A FRIENDSGIVING FEAST

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 

Directions

for the Sweets
3 cups of sweet potatoes, cooked, skinned and mashed
1/2 c of sugar
4 T butter
2 eggs
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.

Ingredients

1 loaf of good bread, sliced and staled, and torn/shredded (I love ciabatta—correction, loved—but it’s still perfect for this)
olive oil
2 small yellow onions, chopped small
2 stalks of celery, chopped small
Bell’s Seasoning
12 oz. sausage (I love Jones Original Pork Sausage)
~2 c low sodium chicken broth
fresh parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Directions

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.

Roasted Carrots w Candied Pecans and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

Carrots
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

Candied Pecans
2 T butter
3 T maple syrup
1 T brown sugar
1 c pecans roughly chopped
1/4 t salt

Directions

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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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).

Ingredients

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
1 egg
granulated sugar to roll cookies in

Directions

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.


Pumpkin Bars

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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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!

3 PREPPY WAYS TO STYLE A SWEATER BLAZER – PART III

PART III – Work Style 
Last week I did a poll on my Instagram stories asking how you guys wanted to see this sweater blazer styled for work.  You guys voted for a dress style shoot, so here you go! 
This look can easily work for a business professional job OR for the holidays.  I chose a cute little navy dress (I prefer navy over black, but a little black dress will also work!).  I tried on several dress styles to pair with this sweater blazer and a shift dress is definitely the most flattering.  
When styling this sweater blazer with a dress, you want the length of the sweater to be just a touch shorter than the dress.  Otherwise the blazer looks too boxy.  
I don’t wear a ton of heels at this stage in my life (if you can chase a toddler in heels you are the epitome of grace).  I chose ballet flats with this look, but booties with tights is a perfect alternative as we head into the long winter months. 
Since this look is styled for the office, I kept the jewelry classic and low key.  You can never go wrong with pearls if you want to accessorize your look for work. 

Hopefully this three part series has provided some style tips, ideas, and inspiration for how to wear this sweater blazer multiple ways.

Shop the details of this look below!
Sláinte,
Shannon 
SHOP THE LOOK

3 PREPPY WAYS TO STYLE A SWEATER BLAZER – PART II

Part II – WEEKEND STYLE 
Last week I shared how to style this J.Crew sweater blazer for the holidays and today I’m sharing how to style it for the weekend, aka a more casual look. 
One of the things I love about this sweater is it’s versatility.  I do wear this to work A LOT.  It’s the perfect neutral and helps to instantly make my look more professional.  BUT, it also works perfectly if you are going for a casual look.  
My weekend look usually includes a t-shirt and jeans with a sweatshirt.  By swapping out my sweatshirt with this blazer sweater, my look is still casual, but a teensy bit more out together.  And comfy as heck! 
Adding a pair of booties also gives this look an extra splash of style.  But you can easily swap out the booties for tennis shoes, boat shoes, Wellies, or snow boots.
I’ve linked the details of my outfit below! You’ll definitely want to check out where my tee and knit hat are from (hint hint: two of favorite women owned small businesses)! 
Have the best week friends! 
Sláinte,
Shannon 
SHOP THE LOOK

3 PREPPY WAYS TO STYLE A SWEATER BLAZER

PART 1: Holiday Inspired 
I have shared this gorgeous open front sweater blazer on my Instagram before and you guys LOVE it.  My mom gifted me this for my birthday this year and I wear it ALL THE TIME.
This J.Crew Factory sweater blazer is polished, elegant, and oh so stylish.  I love the structured shape and the collar detail.  The color is gorgeous! And guess what, blush is my FAVORITE neutral.  This sweater blazer is a perfect transitional piece for fall and spring, but it will also carry well into winter as a layering piece for those cold, bitter days. 
Since you guys love this blazer as much as I do, I thought it would be fun to show you how to style it three different ways. 
The first way is for the holidays! With Thanksgiving and Christmas just on the horizon, you are probably brainstorming outfits.  I’m not typically a red holiday person (I prefer navy and gold), but I love how this red plaid pattern pairs with the subtle blush pink.  So pretty and festive! 
Pairing the sweater with a pop of plaid instantly amps up the holiday festiveness.  Wear some skinny black pants or black mini skirt and you will be comfy and stylish.  I chose pointy black suede flats for my shoes, but booties or knee high boots would be equally cute.  
I almost always wear a chunky necklace and fun earrings when dressing up.  I love how the gold pops against the red plaid and I love how the blush and gold earrings tie everything back together. 
Hopefully this look has sparked some inspiration for your holiday outfit! The sweater blazer is on sale this week so I’ve linked this style as well as  my other outfit details below. 
Sláinte,
Shannon 
SHOP THE LOOK

MOTHERHOOD MILESTONES: ONE YEAR

“Hold her a little longer, rock her a little more, read her one more story, you’ve only read her four. Let her sleep on your shoulder, rejoice in her happy smile. She is only a little girl for such a little while.” – The Paper Heart Family 
SO. MANY. FEELS.
Our baby girl turns ONE this week and I’m a mix of excited and emotional.  I’ve been busy planning her party and making sure it’s extra special, but at the same time, I’m wondering where in the heck did the time go?! 
This past year has been hard.  But it’s also brought more joy and love that we even knew existed.  We’ve grown so much and learned so much and are better because of our sweet girl who teaches us about life every single day.  
As I reflect back on these past 12 months, there are so many things I want to share.  But gosh, where to begin.  I’ve learned so much this year.  I’ve learned that my body is insanely strong and and resilient and that sleep deprivation sucks, but it only lasts a little while. I’ve learned to lower my expectations – basically about everything.  It’s very hard for this controlling, perfectionist to sometimes let things go.  If the dishes don’t get washed, fine.  If the laundry never gets folded, fine.  If I only shower once a week, fine.  If there is dog hair everywhere, fine.  None of these things matter, but what does matter is that I have a healthy, safe and happy baby.  
I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be present and appreciate the season. Lilly always seems to remind me that sometimes I’m glued to my screen way too much.  Because of this, I’ve learned to put down my phone and really enjoy the moments I have with L.  And if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that time goes SO FAST.  So be present and enjoy every second with your loved ones.
I was an anxious, over thinker before having a baby, but now my fears are tenfold.  Motherhood comes with a whole slew of fears that I never even knew existed.  In the beginning my fears were all about SIDS, making sure she was getting enough breast milk, and how she would adapt once I went back to work.  I worried about her development (physically and mentally) and worried that she was where she needed to be.  I worried about transitioning her from nursing to bottles and how she would do with formula (that is a whole other post).  
My fears continue to change, but they are always there.  I worry about her sleep and if she’s getting enough.  I worry about the new foods we are introducing to her and how she will react to them.  I worry about her falling and hurting herself now that she’s on the go.  I worry that she will eat something she shouldn’t.  I worry that we are giving her enough new experiences and exposing her to enough new people. I worry that we will forget to teach her important life lessons and that she won’t be prepared for the real world.  I truly worry about it all.
Through all of these worries, I pray and hope that we will raise her to be a kind, caring, confident, and accepting person.  
I would say the greatest triumph this year has been my ability to better adapt to change.  Before L, I hated changed.  I would drag my feet and worry until I was blue in the face to avoid change.  Becoming a parent makes you have to embrace it – it’ll sure be a long and bumpy road if you don’t.  L has definitely taught me time and again that she is always ready for growth and becoming more independent far sooner than I am.  If I don’t adapt to her changing, then I’m going to miss out on a whole lot.  
If you’ve made it this far, you are a gem.  This has been a post full of emotions and I cried more than once writing this.  Motherhood is messy, chaotic, and challenging, but it’s so much more than that too.  It’s beautiful, rewarding and full of so much love.  
L has completely changed our lives and we can’t imagine things any other way.  We absolutely adore our sweet, giggly, independent, loud, assertive, smart, and beautiful girl.  She sure makes life a whole lot brighter.  
So cheers to my sweet girl and her FIRST BIRTHDAY!! 
Sláinte,
Shannon 
p.s.  L’s outfit details are linked below.

DAY TRIPPIN’ TO THE BAY

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.  

This past weekend we took L to Maumee Bay State Park, which sits right on the bay of the lake (hence the name).  Maumee Bay State Park includes two sandy public beaches, a two mile boardwalk, nature center, and a golf course, along with many other activities.  

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).  
It was so refreshing and rejuvenating to walk along the lake and listen to the quiet waves crashing on the beach.  I have no idea where my love for the water comes from, but I sure do love it. 
This trip was even more special being able to share it with L.  She was completely entranced by the water and I wanted so badly to let her play in it.  I think one of the greatest joys of being a parent is watching your children experience something new with such immense joy.  I savor these special moments.

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! 
Sláinte,
Shannon 

OUTFIT DETAILS:

S.LYNCH KNIT HAT | J.CREW FACTORY VEST | J.CREW FACTORY STRIPED SHIRT | J.CREW FACTORY DENIM JEANS | HUNTER BOOTS

SAFER BEAUTY

One of my passions (and goals) for this blogging platform is supporting other women and their businesses and brands. I have met and become friends with so many awesome ladies and it makes this blogging journey so worth it. 

I recently discovered an Ohio based skincare company called Elle Landon.  Elle Landon skincare products are essential oil based and only use the simplest of ingredients.  I’m a huge believer in eliminating toxins that go into our body and when I find skincare that only uses the simplest of ingredients I’m a happy camper. 

At first I was skeptical about using a face oil, especially with my postpartum skin, but this luxury oil has far exceeded my expectations.  It leaves my face feeling hydrated, healthy, and has cleared up some of that postpartum nonsense.  And the best part is that I feel safe using it on my face – it’s made with only safe, simply ingredients.  Plus, the essential oils make it smell delightful.

As I get older, I’ve come to realize the importance of taking care of your body.  It’s important to exercise, eat clean, take care of your mental health, but it’s equally important to take care of your skin.  Our skin is the biggest barrier against infection, and it’s so important to keep it hydrated and moisturized. 

I’m so glad I was introduced to Elle Landon products.  I love that the face oil is super hydrating and brightening. It can be used morning and night as a moisturizer, under the eye area to nourish and decrease puffiness, or lightly tapped over makeup to add a dewy finish. 

Head to their website to learn more about their various products and story! 

Sláinte,

Shannon

Please note: This item was gifted, but I have been using the product for a few weeks and all opinions are my own. 

Fall Traditions – Apple Picking

Last year Rob and I began the tradition of picking apples at a local apple orchard. I was nine months pregnant when we went last year (no joke, Lilly was born about two weeks later!!).

We both come from close knit families with strong family traditions and it’s been a priority for Rob and I that we start creating our own family traditions. It’s important to us that we continue these traditions and share them with our sweet girl.

If you want to pick apples in Northwest Ohio, the famous MacQueen’s Orchard is where you want to go. MacQueen’s Orchard is a local family farm that has been around for over 55 years.  Apple pickers can enjoy the orchard’s state of the art cider mill, pick apples, and enjoy warm apple cider with homemade donuts.  It is truly a gem of Northwest Ohio and a great place to bring your family and friends.

Exploring the orchard this year was so much fun (and much more comfortable for me). The temperatures were actually a lot chillier than we anticipated, but the cool air made it feel a lot more like fall. L was absolutely fascinated with picking apples and tried to eat all the apples we gave her (with two teeth you aren’t going to get very far eating one).

One of the greatest joys of parenting is watching her experience new things. L is such a curious child and we love watching her process all these new experiences. We love watching her learn and grow every single day. What an honor and a blessing for Rob and me. We are certainly enjoying and cherishing these sweet memories.

Tell me your favorite fall family traditions in the comments below!!

Sláinte,

Shannon

GIVEAWAY!

You guys know how much I love supporting local businesses, so I was thrilled when Angela from Pineapples and Parties reached out to do a giveaway!

Pineapples and Parties is a local event planning and decorating business that specializes in attention to detail. From weddings to showers to parties and fundraisers, Angela does it all!

She also provides budget analysis, day-of coordination, event design, gift baskets, favors, florals, full event planning, guest list creation, holiday decorating, partial event planning, timelines, to-do lists, and vendor selections.

Pineapples and Parties celebrated their ONE year anniversary this summer! In celebration, I’m partnering with Angela to give TWO of our followers a Pineapples and Parties t-shirt, tote bag, and a $50 gift card to Pineapples and Parties for a future event!

Head to my Instagram for the giveaway details and to enter! (For those that live out of town, you can still enter to win and Angela will work remotely to help you plan an event!)

Sláinte,

Shannon

CHAMBRAY WITH A TWIST

Every preppy dresser needs a chambray shirt in their collection. Chambray pairs so well with white denim, regular denim, skinny black pants, and skirts. It’s casual enough for everyday wear but it’s easily dressed up for a business meeting.

I have several chambray shirts in several different styles. I have a handful of button downs in long sleeve and sleeveless. But one style I do not have is one with ruffles!

I love a good ruffle. A ruffle instantly adds a touch of feminism and elegance to an outfit. When I saw this ruffle chambray button down from Loft I knew I wanted to add it to my chambray collection.

I love the flirty-ness of it and I love how crisp and classic it pairs with my white denim shorts. I tucked in the front with my high rise waisted shorts, but you could easily tie it at the waist. I’m excited to wear this with skinny black plants, ballet flats, and a sparkly necklace.

You can shop the details of my outfit below!

Sláinte,

Shannon

SHOP THE LOOK:

CHAMBRAY SHIRT | WHITE DENIM SHORTS | SANDALS | KATE SPADE HANDBAG

P.S. ALL OF MY JEWLERY IS KIEL JAMES PATRICK.