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.

WEARING WHITE AFTER LABOR DAY

The infamous debate: can you or can you not wear white after Labor Day?

The answer is: you totally can! This long practiced fashion rule is no longer relevant to today’s society. In all honesty, you should wear what you like whenever you want!

But if you are like most people and still struggle to wear those white denim pieces or dresses after Labor Day, I’m providing some tips on how you can seamlessly transition your white pieces into fall.

1. Add a Cardigan. The easiest way to transition your white dress or white denim post Labor Day is to add a cardigan. This instantly adds a cozy autumn feel. Style it over your shoulders for instant prep or wear it unbuttoned when it’s chilly.

2. Swap out Sandals for Flats. Trade in your summer sandals for ballet flats, Keds, boat shoes, or loafers. It’s amazing how quickly shoes transition a look into a different season.

3. Add a Long Sleeve Blouse. Wearing a 3/4 length or long sleeve shirt with your white denim allows you to easily transition into fall. If you really want to go all out, opt for a top in jewel tone colors or keep it classic with an Oxford button down.

4. Throw on a Navy Blazer. Blazers are so in right now and they are the perfect item to transition your summer styles into fall. Wear one with a dress or white jeans and you can seamlessly transition your look. Plus, white and navy are the perfect pairing.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you that it is okay and actually quite easy to wear white after Labor Day. Use these four tips and you can easily combine your favorite summer and fall pieces!

I’ve linked my outfit details below. Happy shopping!

Sláinte,

Shannon

SHOP THE LOOK

KJP DRESS (sold out. Included link to other dresses) | ANCHOR BRACELET | PEARL BRACELET | BLUE AND WHITE BRACELET | PEARL EARRINGS | LONGCHAMP

COASTAL OHIO GIVEAWAY

By now you guys should know how much I love all things nautical, particularly coastal Ohio. Through my love for our Great Lakes, I have fallen in love with some awesome, awesome brands.

One of my first “Instagram” (and now real life) friends is a local artist who paints the most gorgeous scenes of coastal Ohio and farmland Ohio. Michelle Brunner of Michelle Brunner Art is a local artist who shares my love for all things blue and white and coastal. Her artwork is colorful, impressionistic, and thought provoking. I am in awe of her talent, ability to find the beauty in our state, and her kind, warm soul. I am so honored to have a few of her original paintings hanging in our home.

Another favorite brand that I’ve come to absolutely adore is Erie and Anchor. A lifestyle brand designed for anyone who loves to live and play on Lake Erie, Erie and Anchor offers cozy sweatshirts, lightweight tees, canvas totes, baby gear, baseball hats, and wine tumblers. Launching just over a year ago, Erie and Anchor is committed to supporting the Great Lakes. For every purchase made, 5% of earnings are donated back to Lake Erie to help support water quality and research. The family based company is passionate about ensuring the lake will still be a place of enjoyment and relaxation for decades to come. I’m so proud to support their top notch product and beautiful mission.

I’m so thrilled to be partnering with these two Ohio based influencers for a fun Labor Day giveaway!! Head to my Instagram for all the details!

Giveaway ends at 9/2 at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be announced via Instagram on 9/3.

Please Note: US residents only. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, administered or endorsed by Instagram. By entering you are confirming you are at least 18 years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. Void where prohibited by law.

Good luck!!

Shannon

PRETTY LITTLE END TABLES

Home decor projects have definitely slipped to the wayside these last couple of months. In fact, we are currently undergoing baby proofing everything and I’m packing away many of my decor pieces (who knew things like vases, lamps, furniture, etc. could be so dangerous?!)

One area that has fortunately received some love and attention is our master bedroom. For the past five plus years, we’ve been using mismatched hand-me-down pieces for our side tables. They are so dinky and small, I don’t even know if they really count for end tables.

BEFORE:

My aunt graciously gave us two Queen Anne style tables a few years ago that have been pretty much acting as storage. They are quite outdated, but their size is proportionally perfect for our bed and so I decided, what the heck, maybe they will look cute with some paint.

AFTER:

I decided to spray paint these white and what a difference!! Painting these bright white gave them whole new life and a fresh new look. You can finally see the sea shell detail on the front, which is just the cutest.

I used Krylon Fusion All In One Satin Primer and Paint spray paint from Lowes for the tables. I ended up spraying two coats plus touch ups just to make sure the white covered the original wood finish. Isn’t it amazing how much just a little bit of paint can transform a space?!

I am not a fan of clutter, so I love that the tables have drawers – it makes it easy to hide phone cords, chapstick, journals, etc.

I’m not sure how I want to style them yet, so I’m going to keep it simple for now with a few books and fresh flowers.

Now the question is, what should I spray paint next?!

Sláinte,

Shannon

p.s. My lamps are 50% off right now during the Labor Day sales on Wayfair.

TRIP TO LAKE ERIE ISLANDS

Rob and I took our first trip away since having L. It was really hard for us to leave her, but it was really nice to get away just the two of us (we had forgotten what life was like with no schedule 😂). We didn’t want to go too far away so Lake Erie was the perfect choice.

Lake Erie is anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half away, depending on which part of the lake you want to visit. Once there, you can stroll along the quaint streets of Marblehead, island hop to Catawba Island, Kelly’s Island, Johnson’s Island, Put in Bay, or South Bass Island, enjoy the many local wineries, or simply relax at some of the many state parks and beaches. We did a little bit of everything and I’m sharing some of the highlights below!

LAKE ERIE

Marblehead State Park

The first stop on our trip was to Marblehead State Park. Marblehead is home to one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes. In use since 1822, the lighthouse is one of my favorite landmarks on Lake Erie.

The Lighthouse property offers breathtaking views of Kelley’s Island, South Bass Island and Cedar Point. The last time we visited we climbed the 77 stairs to the top of the lighthouse and I highly suggest doing it at least once for some incredible waterfront views.

In addition to the Lighthouse, visitors can enjoy the Keeper’s House Museum and the Lifesaving Station. The Keeper’s House includes a history of the Lighthouse and Marblehead area.

The Lifesaving Station offers an exhibit about boating safety, history of the U.S. Lifesaving Service and its formation into the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915, and information about shipping on the Great Lakes.

East Harbor State Park

If you are looking for a smaller, tucked away beach, East Harbor State Park is a hidden gem. Visitors can enjoy boating, camping, fishing, and swimming.

The 1500 foot sand beach offers swimming and magnificent views of the lake. Pack a picnic lunch, bring a book, and plan on camping out on this beach for a nice relaxing day.

ACCOMMODATIONS

South Beach Resort

Tucked away on a quiet part of the lake, The South Beach Resort offers gorgeous waterfront views. With a private beach and marina, it was the perfect place for us to relax and enjoy some time away.

The resort includes a four story inn and 18 cottages spread over eight acres along Sandusky Bay. It also includes three swimming pools, kayak and jet ski rentals, sand volleyball, tennis courts, and other recreation amenities that are family friendly.

The boardwalk around the marina offers quaint gazebos where guests can sit and enjoy the calming sounds of the lake. Rob and I sat in one of these gazebos for several hours and watched the sunset. It was incredible! This is exactly what we needed for a quiet weekend away.

FOOD

Mon Ami Winery

Our first stop for lunch was Mon Ami Winery. Mon Ami Winery is probably the most popular attraction on Lake Erie. Located on Catawba Island, the sprawling historic winery is the second oldest winery in Ohio and one of the largest on Lake Erie.

Located along the southeast shore of the peninsula, the winery boasts a charming setting for delicious food and homegrown wine.

Rob and I were able to snag a table on the outdoor patio where we enjoyed a delightful meal featuring local perch and walleye, a glass of Mon Ami Pinot Grigio, and a wheat beer from a local brewery. I had never eaten at the restaurant and I was pleasantly surprised by the magical atmosphere and top notch cuisine.

After our lunch, we wondered along the grounds to the gift shop, which includes a wine tasting room and finished our lunch with a flight of dry reds from the winery.

Mon Ami is definitely a must if you are looking for local fish and Ohio wine!

Red Fern Inn and Rocky Point Winery

The last time we visited Marblehead we stumbled upon the Rocky Point Winery and fell in love. Located in downtown Marblehead in the old historic schoolhouse, the Rocky Point Winery and Red Fern Inn offers a perfect setting for a weekend away.

The winery offers more than a dozen delicious wines available for tasting (our favorite is the Pinot Noir). Enjoy a glass on their back patio with live music from local musicians and a fresh breeze blowing off the lake.

Twin Oast Brewing

This was probably the hidden gem of our trip. Twin Oast Brewing was recommended to us by a few people and it did not disappoint! Located on Catawba Island, the 60-acre farm estate offers incredible views of rolling hills, terraced fruit trees, and natural caves.

Pair the incredible views with one of their amazingly delicious craft beers, and you won’t ever want to leave. They also offer a small menu of seasonal food, with many of the items grown on the farm. It was hands down our favorite meal and favorite atmosphere. It’s the perfect place for families too . They have a sprawling lawn with corn hole, yard games, and a stage for live music.

And to top it off, they have a small road side stand where they sell their delicious homegrown produce. We bought some peaches for the ride home and they were the best peaches I’ve ever tasted! It’s seriously an amazing experience and we are already planning our next trip back!

SHOPPING

We actually didn’t do a whole lot of shopping, but we did stop in the Pink Perch, Ferguson Art and Glass Gallery, and the Marblehead Mercantile.

The Pink Perch is everything preppy, nautical and girly. I could have bought everything in the shop, but I was good and shied away from purchasing anything I didn’t need. The Marblehead Mercantile is a fun collection of antiques and all things nautical. Definitely a must if you enjoy unique finds. Our favorite though was the Ferguson Art Gallery. Beautiful glass pieces and original artwork of Lake Erie, the gallery surprised us with all the cool finds and we definitely plan on going back.

I know this was a long post, but this is only a glimpse into the different aspects of Lake Erie living. I feel so fortunate to live so close to one of the Great Lakes. I’ve made so many friends and brands with ties to the lake and I hope I can play a part in helping to save our lakes!

Sláinte,

Shannon