HOME: HOW I KEEP OUR HOUSE ORGANIZED WITH A TODDLER

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: 

Pottery Barn Beachcomber Handwoven Seagrass Large Tote 

Pottery Barn Havana Handwoven Seagrass Utility Basket (I have about 8 of these all over the house!).  It also comes in a lighter shade.

Pottery Barn Metallic Woven Wool Storage – we have one similar to this in pink and it’s my favorite basket! 

Target Decorative Toy Storage Basket – we have this in pink in Lilly’s room and I love it!  

Target Large Woven Storage Basket – we have four of these in white under L’s changing table.  They are perfect for storing diapers and blankets! 

Colonial Mills Boca Raton Basket – we love this for storing L’s stuffed animals! Amazing quality. 

Tidy Up Before You Leave a Room

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!

Slainte,

Shannon

HOME: FALL-ING FOR BLUE & WHITE

I love our home in the spring and summer.  The blue and white color scheme always feels so fresh and calming.  I love the peaceful vibe that the coastal details provide.  But, come fall and winter, I struggle big time with decorating.  I enjoy the cozy aesthetic that these two seasons bring, but sometimes I struggle to combine the darker and muted shades of fall and winter with my bright blue and white.  

When it comes to fall decor, I will spend hours studying Pinterest for ideas. I’ve tried so many times to decorate using the traditional orange, yellows, and reds that come with fall, but it just never looks right in our home. And the same goes for Christmas decor – the traditional red and green just don’t spark that joy for me.

So I’ve completely switched to fall decor that is blue and white (I’ll occasionally throw in a mini orange pumpkin, mostly for L).  This post is for anyone struggling to find a nice balance of mixing your vibe with seasonal decor, I’m providing some ideas that have worked for me.  Please remember, I am not an expert in interior design – I just enjoy decorating our home and making it aesthetically pleasing to my eye.  

Ideas for Blue and White Seasonal Fall Decor

Patterned Pumpkins: This year I made patterned blue and white pumpkins using a little Mod Podge and cocktail napkins and they turned out so cute! A fellow Instagrammer who I follow posted how to do this easy DIY project and you can find it here.

Colorful Pumpkins: Consider switching to ceramic pumpkins. Many retailers offer pumpkins in different colors and it’s a lot easier to find blue pumpkins than in year’s past. I’ve also seen green, pink, gold, purple – the options are endless!

Candles: Candles can easily transform your space into the cozy vibe that we associate with fall. I prefer to use tall, skinny candlesticks in varying heights. I have a few of these types of candlesticks in white, but purchasing some in gold or brass would be perfect for fall.

Colorful Plaid: As I learned in Scotland, plaid doesn’t have to be your traditional reds, dark greens, oranges, or browns.  Plaid comes in so many different color options.  Consider finding a plaid blanket with blue, gray, or even purple.  Like the candlesticks, it will add an extra element of cozy. 

Wheat Sheaves/Ornamental Grass: If you aren’t big on fall florals, wheat sheaves and ornamental grass or even a eucalyptus plant are a good alternative. Find some beautiful pottery or a vase in shades of blue, gray, and white and you are good to go.

A few other thoughts.  I actually think that seasonal decorations can be expensive and some years I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on pumpkins and gourds.  My mom always tells me to add a few new pieces to our collection each year and eventually we will have enough seasonal decor to fill the house.   We’ve been in our house for four years now and I have enough fall decor to decorate our living room and dining room (the two rooms we use the least haha!).  

Another idea – Target and Amazon offer bulk plastic pumpkins in white for super cheap. I bought a few bags of these and I love to throw them in a decorative bowl. This year I actually found some nautical rope pumpkins so I ordered two for our family room!

And finally, I like to decorate our bookshelves with blue and whtie pumpkins. But it can feel crowded, so I lay out all my pumpkins and take everything off the shelves and completely re-style them. Anything left over goes into a plastic tote and I’ll bring it back out for spring and summer. Having the pumpkins mixed in with the books adds an unexpected touch.

Now, if someone could help me decorate our fireplace that has a baby proof foam edge protector surrounding it, please send your ideas my way!!

Happy Fall! 

Slainte,

Shannon

HOME: HOUSE PROJECTS 2020 UPDATE

A few weeks ago I shared a list of house projects for this summer.  We are in full swing in getting these projects complete and that is such a good feeling.  We still have a very long way to go, but we are slowly checking the big projects off our list.  If you are interested, keep on reading to see what projects we have completed and what projects are still works in progress.  

COMPLETED PROJECTS

It feels good to check the not-so-glamorous projects off our list.  So far this summer we’ve been able to spruce up the landscaping, repair the chimney, and replace the roof – the top priorities on our list (and the most money sucking eeeeek).  Relaxing at night is much more enjoyable though knowing that the chimney isn’t going to fall over and the ceiling isn’t going to leak anymore.  

We chose pretty dark gray shingles for the roof and already it enhances the curb appeal so much. We think it will look so good against the (eventual) dark navy siding. Which leads me into our uncompleted list of projects.

WORKS IN PROGRESS

The two big projects we still have to complete are painting the exterior of the house and fixing the interior damage caused by the chimney.  I’m a little concerned about the interior damage getting complete because of, you know, COVID-19.  I’m just not comfortable having workers in our home while the pandemic is raging around the state, country, and world.  Eventually though the ceiling will get repaired and the walls painted and our family room and guest room will feel so clean and fresh. 

I’ve now added a few more interior projects to keep me busy (like I need any more projects in my life).  If you follow me on Instagram you will have listened to me chat about the playroom gallery wall I’m working on.  My goal with the playroom gallery wall is to find original artwork created by artists I admire and/or artists that have become friends.  So far I have five original pieces and I’m deciding on one more (blog post coming soon).

I also decided to finally start the gallery wall up the stairwell.  For YEARS I’ve talked about doing a gallery wall of family pictures going up the stairs (one of my favorite shows of all time is Brothers and Sisters and Sally Field’s character had the best gallery wall up her staircase.  Ever since then, I’ve wanted to do the same thing).  And I’ve finally decided to do it.  It’s definitely a challenging project – trying to style and organize multiple frames on an incline is not easy.  It’s like putting together a puzzle and it just takes time to make all the pieces fit.  Once it’s done, I think it’s going to really brighten up and make our entryway feel so warm and welcoming. 

I’m really looking forward to completing both those gallery walls.  Artwork brings me so much joy and helps make our house feel like a home. 

Thanks for following along on our home reno projects!

Slainte,

Shannon 

BRAND SPOTLIGHT: JAYE’S STUDIO

I love sharing my favorite brands, artists, and creatives with you, so I’ve decided to start a new series that spotlights all of these amazing companies and individuals!  And to kick-off this new series, I’m shining a spotlight on Jaye’s Studio, a New England based company with a passion for details.  

Founded in 1976, Jaye’s Studio is a somewhat newer brand to me, but I have quickly fallen in love with their products.  Their perfectly curated collection of classic, bright, and preppy products are totally my style.  They offer beautiful, high quality pieces for the home, as well as a pajama collection that has quickly become my new go-to for pajama sets.  I love this brand and their mission and I am sharing some of my favorite products below! 

Sea Life Sateen Capri Pajama Set 

You guys know how much I love my summer pajamas and this adorable sea life pajama set is the perfect addition to my collection.  I’m literally obsessed with the vibrant blue and white octopus print.  I love all the classic details, from the cap sleeves to the ruffle capri.  And, the capris have pockets, which are always such a win in my book.  The cotton sateen fabric is so cool, lightweight, soft and easy to move in – perfect for summer mornings, sipping coffee or chasing a toddler (or both!). 

Regency Anchor Tissue Box

It’s all in the details.  I spend a lot of time searching for home decor details that bring us joy and that make our house feel like a home.  I’ve actually been searching for a tissue box cover for years and this blue and gold one is literally perfect.  The colors match our decor splendidly and the anchor detail adds just the right amount of nautical flair that I love. 

Wish List

Below are some items that are on my wish list. 

Don’t Fret Blue Sateen Robe: This looks so cozy and perfect for easy, summer mornings or late summer evenings on the deck.  Plus, it’s blue and white so it instantly caught my eye. 

Elephants at Play Sateen Ruffled Summer PJ Set: This short set looks perfect for summer and it has the same cute ruffle hem that my capri set has – plus the pink and green elephant print is so timeless and preppy. 

Interlocking Key Square Cachepot: This cachepot is so cute.  I love the blue and white pattern.  This would be perfect for plants, flowers, kitchen utensils – you name it! It’s so versatile and would be a perfect addition to any home. 

Chang Mai Color Block Tray in Gold: A gorgeous bamboo tray, this would be perfect for displaying trinkets, holding amenities in a guest bathroom or hosting a cocktail hour.  It’s classic, timeless, and versatile.  

Ginger Jar Blue Napkin Ring: These are literally so cute! I guarantee these will be the talk of all of your dinner parties! 

Definitely do yourself a favor and check out this amazing family owned brand.  Use code SHANNON15 for 15% off your first order!

Slainte,

Shannon

HOME: BEST FLOWERS FOR SUMMER SHADE

I’ll preface this blog post by fully admitting I am not a gardener, florist, or one who even knows much about landscaping, flowers, and tending to your yard.  What I do know is what flowers thrive in our yard, and that is wisdom I can share!

Our backyard has two beautiful, gigantic oak and locust trees.  These trees frame the back of our house and are so tall and old that they provide a natural canopy of shade over our deck and backyard.  Although we appreciate these beauties, especially on hot days, I have struggled with finding flowers that will keep blooming all summer long. 

I have done a little bit of research, but really the variety of flowers I’m going to share are those that I have found through trial and error.  This June marks the fourth year in our house and every year I have at least one flower pot that doesn’t make it because the flowers I bought need sun and the poor pretties just weren’t happy.  

But I’m happy to share that I have found three varieties of flowers that love an area that is mostly shaded with some bouts of afternoon sun.  

Begonias

I’m actually listening to Scarlet Begonias by the Grateful Dead as I write this and it’s making me so happy. Two years ago I read that begonias like partial sun and shade so I tried planting them and they thrived in my garden boxes. I actually love begonias but they are really hard to find in Ohio. I was lucky to find some bright coral ones the past two years, but this year the begonias at the nursery didn’t look so great, so I sadly had to pass.

Begonias love morning sun and afternoon shade. They don’t do well with cold temperatures and can quickly die with a frost, but they do love hot climates. I highly recommend planting some of these tropical, bright florals if you have shaded summer beds because they sure do look pretty. (Side note: These are not pet friendly so I don’t recommend it if you have a pet that eats your foliage. I planted these in my window boxes in the past so Gryff couldn’t get them).

Petunias

Petunias are definitely a popular variety of flower here in Northwest Ohio. They are easy to care for, don’t need a ton of watering, and although it’s recommended they get full sun, my petunias always do really well. These are not typically what people recommend for shaded yards, but I’ve always had success with them. I always exclusively plant petunias in my front garden because it does get more sun, but they do surprisingly well in my backyard too. I think because we do get pockets of sun throughout the day, it’s enough to keep them happy.

Wave Pansies

These are a new addition to our flower boxes this year, so the verdict is still out. BUT I did do some research and pansies thrive in cooler climates and partial sun. Even on 90 degree days, the deck stays pretty cool because of the natural shade. We will see how they do come July and August when it gets hot in Ohio, but right now, these heart shaped beauties are loving life in their window box outside our kitchen. I bought purple and yellow ones and planted some hot pink petunias with them and to see these bright, happy colors through my kitchen window brings me so much joy. Also a fun fact, pansies are edible! You can use pansies as a garnish on salads or desserts.

I will say that almost every year I try to plant sunpatiens because I think they are so pretty and they always flourish in my mom’s yard.  But they sadly do not like my yard and the lack of sun.  Through my research I did find that black eyed susans, lily-of-the-valley, violets, and primroses love shaded areas, so if your yard lacks sun like mine, these varieties might be good to try. 

I do want to point out too that I think it’s important you try to grow plants and flowers that are native to your area.  Native plants are good for wildlife such as birds and butterflies.  They are lower maintenance, require less watering, and don’t need fertilizers and pesticides. They also filter storm water which is really important for keeping our waterways (like Lake Erie!) clean and free from pollutants and algae.  When we landscape next summer, I’m going to make sure that the plants we choose are native to Ohio – I’m already looking at blue vervain, columbine, and goldenrod.

Anyways, I hope my experience with planting flowers in partial sun/shade gives you some more variety to choose from if you have a shady yard like we do.

Happy planting!

Slainte,

Shannon

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 

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

HOME: PLAYROOM UPDATE

We learned long ago that home projects take time, money, and lots of patience.  One of the items we realized we need sooner than later in the playroom is an adult sized chair.  No joke, there is no furniture for an adult. I’ve been scouring the internet for some comfy and stylish chair options that won’t break the bank. Below are the pieces I’m currently eyeing.  

BEST ROCKING CHAIR

The DaVinci Adrian Swivel Glider in Cream is one I’m eyeing for style, color, and the simple fact that it has an ottoman.  This chair is very similar to the chair we have in the nursery and we love it. I want something that will be comfortable and practical.  This option would definitely be a good option for all the snuggles and reading. ($429.99)

BEST OPTION FOR EXTRA STORAGE

The Million Dollar Baby Classic Sadie Swivel Glider is another great rocking chair option that comes with an ottoman.  The ottoman top opens for extra storage, which is always a win in my book.  This option comes in three different colors and I think the white linen would match the aesthetic of the playroom the best. ($599.99)

MOST LUXURIOUS

The Newton Chaise Lounge from Birchlane is my dream chair.  I’m eyeing this one for the playroom and our living room.  This chair would be insanely comfortable and provide plenty of room for all the snuggles.  The color is also perfect. But it’s definitely the most expensive option and quite a bit more than we want to spend for the playroom. ($827.50)

BEST PRICE

This ivory feather filled chair from World Market is definitely the best deal.  And even though the color is ivory, the material appears to be pretty durable and able to sustain spills, crayons, and everything else that comes with a playroom.  Crafted of pine solid wood frame with polyester-nylon performance upholstery, feather filling and swivel base, this chair looks like it will be so cozy.  I’m happy with the reviews and price point on this one. We could potentially even purchase two of these which would be a win. ($279.99)

BEST IN PRICE AND STYLE

The Joey Armchair and Ottoman from Joss and Main is also a great option.  It’s priced extremely well, has exceptional reviews, and is very stylish.  It appears to be slightly oversized, so reading with L will be cozy and comfortable.  This is definitely high on the list as a possible contender. ($299.99) 

I might spend some more time looking, but these five chairs have so far been my favorites.  Leave me a comment below with your favorite or send me a few other suggestions if you know a great chair for a playroom! 

Slainte,

Shannon

HOME: KITCHEN REFRESH GIVEAWAY

One of my favorite aspects about blogging is being able to connect with and partner with other creatives.  This week I’m co-hosting a giveaway with some of my favorite ladies! 

This time of year always makes me crave some sprucing up of my home decor. So what better time to give some lucky followers a few new items to freshen up their kitchen! The winner of the giveaway will receive a cutting board and two towels from Homegirls Boutique, a blue plant art print from Hammer Kate Art, and a recipe journal from J.Sperling Paperie! Head to my Instagram for the rules on how to enter.

Homegirls Boutique: Based in Jacksonville, IL, Homegirls Boutique specializes in home accessories, women’s fashions, and good smelling things!

J. Sperling Paperie: The goal of J. Sperling Paperie is to collect moments and create heirlooms. Whether it’s collecting family favorite recipes, navigating the ups and downs of motherhood, or sharing the pages of a correspondence journal, J. Sperling Paperie has something for everyone that treasures timeless paper goods.

Kate Hammer Art: Kate Hammer Studio offers the most beautiful watercolor botanical and acrylic landscapes. Kate specializes in gorgeous paintings of fruit (lemon and peaches), herbs, landscapes, wildflowers, and plants. She also accepts custom orders.

Enjoy the giveaway and good luck! 

All photos courtesy of Kate Hammer Art Studio.

Sláinte,

Shannon

HOME: PLAYROOM UPDATE

Time for a playroom update! We are moving along with styling and organizing this space. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen we purchased some shelves and organizational bins for Lilly’s books and toys! We might add another set of these items to the other side of the window, but we are waiting a little while longer to see if that’s needed.

We gave Lilly a kid kitchen set for Christmas and she was also gifted a set of table and chairs. So far she is loving both items and we are having so much fun playing tea, making toast, and learning our food groups.

My next step in bringing this room altogether is to begin shopping for some artwork! As of now, I don’t have a “theme” for this room.  I just really want this space to be a collection of items that we love and that are inspiring. 

I’m taking my time looking for artwork that stops me in my tracks. One piece I did purchase months ago is a beautiful watercolor from Bittersweet Farms, a nonprofit I used to work for that serves adults with autism. Bittersweet Farms has an art therapy program and one of the artists painted this piece. I instantly fell in love with it and I finally had the time to hang it up.

I’m also eyeing this oversized alphabet print from Etsy. I just love how bright and colorful it is. I just look at it and feel inspired. I’m going to think about it a little while longer and if I still love it in a few days, it may be our next purchase!

Other than that, I’m still organizing, rearranging and making more room in this space so Lilly can learn, grow and imagine! 

I’ve linked all the items we’ve purchased so far below! 

Slâinte,

Shannon 

SHOP OUR PLAYROOM

KID KRAFT KITCHEN SET | WHITE SHELVES | DELTA TABLE & CHAIRS | PEHR STORAGE BINS (Similar)