HOME: A COZY LITTLE PRINTS GIVEAWAY

When I started blogging for fun (almost!) three years ago, I never imagined that blogging would result in friendships from around the country.  Literally.  I have formed so many wonderful relationships and even met a few other creatives in person.  I have often thought about quitting my blog, and even Instagram for that matter, but time and again the friendships I’ve formed with so many people and their never sending support keeps me going.  

One of those people who I connected with instantly and who has been one of my biggest cheerleaders is my friend Sarah from Cozy Little Joys.  Sarah and I have bonded over everything from classic style, to motherhood and raising our two toddlers, to blue and white obsessions, a love for stripes, gin and tonics,and so much more.  She inspires me daily with her positive attitude, real-life honesty, and as of most recently, her courage to share a new passion during these difficult times.  

I’m so excited to share Sarah’s newest venture – the Cozy Little Prints Studio!  Cozy Little Prints started as a creative outlet for Sarah to help ease stress and anxiety during a very challenging time.  Cozy Little Prints is a collection of original watercolor paintings, ranging from fresh blooms, to architecture, botanicals, ginger jars, classic style, and coastal art.  You can purchase digital downloads of Sarah’s artwork on Etsy, as well as working with Sarah on commissioned pieces. 

In honor of the launch of Sarah’s new venture, Sarah, our friend Caitlin from Lemonade Press Blog, and myself are giving away three watercolor prints from Sarah’s blue and white lemon collection! Head to our Instagram’s to enter to win! 

Slainte,

Shannon 

STYLE – FAVORITE SLEEPWEAR FOR SUMMER

I have always loved sleepwear.  Even as a little girl, I remember having favorite nightgowns and pajama sets.  Even when it was uncool to wear a camise, slip, or nightgown, I always did – even in college.  I think Kate Schelter says it best in her book, Classic Style.  She says, “Your style is what you are unaware of; it’s what you do naturally, your outward DNA. It’s your pajamas as much as it’s your wedding gown. Your style is your character.”  And caring about my pajamas says that even while I’m sleeping, I want to be comfortable and feel my best.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

I’ve been asked before where I shop for my sleepwear.  My summer sleepwear does differ slightly from my winter sleepwear.  In the winter, I prefer short sets (shorts and a long sleeve) or a long sleeve t-shirt nightgown.  In the summer though, I prefer sleeveless short sets or sleeveless nightgowns.  I have so many go-to places, so I’ve rounded up some of my favorite brands and styles in the hopes you will find your favorite pajamas.  

And remember, it’s totally okay if you love sleeping in your significant other’s old t-shirt.  You wear what is comfortable and cozy for you! 

SUMMER SLEEPWEAR 

Lake Pajamas – The softest pajamas imaginable.  Literally.  These sleep sets are some of my favorites. They are the perfect weight for hot, summer nights and they are so soft you don’t even know you are wearing them.  Plus, they come in sooo many different stripe patterns, and you guys know I can’t turn down a good stripe.  They are pricey, but I promise they are worth the investment.  Check out my favorite styles below. 

Victoria’s Secret – A longtime favorite for many, many years.  I’ve been wearing nightgowns and sleep sets from Victoria’s Secret since highschool.  These are classic, timeless, and you always know you are going to get good quality.  Below are some of my favorite styles. 

J.Crew Factory – Another tried and true brand, J.Crew offers the softest pajama sets.  I love these for summer and the long sleeve versions for winter.  They are the perfect fit and I often wear them throughout the entire morning.  I can wear these styles outside and not feel uncomfortable if my neighbors see me – definitely important when you have a pup and toddler on the go! 

Hopefully this list helps you in your shopping for summer sleepwear! Stay comfy and cool.

Slainte

Shannon

HOME: HOUSE RENOVATIONS SUMMER 2020

The joy of home ownership.  We definitely love owning a home.  A home allows us to create a space that is all our own.  But it’s also a money sucking time commitment.  Built in 1976, we bought our house in 2016.  The owners prior to us kept the house updated and modern, which has resulted in minor cosmetic changes on our end.  

For the past year we’ve been dealing with some issues with our chimney.  Long story short, our chimney base has disconnected from our house and water has been seeping into our family room.  This has caused water damage in our family room ceiling, as well as our guest room ceiling. 

We’ve had engineers, masons, contractors, insurance agents – you name it – out to our home to look at the problem and the damage it has caused.  We have finally hired a contractor who will be building up our foundation to connect it back to the chimney and hopefully fix this problem for good.  But because this chimney problem has caused so much interior and exterior damage, we have decided this summer is the summer of value adding projects.

New Roof

We were told when we bought the house that the roof would need to be replaced in five-ish years.  We decided that since we are already working on chimney and foundation repairs, we might as well replace the roof while we are at it.  We are going with dark gray shingles to better suit another project – painting the exterior!

Painting the Exterior Siding 

Our exterior siding is currently blue with black shutters and a white garage.  We’ve always wanted to paint the entire exterior navy and then replace the black shutters with white ones.  I’m currently researching paint colors and Hale Navy seems to be a favorite among many.

Painting the Family Room and Guest Room

Because of the interior water damage, we have to replace some of the drywall and ceiling and will need to repaint both of the family room and upstairs guest room.  Our family room is currently a grayish blue and the guest room is beige.  Because the family room has no windows and only sliding doors to the deck, I’m switching the paint color to bright white to try and brighten it up.  Our guest room isn’t really a guest room right now – it’s more of a hodgepodge of random items.  But eventually, Lilly will probably move in there so my plan is to paint it white for now and then later we can add some color above the chair rail. 

Landscaping

We have a large deck right off the back of the house and one of the previous owners planted some very lush gardens.  Unfortunately, the gardens are extremely hard to maintain and four years in this house has still not resulted in getting them cleaned up.  This year though we are committing ourselves to clearing out the gardens – literally everything and just mulching them.  Next year we will plant native, low maintenance plants to spruce things up. 

These are the main projects, but we are also hoping to replace our front door and purchase a comfy reading chair for our living room.  Plus, we want to finish the playroom by purchasing some fun artwork.  

Phew.  I feel tired just typing all of this out.  Although these aren’t glamorous projects, they will increase the value of the home and we won’t have to deal with any more water issues! Stay tuned for updates along the way!

Slainte,

Shannon

STYLE: THE 9-5 EDIT, PATTERN DRESSES

If you look at my dress collection, it’s full of prints and patterns. As much as I love my stripes, I also LOVE preppy, bold prints. I used to shy away from wearing bold prints to work – I didn’t want to look too flashy or stand out, I thought I needed to dress conservative and professional, etc. But as I’ve grown more comfortable and confident with my style, I realize that it’s okay to dress bright.

With several years of working in the professional world under my belt, I’ve learned that wearing clothes that make me feel confident and put together are the keys to my success. It shouldn’t matter what we wear to work, but in all honesty (and from experience) what you wear to work does matter. I’m much more productive and confident when I’m wearing an outfit that is perfectly styled and comfortable. Whether that is a bright dress, tailored pants, or a pretty blouse, the key is making sure YOU feel good.

One of my favorite work appropriate brands is Jude Connally. I love the ease and effortlessness of their dresses. They are stretchy enough to ensure a great fit, no matter what your body type. The fabric is wrinkle-free, soft, easy care, and the cuts are so flattering – they are perfect for work, date night, church, running around the house – you name it! Plus the patterns are just so darn happy and fun and they don’t fade over time.

Wearing a patterned dress to work doesn’t mean you aren’t professional, and you can easily style it to make it professional. Below are a few tips for dressing boldly and wearing a patterned dress in your work environment.

Keep your accessories minimal. 

Because your dress is already full of life, you don’t need a ton of flashy jewels. Keep it simple. When I wear bright dresses I opt for two simple and classic bracelets and usually pearls or low maintenance earrings. Simple is better. Also, make sure your handbag is a solid color – you don’t want clashing prints.

Opt for neutral colored shoes.

Whether you choose pumps, flats, or wedges, keep your shoes neutral.  It will keep things classy and minimize noise.  If I’m wearing a bright pattern, I tend to opt for nude wedges, classic ballet flats, or my Jack Roger sandals. 

Add a blazer or cardigan.

If you work in a more conservative, professional environment, add a solid color classic blazer or open front cardigan for a chic update to your look.  I love to wear my sweater blazer from J.Crew over my dresses (see how I styled mine here and here). 

Fit is important.

Make sure the dress you choose is flattering. In other words, dress for your body type. You want to choose a dress that won’t result in awkward tugging or pulling. You 100% want to feel comfortable in the fit. I love dresses that are A-line or form fitting. Because I’m so petite, these classic styles work better for my body type and don’t swallow me up.

The single most important part of dressing bold is making sure you look and feel put together. There is power in confidence and confidence is the key to your success, whatever that may look like.

I’m including a few other styles of Jude Connally dresses that I love below.

Megan Dress in Sail Geo | Ella Dress in Cheetah Classic | Kristen Dress in Sail Geo | Laney Dress in Tonal Stripe | Holly Dress in Chain Link 

Slainte,

Shannon

Thank you to Jude Connally for sponsoring this post.  The item was gifted but all opinions are my own.

STYLE: CURATING A SUMMER WARDROBE COLLECTION

Summer.  My favorite season.  Full of long, slow days spent at the pool, fresh vegetables from the Farmer’s Market, refreshing white wine, easy-breezy dresses, and a general sense of warmth and happiness.  I love summer.  But I also love my summer wardrobe.  

I’ve spent the last couple of years curating a summer wardrobe that is timeless and classic.  I rarely need to buy summer clothes because the items I choose are good quality and never go out of style.  (Don’t get me wrong though, I still shop for summer clothes every year because I love shopping). 

My motto for summer dressing is easy and effortless. The goal is to look and feel great while being able to run and play. The last thing I want while strolling through the local Farmer’s Market or chasing Lilly at a park are clothes that are clingy, uncomfortable, and hot. I always opt for pieces that are basic and classic, because really, who wants to be fussing with their clothing when it’s 90 degrees out?!

Flowy dresses, denim shorts, boyfriend tees, sleeveless button ups, and boat shoes (or Jack Roger sandals) are just a few of my favorite things to wear in the summer. I’m a huge sucker for J.Crew Factory when shopping for these basics, but I also enjoy shopping for summer pieces at Banana Republic, Loft, Target, and local boutiques. My summer wardrobe is definitely casual, but if we are going on date night or I’m getting dressed for work, I throw in some fun accessories or espadrille wedges to dressen up the look.

Below are basic pieces that are must haves in my summer wardrobe. 

Denim Shorts: I love my high-waisted denim shorts.  I have them in blue and white denim and they are just the perfect short every day summer living. 

Sleeveless Button Up: A perfectly flowy sleeveless button up is chic and stylish while keeping you cool. It can instantly dressen up any look.

Boyfriend Tees:  I probably have way too many of these, but honestly a boyfriend tee in a solid color or in stripes is so versatile, easy, and perfect paired with denim shorts, chinos, or linen pants.

T-shirt Dress: My favorite go-to outfit for summer.  Easy, classic, and the perfect ensemble for hanging around the house, drinks on the patio, or even adding a chunky necklace to make it work appropriate. 

Linen Pants: Everyone should own linen pants. I love to wear these to work during the summer and pair them with a striped tee or sleeveless button up. I have them in pink, navy, and khaki!

Jack Roger’s Sandals: My favorite sandals.  They are the perfect amount of dressy and casual and look great with everything from dresses to shorts to linen pants. 

Boat Shoes: Any All-American lady needs a pair of boat shoes.  They are comfy, easy to slip on, and look so cute with denim shorts and a striped tee. 

I also love chino shorts, a good maxi dress, a rattan bag, sunnies, and my Kiel James Patrick nautical bracelets.  For more classic styles, check out two of my favorite bloggers and their summer picks: Sarah (Cozy Little Joy) and Stephanie’s (Linens & Littles)

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 

OHIO SPIRIT WEEK

The past couple of weeks have certainly forced me to break out my creativity when coming up with activities for L.  So far we have tried sensory bins, stickers, baking, gardening, legos, and cleaning!  We surely have been doing our best to stay home to help protect those on the front lines. 

This week the Ohio Governor’s Office is hosting Virtual Ohio Spirit Week!  Our family are proud Ohioians and we will happily be supporting Governor Mike Dewine and his team and participating in some fun, engaging activities with L.    

If you want to participate with us this week, below are the different themes for each day!  Remember, we are all in this together and it’s important we continue to stay home to keep others safe! 

MONDAY: PAJAMA DAY

Stay in your pajamas all day! I have been continuing to get dressed each day, so this will be a fun activity for me!

TUESDAY: GARDEN DAY

Get outside and plant your gardens, or in our case, we will be doing yard work! 

WEDNESDAY: SALUTE YOUR HERO

We are forever grateful for those who are on the front lines fighting this virus.  Thank you to all of the doctors, nurses, truck drivers, firefighters, teachers, refuse drivers, city workers, grocery store workers, and everyone else who is considered essential!

THURSDAY: SPIRIT DAY

Show your love for your favorite sports team!  We will be showing our love for our Ohio teams.  We are a Buckeyes, Indians, and Redhwaks through and through. 

FRIDAY: PIZZA DAY

Order pizza in or make your own! We will be making our own version of pepperoni and bacon pizza – our favorite!

Thanks for joining us!  Stay safe and well. 

Slainte,

Shannon

MOTHERHOOD: CREATIVE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

FULL DISCLOSURE: Please no judging if you are a professional in the kitchen, as I do not consider myself to be a baker or chef.   This activity was meant to be fun and it turned out with some pretty edible cookies, so win-win! 

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that L and I whipped up some chocolate chip cookies today.  I sadly was out of brown sugar and chocolate chips, so I had to improvise.  I did google “how to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch” so I could have a basis of measurements.  Beyond that, I pretty much made up the below recipe!  They are hubby approved so I thought I’d share.  I’ve included a few notes based on what I did and what you probably should do instead.  

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups of all-purpose white flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt 

1 ½ sticks of butter (I would use 2 though)

1 cup of stevia and white sugar (I ran out of stevia, so I topped it off with sugar.  You may want to up this to 1 ½ cups, I just try to limit my sugar intake)

2 tsp vanilla extract (I forgot to add this in mine – oops!) 

2 large eggs

Two full hershey bars chopped (or chocolate chips if you have them)

Two handfuls of pecans (this I made up as I went)

Sea Salt 

Note: My girl Claire from Home with the Wileys gave me a great tip – if you don’t have brown sugar you can substitute it with maple syrup and sugar. 

Instructions:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and butter and mix well.  Add in the vanilla and eggs and mix.  
  3. Add the flour, baking soda and salt to the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix well until dough forms.
  4. Add in chocolate and pecans and mix.
  5. Use an ice-cream scoop to scoop dough onto a cookie sheet.
  6. Add sea salt to the top of each cookie.
  7. Bake 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I combined everything at once and mixed it well and they turned out just fine! Also, these cookies are pretty dense, so if you prefer thinner chocolate chip cookies these are not your jam.

Enjoy!

Slainte,

Shannon  

STYLE: THE BEST IN FASHION BOOKS

“What I believe in is the timelessness of an attitude, the timelessness of style.” – Ralph Lauren

For as long as I can remember, I’ve collected books about style icons.  I have books from Oleg Cassini, Kate Spade, and Nina Garcia, and books about Audrey Hepburn, Lilly Pulitzer and my personal favorite, Jackie Kennedy.   During my college years and time in fashion school, I devoured books about fashion, personal style, and style icons.  

I have always been drawn to and fascinated by the classics.  In my mid twenties I gave up shopping for fashion trends and instead began investing in classic pieces.  A great fitting pair of denim jeans (blue and white denim), classic striped tees, crisp button up shirts, timeless Lilly Pulitzer shift dresses, ballet flats, and pearl studs are now my go-to uniform.  

Below I’m sharing all of the books that have influenced my style in some way. For all of you still finding your style or for those who have found it and just love fashion icons, I hope this list provides some enjoyment and some much needed break from reality.

A Thousand Days of Magic by Oleg Cassini

Hands down my favorite book on Jacqueline Kennedy. Written by Oleg Cassini, the favorite designer during the Kennedy’s White House Years, this book chronicles over 300 outfits that Mrs. Kennedy wore during her time as First Lady. A MUST if you love the Kennedy era.

In Vogue by Angeletti Olivia

This is truly a fascinating look into the world’s most influential fashion magazine.  In Vogue is one of the most interesting publications I’ve read on the subjects of culture, art, fashion, photography, and media.  Plus, it has some of the most gorgeous images of fashion photography I’ve ever seen. 

Style by Kate Spade 

Another favorite, this book explores the people and experiences that influenced Kate Spade.  It talks about how style comes with age and opening up one’s self to difference experiences, cultures, and ideas.  But most importantly, style comes from your own self-confidence.  

The Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia

This fun, easy book outlines Nina Garcia’s (previous judge on Project Runway) rules of style.  It comes with some really cute fashion illustrations, which is probably why it’s L’s favorite book to flip through. 

Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit by Sean Hepburn Ferrer

I think I have four books on Audrey Hepburn, but this one is my favorite.  Compiled by her son, this book contains hundreds of images straight from the family’s picture albums.  It’s a unique history that celebrates this much loved fashion icon and remarkable woman. 

The Fashion File by Janie Bryant

Calling all Mad Men lovers, this book is for you!  The author is the costume designer behind the show Mad Men.  This book provides a peek into the design process Janie Bryant used to create each character’s look.  It also provides tips for the everyday woman on how to cultivate their own personal style. Definitely a fun book to add to your collection. 

Lilly by Kathryn Livingston

Perhaps my favorite biography to date, this book tells the true story of fashion icon Lilly Pulizter.  You will get a full dose of Palm Beach society, scandal, and the beginnings of a fashion empire. If you love this iconic brand and are fascinated by privileged American society, this is a book for you! 

Fashion: The Twentieth Century by Francois Baudot

My sister gifted me this book while I was in college and actively exploring my style and love of fashion.  It’s still one of my favorite historical references for fashion. Spanning the 20th Century, this book showcases the most famous fashion designers of the century and details all the silhouettes and styles that defined a specific decade.  Definitely a must if you love fashion history! 

On my radar:

Classic Style by Kate Schelter 

Ralph Lauren: In His Own Fashion by Alan Flusser 

All of these books have brought me great joy over the years.  I hope one of these sparks some interest for you and brings you a little joy too.

Slainte,

Shannon

STYLE: FAVORITE PLACES TO SHOP FOR TODDLER CLOTHING

As soon as we found out we were pregnant with a baby girl, I knew I would have a problem with shopping for clothes for her. Although I’ve had my moments, I’ve actually done pretty well splurging on items for special occasions and keeping it realistic for everyday clothes. Because let’s be real, kids grow SO FAST. Also, the wear and tear on their clothes is pretty intense and I would rather get the best bang for our buck on her everyday wear.

But, I do LOVE buying her special occasion clothes and I have found some top notch children boutiques. Almost all of these boutiques are small businesses and I’m more than happy to support them. And in all honesty, the quality of the clothing for these specialty boutiques is fantastic. If you are looking for well-made, high quality craftsmanship for your littles, specialty boutiques are the way to go.

I’ve broken down my favorite places to shop based on special occasions (birthdays, baptism, holidays, etc.), everyday wear, and local.  

SPECIAL OCCASION 

Lilly Pulitzer 

Bella Bliss (based in Kentucky)

The Bella Bean (based in Columbus, OH!)

Shrimp & Grits

Coming Soon: Shop Maddie and Connor (This shop opens later this spring, but follow them on Instagram for some teasers!)

EVERYDAY STYLES 

Baby Gap

Old Navy

Cat & Jack for Target

LOCAL BOUTIQUES

Kids Klotheslines

Bowinkles

Hopefully this list is helpful! I love sharing where I find the cutest baby and toddler styles.  If you know a great place to shop for toddler clothing that I haven’t listed, please feel free to comment and provide a link!

Slainte,

Shannon