STYLE: BEACH SWEATER

Last week on Instagram Stories I did a poll asking if you guys would rather see me style a beach sweater or striped terry top sweater.  It was incredibly close, 55% to 45% in favor of the beach sweater.  I personally was feeling the striped sweater this past weekend, so I decided to style both.  Full disclosure: there is little to no difference between how I styled these because I realized once we arrived at the beach it would be very hard for me to change! Nonetheless, I think the subtle differences create two different enough looks; and besides, “Simplicity is the key to perfection” (read that in a book and very much liked it!).

Beach Sweater 

Every classic lady needs at least one beach sweater. I enjoy this grayish-blueish sweater from Old Navy, but I also just bought this pretty sky blue one from J.Crew. I’ve actually been pairing this beach sweater over my t-shirt dresses lately, but for our beach day, I chose white cutoff denim shorts with a basic white tee underneath. This time of year the mornings are chilly so you definitely need a sweater, but I also suggest dressing in layers, hence the white tee underneath.

To finish this look, I grabbed my favorite sunhat, my classic Rayban’s, and my favorite slide sandals. Simple, classic, and timeless!

This sweater would also be cute paired with white denim jeans and a baseball cap as the days continue to get cooler.

Striped French Terry Top Sweater

A striped sweater and white denim shorts are always a perfect pairing for the beach. To switch this look up slightly, I swapped my Rayban’s for my oversized Tortoise shell sunglasses, and removed the white tee and sunhat. I also did a front tuck, which I almost always do because I think it makes wearing a sweater with shorts look less frumpy. Again, easy, simple, and classic.

I know these outfits were very similar, but hopefully one or both will provide you with some inspiration. And if ever in doubt, simplicity is the key to perfection.

Slainte,

Shannon

SHOP THIS LOOK:

Beach Sweater | Striped Terry Top | Denim Shorts | White Tee | | Rayban’s |Tortoise Shell Sunglasses| Sandals (similar)

STYLE: SUMMER BLUES

I must preface this blog post with a recap of this photoshoot and a little behind the scenes. Taking photos with a toddler in tow is always exciting and unpredictable, but this photoshoot in particular was exceptionally challenging. When we arrived down by The Docks, Rob and I both realized we forgot our wallets at home (for those not local, The Docks are a row of high end restaurants situated snugly along the Maumee River with gorgeous views of the Toledo skyline across the way). Eeeek. Not a huge deal as we were not planning to eat or shop, but a big deal if we happened to get pulled over!

Fast forward a bit and as I gave Rob the go ahead to start snapping away, three geese came out of nowhere, charging towards me! While I had geese chasing me for food, Rob realized that our camera battery was dead. Clearly we were not off to the best start! To add to the frustration, L fell and skinned her knee and we realized after 30 minutes of being out in the sun, we forgot to put sunscreen on L. Oy! Nonetheless, we continued on with the photo shoot and L had a great time running along the boardwalk. And looking back we can have a good chuckle about how imperfect this blogging world truly is.

Now onto the fun stuff! It’s that time of year where some people hold on to summer, some rush towards fall, and some try and blend the two seasons as best they can. I’m definitely feeling those summer blues and I’m more apt to hold on to summer as long as possible, but the cooler mornings and evenings means that fall is inevitably on its way. I’m finding myself reaching for my beach sweaters and button ups as an extra layer in the morning and then going back to full on summer come the afternoon. Sometimes the transition in between seasons is the most challenging to dress for, so below I’m sharing some ways that you can keep blend two seasons together.

For this outfit, I styled a three quarter length button up tunic in summer stripes (fall style with a summer print), navy chino shorts in navy (summer shorts in a fall-ish color), swapped out my sandals for tassel loafers, and kept my summer straw tote and rattan headband – it is summer after all.

For Those Team Summer

> Do keep styling your straw tote and tortoise shell sunglasses.

> Add a rattan headband or straw hat – rattan and straw are both must have styles of summer and are perfectly acceptable to style through Labor Day. 

> Keep wearing stripes! Stripes, especially blue and white ones, are the epitome of summer style.  Never stop wearing blue and white stripes.

> As long as it’s warm out, keep styling those shorts. I love to wear my shorts with a tee and layer with a beach sweater or cardigan.

For Those Team Fall

> Swap out sleeveless shirts for button up shirts.  You can roll the sleeves as the day continues to warm up. 

> My summer style is very casual and mom chic (I have to chase a toddler after all!).  To transition it slightly, I swap out my denim jean shorts for my chinos in dark navy.  

> Pair ballet flats or loafers with shorts and a three quarter length shirt.  

> Vice versa, you can style denim pants with sleeveless tops.

You can choose your color palette and accessories depending on your preference for summer or fall. Really though, the most important style tip to remember when you have two seasons colliding is to dress in layers.

Happy End of Summer and Happy Almost Fall!

Slainte,

Shannon 

SHOP THE LOOK:

Chino Shorts | Striped Button Up | Loafers | Rattan Headband | Straw Tote | Tortoise Shell Sunglasses

COASTAL OHIO: LOCAL’S GUIDE TO THE BEACH AT EAST HARBOR STATE PARK

A few weeks ago we took a day trip to East Harbor State Park.  I’ve written about this park that rests along the shores of Lake Erie before and thought a separate post about the actual public beach may prove helpful (as I’ve received several questions).  

The 1500 foot beach is teeny tiny as beaches go. Although the beach is quaint, the views are incredible. We arrived at the park around 10:30 a.m. on a Friday and first spent our time exploring the coastal trails. We may have ventured off the sandy path, but I’m so glad we did, because the views along the rocky shore are magnificent.

We headed over to the public beach around 11:00 a.m. and already the beach was packed. It appeared as though no one was social distancing and no one was wearing masks, so trying to find a spot was a negative for us. Rob suggested we walk along the sandy trail above the beach and boy am I glad we did!!

Just past the public beach are pockets of smaller, “private” beaches. A family was leaving as we were walking along the sandy trail and offered to give us their spot. These small pockets can comfortably fit 6-8 people, which means they are perfect for a couple. There are probably about five or six of these “private” beaches past the public beach.

Because we are in the midst of a pandemic, below are some tips if you want to visit this public beach before summer ends.

  • Plan your arrival time for earlier in the morning.  If you want a private beach or even a claim on the public beach, I would arrive by 9:30-10:00 a.m.
  • Pack your own beach chair and towels.  The beach and state park are too small to offer beach chair rentals.  
  • Pack your own snacks and beverages.  I’ve heard that there are concessions, but I’ve never seen them open.
  • Bring a book, magazine, music, etc. to enjoy while watching the waves crash against the shore. 
  • If you have kids, bring some beach toys.  Note that flotation devices are not permitted in the lake.  
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen and an extra change of clothes or beach coverup! 
  • And maybe throw in some tennis shoes if you want to explore the walking trails after sunbathing. 

I think that covers it! Just as an FYI, the beach does have newly renovated bathrooms and a changing area that are cleaned regularly.

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer!!

Slainte,

Shannon

STYLE: TIPS FOR A STYLISH BEACH DAY

As many people start looking forward to fall and all that comes with the crisp season (sweaters, denim jeans, plaid, pumpkins, scarves, etc.) I’m holding onto summer even more. I’m not ready to give up on these long, hot days full of sunshine, swimming, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and jaunts to the lake. If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I’m wearing a summer dress every day (M-F) until I can’t anymore. I just love my summer wardrobe and want to be able to enjoy all my summer pieces.

We visit the Lake Erie beaches often enough that I’ve discovered what to wear and what not to wear. Below are some tips for a no fuss, stylish day at the beach.

  • Always pack a straw hat or baseball hat. It’s extra windy near the water, so a hat is a must (otherwise your hair will be a mess in your face like mine in some of these photos).
  • Choose no fuss clothing – I like to wear denim shorts and a tee (love this Salty tee from Ohio based Shore Society) or a dress that won’t billow in the wind. You can easily wear your bathing suit under both options – this provides for a stylish coverup and a quick transition into the water.
  • Keep your jewelry minimal. I wore my everyday pearl earrings and just a handful of my nautical bracelets from Allison Cole Jewelry and KJP.
  • Choose sandals or flip flops – you’ll take your shoes off as soon as you hit the sand so don’t wear anything too cumbersome like tennis shoes, flats or heels.
  • Bring a straw or canvas tote to carry your towel, book, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.
  • And most importantly, don’t forget your sunscreen!! We were guilty of this and I ended up looking like a lobster by the end of the day – definitely don’t recommend!

None of these tips are rocket science, but I have learned that when planning a day at the beach, you want to keep it simple and easy. You are there to relax and enjoy the views. The last thing you want to worry about is how you look.

Enjoy these last couple of weeks of summer!

Slainte,

Shannon

COASTAL OHIO: NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE GREAT LAKES

Last weekend Rob and I safely ventured out in public to the National Museum of the Great Lakes.  What a treat! This museum completely exceeded our expectations and we could have easily spent much more time exploring the history of the Great Lakes.   

The National Museum of the Great Lakes consists of an indoor museum with over 300 photographs and artifacts that tell the story of the Great Lakes, a self guided tour of the 617-foot iron ore freighter the Colonel James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship and the historic Museum Tug Ohio. In terms of safety during COVID, the museum requires face masks, social distancing, reservations, and the regular cleaning of surfaces. They also closed all hands-on and interactive exhibits. We were one of four parties the entire two hours we were there (two sets of couples, us, and a family of four). I felt very safe the entire time.

The museum itself tells tales spanning hundreds of years, beginning with the fur traders of the 1600s and ending with the sailors who sail the waterways today. I have never truly thought about the thousands of years of history of the Great Lakes and I was blown away by how dramatically the Great Lakes have impacted the North American continent. I loved learning more about Lake Erie, but I especially loved learning about the other Great Lakes. I realized I knew virtually nothing about Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior. I also found it fascinating that because the Great Lakes are so large, they create their own weather!! So crazy!

We spent the majority of our time exploring the freighter and tug boat. The freighter was absolutely fascinating and it was my first time on a vessel this large. Walking up the gangway was incredibly terrifying for me (I am not a fan of heights), but once I was aboard the ship, I very much enjoyed the coastal views of downtown Toledo.

The first stop on the boat was the cargo hold – wow! What an enormous space! This was one of three cargo holds and this room alone can hold up to 5000 tons of bulk cargo (sand, stone, coal, iron ore, etc.). After the cargo hold we moved on to the First Engineers Cabin. I love seeing how sailors live and was fascinated by the living quarters.

Up next we ventured into the Crew Mess and Kitchen, which was quite spacious in my opinion! Off the kitchen was the Fantail, which just below this area is where the anchor chain locker is that holds a 4100 pound anchor – amazing!! After the Fantail we saw the Engine Room which is quite extraordinary – I for one could never work in this part of the ship though!

Having completed this side of the ship, we headed back down the deck and entered into the Passenger Hall, which compared to the rest of the boat was quite luxurious! With oak paneling and a grand staircase, one might they think they were on the Titanic (not really, but it was fancy!). Pretty much this entire side of the vessel is the Captain’s area – containing the Captain’s Lounge, Captain’s Offices, and Captain’s Cabin.

After we explored the Schoonmaker, we made our way to the Tug Ohio boat, which compared to the ship was quite tiny. It only took us about five minutes to explore the entire tug boat, but it was still fun to see how one operates and compare the difference in size between the two boats.

As with anything lately, I was nervous to explore this museum during COVID, but I’m very glad we did as it was truly fascinating. Plus, we enjoyed some panoramic views of downtown Toledo and the Maumee River, which even on a hazy gray day, was very beautiful.

If you are local to Northwest Ohio or are coming through the area, be sure to add this museum to your list of sites to see. It truly won’t disappoint.

Slainte,

Shannon

COASTAL OHIO: EAST HARBOR STATE PARK

It’s literally been months since Rob and I have done anything just the two of us.  We were supposed to be going away overnight this weekend, but we just aren’t comfortable staying somewhere else or straying too far from home.  We decided to take advantage of the fact that we have babysitters available and are enjoying a day trip to the lake.  

Last summer we stumbled upon East Harbor State Park and loved it.  Earlier this week when we were brainstorming places to go on the lake, we knew we wanted to go somewhere where there wouldn’t be a lot of people and where we could social distance.  East Harbor State Park seemed the perfect option.

Nestled along the Lake Erie shore, East Harbor State Park is a hidden jewel.  Visitors can enjoy everything from boating, fishing and swimming, to picnicking, camping, and hiking.  Last year we enjoyed the public beach, and my guess is this trip will also result in some beach time.  We are interested in exploring the marina and perhaps the hiking trails.  We plan on spending about an hour or two here so it may just turn into reading our books and relaxing on the beach.  

Be sure to follow along with us on Instagram as I’ll be posting to my stories!

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 

COASTAL OHIO: ERIE AND ANCHOR DOCKS IN HARBOR TOWN

Almost one year ago, I sat at my computer and drafted up an email, mustering up the courage to hit send.  I had been following an Ohio based brand for quite a while and was pitching them an idea to collaborate with me.  It was my first time ever reaching out to a brand and I was so nervous.  

Within a couple of hours, the owner of the brand replied to my email and was just as excited as I was about the opportunity to work together.  After an hour long phone call we set up a day to get together for lunch and thus began my journey working with Erie and Anchor

Fast forward eleven months, and I’ve had the joy of watching my favorite Ohio brand open their first brick and mortar store. I remember sitting with Micah at our first lunch and talking about this dream of hers to someday open her own retail store. When she told me she was going to do it in the place that inspired Erie and Anchor, I knew without a doubt I wanted to be there for the opening.

This past weekend, Rob, Lilly and I hopped in the car for the hour long trip to Vermilion, Ohio for the soft opening of the Erie and Anchor flagship store. We had never been to Vermilion, but let me tell you, it is a coastal gem. It’s described as the “crowning jewel of the south shore of Lake Erie” and it’s 100% accurate.

This enchanting seaside community has all the charm of a New England coastal town. It’s full of quaint shops and restaurants, beautiful old “Lake Captain” homes, spectacular beaches, and an adorable lighthouse and maritime museum. It’s the perfect setting for an Erie and Anchor store and I’m already planning many more trips back to enjoy all the delights this coastal community has to offer.

The Erie and Anchor store is situated on the corner of Main Street and Liberty Avenue, right in the heart of “Harbor Town” (what the locals call the downtown).  It’s the perfect location! 

The inside of the store is absolutely gorgeous.  Everything from the window displays, to the hardwood floors, and shiplap wall are just stunning.  No detail was overlooked and it has such a cozy, easy going, lake vibe atmosphere.  

One of my favorite parts of the store includes the back wall which boasts five rowing oars and two floating shelves with nautical rope. So simple, yet perfectly preppy and right on brand. I also love the large wooden sign behind the checkout desk that is a beautiful replica of the logo. It’s one of the first things you see upon walking into the store and it’s just stunning.

Micah will be selling not only Erie and Anchor merchandise, but also merchandise from Coastal Cleveland, Shabby Shore, and a few other Ohio based companies. It’s truly a store that embraces coastal Ohio and the community that loves the lake.

I had no idea what this brand would come to mean to me and how much working with Micah would change my blogging life. I’m so grateful for her support, encouragement and friendship. I don’t know where A Dash of Solt would be without her. I’m so thrilled that I have been able to watch her grow her brand, not only across Ohio, but across the country.

The Erie and Anchor store will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-6:00 p.m. until the grand opening weekend on March 21 and March 22.  If you aren’t local to Ohio, you can always shop their merchandise online.  And as always, a percentage of each purchase made is donated to the research and cleaning up of Lake Erie! 

Congratulations on a beautiful dream coming true, Micah!! Thanks for letting me be a part of it. 

Sláinte,

Shannon 

MY BLOGGING JOURNEY

Happy 2020 friends! I took a short hiatus from my blog to be present over the holidays, but I’m back and ready for the excitement of a new year.

Instead of doing a resolutions post or even a goals post, I want to write about why I blog. In a market that’s insanely saturated with fashion bloggers, mommy bloggers, interior design bloggers, etc. it can feel daunting and intimidating. So I need to write this post for me, to remind myself why I started this journey.

In 2012 I was working in retail management and needed a creative outlet for my love of fashion.  I launched my first fashion blog and had a blast styling outfits.  It was probably my most creative era of dressing and I seriously had so much fun.

In 2013 I landed a job doing social media and marketing for a local nonprofit.  My blog was pushed to the wayside because I wanted nothing to do with social media by the time the workday ended.

Fast forward to summer 2017 and I had that itch again. I needed a creative outlet to share all my passion and love for fashion and home decor. I relaunched my blog and started gaining some traction. And then in early 2018 I became pregnant with our sweet Lillypad and I was soooo sick. I could barely look at my phone, let alone get on Instagram or blog. So I took a whole year off.

I started blogging once every week or two in 2019 and shared everything from fashion to home decor to Motherhood.  And it felt good.  I started creating partnerships with brands and meeting so many amazing people who I can say are truly my friends and a great support system.  

As great as 2019 was for my blogging and Instagram, it was also a year full of comparisons and feeling not good enough. It’s extremely frustrating to watch new bloggers launch their blog or Instagram and overnight, have thousands of followers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m SO happy for these individuals who are putting themselves out there and doing what they love. BUT, it definitely makes me question what’s wrong with my content? Why isn’t my IG following growing? I’m doing all the same things as that blogger and they have tons of more followers. All of these thoughts are constantly circulating in my head and many times I’ve wanted to quit.

BUT I haven’t. And that’s important. My focus has shifted so much over my blogging journey and although I’ve definitely struggled with the numbers game and finding my identity as a blogger (Am I fashion blogger? Home decor blogger? Mommy blogger?), I’ve realized it’s the journey that matters. It doesn’t matter how many followers I have or how many clicks or comments I have, what matters is doing what I love and connecting with other humans. Who cares if I don’t have 50K or even 5K following me (do I really want that many followers anyway? Especially with showing Lilly sometimes?). I think what I have learned is that I have found my tribe. I have an amazing support system and some incredible people who follow me and support me in this endeavor and those are the people I want following me.

This blog is a space where I can share all the things I love and am passionate about.  It’s a space where I can let my creativity run wild. A space for me to have fun with fashion, share decorating projects, and connect with other mamas.  It’s a space for me to show others the beauty of coastal Ohio.  And it’s a space for me to support other women, creatives, and bloggers who have truly become friends.  

So this year, my goal for my blog is to create and cultivate a community of fellow likeminded humans who are passionate about fashion, motherhood, home decor, small businesses, and coastal Ohio (or any place coastal really). I hope my content, whether it is fashion advice, a home project, a motherhood update, a trip to a Lake Erie island, or sharing a new brand, will either inspire you, connect with you, or resonate with you in some way.

I really believe blogging and Instagram were created to provide a sense of community in this crazy digital world and that’s exactly how I am going to use these platforms in 2020. 

So cheers to a blessed year full of creativity, community, inspiration, and showing up.  Thanks for following along on this solty journey of mine. It’s going to be a magical ride.

Sláinte,

Shannon