05.26.2017

Everyday Elevated || My Loose Waves Hair Tutorial

After a few weeks of having this post scheduled, I was finally able to sit down and film a tutorial on how I achieve my everyday loose waves. I’ve included a Q&A of some of the questions I’ve been asked regarding my hair, as well as a video tutorial (reload the page if the video doesn’t show up immediately), and links to all the products I use. I can typically get through the routine in about 10-15 minutes, and have found that having good, quality products, really helps the entire process. I don’t wash my hair daily, in fact, I sometimes for 4-6 days before I give it a good wash. I find that my hair looks the best on days 2-3… something about having slightly dirty hair helps! I hope this tutorial helps you achieve the waves you want!

Also, I hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend. I’m currently putting together a post with my favorite items I own that are on sale over the weekend… hoping to get that out tomorrow or Sunday! Cheers friends! xx
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1. I’ve heard such great things about the T3 products. Are they worth the investment?
Yes, they are worth it. The hairdryer cuts down on drying time significantly (if you have thick hair, this is a lifesaver…) and doesn’t fry your hair like other dryers do. I’ve also noticed reduced styling times using their wand and hair straightener. Again, my hair is not getting fried while styling. Which is so important to having healthy hair.

2. Do you have extensions?
I don’t. I used to have them, but took them out about 4 months ago. I mainly did it because I was upset about my postpartum hair loss. Once I felt the loss subsiding, I took them out.

3. My hair dresser said my ends wont pull through like your’s. I’m bummed.
As much as I wanted my color to pull through on the first go around, it took several appointments, spaced out, to effectively, and safely, pull my color through (trust me, I wished it had gone faster). Another thing that really helped was that my hair stylist recommended using purple shampoo. I was skeptical at first, but it has helped to dramatically reduce any gold tones in my hair (which I can’t stand).   

4. Did you have any postpartum hair loss? My son is 18 months and I’m still trying to regrow my hairline! 
I pretty much thought I was going to go bald, my hair loss was so bad. I’d run my fingers through my hair and chunks would come out (and don’t even get me started on what happened when I washed it). I had visible bald spots at my hairline as well. I started to take vital proteins collagen peptides and it really helped to decrease the hair loss. I still use them daily. You’ll be able to see in the video where my hair loss was (I point it out….).

5. How do you deal with sweat? Like you, I like to work out a lot, but washing and re-blow drying every time is too much. Do you wet your hair down after a workout without shampooing? Any tips would be awesome!
I typically go anywhere from 4-6 days without washing my hair…. so, I deal with the sweat issue all the time. I typically try to let my hair dry as much as possible naturally, but sometimes I will have to put a blow dryer and round brush to it. Here is what I typically do: brush it out pre-shower, wrap my hair up in a bun and clip it, wrap it in a towel and shower. After the shower, I let my hair down and see what pieces need to be blown out. Then I add some dry shampoo (that one is my favorite) to the roots. Then I re-style it with my curling wand and straightening iron. I most definitely do not have time to wash and blow out my hair everyday.

See below for a full list of the products that I use (I explain them all in the video as well)….

1. T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Wand: I use the 1 inch barrel daily, and the 1.25-.75 wand when I want to change things up a bit. It has tourmaline and ceramic –ionic and far infrared technology which helps it to deliver a smooth and shiny finish without causing damage.

2. T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i Hair Dryer:  I originally owned this in the travel size and loved it…. the bigger version is excellent! It cuts down on drying time and uses negative ions to neutralize static, retain moisture, diffuse frizz and increase shine. Essentially, it doesn’t fry the hair. So. Important.

3. T3 Singlepass Compact Flatiron: This is the perfect size for travel and everyday use. I’ve never had issues with it damaging my hair. Here is the deal with it:
“T3 SinglePass Compact Flat Iron has a microchip brain that constantly measures and adjusts the temperature across the plates for even heat with no hot spots and no damage the entire time you’re styling. The result is a long-lasting, smooth and and shiny finish.”

4. Joico Purple Shampoo: I use this every time I wash my hair to cut out the gold tones. I use this conditioner.

5. 10 in 1 Leave In Product: It’s a miracle product! I use it before I comb out my hair.

6. Davines Oi Oil: Makes my hair so soft and silky.

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In collaboration with T3

05.25.2017

Quintessential Summer Uniform + 10 Fun Facts About Me

It’s hard to believe that the unofficial start of summer is rapidly approaching…. I feel like it was The New Year just yesterday (I think I’m getting old….). All that to say, I’m looking forward to the long weekend, a fun hike, relaxing by the pool, and bar-b-queuing with family and friends.  Pretty much my ideal way to spend three days off… and when I think of the perfect weekend, I also imagine an outfit much like today’s…. a casual top, cut-offs, wide brimmed hat, and comfortable slides. It’s quintessential “Don’t bother me, I’m sipping rosé.” In all honesty though, when I stumbled across this adorable top, I knew it would take me all throughout the warmer seasons (which is why I snagged it in the eyelet option as well…). Madewell has pretty much hit a home run with their newest items…. I’m loving everything from the classic designs to the soft pinks and eyelet options…. A few other favorites from their newest collection include this blush hoodie (which I wear all the time), little white dress, petal pink swing tank, coral sweater tank (so cute with cut-offs), and this embroidered stripe blouse.

And, since I’m in a fun state of mind, I thought I’d share 10 things about myself that not many people know (some fun, some silly, and a couple serious…):

1. I was originally a pre-law major in college. After one semester of political science classes, I realized that wasn’t for me and switched to psychology with an english minor.

2. I am deathly afraid of cockroaches (just writing it gives me chills) and sharks (I can feel my breathing getting  shallow, and my heart rate racing, when I go on those snorkeling excursions…I last about 10 minutes in the water).

3. I’m an introvert…. not shy…. an introvert. I prefer sitting on the couch, with a good book, over a night out with a bunch of people…. it took me a while to realize that, but now I choose how I spend my time wisely.

4. I could eat some form of Mexican food everyday. If I had it my way, I’d probably have tacos nightly.

5. I wasn’t always 100% sure I wanted to be a mom. Now, I couldn’t imagine my life without Harper.

6. I once bleached my entire head of hair, without telling my mom. She took it surprisingly well.

7. I hate watching the same movie multiple times (unlike TJ who has watched Titanic and Good Fellows at least 30 times each…..).

8. The worst hangover I’ve ever had was when TJ and I were in France… limoncello, champagne, nightcap bellinis…. and a face-time call to my mom…. again, she took it very well (neither of us have lived that one down).

9. I was more team Backstreet Boys than an N’Sync… and Ryder Strong was my celebrity crush.

10. On a slightly more serious note, by today’s standards, when I was in middle school and high school, I was bullied and it created a fear within me about being misperceived and judged. When I started this blog (11 years after graduating high school), part of it became therapeutic for me. Putting myself out there, and learning to not worry about what people think, has been good for me… so thanks for tagging along on the journey!
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(Outfit Details || Top (wearing XS) | Shorts | Slides (come in 4 colors) | Cardigan (similar) | Hat | Necklace | Sunglasses | Tote | Pom Poms)

05.24.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Protein Waffles + Some Favorite Workout Gear

Ever since I can remember, waffles have been a staple in my home. Growing up they were a weekend treat, topped with ice cream… always a brunch favorite… and I even requested my dad make them for my bridesmaids and me as we got ready on my wedding day. Obviously, I wanted this to be a tradition for Harper too. Yet, I found myself wanting this savory treat more than just on the weekends… so, I set out to make an everyday version that would be nutritious and keep me (and my family) full throughout the morning.

In my recent quest to intake more protein, I decided to incorporate it into my childhood favorite. I opted for the vanilla coconut flavor from Vital Proteins (you can read all about collagen peptides in this post, along with a few other recipes) as I’ve been loving the taste it adds to pancakes and my morning oatmeal. I then added in some flaxseed…. as I’ve become interested in their health benefits…. among them: improved digestion, balanced hormones, healthier hair and skin, reducing sugar cravings (me, me, me), and antioxidants… to name a few. With those two ingredients, I figured it was bound to be a winning creation…..

I threw in a few other ingredients, turned on the waffle maker, tossed on a few toppings, and gave them a taste. It was better than I expected. Yet, just to be certain it wasn’t my own bias, Harper concurred (she ate them before her blueberries + raspberries… which she never does….) and TJ pretty much begged for seconds. I guess they were a hit. I also made an extra batch for these photos, and was able to store them in the refrigerator and re-heat them in the morning for a quick breakfast… and they were just as good.

Vanilla Protein Waffles:
(makes 4 small waffles)

1/2 banana (mashed)
1 scoop vital proteins vanilla coconut collagen peptides powder
1 egg
1/8 cup oat flour
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
cinnamon
1 tsp almond milk if batter is too thick
Nutritional Facts (approximately): 267 calories | 32g protein | 12.5g fat | 7g sugar (all from banana) 

Directions:

Mash banana in a bowl, then combine with the egg. Next, mix in the remaining ingredients (except almond milk) until well combined. If batter is too thick add in a tsp of almond milk. Then pour into your heated waffle maker. I topped mine with drizzled peanut butter, honey, and some raspberries (which were not accounted for in the nutritional facts above). You can top with whatever you’d like!

And since I’ve been loving my workouts as of late, I’ve been investing in some great workout gear. Some of my recent favorites are below…..

(tank | leggings)

(tee (sized up one, small) | leggings)

(leggings | tank | carrier)

(sweatshirt | sneakers)

(legging/crop duo | wrap)

(leggings | vest | tote)

(crop (wearing size 2, could have worn a 4) | sports bra)

05.23.2017

The Dress || Versatile + Comfortable

I went through several dress options before I made the final choice for my sister’s bachelorette party. At first, I thought I wanted short and spicy. I played around with this little electric blue number, as well as this two piece set. I loved both, especially the colors, but struggled with the fact that I probably wouldn’t wear them much after the final fling. Then, I thought I’d go for a full blown maxi…. but it sold out before I could snag it (I hate when that happens….). So, I waited a week or so before beginning the search again. That weekend, I went to dinner with my girlfriend and she showed up wearing the prettiest little dress. I knew it would be perfect for the weekend. At first, she told me I should just borrow it… but I loved it too much that I had to have my own. It ended up being such a great choice for a warm evening out in Palm Springs…

This dress is pretty much my new favorite go-to. From the breezy fit, smocked top, and cute off the shoulder ruffles, I knew I would be able to wear it so many times post party. It’s casual enough for a day date and dressy enough for an evening of sunset cocktails. Toss it on with cute sandals and wear it to a shower…. or a low heel for a rehearsal dinner.  A straw hat and neutral slides makes for the perfect casual daytime look. For cooler evenings, a casual denim jacket is the perfect lightweight layer…..

Tiare Hawaii is a new favorite for dresses (and adorable rompers and tops) just like this one. A few other favorites from their line include this off the shoulder dress (I ultimately decided on the blue one, but it was a hard decision), adorable tassel romper (so cute), gorgeous printed blouse, and this pink floral off the shoulder maxi dress. Again, they’re fun options for a tropical vacation, shower, wedding, or just a casual day with the girls or signifiant other!
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(Outfit Details || Dress | Sandals (also wore it with these) | Earrings (and here) | Sunglasses | Tote | Pom Poms)

05.22.2017

Weekend Recap || My 27 Year Old Self Again

(Kicking off the bachelorette festivities with a little bubbly)

To say I’m tired from this festive weekend would be an understatement. It’s been a while since I was on the bachelorette scene, so going into the weekend I was immensely excited, but apprehensive…. would this momma be able to hang?? Late nights and rowdy games… conversations filled with silly innuendos… and mornings where you drag from the shenanigans from the evening before. And while I wouldn’t say that I could hang like my 27 year old self used to, I have to admit, I was pretty proud of my abilities….

And, while I sit here, incredibly tired, my pillow calling my name, I am reminded of the importance of letting loose once in a while. For me, it was a reminder that while I’m a mom in every day life, I’m also a gal with one heck of a fun streak…. that little part inside of me that is well contained during the week, but most definitely knows how to have a good time. We (I) likely imbibed slightly too much, had several raunchy innuendos, and laughed until my stomach hurt at certain points throughout the weekend. And yet, come Sunday morning, I cleaned up the rental, put on my momma shorts, and excitedly headed home to little miss…. with the lesson that it’s good to be dimensional… to be able to move in and out of roles… and enjoy the experience.

So, as we go into the week ahead, I do it welcoming the various hats I might have to wear… with almost 100% certainty that none will involve the role I had last weekend… to plan one heck of a bachelorette party for my little sister! Have a great week friends! xx

(Fun party favors…. pineapple cups, gold straws, cactus plates, cactus napkins)

(Dinner + Cocktails at Birba | Allison’s Dress)

(Saturday brunching at Eight4Nine)

(Poolside fun…. cover-up)

(Bare feet + a little fireside rosé to close out the weekend….)
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It was an indulgent weekend, there is no denying that… and it always feels good to hit the restart button Monday morning. Going to try to do Tone It Up’s live workout, and then thinking about making this smoothie bowl… or creating a new recipe for…. not sure yet!

It’s hard to believe that this coming weekend is Memorial Day…. lots of pool-time and outdoor adventures. If you’re planning on hanging out poolside, this white cover-up is too cute (my sister had it this weekend and I loved it!), as is this lace off the shoulder option…. and this lace up pink bathing suit is perfect. I’m also looking at these denim frayed slides and these black double strap slides. For an evening bbq, I’m loving this little embroidered top, embroidered bodysuit (obsessed), and this stripe off the shoulder romper (paired with a denim jacket and slides… so cute!). I also think this lace up hoodie would be a great option for dining al fresco at night, when the temps start to drop. Annnd, since it’s fun to get a little festive, I also like to pair a white top with some shorts and run red, white, and blue accessories. A few white tops that are perfect for the weekend include this flutter sleeve eyelet option, sleeveless lace top, and ruffle sleeve top…. all paired with these red (or blue) slides (which I own in white….).

A few other items that I am loving to elevate everyday dressing included this tiered sweater tank (especially in the light blue), eyelet tassel trim top (in the yellow color), pocket t-shirt dress in mauve, and this swing top in petal. I’m also loving the gingham print right now, especially this off the shoulder top (currently 40% off with code FLASH) and adorable dress.

Also, I was at Target yesterday and had to grab Harper these adorable shorts, eyelet dress, jumpsuit, tee, and tank… such great basics for this summer!

05.19.2017

Champagne Chatting || Q+A From The Past Month

Happy Friday friends! It’s finally the weekend! Sharing the answers to all the questions from the past few weeks… love communicating with you all, so always feel free to send them over!

We’re heading out to the dessert for my sister and soon to be brother in law’s bachelor/bachelorette weekend and I couldn’t be more excited! Hope everyone has a great weekend, see you Monday! xx
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  1. In one of your recent posts you mentioned you are trying to incorporate more protein right after working out. I’m trying to do the same. Do you have any favorite post-workout snacks? 

I have noticed such a difference since incorporating more protein. Since my goal is to be stronger + leaner (not skinny) I did a bunch of research and saw that the average woman should have around 15-23 grams of protein, post workout, to see the best results. That being said, I typically have breakfast right after my workout, so I can easily have some eggs, some bacon, a quinoa bowl, or protein pancakes to get in that that recommended amount. As far as snacks go, I love blending a banana with some almond milk, a little bit of almond butter, and either this protein powder (with collagen) or the OLLY protein shake mix (I also add ice). I also love RX bars (they have 12g of protein), a hard boiled egg, peanut butter (or any nut butter) on celery or a banana, turkey slices wrapped around some string cheese (I don’t eat a lot of dairy… but this is a great option), and cottage cheese (or yogurt) with some pistachios and blueberries is delish too. I hope that helps!

2. What types of hair products and curling iron do you use?

I was hoping to have a hair tutorial up today, but ran out of time! So, it’ll be up next week. In the meantime, I use this purple shampoo (to cut my gold tones), conditioner, leave in spray, oil, and this curling iron. I’ll chat more about each product next week.

3. What would you wear under an open-knit sweater like this one from Madewell? Do you have any other open-knit sweaters on the radar this season?

First of all, that sweater is so cute… and love all the colors. Secondly, under all my open knits I prefer to wear a lace bralette. Since most open knits aren’t super see through, the lace is a nice contrast. My favorites include this one (which I have in 3 colors) and this one. I wear them almost daily.

Open knits are one of my favorite pieces for the spring and summer months. I love sitting outside, on a warm evening with shorts and a comfy knit… with a glass of rosé in hand. That being said, the one I am wearing in the photo above is a favorite (I bought it last year, but it’s back in stock), I wear this one and this one all the time too. A couple other options include this gorgeous v-neck sweater (in my cart….), this longer sweater, as well as this grey option.

4. I am looking for recommendations on restaurants/things to do in San Francisco!  Also, any favorites/must visit wineries in Napa? 

As far as San Francisco goes, I don’t have a ton of recommendations. I do love the Pacific Heights area, particularly Chestnut street. It has a lot of cute restaurants that aren’t touristy at all (I have a girlfriend who lives in the area and I have visited her a few times). If you’re into fitness at all, a run/hike through Lands End will lend you some spectacular views of the Golden Gate bridge. 

I have a lot of favorite spots in the Napa region (#WineLoverHere). If you’re into champagne I recommend Chandon, Mumm, and Domain Carneros (the grounds at all places are gorgeous!). 

For wine tasting Gundlach Bundschu is a great spot to have an outdoor picnic…. as is V Sattui. Scribe winery is gorgeous as well… just make sure to make reservations several weeks in advance. They give you an amazing tasting experience. We like Peju and St. Suprey as well. Boon Fly cafe is a must for breakfast too! Their donut holes are amazing!! 

5. This might seem a little random, but I’m working on editing some of my wedding photos to send in my thank you and I am in LOVE with the way you edit your photos on Instagram. Would you mind sharing with me what you do?

I use a VSCO filter (it’s a photo editing app on the iPhone) and I use A6 90% of the time and S2 the other 10%…. I also sharpen, decrease shadows, and increase clarity in instagram. Hope that helps!

6. Do you have a pair of distressed, ripped denim shorts you love?? I’m 5’7 – 135lb. More of an athletic build I guess…. for a mom! I ordered a pair of rag and bone – cute but a tad too short. I want something cute ( can wear day to day but possibly also summer date nights?) but also practical while running around after my kids at the park?! Ha. Thx!

Distressed denim shorts are so hard to find, especially when you don’t want your bootay hanging out!… I have a few pairs that I really like. I wear these high waisted shorts almost on a daily basis… they are long enough to give me good coverage, have the perfect amount of distressing, and I personally love the high waisted feature. This pair (which I featured here) is a new favorite too… high waisted with a longer inseam.
I also saw these yesterday and I am considering purchasing them as well…. and I own these topshop high waisted distressed shorts too. Not sure how much distressing you’re looking for, but these have a fair amount (I sized up because when I bought the smaller size they were too tight around my thighs). I also have my eyes on these.
7. My husband and I are in the stages of hoping to add a little one to our family! I have been researching extensively (I’m on the verge of being over prepared) and realized that I needed to switch to safe face creams, etc.  However, when it comes to make up I am having a difficult time finding information on which makeup brands/products are safe for pregnancy.  Did you switch your make up products up when you were expecting Little Miss?  I’d love to know and any other pregnancy beauty products you loved!

It sounds like you are SO prepared for this pregnancy journey, that’s so great! As far as beauty routines go, I didn’t switch up my make-up routine. I do know though that Beauty Counter has some all natural beauty products, although I have never used them myself. I wish I could offer up more information regarding my pregnancy beauty routine, but other than switching to TULA (20% off with code shannon20) and Juice Beauty, my make-up remained the same. 

8. Your workout/healthy eating posts are so motivating and I know that in the past you have written about struggling with your baby weight (not that you would know by the look of you…..!!). I am newly pregnant, about 6 weeks, and I am already struggling with feeling bloated, my clothes are fitting snugger, and I have gained a few pounds already. Not comforting but I know it is what needs to happen. How did you manage your weight, diet and workouts while you during pregnant? During the first trimester, did you have any changes to your eating habits? Do you count calories or what is your philosophy on diet/eating? Any advice would help!! I am feeling so overwhelmed with this whole pregnancy thing!

Congratulations on your pregnancy! So exciting!
While I was pregnant, I really listened to my body. In the first trimester, I was really turned off by all fruits and vegetables…. and warm foods were what I craved. So, I ate a lot of soups (I have a favorite lentil soup that I pretty much ate all the time). I also consulted with my doctor and did research as to the right amount of calories my body needed in each trimester (in the first it doesn’t need any extra, second 150 extra a day, and in the third 300 a day) and was mindful to be sure that I ate enough. I didn’t find myself to be increasingly hungry when I was pregnant, so I tried to be mindful to get in my extra calories in healthy ways by adding healthy fats (nut butters and avocado), vegetables, and fruits… or some extra whole grains. My doctor told me I could work out as much as I wanted (but said no bike riding or skiing) as long as I could carry on a conversation. In the first trimester I was exhausted by 2pm everyday, so I made sure to get my workouts completed in the morning. I would jog, lift light weights (I recommend Tracey Anderson’s The Pregnancy Project) and ride the spin bike and elliptical. TJ and I hiked a lot too…. and I even did a few Orange Theory Fitness classes. It was all just being aware as to how much I was exerting myself. The general rule from my doctor was that  I needed to be able to carry on a conversation while I was working out. I worked out until the day I gave birth.
As far as eating now, I am not rigid about the calories I eat, but I do watch portion control. I am the type of person who will eat what is in front of me (my weakness) so I do measure out my foods… but I don’t sit there and add calories on a daily basis (I did before and it was crazy making). Instead I watch my portions and eat real, clean food. I don’t really eat anything processed so that always helps too. As far as indulging goes, I follow something like an 80/20 rule to balance it all out. I try to eat as clean as possible during the week (unless something comes up like a special occassion… because life is meant to be lived) and then on the weekends I allow for some fun indulgences…. maybe a savory breakfast out and some extra wine or a cocktail…. some Justin’s Peanut Butter cups…. things like that… and I often have a little something after dinner too… like a small piece of dark chocolate… not always, but if I crave it, I do. I’ve never cared to be skinny, I’ve always wanted to be toned… so that was my biggest postpartum struggle… getting toned again!

9. Would love suggestions for spring/summer dresses for weddings! 

So many gorgeous options out there for weddings this season. This floral wrap midi dress is so pretty, feminine blush lace dress (such a gorgeous shape), floral off the shoulder dress, smocked off the shoulder dress (in the red print),  beautiful pleated high low dress (the color!!), and this floral off the shoulder maxi dress.

10. Any tips for transitioning to cow’s milk? Our 1yr old is not loving it so far.

My pediatrician recommended that we slowly drop one formula (or breastmilk) feeding at a time for a few weeks. I found she took to cows milk well, so I moved a little quicker with that transition. I did find that she would spit the milk out in the beginning, so I warmed it up slightly (about 20 seconds) and we haven’t had a problem since then. The main issue for Harper was that she didn’t like cold milk. I hope that helps a little!

11. My husband and I are looking into going to Cabo for my 40th birthday in December. Where did you stay? Do you recommend it?

I did a full recap, which you can see here (if you’re interested), but we stayed at Cabo Azul in San Juan Cabo San Lucas (which is actually 40 minutes away from the downtown Cabo area). We actually really love the more mellow nature of this area, as it has the cutest old town area… delicious restaurants too. The hotel is such a great spot, and most of the rooms have full kitchens and are so spacious. 

12. My boyfriend and I (we’re 23) are planning a summer vacation to Southern California.  I have only been to LA and San Diego once, a few years back.  I was hoping you could provide us with some recommendations on where to go / how to plan our trip!  Ideally we would fly into L.A. for a few days and then drive either down to SD or up to Santa Barbara.  Would love to hit some wineries…

So excited for your trip this summer. It’s going to be so fun… and you can’t go wrong wherever you go.
If you’re looking to do some wine tasting, I highly recommend Santa Barbara…. and the wineries up in the Los Olivos/Santa Ynez region (that’s one of my favorite areas in all of CA). You have two options. You can stay in Santa Barbara and take Uber Wine up to the area for the day (I think it’s around $30 an hour), or you can stay at a hotel up in the area (reviews here, here, here).  If you choose to stay in Santa Barbara there are so many fun spots along State Street…. there is also a hotel called The Goodland which is in Goleta (and a quick Uber into town or the beach) and it’s super trendy and cute. Or, there are plenty of hotels in the Santa Barbara area.
If you’re flying into LA, it could be fun to stay a night or two in the area (so many different options, but West Hollywood is a super fun and trendy area…. home to some of my favorite spots… Alfred Tea Shop, Gracias Madre, Au Fudge, The Rooftop bar at The Mondrian or The SLS rooftop bar, Cafe Gratitude, Larchmont Bungalow, The Commissary at The Line….excellent spots to hike as well…. Griffith Observatory being one of them, as well as The Hollywood Hills sign). Some favorite hotels are The SLS, Mondrian, JW Marriott at LA Live (this is out of the West Hollywood area but a very quick Uber… and a great spot), and The Londoner. LA is very expensive though, so I always like to put that out there to people heading to the area…..
If you choose to head down to San Diego, my favorite areas are Del Mar, La Jolla, and Downtown. Downtown has so many fun hotel options and my two favorites are The Pendry and Hotel Solamar (right in the heart of it all). Either direction you choose to head, LA is an excellent middle point. About 2ish hours to Santa Barbara and same to San Diego (all depending on when you choose to drive… LA traffic is pretty bad).

13. I’m in the market for a new diaper bag. I currently have a Fawn Design. Do you have any other suggestions?

I love my Tory Burch diaper bag, and this one is almost identical. I’ve also come to really like backpack options… I own this one and used it while traveling to Cabo…. and I also think this blush one is super cute too. TJ likes using this backpack too.

14. How do you make your cauliflower rice that you post on insta-stories? 

We have cauliflower rice several times a week. I start by heating 2 garlic cloves and a small diced onion in some olive oil on the stove. I then toss in the riced cauliflower (that I purchase from Trader Joe’s) and 3/4 a can of red salsa, along with 2 chopped bell peppers. I mix it all together, place a lid on the skillet, and let it cook for 10-15 minutes. I stir frequently, and taste the consistency. I like to have it soft, but not mushy.

15. I know that you are smaller framed and younger, but I really love your style. This poses a problem because I have an athletic build with a 36 DD bust, and am 5’4″. I am also a bit older at 42. Flowy tops and ruffles can be an issue for me since I’m large busted and don’t want to appear pregnant or clownish… LOL! Also I don’t want shorts that are too short because of my age. I love the romper you have been wearing lately by free people, but is it super short? I also love the ruffled chambray top, but would it go well with a large bust? I am trying to rework my wardrobe a bit, plus I have two sons graduating, and am trying to find great pieces for all events. Any help with the issues above would be so helpful. Thank you. 

Completely understand, and think that when we dress for our bodies, we feel the best, and therefore look the best, because we feel confident! To answer the first question, the romper’s length is adjustable, as it cinches at the waist. I tend to wear it a little on the longer side. The inseam is a 2″ which is on the shorter side though. If you’re wanting something a little longer, I love LOFT. They have such cute shorts, that are sure not to show off your bootay. These denim shorts are super cute, and this cut-off option (similar to the ones I wear) has a 3″ inseam which typically provides good coverage (most of mine are around a 2.5″ inseam). The chambray top I wore in yesterday’s post is an option that I think would look great on a lot of different body types. I also think ruffles with a v-neck, and a longer body (24″ and longer), are great for those who are more well endowed than I am! Some cute options are here, here, and here (these are all on the longer side and have a v-neck). I also love this tunic I wore in this post… you can wear it unbuttoned slightly, is longer, and can be front tucked to provide some shape. I know you’re looking to revamp your wardrobe, so if you want anymore suggestions, please feel free to e-mail me and we can go back and forth on exactly what you are looking for! Hope that helps a little!

16. What are some of your favorite basic tops and tees? 

Basic tops and tanks are my favorite! I wear them all the time… front tucked, knotted in the front, or just over my jeans… they’re great for layering too. I own this tank in white and grey, and love this tank too (it has the perfect amount of stretch). This shell is incredibly soft and I own it in two colors (it’s currently on sale too!), and this stripe tank, and this one too, are favorites as well. Some of my favorite tees include this basic v-neck, super soft oversized tee, and this distressed tee (something to mix it all up!).

17. Any suggestions for what to wear to a graduation? 

I always think a casual dress is a great option for a graduation (at least that’s what I have always worn). A few cute and casual options include this ruffle dress, embroidered cold shoulder dress, ginghman midi dress, printed tiered dress, and this white one shoulder eyelet dress (under $30!!). I recommend pairing with a simple neutral slide or wedge.

18. What are some of your favorite pajamas?

I’m all for comfort when it comes to going to bed at night and lounging around. These joggers and shorts are super comfortable, and I wear this tee to bed all the time. This set is incredibly soft, and these little shorts are the cutest.
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Feel free to start e-mailing, or commenting, for next month!

05.18.2017

Denim on Denim || Trust Your Gut

Over the years, I’ve tossed on several D.O.D (denim on denim, if you will) combos that were immediately removed. I either looked too much like a cowgirl or as if I was living in the 80’s. Either way, it’s a tricky combo. Yet, it’s one I love. If done right, it looks laid back, casual, and a little classic. And while I’ve come to simply trust my gut with the combo over the years, I’ve also found a few little tricks to making it work.

1. Color: In my personal experience, the more similar the denims, the more you veer into the “no no” category. I like to have a few shades of difference between the denims. Create a little contrast.

2. Material: I’ve also found that when the denim thickness is the same you move a little closer into the “wore it wrong” category. I once tried to pair a light wash denim jacket with a light wash jean. I can’t really say why, but it was just a big no all around. Like, it was back on the floor within seconds….. What I learned from that experience was a thicker denim needs to pair with a softer, or more lightweight, option. Think chambray material with denim jeans.

3. Accessories: There has to be something… otherwise, I feel like I’m heading out to ride a horse (nothing wrong with that… it’s just that I don’t ride horses that often….).

After following these three small rules, I came up with this denim on denim combo. When I spotted this super soft ruffle chambray top, I knew it would pair perfectly with these denim shorts (it’s also super cute with white shorts or jeans… I just wasn’t feeling those that day….). And, since I wore this outfit for a super casual day, I simply tossed on my favorite everyday basics…. a neutral cardigan, comfortable slides, and favorite gold accessories. A few other chambray tops I’m loving right now include this off the shoulder top (it has a cold shoulder option too… a two for one…), this stripe cold shoulder chambray top, bell sleeve off the shoulder option, and smocked chambray top (so cute!!).

Moral of the story? Trust your gut. If the denim on denim looks to circa B-Spears and Justin Timberlake…. you’re probably right. You’ll feel it when it’s good!
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P.S. Tomorrow’s blog post is my monthly Q&A…. if you have any questions, looking for recommendations, etc… feel free to leave them in the comments or send me an e-mail: shannonpulsifer@gmail.com
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(Outfit Details || Tank (under $45) | Shorts | Cardigan (very similar) | Slides | Tote | Pom Poms (back in stock) | Sunglasses | Necklace)

05.17.2017

16 Month Motherhood Update

(Outfit Details || Romper | Slides | Hat | Harper’s Romper | Harper’s Shoes | Harper’s Hat)

If the above photo doesn’t explain where we are at the 16 month mark, I don’t know what will…. we’re in the throws of toddler life and while it has its ups and downs… it’s certainly one of my favorite ages so far. I find myself looking at her everyday and in disbelief at how much she has grown, and at how much of a little girl she has become. She makes the most intense eye contact and then starts to laugh…. she tests limits  (just today I gave her two choices… hold my hand while we walked in the parking structure, or else I would have to hold her. She acted like she was going to hold my hand several times, and then just stood against the wall, staring at me….. I bet you can guess that I ended up carrying her the rest of the way….), and she melts my heart on a daily basis. Motherhood is crazy. Just when I think I don’t know what I’m doing, that I can’t do another hour of it… she goes and does something that cracks me up… or makes me just grab her and hug her from laughter…..

Ups and downs…. frustrations and laughter… that’s how I’d define toddler life….. and here are a few more insights into our past month……

Favorite Part: I am loving her increased ability to communicate with us. While we don’t have a wide vocabulary yet, her ability to come, grab my hand, and tell me what she wants is so sweet… she still signs, but we’re working on fading those out and replacing them with words (we’re pretty much accepting any approximation at this point… hoping to shape it as she matures…). She can say “ball” “doll” “up” “ momma” “hi” “bye” “daddy” “granddaddy” and we catch glimpses of other words here and there (of course, those words I mentioned are not as clear as I wrote them….). We really try to talk to her a lot when she wants something, and spend time labeling items around the house. I know the non-stop chattering will start someday…. so, maybe I should enjoy the quiet while it lasts?? Kidding…. 

Least Favorite Part: While I love her little personality, the stubbornness can be a big challenge. Sometimes simply changing her diaper is a full on wrestling match (I mean…. if she’d like to change it herself, by all means, she’s free to do so….)… and sometimes that same stubbornness leads to some interesting tantrums (I didn’t realize the whole “lay on the floor and flail around” was so innate…. she certainly didn’t learn that from her parents….). I’d have to say the worst was in Trader Joe’s when I thought it would be cute to let her push around one of the smaller shopping carts (we had been running a lot of errands, and I felt bad….). Mistake. She wanted to go her own way, didn’t care who was in the way, and when she tired of that, she desperately wanted to push the big shopping cart… only to get tangled in the wheels….. Needless to say that shopping trip ended quickly…. and it was a struggle to get in the carseat (I’m still amazed by the strength such a tiny human can have… and the ways that she can contort her body….). While I could live without the tantrums, they’re also a part of what makes her unique… and sometimes I can’t help but chuckle under my breath…. Hopefully that same tenacity will get her far in life. 

Her Favorite Things: Harper loves to play outdoors…. running (okay, sprinting), digging in the dirt, putting rocks in her mouth…. spinning in circles…. splashing in the puddles and water… and all I can think is that I got what I deserved (I was never a “let’s just sit here” kinda kid….). She loves Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (the only show I let her watch… I actually love it too…) and the soundtrack to “Goldie + Bear.” She’s pretty much obsessed. She’s starting to show a preference for certain stuffed animals (her current favorite is a doll she got in Mexico) and loves this book before bedtime. She’s also pretty much obsessed with water bottles (likely because she sees me with mine all the time) and her current favorite is this one. 

Eating: This girl has an amazing appetite. She eats everything. For breakfast I usually make her some of these pancakes and some raspberries and blueberries… then she is typically still hungry, so she has a little bit of this Perfect Bar. When she wakes up from her nap, she usually has some string cheese… and then for lunch I make her a variety of things (grilled cheese, peanut butter sandwich, veggie burger, chicken nuggets, quinoa pasta, veggies, fruit, avocado…..), then her afternoon snack is usually one of these little bars (sometimes these bean based cheerios or these cheddar bunnies) and some dried cranberries. For dinner she eats what we have, which is nice that we don’t have to make several meals. I feel lucky that she’s a pretty good eater. 

Last month I chatted about her throwing food. While it still happens, I’ve found that it’s not as frequent as it used to be. She’s getting better at telling us when she is finished, so we immediately remove her plate of food. She’s been practicing using these utensils, and seems to enjoy it (although, it does take much longer when she’s using them….). 

Sleeping: Well, we’re still holding onto that morning nap. I keep saying it’ll be gone by next month…. and then next month comes and she’s still taking it. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts… because I’m starting to realize how nice it is to have that morning break to get a few things done. She can miss the nap though, and when that happens we just shift her nap schedule around. In all honesty, I think it’s me who is holding onto it more than little miss. Maybe next month it will be gone…

Illness: I consider Harper a pretty healthy little girl…. having only caught one cold since she was born. Yet, when we got back from Cabo, she came down with a pretty bad head cold. We used this humidifier and nasal aspirator ,and it seemed to provide her with some relief. 

One thing that came from her cold were a couple all-nighters… and it brought me back to those first few sleepless months. This time around though, I found myself cherishing the moments of holding her and rocking her back to sleep…. holding her a little bit longer… knowing that it would only be a couple of nights… and knowing that those moments won’t last forever. It was a silver lining in seeing her sick. 

The Cutest Thing She Does: It’s hard for me to pick… because just last night she started actually waving hello and I think it’s just adorable. Prior to that though, it would have to be that she takes paper towels and cleans up… I guess she really is watching every single thing that we do… and closely….. Oh, and I also love this thing she does (if you follow on instagram you’ve seen it) where she runs in those house, and then quickly peeks her head out, says “Byeeeeee Deeeeee,” and then quickly shuts the door again…. she does this over and over again….. annnd, when I’m holding her and paying for something at the same time, she likes to hand over my debit card. It’s too cute. She waits patiently, and then when the cashier holds out their hand, she gives it to them….. a natural shopper. 

Marriage: As I mentioned a few posts back, TJ and I had a parent’s night out with a girlfriend and her husband…. it was a blast… and always so good for the marriage. We spent time interviewing babysitters and found an excellent one who we feel incredibly comfortable with, and who Harper loves. We’ve been getting back into the hobbies that we valued so much before we became parents… mainly going to a spin class together and getting breakfast after. It’s usually only about 3 hours, but it’s something we have both come to look forward to every week. I think it’s so important to make marriage a priority… everything runs more smoothly when the marriage is rock solid. 

Fitness: I’ve written about it before numerous times, but I am loving the Tone It Up workouts. My body responds to them, and I feel challenged… and it’s something different everyday, which I love. We also invested in this baby carrier so that we could go on family hikes together (another hobby TJ and I had before Harper was born). It was such a great experience being able to have her tag along on something we enjoy so much (she eventually took a little nap as we got further into the hike…). We’re hoping someday she’ll love walking with us (or, likely running ahead…..). For me, it just feels good to get back into a groove. 

Favorite Products: We’re currently in the process of switching carseats, and are looking into this one (we were very happy with our first Nuna carseat). This high chair has been an excellent switch from our Boon. I love the modern design, and that it will grow with her. This bathmat has been amazing, since little miss loves running around in the bath. For her colds, we used all Little Remedies products… the nasal drops were the best. 

05.16.2017

Dressing For A Daytime Date || My Top Four Tips

Right after little miss arrived, I remember craving a night out with TJ. My mom and dad happily watched Harper while TJ and I headed out to our favorite spot at the beach for a little happy hour sushi. It was my first time having sushi since being pregnant, and our first date night since we had become parents. We were two weeks into this new job title, and I vividly remember sitting there, staring at each other, and all we could talk about was how tired we were (I promise you we had a great time… we were just exhausted). From that moment on, I knew things were going to change a little….

Now, when we contemplate going out for a date, we prefer day dates, over an evening out, 90% of the time. Yes, we have the occasional #ParentsGoneWild evening (those are always fun… not so much in the mornings though….), but most of the time, when the evening rolls around, we just want to veg out on the couch (I swear we’re not boring)…. during the day though, we’re full of energy, used to running on all cylinders with little miss. So, last weekend, when we headed down to the beach for a dinner, we decided our next day date would be back to the same area (Pacific City in Huntington)…. and as we got to planning, I of course started thinking about that perfect day date outfit…. casual, feminine, comfortable, and cute. That’s my criteria… and right now, I’ve found so many adorable day date pieces from Nordstrom…. excellent price points for the cutest pieces… that I thought I’d share my top picks with you today.

1. Feminine Top: A top and jeans (shorts or long) combo is an excellent option for pretty much any occassion. I love pairing a feminine top with a pair of distressed high waisted shorts for a summer day date. It’s the perfect balance. When I saw this floral tunic, I knew it would the perfect piece for a casual day date… the material is light and airy, and I love the way it flows in the breeze. It can easily pair with jeans, and can be front knotted or front tucked. A few other favorites include this white lace camisole (with these jeans), this super cute blush peplum top (with the most amazing back details….), white tie sleeve cold shoulder top, and this blush tunic halter top (love the asymmetrical hem).

2. Casual Dress: I love the thought of a dress during the day… when paired with simple accessories and shoes, it’s casual enough for any activity. A few perfect options include this basic racerback midi dress (I think the blue is a fun color), adorable stripe off the shoulder dress (seriously, super cute), embroidered off the shoulder top (4 gorgeous color options), and this floral slip-dress (I’m partial to the blue…).

3. Summer Sandal: Sandals for daytime are a must in my book…. they keep things casual. I decided to add a little height with my favorite espadrilles, but I also own these double strap slide sandals (which come in 8 color options) and this neutral slide and both would pair perfectly with any of the above dresses. If you’re wanting something with a little bit of height, but less than the espadrilles, I think these platform wedges are an excellent alternative.

4. Accessories: Daytime doesn’t need a lot of accessories… a simple piece of jewelry (or two), a cute straw hat, or tote, and you’re ready to go. While I typically opt for simple gold accessories for any occassion, these earrings were too fun to pass up…. I let them do all the talking and leave my go to gold accessories at home. If I’m opting for one of the above dresses, my favorite gold necklace (similar) is the perfect piece to toss on.

Then, all that’s left is to have yourself the best time ever!
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(Outfit Details || Tunic (runs large, 3 color options), with this bralette | Shorts (run TTS) | Espadrilles (run TTS, come in 4 color options) | Earrings | Sunglasses | Tote)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. All opinion expressed are my own. 

05.15.2017

Weekend Recap || Formational Relationship

(Prettiest sunset)

I went into the weekend pretty exhausted. We had a bunch of fun activities planned, and a part of me just wanted to sit on the couch and do nothing. Yet, as Friday evening rolled in, and we settled into our evening routine, I began to get a little more in the spirit….

We ended up having a parent’s night out (which I affectionately termed #ParentsGoneWild) with my girlfriend and her husband on Saturday evening. Margaritas were sipped (I guess I wasn’t as tired of them as a I thought)… tacos were consumed (yes, more)…. rich conversation was had… and it was an evening that lived up to its hashtag (I mean, isn’t getting home at a 11:15pm considered wild at our stage of life???). Needless to say, it was a fun one, with one of my oldest friends….

Which, takes me to Sunday morning where we celebrated Mother’s Day with a gorgeous brunch at my parent’s house, put on by my sister and the guys in our life. As I sat and wrote my mom’s card, I couldn’t help but reflect on what she has taught me about the importance of relationships. Mainly through her selfless examples or unconditional love, acceptance, grace, and a lots of humor along the way. It’s through her that I have learned how to be a mom… as well as a friend to those around me. So, as I think about the beautiful female friendships I have in my life… those women I am lucky enough to go through this journey of motherhood alongside… I feel as if it wouldn’t have been possible without the first, and most important female relationship in my life. That of my mom…. and I can only hope that someday Harper has the same experience I had this afternoon.

So, as I go into the week ahead, I do so with intention of providing to Harper what was provided to me. Hope you all have a great week! xx

(Family hike with this monstrous baby carrier in Laguna…my leggings, tank, cap)

(Post-hike booch and brunch at Babette’s Newport)

(Parent’s night out with friends at Ola’s Mexican Kitchen)

(Mother’s Day brunch…… my top, harper’s shoes)
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Going into week 4 of the Tone It Up Bikini series and I am still loving it…. such great variation. I’m actually starting to see some decent muscle definition in my arms. Whipping up these simple egg muffins this morning… and we made my favorite protein pancakes (and tossed in some chocolate chips to make them special) for our Mother’s Day brunch this past weekend. Also thinking about making this chia seed pudding too (TJ loves it!).

This coming weekend is my sister’s Bachelorette party and I’m super excited! Of course, I’m already thinking about what I’ll be packing and know that this ruffle body suit and my favorite high waisted shorts will be top of the list. For the first night out, I’m obsessed with this dress, as well as this similar option (my girlfriend was wearing it this past weekend and it was too cute on her!)….. so, I ordered both and I am going to decide which one I like best. I’m thinking about bringing my favorite black and white off the shoulder top (which I also love in this white lace version… and this one is super similar for under $60!)for a Saturday brunch, and this red one piece (which I initially bought for Cabo) and beautiful straw hat for an afternoon at the pool. Thinking about this embroidered number for the second evening. My sister is bringing along this low back dress and these super cute wrap sandals.

Yet, since most of my time is not spent in fun going out attire, I snagged this ultra cozy, mauve colored, pullover to wear out for errands and just lounging…. and I think this black and white lightweight cardigan looks so comfortable. I also love this flutter sleeve eyelet top (the black and white are my favorite colors) and simple ruffle top and think they’re perfect for spring and summer. I also own these jeans in black, and I’m considering them in the denim wash…. anything high waisted has my name allll over it… and think they would be so cute with this casual linen off the shoulder top. And how adorable is the back of this navy and white stripe tank??