There are few things I love more than twinning with my Lilly. I’m such a sucker for matching or coordinating dresses. I love matching styles that are classic and stylish and appropriate for both our… More
I feel a renewed sense of life and inspiration this week with the spring-like weather! I know it’s going to end (40s and snow forecasted next week, yuck!!), but L and I have enjoyed being outside as much as possible and it’s given us energy and joy that we haven’t felt in months. Even though we’ve been busy playing, I’ve rounded up some friday favorites and I’m sharing them below!
> If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I’ve been craving orange juice and lemonade throughout this pregnancy. Although I love both, they are both very high in sugar, and although I’m eating sugar occasionally with this pregnancy, I’m trying to cut refined sugars where I can. I recently became aware of an Ohio based sparkling tea company called Spritz Tea. The tea is bubbly but zero sugar, non-alcoholic, and only real ingredients. I’ve been trying them out all week and they are a great alternative to the juices and lemonade I’ve been craving. Check them out by clicking here and use the code TRYSPRITZ to receive 10% off your order!
P.s. these would pair deliciously with vodka or gin for a yummy summer cocktail!
> I’ve been shopping for some small sweet items to fill up Lilly’s Easter basket. Click here to see what I bought her!
> This week on the blog I shared my (very small) plans for growing a flower garden this summer. To celebrate this new project, I paired up with two fellow garden lovers to host a giveaway on our Instagrams! Head on over to my page to enter to win a gardening kit. Giveaway ends today!
> My latest home decor obsession is Home Again with the Fords. I’ve been following Leanne and Steve Ford for several years and I adore their style. They are back with a new show where they restore people’s childhood homes in Pittsburgh. Although their design style is not coastal, I love and appreciate their design decisions so much. They always make me remember and appreciate why I love design and art. And Leanne’s fashion choices remind me so much of my time in New York – I love! The show airs on HGTV.
> My friend Stephanie from Linen and Littles is sharing an incredibly brave post this week. Stephanie is living with MS and she often shares her journey on her blog and Instagram. This week in particular is MS Awareness Week and Stephanie shared a very powerful glimpse into what it’s been like living with MS, especially with two young toddlers. Click here for the read.
On the Blog Lately
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
- Cosmos Purity
- Cosmos Daydream
- 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.
- Whitney Caves Instagram and Blog
- Ashleigh Byrne Instagram and Blog
- Home with the Wileys Instagram and Blog
- Floret Farm Instagram
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!
Happy Friday! I have some fun Friday favorites for you all today. Today’s Solty Friday’s is a mix of style, what I’m watching, what I’m shopping for and more.
> If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m a brand ambassador for Sarah Flint shoes. This week the brand just launched the classiest and cutest ballet flats! I’m obsessed with the pink petal color! Shop them here, and don’t forget, you can receive $50 off your first pair of Sarah Flint shoes by using the code : SARAHFLINT-BASHANNONS.
> This entire week I’ve been binge watching Firefly Lane on Netflix. I read the book a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m equally enjoying the tv version. If you like drama, family, and stories about best friends, oh and 70s, 80s, and 90s fashion, then you’ll love this show.
> I haven’t been shopping for regular clothes because, well you know, pregnant. But I did go on the J.Crew Factory site this week and I now have about five things in my shopping car. So many cute spring styles. Shop my favorite looks here.
> If there is one item on my wish list for spring, it’s this gorgeous blue and white floral nap dress from Hill House. If you are a follower of fashion bloggers, you will know this dress is all the rage. Apparently it’s beautiful quality and fits perfectly. And rumor has it that it’s bump friendly. Definitely something I’m keeping my eye on the next few weeks.
> This week we noticed that our master bedroom vanity sink is leaking. Our vanity is actually an old wood dresser – cute in concept but the wood top is completely ruined from water over the years (it came with the house). We have to replace it so I’m currently shopping for double vanities and boy are they expensive! We are talking $1500-$3000 for a decent double vanity. Once we narrow down some options I’ll be sure to share.
> I picked out two different options of wallpaper for Lilly’s big girl room and an option for baby boy’s room. Luckily the nursery is already pretty neutral so swapping out the wallpaper and some artwork is the only thing I have to do. Here are links to the options I’m looking at: option 1 for L, option 2 for L, option for baby boy.
> If you love gardening or have an interest in wishing to become a gardener, then be sure to pop by my Instagram next week for something exciting!
This isn’t a typical post for me to write. Typically I keep my blog writing to classic style, home decor projects, and fun activities with L. But this topic has been heavy on my heart and I feel called to share my experience.
Navigating pregnancy can be challenging for any mama, but throw in a global pandemic and a cold, gray winter and you have a recipe for an exceptionally difficult transition! Any woman who is newly pregnant probably experiences numerous types of anxiety and uncertainty. Not only is your body changing, but your hormones are raging, you are exhausted, possibly nauseous, and on top of all that you are preparing to welcome a sweet new baby! It’s quite a whirlwind for nine months (and beyond – don’t forget the fourth trimester!).
I thought it would be easy being pregnant my second time around because I knew what to expect. What I didn’t experience in my first pregnancy that I experienced in the first trimester of this pregnancy were mental and emotional challenges. They say every pregnancy is different and that 100% holds true. I really struggled those first 12-14 weeks. Not only did I physically feel awful (nauseous, exhausted, so many food aversions), but I also felt mentally drained, uninspired, sad, grumpy, anxious, and just overall not myself. Some days were very challenging and it took everything in me just to make it to bedtime. I often would ask Rob if I would ever feel like myself again (spoiler alert: I do!).
I do believe that raging hormones, physical discomfort, and the stress of being in the middle of a global pandemic (plus the stress of trying to decide if and how I should get vaccinated) really took its toll. I’m so thankful everyday that I have such a supportive hubby and family.
I’m sure many other women experience these feelings at one time or another during their pregnancy. I had to dig deep within myself to find ways to fight through this difficult time. I’m hoping that by talking about the mental and emotional challenges that some women face during pregnancy and offering some ideas on how to cope will help other mamas feeling the same. Before I share the things that worked for me, I want to remind anyone experiencing emotional or mental pain, to please reach out to your doctor or a trusted source for help.
Below are three things I would try to do to center myself and find the joy in being pregnant.
- Yoga – Yoga is so healing for your mind, body, and soul. Whenever I need to re-center myself, I grab my yoga mat and just breathe. I subscribe to the Yoga with Adrienne App and she offers some great prenatal workouts that are safe for mama and baby.
- Communicate – Talk it out. I can’t stress this enough. I shared how I was feeling with Rob, my family, friends, my gynecologist – anyone who I felt safe talking to and it made a huge difference. I am so thankful for a strong support system that listened to me and provided guidance when I was feeling my lowest.
- Get Outside – Even though some days it was really hard to get outside, I would try and get some fresh air, even if it was walking to the mailbox and back. Fresh air can clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective and even if I only went outside for a few minutes, I always came back inside feeling a little more like myself.
I also recommend that pregnant women rest as much as possible, eat what tastes good, and drink lots of fluids. Being pregnant with a toddler and working part time is definitely not easy. I napped whenever Lilly napped and went to bed early every night. Getting enough sleep and rest during the first trimester really is so important.
I hope this post helps just one other mama-to-be who needs some extra love and encouragement. And always remember, you have a beautiful human growing inside of you and your body is amazing to be able to do that!
Back when I was pregnant with Lilly, I shared this blog post about my favorite maternity staples. It was warm weather season during my second and third trimesters with Lilly so I mostly wore dresses. The majority of this pregnancy is during the winter, so it’s been interesting to see how differently my style has been. These days the only types of clothes I feel like wearing are leggings, oversized sweaters, and dresses. It’s a little difficult to wear dresses in Ohio in January and February, especially when there is 16 inches of snow on the ground, but pants are just not comfortable for me right now!
In my blog post I wrote back in 2018, I focused on my favorite maternity staples. This blog post focuses on what styles I buy maternity and what styles I buy non-maternity.
Once I start showing, I switch to maternity pants. However, I’ve never loved maternity jeans. But I also can’t stand wearing my regular pants once that bump makes its appearance. I’ve tried so many different brands and this time around I finally settled on two pairs of treggings (leggings with pockets that look like jeans) from H&M. They are more comfortable than denim jeans and still appropriate to wear in public. I did find a great pair of white denim jeans on Amazon and so far they are fairly comfortable. My favorite places to buy maternity pants are Gap Maternity, Pink Blush Boutique (they have the best leggings), and H&M.
When I’m shopping for dresses, I usually buy a mix of maternity and non-maternity styles. For maternity styles, I love to shop at Pink Blush. They just fit so perfectly. If I’m looking for a looser fit, I typically shop my normal stores (J.Crew Factory, Gap, Old Navy, Amazon, small businesses) and just go up one size. Once I’m done being pregnant, I plan on getting the non-maternity styles taken in to fit my post baby body.
For t-shirts, I tend to go for fitted, maternity styles. I love to shop Target, Gap Maternity, and Old Navy. For flowy blouses and tops, I do a mix of maternity and non-maternity. Again, I just size up if I’m wearing non-maternity.
It feels like I’ve been living in lounge wear and pajamas. For these styles I do a mix of maternity and non-maternity. Things like sweatshirts and sweatpants, I just size up one size in non-maternity styles. But for items like nightgowns and pajama sets, I tend to purchase maternity. Many maternity styles can transition to nursing and that is a huge plus. I love to get my maternity nightgowns and pajama sets from Lake Pajamas or Pink Blush.
I’ve broken styles down into a list to better help you in your decision making and shopping.
Brands: Gap Maternity, H&M Maternity, Old Navy, Pink Blush, and Target
- Dress Pants
- Denim Jeans
- Fitted Dresses
- Fitted Tees
- Undergarments (bras and panties)
Brands: J.Crew Factory, Old Navy, Amazon, Target, Small Boutiques
- Oversized tunics
- Oversized blouses
Some other maternity brands to check out:
I know this isn’t a crazy detailed list, but hopefully it provides some general direction if you are pregnant and not sure what and where to buy.
We are feeling so much love and excitement this week! There has been so much joy during a time that can often feel dark, never ending, and isolating. So thank you, to all of you, for making us feel so special this week. Below are this week’s Solty Friday’s!
> This Valentine’s Day, you better believe we will be spending it watching the new show on Starz starring Sam Heughan called Men in Kilts. It’s going to be an epically hilarious adventure around Scotland and I cannot wait.
> I have a love-hate relationship with maternity clothing. The baby blue dress I posted on my IG today is a great non-maternity Amazon find that is perfect for a growing bump.
> We started teaching Lilly word recognition and have been using these flashcards. So far she’s loving this “game.”
> The new Endless Summer Notecard Collection from Jen Strandberg Studio is my new favorite way to stay organized and make to-do lists. Her coastal watercolors are beautiful on this new line of stationary. Be sure to check out her shop and get 15% off with code SHANNON15!
> I shared these adorable LOVE sweatshirts from my friend Meg’s Boutique, Meg & Marie. These sweatshirts are sooo comfy and so cute! There are three adult styles and two children styles to choose from, along with various color options. Definitely a must if you have a little! You can see how L and I styled ours here.
> Although we are beyond excited for baby boy, like every pregnancy, we have some new anxieties and fears. Lemon Stripes wrote an article about her fears around having a second baby and it 100% rang true for me. Read the blog post here.
> Like many, I’m obsessed with the Liberty Prints line from J.Crew (mini floral and paisley abstract prints). This headband was $15 this week so you better believe it’s now a part of my headband collection.
Recently on the Blog
Happy Valentine’s Day!
For those of you who follow me on social media and already know the news, thank you for your kind words and excitement! For those of you who follow me here, surprise! We are having another baby! Rob, Lilly, and I could not be more excited to welcome baby boy Solt in July!
First off, we are absolutely elated! I love hearing about other moms-to-be experiences during their pregnancies so I thought I would share a little bit about how things have been the past 16 weeks.
We opted to do the 10 week genetic testing with this baby, something we were adamantly opposed to when we were pregnant with Lilly. I don’t know why we decided to do it this time and why we were so much more open to it this time around, but we felt we wanted to make sure everything was okay with baby. We also wanted to find out the gender, which is how we know so early that baby is a boy! We were convinced the baby would be a girl. But about a week or two before we found out, I kept having this feeling that the baby would be a boy. And it turns it out, he is!
First Trimester Recap: I am not going to write about at length how challenging the first trimester was for me, but I do want to be real. I experienced a very tough couple of weeks. The biggest reason I took a step back from blogging and Instagram over the holidays was because I didn’t have the energy or creativity. Not only did I have extreme exhaustion (sleeping 8-10 hours a night, taking an hour nap in the morning, and a 2.5 hour nap in the afternoon almost every day I wasn’t working), but I also had pretty terrible morning sickness. I never actually was physically ill, but I was nauseated from the moment I woke up until after dinner every day. I’m incredibly thankful that I’ve been able to work from home during this time. That has been a lifesaver in allowing me to rest.
Mentally I also struggled. My mood swings have been so much more extreme with this pregnancy than with Lilly. I think the combination of winter, COVID, not being able to see people or really leave the house, and keeping it a secret for so long all contributed to these feelings of loneliness, grumpiness, and all around just not feeling myself.
Cravings and Aversions: I always find women’s cravings and food aversions so fascinating. For me, I’ve been craving all things citrus, pasta, and dairy. I cannot get enough oranges, red apples, mac and cheese, orange juice, pizza, and egg sandwiches. Early on the only thing that would help my nausea was Costco’s Kettle Cooked potato chips – so I ate a LOT of those. In terms of aversions, almost everything else was revolting to me haha. Poor Rob had a challenging time finding food for me to eat. I think the worst aversions have been the smell of coffee, alcohol, vegetables of any kind, and meat.
All that aside, I’m feeling 10x better. I’m slowly beginning to feel like my normal energized self again. I now have “bad moments” instead of bad days. I’m feeling excited and motivated to start on all the baby projects. I think most of all though, I’m grateful to be spending quality time with Lilly again. I think the hardest part of all of this has been the fact that I haven’t been able to give my all to my family. They’ve been wonderful through all this and incredibly supportive and I’m so grateful for my saint of a hubby and my sweet baby girl.
If you are thinking of getting pregnant or are a new mom-to-be or just loving talking pregnancy and babies, please feel free to reach out! I love to share experiences of motherhood and pregnancy.
And before I sign off, I want to give a huge THANK YOU to my friend Kelly from Photography by Kelly and Kelly for braving the cold winter weather to capture these beautiful photos of my family. Not only do they photograph portraits and family photos, but they also specialize in fine art photography. I personally adore their captures of Lake Erie and Marblehead Lighthouse! Much of their work can be purchased on their website, so be sure to check them out and follow them on social media (Facebook, Instagram)!
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a Solty Friday’s post, but I’m happy to say this popular series is back! There has been so much going on and so many things to share. Keep reading to find out all the things I’ve been loving lately.
> The new Endless Summer Notecard Collection from Jen Strandberg Studio is my new favorite way to stay organized and make to-do lists. Her coastal watercolors are beautiful on this new line of stationary. Be sure to check out her shop and get 15% off with code SHANNON15!
> I’m constantly thinking about the future flower garden I want to plant this summer and this book by Floret Farm has been so educational. Plus the images are just stunning.
> Rob gifted me these gorgeous earrings for Christmas, handmade by my friend Roula. I’ve been wearing them nonstop. They seriously go with everything and perfectly add an extra element of style to any outfit.
> Like everyone else who is confined to their homes this winter, we’ve been watching our fair share of movies and tv shows. Our favorite tv shows lately have been The Bachelor, Wanda Vision, Jersey Shore, the West Wing, and Bridgerton. We also watched the movie the Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix (Eddie Redmayne stars in it!) and it was amazing. We highly recommend it.
> I just finished up an amazingly hilarious, witty, and overall feel good book called Clanlands. It’s based off of the Starz TV show Men in Kilts that airs on February 14, starring yours truly Sam Heughan, aka Jamie Fraser from Outlander. If you love Outlander, scotch, Scotland, history, ghost stories, and men in kilts, you will love this book.
> I have a giveaway with some amazing bloggers scheduled for 12:00 p.m. EST today! Be sure to follow along on Instagram for the details.
And I think that’s enough for this week! Thanks for reading and following along.
Winter in Ohio usually means lots of time indoors. And with COVID still running rampant, we have been spending an unusual amount of time indoors. I’m not going to lie that it’s been tricky keeping Lilly engaged and occupied. Some days we do great, finding creative ways to have fun, and other days it seems like all we want to do is lay on the couch and watch Moana.
In an effort to help other mamas who might need some new and fun creative activities, I’ve put together some ideas, as well as resources I use time and again when I need a new idea.
Indoor Toddler Activity Ideas
- Baking: We’ve been doing this a LOT lately, but Lilly loves it and it’s great for developing fine and gross motor skills.
- Playdough: Lilly likes me to make “pizza” with the playdough and then she has her puppets eat it. It turns into a game and she loves it.
- Set up an indoor picnic: We dump all of our play kitchen food on a blanket, get out all of the stuffed animals and have a big picnic.
- Painting (everything and anything!)
- Art easel: Lilly was gifted one for Christmas that has a dry erase board and a chalkboard. She loves it!
- Hide and Seek
- Build a fort with blankets and pillows
- Kinetic Sand (I could play with this for hours)
- Construction Paper: You can do soooo many arts and crafts with construction paper and glue. We just made mosaic paper hearts for Valentine’s Day and hung them on the window.
- Indoor gym class
- Alphabet games
- Board games
- Sensory bins: We made one for Lilly with rice. It’s messy, but she loves it.
- Drawing: We practice tracing our alphabet letters and numbers.
- Cleaning: Yes this might be self-serving, but Lilly has her own set of brooms and mops and she loves to help me sweep the floors.
- Doing the dishes: Again, maybe self-serving, but the girl loves to wash dishes and play in the sink.
- Clean their toys
- Meal Prep: Every day I have Lilly help me prep her lunch and dinner. Kids love to help in the kitchen.
There are so many different ways to keep your toddler engaged. Some days it may not seem like there is anything to do because a toddler’s attention span is about two minutes, but keep this list handy for days when the creativity is lacking and you’ll never run out of things to do. And if you need more ideas, check out the resources below!
Sweet and Simple Toddler Crafts: A great resource for incredibly fun arts and crafts!
Pinterest: Always a great resource. Just search “toddler crafts” or follow me for ideas!
Samantha Lynch CCC-SLP: My friend Sam is a Pediatric SLP and she shares amazing content on her Instagram for engaging your child and helping them with their speech and communication skills.
Busy Toddler: This Instagram page is amazing for toddler and kid inspired activities.
Michaels and Target also have fun craft kits that are really inexpensive.
I always find following and connecting with other mamas helps me find new ideas to try. If you have some ideas I didn’t list, please share them in the comments below!
STYLE: CREWNECK SWEATER, 3 WAYS
It’s getting to be that time of year where I think we all start to get tired of our winter clothes and we are itching to bring out our spring wardrobe. But alas, living in Ohio means we have at least two or three more months of winter weather (I really need to move south!). It’s usually around this time of year that I start to think of creative ways to mix up my winter staples.
Today I’m teaming up with my good friend Stephanie from Linen and Littles to share three fresh ways to style a staple crewneck sweater. Stephanie and I share a love for classic and timeless fashion and we both own many of the same pieces (especially from J.Crew Factory!). We both just recently purchased this beautiful, crewneck sweater in extra soft yarn in the J.Crew Factory After Christmas Sale. It’s seriously one of the softest and comfiest sweaters I own so I’m excited to be styling it three different ways for you guys!
SIMPLE WITH JEANS
The easiest and most comfortable way to style this sweater is with your favorite pair of denim jeans. I paired this easy combination with a gingham headband (adding a hint of spring!) and some white canvas sneakers. You can easily swap out the headband for a baseball hat and throw on a puffer vest for an incredibly classic and chic look that is perfect for mom’s on the go.
WINTER WHITES WITH A BRIGHT BUTTON DOWN
The second way I styled this sweater is with my white denim jeans (yes you can wear white denim in the winter!!) and my favorite blue gingham button down. I love the monochromatic look with a pop of color. The light blue and the gingham print also give this look a hint of spring (something I’m desperately pining for!). Throw on a pair of leopard or nude flats, some bracelets, and statement earrings and you have a fresh new look that works for just about occasion.
OVER A HOUSE DRESS
The house dress has made a comeback this past year and is growing in popularity. I have always loved dresses so I’m more than happy to see it’s stylish to wear a beautiful dress around the house. I picked up this midi classic striped dress from the J.Crew Factory sale and I’ve been trying to find a way to wear it in the middle of winter! Throwing the crewneck sweater over the dress and adding tights or leggings instantly makes this an easy, put together, and cozy look for working from home. Add some fun bracelets and a skinny leopard print headband and you are ready for a day of Zoom calls.
Hopefully you found some extra inspiration for styling a basic crewneck sweater with these ideas! And if you need more ideas, don’t forget to check out Stephanie’s blog to see the three ways she styled this sweater!