Time for a playroom update! We are moving along with styling and organizing this space. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen we purchased some shelves and organizational bins for Lilly’s books… More
Happy 2020 friends! I took a short hiatus from my blog to be present over the holidays, but I’m back and ready for the excitement of a new year.
Instead of doing a resolutions post or even a goals post, I want to write about why I blog. In a market that’s insanely saturated with fashion bloggers, mommy bloggers, interior design bloggers, etc. it can feel daunting and intimidating. So I need to write this post for me, to remind myself why I started this journey.
In 2012 I was working in retail management and needed a creative outlet for my love of fashion. I launched my first fashion blog and had a blast styling outfits. It was probably my most creative era of dressing and I seriously had so much fun.
In 2013 I landed a job doing social media and marketing for a local nonprofit. My blog was pushed to the wayside because I wanted nothing to do with social media by the time the workday ended.
Fast forward to summer 2017 and I had that itch again. I needed a creative outlet to share all my passion and love for fashion and home decor. I relaunched my blog and started gaining some traction. And then in early 2018 I became pregnant with our sweet Lillypad and I was soooo sick. I could barely look at my phone, let alone get on Instagram or blog. So I took a whole year off.
I started blogging once every week or two in 2019 and shared everything from fashion to home decor to Motherhood. And it felt good. I started creating partnerships with brands and meeting so many amazing people who I can say are truly my friends and a great support system.
As great as 2019 was for my blogging and Instagram, it was also a year full of comparisons and feeling not good enough. It’s extremely frustrating to watch new bloggers launch their blog or Instagram and overnight, have thousands of followers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m SO happy for these individuals who are putting themselves out there and doing what they love. BUT, it definitely makes me question what’s wrong with my content? Why isn’t my IG following growing? I’m doing all the same things as that blogger and they have tons of more followers. All of these thoughts are constantly circulating in my head and many times I’ve wanted to quit.
BUT I haven’t. And that’s important. My focus has shifted so much over my blogging journey and although I’ve definitely struggled with the numbers game and finding my identity as a blogger (Am I fashion blogger? Home decor blogger? Mommy blogger?), I’ve realized it’s the journey that matters. It doesn’t matter how many followers I have or how many clicks or comments I have, what matters is doing what I love and connecting with other humans. Who cares if I don’t have 50K or even 5K following me (do I really want that many followers anyway? Especially with showing Lilly sometimes?). I think what I have learned is that I have found my tribe. I have an amazing support system and some incredible people who follow me and support me in this endeavor and those are the people I want following me.
This blog is a space where I can share all the things I love and am passionate about. It’s a space where I can let my creativity run wild. A space for me to have fun with fashion, share decorating projects, and connect with other mamas. It’s a space for me to show others the beauty of coastal Ohio. And it’s a space for me to support other women, creatives, and bloggers who have truly become friends.
So this year, my goal for my blog is to create and cultivate a community of fellow likeminded humans who are passionate about fashion, motherhood, home decor, small businesses, and coastal Ohio (or any place coastal really). I hope my content, whether it is fashion advice, a home project, a motherhood update, a trip to a Lake Erie island, or sharing a new brand, will either inspire you, connect with you, or resonate with you in some way.
I really believe blogging and Instagram were created to provide a sense of community in this crazy digital world and that’s exactly how I am going to use these platforms in 2020.
So cheers to a blessed year full of creativity, community, inspiration, and showing up. Thanks for following along on this solty journey of mine. It’s going to be a magical ride.
It’s that time of year where magic seems to be in the air! Christmas is such a special time for gathering with family and friends and what better way to celebrate the season than with some festive and cozy decor!
When Wayfair reached out to partner with me for their Holiday Homemaking Series, I was more than happy to share how I transform our home for the holidays.
I’m not the traditional red and green Christmas decorator. I never have been and I don’t know if I ever will. I tend to vibe better with shades of blue (shocker), silver, gold, and as of late, forest green.
My inspiration for our Christmas decor definitely comes from our current decor. Because our color scheme is already 90% blue and white, my holiday decorating typically takes on a coastal vibe. I love to decorate using shades of blue, gold and silver.
Every year I add a little more decor items to my collection. This year I was yearning for simple, so I’ve added no fuss mini wreaths, faux snow coated trees, and fresh greenery. The touches I added this year actually ended up taking on a colonial vibe and I’m totally loving the colonial, coastal mix.
Christmas is all about adding subtle touches to your space to make it feel warm and inviting. Adding in a soft throw blanket or some fun pillows (loving this ski inspired one right now) can instantly soften a room and make it feel welcoming.
One of the things I love about Wayfair is the variety they offer! Sometimes it’s hard to find Christmas pieces that vibe with my style, but Wayfair has an entire section dedicated to Coastal Christmas. I’m loving this Aegean Key Jute Tree Skirt and these white poinsettia flowers for my tree. Adding white sparkly flowers and stringing nautical rope as garland on our tree definitely gives it that coastal vibe that I so love.
In addition to its variety, Wayfair also offers tips for decorating, such as what size Christmas tree skirt you need, how many ornaments to use on your tree, and how much garland you need for the size of your tree! They have some really helpful resources if you ever need some inspiration!
Below I’ve rounded up some of my Wayfair Christmas favorites for this year. Definitely be sure to check out my picks and let me know what you find for yourself!
Special thank you to Wayfair for partnering with me on this post. All opinions are my own.
I was going to wait until next week to post part II of shopping small for the holidays, but I didn’t want to wait! Plus, with it being Black Friday, I figured everyone is already shopping and there are some great deals out there!
This second round of women owned, small businesses are all based in my home state of OHIO! All of these brands are so special and I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some of these ladies – and they are awesome!
ERIE AND ANCHOR
Where to begin with Erie and Anchor. One of my absolute favorite brands and products that I wear every.single.day. Erie and Anchor sells the COMFIEST apparel! The sweatshirts are my absolute favorite and I can’t recommend them enough. They also offer the best in tees, baseball hats, pullovers, mugs, keychains, etc. etc.
This is a top notch brand with an even better business model. For every purchase made, 5% of earnings are donated back to Lake Erie to help support water quality and research. The family based company is passionate about ensuring the lake will still be a place of enjoyment and relaxation for decades to come. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the owner over the past year, and to me, that makes supporting this brand even more special.
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.
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.
I hope you come to love these three women, owned small businesses as much as I do! Happy Shopping!
I can’t believe Christmas is one month away!! This year’s holiday season totally snuck up on me (I think I was too busy planning L’s birthday party!). Before life gets too festive though, I want to share a two part series for shopping small for the holidays. This two part series isn’t going to be your normal gift guide. I’m not focusing on actual products, but focusing more on my favorite brands.
Personally, I love shopping small for the holidays – the gifts are more meaningful knowing someone poured their heart and soul into creating something they love. This week I’m sharing some of my favorite women owned, small businesses and next week I will share my favorite Ohio based brands!
S. Lynch Knitwear
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen me sporting the coziest accessories from S.Lynch Knitwear. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing a cozy knit piece for someone on your gift list. S. Lynch Knitwear products are hands down my favorite winter accessories! The craftsmanship is beautiful, the products are WARM, and they fit perfectly. Plus, there are several styles that are “Mommy and Me” so you and your little can twin!
Kate Hammer Art
If art and watercolors is your thing, then Kate Hammer Studio is your shop. Kate Hammer Studio offers the most beautiful watercolor botanicals and acrylic landscapes. Kate specializes in gorgeous paintings of fruit (lemon and peaches), herbs, landscapes, wildflowers, and my new favorite – blue and white plants! She also accepts custom orders. I personally own three of her art prints and they are all hanging in my kitchen.
I discovered Sewcialite on Instagram on my maternity leave and have been obsessed since. Inspired by the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire, Sewcialite offers modern, handmade accessories that are created out of rope. Yes, rope! Sewcialite can take ordinary clothesline rope and turn it into functional art. From rope clutches and satchels, to planters and wall baskets, Sewcialite has one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone! I am fortunate enough to own one of her beautifully woven rope bowls and the craftsmanship is top notch.
Anchors Aweigh Supply Co.
Hands down my favorite hand towels. EVER. Anchors Aweigh Supply Co. is a Turkish-American business that sells luxurious seaside inspired essentials. This woman owned and run business sells high quality, handmade towels (beach, bath, kitchen, etc.), baby bibs, bathrobes, and more! Not only do I LOVE the look and quality of the products, but I also love that all of their products are 100% Turkish cotton, free from harmful chemicals, and all of the items are handmade by Turkish women using safe and ethical working conditions. AMAZING! The owner has real relationships with the women who make the towels and I absolutely love that.
If I was still working in the fashion industry, working at THOM KELLY would be my dream job! Using only sustainable materials and created right here in the United States, THOM KELLY creates classic, comfortable, and stylish clothes that are no fuss and easy. Each piece is designed to be effortless and built to wear for any occasion (running errands, wearing over a swimsuit, or heading out for date night). Button-up shirts are available for women and men and they recently launched some amazingly cozy and flattering sweatshirts for women (you better believe one is on my Christmas list!). Plus, they are members of 1% for the Planet, which means that each time you make a purchase, you will be making a positive impact on our planet. WIN.
I hope this list provides you with some options for shopping small. I’m a huge advocate of shopping small and I love supporting women run brands.
Come back next week for a guide for shopping small in Ohio!
One of the best things about Thanksgiving is gathering with friends and family around the table and enjoying a good meal. I’ve been fortunate to become friends with some amazing women through this platform, but we all live in different states! We decided to host a virtual Friendsgiving and are sharing some of favorite Thanksgiving recipes!
Below is a recipe for a sweet potato casserole that my family always makes each year. It’s super easy and sooo yummy!
Note: The recipe calls for sugar, but it’s actually sweet enough without it. I did not include any sugar with the sweet potatoes but I did opt to include brown sugar for the toppings and it’s delicious.
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
for the Sweets
3 cups of sweet potatoes, cooked, skinned and mashed
1/2 c of sugar
4 T butter
1 t vanilla
1/3 cup of milk
Mix ingredients together and spread in an 8x8inch pan.
for the Topping
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c of flour
2 T soft butter
1/2 c chopped pecans
Mix until crumbly and spread on top of sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Check out some other delicious recipes below!
Nana’s Simple Stuffing
contributed by Alexandra of Turquoise and Sunshine, a New England based photographer, blogger, and exceptional writer. Alexandra often shares snippets of her weekend travels around the east coast, gluten free recipes, beautiful old barns, and everything in between. Follow her on Instagram @turquoiseandsunshine.
1 loaf of good bread, sliced and staled, and torn/shredded (I love ciabatta—correction, loved—but it’s still perfect for this)
2 small yellow onions, chopped small
2 stalks of celery, chopped small
12 oz. sausage (I love Jones Original Pork Sausage)
~2 c low sodium chicken broth
fresh parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan and heat on medium-low heat until warm.
2. Add onion and celery, cooking until onions are sweating and celery has begun to soften.
3. Stir in 1 teaspoon of Bell’s Seasoning.
4. Increase heat to medium, and add the sausage, breaking it up constantly as it cooks until no longer pink and ensuring there are no large clumps of meat.
5. Add parsley, salt, and pepper to taste (and more Bell’s if you like) but keep in mind you’re about to add chicken broth which always has a little salt. I’ll admit tend to have a heavy hand with the parsley.
6. Mix in the shredded bread and add about a half cup of chicken broth at a time. The mixture should combine and be quite moist but not soggy.
7. Did I mention you can switch it up, add whatever you like, and season to taste?
8. Now’s the time to stuff the bird. Or, bake in a casserole dish at 350°F about 15-25 minutes until slightly darker and golden on top.
Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese & Candied Pecans
contributed by Claire Wiley of Home with the Wileys, where classic Connecticut life, style, and motherhood are seemingly effortless. She takes us on her family adventures (and woes) at home in the Litchfield Hills and beyond on her smiley slice of Instagram @homewiththewileys.
2 lbs fresh carrots peeled
1/2 c brown sugar
4 T butter cut into small squares
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t cinnamon
4 oz goat cheese (chevre) crumbled
1 T fresh thyme, whole sprigs and removed from stems
2 T butter
3 T maple syrup
1 T brown sugar
1 c pecans roughly chopped
1/4 t salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & place the carrots in a single in a baking dish
3. Spread the butter squares over the carrots and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon.
4. Put the baking dish in the oven and cook for 55 minutes, turning the carrots every 15 minutes or so.
5. While the carrots are cooking, prepare the candied pecans by melting the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat.
6. Once the butter is completely melted, add in the brown sugar and maple syrup and let cook until the mixture thickens, or about two minutes.
7. Add the chopped pecans and gently stir until well coated. Remove from heat and top with salt.
8. Once the carrots are cooked, remove from the oven, place on a baking dish and sprinkle with goat cheese, pecans and fresh thyme.
Maggie’s Holiday Mashed Potatoes
contributed by Maggie of Margaret of York Interiors, where blue and white isn’t only classic, it’s iconic. Her signature style, love of gorgeous yet simple details, and a little life outside her greenhouse can be found on Instagram at @margaretofyork.
5 lbs yukon gold potatoes
3/4 c butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese
3/4 c half-and-half
1/2 t Trader Joes Seasoning Salt
1/2 t course black ground pepper
1. Peel and cut potatoes into 2 inch cubes. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 35 minutes.
2. Drain potatoes when they are fork tender and then place back into the dry pot. Over low heat mash the potatoes allowing all steam to escape.
3. Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks of butter, cream cheese, and 1/2 cup of half-and-half and mash the potatoes. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of season salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir until well mixed and place in a medium size baking dish. Place a few slices of butter on top and bake in a 350°F oven until butter is melted and warmed through.
* I make these a day or two ahead and store in the fridge. Before cooking remove from fridge for at least 2 hours and then bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
Grandma’s Apple Crisp
contributed by Lauren Fortsch of simplylauren.com. Raised on the South Shore of Boston and raising her kiddos on the south coast of Connecticut, check out her classic and simple life + style on Instagram, too, @laurenfortsch.
8 baking apples, peeled, cored, & sliced
1/2 c sugar
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 c flour, sifted
1/2 c sugar
1/4 t salt
6 T butter
1. Mix apples with sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Put into well-greased 2 1/2 – 3 qt. baking dish.
2. Combine flour, sugar, salt and butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.
3. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is brown.
Delicious served warm with vanilla ice cream.
Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas Salad
contributed by Shannon Shipman, a photographer and Southerner well-versed in the ways of New England…with a heart to match. Based in Boston, you can find her on her beautiful travel blog and on Instagram @shannon.m.shipman.
2 c boiling water
3/4 cups sugar
1 large box cherry Jell-O
1 can red tart cherries, drained
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup halved red seedless grapes
8 oz cream cheese
1. Dissolve sugar in boiling water.
2. Remove from heat and add Jell-O and cherries. Stir, then add ice water.
3. When cool, add celery, grapes & nuts and pour into a 9 x 13 dish.
4. Make little balls out of cream cheese and add throughout the dish.
5. Chill 8 hours.
Gingersnap Molasses Cookies
contributed by Samantha Lynch. Based in Kentucky with the heart of a New Englander, you can follow her travels and seasonal inspo on Instagram @_samanthalynch (and her insanely cozy hand knit hats account @slynchknitwear).
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/4 tp salt
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c veg oil
1/4 c molasses
granulated sugar to roll cookies in
1. Preheat over to 375°F.
2. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer, combine brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg until smooth.
4. Slowly add in flour mixture to wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix.
5. Shape dough by rounded spoonful and roll into balls. Dip tops of cookie balls into the granulated sugar.
6. Place balls sugar side up onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake about 9-10 minutes until set (cookies may look under-baked). Cool and transfer to wire rack.
contributed by Jaimee at City Country Beach…a girl lucky enough to divide her time between, you guessed it, all three of these fab locales. A PR and Events guru based in Connecticut with a flair for weekending, you can also find her on Instagram @city.country.beach.
1 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
16 oz can of pumpkin ( I use Libby’s 15 oz can)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Beat sugar, oil, and pumpkin in a mixing bowl until fluffy.
3. Combine all other ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to pumpkin mixture.
4. Pour into cake pan (13×10 or 13×9).
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes (depending on your oven)
Set aside to cool, cut into brownie squares and sprinkle powdered sugar on top. You can also frost with cream cheese frosting too!
Hopefully this three part series has provided some style tips, ideas, and inspiration for how to wear this sweater blazer multiple ways.
One of my absolute favorite things about Ohio is it’s proximity to Lake Erie. People never think of Ohio as a coastal state. But in fact, the entire northern border of the state rests on the lake. There are 100 miles of Lake Erie shore between Toledo and Cleveland. I never appreciated my proximity to this body of water until the last few years. I’m so fortunate that we live 25 minutes from the bay and about an hour from Marblehead Point.
We took L back in April, but she was too young to enjoy the water. I was thrilled to see how much she loved it this time around (just like her mama!). We wouldn’t let her get in because Lake Erie isn’t the cleanest of lakes (every summer we get an awful algae bloom – I will share a post on that another day).
I love talking about coastal Ohio and am happy to share more of you guys are interested! You can also check out Ohio Explored or Ohio Find It Here. Both are great resources for all things Ohio!