I can’t believe it’s Friday already. The days somehow are very long but also fly by at the same time. We don’t have much planned for this weekend except for a few household chores, which nowadays is about all we can handle as we still adjust to being a family of four. Below are a few things that I’ve been thinking about this week.
Now that Fall has arrived and the temperatures are quickly getting cooler, I’m looking to add a few cozy sweatshirts to my collection. My favorite sweatshirts are my Erie and Anchor ones. They are seriously the softest and comfiest sweatshirts I’ve ever owned. I wear them ALL the time. I’m loving this one, this one, and this one for me and this one for Lilly. Last year I put together a holiday gift guide of all my favorite Erie and Anchor styles. You can find there here.
I’m still on the hunt for a pair of postpartum jeans. After Lilly was born I was back in my normal clothes very quickly, but I’m pretty sure my entire body shape has changed after having Teddy so I can’t seem to find jeans that fit this new body. Currently looking to try these three styles: Denim Jean 1, Denim Jean 2, Denim Jean 3.
The Morning Show started last week and I’m so excited for this second season. We absolutely loved the first season so I have high hopes for this one.
Although there isn’t much time for reading these days, I try to carve out twenty minutes before bed to read a little something. I just finished The House in the Cerulean Sea and I highly recommend if you like magical and whimsical tales that end happy. I’m also reading the 123 Magic Book which is about parenting toddlers (a recommendation from my friend Stephanie from Linen and Littles) – we definitely need all the help we can get in that arena as our precious toddler certainly has a spirit of her own lately.
If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that I’m running a giveaway with Bits and Bows, Duffield Lane, and two of my favorite mommy bloggers. Be sure to check it out to enter to win a matching Mommy and Me baseball hat set and $100 to Duffield Lane!
One of my favorite series has returned and I couldn’t be more excited to introduce Bits and Bows as this month’s brand spotlight! Created by two sisters, Katie and Sarah, Bits and Bows is a preppy lifestyle brand that is famous for its innovative and feminine Bow Baseball Hat.
Lilly and I have had the opportunity to style this super cute baseball hat for a few weeks now and we are in love! Below I go into depth about the quality, style, and affordability of this accessory. But before I do that I must comment on the values behind the brand. Bits and Bows is not only stylish, preppy, and fun, but the mission of the brand is to create a community and sisterhood that focuses on “inclusivity, friendship, and self-actualization.” I mean, what’s not to love about that?! I’ve absolutely loved working with Katie and Sarah and they truly live up to their goal of promoting a sisterhood.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The idea to adorn a baseball hat with a customizable and interchangeable bow started as a vision nearly seven years ago and came to fruition this year. This ultra feminine baseball hat is the perfect accessory to ensure a woman is perfectly styled from head to toe. To customize your own baseball hat, you simply pick a style and color, decide if you want to personalize it with a monogram or initial, and choose your bow style and color (White Sailor or Skipper Snap Bow). That’s it! So easy and stylish.
I think it’s a no brainer that I love the style of this hat. I love the classic fit and the variety of feminine colors offered (Lilly has the Lilly Lavender and I have the Birdie Blue). My favorite detail on this hat, besides the bow detail on the back of course, is the customizable monogram! You can customize the front of the hat with your monogram or initial. I chose the classic interlocking script for both of our monograms and it adds an extra dose of prep and style to these hats. I find myself reaching for this hat daily. It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing a t-shirt dress, a sweater and chinos, or workout clothes, I love how my hat looks with every outfit. I definitely give this hat a 10/10 for style!
I can’t say enough great things about the quality of this hat. It’s 100% cotton so it’s very lightweight and you can tell it’s made of durable fabric. The bows are also beautifully crafted and what’s really cool is that they are hand sewn! As a sewer myself I appreciate small details like that. We have been interchanging the bows on each of our hats and the 3-D printed snap is strong and reliable. Definitely a win on quality!
Overall these hats are extremely affordable. For a customized hat, it’s a base of $34 for women and $30 for girls. You only pay $10 extra for monogramming and selecting a bow style. They also just released hats with cute icons such as an anchor, a unicorn for girls, and golf clubs at a very affordable price ($38-$44 for women and $34-$40 for girls).
If you are looking for a preppy accessory to up your style game, then I definitely recommend the Bow Baseball Hat from Bits and Bows. You will look great and be supporting a small business, which is always a win in my book.
It’s been awhile since I shared a Solty Fridays post, but here we are. Life has felt like it’s been on turbo speed lately with Rob back to work after paternity leave and the kiddos and I adjusting to a daily routine. My last maternity leave consisted of lots of sleeping and watching Friends. This time around I’m still watching my fair share of Netflix, but there is a lot less resting and sleep and a lot more on the go activities in order to keep Lilly busy.
Because I’m awake a lot in the middle of the night doing feedings, my brain seems to be producing a lot of creative content (yay!) so I have a list of blog posts and new series I’m hoping to launch this fall and into the new year. For now though, we will begin with sharing some everyday things for Solty Fridays!
In case you missed it on Instagram, I wrote a guest blog post for Nautical Boards a few weeks ago. I talk about my thoughts on the brand, the serving trays, and how I style mine. You can read that article here.
TV Shows and Movies I recommend watching:
Outer Banks on Netflix: I binged both seasons of Outer Banks in a week and a half! I totally loved the teen drama with all the added suspense of a treasure hunt.
Virgin River on Netflix: I also watched all three seasons of Virgin River and highly recommend it. It’s sort of a cross between Gilmore Girls and Everwood.
Friday Night Lights on Netflix: I’m re-watching Friday Night Lights right now and it gets better and better every time I watch it.
Cruella on Disney+: We have watched exactly one movie since Teddy was born and that’s Cruella – it’s SO GOOD. The costumes and acting are just phenomenal. And the story is so interesting, because how do you humanize one of the greatest villains in Disney history?!
Ted Lasso on Apple TV: And lastly, everyone needs to get Apple TV stat and watch Ted Lasso. I think it’s one of the best TV series I’ve ever seen. If you love soccer, England, and wit, then you will love this show.
Fall decorating begins this weekend! Every year I add a few pumpkins to my decor and this year I found these $5 coastal inspired ones from Target. Target always has the best selection of fake pumpkins. I have found a lot of my blue and white ones by shopping the $5 bins.
As much as it pains me to say this, I’m starting to think about Christmas shopping. With the COVID shortages I’m hoping to get my shopping done early. I also need to order Teddy a stocking! We all have personalized needlepoint stockings from L.L.Bean so I’m excited to pick one out for him. Currently looking at this design (snowman with puppies) for him!
I’ll be sharing more about this brand next week, but Lilly and I are loving our monogrammed bow baseball hats from Bits and Bows, a preppy lifestyle brand founded by two sisters looking to offer a casual product that is both elegant and feminine. Be sure to check them out and come back next week for more on this favorite brand!
One more thing before I sign off, I’m running a giveaway with a few friends on my Instagram this weekend! Follow us and you could win $100 to H&M! (Enter here!)
Growing up, my favorite time to go shopping was right before school started. I always loved picking out new outfits to start the school year. Even as an adult I get a little giddy at the thought of updating my wardrobe. This year is no exception and I’m once again looking forward to adding a few new fall classic pieces to my wardrobe.
This season I’m all about timeless, effortless pieces. The desire to invest in quality pieces that will last me season after season is stronger than ever right now. I think a huge part of that is how I shopped while pregnant. I was so uncomfortable that I shopped for whatever I thought looked comfy. That resulted in many poor decisions and many spur of the moment Amazon purchases. My shopping was sporadic and I feel so much buyer’s remorse now.
This season my goal is to be MUCH more intentional with my purchases. This will probably mean I’m buying fewer pieces but they will be pieces that are better quality, timeless, and will be styles I will love for years to come.
My body postpartum is vastly different from a year ago and I still have 15-20 pounds to lose before I’m back at my pre-baby weight. So I’m shopping styles that will work now, but also work after (hopefully) the weight comes off.
My inspiration this season is drawing from my favorite fashion icons. Think Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. I also love Ali McGraw’s wardrobe from A Love Story. I’m craving classic silhouettes and neutral colors. Here are a few of the brands I’m shopping:
Style wise I’m shopping for a new pair of denim jeans (I just bought these) and tops that will work for nursing. Here are a few items I have my eye on:
I’ve heard amazing reviews about this top from other bloggers and nursing mamas. Word on the street is that this top is insanely comfy, flattering, and very nursing friendly. The price point is steeper than what I normally spend on a single top but I think the classic silhouette and timeless colors makes this the number one purchase for me this year. I especially love the blush pink and sage green, both of which are currently sold out. I’m going to see if there is a restock, otherwise I think I’m leaning towards the Navy Blue (shocker).
J.Crew does have a less expensive version, which I’m loving in the faded chambray.
This is another item I’ve been eyeing for months. This classic striped tee has a flowy look to it and I love that, especially as I’m trying to hide all the extra pounds that comes with having a baby. Although this is not nursing friendly, it is a piece that can be worn for years to come. Throwing a nursing tank underneath would solve the problem of being able to wear it this year.
I already own this dress and it’s amazing for fall. From pockets to a tie waist and a curved hem, this dress has it all. It’s functional, classic, and the blue and white plaid perfectly matches my aesthetic. And the best part: it buttons so it’s perfect for nursing.
I love these button down flannel shirts from J.Crew Factory. They are insanely comfy and a button down literally never goes out of style. The flannel adds an extra layer of cozy, plus who doesn’t love plaid for fall?
I always say I have too many stripes but every time I shop I end up buying at least one striped piece. I just can’t resist the modern twist on this classic button down. I love the collarless detail and of course the puff-sleeve! And again, the button down makes it perfect for nursing.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen me posting about our trip to the beach this past weekend. I shared in my stories that we couldn’t swim in the lake because the algae toxin levels were too high from the algae bloom.
Lake Erie has been plagued with algae blooms for decades. Algae blooms are formed when warm water temperatures mix with light and nutrients. Since the 1950s, runoff from farms (manure and fertilizer), sewage and industry have caused these blooms to become toxic and harmful. Certain types of algae become abundant in shallow bodies of water and because Lake Erie is so shallow, it often is a catch basin for algae blooms. These blooms are extremely harmful to fish, animal life, and humans.
In 2014 the algae bloom was so horrific, residents in northwest Ohio were unable to drink or use the water for days (this actually fell on the weekend of my bachelorette party. Waking up to no water was not ideal after a night of fun). This incident in particular raised the alarm to the importance of cleaning up and preserving the lake.
As one of five fresh bodies of water (that make up 20% of the world’s fresh bodies of water), it’s really important we do our part to keep Lake Erie clean and free from harmful toxins. Not only do we love the lake for its sandy shores and recreational purposes, but Lake Erie has a huge impact on the local region. Lake Erie provides drinking water to 11 million people. It’s also a large tourism destination and produces the largest amount of consumable fish than all the other Great Lakes combined.
Recent years have seen many individuals, organizations, and brands fighting back and working to clean up and preserve this Great Lake. If you would like to learn more about how you can help conserve Lake Erie, the following organizations are a good place to start. This list is just a start, so if you know of more organizations fighting to preserve our lake, please message me and I will add them to the list.
And finally, you can do small things now that make a big impact later such as picking up after your pet, adopting a beach, becoming an ambassador to educate others, or volunteering to clean up streams.
Just by reading this post and being here you are already supportive of protecting Lake Erie and for that I thank you!
July 19th. The day that completed our family and brought us the greatest bundle of joy. Although ten days early, we welcomed Theodore “Teddy” Robert Solt with open arms on the morning of the 19th and have been living in newborn bliss ever since.
Teddy’s actual due date was July 29, or the 27th, or the 24th. At one point we had three different due dates so we just told everyone the last week of July. I knew by six months he was going to be early (I literally felt so huge) and that was confirmed at our 34 week appointment when he was already weighing 6 pounds 3 ounces (Lilly was 6 pounds 14 ounces at 39 weeks!!). We actually thought he would be a week earlier than the 19th, but T wasn’t ready yet.
I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks for weeks (probably since the middle of the second trimester). For a few days leading up the 19th I knew they were starting to change, but I also knew they weren’t quite labor contractions yet. I woke up around 2:00 a.m. on the 19th with what I thought were pretty significant Braxton Hicks. By 4:00 a.m. the contractions were becoming slightly more intense and lasting 15-20 minutes apart. I woke up Rob around 4:15 and told him what was going on. Within an hour my contractions were pretty severe and coming every 5-10 minutes.
The plan once we went into active labor was to have my parents (who luckily live a mile from us) come pick up Lilly. For about two weeks prior to this my parents had been sleeping with their phones on in the event we went in the middle of the night. Well, in the wee hours on the morning of the 19th when we knew it was go time, we called my parents 15 times with no answer. Rob had to drive over and bang on their bedroom window to wake them up! We laugh about it now, but when my contractions were coming five minutes apart, I was not so amused!
Rob was gone a total of 15 minutes getting my parents but I knew once he got back we would need to jet out the door. Apparently Gryff, our 90 pound labradoodle, felt the frenetic energy and as Rob and I were leaving, bounded out the door and right into the front seat of the Jeep. Again, not so amused while having significant contractions, but we had a great laugh about it after T was born.
Thankfully there wasn’t any traffic on the road since it was still early and we rolled into the Toledo Hospital around 6:00 a.m. We parked in the wrong parking garage (in our defense it was the parking garage where we parked when we had Lilly, but the hospital had changed the parking garage to employee parking only). Luckily a very nice healthcare worker was entering the hospital at the entrance (of which you needed an employee pass in order to enter) at the same time and took pity on us (I was in A LOT of discomfort by this point) and helped us to labor and delivery.
By this point my contractions were lasting about a minute and coming every two-five minutes. We checked in at triage and I barely made it through all the questions and check up. And at this point I was already 7 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced (I had actually been 3-4 cm dilated for about two weeks prior to this). Rob on the other hand, in all the excitement of the morning, became rather queasy watching them insert the IV in me (which took them about 15 times) and he decided to take an unplanned nap! Good thing that they keep juice and crackers at the ready!
We were in triage for about an hour to an hour and a half and it was the longest moments of my life. I was begging for the epidural at this point. My labor did not progress this fast with Lilly so I don’t recall the intensity of the contractions with her. This is definitely something I never want to experience again!
Once they finally got us back to our labor and delivery room the epidural arrived and I was much more comfortable, although I could still feel the contractions pretty significantly since we were so far along. I tested positive for Strep B so the plan was to wait as long as possible so the antibiotic could get in my system. After about an hour or two the doctor came in and said it was go time, there wasn’t any more waiting! He broke my water (it still hadn’t broken) and within an hour I was actively pushing and five contractions later Teddy was born! The doctor laughed as he was delivering him and said, “Wow! This is a big baby!” I knew Teddy would be bigger than Lilly, guessing him to be about 7.5 pounds, but I never imagined I would birth a 9 pound baby!! I am still so amused by it.
But let’s not forget about Rob! The nurses gave him some water and peanut butter with crackers after he felt faint in triage so he was doing much better and doing a good job keeping me comfortable with a wet washcloth (my face was on fire right before and during the active labor). During labor, he was “overcome with joy” and had to sit down again. He has been a steady rock since then and I can’t imagine the last four weeks without his support.
Teddy was born at 10:20 a.m. on July 19, weighing in at 9 pounds 2 ounces. Only four hours had passed from the time we got to the hospital until the time we had him, and less than an hour had passed once my water had broken! My fear throughout this entire pregnancy was that he would come very quickly and we wouldn’t have enough time to get to the hospital (my family has a history of having babies quickly!). But thankfully everything worked out beautifully and I wouldn’t have wanted to labor any longer than I did!
If you made it this far, I thank you! We had quite the exciting birth story to share. I’m so glad we are home and settling into a routine. Now we just need to get T to sleep and feed longer than every two hours!
There are many things I love about summer, but two of my most favorite things are charcuterie boards and eating outside. We love enjoying some hors d’oeuvres and cocktails on our deck or by the pool during these magical warm months. So when Nautical Boards reached out about their new brand, I was intrigued for several reasons.
The name itself captured my attention immediately. You have me hooked if the word “nautical” or “coastal” is in your brand name. Two, as I mentioned above, we love charcuterie boards, so a company that sells serving trays and cheese boards was intriguing. And three, I found the brand’s story and the look of the product to be beautiful.
Handmade in Atlanta, GA, these nautical themed serving trays and cheese boards mimic the look of a classic boat deck. I personally love the contrasting dark and light wood of these trays and I love that a cleat hitch is used as the handles. I’ve literally never seen such a unique and beautifully crafted serving tray before.
I’ve been using our serving tray for several months now and I’m seriously obsessed. The craftsmanship, design, and functionality are all just top notch. I especially love how sturdy this tray feels. And, the design features a carved out, recessed body which allows for tons of room to display your favorite snacks and drinks. It can hold all the salami, cheese, crackers, fruit, nuts, veggies, and chocolate that you want (definitely a win if you are a charcuterie snob like me). Plus, when you aren’t actively using it, it acts as a beautiful decor piece in your kitchen (we keep ours on display at all times)!
These boards make for the perfect gift too. Choose from serving trays, carving boards, or cheese boards. You can customize each item with your monogram, your boat name, a special date, your last name, a “welcome home” if you are gifting it, the list goes on. One of these items would make such a special gift for Father’s Day, weddings, anniversaries, housewarming gifts, retirement gifts, or as a just because gift for someone who loves boating! The options are endless and I guarantee that the recipient of one of these trays will love it as much as we do.
I seriously cannot recommend this brand or their product enough. I love my serving tray so much that I’m teaming up with Nautical Boards to give a lucky winner a small Oval Serving Tray. The giveaway begins at 10am EST tomorrow June 10! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for the details.
Now that I’m well into the third trimester, I thought I’d share a quick recap of the second trimester. Overall, this trimester was much better than the first trimester. The second trimester is typically referred to as the honeymoon period, and although it was easier than the first, it still had its challenges!
My energy did make a comeback during the second trimester and I found myself being able to successfully stay busy, check things off our to-do list, chase after Lilly, and in general move my bump more (big fan of yoga!). But the second trimester wasn’t without its challenges. I’m sharing some of the highlights and struggles below!
Some of the highlights from this trimester included:
Deciding on a baby name! (We won’t be sharing publicly until baby boy is born!)
Feeling baby boy move and kick. This one is definitely a swimmer and will literally swim across my belly. It’s so wild and amazing to watch and feel.
The return of my appetite (yay!). I had such a hard time with food the first trimester and it was so refreshing to be able to eat food again and to actually have cravings. My biggest cravings this pregnancy have been strawberries and fruit in general. For weeks now I’ve been eating a pint of strawberries every day or two. I can’t get enough!! Lemonade was also a popular drink of choice during the second trimester. I would all of a sudden crave it and need to drink some immediately (so strange!).
My energy made a comeback. I took advantage of the return of my energy to check things off our to-do list. We cleaned out the attic, planted flowers, started a flower garden, cleaned out the guest room to transform it into Lilly’s big girl room, cleaned out Lilly’s clothes to make room for baby boy’s clothes, and the list goes on.
Some of the struggles from this trimester include:
Experiencing the physical challenges that accompany a growing bump. I’m incredibly thankful my body is strong enough to grow this baby. I truly am so grateful. Being pregnant is challenging for me, but I do realize how lucky I am to be able to grow this baby. With that being said, a growing belly does come with some physical challenges. Those being extreme lower back pain, charley horses/cramps in my legs, shortness of breath, etc.
Accepting (or not accepting) the rapid weight gain. This pregnancy overall has seen much more rapid weight gain than my first pregnancy and that has been mentally difficult to accept, especially when I know I’m not eating my best and not getting that much exercise.
Feeling like all my clothes are uncomfortable. For some reason this pregnancy I’m having a hard time with clothes. I can’t stand wearing pants (I actually stopped wearing them in March) and only want to wear dresses. But even some of the dresses I have proved to be uncomfortable. Basically I want to live in nightgowns and that’s it.
Adjusting to the emotional rollercoaster of being pregnant during COVID-19. The vaccine became available to pregnant women during the second trimester and deciding whether or not to get the vaccine was the most difficult decision for us to make (it was truly so stressful for me). We had extensive talks with our doctor, we did our own research and weighed the pros and cons, we talked to other trusted medical professionals and we trusted our gut. In the end, we decided it was safer for me to get the vaccine than to get COVID, as the side effects of COVID are incredibly severe in pregnant women.
So overall the second trimester was easier and we had some beautiful moments, but it wasn’t without its challenges.
As I enter into week 32 of this pregnancy, I am getting more and more excited to meet baby boy! We are in the home stretch, and I may be feeling exhausted and heavy, but I am so ecstatic about what’s to come in just a few short weeks.
One of my favorite places to shop for home decor is Jaye’s Studio. Based in New England, Jaye’s Studio has a perfectly curated collection of classic, bright, and preppy products. The attention to detail makes this brand unique and their products one-of-a-kind. I love their beautiful and high quality pieces for the home, but I also love their pajama collection, which is bold, bright ,and so comfy!
Jaye’s Studio was kind enough to gift me the Staffies Enamel Oliver Tray from their new summer line and I’m in love. This is the sweetest tray and is the perfect size for any vanity, end table, bookshelf, or countertop – basically it’s perfect for anywhere in your home. Use it to style pretty items or use it as a catch-all. EIther way, it will only enhance the beauty of your home. And, the gorgeous unique staffies design is so pretty! I love the blue and white paired with the cute staffy puppies. It’s seriously so perfectly preppy in every way. (This print is also available in pajamas and napkins.)
Today I’ve styled this adorable tray three ways: on a bedroom end table, a living room coffee table, and on the kitchen counter. Check out the images below for some ideas on how you can style this pretty tray too! And don’t forget to use the code SHANNON15 for 15% off your order.
Bedroom End Table
I kept the styling of this example simple for our master bedroom end table with a small vase of fresh flowers and my favorite vase of sea glass. This ultra feminine look is timeless and chic and would brighten up anyone’s morning.
Living Room Coffee Table
This tray is perfect in my living room. I kept the styling simple with a single fresh hydrangea and a lovely smelling candle. All of these details create a welcoming ambiance, which is perfect for the living room as it’s the first room a guest enters when they come into our home.
I’m using the tray in a completely different way for the kitchen. This tray is 10”12” and makes for a perfect cheese and cracker tray, a cocktail tray, or even a tray full of your favorite desserts! Use it at your next small gathering, book club event, or even on your deck or poolside while sipping your favorite cocktail.
Thirty weeks into my pregnancy and this mama is all about comfort. I’m already beginning to feel the discomfort of the third trimester and I need clothes and sleepwear that are no fuss, easy, and something I feel good in. One brand that fits all of this criteria is Printfresh!
When I partner with brands, I make sure I test drive the product before I share with my community. I’ve been a longtime fan of Printfresh and their unique collection of sleepwear. I’m so happy to report that the brand and the product meet my expectations.
Created in 2017, Printfresh is a beautiful collection of sleepwear, stationary, and gifts. Designed in Philadelphia, PA and manufactured in India, Printfresh offers the most whimsical, vibrant, and preppy prints that make lounging around so much more fun. With twelve bright prints to choose from, there are plenty of options for sleepwear lovers to choose from.
You know I love a bright print, but I equally love a piece that is beautifully crafted and soft. Printfresh will be GOTS certified organic cotton by the end of the year. Their crisp, breathable cotton fabrics have cooling properties – which is a must for this very pregnant mama who has multiple hot flashes a day. And, the fabric becomes softer and more luxurious with each wash.
But this brand is so much more than pretty sleepwear. Printfresh values ethical and sustainable manufacturing and they are incredibly transparent about their methods. They place a high priority on safe working conditions, fair wages and compensation, and work that is voluntary. Having studied fashion and been immersed in the world of fast fashion and couture fashion, I truly value the work that brands put into being sustainable and ethical. I appreciate when a brand focuses on the quality of their product, as well as the ethical production and manufacturing of that product.
Printfresh also prioritizes being good stewards of the earth. They seek out socially and environmentally friendly vendors. One of the ways in which they are trying to reduce their carbon footprint on this earth is by offering only two collections per year. They’ve researched and implemented measures that reduce waste in the fashion and textile production process, as well as the reduction of waste in packaging (they use 100% recycled ivory poly mailers made from 100% recycled content and 50% post-consumer waste).
All around, this brand is top notch in their story, mission, and product. I love wearing this robe in Lemon Zest around the house and plan on bringing it with me to the hospital when the baby arrives. Even though I’m busting at the seams (literally) in the short sleep set, I’m excited to wear these post baby as it will be comfortable and perfect for nursing.