. I even worked for two of them and working for those boutiques are part of the reason I love fashion so much. But I think it took the many collaborations and partnerships I’ve been fortunate to experience that deepened my love for Ohio brands.
Although this list does not nearly cover all the amazing small businesses in Ohio, I hope it opens the door to discovering some truly incredible brands. All of the brands I’m featuring this year are women owned and operated.
And if you are looking for even more small businesses to shop this year, I’m teaming up with my friend Sarah from Cozy Little Joys and Stephanie from Linen and Littles to share small businesses that are local to them. AND, we are sharing a giveaway over on our Instagram’s this week, so be sure to follow us!
OHIO SMALL BUSINESSES
Michelle Brunner Art
If you love impressionism and Ohio, then you have to check out Michelle Brunner Art. Michelle Brunner was my first Instagram turn real life friend! Michelle’s art speaks to my soul in a way that I can’t even describe. Her paintings bring me so much joy and they transport me to a place of peace and contentment. With a style that is somewhat abstract and somewhat impressionistic, Michelle’s focus on color and texture is just outstanding. A true reflection of Ohio Midwest living, Michelle’s paintings bring to life long summer days on the lake or relaxing car rides through Ohio’s’ farm country. Michelle Brunner Art is a perfect gift for the person in your life who loves modern art or coastal and farmhouse décor.
Based in Avon Lake, Ohio, Coastal Cleveland celebrates coastal living and life on the water, specifically life on Lake Erie waters. Coastal Cleveland offers a variety of clothing for anyone who loves the water. From cozy collegiate crewneck sweatshirts, to the softest cotton t-shirts, all of the apparel designs are created by Erin, the owner. If you are native to the Ohio Northcoast, you will find shirts that give a nod to Avon Lake, Lakewood, Cleveland, and of course Lake Erie. In addition to running this business, Erin also maintains a blog where she shares her love for all things coastal, boats, Northcoast traveling, and everything in between.
Kylie and Bryn
Handmade right here in Columbus, Ohio, Kylie and Bryn is a jewelry/accessory company with the brightest and prettiest African vinyl and wooden bead bracelets. The moment I laid eyes on these colorful, vibrant bracelets, I knew I needed a few to add to my accessory collection. All of the bracelets are handmade and the craftsmanship and quality is just beautiful. The owner, Amber, creates bracelets in the brightest of colors – from neon pink, to royal blue, turquoise, and kelly green to yellow, blush pink, and even rainbow! And, she offers school spirit inspired bracelets and customizable word bracelets. You can purchase the bracelets individually or as a medley stack. There are so many options to choose from!
Shore Society, another favorite coastal Ohio apparel brand, prides itself on creating pieces that are reflective of the lakefront lifestyle that encompasses the Great Lakes and the Midwest. Founded in 2012 by Rachael Koenig, Shore Society products are inspired by the nautical aesthetic of Cleveland’s coast. If you have ever seen the “Lake Erie Love” print floating around on merchandise, you will be happy to know that this is a signature of Shore Society. In the seven years since its founding, Shore Society has expanded to include sweatshirts (for Lake Erie and Lake Michigan fans), tee shirts, hats, totes, mugs, candles, pennants, art prints, and so much more. It’s a lifestyle brand that offers something unique for all coastal lovers. They also launch incredibly fun, seasonal apparel products that are hugely popular.
I’m a huge fan of Shore Society products and am happy to support such a great Ohio brand where I know the products are high quality and stylish.
If you are into skincare products that are earth friendly, gluten-free, and chemical-free, then OntkOrganix is your new favorite place to shop! Based on a tiny island in the middle of Lake Erie (known famously as Put-in-Bay), OntkOrganix is a family owned business with over 40 organic products. From face wash to toners to moisturizers, to deodorant, to hair care, and suncare, OntkOrganix has something for everyone. And you can feel good knowing that every single product is chemical-free. My favorite is the Lavender Balm! And the best part is the owner, Christie, uses the lavender that grows right in her garden in the balm itself!
I hope this guide has allowed you to discover some new female owned, small businesses. I am proud to support all of these women and their work and I hope you are too.
The holidays. A magical time full of so much joy and merriment. It’s usually a time for friends and family to come together and celebrate the many blessings in their lives. It’s full of delicious homemade food, twinkling lights, laughter, Hallmark movies, carols, and more. Many people look forward to this time of year because of its simple magic.
But it’s also busy, chaotic, and overwhelming. For some, the holidays are a harsh reminder of loved ones they’ve lost. This year is going to look very different for most people. My family in particular will probably not be celebrating in person (my immediate family alone is 16 people!). As someone who has always celebrated the holidays with several parties and tons of people around, this year has the potential to feel very isolating.
But despite the challenges we are facing this year, there is always room for joy. I’m excited to be teaming up with my friend Whitney Caves to offer some tips to keep things simple this holiday season. We each identified three ways that we will be keeping things simple and organized. And, if you pop over to our Instagram’s, you will find a really great Emily Ley inspired giveaway!
TIPS FOR A STRESS FREE HOLIDAY SEASON
Organization is my favorite way to combat stress. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, like my head is spinning out of control, I sit down, get out the old pen and paper and make lists. This time of year I have lists galore – Christmas present lists, food prep lists, holiday activity lists, etc. etc. Writing everything down and crossing off items as they get done takes so much pressure off. I highly recommend doing this if you don’t already.
Celebrate the Joy
Now more than ever it’s important we celebrate all the things that bring us joy. Whether it’s a distraction free meal with your family, a drive around town to look at Christmas lights, decorating the tree while listening to your favorite Christmas songs, celebrating each and every one of these moments is a great way to embrace the season.
Embrace the Simple
Keep it simple this year. Lower your expectations. Be flexible. Learn to say no when you aren’t comfortable with a situation. This year in particular is very strange and very stressful. Know that it’s perfectly okay to say no to all social engagements. It’s okay to stay home more and watch all the Christmas movies. It’s okay to put that to-do list aside and spend the day baking cookies. Just simplify in any way that feels right to you.
I find coastal home decor inspiration everywhere. Whether I’m scouring Pinterest, checking out other bloggers with a coastal style, or google searching “coastal home decor,” the one brand that never fails to inspire me is Serena and Lily. I will sit for hours and study their catalogues (one of the few print catalogues I still get in the mail!). Known for their coastal yet refined style, Serena and Lily is an absolute favorite among people who love that easy breezy, casual, and classic style associated with living along the coast. Everything they design is always so welcoming, something I always strive for in my own home.
When Rob and I realized we quickly needed to upgrade our pub style kitchen table to one that would accommodate Lilly, I grabbed all my Serena and Lily catalogues and spent hours looking for inspiration. Our kitchen in general is small. Our house was built in the late 1970’s, and although many modern improvements have been made, the rooms are small and the ceilings are low. I knew we were limited in the space we had for a kitchen table.
I found a few round, white tables from Serena and Lily (here and here) that I absolutely fell in love with. Unfortunately, my bank account cannot support the steep prices of this brand, so I took the advice of my friend Claire from Home With the Wileys: I identified the elements of the piece of furniture I loved and started shopping around on sites I knew we could afford (Wayfair, Target, Birch Lane, Pottery Barn, One Kings Lane, etc.) After several weeks, I found an almost identical style to the table I wanted at Birch Lane, at a much happier price point (sadly I can’t link it because it’s already sold out!).
The table arrived within three days, and although it took a little getting used to, I have come to love this table. It’s the perfect fit for our space. The white brightens up the space and the simple, modern style helps the space feel larger.
For the chairs, I knew I loved the Serena and Lily Tucker Dining Chairs in white. I love this classic look of a chair – reminds me of early American life (think Williamsburg). These spindle chairs are easy to shop for and I originally found some I liked at Target. But after two different shipments of damaged chairs and having to deal with the hassle of sending them back, I decided to start the process over again.
I had been eyeing some of these wood spindle chairs on Overstock from the Safavieh line and on a whim, we decided to try these in a curved back instead of the upright back. And oh my gosh. We LOVE these chairs. I think I love them more than the table. They arrived in three days and were UNDAMAGED. Plus, it took Rob about ten minutes total to assemble them. WIN.
I absolutely love the classic, coastal, and casual feel we created in our kitchen nook. The white brightens up the space so much and the clean lines help the space feel larger. I wanted this space to be a space where we hang out as a family and share special meals. Already, it’s one of our most used spaces and I’m so happy with it.
Although I love the Serena and Lily style so much, at this point in our lives we need to be more economical with our purchases. For anyone else in the same boat, you can absolutely get the Serena and Lily look for less. Just be specific in what you are looking for and you will find it. Thank you Serena and Lily for the endless inspiration. Someday I dream of owning one of your beautiful pieces!
I’ve always been interested in the arts, but it wasn’t until I studied abroad in London that I really fell in love with it. I would spend hours at the museums in London and New York, finding inspiration and endless amounts of creativity. I’m fortunate that Toledo is home to the Toledo Museum of Art, one of the most prestigious museums in the world(!), featuring over 30,000 works of art.
As I’ve worked to make our house a home over the past four years, I have found I feel immense joy picking out beautiful works of art to display all over the walls. I love decorating our home with works of art that make all of us happy. Several original pieces have been created by friends of mine and those are always my favorite pieces.
Being a regular Instagrammer and blogger, I’ve been fortunate enough to discover so many talented artists, some of which have become friends! I’ve been wanting to launch a new series that highlights these artists I love so much, so what better time than now.
An artist that I have long admired is Christine Lee Rennie. Based in Virginia, Christine is a phenomenal fine art painter known for her use of vivid colors and textures. She paints with Acrylic daily, creating the most joyful and expressive florals. The way she magically mixes different colors and textures together brings each piece to life in an original and very gratifying way.
In 2018, Christine launched C.L. Rennie Art & Design, a jewelry line of hand painted, one of a kind wearable art pieces . Through her beautiful website you can find sustainable and ethically sourced necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and bags. Christine is continually inspired by art, color, fashion, and interior design. Each and every piece of this line is designed and handmade by Christine herself.
I first discovered Christine through Instagram. Her bold use of bright colors instantly caught my eye. I’ve always been drawn to bright, colorful florals (no shocker there if you’ve seen me styling my Lilly Putlizer pieces) and Christine’s fine art paintings are a feast for my eyes. They are absolutely gorgeous. I could stare at her paintings for hours.
When Christine reached out to partner on a project together I was thrilled! I knew I wanted to showcase her and her art on my blog. AND give a little something to my followers. That’s why Christine and I are teaming up to give TWO lucky followers an 11×14 print of their choice! Head over to my Instagram for the details on how to enter!