“I can smell autumn dancing in the breeze. The sweet chill of pumpkin, and crisp sunburnt leaves.”
Autumn is officially here! I love the chilly mornings that turn into warm afternoons. I love sipping hot coffee while wearing a cozy oversized cardigan. I love the smell of leaves and the sound of geese flying overhead, heading south for the winter. I love picking out apples and pumpkins at the local orchards. And I love the brilliant colors that come with the changing of the leaves. As much as I love summer, fall in Ohio is truly something magical and will always hold a special place in my heart.
I’m not a huge seasonal decorator, but I do enjoy decorating for fall. With my blue and white, coastal aesthetic, sometimes that can be challenging, seeing as the colors associated with fall are reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. Today I’m breaking down how I decorate for fall to match my coastal vibe.
Stick to your current color scheme.
If you want to stay true to your coastal aesthetic, you have to stick to the colors already in your space. I choose to decorate with pumpkins in shades of blue and white since my home is based around those colors. You can also go with a softer color palette (light blues and greens, grays, tans, creams) if that’s the vibe you already have in your space.
White pumpkins can easily be found, but blue is a bit more difficult. Last year I found some blue and white napkins and paper mâchéd some old glitter pumpkins. You can also order white pumpkins in bulk from places like Amazon and Target.
Choose natural textures.
This can be in the form of woven pumpkins, corn husk pumpkins, straw grass, wooden pumpkins, etc. Staying true to a coastal vibe with natural elements will keep the flow and easily transition your space into a cozy fall sanctuary. Target has some awesome options this season that are perfect for a coastal home. I’m looking to add this pretty herringbone woven one to my collection.
You can find some really unique coastal inspired fall decor by shopping Etsy, following artists with a coastal vibe, or making your own like I did with the paper mâché pumpkins.
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.
Spring is just around the corner and I’m more than ready to get outside and try my hand at gardening! I think one of the best things to come out of 2020 was watching people turn to the earth and mother nature for comfort and peace. I adored watching some of my favorite people try their hand at gardening. In fact I enjoyed watching their journey’s so much, that this year I’m embarking on my own journey of starting a flower garden.
I do have some experience with planting and keeping flowers alive. Every year I buy petunias, begonias, and pansies and plant them in pretty blue planters around the house. I add one new planter each year and last summer I was up to six fairly large planters. In addition to my planters this year, I’m hoping to grow flowers directly from seeds!
I’ve been chatting with blogger friends (looking at you Whitney Caves) and following flower farm accounts to try and learn as much as I can about the art of gardening. It’s amazing what you can learn by following other bloggers and gardeners. I’ve also been reading the Cut Flower Farm book from Floret Farm and it’s incredibly helpful. I had no idea so much planning and organizing went into starting a garden! Although I feel overwhelmed at times, I’m excited to embark on this new journey and challenge myself in new ways.
My plan for this year is to start small. We are going to build one small raised garden bed (probably 4’ x 4’ x 10.5”). There is a sunny spot on the far side of our deck and gazebo so I think I’m going to place the garden bed there. I’ve gone back and forth between starting the seeds inside and transplanting after the frost, or just directly seeding a few weeks after the first frost. I think I’ve decided on the latter option. It’s definitely a riskier choice, but we don’t have the space or tools to grow seeds inside. So I’m literally going to throw caution to the wind and plant the seeds sometime in late May or early June and hope something grows!
GOALS FOR THE GARDEN
My goals for this garden are simple. I truly have no idea how the flowers will grow in our yard and if the placement of the flower bed will yield any harvest. I’m going into this with zero expectations. But, what I do hope to gain are:
Creating beautiful memories planting with L;
Learning a new skill;
Spending more time outdoors;
Finding peace and joy through a new connection with mother nature.
TYPES OF FLOWERS
I bought all my seeds from Floret Farm. I had no idea what and how much to buy. I completely guessed on how many seeds to buy, so there’s a very good chance I will have bought way too little or way too much. But the types of flowers (and colors) I’m hoping to grow are:
Zinnia Oklahoma Pink
Zinnia Lilliput Salmon
Zinnia Oklahoma Carmine
Zinnia Oklahoma Salmon
Breadseed Poppy Pink Peony
Bells of Ireland
Chinese Forget-Me-Not Blue Showers
Shirley Poppy Supreme
Stock Katz in Bright Rose
FAVORITE GARDEN RESOURCES
Below are a list of accounts and/or blogs that I follow for inspiration and helpful tips.
There are tons more resources out there for starting a garden, but these are just a few I refer to on a regular basis.
I hope you are excited to follow me on this journey! To kick things off, I’m partnering with two friends to gift a lucky follower a beginner’s gardening kit on my Instagram. Be sure to follow all of us for the details!
If you’ve been following along for a while, you may have remembered our laundry list of home renovation projects for 2020. We made a pretty big dent in that list over the summer and through the fall. Unfortunately, we did not complete all of the projects on our list so some have transferred over to our projects for 2021, making it a very ambitious list.
But as any homeowner knows, owning a house means there is a never ending list of projects and renovations that must be done. Luckily the 2021 list is a bit more glamorous than last year’s list (no more chimney, dry wall, or roof repairs!). We are aware this is quite the list, but we are going to take each project one at a time and see how it goes!
House Projects 2021
Paint the exterior of the house (I think I’m still leaning towards navy)
Install a new front door (If we go navy for the exterior, I’m thinking white, natural wood or light pink for the door)
Install light fixtures and ceiling fans in the upstairs bedrooms
Install new carpet on the stairs and second floor
Transition Lilly from her nursery to a big girl room (I have very mixed feelings about this!)
Organize and tidy up the laundry room and basement
Landscape around the exterior of the house
Plant a flower garden (I’m MOST excited for this project!)
I’m sure this list will change and evolve as the year progresses, but it feels good to have some ideas and goals written down on paper. I’ll share the progress of all of these projects on my Instagram, so be sure to follow along!
I find coastal home decor inspiration everywhere. Whether I’m scouring Pinterest, checking out other bloggers with a coastal style, or google searching “coastal home decor,” the one brand that never fails to inspire me is Serena and Lily. I will sit for hours and study their catalogues (one of the few print catalogues I still get in the mail!). Known for their coastal yet refined style, Serena and Lily is an absolute favorite among people who love that easy breezy, casual, and classic style associated with living along the coast. Everything they design is always so welcoming, something I always strive for in my own home.
When Rob and I realized we quickly needed to upgrade our pub style kitchen table to one that would accommodate Lilly, I grabbed all my Serena and Lily catalogues and spent hours looking for inspiration. Our kitchen in general is small. Our house was built in the late 1970’s, and although many modern improvements have been made, the rooms are small and the ceilings are low. I knew we were limited in the space we had for a kitchen table.
I found a few round, white tables from Serena and Lily (here and here) that I absolutely fell in love with. Unfortunately, my bank account cannot support the steep prices of this brand, so I took the advice of my friend Claire from Home With the Wileys: I identified the elements of the piece of furniture I loved and started shopping around on sites I knew we could afford (Wayfair, Target, Birch Lane, Pottery Barn, One Kings Lane, etc.) After several weeks, I found an almost identical style to the table I wanted at Birch Lane, at a much happier price point (sadly I can’t link it because it’s already sold out!).
The table arrived within three days, and although it took a little getting used to, I have come to love this table. It’s the perfect fit for our space. The white brightens up the space and the simple, modern style helps the space feel larger.
For the chairs, I knew I loved the Serena and Lily Tucker Dining Chairs in white. I love this classic look of a chair – reminds me of early American life (think Williamsburg). These spindle chairs are easy to shop for and I originally found some I liked at Target. But after two different shipments of damaged chairs and having to deal with the hassle of sending them back, I decided to start the process over again.
I had been eyeing some of these wood spindle chairs on Overstock from the Safavieh line and on a whim, we decided to try these in a curved back instead of the upright back. And oh my gosh. We LOVE these chairs. I think I love them more than the table. They arrived in three days and were UNDAMAGED. Plus, it took Rob about ten minutes total to assemble them. WIN.
I absolutely love the classic, coastal, and casual feel we created in our kitchen nook. The white brightens up the space so much and the clean lines help the space feel larger. I wanted this space to be a space where we hang out as a family and share special meals. Already, it’s one of our most used spaces and I’m so happy with it.
Although I love the Serena and Lily style so much, at this point in our lives we need to be more economical with our purchases. For anyone else in the same boat, you can absolutely get the Serena and Lily look for less. Just be specific in what you are looking for and you will find it. Thank you Serena and Lily for the endless inspiration. Someday I dream of owning one of your beautiful pieces!
I’ve always been interested in the arts, but it wasn’t until I studied abroad in London that I really fell in love with it. I would spend hours at the museums in London and New York, finding inspiration and endless amounts of creativity. I’m fortunate that Toledo is home to the Toledo Museum of Art, one of the most prestigious museums in the world(!), featuring over 30,000 works of art.
As I’ve worked to make our house a home over the past four years, I have found I feel immense joy picking out beautiful works of art to display all over the walls. I love decorating our home with works of art that make all of us happy. Several original pieces have been created by friends of mine and those are always my favorite pieces.
Being a regular Instagrammer and blogger, I’ve been fortunate enough to discover so many talented artists, some of which have become friends! I’ve been wanting to launch a new series that highlights these artists I love so much, so what better time than now.
An artist that I have long admired is Christine Lee Rennie. Based in Virginia, Christine is a phenomenal fine art painter known for her use of vivid colors and textures. She paints with Acrylic daily, creating the most joyful and expressive florals. The way she magically mixes different colors and textures together brings each piece to life in an original and very gratifying way.
In 2018, Christine launched C.L. Rennie Art & Design, a jewelry line of hand painted, one of a kind wearable art pieces . Through her beautiful website you can find sustainable and ethically sourced necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and bags. Christine is continually inspired by art, color, fashion, and interior design. Each and every piece of this line is designed and handmade by Christine herself.
I first discovered Christine through Instagram. Her bold use of bright colors instantly caught my eye. I’ve always been drawn to bright, colorful florals (no shocker there if you’ve seen me styling my Lilly Putlizer pieces) and Christine’s fine art paintings are a feast for my eyes. They are absolutely gorgeous. I could stare at her paintings for hours.
When Christine reached out to partner on a project together I was thrilled! I knew I wanted to showcase her and her art on my blog. AND give a little something to my followers. That’s why Christine and I are teaming up to give TWO lucky followers an 11×14 print of their choice! Head over to my Instagram for the details on how to enter!
And don’t forget to check out Christine’s Instagram and website! Her artwork and jewelry would make the BEST Christmas gifts.
I’ve been dreaming of a chaise lounge for our living room for about two or three years now. After much pestering on my part, I finally convinced Rob it was time to splurge on a new piece of furniture. And let me tell you. My dream chaise lounge was worth the wait.
I had saved tons of pins on Pinterest of chaise lounges that I loved, but I always came back to one in particular. Classic in style with blue and white stripes, the Wittrock Chaise Lounge was shopped on a daily basis for months and months. I was that in love with it. And having lived with it for almost a week now, I can say that I am still in love with this chair!
When I love something, I know right away. The minute we unpackaged this chair and put it in its rightful place, I knew it would be my favorite seat in the house. Somehow my cute little mini me has taken it over though and most days I hear, “Mama’s new chair now Lilly’s new chair.” I think that little affirmation says it all. We love our new chair.
Because a new piece of furniture is always an investment, I’m sharing my honest thoughts based on price, quality, and style.
Wittrock Chaise Lounge
Like I said earlier, I shopped around looking at chaise lounges from various retailers. I always came back to the Wittrock Chaise Lounge from Birch Lane mostly because of style, but also because of price. Retailing between $960-$1100, this chaise lounge is pretty middle of the road when it comes to price. It seemed like the best value for the size and plushness. And it’s definitely a customer favorite which helped in my decision. Shopping hint: it does go on sale once or twice a year, so when I saw it was on sale for Labor Day, I clicked that purchase button before Rob could change his mind!
One week in and I’m thrilled with the quality. It’s sturdy and solid. The upholstery is beautiful and very high quality. Comfort wise it’s just what I hoped for. Lilly and I can comfortably be together and read books, with me sometimes starting to doze it’s that comfy. Already we have had cheese curl fingers, mud, and glitter make its way to my new favorite chair and all three times I’ve been easily able to clean it up. We will see how it holds up after a few months of heavy traffic.
Style wise I love this chair. It’s the perfect coastal, Serena and Lily vibe I was hoping for. It’s classic in shape and perfect in size for our space. We were debating between the stripes and gray and I’m so glad we went with the stripes. It really brightens up our living room and the stripes will never go out of style. A+++ for the style!
I can’t speak highly enough about this chair. Luckily shipping was a breeze too (we didn’t experience any damages, which has not historically been the case when we’ve ordered furniture). I’m aware we have only had this chair for a week, but if you are in the market for a chaise lounge and have questions about this particular one, please feel free to message me and I will answer your questions as best I can.
Now excuse me while I go curl up with a cup of coffee and watch Lilly play.
2020 has challenged us all and taught us many lessons. I think one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is how to embrace the present. That includes embracing the season in which we are in. This is definitely easier said than done. It’s so easy to be planning and strategizing for the next big thing, but with 2020 stopping us in our tracks, literally, I’ve found joy in the simpler things.
One of the unexpected pleasures of 2020 has been the amount of time we spend outside. I can’t recall any other time in my life where, no matter the weather forecast, we spend much of the day playing in our own backyard. I find myself craving the fresh air every day now.
Because we are outside so much, I’m always looking for new activities for our family and one of the fall activities on my list for this year has been to set up a picnic in our backyard. It’s the perfect way for Rob and I to relax with a glass of wine and some snacks while we watch Lilly delight in chasing Gryff around the yard.
If you are planning a picnic of your own this fall, here are a few things you will need:
A plaid blanket for sitting.
A charcuterie board filled with your favorite snacks – I’m trying to eat clean, so ours consisted of nitrate free salami, green apples, and raw almonds. (Rob likes to include cheese and crackers for himself).
A scarf or cozy sweater if there is a chill in the air.
A nice selection of wine. I tend to choose dry reds this time of year (Pinot Noir is my all time favorite). And bonus: I have a discount code for you guys to use at Winc! Winc is a monthly wine club that delivers wine right to your doorstep! Upon sign-up, you take a very short quiz to determine your tastes and Winc will select and curate wines specifically for you. You can choose dry, sweet, red, white, low sugar, low sulfur – the options are endless. By clicking here, you can get a $22 discount plus complimentary shipping which comes out to 4 bottles of wine for $39! And personally, I have not had a wine I didn’t like from Winc – everything they recommend for me is so good!
A couple of pumpkins for those photo ops.
Great company – I choose my hubby, my baby girl, and my furry pup.
That’s all you need! I hope you guys create a fall picnic of your own! Don’t forget to check out the Winc Wine Club – you won’t regret it!
I love to clean and organize. It’s probably one of my favorite pastimes and definitely my favorite chore. Before Lilly, I would spend our entire Saturday morning deep cleaning our house. Cleaning and organizing has always been my activity that de-stresses me, allows me to process whatever is going on, and it genuinely brings me joy.
Before kids, I always used to say, “my house is going to stay clean even after I have kids.” And guys, so far that’s been manageable with one kid (I can’t say what will happen if we have more). Below are some tricks that help me keep our home organized and clutter free.
Invest in Quality Baskets
Baskets are my best friend. I can’t have enough baskets. Baskets are so good at hiding clutter. We have diaper baskets in almost every room – that way we can have quick access to diapers, wipes, lotion and whatever else a baby and toddler needs. I love to store baskets under coffee tables and on shelves because it looks pretty and it hides the chaos inside the basket. I also use baskets in our kitchen to hide our aprons and cookbooks (we just don’t have enough counter space, wall space, or cupboard space). I also use baskets in closets, under sinks, in L’s playroom – literally everywhere. I also love to leave them out in the open and fill them with magazines, books, or blankets.
Target, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Pottery Barn have some excellent options. I also love the Serena and Lily ones, but those are $$$. Here a few styles that I love:
This is something I try to do, and it does work 90% of the time. Before we leave a room where we’ve been playing, I try and put everything away and in its rightful place. This might seem silly, but it’s so much better than spending a half hour going all around the house, picking everything up after L goes to bed. It truly makes a huge difference. Plus, we make a game out of it. Luckily Lilly is a helper so if I ask her to help me with something she is always willing and ready.
Designated Play Area
Fortunately we have a designated playroom in our house. Keeping her toys, books, and stuffed animals all in one area of the house certainly helps with keeping the rest of the house organized. And it helps that this room is separate from the rest of the house (it’s right off of our entrance from the garage and there is a bathroom connected to it. I think it’s technically a downstairs master, but we use it as the playroom). Even if you don’t have a playroom, you can set aside a space in your house for the kiddo’s toys (use those baskets!) and it will definitely help with keeping things tidy.
Always do the Dishes
This can be an annoying task for sure, but my mom always taught me to clean all the dishes before you go to bed. If we use dishes after dinner, I always make sure I hand wash them and put them away before we go to bed. Most nights I do not want to do this task because I’m so tired. But every morning I wake up and I’m so glad I did. It truly makes a difference in the morning!
And that’s it folks. These are things I do every single day that keeps our home tidy and organized, something I very much value. Hopefully one or more of these ideas will be feasible for you. Happy organizing!
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen me talk about the gallery wall I’ve been working on for L’s playroom. This has been a summer project very near and dear to my heart. My goal with this gallery wall was to be very intentional with the artwork I was selecting. From the beginning, I wanted all of the artwork to be created by artists I admire and/or an artist I have become friends with. All six pieces that I have picked out so far fall into both categories and I’m so excited to share a little info about each artist and their work.
Becky Elgart Coastal Watercolors
Based in Connecticut, Becky Elgart finds endless inspiration from the Atlantic. You immediately can sense her love for the coast in all of her work. For me, each of her pieces of art invoke a feeling of peace and nostalgia for a simpler time. Her abstract coastal seascapes are some of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever seen. Her piece “Forever Summer” is the piece that inspired me to create this gallery wall for L’s playroom. The lady in the hat reminds me of long, hot summer days playing dress up at my Bobo’s (grandma) house with some of her dresses and large sun hats from the 1940s and 1950s. I loved frolicking around in these vintage pieces and I really think it’s one of the reasons why I love fashion and fashion history so much. I chose this piece because it reminds me so much of my childhood and the endless amounts of imagination and creativity that comes with being a kid.
Cozy Little Prints and the story behind its formation is perhaps one of my favorite’s to share. My friend Sarah (who I virtually met through Instagram) started painting watercolors at the beginning of COVID-19 as a way to ease anxiety during this incredibly stressful time. Sarah first started painting watercolors of botanicals and has since expanded into architecture (I commissioned her to create a watercolor of my sister-in-law’s new house!), animals, pets, landscapes, and fashion pieces. When I saw her share the watercolor she created of an elephant, I knew it had to be a part of L’s gallery wall. L LOVES elephants – it was the first animal noise she made and she sleeps with her JellyCat Elephant every night. The elephant print that Sarah painted is the sweetest, most precious addition to the gallery wall and nothing brings me more joy than to see L point to it and make an elephant noise.
I discovered Jen Strandberg Studios through Cozy Little Prints! Sarah shared Jen’s artwork in her stories one day and from then on I was hooked. Based out of NYC and Nantucket, Jen Strandberg Studios specializes in colorful coastal watercolors. Full of coastal scenes, summers on the water, and hydrangeas in full bloom, Jen’s artwork makes my nautical loving heart so very happy. As soon as I saw the colorful buoys that Jen painted, I knew they would be a part of the gallery wall. They are so fun and playful – the perfect addition to a child’s playroom.
Rachel is the genius behind Little Lavender Lobster and perhaps one of the nicest and most supportive artists I’ve met through Instagram. Founded in 2016, Little Lavender Lobster offers handmade jewelry, watercolors, custom stationary, and so much more – all created and designed by Rachel herself. I love the simplicity and sophistication of her work. One of the sweetest products that Rachel creates are personalized watercolor pennants! Rachel and I worked together to create this customized piece for the gallery wall and it’s so perfect! It’s fun, playful, and the perfect amount of nautical. I asked Rachel to use an “S” for Solt (in case there are more little Solt’s in the future) and watercolors in blue and white. I’m so thrilled with the final piece and seeing this sweet pennant in the middle of the gallery wall makes me so happy.
Michelle is my first ever Instagram friend turned real life friend. Michelle and I met over two years ago and she is one of the most beautiful humans. Michelle actually teaches with my sister and that’s how we were introduced! Michelle creates the most gorgeous impressionistic paintings of Lake Erie and Ohio. Claude Monet has always been my favorite artist and Michelle’s artwork reminds me so much of Monet. I absolutely love her use of color and texture and I find myself getting lost in her paintings. I am honored to have several of her pieces hanging in our home. I knew I needed another nautical painting of Lake Erie to include in the gallery wall. And this one with the little sailboat and the colorful patchwork detail is so perfect for inspiring creativity.
For those of you who know me on a personal level, you will have known that I worked at Bittersweet Farms for five and half years, doing their marketing and social media. Bittersweet Farms is a local nonprofit that provides services to adults with autism. They employ a working farm model that helps individuals with autism live a life filled with purpose. One of my favorite programs is the Creative Arts Program. The Creative Arts Program provides adults with autism art therapy, art production, and art for intrinsic value. It has been a joy to get to know all of these artists and I am honored to have a piece of original art in my home. Before I moved on from Bittersweet, I saw one of the artists had painted this scene titled “Water Lilies.” I had just given birth to Lilly and I asked if I could purchase it, as it was the perfect addition to our room. This piece has been hanging in the playroom for many months, but it is now part of the gallery wall and the bright colors, coastal feel, and Monet inspired style makes me so happy.
Be sure to follow Bittersweet Farms on Instagram and check out their website for more information about this non-profit!
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to some new artists. I am truly honored to have so many of their pieces displayed in our home. It has been so wonderful getting to know each of these individuals and I hope you will take the time to visit their sites and give them some love.