WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS

There is nothing I love more than finding original and unique pieces for the home.  And if finding these pieces means making new friends along the way, then I’m a happy lady! My friend Kate (we found each other on Instagram!!) paints the MOST beautiful watercolor botanicals and acrylic landscapes.  She opened an Etsy shop where she sells prints of her artwork and I’m obsessed!!

For spring, she did an entire collection of lemons! If you know me, you know how much I love lemons.  (For my birthday I usually request a lemon cake and when I was pregnant I craved everything lemon.  The lemon ice you get to eat during labor was heavenly).  Her lemon watercolors are so cute! They are the perfect addition to a kitchen, sunroom, dining room, or just about anywhere in your home.

I recently framed the “Melanie Lemon Trio” and it looks so good in our kitchen! I love knowing that so much love, thought, and talent was put into creating the original piece.  If you head to Kate’s Etsy shop you will see that each original lemon painting is named after its buyer and then made available in print form.  You can even commission your own signature lemon to add to the series!

I’m so excited to be partnering with Kate to give away one of her prints to one of my blog readers and Instagram followers! This would be the perfect gift for next weekend’s Mother’s Day celebrations! Entering the giveaway is so easy.  Head to my Instagram to enter to win a print for yourself or your mama!

Sláinte,

Shannon

STEPPING INTO SPRING

You guys know how much I love everything nautical and New England, so I’m thrilled to be partnering with Eastland Shoes to showcase some of their spring and summer styles! Founded in Freeport, Maine in 1955, Eastland is known for their timeless footwear.  Family-owned for three generations, the company prides itself on quality craftsmanship and classic styles.  Drawing inspiration from the Maine terrain, Eastland offers a full line of camp moccasins, boat shoes, boots, oxfords, and loafers. 

The Patricia Penny Loafer Driving Moccasin is one of my favorite Eastland styles.  They are the perfect shoe for walks by the water, shopping at the local boutiques in my town, gardening, and carrying a six month old around all day.  Being constantly on-the-go, I need to make sure my shoes are comfortable, durable, slip-resistant, and stylish.  The Eastland loafer moccasins are just perfect for my busy schedule!

As soon as I saw the Patricia Penny Loafer in light blue I knew I had to have them! You all know how much I love blue and white and this pretty sky blue color fits right in with my aesthetic.  I love pairing them with white jeans and a white tee.  I can’t wait to wear them with my white shorts in just a few short weeks!

Thank you to Eastland Shoes for sponsoring this post. Shop their selection of women’s and men’s shoes by clicking here! And be sure to follow them on social media!

Sláinte,

Shannon

SHOP THE LOOK

WHITE DENIM JEANS | STRIPED RED SHIRT (SIMILAR) | EASTLAND PENNY LOAFERS | RATTAN CROSSBODY | KJP PEARL BRACELET

COASTAL OHIO LIFESTYLE BRAND

A few weeks back I shared the cutest nautical baby box from one of my favorite Ohio brands – Erie and Anchor.

Erie and Anchor is an Ohio based company that sells unique nautical products.  It’s a lifestyle brand designed for anyone who loves to live and play on Lake Erie.  From cozy sweatshirts, to lightweight tees, to canvas totes, baseball hats, and wine tumblers – Erie and Anchor has something for everyone!

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 had the opportunity to visit Lake Erie recently and let me tell you, the Erie and Anchor sweatshirts are amazing for the beach!! With temperatures only in the mid-50s and a strong wind coming off the lake, the Erie and Anchor sweatshirts kept me warm and cozy while I relaxed and enjoyed being close to the water.

The unisex sweatshirts come in a variety of colors, styles, and logos.  I think my favorite one is the navy hoodie with the anchor logo (who’s surprised!), but the kelly green hoodie and grey crewneck with the crosswind logo are close seconds! I love the fit of these sweatshirts – I am wearing a size small in the grey and navy, but chose a medium for the Kelly green because I wanted one that was slightly oversize.  

In addition to the sweatshirts, I am obsessed with the baseball hat! This hat is offered in white and navy and the white goes with everything! I’ve been wearing it on repeat these days, especially when the baby life doesn’t allow time for me to wash my hair.

I can’t say enough good things about this brand.  The quality of their products is outstanding, the styles are current and flattering, and they are a dream to work with.  I highly recommend checking them out and supporting this Ohio brand! Plus, if you use the code NORTHCOAST at checkout, you can receive FREE SHIPPING!

This is a great opportunity to purchase some locally made Ohio products, support a family business, and give back to Lake Erie!

Slainte,

Shannon

NAUTICAL BABY BOX

Nothing gets me more than nautical baby items.  And when it’s locally made, it’s even better!!

Erie and Anchor is an Ohio based company that sells unique nautical products.  It’s a lifestyle brand designed for anyone who loves to live and play on Lake Erie.  From cozy sweatshirts, to lightweight tees, to canvas totes, baseball hats, and wine tumblers – Erie and Anchor has something for everyone!

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.

One of my favorite products that they sell is the Erie and Anchor Deluxe Baby Box! It’s PERFECT for anyone who loves all things nautical. The box contains an organic anchor blanket, a sweet onesie with the Erie and Anchor logo, a wooden anchor teether, and a navy organic cotton binkie clip (boy) or nautical striped headband (girl). 

L and I had the best time trying out each of the products in the box!  The blanket is so soft and durable.  It’s the perfect size for a baby but also big enough that she can still use it as she grows.  We also love the wooden anchor teether!  Baby girl is already starting to teeth so it’s the perfect toy for her right now. 

And how adorable does she look in the cute onesie and matching bow! Definitely makes me ready for warmer weather and trips to the beach! L is just now wearing 3-6 month clothes and she has plenty of room to grow into this onesie over the next few months.

I’m so thrilled to be partnering with Erie and Anchor to offer all my readers and social media followers FREE SHIPPING on any Erie and Anchor purchase with code NORTHCOAST.  This is a great opportunity to purchase some locally made Ohio products, support a family business, and give back to Lake Erie!

Slainte,

Shannon

COPING WITH THE END OF MATERNITY LEAVE

Happy New Year!

I hope you all enjoyed a joyous holiday season filled with family, friends, lots of laughter, good food, and too much wine.

Many people create goals or resolutions at the start of each year.  I’ve never really been one to get into making new year resolutions so unlike most bloggers, I don’t have any resolutions to share.  However, I do have dreams and aspirations for this little blog of mine [I’m still here too] and one of those ideas is to inspire others in any way that I can.  Whether it be through fashion, home décor, or sharing my experience as a new mama, I hope to connect with a community of like-minded creatives and spread a little more positivity throughout the world.  

One of my favorite topics to talk about as of late is how life has changed (for the better!) as a new mama.  One topic that has been on my heart for the last couple of weeks is maternity leave.  For those of you unfamiliar, I have been working for the past five years at a local non-profit that provides services to individuals with autism.  I oversee the marketing, which in non-profit language translates into all the traditional marketing, social media, graphic design, and public relations.  I love the work I do and the mission of the organization.

That being said, I also love being a mama!  I’m due to return to work next week and I’m completely devastated about having to leave my baby girl. In all honesty I’ve really been struggling with having to leave L (if anyone even asks me about my leave I tend to burst into tears).  Although I’ve been fortunate enough to have 12 full weeks off, I feel very strongly that the maternity leave in our country is completely unrealistic.  Leaving a newborn after just three months is far too early.   A baby changes SO fast and it’s so unfair that a mother (and father) must return to work so quickly and miss out on so many developmental changes.  I fully advocate for at least one year of maternity leave for all mothers in order to be able to care for and bond with their baby.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the option for me to be a stay at home mom at this stage in our life.  The past few weeks, and this week in particular, I’m having to really find ways to be at peace with going back to work.  I’m sure other new mamas have similar feelings about returning to work after spending so many precious moments with their babies, so I’ve compiled a few ways in which I’m coping in the hopes that other new mamas will find ways to feel a little more at peace about having to return to work.

Support System – Having a strong support system has been a game changer for me.  I am one that has always worn my feelings on my sleeve and it helps me so much to be able to talk about and voice my insecurities, worries, and fears.  I’m so blessed to have such an understanding, patient, and loving husband.  He is my rock and if it weren’t for him, I’d be a complete hot mess. [I rocked a Dad bod before being a dad, now I’m a real hunk]  It also helps that our families live in the same city as us and have been tremendously helpful these past few months.  A few family members will even be helping us out and watching L, and that makes a huge difference in putting my mind at ease!

Yoga – I’ve been practicing yoga for almost three years now.  I started yoga as a way to harness my anxiety and it has become a way of life.  The mind, body, and spiritual balance is just incredible and I’m grateful for each time I step onto my mat.  I was able to continue my practice into the third trimester of my pregnancy.  However, it did become increasingly difficult towards the end of pregnancy and it’s taken nine weeks postpartum to finally get back on the mat.  I’m making a point to do at least a twenty-minute practice each morning to help center myself and ease my anxiety of returning to work.   So far it’s helping and enabling me to think a little more clearly and positively. 

Something New – Now this may sound superficial, but one of the ways that is helping me to get back to work is knowing that I have a new outfit and new handbag for the first day.  I know this sounds so silly, but having something to look forward to on a day that I know is going to be insanely difficult actually helps spur some excitement.  I also printed out a bunch of pictures of L that I’m bringing to the office to hang up all around my desk.  It’s the little things that count here people.

Being Present Now – The last way in which I’m trying not to let my anxieties and worry get the best of me is by being present now.  With all the social media and distractions nowadays it’s increasingly difficult for people to be present in their own lives. I’m making a point to get off my phone and completely focus on her when she’s awake and ready to play or cuddle.  (She’s of course napping as I write this).  I’m committed to enjoying every.single.moment with my sweet L.   By being completely present, I can put my mind at ease that I’ve done everything humanely possible to make the best of this next week and enjoy all the baby cuddles, smiles, and giggles. 

I would love to hear suggestions from all you mamas (and dads!) about how you have transitioned back into work after being on maternity leave.  Hopefully some of the ways in which I am coping will inspire some of you and make the transition just a little bit easier.

As always, thanks for stopping by A Dash of Solt!

Slainte,

Shannon [and Rob too!]

p.s. These pictures were taken at Maumee Bay State Park – a local gem of Northwest Ohio with access to Erie Beach (one of my favorite places to take pictures and get my water fix!)

SHOP THE LOOK

J.CREW FACTORY JEANS | J.CREW FACTORY VEST | PINK PINEAPPLE SHOP POM POM HAT | TARGET STRIPED TURTLENECK | GAP GRAY SWEATER | HUNTER BOOTS | SCOTTISH SCARF (SCOTLAND)

LIFE WITH A NEWBORN

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.” – Anonymous

Words that were never more true. So many emotions have emerged these past few weeks as we have welcomed our sweet little bairn (Scottish word for baby for those that are not familiar – I’ve been watching too much Outlander) into this world.  We have experienced fatigue like we never have before.  We have felt immeasurable joy and pride in seeing mini versions of ourselves.  We have experienced anxiety and despair while trying to calm a screaming baby.  But most of all, we have felt love so great it brings us to tears.  

Obviously when you bring a new human into the world, many things change.  We have had to completely adapt to a new way of life (which we were anticipating, but it doesn’t make it any easier).  There are so many things we have learned over these past few weeks and we want to share our experience with others, in the hope it will bring other new parents some hope or comfort.  And hopefully this post will help anyone thinking about starting a family.

No Sleep.  – This one is obvious, but you really don’t understand what it means until it happens. It LITERALLY means NO SLEEP.  This has been by far the hardest adjustment for me. I’m an in bed by 9pm kind of girl who never pulled all-nighters and would beg my friends in college to leave the bars at midnight so I could go to bed.   I need at least nine hours of sleep to function.  Whelp, not anymore!  I’ve lost count of how many all-nighters we’ve pulled in the past seven weeks. 

The first week was by far the hardest.  No one tells you that babies aren’t born with a built in circadian rhythm (aka, they don’t know night from day and have to learn that).  That first week Miss L would not sleep at all at night, and definitely not in her bassinet.  The only place she would sleep was on mom and dad.  We would have to take 2-3 hour shifts holding her so the other could sleep.  It was really rough. 

But, everyone told us things would get easier, and it does.  Each week Miss L adds on a little more sleep in between feedings.  We are now up to 4.5 hours between feedings which means I can get more than an hour or two of sleep at a time.  YAY!

Breastfeeding is really hard! – This was as big a shocker to me as the lack of sleep.  I knew I always wanted to breastfeed, but I had no idea how hard of a job it would be.  The first few weeks you are feeding that baby every two hours and it takes 30-45 minutes for each feeding.  That gives a breastfeeding mom just over an hour to try and eat or take a shower or sleep or do just about anything.

Breastfeeding is also really painful at first.  Your breasts are not used to being used like that, so you are constantly sore and in pain.  Around week 4 I finally felt comfortable again and at week seven I actually enjoy feeding my sweet babe.  I’ve come to realize what a blessing this special time is with her and I love the bonding that happens between us.

(p.s.Breastfeeding makes you extremely thirsty! I recommend all mamas who are going to breastfeed to have a glass of water next to you at all times!)

Baby is just as scared as the parents. – Realizing that being born into this world was just as shocking for L as it was for us really helped to center us when she was upset.  Many people don’t realize that for a baby, this is a whole new world, filled with unfamiliar sounds, smells, and faces. It’s a shock to their system (remember they’ve been comfortably cocooned for nine months) and it takes them awhile to become adjusted.  The first couple of weeks when she would cry,I would always try and remember that she was just as scared as me and that definitely helped me to cope better and comfort her better.  My mom sent me this piece a day or two after she was born and I still cry so hard when I read it.  It’s so painfully beautiful, but it has helped SO much when trying to comfort L.  

Set a routine earlier than later. – Setting a routine for L is something we JUST started doing.  I am reading the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and one of the ideas that has really stuck with me is putting baby on a flexible schedule as soon as possible.  Tracy calls it the EASY method – Eat, Activity, Sleep, You (time for Mom). Babies need to be taught what is expected of them and they like a structured schedule.  When I started implementing this idea about a week or two ago, I saw a huge change in how much more content baby (and mom!) have become.   That being said, I’m also a huge advocate for figuring out what works for you and your family.  There are so many books, ideas, and opinions coming at you from every direction and it’s really important to pause, listen to your baby, and implement things that work for your lifestyle.

Two products we have loved. – I thought it would be fun to share some of the baby items that we have come to love and use on a regular basis.  The first item I highly recommend is the Boppy pillow.  We have two of them (one for the nursery and one for downstairs).  We use our pillows every single day (hubby even naps with them!).  They make breastfeeding so much more comfortable, plus as baby grows you can use them to support their back when they begin to sit up on their own.

Another product we use daily is our rock n’ play seat/sleeper.  L LOVES this seat.  It has a vibrating function, as well as the ability to rock.  I’m convinced she gets some of her best sleep in this seat. Plus, it folds up super easy and so traveling with it is a breeze.

We could talk all day about our experience the past few weeks, but we don’t want this post to be too long.  Hopefully what we have shared will help other new parents or expecting parents.  At the end of the day, having a baby is the most challenging but the most rewarding thing you will ever do.  We can’t imagine life without our sweet L and cherish each day with her.  She is such a blessing and a gift and we are so excited to embark on this new adventure with her.

Slainte,

Shannon

p.s. You can shop my sweater by checking out this post and you can find the nursery details here

APPLE PICKING

One of the favorite fall activities around Northwest Ohio is apple picking at the famous MacQueen’s Orchard!  MacQueen’s Orchard is a local family farm that has been around for over 55 years.  Visitors and school tours come from near and far to check out the 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.

7516542704_IMG_11177583608752_IMG_1170

This past weekend hubby and I made a date night (possibly our last before baby arrives!) of picking apples.  Despite it being cloudy, the weather was a perfect 60 degrees for apple picking (YAY for being able to wear plaid again!).  We came home with at least a ½ bushel of Granny Smith and Jonathan varieties.

7516532576_IMG_11117583632224_IMG_11107516537280_IMG_1122

I love experiencing different fall activities, but I really love fall for the fashion.  Each season brings new styles and fall fashions always embrace the feeling of being comfy and cozy.  Especially being in my ninth month of pregnancy (what!!), I’m all about feeling comfortable.

7516533968_IMG_11087799612288_IMG_1185

My favorite fall styles include J.Crew plaid shirts, oversized cardigans, chunky sweaters, boots (riding, Hunter, and booties!), cozy scarves, and leggings.   The trends I’m loving this particular year are animal prints, plaid and tweed (no surprise with my Scottish heritage), and casual knits.  J.Crew Factory has some great fall finds right now (like this plaid bell sleeve top).  I also like shopping at Gap, Loft, and most recently, Nordstrom for the best fall fashions.

7799692400_IMG_11727583629872_IMG_1155

What are your favorite fall activities?  What about your favorite fall fashions?

As always, thank you for stopping by A Dash of Solt!

Slainte,

Shannon [and Rob]

SHOP MY OUTFIT
PLAID SHIRT (SIMILAR) |GAP MATERNITY STRIPED SHIRT |GAP MATERNITY JEANS | J.CREW FACTORY BOOTIES | KJP PEARL EARRINGS 

NAUTICAL BABY SHOWER

A few weeks ago my sisters threw me the most adorable and memorable baby shower!  It meant so much to Rob and me to have a full day of spoils for our sweet baby girl.  Our hearts are bursting with happiness and we are still completely overwhelmed by all the love for Baby Lilly.

IMG_0281IMG_0286IMG_0292IMG_0394

I requested the shower to be at Perrysburg’s Carranor Hunt and Polo Club.  This is one of my favorite historic places in Perrysburg.  The interior decorating reminds me of all the cute pubs in Scotland and England.  It’s very early Americana and I absolutely adore it (seriously google image the club and you will see how cute the interior and exterior are).

IMG_0294IMG_0272IMG_0275

It’s no surprise that the shower was nautical themed!  How cute are those diaper cakes?! My mom found these oversized whale, sailboat, and anchor decals and they are so fun! All of the details from the cookies, to the games, and nautical décor were so perfect.  I literally cried when I walked into the room and saw how cute everything looked.

IMG_0298IMG_0273IMG_0304IMG_0312IMG_0314

I was completely overwhelmed by everyone’s excitement!  Seeing as this is our first baby, we have been lacking on the baby supplies.   Our friends and family went above and beyond to make this day special and equip us with the baby essentials.

IMG_0353IMG_0365IMG_0369

Thank you to everyone near and far who attended the shower, sent well wishes, and were with us in spirit.  We are so grateful to each and every one of you and we can’t wait for the world to meet Baby Solt!

IMG_0388

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

OUTFIT DETAILS:

PINK BLUSH DRESS | JACK ROGERS SANDALS | J.CREW EARRINGS (SIMILAR)| KATE SPADE WATCH | HUBBY IS WEARING ALL J.CREW FACTORY AND SPERRY SHOES!

FLORALS AND GARDENS

This past weekend Rob and I explored a hidden gem in our cute little town.  The 577 Foundation is a historic site that works to preserve and maintain the integrity of the land.  They offer numerous classes for adults and children that range from pottery, to painting, to herb walks, to making soap, and all sorts of holiday inspired crafts.

IMG_0176IMG_0177

The 12 acre property dates back to the 1880s and the deed to the property was actually signed by President John Quincy Adams.   The estate was owned by Mr. and Mrs. George F. Greenhalgh (Mrs. Greenhalgh was a niece of Edward Drummond Libbey, major benefactor of The Toledo Museum of Art), and then later by Duane and Virginia Stranahan.  The Stranahans had six children, none of whom wanted the property, so Virginia gave the property back to the community.  Her hope was that the land would be a fun place where people could learn about the environment and enjoy the beauty of Perrysburg and the Maumee River.

IMG_0178IMG_0182IMG_0183

The 577 Foundation is known for their beautiful gardens.  Guests are encouraged to plant their gardens on the property, with the purpose being to learn, discover organic practices, and share their knowledge with others.

IMG_0271IMG_0187

We had a lovely morning walking around and exploring the grounds.  The flowers and gardens are in full bloom right now and created the most picturesque backdrop for some photos.  Both Rob and I have always been huge history buffs so we naturally fell in love with the beautiful historic buildings on site.  This would be the cutest location for a bridal shower, senior pictures, or even a small wedding!

IMG_0267IMG_0214IMG_0231

We are trying to soak up every minute before sweet Baby Lilly arrives!  It’s hard to believe we are already 28 weeks along.   She will be here before we know it!

Slàinte,

Shannon

p.s. I’ve linked my outfit details below! This floral maxi was perfect for a stroll around the beautiful gardens.

MATERNITY MAXI | TASSEL EARRINGS | RAYBAN SUNGLASSES | RATTAN BAG | KATE SPADE WATCH (SIMILAR) | BOURBON AND BOWTIES BRACELET PEARL (SIMILAR) | BOURBON AND BOWTIES BRACELET (PINK)

TRAVELING SOLTS – SAUGATUCK, MI

Last week Rob and I jetted out of town for a quick “babymoon.”  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a babymoon is a fancy way of describing your last vacation as a couple before your baby arrives (basically a second mini honeymoon).

ACS_0032

When we were planning our babymoon, we knew we wanted something coastal, but not too far.  Rob did tons of research on cute coastal towns and we ended up choosing Saugatuck, MI! We found the most charming B&B to stay in called the Wickwood Inn (Pictures below are of their beautiful gardens).  They are known for their impeccable interior decorating and gourmet food – neither of which disappointed!  Our favorite food of the whole trip was blueberry, pecan sticky buns that the inn served one morning.  They were incredible!

IMG_1270IMG_1272IMG_1376IMG_1284IMG_1283IMG_1278IMG_1280

Although the weather was less than ideal (monsoon rains for two days straight), we still had the best time and found plenty of things to do.  Saugatuck is known for it’s art galleries (we found some awesome original art for the house!), shopping, harbor, and stellar food.  They even have a cute local distillery where Rob was able to sample some yummy bourbon.[I got Shannon’s free samples which made for interesting early afternoon] I’ve rounded up a list of fun things to do in Saugatuck below (thought that would be easier than detailing every activity we did).

IMG_1308ACS_0007IMG_1379

The main reason for taking this babymoon was to get away so we could disconnect and relax.  We definitely did that!  Even though it rained almost every day we were there, we didn’t mind too much because it gave us time to read and just hang out with each other.  The B&B didn’t have any TV’s in the rooms and the WiFi could be spotty, so we were truly able to relax and just enjoy the comforts of the B&B and local town.

ACS_0018ACS_0020ACS_0022ACS_0023ACS_0030ACS_0031

We ended the trip with a quick stop in South Haven, MI (one of my favorite coastal towns!).  We spent about an hour or so walking around the town and exploring the local beach and lighthouse.  It was the perfect end to a delightful trip!

7787024096_IMG_01267860416496_IMG_0105ACS_0027ACS_0028ACS_0029ACS_0033IMG_1412

Favorite Things to do in Saugatuck

Oval Beach – Included in Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 25 Beaches in the World, Oval Beach is just gorgeous.  We spent a half day here walking among the dunes and enjoying the (freezing cold) water.  I wish we had been able to enjoy the epic sunsets everyone talks about, but that would have required the rain to stop.

Local Shopping – We were very impressed with the quality of the local shops.  My favorites were The Brass Anchor (the name says it all) and the Saugatuck Art Gallery.

Favorite Restaurants – Definitely book a reservation for Hercules.  Our favorite meal was eaten here.  We loved the ambiance and the menu provided a delicious array of Mediterranean inspired dishes.  We also enjoyed The Mermaid.  The Mermaid is a local tourist favorite for its waterfront seating and famous fish n’chips.

Slàinte,

Shannon {and Rob}