Holiday Style || Dressing Up A LBD

For my last college sorority formal (I’m going way back here) I knew I wanted something a little more sophisticated (I mean, I was preparing to enter the real world as a full blown adult…..). So, I went on the hunt for a little black dress. Something I knew would be a blank canvas to dress up however I wanted. I found a gorgeous, floor length, backless number and still own it to this day. Which is why when I find a good little black dress, I scoop it up…. it can pretty much take you anywhere, with a few simple swaps… particularly around the holidays. With so many different parties and events on the calendar (office parties, NYE celebrations, birthdays….) being able to dress up a simple silhouetted LBD in a flash is essential. Over the years I’ve learned to perfect this with a few key wardrobe pieces….

1. Statement Jewelry: One of my all time favorite ways to dress up my LBDs is to add a few statement making pieces of jewelry. I recently discovered Victoria Emerson’s boho wrap + cuff bracelets… to say I’m obsessed would be an understatement. They instantly dress up any outfit, and can easily be worn well after the holidays with distressed jeans and a silky blouse. I picked out the brownstone crystal wrap bracelet + the sahara cuff to dress up my LBD, but I also love this all black cuff and crystal wrap bracelet. The pieces make great holiday gifts too (think secret santa, siblings, friends…) and I bought this wrap for my sister’s stocking (which I fully intend on borrowing from her) and think this beaded necklace + horn pendant necklace are gorgeous too.

2. Standout Shoes: When the dress is simple (or, just any all black outfit for that matter) I think shoes should be another statement piece. These studded booties keep my toes warm in the cool evenings, but there are so many embellished shoes out this season, any would make your LBD standout.

3. Faux Fur: For the holidays, this is the route I go (been doing it for years). There’s something luxurious that faux fur adds to any outfit…. especially a LBD. Be it a faux stole, coat, or vest I’ve collected one of each over the years and have them on heavy rotation this time of year.

4. Beautiful Smile: Like I’ve always said, the person makes the clothes, and a smile exudes confidence. So long as you’re confident in what you’re wearing, you’ll be a knockout….

That’s it…. super easy and quick, but it does the trick!

(Outfit Details || Dress (wearing ) | Boots | Vest | Wrap Bracelet | Cuff | Bag (similar))

Thank you to Victoria Emerson for sponsoring this post. 


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 (they have such a great selection of winter activewear for men….). 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!

Annnd, if you’re looking for a few great fitness accessories for the man in your life, I recommend this gym backpack for the gym loving guy, climate gloves and knit beanie for those outside workouts, and a pair of sports sunglasses for those sunny, yet cool, runs.

(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. 


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!

(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. 


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….)

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.


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!!

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