O CHRISTMAS TREE

Decorating the tree is one of my favorite Christmas traditions! Growing up, it was tradition to decorate the tree on Thanksgiving morning while watching the Macy’s Day Parade.  Rob and I have our own tradition now of setting it up the day after Thanksgiving (aka in between shopping for Black Friday). [It’s the lesser of two evils: shopping or decorating]

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The last two years I chose a silver and gold theme for the tree.  Although I still love this classy combo, I decided to switch it up this year.  I didn’t want the traditional red and green theme because we really don’t have any red and green in our house!  We tend to use shades of blue, gray, and white so it only made sense to make the Christmas tree that color scheme as well.

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I spent a lot of time on Pinterest searching for inspiration for “coastal Christmas.”  I was overwhelmed by all the amazing ideas so this year I pretty much stuck to one room (I plan on adding pieces each year so that eventually the entire house will be coastal Christmas themed). [Yay! Can’t wait]

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The white and silver flowers I already had from our silver and gold themed decor.  I went out and bought those nautical inspired stars from Pier 1 and they were the perfect addition!  Last year I used gold ribbon for the garland but this year I knew I wanted nautical rope, which I ended finding at Michaels.  I found a giant package of the blue ornaments from Hobby Lobby and that made a huge difference in brightening up the tree!  And of course, I’ve slowly been collecting nautical ornaments over the past few years and that made everything come together (p.s. how cute is that sailboat ornament?!).

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As you can see I had a helper this year!  Gryff loves to play a game called eating the ornaments at the bottom (you’ll notice we don’t put ornaments on the lowest branches).   All in all though I’m quite happy with the tree this year.  I spent over a week perfecting everything so it does look a little different than the pictures above (aka the right side of the tree by the fireplace have way more ornaments now).

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While we are talking Christmas decor, I thought I’d share a few other details of our decorating.  Every year for St. Nick’s Day, St. Nick (aka my mom) gifts us a Jim Shore Angel.  I have been collecting them for years and have about 14 of them now!  This year I split them between the fireplace in the family room and above the piano in the living room.  I love how each one is different and has such beautiful details.

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And I can’t end this post without talking about our personalized stockings!  Rob’s parents gifted us these when we got engaged (four years ago this Christmas!) and we both adore them.  My stocking is a lighthouse [who’s surprised?!] and Rob’s is a Christmas train.  {Chooo Chooo!] They are the perfect touch to our Christmas decorating.

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We hope you are enjoying this joyful holiday season!  From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

DECK THE HOUSE

It’s officially the most magical time of the year!  Christmas has always been my favorite holiday – the twinkling lights, cozy nights by the fire, Christmas movies (Elf is my fav!), the decor, carols- I love it all. [Read: Getting presents].

Owning our house has made Christmas decorating that much more fun! [And expensive].  We decided to amp up our curb appeal this year with more lights and more Christmas cheer.  Our inspiration for this year was New England/Coastal Christmas.  Our style of house is very Cape Cod so this theme matches perfectly.

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I love this class look of a simple ribbon with a hanging wreath in front of the windows.  It’s so classic New England.  And, my mom always put wreaths in front of our windows growing up so it’s nostalgic for me!

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I was in charge of hanging the wreaths and the garland around the door.  Hubby was in charge of stringing white lights all along the edge of the roof. [Once again, risking my life in the pursuit of decor].  Check out a glimpse of the finished look below!

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We hope you are having the most magical holiday season!  Next week we will be sharing our interior Christmas decorations!

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

DOWN BY THE RIVER

It’s no secret that I’m a water girl (sea girl to be exact) [read mermaid wannabe].  There is just something so calming and peaceful about it.  Seeing as we live in Ohio, I feel very fortunate that we live so close to the Maumee River and Lake Erie.  Rob and I had the opportunity to take several day trips to the lake this summer.  When we don’t have the time to jaunt off to the lake though, we go down to the river which is just a short mile from our house.

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Our walk last weekend was super cold! I’m glad I dressed in layers and had on my Hunter Boots.  Once October hits I pretty much live in my Hunter Boots.  These have actually become my snow boots in addition to my rain boots because they are so good at keeping water out!  If you don’t own a pair of these yet, I highly encourage you to invest in a pair! [Or just don’t go outside].

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It’s always a few degrees colder down by the water so I make sure to wear layers!  This comfy chunky knit sweater is super warm and reminds me of Scotland (alas it’s from Gap!).  And let’s just chat about this pom pom hat for a second – anyone else super obsessed with these fun hats this year?! They are so cute and the 100% Icelandic wool material keeps your head warm.   I bought this one from a nautical boutique in Rhode Island called the Pink Pineapple shop, but you can find them almost anywhere. [Funny story, our dog thinks that a live animal resides on Shannon’s head when she wears this hat, which I find hilarious. Shannon, not so much].

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I’ve linked everything I’m wearing below! [Not everything, wink wink].

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

Hunter Boots | Chunky Sweater | Gingham Shirt | Grey Jeans | Pom Pom Hat 

FAVORITE GIFT IDEAS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

It’s getting to be that time of year again!  Many of you have probably already started your holiday shopping.  I started lists back in September but really need to get buying for the peeps in my life!

When thinking of gift idea for our families, Rob and I like to be really intentional and thoughtful.  We try and shop local if we can, but many times Amazon wins for it’s fast shipping and convenience.  Nevertheless, we spend a lot of time planning and thinking about gifts for each person in our life. [Fun Fact, Shannon spends more time creating lists for gifts for herself then everyone else combined].

Below I’ve rounded up some of my favorite gift ideas for family and friends this year (many are local to Northwest Ohio!). Hopefully this gives you some ideas for your holiday shopping!

  1. Michelle Brunner Art – If you follow my Instagram, you will have seen a few posts and Instagram stories about my love for Michelle’s art!  Michelle is a local Northwest Ohio artist and she paints the most beautiful watercolor paintings of Lake Erie and the surrounding landscape.
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    How cute are these paintings?! My mom picked out three for my sister’s room and they look so good!

    You HAVE to check out her Instagram and website.  Her paintings are so bright and colorful and full of nautical details.  I want to purchase some of her work for my dining room but I can’t decide which painting I want since I want them all!  Her art is the perfect gift for the person who loves art, shopping local, and the nautical life.

  2. Essential Oils from Young Living – Over the past few months I’ve become quite interested in essential oils.  Not only do they smell delightful, but they are amazing at curing tons of ailments.  I’m a very anxious person by nature so the lavender infused “Stress Away” oil is essential for my daily life.
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    I always have these two essential oils on me at all times (one for helping with anxiety and one for stomach aches)

    In general though, essential oils are wonderful for fighting cold and flu symptoms, alleviating pain, healing skin conditions, balancing hormones, improving digestion, eliminating toxins, the list goes on and on. [Legal disclaimer, talk to your doctor before curing cancer with lemongrass and ginger oil]. Gifting someone in your life who is interested in lovely scents and using natural products, essential oils are a great gift.  I personally only use the Young Living brand because of their high standard practices and packages.  My friend Hannah sells Young Living Essential Oils and she has some fantastic information on her Instagram page.  Be sure to check it out!

  3. Packer Creek Pottery  – Unique pottery is such a fun gift idea for any occasion!  I love finding pottery on our travels (we have vases from St. Lucia and Mexico and mugs from Scotland).  But when I can’t jet off somewhere exotic to find some unique pottery, I turn to a local pottery shop.  Packer Creek Pottery sells super bright, colorful pottery.  All the pieces are painted a fun pattern, which makes it easy to buy for people (I have a ton of pieces from their blue and white and nautical line – who’s surprised?).  The variety of pieces in which you can choose from is endless – vases, platters, bowls, tables, mugs, etc.  This is definitely a great idea for anyone who loves pottery, shopping local, and fun prints! IMG_1037
  4.  Maumee Bay Brewing Company Craft Beer – This is for the craft beer lovers in your life! Established in 1995, Maumee Bay Brewing Company operates out of the Historic Oliver House in Downtown Toledo.  They create delightful ales, lagers, porters, and stouts.  Not only do they brew several different types of brews, but they also have several restaurants throughout the Toledo area. [Mmmmm, now you have my attention…maybe Santa will get me a six pack this year].
  5.  Books – I know this is general, but books are always a good idea.  Both Rob and I are passionate readers.  Growing up, books were always a topic of conversation in both our families.  Every time my siblings and I would visit our grandma, she would ask us, “Now, what book are you reading now?”  I had to be reading something to be able to answer her and not disappoint her!  And now as adults, Rob and I make a point to read a little bit each day.  That being said, we have tons of recommendations across all the genres and we love to share the books we love with others. [Shannon and I are team “physical book” as opposed to Kindle or whatever the kids are using these days. In my humble opinion there is nothing that compares to the feel of a book in your hands and even the smell of a first read novel].    Whether it’s nonfiction, fiction, fantasy, DIY, or a coffee table book, books are the perfect gift for the holidays!

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    One of my favorite books right now is Domino’s Guide to a Stylish Home! 

Although many of these items are local to Northwest Ohio, they are easily shopable online and make for great gifts.  We hope this short list sparked some creative ideas for the loved ones in your life!  Happy Holiday Shopping!

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

SCOTTISH CASHMERE SCARF

It’s finally been cool enough lately to bring out my Scottish scarf! I found this gem in a cute cashmere shop in Edinburgh and it’s sooooo soft and cozy. I figured since I’m in the middle of sharing our adventures in Scotland I would share a fun fashion post styling my Scottish scarf. [Yay! A fashion post, my favorite!]

I bought this puffer vest two years ago from J.Crew and I live in it during the cool months.  It’s perfect for layering button ups and sweaters.  I chose navy because I love how it looks paired with my jeans.  Although I will admit that J.Crew Factory has a hot pink version this season and I’m definitely wanting it…

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I’ve linked everything I’m wearing below!

[Recently a friend brought back a gift for me from a trip on the Bourbon Trail, a bottle of Barrel Bourbon, which is bottled at  cask strength.  It is an absolute wonderful pour and I highly recommend it, that is if you can find it.] – (Thanks for the random recommendation hubby)

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

CASHMERE SCARF (SIMILAR) | J.CREW PUFFER VEST |OXFORD SHIRT | JEANS | KJP NECKLACE | KATE SPADE WATCH (SIMILAR) | RAYBANS | BOURBON AND BOWETIES BRACELET | BOOTIES (SIMILAR)

TRAVELING SOLTS – LAND OF SCOTCH, TARTAN PLAID, AND HARRY POTTER (PART 3)

So far we’ve shared about our Scottish adventures in St. Andrews and Edinburgh.  This is the last post in our Scotland series and it’s all about the Highlands!

HIGHLANDS

After spending a week in St. Andrews we headed up into the Highlands for two days.  We stayed in Inverness in a cute old hotel called Kings Highway.  The real adventures though were in the Highlands.  What a majestic landscape!  Huge rolling hills surrounding you in every direction.  If you have ever read or watched the Outlander series, you are probably able to picture the beauty of this area.

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Our first stop in the Highlands was Loch Ness, which is not a small lake like people think.  It’s a 30 mile long lake and all the bodies of water in the UK can fit into the depth of it.  We were amazed by the size and beauty!  Sadly, we did not see Nessie the Loch Ness monster. [Hungry Shannon is an equally terrifying, much less shy monster. We call her Shannasaurus Rex]

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We ended up renting a car and drove all over Inverness, deep into the hills of the Highlands.  Although I got carsick from all the crazy, winding roads, the scenery was absolutely incredible. [She needed more Scotch].

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Handsome Scottish Hubby ❤
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[My more photogenic side]

Exploring the Urquhart Castle was super cool and the views are unreal!  Urquhart Castle is one of the largest castles in Scotland.  For 500 years, the Scots and English fought back and forth for control of the castle.  The castle was blown up by the last of the government troops during the Jacobite rising and these ruins are what is left.   Back in it’s heyday, this castle was quite magnificent!

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Thes second day in the Highlands we explored the Culloden Battlefield, Fort Augustus, and Clava Clairns.  Outlander fans may recall the famous Battle of Culloden. One of the most well known battles in Scottish history, the Battle of Culloden put an end to the Jacobite rising, killing over 1,000 Jacobites and less than a hundred English soldiers in less than an hour.   It was so interesting to learn more about the battle.  We even learned that the clan we are descended from, Clan Murray, were split and members of the clan fought on both sides of the battle.

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Clava Cairns are a group of three Bronze Age cairns (or burial graves) that give a glimpse into over 4,000 years of Scotland’s history.  For the Outlander fans, these types of stones are the inspiration for the standing stones (“Craigh Na Dun”) where fairies live and where people can fall back in time.

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Fort Augustus is still in use today by the military!

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Since we’ve been back, I’ve printed off nine of my favorite photos in a 5×5 format.  I can’t wait to find some white frames and hang these beauties in our upstairs hallway.

I know these posts have been lengthy, but if you’ve made it this far, then you are destined for Scotland! I am more than happy to share more tips and places to visit if this is a country on your bucket list! It’s hands down my favorite country I’ve ever been to and I’ve never felt so passionate about a country’s culture and history.

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

p.s. Special thanks to my parents for planning and making this unforgettable trip a reality!  What incredible memories!

PUMPKIN FARM

Last weekend hubby and I decided to explore one of the local pumpkin farms and pick our own pumpkins!  For anyone who lives around Northwest Ohio, we highly recommend checking out Fleitz’s Farm in Oregon!

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Fleitz Farm has something for everyone!  They have pumpkin picking, hayrides, a craft shop, animals, corn mazes, and donut trucks.  [#pumpkin spice fun!] We picked our own pumpkins and enjoyed a yummy pumpkin spiced donut from one of the trucks. [Told ya]

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We realized driving over to the farm that neither one of us had ever been to a pumpkin farm or picked pumpkins!  We usually just buy them at a local grocery store.  We definitely enjoyed the experience and plan on making it a yearly tradition.

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[I believe the correct term is “Native American Corn”]
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[She actually lifted this whole pumpkin over her head. I guess that didn’t make the cut. shoutout to my shadow!]
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Happy fall!

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

p.s. Get ready Outlander fans, a recap of the Highlands is coming next week!  It’s going to be bittersweet sharing the last post of our Scottish adventure!

TRAVELING SOLTS – LAND OF SCOTCH, TARTAN PLAID, AND HARRY POTTER (PART 2)

Last week we shared our Scottish adventures in St. Andrews!  Today’s post, is all about Edinburgh!

EDINBURGH

We took two day trips to the city of Edinburgh.  What a cool, historic, eclectic city!  We did a LOT of different site seeing over two days so I’m breaking this post up into different activities.  First up is all about The Royal Mile and Edinburgh City.  But before I share pictures from city life, I have to share some photos of our train ride.  Riding through the countryside was seriously some of my favorite parts of the trip.  Scotland’s countryside is absolutely gorgeous with the rolling hills, views of the sea, and the cute little Scottish towns.   I’m for sure buying a house here some day. [I wonder if I’m part of that plan?]

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My dad and sister Allie!

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Royal Mile and City Life

Edinburgh is home to the Scottish crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat, and it’s the birthplace of Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling wrote the books in several coffee shops throughout the city).

Edinburgh is a VERY hilly city.  Once we embarked off the train, we had to climb up several streets just to get to The Royal Mile.  But there is so much to see, you forget what a great workout you are getting!

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This man’s outfit is on point with all that tartan!
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Magic is everywhere in Scotland!!

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The architecture in Scotland is unbelievable!
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Famous Victoria Street! (Inspiration for Diagon Alley for all you Harry Potter fans)

Edinburgh Castle

The Edinburgh Castle dominates the Edinburgh skyline.  The castle is over 3,000 years old and has provided sanctuary for many of Scotland’s kings and queens. The castle is home to the famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  Within the castles walls there is SO much to see!  The Crown Jewels of Scotland are housed here.  You can also explore St. Margaret’s Chapel (the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh), the Scottish National War Memorial, the One o’Clock Gun, the Prison Rooms, and the National War Museum of Scotland.  Plus, there are some epic views of the city!

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Inside St. Margaret’s Chapel

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Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is a rocky summit that towers over the city of Edinburgh.  Arthur’s Seat is a great place to escape the business of The Royal Mile while getting a view of the whole city.  It takes about an hour to climb and if you can make it to the top (I sadly did not) you are in for a treat with some magical views of the city! [Shannon’s sister said that it was just a “wee hill to climb.” It was not. I’m pretty sure that we looked down on Mt. Everest. At least I had thighs of steel the rest of the trip…]

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Ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel.

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Sisters ❤
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[I’m on Arthur’s Seat, so I’m basically king of Scotland]
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The group that made it to the top!
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What an incredible view!

Harry Potter Tour

One of my favorite activities we did in Edinburgh was a Harry Potter tour!! We walked all around the city, checking out sites that inspired J.K. Rowling while she was writing the books.

 

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Our fantastic tour guide! [I’m so excited, my eyes are closed]
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Practicing our spells! Wingardium Leviosa

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Voldemort’s family tomb!
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I got sorted into Hufflepuff. [Raise your hand if you are surprised]
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Graveyard that inspired the graveyard in the Goblet of Fire!
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Prep school that inspired the Hogwarts houses!

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I know this was a lengthy post, but there was just so much to share of our days in Edinburgh!  We took hundreds of pictures that we wish we could share but this should give a pretty good glimpse into all the fun that is Edinburgh, Scotland!

Up next, the Highlands (get ready Outlander fans!).

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

Note: These pictures were taken collectively by myself, hubby, my parents, siblings, and in-laws! Thanks to everyone for sharing all the pictures!

 

TRAVELING SOLTS – THE LAND OF SCOTCH, TARTAN PLAID, AND HARRY POTTER (PART 1)

Lengthy post alert!

It’s hard to believe it’s already been FOUR months since we came home from the most beautiful and magical SCOTLAND.  We finally had time to sit down and write about some of the highlights of our trip and how we are going to incorporate some of the pictures into our home!  There is so much we want to include in these posts so we’ve split them into a couple parts.  This first one highlights St. Andrews. [And Scotch].

ST. ANDREWS 

We spent 10 days in Scotland, the majority of it in St. Andrews (for my youngest sister’s graduation from St. Andrews University!).  St. Andrews is seriously the most enchanting place on this earth.  I definitely felt right at home surround by the beautiful sea and green countryside.  I’m pretty convinced I lived here in a past life.

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Ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral
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The Fife Coastal Path

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We had the best time exploring this charming seaside town.  Most people think of the famous Old Course and the Swilcan Bridge when they think of St. Andrews.  But there is SO much rich history to discover – the school itself was founded in 1413. [And Scotch]

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Main courtyard of the University.

One of our days was spent celebrating my sister’s graduation from The University of St. Andrews (I’m convinced it’s actually Hogwarts)! [No joke she kept yelling spells at me. People stared.] This was hands down the coolest graduation celebration I’ve ever been too.  The University of St. Andrews has in its possession three medieval academic maces that date back to the 15th century.  These maces are only brought out for use during graduation.  The graduates are sent on their way by the ceremonious touching of a 300 year old cap that was worn by  Sir John Arbuthnot, the private physician to Queen Anne. [Who apparently had lice…JK]

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We loved exploring the famous ruins of St. Andrews Castle and Cathedral (my brother proposed to his girlfriend at the top of the cathedral tower!! SO MAGICAL!).

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Ruins of the St. Andrews Castle

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I had way too much fun exploring the cute little shops all over town. [I agree, way too much fun] My favorite is one called Top Drawer (you can follow them on Facebook!) – they sell the cutest home décor items (I have several of their nautical inspired painted ceramic tiles – super cute!).

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How cute are my parents?!

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Hands down though my favorite part of St. Andrews was exploring the coast and hiking along the Fife Coastal Path.  Such gorgeous views of the North Sea and the surrounding rolling rolls.  I HIGHLY recommend doing this if you ever visit St. Andrews.

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You can’t visit Scotland without going to at least one scotch distillery.  Hubby did LOTS of research [And tasting] and ended up finding a scotch distillery 15 minutes from St. Andrews.   Visiting the Kingsbarns Distillery was probably one of my favorite days!  My siblings and I ended up getting lost after we embarked off the bus, but it was the best experience ever!

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We ended up walking through the cute town of Kingsbarns and enjoyed seeing all the Scottish cottages and local life.  We found a gravel path that led us through the beautiful countryside and dropped us out at the North Sea.  We somehow ended up on the Kingsbarns Golf Course and received some very confused looks from the local golfers.  Eventually we stopped at the cutest farm house and asked some very nice folks how to get to the distillery.  What should have been a ten minute walk off the bus turned into the most glorious hour of exploring the Scottish countryside.

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The distillery itself was awesome!  We tasted some delicious scotch and gin and learned all about the process of making scotch.  Hubby purchased our favorite bottle to bring home so we can taste a bit of Scotland every so often. [Kingsbarn itself is a fairly young distillery, its first distillation occuring in 2015.  The distillery was founded by a Caddie from one of the local courses and a member of the Wemyss Family, who has other distilleries. While we were not able to taste the finished product, we were able to sample the raw spirit that went into the casks that eventually will become Scotch as well as several other single malts and blends from the Wemyss Family.  The Wemyss have a unique process for the blends that are based on flavor palate, so blends include the “The Hive,” “The Spice King,” “Chimney Peat,” and “Kiln Embers.”  Kiln Embers had the palate of bacon and barbecue, which was as unique as it was awesome.]

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We can’t end this post without mentioning the food.  Honestly we didn’t think Scottish food was something to write home about.  Boy were we wrong!  We actually loved the local cuisine.  And yes, we ALL tried haggis, which was served every which way from roasted, fried and yes, even on nachos.  And it was surprisingly quite delicious! [Haggis was the best thing ever, minus Scotch of course]  Another fan favorite were the breakfast scones with clotted cream…OMG….so good!  I think everyone’s favorite meal though was the local fish and chips – you just can’t find ’em in the states like you can in Scotland.

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Next up, Edinburgh and the Highlands!

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

SHADES OF BLUSH

It’s that time of year where I’m transitioning my wardrobe from summer to fall.  There’s something so fun about bringing out clothes you haven’t worn in awhile and perhaps investing in some new pieces! [I don’t know about that whole “investing” part]

I mentioned in a previous post that one of my favorite colors and one of my favorite home decor trends this year is the color blush.  Many times home decor and fashion trends mirror each other so I’m not surprised to see so many blush pieces this fall.

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My mom bought me this pretty top from Loft for my birthday and I love it! It’s the perfect transitional piece into fall because it’s so lightweight.  It’s seriously so comfortable.  I love the details on the sleeve.

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I wore this outfit to brunch after a wedding this past weekend and it was the perfect amount of dressy/casual.  I could easily have made it more dressy by swapping out my flats for booties. [I’m not allowed to make any comments about Shannon’s bootie]

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And, can we talk about pretty the necklace looks with the blouse. Perfection. Plus, the necklace is pink for breast cancer awareness month and 60% of the proceeds are donated to breast cancer research.

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I’ve linked everything I’m wearing below!  Thanks to my “Instagram Hubby” for fueling my creativity and passion for all things home decor and fashion. [See https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fFzKi-o4rHw for how I routinely feel]

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

Blush top | Pants | Banana Republic Ballet Flats (similar) | Kate Spade Watch (similar) | Loft Necklace | KJP Bracelet | Kate Spade Purse (older style that can be found on Amazon) | Rayban Sunglasses