12.13.2017

Wellness Wednesday || 4 Ways We Make Working Out A Priority

Before Harper came along, finding ways to workout wasn’t difficult…. We could sleep in on a Saturday morning and head out for a long hike… I could head to a spin class in the late afternoon when I got off early from work…. and TJ could head out right after dinner for an evening round of basketball at the gym. Like a lot of things, welcoming a little being, 100% reliant upon us, turned that way of doing things upside down. We needed to adapt if we were still going to make fitness a priority. Over the past two years we’ve modified, and then modified some more, the ways we make this happen…. and it doesn’t really matter if you’re married with kiddos, or single, these ways to make fitness a priority in your life are adaptable and pretty applicable to everyone….

1. Designate Time: We weren’t starting from scratch here, but we definitely needed to change the times we had before baby. The key to picking the right time to set you up for success is to determine when you’re at your best. Are you a morning person? Or do you excel in the night? Maybe you do best mid-morning? We’re both pretty good in the morning, so it was an issue of figuring out who would wake up the earliest. Since I do slightly better than TJ in the morning, I opted for the first workout slot. If you’re better in the evening (and have a family) chat with your SO and figure out the best timing for that to happen.

2. Invest In Good Gear: Such a key. Before Harper arrived we only needed the right clothing… but working out with a toddler requires some investing. A good running stroller is key for family runs (or solo runs with the little tike)…. a hiking backpack baby carrier is essential if you like hiking (we wouldn’t dare let little miss run wild on those hiking trails…. that’s just asking for a bad time…). Having a set of weights at home is great for those days when you have to be flexible with time, but still want to workout at home. And, of course, some quality clothing to keep you warm during the colder months. TJ was on the hunt for a good cold weather running vest, and loved a couple of the selections at Nordstrom. He ultimately decided on this bulk-free vest….and this dri-fit long sleeve top to layer underneath (perfect for breaking a sweat while chasing after an active toddler). We don’t use headphones when we run with little miss, but I always recommend having a good pair to motivate you during your runs…. and always bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.

3. Accountability Partner: There have been so many times since having Harper when I’ve been unmotivated to get moving, and the same with TJ. We’ve always found it so helpful to chat about those feelings. Usually one of us is able to motivated the other… whether it’s by suggesting some ways to switch things up… or by offering some encouraging words. We also track our steps daily, and share the count with each other (not in a competitive way, more in a “accomplishment” way….). For a while we were just using our iPhones, but realized it wasn’t accurate since we don’t have them on us 24/7. I got TJ this Fitbit and it’s been so much more accurate, and great reminder throughout the day to get moving. Our typical goal is around 10,000 steps a day. Nordstrom has a great selection… all with fashionable accessories.

We also love making healthy meals together too… which helps keep us both on track. TJ comes up with great healthy marinades, and I am able to figure out what healthy food choices to pair with the meal based on his concoctions. If your SO isn’t into working out or eating healthy, you can find an accountability partner in a friend or family member. It really helps!

4. Get Creative: This is probably the number one thing we’ve learned over the past two years…. in order to get our workouts in, sometimes we have to be creative. Saturday mornings at the park are an easy way to get in sprints (Harper loves running after us) and use the park equipment for strength training moves. Or, “kill two birds with one stone,” by running to breakfast and then running home. If those two options aren’t available, we work out in the house…. either creating our own HIIT workout or finding one on-line. And while we both love our tried and true go-to workouts, sometimes when we’re forced to think outside the box we get in the best workouts (and learn we have muscles we never knew about….).

For us, giving up our workouts wasn’t an option so those are the ways we got creative. Would love to know how you make working out a priority too!
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(Outfit Details || TJ’s Vest | TJ’s Top | TJ’s Joggers | TJ’s Sneakers | TJ’s Beanie | FitBit | My Pullover | My Crops | My Beanie | Stroller | Harper’s Sweatshirt | Similar Beanie)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 

12.12.2017

Double The Fuzzy Vests

When TJ + I arrived home on Sunday afternoon from our night away, we wanted to do something fun with Harper. So, while she napped, we brainstormed a few ideas. Some more elaborate than others… and eventually settled on the simplest one of all: grabbing her first hot coco + heading to the train station in the Orange Circle to watch the “choo choos” go by (they’re pretty frequent at this station). To see her face light up at the sight of the trains was seriously the best feeling…. and it reminded me that there really isn’t a greater feeling than seeing your child’s face light up in sheer joy… and that sometimes it’s in the small moments that it happens the most (I mean, she didn’t even smile like this at Disneyland…..).

Since the evenings get cooler (thankfully, because the days have been in the 80’s lately…. #WhereWasFall #WhereIsWinter….) we pulled out some cozy layering pieces to stay warm. I recently purchased this fuzzy fur vest for Harper, and she literally wouldn’t take it off … or let go of that hot coco either…. So I guess she was just living her #BestLife. I mean, “choo choos,” hot coco, + a comfy fuzzy vest… does life get much better for a two year old (annnnd, why was I in such a hurry to grow up??)….

All that to say, the holiday season is filled with those moments where her face just lights up. From the “iiights” (aka lights), music, and tree she’s in a constant state of excitement (with an occasional melt down thrown in there to remind us that she hasn’t gone too far….), so I can’t wait for Christmas morning (I’m still wondering if she’ll understand the concept yet, but I have hopes….). I purchased her a few items from this post, and plan on getting her a few cute pieces of clothing too, so I thought I would share with you a clothing gift guide, from Nordstrom (since it’s one of my favorite places to find adorable clothing items for her), for the little ones, just in case you’re looking to make that purchase for a little tike you know, or your own.

1. Shoes: I like to start here, since Harper is a shoe lover. A few great options include these rain boots (gender neutral, or gender specific depending on color), adorable leopard print mocs, pretty little glitter kicks, and these pom sneaks. For the little guys, these adidas kicks + these mid-top velcro kicks are super stylish options.

2. Dresses: Love tossing on a dress with some tights when Harper and I are heading out to something a little special… a few favorites include this plaid flutter sleeve dress (so cute for the holidays too) and this ruffle sleeve stripe sweatshirt dress.

3. Bottoms: For those days when it’s too cold for bare legs, I’m kinda loving this skirt/leggings combo…. and this tulle blush skirt is gorgeous for the holidays (or under the tree…). annnnd, can we just talk about these adorable velvet stirrup leggings?? For the little guys, I always love joggers + a good pair of slightly distressed dark wash jeans.

4. Tops: Cute tops are super easy to pair with jeggings on a rushed morning. I’m loving this cute little star top, and recently purchased Harper this metallic ruffle sleeve tunic.  A hooded thermal the boys is always a cute option, as is stripe henley.

5. Outerwear: My all time favorite is this faux fur jacket that Harper wore all throughout Park City, but I also recently bought her this motto jacket for Christmas. This nylon olive green bomber jacket is a great option for the little guys.

Hopefully between today’s post and last week’s you have your little one covered!
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(Outfit Details || Harper’s Vest | Harper’s Jeans | Harper’s Top | Harper’s Shoes | Harper’s Bow | My Vest | My Pullover | My Jeans | My Boots | My Sunglasses)


Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 

12.11.2017

Weekend Recap || Perfectly Imperfect

(The smoke + ash was so bad, the masks were necessary….)

TJ and I snuck away Saturday night, for a parent’s night away. We headed up to Santa Barbara, aware of the fires close to the area, but not aware of the heavy layer of smoke and ash that filled the sky.

And while the conditions were less than ideal (I feel terrible for all those impacted, and those who continue to be, by the fire’s destruction) we decided that we weren’t going to let it put a damper on our time together. Hey, we were childless, schedule-less, and in one of our favorite cities in Ca. So, we headed to the local library, grabbed some medical masks (they were graciously giving them out), and headed to the funk zone. We tasted wine, ate good food, napped, and then enjoyed some evening libations at one of our favorite spots, all while listening to piano music. It was a subtle reminder to me that life isn’t about everything being perfect (less than ideal weather conditions, many of our favorite spots closed down….), but it’s about surrounding yourself with people who fill your soul… those people who, no matter the situation, you can have a good time with…

So, as we head into the last two weeks of the holiday season, I want to hold onto that small reminder that life is more about who you spend it with, than what you spend it doing. It’s often in those imperfect moments that you end up having the most “perfect” time with those you love (if you allow it to happen). I hope you all have a great week friends! xx

(A new favorite rosé… so crisp….)

(Mix and matched my favorite casual pieces for an afternoon of wine tasting. Cami, Jacket(a lot of similar jackets here), Jeans, Mules (also loving all of these casual mules))

(Nightcaps at one of our favorite piano bar spots…. Belmond El Encanto)

(All black for a fun night out: booties, leggings (loving these leather legging options too), cami, blazer)

(Grabbed a quick brunch at Malibu Farm on the way home… we actually tasted our good….)
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Took the weekend off from working out, but looking forward to a few long runs this week, along with a spin date with TJ early Tuesday morning. I’ve also noticed such a difference in using heavier weights with my leg/booty workouts. I highly recommend it if you’re looking to really tone that area!

There have been so many cute new arrivals in stores lately, so I’ve added a few items to me Christmas list… and picked up a few pieces for a few events we have in the next few weeks. I think this blush cardigan is super cute, as is this wrap front sweater (such a cute basic), and lightweight white sweater (#obsessed). I recently purchased this super super super (it’s really soft, can you tell) fleece zip-up and since it’s so hot here in CA, I’ve been wearing it to lounge around the house (and it’s currently on sale!). These blush joggers + sweatshirt combo are on my list too, and how cute is this rose colored fuzzy sweater (perfect for someone who loves comfort!). I also think this swiss dot top is gorgeous for the holidays.

If you’re still looking for some cozy Christmas pajamas, I’m loving this plaid set, this super soft set that comes in several different cute prints (I featured it here), and this red + white thermal top + pants combo is adorable (and an amazing price point…).

Urban Outfitters also has some of the cutest cozy wear pieces… perfect as a gift, or for yourself. I recently received this oversized mock neck sweater (in the muave color), furry house slides, velvet pillow, and this super soft throw blanket (in the mauve color), as well as this high low sweater.

With the holiday indulgences in full swing, keeping up with my workouts has helped me feel balanced. I recently bought these camo leggings (and love them)…. as well as this rose colored pullover and this velour gray hoodie. Great options to take you from post-workout to regular life.

Annnd, lastly, I’m on the hunt for a new pair of jeans. I have my eye on this darker wash of a favorite pair I already own, high waisted + slightly distressed option, and this high waisted skinny option.

12.08.2017

Happy Hour With Shannon || Monthly Q&A

(Pants | Tank | Jacket)

Happy Friday friends…. we. made. it. Sharing the answers to the most frequently asked questions from the past month…. with a lot focusing on eating + working out. Always feel free to send along any questions via e-mail or comments.

TJ and I are heading out of town for a night…. just the two of us… just a tad bit excited. I hope you all have a good one!!
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1.   I am a mom to two girls, 5 and 3. I tend to mainly live in activewear. Seriously for almost a year now I have been debating whether to buy the sincerely Jules jogger. I saw you had them on in one of your posts the other week. I was hoping to get your honest opinion, are they worth the money? If so, what size were you wearing? I’m an avid runner and am roughly 5’4″, 110lbs.

The joggers are great! They’re a thicker material, so they are very appropriate for everyday life. That being said, you can also find cuter, less expensive options. My two current favorites are these joggers (which they brought back this season) and these (I’ve worn them several times this week!).

2. Do you use a daily sunscreen and/or a primer under your makeup? If so, which ones do you recommend? 

I use this SPF foundation and love it (I mix it with a heavier one as well). I don’t use a specific primer, but prep my fave with a serum…. and the foundation is creamy enough that it doesn’t look cake-y.

3. I have to say that I have just discovered your blog and love it! Our style is very much the same, fitness is a major part of my life, nutrition is something I care about, and I was a special education teacher for 12 years before deciding to stay home. I am 30 weeks pregnant, and looking forward to postpartum fashion…although also struggling to find options. What would you suggest? I was thinking lots of layering options (to breastfeed) and leggings. Mostly tees and cardigans.

Yes, I think you’re on the right track with leggings and cardigans and tees. I lived in these high waisted leggings post partum (still do actually) and this wrap is a great option if you’re planning on nursing… easy access! Some really great oversized, cute, and easy access tees include this button-up thermal (great for nursing) and v-neck (great for layering under cardigan!). If you’re looking for a great nursing bra, I loved this one!

4. I have a few winter weddings to attend and I’m not sure what to wear. Any ideas would be helpful. Preferably in the $150-$200 price range. 

I am loving velvet for winter… this burgundy dress is gorgeous, as is this navy one. I love this forest green lace option, and this lace burgundy dress is beautiful.

5. Where do you typically buy your bows/headbands for Harper? I’d love to get a few for my niece for Christmas! Thanks so much.

Most of the headbands and bows come from A Little Lady Shop. She makes the cutest bows!

6. I promise this is not a judgmental question, I’m actually inquiring because I’m working on getting healthier, but I love me some wine…. do you only drink on the weekends??

Hahaha! I get asked this question all the time, no offense taken! Yes though, I’d say 90% of the time I only drink on the weekends. I’ll have a glass or two of wine during the week if it’s for a special occassion though (lots of those during the holidays….). I wake up so early in the morning, and sometimes even a glass makes it a little difficult… I’ve found that’s what works best for my body!

7. I love the rug I always see in your instastories. Where is it from???

Thank you! It’s from Anthropologie.

8. I bought this cardigan in the red color and was wondering if you had any suggestions for ways to wear it for the holidays. We’re casual, and I am typically running after my son.

Love this cardigan, one of my favorites. I think it would look super cute with these velvet leggings (such a great texture for the holidays), studded booties (they are my recent obsession), and a black blouse. I always love layering some dainty gold pieces… this crescent necklace, bracelet (layered with these + these) would add the perfect touch.

9. I’ve been following you for quite sometimes and I am inspired by your commitment to take care of yourself. How do you make/find time? I have a 1 year old son and we don’t have any family in the area. I find it isolating. Any tips would be appreciated!

Thank you so much! I wake up at 5:30am every morning, and get my workout in before everyone wakes up. It’s definitely early, but if I don’t do it early in the morning I won’t get it done. I also use a lot of at home workout gear to get in my strength workouts (you can see my suggestions for a gym here… and I’ve recently added a heavier kettlebell).  Tone It Up has great workouts you can do at home, as long as you have the equipment I listed in the post above. I also have a jogging stroller, so if I don’t get my cardio in, I can take Harper along (pending she’ll actually sit long enough) for a quick run.

10. Do you ever use the tapered barrel with your t3 wand? I’m trying to decide if I want to get the trio or not…..

I used it a few times, but found that it made my hair a little too spiraly (I don’t even know if that’s a word…). I do use the other two regularly though.

11. I got both the boots you recommended from Black Friday (the OTK boots, and navy blue booties). Such good recs, I love them! What dresses do you wear with the OTK boots? Every dress I have either goes too far above them (no need to look like a hooker) or too long (where did my legs go??). I’m 5’3″ so any recommendations would be helpful. 

So glad you love them! For the OTK boots, my favorite dress to wear with them is this super comfortable long sleeve option (such a great price point… $17, and lots of color options). I also love this ruffle sleeve option.

12. I’m in a major struggle of getting my toddler twins to eat. I’d love some suggestions as to what you feed Harper!

Toddler eating struggles are real. Harper will love something one day (i.e. avocado) and the next not touch it…. That being said, I give her organic chicken nuggets (I discovered this brand and really like them), veggie burgers, quesadillas, peanut butter sandwiches, grilled cheese, lots of fruit (she loves fruit), eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, granola, peas carrots, asparagus (hit or miss here), salmon, shrimp, brown rice, lentils, turkey bacon, and cottage cheese. I am sure I am missing some things, but those are the main food items. Sometimes she eats everything, sometimes she doesn’t!

13. What are your travel tips for flying with a toddler? My husband and I are getting ready to take our 16 month old on a 3 hour flight and we’ll need all the advice we can get. 

I feel you on this one! I for sure recommend bringing “novel” toys and books… a lot of people recommended window stickers…. lots and lots of snacks (this is one of our go-to’s), a baby carrier for the airport (this is a lifesaver…. navigating the security and check-in line with a toddler who just wants to run is nuts. The carrier makes it so manageable). Crayons/coloring book…. oh, and don’t forget your iPad. Honestly, I brought all of the above. Window stickers kept her occupied for 10 minutes. Coloring 15 minutes. New book 15 minutes. So, after 40 minutes we still have 4 hours left. The snacks and the iPad (she watched Goldie + Bear) kept her occupied, and she ended up falling asleep for about an hour.

14. What do you do when you crave carbs badly and you’re all out of calories for the day?? 

That would suck! I actually don’t follow a strict calorie regime (read: I don’t overeat, and know around how many I consume a day…. but there is flexibility in that always), so I always give myself something small at the end of the night…. some perfect bar, a small bowl of popcorn…. and I always have a bedtime tea, which I think actually helps to curb cravings.

15. Do you sell any of your gifted clothing items? 

I actually don’t accept a lot of gifted items to feature on the blog… and when I do, it’s items I love and would wear regularly (and designate with a c/o). With that being said, since I love the items, I don’t sell them! I also have a sister, so when I clean out my closet, she goes through everything first and then I donate anything to a local thrift store.

16. Do you eat 3 meals a day or several small meals throughout the day? 

I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner… and typically two snacks in between. I also always have a little something for dessert. No need to deprive myself, anything in moderation!

17. Any tried and true skin care favorites?

I am a huge fan of TULA. My favorites are the exfoliating mask, illuminating serum, and the moisturizer (oh, and the eye cream). I also love OSEA malibu. Their body scrub + facial oil is so moisturizing especially during these dry winter temps.

18. What does TJ do for work? 

He’s in software sales.

19. What is your overall diet/exercise regimen? For example, do you try to eat minimally processed? And do you feel like you stick to it 90% of the time? As far as exercise goes, do you go for 5 times a week? And how do you pull it off with a toddler? 

My overall “diet” is to just eat clean, with proper portion control. I focus more on the ingredients in a product than I do the nutritional facts (not discounting their importance… just, if you eat something that has zero fat, but it’s loaded with ingredients you can’t pronounce… how “good” or “healthy” is that really?). I prefer my meat to be organic + grass fed… but, you know what, I can’t always find a restaurant that serves that and it’s ok. I’m not SO obsessed that I can’t enjoy life… I’ve always been a firm believer in balance and that’s part of it. As far as exercise goes, I try to do something daily. Some days are more intense than others, but I typically do active recovery days where I go on a 20 minute walk with Harper in the morning. During the week I wake up at 5:30am and get my workout in first thing (before Harper wakes up). On the weekends, TJ and I work out together, sometimes heading to a spin class as our weekly date.

20. I don’t have a Trader Joe’s BUT I do have a Sprouts + Whole Foods. Can you post about your must haves from there please? 

The items I’m going to list can be found at both stores:

Perfect Bars
Hilary Eats Well Veggie Burgers
Purely Elizabeth Granola
Healthade Kombucha
Primal Kitchen Salad Dressing
Vital Farms Eggs
Siggi’s Yogurt (Harper loves)
Butter Lettuce Cups
Brat Hans sausages (I think only Whole Foods)
Wild Friends and/or Justin’s Almond Butter/Peanut Butter
Boom Chick Popcorn
Appelgate Organics Bacon/Breakfast Sausage
EVAN’s Paleo English Muffins
Mi Rancho Organic Corn Tortillas (street taco size)
Explore Lentil Pasta

 

 

12.07.2017

Holiday Dressing || Sequins + Jeans

Yesterday I had lunch with two of my girlfriends, and our little ones, from grad school. It had been forever since the three of us had been together, so we had a lot of catching up to do (as much as you can with little ones running around). Amidst the updates, we had some laughs about the past… and our old Christmas parties we used to have. Ugly sweaters…. charades (there was booze involved….)…. a small apartment… you probably get the picture. And while I still wouldn’t mind a fun tipsy game of charades…. I’m not that upset that my holiday attire has changed over the years (although, a fun ugly Christmas sweater party is always a good laugh…)….

As I mentioned in this post, my holiday style remains fairly consistent, mainly because I like to feel comfortable + confident in what I am wearing. For a get together we had a little while ago, I couldn’t figure out what to wear. I tossed on velvet joggers (these were too long on me… but would be so cute for a taller person), a forest green velvet dress (decided it was too formal), and a gold, cropped sequin top (wanted to wear it with the joggers, so it was a no go). I tried to make all the pieces work, but just felt “off” in them. I decided to head to my denim drawer, and pulled out a favorite pair of jeans and dressed them up a bit with this gorgeous sequin top. I immediately felt comfortable. Tossed on a few favorite accessories (often times it’s a Gorjana piece) and headed out…

So, I guess you could say my number on rule for any occassion is that I have to feel both comfortable + confident in whatever I am wearing… because really, confidence is the best outfit you can wear…..
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(Outfit Details || Top (currently on sale, wearing XS, also comes in rose gold) | Jeans | Blazer | Bag c/o more Zac Zac Posen bags (currently 25% off, also comes in black) | Shoes (similar, these are from several years ago) | Necklace | Choker Necklace (on sale)).

 

12.06.2017

Wellness Wednesday || 4 Ways To Stay Positive

I like to call myself a realist… I see the glass “as is” as opposed to the “half empty/half full” comparison. TJ begs to differ…. but that’s likely because he is one of the most positive people I know. As in, almost everyone I meet asks me (and him), “How is he (you) so positive?” We’ve had so many different conversations about his perspective over the years, and whenever I’m in a negative loop he is always able to offer some piece of advice to help me see things more positively, or at least from a different perspective.

With the end of the year coming, it’s always a time where goals are evaluated, progress is analyzed, and performance decisions are made…. sometimes it’s a time when we look around and feel less than those around us…. someone has prettier holiday decorations…. or, they’re able to do more around the holidays than we can. So, I thought I’d have TJ share a few of the ways he’s able to maintain a positive perspective thorough almost anything (because, he’s actually quite the hypochondriac… we currently don’t allow WebMD in our family anymore….)…..

1.  Life Situations Are Temporary: We were talking about this tonight. I was upset about a few setbacks I was feeling and he mentioned to me that we all have slumps…. some are longer than others… but that they eventually end (maybe not exactly when we’d like them to, but they do). Sometimes they’re a few days, and other times they’re a couple of months… but if you can remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel (even if we can’t yet see it) it can give you a little more positivity.

2. Do Something Good For Yourself Every Morning: Part of having a positive outlook is feeling good. So, starting your day with a morning workout is a simple way to make you feel good about yourself… from the fact that you accomplished a task, to the natural release of endorphins. With the temperatures cooling in the morning, TJ has needed to scoop up some new activewear to stay warm on his morning runs. Nordstrom has a great selection of men’s activewear, and is always the first place he heads when looking for new items. He snagged this windbreaker, which is a great layering option as it works in both “warmer” winter temps and the chilly winter mornings…. and this tee is super soft and versatile enough to be worn with jeans and a jacket for an everyday look. The joggers are great for morning runs, our spin date workouts, and evening lounging… and he’s always beenNike fan for his running shoes (I tried to buy him a different brand and he wasn’t having it….)… and goes between this pair (featured) and this black pair. He’s also a huge fan of this hoodie. I’m thinking about getting him this running vest and the matching pants to the windbreaker jacket for Christmas. If the man in your life is in need of some new activewear, those are some great options.

3. Stay In Good Company: They say you become like the five people you spend the most time with….so choose wisely. It’s so true though. At work, you can choose to sit and have lunch with a bunch of complainers, or you can choose to sit with people who may acknowledge the challenges, but still have a positive energy. Energy is contagious. You don’t have to be all rosey eyed, but being able to be optimistic leads to a more positive outlook…. look for those people and surround yourself with them. Those people tend to be the most successful in life as well (just saying….)….

4. Fake It Until You Make: TJ loves to start his conference calls every Monday morning by saying “Monday, it’s the best day of the week!” Deep down does he really feel that way? Not really, but having a little laugh about the fact that Monday actually sucks lightens the mood…. and sometimes, just being able to laugh is the best way to stay positive. Also, ending the day by finding one thing that was good helps to recognize that while a day might not have been the best, there is (typically) always at least one good moment…..
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(Outfit Details || TJ’s Joggers  (3 other colors) | TJ’s Jacket (8 color options) | TJ’s Tee | TJ’s Shoes | Socks | TJ’s Sunglasses | My Jacket | My Tank | My Leggings | My Shoes | My Sunglasses)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 

12.05.2017

Christmas Jammies + A Gift Guide For The Kiddo In Your Life

The holidays have always been a special time. Yet when Harper arrived, there was something a little more magical about them (as cliché as that sounds, it’s so true). To see her face light up with excitement at the “iiiiights” (aka lights) around the house and neighborhoods….. her amazement at the tree (last year she kept trying to eat the flock… this year, she just likes hitting it….), and her excited dancing at the songs… she just makes it a little more special….

All that being said, finding the right gifts for her is something that I get so excited for. Since she can’t tell me what she wants yet (and, honestly, if she could I think it would probably be some pair of shoes….) it’s up to TJ and I to guess what will make her face light up. I look for a few things when I buy something for Harper. My main goal is that it is educational + fun at the same time…. something that promotes her imagination… and a toy that encourages development of skills (I sound like a really fun parent, right??). Nordstrom has a great selection for kiddos, in their Toy Shop, that meets all of those criteria, so naturally I always start there (last year’s guide here)…..

And, before I get into the guide, there is just something about special Christmas pajamas that makes the morning a little more special. Harper loves dancing around in her ornament pair… and watching the slippers bob up and down makes her giggle. A few other options that I love for the little ladies include this green + red onesie, two pack festive set (love the red + white pair!), and this pair with Christmas trees (big girl size). For the little guys, this fitted two piece red, white, and green pair is super cute, as is this snowman pair, and this fleece onesie… oh, and these reindeer slippers are adorable.

1. Plush Toys: I love getting Harper stuffed animals for a couple of reasons. One, they are a source of comfort for her when she is upset or going to bed. Two, she loves to pretend play with them. She tries to give them sips from her sippy cup, and feeds them her blueberries. A few of her favorites include knit ones from Cuddle + Kind (they give back with every purchase, and she loves this mermaid), JellyCat (they are seriously the softest). Her recent favorite is this little kitty, my parent’s bought her this little ostrich, and I am thinking about getting her this life size unicorn. My grandma also got her this deer last year and she still loves it (it’s one of her go-to’s when we’re in the car).

2. Puzzles: These hit both the educational and fine motor category. My favorite puzzles are from Melissa + Doug…. specifically this alphabet one (which has sound), vehicle puzzle, and this mix and match set. I’m also fond of this magnetic fish + match set for fine motor coordination. While this wood shape sorter isn’t a puzzle, it targets a lot of the same skills as a puzzle does.

3. Imaginative Play: One of my favorite things to see is Harper playing on her own and having conversations and laughing… it means her brain is creating stories and she’s able to imagine (an important step in development). That being said, she’s a sponge at watching everything we do…specifically cooking, eating, working out, shopping, and grooming. So, this kitchen is something my parents are looking at getting for her. She loves to vacuum, so this play one is a great gift option. I love this baking set, carpenter set, jungle play + train station (like that it’s elevated off the ground), vanity set, and this teepee play tent (Harper sits in hers and reads…. if she’s not hiding….).

4. Books: One of her favorites are the  “If I Were A….” book series, and this plush book on pet animals is a great option for young ones since the pages can’t be ripped!

5. Musical: Little miss has loved all things music since she was twerking to Michael Jackson at 9 months. All that to say, we quickly bought her a music set, and if your little one loves music too, check out all these options.

Hope this helps in finding the perfect gift for your little kiddo(s)!
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(Outfit Details || Harper’s Pajamas | Harper’s Slippers | My Pajamas | My Slippers | Beanie | Throw | Puzzle | Kitty Stuffed Animal)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 

12.04.2017

Weekend Recap || Lowered Expectations + Gifts Under $50

(Friday night cuddles…)

I learned early on in parenthood that in order to enjoy most of the pre-parenthood activities, I simply needed to lower my expectations. I don’t mean that in a negative way, just in a matter of fact, don’t set yourself up for disappointment, kind of way. With that mindset, most of what TJ and I enjoyed before we became parents, is still possible. Traveling (don’t expect to sleep in… or to really relax… consider it an adventure… and be prepared to get into some small arguments on the journey….), lunches with friends (catch up in between side conversations with your toddler explaining why she can’t eat the crayon….), and then, Disneyland……

We decided to take our perspective of “lowering our expectations” to Disneyland over the weekend. Yes, you read that right. We took an almost two year old, to Disneyland, on the weekend, in the middle of the holiday season. We mapped out some of what we wanted to do the night before, but went into knowing we weren’t going on any of the “adult” rides… and that it was mainly for Harper’s enjoyment. We didn’t count on going on any more than 3 rides (lines… toddler patience….), and decided we would take her to see events over rides…. parades, lighting ceremonies, dancers in the streets. We knew it wouldn’t be easy (someone graciously reminded us that California Adventure sells wine… and beer…and cocktails…. and most of those in line were parents…..), but we went for the “experience.” At the end of the day we were exhausted. Yet it was so worth it.

I think we have so many expectations as to how life “should” be…. and often life, or others, just don’t (or can’t) meet those expectations…. so we ultimately feel let down…. frustrated. And while it’s great (and important) to have standards (I mean, don’t lower what your standards are for unhealthy relationships, or situations of that nature….) we have to make sure they are realistic. Which is what I’ve come to learn, over the past couple years, with little miss. When my (and TJ’s) expectations are very reasonable I (we) set us all up for a good time. So, here’s to a week of setting very reasonable expectations! Have a good one friends! xx

(Prepping myself for the following day’s Disney adventures…. thermal joggers, cardigan, slippers)

(Call us brave (or outright crazy…) but we tackled Disney, on a Saturday, in December, with a toddler….)

(Annnnnd then, someone told us California Adventure sells wine, cocktails, and beer…… #DisneyWithAToddler)

(TJ probably carried Harper around the park for 75% if the day…. great arm workout… earned those beers….)

(Small World was her favorite….)

(My intention was to have a cute mommy + me pic with those minnie ears….. Harper refused to wear them… she did wear them for about .5 seconds….(pearl embellished jacket))

(She loved everything….)

(Just a pretty during the day as at night….)

(My favorite… along with the pickles… Disney treats….)

(Little miss’ too……)

(Friday’s chunky knit…. obsessed with wearing it backwards too….)

(Sunday’s comfy sweats + pullover for an afternoon of cookie baking….)
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Snuck in this HIIT workout before Disney… and it was a great way to pump myself up for the day (or make myself more tired….. haha). Then we made these cookies (healthy option) and these sugar cookies (which we’ve been making for the past 25 years, on Sunday afternoon. All about that balance.

I was looking for a few small gifts, and came across a lot of cute options, all under $50, that I thought I would share with you….. I love this plush throw blanket (which comes in so many gorgeous colors, and a great price!), and these cozy fleece lined socks look so  comfortable. I own this planner, and think it’s a great, cute, option for your super organized friends! We all have a candle lover in our life too and I’m a huge fan of this Capri Blue one (been using it for years). For the wine + libation lover in your life I think this “Rosé All Day” glass + Rosé coffee table book is a super cute option… and this cactus bottle opener…. and these monogrammed stemless champagne flutes (own and love). For the mom on the go, who wants to look stylish, this velvet fanny pack is seriously perfect. Oh, and this jewelry organizer, paired with these earrings is super cute. Shopbop has great gift option under $50 + under $100.

I am currently loving white mules… and this pair + this pair are on my radar…. and I also found an almost identical pair of dupes for these Chloë booties….. and these leopard heeled booties are the perfect subtle touch.

I am also eyeing this über soft pullover (looks like a teddy bear), and this swiss dot blouse would be beautiful for the holidays (and beyond… like a date night…). A few other items that are super cute include this ruffled back tee (I like the rust color), grommet detailed sweater, floral velvet bodysuit, and this gorgeous textured lace blouse.

 

12.01.2017

Gift Guide || The Woman In Your Life

I only do a few gift guides each season, but the ones I do mean a lot to me (the man’s guide here…. and little one coming next Tuesday….)… and the one for “The Woman In Your Life” is often one of my favorites… mainly because the women in my life mean so much to me…. whether it’s an old friend, my sister, mom, or grandma, they’ve all touched me in some way, and a gift is a small way for me to share with them that sentiment. Given that, I put a lot of thought into what I am going to gift them. I ask myself…. What are their interests? What’s something they’d never buy for themselves? What is something that would be sentimental for them?….

And then there’s you. I am sure you have people in your life asking you what you want for Christmas… so, I’m also sharing some items that I have on my list as well…. just in case you need a little inspo….

Happy gifting!

1. Cozy Pieces: My sister always comes to mind when I think about this category. I call her the “cozy queen.” That being said, I have some items that I’m thinking about wrapping up for her this season. These ugg slippers are my new favorites, and I know she’d love them too…. I also think this fuzzy sweater + shorts pajama set is the softest thing ever. She also mentioned wanting this cozy chunky knit blanket (I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t on my list…). This beanie is so soft, and paired with these mittens + scarf would make an adorable gift. Also, this fleece pullover is all sorts of comfortable.

2. The Entertainer: While my mom falls into most of the categories, I always find myself thinking about her with this one…. A the top of my list is always these gold rimmed wine glasses (pair with a bottle of wine)… or these gem coasters and marble cheese board are the perfect combo. This cook book is a favorite in our family, and I’ve heard amazing things about this For Love And Lemons one.

3. The Traveler: So, I love the idea of these champagne carry-on kit (um, yes please)… and it would be so adorable gifted in this gorgeous cosmetics bag. This leather duffle bag is great for the weekend travel warrior (so chic and a great price point!). This passport cover is super cute, and this jewelry case is beautiful. For a travel lover, you could also snag them an airline or hotel gift certificate (TJ and I always ask for these too)… or offer to watch a friend’s pet for the weekend (it’s free for you, but saves them at least $180… that’s what 3 nights costs to board our little pup).

4. The Fitness Buff: I’ve been wanting a fitbit, but was never too keen on wearing a black band on my arm. So, I love this pretty fitbit bangle (would totally rock one now!). If they’re a traveler, and like to get their workouts in while on the road, I recommend this fitness travel kit (such a cute idea!). These cross trainers are the cutest (love the feminine color scheme) and I also think this wrap top is a great option for the person in your life who loves a workout/brunch/errands trifecta. This seamless, one shoulder sports bra is perfect for the yoga lover (I haven’t tried this brand before, but it looks amazing….). Another great option is a series of classes to their favorite workout with this adorable water bottle.

5. The Jewelry Lover (or yourself….): I’d say 90% of the women I know love a beautiful piece of jewelry as a gift. The piece that I recommend, year after year, if my dainty initial necklace. I seriously love it so much and never take it off. I also just discovered that as our family grows we can add initials to it without having to buy a whole new necklace. TJ also gave me this initial ring, that I wear with my engagement + wedding bands. I have also owned my Michele watch for years and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an investment piece. They are feminine and so beautiful. I own this one, and am looking to add this two toned band to my wish-list. This was one of the first pieces of jewelry that TJ ever bought for me and I still wear it to this day. Some other less expensive pieces that I think would make a great gift include this bar necklace (I own it in gold), favorite crescent necklace (fully stocked), tassel earrings (featured above), and this crystal bracelet.

6. The Beauty Lover: Of course, I always recommend TULA products…. especially the exfoliating mask and the dual-phase skin reviving treatment pads (such a great gift….) and use code SHANNON for 20% off. I also love this vegan coconut oil body polish and these Bobbi Brown lipsticks are so creamy (color above it über beige). I also swear by this argan facial oil… makes the skin supple and glowing. All of Osea Malibu’s products are like a home spa…. everything from the luxurious feel of the products (not to mention they are 100% safe).

7. Looking For A Luxe Gift: Okay, so I’ve kept almost everything well under $100 at this point (with the exception of the jewelry section) and thought I’d share a few splurge worthy pieces in case you’re looking to add one to your list. If this handbag or this leather and suede one ended up under my tree I wouldn’t be upset…. or if these booties did I wouldn’t send them back. Love these white loafers (but, these are just as cute and under $100) and these sneakers are super comfortable.

11.30.2017

Rainy Day Booties

It rained on Monday. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. You see, that’s what happens in So. Cal when it rains. The news vans can be seen all over the streets, talks of mudslides (which, joking aside, are a very real problem…) and flooding abound, and headlines such as “The Biggest Storm Of The Year….” can be seen on every local news station. And while I’d call this rain “storm” more of a heavy mist to light drizzle, it still threw me for a loop. I wasn’t expecting it, and as I opened to door to head out for my morning run, needed to change plans at the last minute (such problems…..)….

All that to say, the rain in southern California is always welcome, we’re just not always prepared for it. News stations spend weeks preparing us for the event, and then by the time the storm makes it’s way down from Northern California it’s a light drizzle. Yet, when we do get hit, we get hit hard and the question prevails “What am I going to wear in this weather?” Lucky for me, I always hope for the rain and snag items that I know wont make me ask that question. Like rain boots. I even bought these Sorel boots for our time in Park City. TJ politely asked me where I would wear them at home. To which I answered, “I’m saving them for a rainy day.” He couldn’t help but laugh. In all honesty though, who likes wet and cold feet. Not me, love the rain, but love being warm at the same time….. This bootie pair is super comfortable, and I love the lace-up tie in the back. They look like regular booties,until you get up close and see that they’re made out of the rain boot fabric…. Perfect for those “is it really going to rain….” kinda days.

I styled them casually, but if you’re looking to dress them up a little, I recommend these faux leather (or velvet) leggings, a white tunic, and charcoal moto jacket… and just add some favorite gold accessories and you’re ready to go…..

Annnnnd, little miss wasn’t going to be in these photos, but she really wanted to join in, so I welcomed her (rare) willing participation!
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(Outfit Details || Leggings | Pullover | Vest | c/o Booties (come in several color options) other favorites are these | Beanie | Sunglasses | Harper’s Vest (the inside part of the jacket) | Harper’s Top | Harper’s Jeggings | Harper’s boots