Cocktail Chatting || Monthly Q + A

(Sweatshirt | Joggers)

Happy Friday friends! We arrived in Hawaii yesterday afternoon, after quite a day of travel. We’re here with my entire family this time around, so I’m looking forward to a weekend filled with Mai Tai’s, laughs, and ocean air (and don’t forget helping a toddler adjust to a time change…..). Sharing my monthly Q+A below… hope the answers help!

Have a great weekend friends! xx

1. What style is you LV bag? I want to start saving for a nice handbag like that. 

This bag is the Speedy 30 (it’s an older version, as it used to be my mom’s and she “loaned” it to me…. for the  past several years). It is definitely a great bag to consider if you’re looking to invest, as it holds a lot. I can get baby wipes, a diaper, and some snacks, along with all my belongings into it comfortably. I also highly recommend getting it with the strap, because sometimes it’s nice to not have to hold it (which I rarely do… only for photos). 

2. What do you use in your hair before blow drying and after? Do you have a mask you recommend? And a dry shampoo? I just highlighted my hair and I need some tips.

Before I blow dry my hair, I use this leave in spray and this oil. After I style it, I use a little more of the oil to tame away fly aways (I have some breakage in my hair). I use this conditioning mask everytime I wash my hair… and I love this dry shampoo.

3. I’m looking for some fashion insight for a good low heel leather bootie to be able to wear with leggings etc  that’s comfy enough to run around with kiddos! I’m small boned and  petite- 5’3″ 🙂

I know you mentioned you wanted black leather, but I own these, they’re a perforated suede material, and super comfortable…. and these were just marked down majorly, and I have them in my cart.
Sole Society shoes are typically very comfortable, and I think these and these are super cute (leather). The buckle detailing on this pair makes them a little different, love the studded detailing on these, and this flat pair by hush puppies is practical (and their shoes are always comfortable).
4. I’m 20 weeks pregnant and I am looking for a dress to wear to a wedding. Everything I find makes me look frumpy. I’m looking for something fitted and to match my husband who will be in navy… and they don’t have to be maternity! The weather isn’t very cool here. Any suggestions? 
I found a lot of fun options, most non-maternity, for you! I love this long, low back maxi dark plum one shoulder dress   , floral print dress(could be cute dressed down with a denim, suede, or leather jacket and kicks!), this navy long sleeve dress too. These are a few options from ASOS maternity… which has some really cute ones:
5. I’m sorry if you’ve done this before, but could you do a post on what you buy at Trader Joe’s? I go there and I’m lost but I love shopping there. 

Here is a list of some of my favorite items:

Garlic Herb sausages
Diced cauliflower
Diced onions
Super spinach salad (I don’t use the dressing)
Pumpkin Rx bars (seriously, so.good.)
Rolled oats
Salsa verde
Pre-packaged brown rice and quinoa (frozen)
Microwaveable lentils
Micro greens
Cauliflower pizza crust (frozen food section)
Turmeric carrot juice
Chili lime seasoning
Everything bagel seasoning
6. Random question, has Harper ever used a pacifier? Or does she currently use one? 
In the first month or so she took a pacifier, but around 6 months, when she refused to take a bottle of breast milk, she also refused the pacifier. So, we were never able to give her one, as she would refuse it. She does use the sucking motion of her mouth thought to soothe, but doesn’t have an interest in a pacifier. I hope that answers your question!
7. You are so good with Harper. She reminds me of my little daughter. Any advice on how you stay so patient? I feel like I am constantly saying “No” and I hate that. 
Thank you so much! I for sure am not always patient, but I try to use the skills I used to teach parents when I was a practicing therapist… so, I use a lot of “when/then” + “if/then statements”…. “when you finish putting this away, then we can listen to music….” or  “if you put this away then we can go outside….” and I try to state things in teaching phrases… so, if she’s throwing her food, I say something like “we don’t throw food, we eat food and put it down on the plate.” I also give her countdowns (i.e. In 1 minute we have to put that away, 3 more times then we have to leave the park) that way she is at least prepped for the fact that what she is currently doing will be ending soon (it doesn’t always avoid a meltdown, but it helps). I’d say it’s helpful 90% of the time. But, then there are times when it’s been a long day and I don’t use any of that (#LetsBeHones). If your Ella is anything like Harper, I feel ya momma!! Hope it helps a little!
8. When you wear think t-shirt dresses, what type of underwear do you wear? I constantly struggle to find something that won’t show lines. Random questions, but figured you would have an answer. 
I like to use underwear that lies flush on my skin (I don’t know if that makes sense). My all time favorites, for years, are Hanky Panky’s line. They aren’t cheap, but they last forever… I still have ones from 8 years ago…. I’ve worn them with bodycon dresses (this one most recently), as well as this soft t-shirt dress.
9. How do you like your Kristin Cavallari mules? I really want to Nicholas Kirkwoods, but feel like there are so many great, cheaper options out there. 
The K.C. mules are my favorite. I’ve had two pair, for over a year, and they’re still a go-to shoe. Some people say that they are poor quality, but I haven’t had that experience. They do turn in on the sides, slightly, but that doesn’t bother me at all. I own the Nicholas Kirkwood ones too, and to be honest, the KC mules are much more comfortable… and a better price.
10. What are your top 5 favorite cardigans for the season? I know you love all things comfortable, so I’d love to have you narrow them down!
So right. I do love my comfort. I’d say my top two to invest in would be this knit cardigan (I own it in the blush, and bought it last year… it was an investment, but happy I made it), as well as this oversized ribbed cardigan (another favorite from last year). I also recently purchased this shorter,marled cardigan (sized up 1) and am obsessed… as well as this blouson option (which is super comfortable too). I also think a duster cardigan is a great option, and one of my favorites is this hooded being one.
11. How do you find time to workout in the morning? How early do you go to bed? I’m struggling… 5am is too early for me! I have such low energy and I don’t do coffee either. Any tips?? 
It’s the only time I can work out, so I have to make it happen! I wake up at 5:30am for a 45 minute workout! I go to bed around 10 every night. I’m much more of a morning than a night person so it makes it much easier for me. If you’re looking to start waking up in the morning, I did so my waking up a little earlier every couple of days (try 10 minutes)…. set the clothes out before hand too. I also love tone it up. They have great workouts that you can do at home. I do them sometimes when Harper is running around… she thinks I’m dancing so she just dances next to me! I hope that helps a little.
12. This is a weird question, but do the Outdoor Voices leggings you wear show crotch sweat marks after cycling? I’ve had heather grey leggings in the past and they always show sweat marks after hot yoga or a cycling class. 
These leggings are great. They don’t show any sweat marks, which makes them even better!
13. Would love to know about your eating in vs. eating out habits, budget, etc. I’m trying to be better about eating in! 

We try to eat at home as much as possible, for a couple of reasons. One, it’s typically a little healthier, and two it gets pretty expensive to eat out multiple times during the week. That being said, we typically reserve most of our “out” meals for the weekends…. when we like to go out to breakfast, get take-out, or head to a favorite dinner spot. Sometimes during the middle of the week, cooking just isn’t something either TJ or I want to tackle that evening, so we head out for a small bite to eat. When I’m eating out, I typically try to follow the guide in this post (it’s a very old one!) to stay as healthy as possible. From a budget stand-point, we factor in eating out 3-5 meals a week. 

14. My 38yr old Bestie (and Momma of 2 yr old boy) just got diagnosed with breast cancer. It has rocked me and now i am obsessed (even more than before) with getting clean products and food in our home. As a super girly girl – i am struggling to find amazing makeup lines that actually work like my (so bad for you) MAC. I live in MN now so don’t have the west coast shop access I used to have. have you come across anything?

I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I can only imagine what that must be like for you. Cancer is one of my biggest fears. I, too, like you, have yet to find any make-up products that I like as much as my large department store favorites. I have started to shift out cleaning products and body products, but have struggled in the make-up front. If I find anything I will for sure keep you posted… and please do the same for me!…. **In going back and forth with her, we thought it would be great if anyone had great make-up products that are “clean” to share below…. to hopefully help others who are looking! Thank you! 
15. I was wondering if you could recommend some everyday handbags in the $200-$250 range. I’m looking for something in a basic color like black, gray, or saddle that I could wear with most of my everyday outfits. I’m a mom so I’m typically wearing something simple like jeans and a top or a casual dress. I love your black Chloe Marcie crossbody bag but that’s just not in the budget right now. Thanks!!
Yes! I am a huge fan of the Rebecca Minkoff saddle bag. It’s gorgeous and comes in right at $250. It comes in several different colors here (but $275), and the black option as well ($250). I think it has an almost identical shape to the Chloe bag, and the whipstitching is a great added detail. It’s on sale ($209) in the gorgeous olive color, This RM bag ($245) is also an almost identical option too.

16. I know it’s early, but I am at a loss at what to get my 9 month old for Christmas. Any ideas?

Last year for Christmas we did a few basic gifts for Harper, since she didn’t really need anything and the concept of gifts was beyond her. We got her a little stuffed animal from Hazel Village, some winter clothing items, a pair of FP moccasins, a few books, and a musical instrument set. For family members who asked what to get her, we mentioned that a contribution to her college fund would be nice, since, as I mentioned above, she did not really understand “gifts.” Most did just that, with a small toy (i.e. stuffed animal). 

17. Any really good warm shoes you’re loving for Harper? I love the Native shoes for my 19 month old but probably need something warmer for the next 3 months. I’m in Texas so it doesn’t get THAT cold. 
We’re still dealing with temps in the 90’s over here, so Harper is still living in sandals! Buuuut, she has these mocs and these Chuck Taylors and walks and runs really well in them. She loves these booties (didn’t want to take them off) too, and I’ll likely buy her these mini Uggs for a few cold weather trips and the few chilly days we will eventually get.
18. Do you ever feel burned out? And if yes, how do you get through the slump??
Yes, I feel burned out from time to time… and it’s usually when I have way to much on my plate. I usually get through it with a good cry (it can really do wonders for feeling better), taking a break, minimizing what I have on my plate, and doing some self-care. With blogging, I get burned out every few months…. coming up with new content, keeping up with social media, writing posts… and taking care of Harper full time… weighs on me. So, when we went to Hawaii last time I made sure I completed all posts prior to leaving (which probably contributed to the burn out) so that I could disconnect and have some space. It’s usually in those times “away” that I get re-inspired again.
19. I love seeing Harper and reading your blog updates on her! Do you plan on sending her to preschool? If so, when? I’m so torn on when to send my daughter to school. I’m a former teacher and I know she needs the social interaction but I cannot make up my mind on when she should go. I would love to know your plans!
Yes, I have every intention of enrolling Harper in pre-school. I am thinking that by two years old, I will have her in some sort of day program…. whether that is a few days a week for a couple of hours, I think the socialization component is so critical. I will be looking for a warm and friendly atmosphere, where they have some structure and a balance between education and play (both are so important, IMO). I will likely seek recommendations from my friends in this arena. Hope that helps!
20. I recently got the black and white old school Vans. Besides a basic tee, what would you style them with? 
A cute thermal or waffle knit pullover with distressed jeans would work great… even a chunky knit or button up blouse too. I think there are so many fun options with them, as long as the top is more in the neutral color.
21. Do you use any supplements to help with bloating? Or know of anything that helps? My stomach has not been the same since having my son 20 months ago!
I feel ya. My stomach isn’t the same either (…. looks wise too…). I have been taking TULA probiotics (15% off with code SHANNON15) for the past month and have noticed a difference in bloating and regularity. I also take the OLLY BELLY supplements. Drinking one kombucha a day has also really helped!
22. What do you eat before your workouts and what brand of tortillas do you use in your home??
I workout so early in the morning that I don’t eat a full meal before… yet, I do break off a piece of a perfect bar to give me just the amount of energy I need.
My favorite tortillas are CABO chips tortillas + Mi Rancho.
23. What type of hair do you have? Is it naturally straight, wavy, or curly??
I like to say I have a natural frizzy curl… some pieces naturally frizz, and then some pieces turn into a nice curl/wave.
24. I also have a 22 month old and I feel like I have to change something in his routine, but not sure what. Can you share Harper’s daily routine please? 
Of course. I have listed her schedule below:
7:30-8am: Wake-Up
8am-8:30am: Breakfast
8:30am-10:15am: Walk/Park
10:15-11am: Inside time (I get ready for the day here)
11-12: Free/Run errands
12-12:30: Lunch
12:30-1:30pm: Playtime
1:30pm-3:30/4pm: Afternoon Nap
4-6pm: We are usually out and about, and sometimes TJ takes her to the park again
6pm-6:30pm: Dinner
6:45pm: Bath, Book, Songs
7:15/7:30pm: Bedtime

Fall Style || Faux Leather Leggings, Casual Style

About two years ago, when I was a new, sleep deprived mom….. not knowing if I was putting my pants on backwards or forwards… I decided that I needed to find ways to easily “glam up” my relatively basic outfits, without compromising on practicality or comfort. I didn’t have a lot of time to think about what to wear, and I needed simple pieces, that were easy to mix and match. That’s when I stumbled across these faux leather leggings. I wavered for a bit… not certain if I felt like squeezing my postpartum body into leather leggings (when I was eight months pregnant, and still trying to fit in my leather leggings, I slit the crotch… so, maybe I was having some slight PTSD…..). Yet, knowing that the best way to conquer any fear is to face it head on, I hit the purchase button on the $30 pair of leather leggings, and waited….

When they arrived, I proceeded with caution (not wanting to repeat my preggo legging fiasco) and was pleasantly surprised. They fit like a dream. They were high waisted and hugged that soft area nicely…. I assumed they’d be a one season wear and that I would purchase another pair the next year. Not so. Here we are, going on season three with these babies. Best $30 Nordstrom purchase I’ve made. Hands down.

So, when I was asked how to style faux leather leggings, both casually and in a more dressed up way, I jumped on the opportunity. I love wearing these leggings for pretty much anything. When I want to wear something other than my tried and true leggings, this is the pair I turn to. Dress them down with comfy kicks, a cozy jacket (hello my new favorite jacket for fall and winter….), and basic white tee… and up with a pair of OTK boots, button up, bell sleeved plaid top, and a suede jacket (#Smokin’). And, if you’re looking for a few other faux leather leggings options, Nordstrom has such a great selection, at varying price points. I know that this pair is supposed to be amazing too….

I’ll be styling them in a dressy way soon!

(Outfit Details || Jacket (comes in 3 colors) also LOVE this one (almost identical) | Leggings (under $30, fit great) | Tee (6 colors, so soft) | Shoes | Sunglasses | Crescent Necklace (similar) | Bag)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 



Wellness Wednesday || The 4 Things I Do In The Morning To Set The Tone For A Healthy Day

This post is sponsored by Organic Stevia In The Raw® and SheKnows Media. All opinions expressed are my own.

I’ve always been more of a morning person than a night owl. I’ve never pulled an all-nighter (I tried, multiple times… could never keep my eyes open…), and working out in the evening has always felt more on the sluggish than invigorating side. I guess it all started in high school, when I would go out for a morning run to get ready for the day ahead…. I didn’t do it every morning, but on the days I did, there was a noticeable difference. I took a break in college (hmmm… I wonder why…), but when I graduated and went to grad school, I put together a morning routine that set the tone for a healthy day, both physically and mentally. It’s something I’ve followed ever since, making slight modifications when little miss arrived. Yet, at the core, there are 4 things I do, daily, that set me up for a balanced day….

  1. Wake-up + Workout: For me, this is like a morning cup of coffee…. without it, I’m void of energy for the day. It doesn’t always have to be an intense workout, even a few walking laps around the neighborhood gets me moving and feeling awake. During this time, I set my priorities for the day, work through any thoughts I may be having, and get my endorphin release. Of course, when little miss arrived, I needed to wake up even earlier to squeeze this in…. which I did by waking up 10 minutes earlier, every other day, for about a week. At the end of the week, my body had adapted to the new time.

2. Eat A Healthy Breakfast: One of my favorite meals of the day, always. I’m typically pretty hungry after my workout, so skipping this meal is never an option. I try to make sure that both Harper and I are getting a filling, and nutritious, morning start. Anything from eggs and fruit, to a bowl of oatmeal, yogurt and granola, or a homemade gluten free/dairy free waffle, I like to make sure it’s tasty. Something I’ve started using, to add a little sweetness, is Organic Stevia In The Raw®. I discovered Organic Stevia In The Raw  when I was looking to do a little baking this fall (bring on all things pumpkin please. It’s organic, non-gmo (very important), vegan, and naturally gluten free. It comes in tiny packets (seen above), which means I can easily toss them in my purse to sprinkle in my morning iced tea (took a few of them to Hawaii to use them with my morning iced green teas). One of our favorite ways to use it is dusted on our morning oatmeal with berries. It adds a delicious, sweet taste. I’ve always felt that a healthy breakfast sets me up to make better choices throughout the day! You can find Organic Stevia In The Raw at Walmart or purchase it online here.

3. Make My Bed:  Having a “healthy” day goes way beyond just working out and making the right food choices. It also has a lot to do with making decisions that I know will set me up for a positive day mentally. Making my bed is one I’ve been doing for years. It’s a very little thing that takes about five minutes, but helps me feel much more organized… and for me, personally, an organized life makes me less anxious. Less anxiety means I can be more present in my relationships, which is the ultimate goal.

4. Gratitude: Another contributor to the mental health of a day. So much research has shown that having a position of gratitude improves our health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career. I don’t spend a long time on it, about 2-5 minutes while I eat my breakfast. I simply jot down a few things I feel particularly grateful for that day. I find that simply reminding myself of the things I have to be grateful for sets that stage to be able to manage smaller setbacks throughout my day.

That’s it. Nothing major, or particularly time consuming, but it’s usually a few small things that add up to a big difference. I’d love to know what you do to set a positive tone for your day!

(Outfit Details || Cardigan | Tank Shorts)

What are some of your morning rituals? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

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Couple’s Style || 5 Date Night Ideas + What To Wear

TJ and I have always been fans of “date nights…” ever since we started dating. In college, we’d head out for a mid week Taco Tuesday at our favorite spot in San Diego (World Famous) and pick a weekend evening to grab a bite to eat before meeting up with friends later in the evening. When we became actual adults, date nights became a little more refined, and after becoming parents we’ve had to get creative. They’ve changed over the years,but have kept the same meaning: an opportunity to connect and have some fun together (because, isn’t that the crux of any relationship??)…

I can still recall what TJ and I wore on our first date together. I wore a pair of distressed jeans (surprise), a black silk button-up top, some gold accessories, and a cute blush heel. TJ showed up in a pair of jeans, a classic button-up, and a pair of loafers. Obviously, not much has changed with our style since then…. we still love a good jean to take us through our date nights. Yet, a few weeks ago, TJ decided he wanted to refresh his “date night” pieces so we headed to Nordstrom men’s department to pick up some items (he loves their selection). He ended up opting for this ribbed henley + half zip pullover. Both pieces he can easily dress up and down, depending on the occassion (he also loves this half zip fleece, stripe henley, and this thermal henley).

After that, we just needed to decide what we wanted to do. As we sat there thinking about what sounded fun, we realized that we typically choose one of five date options depending on our mood. So, today, I decided to share them with you… and I’d love to know your favorite date ideas with your special someone…..

1. The Obvious: Dinner + Cocktails. Choose your favorite spot and get dolled up for an evening out. TJ and I typically have a few favorite spots we rotate between and each require the same attire. We’re typically a “jeans and a nice top” type couple…. nothing too fancy, but nice enough to bust out some of our “nicer” not “everyday” pieces. For TJ that includes these new suede shoes he received as a birthday gift, and for me these OTK boots (which were an investment made several years ago). A few other “nicer” items that TJ will pull out include these perforated sneakers and sports coat (which he also wears to work meetings).

2. Themed Dinner At Home: Pick a cuisine (we typically choose Mexican…) and make the accompanying dish and cocktails. It’s a more relaxed option when you’re looking to lay low, and doesn’t cost much at all. When we’re having one of those evenings, we opt for loungewear like cozy joggers and a soft tee.

3. Day Date: Work It Out: We chatted a little about that in this post, but picking an athletic challenge, and accomplishing it together, is a pretty great feeling.

4. The Ambitious Date: Overnight: This was a little easier before little miss arrived, but nevertheless, they’re one of my favorites. TJ and I used to drive to Vegas or Santa Barbara for a day/evening away. We always thought it was the perfect day…. a little day date and dinner + cocktails… kind of like a two-for-one. Simply toss a few items into this weekender bag and the guy in your life will be ready for anything.

5. The Lazy Date: Movie Marathon: These are typically reserved for those chilly fall and winter days…. make some soup in the crockpot, get a bottle of vino, toss on comfy his + her slippers, and pick your movies. For us, this happens during little miss’ nap time and after she goes to bed… but if you’re kiddo-less I say go lazy the entire day.

(Outfit Details || TJ’s Thermal Top | TJ’s Pullover | TJ’s Jeans | TJ’s Shoes | TJ’s Sunglasses | My Pullover (wearing S, comes in beige too) | My Jeans | My Boots (less expensive option) | My Sunglasses)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 


Weekend Recap || Reconnecting

(Kicked off the weekend the right way… with tacos, of course…)

I feel as if life has been incredibly busy as of late… and that time has been passing so quickly. All that to say, as we started last week, I realized that it had been weeks since I’d seen any of my close friends. As I reached out to a few of them to simply say “Hey, thinking about you…” they too shared the same sentiments…. that time just seems to be moving so quickly….

So, as we headed into this past weekend, I did so with anticipation. We had plans, for the past two weeks, to meet up with a high school girlfriend and her family for a day at the pumpkin patch and a BBQ back at our place later….. when the little ones went down and the guys watched football, my girlfriend and I were able to sneak away for an hour by ourselves to get some Pressed Freeze….. it felt like old times in high school, driving my explorer to get some ice cream, chat, and blare the music. As TJ and I chatted about the day, we remarked how hard it is to find good friends… those friends who you just gel with. The friends where time can pass, but it’s as if no time has passed at all. Where you pick up where you left off. Can sit in silence together. Who you can just be yourself with….

I’ve always believe that if I had a handful of those types of friends, life would be good. And it is good. While I don’t see all of them as often as I’d like, just knowing they’re always there makes me feel assured. So, as we go into the week ahead, I encourage you to reach out to one of those friends. Tell them you miss them and care. A small gesture like that goes a long way! Have a good one friends! xx

*Monthly Q&A will be this Friday. Please feel free to send any questions via e-mail. 

(Cozy knit (paired with shorts) for Friday’s taco dinner….)

(Met up with friends at the pumpkin patch for the morning… it was 90 degrees…. so fall. my dress, my shoes)

(Snuck away with my girlfriend for a little sweet treat while the littles napped and the guys watched football….)

(Coziest waffle knit for a relaxed evening of homemade pizza…..)

We’re heading out to Hawaii on Thursday for a family trip with my parent’s and sister… it’s an early retirement celebration for my dad. That being said, I’ve been working pretty hard during my workouts. This booty bands workout is hands down one of my favorites. If you don’t have workout bands, I highly recommend them. I’m taking them to Hawaii with me. I will also be making these pumpkin bites to take on the plane with us, as well as these egg muffins for a quick morning breakfast (since we have an early flight).

Packing up a lot of favorites for the trip… and since I love to wear cut-offs and long sleeves, most of the items are perfect for when we return (it’s actually going to be cooler in Hawaii than it will be in Southern California when we’re gone….). I’m planning on packing my favorite cut-offs (obviously) along with this oversized thermal, this v-neck thermal, super soft frayed bell sleeve top (in a pretty rust color), absolutely adorable ruffle sleeve button up tee (in the taupe color), oversized stripe pullover, my favorite red pom pom top (which was recently fully re-stocked!) for happy hour, white one shoulder top (currently on major sale), and my favorite fuzzy sweatshirt. This henley top and open knit sweater. For our family photos, I bought this romper for Harper, and I am bringing this embroidered dress and this maxi off the shoulder dress. I’m also tossing in this flowy blush embroidered dress (which I’ve had for years) and these cute stripe slip-ons. For our travel days, I’ll be packing these joggers and leggings, this band tee, cardigan (such a gorgeous rust color), and this stripe pullover.

A few other items that are too cozy and warm for Hawaii that I have my eye on include this gorgeous waffle knit pullover, turquoise v-neck sweater, and this adorable pom beanie (do you think I’d look strange if I wore this in Hawaii???… kidding…).