STYLE: THE 9-5 EDIT, PATTERN DRESSES

If you look at my dress collection, it’s full of prints and patterns. As much as I love my stripes, I also LOVE preppy, bold prints. I used to shy away from wearing bold prints to work – I didn’t want to look too flashy or stand out, I thought I needed to dress conservative and professional, etc. But as I’ve grown more comfortable and confident with my style, I realize that it’s okay to dress bright.

With several years of working in the professional world under my belt, I’ve learned that wearing clothes that make me feel confident and put together are the keys to my success. It shouldn’t matter what we wear to work, but in all honesty (and from experience) what you wear to work does matter. I’m much more productive and confident when I’m wearing an outfit that is perfectly styled and comfortable. Whether that is a bright dress, tailored pants, or a pretty blouse, the key is making sure YOU feel good.

One of my favorite work appropriate brands is Jude Connally. I love the ease and effortlessness of their dresses. They are stretchy enough to ensure a great fit, no matter what your body type. The fabric is wrinkle-free, soft, easy care, and the cuts are so flattering – they are perfect for work, date night, church, running around the house – you name it! Plus the patterns are just so darn happy and fun and they don’t fade over time.

Wearing a patterned dress to work doesn’t mean you aren’t professional, and you can easily style it to make it professional. Below are a few tips for dressing boldly and wearing a patterned dress in your work environment.

Keep your accessories minimal. 

Because your dress is already full of life, you don’t need a ton of flashy jewels. Keep it simple. When I wear bright dresses I opt for two simple and classic bracelets and usually pearls or low maintenance earrings. Simple is better. Also, make sure your handbag is a solid color – you don’t want clashing prints.

Opt for neutral colored shoes.

Whether you choose pumps, flats, or wedges, keep your shoes neutral.  It will keep things classy and minimize noise.  If I’m wearing a bright pattern, I tend to opt for nude wedges, classic ballet flats, or my Jack Roger sandals. 

Add a blazer or cardigan.

If you work in a more conservative, professional environment, add a solid color classic blazer or open front cardigan for a chic update to your look.  I love to wear my sweater blazer from J.Crew over my dresses (see how I styled mine here and here). 

Fit is important.

Make sure the dress you choose is flattering. In other words, dress for your body type. You want to choose a dress that won’t result in awkward tugging or pulling. You 100% want to feel comfortable in the fit. I love dresses that are A-line or form fitting. Because I’m so petite, these classic styles work better for my body type and don’t swallow me up.

The single most important part of dressing bold is making sure you look and feel put together. There is power in confidence and confidence is the key to your success, whatever that may look like.

I’m including a few other styles of Jude Connally dresses that I love below.

Megan Dress in Sail Geo | Ella Dress in Cheetah Classic | Kristen Dress in Sail Geo | Laney Dress in Tonal Stripe | Holly Dress in Chain Link 

Slainte,

Shannon

Thank you to Jude Connally for sponsoring this post.  The item was gifted but all opinions are my own.

STYLE: CURATING A SUMMER WARDROBE COLLECTION

Summer.  My favorite season.  Full of long, slow days spent at the pool, fresh vegetables from the Farmer’s Market, refreshing white wine, easy-breezy dresses, and a general sense of warmth and happiness.  I love summer.  But I also love my summer wardrobe.  

I’ve spent the last couple of years curating a summer wardrobe that is timeless and classic.  I rarely need to buy summer clothes because the items I choose are good quality and never go out of style.  (Don’t get me wrong though, I still shop for summer clothes every year because I love shopping). 

My motto for summer dressing is easy and effortless. The goal is to look and feel great while being able to run and play. The last thing I want while strolling through the local Farmer’s Market or chasing Lilly at a park are clothes that are clingy, uncomfortable, and hot. I always opt for pieces that are basic and classic, because really, who wants to be fussing with their clothing when it’s 90 degrees out?!

Flowy dresses, denim shorts, boyfriend tees, sleeveless button ups, and boat shoes (or Jack Roger sandals) are just a few of my favorite things to wear in the summer. I’m a huge sucker for J.Crew Factory when shopping for these basics, but I also enjoy shopping for summer pieces at Banana Republic, Loft, Target, and local boutiques. My summer wardrobe is definitely casual, but if we are going on date night or I’m getting dressed for work, I throw in some fun accessories or espadrille wedges to dressen up the look.

Below are basic pieces that are must haves in my summer wardrobe. 

Denim Shorts: I love my high-waisted denim shorts.  I have them in blue and white denim and they are just the perfect short every day summer living. 

Sleeveless Button Up: A perfectly flowy sleeveless button up is chic and stylish while keeping you cool. It can instantly dressen up any look.

Boyfriend Tees:  I probably have way too many of these, but honestly a boyfriend tee in a solid color or in stripes is so versatile, easy, and perfect paired with denim shorts, chinos, or linen pants.

T-shirt Dress: My favorite go-to outfit for summer.  Easy, classic, and the perfect ensemble for hanging around the house, drinks on the patio, or even adding a chunky necklace to make it work appropriate. 

Linen Pants: Everyone should own linen pants. I love to wear these to work during the summer and pair them with a striped tee or sleeveless button up. I have them in pink, navy, and khaki!

Jack Roger’s Sandals: My favorite sandals.  They are the perfect amount of dressy and casual and look great with everything from dresses to shorts to linen pants. 

Boat Shoes: Any All-American lady needs a pair of boat shoes.  They are comfy, easy to slip on, and look so cute with denim shorts and a striped tee. 

I also love chino shorts, a good maxi dress, a rattan bag, sunnies, and my Kiel James Patrick nautical bracelets.  For more classic styles, check out two of my favorite bloggers and their summer picks: Sarah (Cozy Little Joy) and Stephanie’s (Linens & Littles)

Slainte,

Shannon

COASTAL OHIO: LOCAL’S GUIDE TO THE BEACH AT MAUMEE BAY

We’ve had several people reach out to us with questions about the beach at Maumee Bay State Park so I thought I would put together a quick little guide for anyone thinking about visiting! It’s no secret that our family loves this beach. It’s only a 25 minute drive from our house and the beach offers some gorgeous views of Lake Erie. And since it’s a state park, the beach and the marshy trails surrounding it are open to the public during Ohio’s Stay at Home Order (just make sure you social distance yourself from others and bring your masks!).

Even though the beach is currently open, there are some limitations due to the current public health emergency. For starters, there are no public restrooms available. Under the Ohio Governor’s Stay at Home Order, all public restrooms are currently closed. Second, it is mandated you practice social distancing, so make sure to remain six feet away from others (park rangers do drive around regularly). Third, and this is true all the time, there are no lifeguards on duty on the main beach so you swim in the lake at your own risk!

Even though it’s probably obvious, I do need to point out that Ohio beaches are much, much smaller than beaches on the East Coast, in Florida, or California beaches. Because they are so small, what they lack in amenities such as access to refreshments, they make up for in less crowds and a more relaxed atmosphere .

So, without further ado, here are a few tips:

  1. Bring your own beach towel, blankets, or chairs (I love to bring our Turkish beach towels from Anchors Aweigh Supply Co.).  During the summer months I recommend a beach umbrella, too. 
  2. Pack a picnic basket or cooler with snack and refreshments.
  3. Bring extra clothing – it’s always at least ten degrees cooler along the shore than it is inland. 
  4. Get there early, especially in the warmer months.  Because Ohio beaches are smaller, they do fill up quicker.  We always get there around 10 a.m., which is at least an hour or more before the crowds.  This past weekend we had the entire beach to ourselves and it was amazing!
  5. Bring toys if you have kiddos – shovels, pails, buckets, bath toys, etc. 
  6. If you are an adult, bring a book, some music, or a magazine. 
  7. The beach is more gravely than sandy, so just keep that in mind.
  8. This beach doesn’t boast a ton of shells, so if you are looking to search for seashells by the seashore you will be quite disappointed.
  9. I’m not an expert on high tide and low tide, but currently it appears as though spring low tide is between 10am-1pm.  I include this because you have much more beach to walk around on. 

Another local tip, if the main beach is too crowded, the park also boasts a 57-acre in-land beach and lake! It’s about half a mile from the main beach and offers a much quieter atmosphere. Plus, you can swim, fish, paddleboat, and rent canoes on this lake!

Hopefully if you are planning a safe trip to the bay, these tips will help and prepare you for a lovely day at one of Ohio’s many Lake Erie beaches. 

Slainte,

Shannon 

OHIO SPIRIT WEEK

The past couple of weeks have certainly forced me to break out my creativity when coming up with activities for L.  So far we have tried sensory bins, stickers, baking, gardening, legos, and cleaning!  We surely have been doing our best to stay home to help protect those on the front lines. 

This week the Ohio Governor’s Office is hosting Virtual Ohio Spirit Week!  Our family are proud Ohioians and we will happily be supporting Governor Mike Dewine and his team and participating in some fun, engaging activities with L.    

If you want to participate with us this week, below are the different themes for each day!  Remember, we are all in this together and it’s important we continue to stay home to keep others safe! 

MONDAY: PAJAMA DAY

Stay in your pajamas all day! I have been continuing to get dressed each day, so this will be a fun activity for me!

TUESDAY: GARDEN DAY

Get outside and plant your gardens, or in our case, we will be doing yard work! 

WEDNESDAY: SALUTE YOUR HERO

We are forever grateful for those who are on the front lines fighting this virus.  Thank you to all of the doctors, nurses, truck drivers, firefighters, teachers, refuse drivers, city workers, grocery store workers, and everyone else who is considered essential!

THURSDAY: SPIRIT DAY

Show your love for your favorite sports team!  We will be showing our love for our Ohio teams.  We are a Buckeyes, Indians, and Redhwaks through and through. 

FRIDAY: PIZZA DAY

Order pizza in or make your own! We will be making our own version of pepperoni and bacon pizza – our favorite!

Thanks for joining us!  Stay safe and well. 

Slainte,

Shannon

MOTHERHOOD: CREATIVE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

FULL DISCLOSURE: Please no judging if you are a professional in the kitchen, as I do not consider myself to be a baker or chef.   This activity was meant to be fun and it turned out with some pretty edible cookies, so win-win! 

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that L and I whipped up some chocolate chip cookies today.  I sadly was out of brown sugar and chocolate chips, so I had to improvise.  I did google “how to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch” so I could have a basis of measurements.  Beyond that, I pretty much made up the below recipe!  They are hubby approved so I thought I’d share.  I’ve included a few notes based on what I did and what you probably should do instead.  

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups of all-purpose white flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt 

1 ½ sticks of butter (I would use 2 though)

1 cup of stevia and white sugar (I ran out of stevia, so I topped it off with sugar.  You may want to up this to 1 ½ cups, I just try to limit my sugar intake)

2 tsp vanilla extract (I forgot to add this in mine – oops!) 

2 large eggs

Two full hershey bars chopped (or chocolate chips if you have them)

Two handfuls of pecans (this I made up as I went)

Sea Salt 

Note: My girl Claire from Home with the Wileys gave me a great tip – if you don’t have brown sugar you can substitute it with maple syrup and sugar. 

Instructions:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and butter and mix well.  Add in the vanilla and eggs and mix.  
  3. Add the flour, baking soda and salt to the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix well until dough forms.
  4. Add in chocolate and pecans and mix.
  5. Use an ice-cream scoop to scoop dough onto a cookie sheet.
  6. Add sea salt to the top of each cookie.
  7. Bake 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I combined everything at once and mixed it well and they turned out just fine! Also, these cookies are pretty dense, so if you prefer thinner chocolate chip cookies these are not your jam.

Enjoy!

Slainte,

Shannon  

STYLE: THE BEST IN FASHION BOOKS

“What I believe in is the timelessness of an attitude, the timelessness of style.” – Ralph Lauren

For as long as I can remember, I’ve collected books about style icons.  I have books from Oleg Cassini, Kate Spade, and Nina Garcia, and books about Audrey Hepburn, Lilly Pulitzer and my personal favorite, Jackie Kennedy.   During my college years and time in fashion school, I devoured books about fashion, personal style, and style icons.  

I have always been drawn to and fascinated by the classics.  In my mid twenties I gave up shopping for fashion trends and instead began investing in classic pieces.  A great fitting pair of denim jeans (blue and white denim), classic striped tees, crisp button up shirts, timeless Lilly Pulitzer shift dresses, ballet flats, and pearl studs are now my go-to uniform.  

Below I’m sharing all of the books that have influenced my style in some way. For all of you still finding your style or for those who have found it and just love fashion icons, I hope this list provides some enjoyment and some much needed break from reality.

A Thousand Days of Magic by Oleg Cassini

Hands down my favorite book on Jacqueline Kennedy. Written by Oleg Cassini, the favorite designer during the Kennedy’s White House Years, this book chronicles over 300 outfits that Mrs. Kennedy wore during her time as First Lady. A MUST if you love the Kennedy era.

In Vogue by Angeletti Olivia

This is truly a fascinating look into the world’s most influential fashion magazine.  In Vogue is one of the most interesting publications I’ve read on the subjects of culture, art, fashion, photography, and media.  Plus, it has some of the most gorgeous images of fashion photography I’ve ever seen. 

Style by Kate Spade 

Another favorite, this book explores the people and experiences that influenced Kate Spade.  It talks about how style comes with age and opening up one’s self to difference experiences, cultures, and ideas.  But most importantly, style comes from your own self-confidence.  

The Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia

This fun, easy book outlines Nina Garcia’s (previous judge on Project Runway) rules of style.  It comes with some really cute fashion illustrations, which is probably why it’s L’s favorite book to flip through. 

Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit by Sean Hepburn Ferrer

I think I have four books on Audrey Hepburn, but this one is my favorite.  Compiled by her son, this book contains hundreds of images straight from the family’s picture albums.  It’s a unique history that celebrates this much loved fashion icon and remarkable woman. 

The Fashion File by Janie Bryant

Calling all Mad Men lovers, this book is for you!  The author is the costume designer behind the show Mad Men.  This book provides a peek into the design process Janie Bryant used to create each character’s look.  It also provides tips for the everyday woman on how to cultivate their own personal style. Definitely a fun book to add to your collection. 

Lilly by Kathryn Livingston

Perhaps my favorite biography to date, this book tells the true story of fashion icon Lilly Pulizter.  You will get a full dose of Palm Beach society, scandal, and the beginnings of a fashion empire. If you love this iconic brand and are fascinated by privileged American society, this is a book for you! 

Fashion: The Twentieth Century by Francois Baudot

My sister gifted me this book while I was in college and actively exploring my style and love of fashion.  It’s still one of my favorite historical references for fashion. Spanning the 20th Century, this book showcases the most famous fashion designers of the century and details all the silhouettes and styles that defined a specific decade.  Definitely a must if you love fashion history! 

On my radar:

Classic Style by Kate Schelter 

Ralph Lauren: In His Own Fashion by Alan Flusser 

All of these books have brought me great joy over the years.  I hope one of these sparks some interest for you and brings you a little joy too.

Slainte,

Shannon

STYLE: FAVORITE PLACES TO SHOP FOR TODDLER CLOTHING

As soon as we found out we were pregnant with a baby girl, I knew I would have a problem with shopping for clothes for her. Although I’ve had my moments, I’ve actually done pretty well splurging on items for special occasions and keeping it realistic for everyday clothes. Because let’s be real, kids grow SO FAST. Also, the wear and tear on their clothes is pretty intense and I would rather get the best bang for our buck on her everyday wear.

But, I do LOVE buying her special occasion clothes and I have found some top notch children boutiques. Almost all of these boutiques are small businesses and I’m more than happy to support them. And in all honesty, the quality of the clothing for these specialty boutiques is fantastic. If you are looking for well-made, high quality craftsmanship for your littles, specialty boutiques are the way to go.

I’ve broken down my favorite places to shop based on special occasions (birthdays, baptism, holidays, etc.), everyday wear, and local.  

SPECIAL OCCASION 

Lilly Pulitzer 

Bella Bliss (based in Kentucky)

The Bella Bean (based in Columbus, OH!)

Shrimp & Grits

Coming Soon: Shop Maddie and Connor (This shop opens later this spring, but follow them on Instagram for some teasers!)

EVERYDAY STYLES 

Baby Gap

Old Navy

Cat & Jack for Target

LOCAL BOUTIQUES

Kids Klotheslines

Bowinkles

Hopefully this list is helpful! I love sharing where I find the cutest baby and toddler styles.  If you know a great place to shop for toddler clothing that I haven’t listed, please feel free to comment and provide a link!

Slainte,

Shannon 

STYLE: BASIC WHITE TEE

Is there anything more classic than a basic white tee? Every person should own at least one, if not several, basic white tees.  This iconic and easy piece goes with virtually everything.  

There are so many different varieties of white tees to choose from.  They come in an array of materials, price points, sleeve length, some with pockets and some without, etc.  Heck, you can even pull a classic Hanes white tee from your husband’s closet and wear it with leggings. However, you choose to style it, you are bound to look put together and chic.  

KEEP IT CASUAL

You can easily keep a basic white tee casual by styling it with a pair of comfy distressed jeans or polished skinny jeans. During the colder months I will throw on a long cardigan for warmth and extra style. In the warmer months I like to pair a white tee with scalloped shorts, a chunky necklace, and some easy slide sandals. I mean is there anything more comfortable than a lightweight tee on a hot day?!

If I ever need a quick, effortless and stylish outfit, I always reach for a basic white tee with denim – you seriously can’t go wrong. And I either style it with a front tuck or wear it knotted. I also love to roll the sleeves for some added drama.

DRESS IT UP

A basic white tee can also easily be dressed up with a chunky necklace, pleated skirt, and pumps. Wearing a white tee under a class navy suit jacket with skinny pants is also chic. You can also style it with a long boyfriend blazer and skinny black leather pants for a statement look. If your work environment is casual like mine, wearing a white tee tucked into a pair of colored linen or chino pants and some trendy jewels also gives it a dressier look.

Below are some of my favorite places to shop for white tees:

J. Crew Factory

Everlane (Ethical brand!)

Gap

Madewell 

Target 

How do you style your white tee?!

Slainte,

Shannon

MOTHERHOOD: STAY HOME FAMILY ACTIVITY

There is no doubt this is a challenging time.  But I am truly, from the bottom of my heart, thankful that Rob and I are able to work from home (and thank you to all of the essential workers who don’t have this luxury and have to go work.  We appreciate you all!!). Although this requires extra juggling and extra patience, we are so grateful for this time as a family.  

Because we are together all day every day, we are having to find creative ways to keep L engaged. She is an insanely curious and energetic child, and playing in her playroom all day just isn’t keeping her occupied. She’s very much in a stage where she wants to mimic everything that Rob and I do. And one area she has taken a great interest in is cooking with us. She loves being at the kitchen counter with us, helping prep whatever it is we are making. Even if she’s just playing with a wooden spoon and an empty bowl, she’s happy as a clam.

We don’t want to exhaust this new activity though so we only let her play at the kitchen counter every couple of days. And so far, it’s working like a charm! She’s happily helped us prepare pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and our favorite Scottish scones. (Side note about the scones: When we were in St. Andrews, Scotland my sister introduced us to the deliciousness that is the scones and clotted cream.)

To further share the happiness of these moments, we are sharing this yummy treat with you all.  Enjoy!

Slainte,

Shannon

Simple Scottish Scones

Ingredients:

2 cups of flour 

⅓ cup of sugar

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda 

½ tsp salt

8 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen

½ cup sour cream 

1 large egg

Note: Blueberries, chocolate chips, raspberries, raisins or any other sweet ingredient can be added. 

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (we used our mixer).  Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal).
  3. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
  4. Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form.  Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together).  Add in your desired amount of blueberries or chocolate chips and mix together.  
  5. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-8-inch circle about ¾-inch thick.  Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about one inch apart.  Bake until golden brown, about 15-17 minutes. Cool for five minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.  

Recipe originally from allrecipes.com. 

STYLE: EASTER OUTFIT, STAY HOME EDITION

This coming Sunday is Easter and it’s no secret that this year’s celebrations will be very different.  Rob and I both are fortunate to have family close by, so holidays are usually large, loud, and full of people.  Just because we are staying home though doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate. 

We fully intend on cooking a nice meal, giving L an Easter basket full of goodies, and setting up an Easter egg hunt in our backyard (although it may be indoors as the forecast is looking a bit gloomy).  

I also plan on getting dressed, as is my normal routine each day. Normally I wear a Lilly Pulitzer dress or top on Easter. But since we are staying home this year, I am going to pull something together that is a little more casual yet still springy, chic, and effortless.

When I saw this violet colored gingham button-up from J.Crew Factory, I knew it needed a home in my closet and I knew I’d be wearing it for Easter. (Side note, I actually don’t have much purple in my closet and I have no idea why because it’s so pretty!) The familiar checked pattern that represents gingham is classic and charming. I love seeing classic photos from the 1950s and 60s of women styling gingham cropped pants, sleeveless tops, and dresses. Wearing this pattern always gives me a boost of confidence because I know it will always be stylish and classy.

This top paired with white denim and some easy flats (or even tennis shoes) is a perfect stay home Easter ensemble. It’s comfy yet stylish and classic. Adding a front tuck or simple knot in the front adds a little extra style.

Below are some links to more easy outfits you can wear for Easter at home.

Easter Outfit 1

Easter Outfit 2

Easter Outfit 3 

Easter Outfit 4

Stay well friends! 

Slainte,

Shannon

SHOP THIS LOOK!

Gingham Button-Up | White Denim | Earrings | KJP Bracelets