Rule-breaking Chambray Dress

I mentioned on Monday that the striped dress I was wearing shrunk significantly after I dried it (even though the tag clearly stated it could be dried...grrr). Although I hadn't planned on buying another dress for this capsule, I couldn't pass up this chambray shirt-dress from Gap when I went there on Friday. It's a good work-appropriate length, and as much as I wear my chambray shirt (ahem, all the time) I know it will become a go-to.

With this dress and the pants I wore on Tuesday, I'm deviating a little from the rules of "the capsule wardrobe." I say that somewhat facetiously, because really, who makes the rules for these things anyway? I do appreciate what I've learned from the whole experience, but I'm not going to pass up a dress I know I'll wear for years because of an arbitrary rule that says since I didn't plan on buying these things, I shouldn't. However, I can credit creating capsule wardrobes these past few seasons for developing a better understanding of what I like and what I'll wear, so that I can be smarter about my purchasing.

Even before I started doing capsules I've always made a list and tried to stick to it when shopping. Do you plan your purchases and shop from a list, or do you wait to see what's out there first? 

 chambray shirtdress simple for spring |

chambray shirtdress with neutral sandals |

chambray shirtdress and turquoise necklace |

Chambray dress: Gap | necklace: c/o eNVe designs | sandals: Old Navy

From the archives: 

What I Read: April

With as busy as this month was, I feel like I barely had any time at all to read. I make it a habit to read every night before I go to bed, but I've been so exhausted lately I can only make it through a few pages before I conk out. I have about a million books I want to read, so I'm hoping things slow down a little so I can make a bigger dent in that stack.

{one} The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida. This is a glimpse into the mind of a 13 year old boy with autism. The question and answer format in which it is written makes it a very quick, yet very fascinating read. There are many misconceptions about autism, but Higashida illustrates that while his brain may not function like a "normal" person's does, it does function in its own way. His revelations are beautiful and surprisingly profound. There seems to be some controversy as to how much was indeed dictated by Higashida and how much Mitchell (the translator) contributed. While I think it is possible that Mitchell wrote more than he lets on, I think we are doing Higashida (and autistic people everywhere) a disservice if we dismiss this as a work of fiction. I'd rather embrace the possibility that Higashida is the true author here. 

{two} The Secret Place by Tana French. I spent the bulk of April reading this book, although if I had more time I would have preferred to devote an entire day or two to it. This is the kind of story that sucks you in, and I hated having to keep putting it down at the end of the day. A year ago a boy is murdered on the grounds of St. Kilda's, a girls' boarding school in Ireland. The police investigating the murder don't seem to be getting anywhere until a photo shows up with a picture of Chris, the murder victim, with the caption "I know who killed him." 

{three} Make it Happen by Lara Casey. I typically go for fiction, but every now and then I like to mix it up a little. Because I tend to do most of my reading at night before I go to bed, I have not (yet) completed the last part of the book, which is more of a workbook. However, I did find Casey's advice to be inspiring and uplifting. This isn't exactly a step-by-step guide for how to actually make it happen (if you find that, will you let me know? and let me know what it is), but instead it's more about listening to yourself and to God. I liked it because it seems like a lot of the go-get-'em advice out there is about hustling and "leaning in" and taking risks, but Casey reminds me that life is about more than measurable successes. 

Have you read anything good lately? 

From the archives: 

Your Spring Style: Spring Celebrations

Every Tuesday in April, Anne and I are hosting a spring style link up. Today is the last one, but we would love for you to follow along and link up a spring look! 

Today is all about spring celebrations, a timely topic since I just celebrated turning a year older this weekend. Well, I'm not sure turning a year older was what I was celebrating, but that was the excuse at least. Aaron and I went to dinner with friends and then out for drinks, and thanks to grandparents eager to keep Jona overnight, we were even able to sleep in (which was nice--Jona's current weekend wake-up time has been 6:30am on the dot for the last few months). Between that and my day off Friday, this weekend was a treat!

When I was shopping at Gap on Friday, I decided to try on these joggers (does anyone else think that's a silly name?) on a whim. I have to admit that I was surprised at how much I liked them, and since they were on sale plus an additional 50% off I couldn't pass them up. I think they'll be great worn casually too, but first I wanted to try dressing them up for a night out. I paired them with my white blazer, a simple tee, heels (the only pair I included in this capsule) and a statement necklace. It was a nice departure from my usual night-out look. 

Dressed up joggers |

joggers with blazer, statement necklace and heels |

Date night look: blazer, statement necklace, joggers |

White blazer: Madewell | navy blue tee: J.Crew Factory | navy print joggers: Gap | necklace: Bauble Bar | heels: Old Navy

Are you celebrating anything this spring? Link up your spring celebration looks below! Be sure to link back to Anne or I so that we can share the love. 

From the archives: 

Day Off Striped Dress

I took the day off Friday, and other than taking Ellie to the vet I didn't do much of anything, which was absolutely wonderful. I did a little shopping and found a few things on sale at Gap, which I'll show off soon. Other than that, I did a little blog reading, book reading, and even fit in a short nap. As busy as this month as been, having a day off to recharge was exactly what I needed.

While I bought this dress to take me from work to weekend, it has unfortunately been relegated to weekends and days off only. Despite following the laundering instructions, it sure did shrink a good couple of inches after I washed it! I feel like this has happened a few times with dresses I bought at Old Navy. I don't know if I need to stop drying them (despite what the tag says) or stop buying them.

So, a bit random, but that's my story for today. How did you spend your last day off? 

Jean Jacket with Striped Dress |

denim jacket, striped dress, white sneakers |

jean jacket, stripes, statement necklace, sneakers |

Denim Jacket with Stripes and a Statement Necklace |

Jean jacket: Gap |  striped dress: Old Navy | pink necklace: Bauble Bar | white sneakers: Converse

Other ways I've worn my jean jacket: 

Denim Jacket worn 3 Ways |

{1 | 2 | 3}

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the last Your Spring Style linkup - show off  what you're wearing for spring celebrations!

From the archives: 

Weekly Eats: Let (Me) Eat Cake

I'm not usually a big cake person. There are a few that I like, but you know my (ice cream) dessert (ice cream) preferences (ice cream). Surprisingly, I don't make a lot of ice cream either, although I'd really like to get better at that. Anyway, my point is that I don't often make cake, but when I do, it has to be moist, fudgy, and dangerously full of chocolate.

This Chocolate Yogurt Cake from Mel's Kitchen Cafe definitely fits the bill. The yogurt and 5 (!) eggs are the reason for the richness and moisture, no doubt. While it's baking, the chocolate chips fall to the bottom and melt, making a sweet, fudgy layer. On top, I sprinkled on some toffee bits for a little bit of crunch. Top it ith a little whipped cream, and here's a cake I can raise a fork to.

Chocolate Yogurt Cake |

Not that you need a reason to eat cake, but mine is that my birthday is tomorrow! What's your favorite kind of cake?

From the Archives:

Breakfast Makeover: Tartines

Today I'm linking up to Pin to Present at In Residence. Be sure to check out other Pinterest-inspired projects over there! 

One of my goals for this month is doing a breakfast makeover. I'm tired of eating cereal every morning, just to feel hungry again by 9am. Because I still need something quick and easy in the mornings, I thought I'd start with toast. On my breakfast Pinterest board I found a pin from A Cup of Jo that featured breakfast tartines.  I decided to try a few of those ideas to make toast a little more interesting, in hopes it would do a better job of filling me up.

Breakfast Tartines |

Over the past few weeks, I tried 3 out of the 4 tartines: the avocado-feta tartine, the nutella-almond tartine, and the strawberry tartine.

{my favorite} Nutella + almonds + sea salt. Is anyone really surprised here? Anytime I can have dessert but call it a meal I'm on board. The "recipe" (if you can really call it that) also called for a drizzle of olive oil. I tried that, but found that I didn't love the olive oil taste with the nutella taste. The verdict? Delicious, but I still felt hungry before lunch.

Nutella Almond Toast |

{kept me full} avocado + feta + sunflower seeds. This was on the opposite spectrum from the Nutella toast, as it was completly on the savory side. I found the avocado-feta combo to be pretty genius--the flavors balance each other out perfectly. The sunflower seeds add a tasty little crunch too. The verdict? This one kept me happily full until lunch time, score! The only down side was the prep time (not terrible, but I was eating dry cereal before...) and the endless battle of keeping half an avocado from browning.

Avocado Feta Sunflower Seed Toast |

{meh} strawberries + cheese. This one called for creamy, dreamy mascarpone cheese, but all I had was some ricotta. I sweetened it up with honey, but I'm afraid it just didn't do the trick. If I try this one again, I'll go for the real deal with mascarpone or at the very least some cream cheese. I love ricotta in my stuffed shells, but not so much for breakfast. The verdict? To me, ricotta is not so hot(-tah) for breakfast.

Strawberry Honey Ricotta Toast |

I'm so glad I found some non-cereal options, but my pursuit of better breakfast is an ongoing one. What do you eat for breakfast and, more importantly, does it keep you full

From the archives:

Currently: Jona at 20 Months

Hi Shea Lennon readers, Jona here again! I had so much fun writing the last Currently post for my mom's blog that I wanted to do it again. And all I have to do to get her to say yes is just open my eyes real wide and stick out my bottom like a charm. #wrappedaroundmyfinger #nevertooyoungforhashtags

Here's what I'm up to at 20 months. 

Loving: baseball. My daddy and I love to shout "baseball!" to get pumped for Royals games. Something about that game makes me want to stop what I'm doing and watch. I don't know why, but sometimes the game stops and the TV starts showing something completely different (mommy says it's a "commercial") and I get pretty mad. I say "Oh no, baseball!" to try to bring back my game. Eventually that works and it comes back on! I love it. 

Wearing: sunglasses and polos. My mom may be the style blogger of the family, but I happen to rock polo shirts and sunglasses like nobody's business. I'm also feeling nautical prints, stripes, and my navy blue Toms this spring. 

Practicing: my manners. I know that if I'm going to woo the ladies in a few years I have to be on point in the manners game, so I'm getting a head start now. I've realized that my parents are way more likely to give me something (like ice cream!) if I say please first. I've had "thank you" mastered for quite some time now, but when I combine the two...I'm irresistable. I also say "bless you dada" or "bless you mama" when my parents sneeze, and they really eat that up. 

Helping with: the chores. I'm a really good helper, that's what my mommy always tells me. I love to help her cook, sometimes I even get to stir in the pan or add ingredients to the bowl! I also love putting laundry in the basket (and taking it out again). I really like to try to put on clothes and shoes myself, but mommy insists on helping me for some reason...something about pants not going on your head, whatever. 

Showing off: my talking skills. In my 20 months of experience, I've learned that there are certain things I say that my mom and dad really love to hear, and they really love making me say those things for other people too. When I'm in the mood, I'll perform. I can count to 14 and say my ABCs, but I have to be in the mood to say them on-demand. I also get extra hugs from my mommy when I say, "I love you, mama." 

Asking: why. I'm trying to find out #ALLTHETHINGS. It's pretty funny to try to hear mommy try to come up with an answer for everything. I can't wait to ask her things like "Where do babies come from?" 

Well, I've got to go. I see a cell phone on the table and I need to go hand it to my daddy. Helper, remember? 

From the archives: 

Your Spring Style: Spring Inspirations

Every Tuesday in April, Anne and I are hosting a spring style link up. We would love for you to follow along and link up a spring look! 

Today's Your Spring Style is all about what's inspiring you for spring. My Spring 2015 Inspiration Pinterest board is where I've been storing that inspiration. When I look at my board as a whole, three major themes stand out. 

Pale Pink + Edge

Pale pink is big right now, and I'm loving it. I used to fear that it would wash me out, but I've grown more accepting of my pale skin over the years, and now I think the soft pink complements it nicely. Pale pink can be too sweet, however, if it's paired with too many other pastels and girly elements. I'm drawn to looks that mix it with a little edge, like snakeskin print and ripped up jeans. 

Stripes for Life

Okay, when are stripes NOT on my inspiration boards? Rhetorical question... the answer is never. So stripes, stripes and more stripes are on my mind once again this spring. (Just take a look at my spring capsule if you doubt my devotion to the stripe life.) 


Jean jacket, white jeans, boyfriend jeans, chambray shirt... it's safe to say I have a healthy obsession with denim. This spring I'm in the mood to make denim look light and fresh by pairing it with bright colors, patterns, and crisp white accents. 

My Take

Here's my interpretation of the Pale Pink + Edge inspiration. 

pale pink with a little edge |

pale pink cardigan, lace top, dark jeans, snakeskin flats |

pale pink + edge |

pale pink cardigan, lace top, statement necklace |

Pale pink cardigan: Old Navy | gray lace top: Loft | dark skinny jeans: Gap | necklace: Bauble Bar | snakeskin flats: Target

What's inspiring you this spring? We would love for you to link up an inspired look below! Be sure to link back to me or Anne (In Residence) so we can share the love. 

Also linking up to Pastel Me at the Creative Closet

From the archives: 

Floral Formula for Busy Days

After the winter months dragged by, I feel like the speed of time has tripled in April. There are less than two weeks remaining, and I feel like I'm not even close to doing everything I planned to do. I know that life is more than checking things off a list, but for me those lists are what keep me motivated and keep me organized.

Part of what has made this month feel so frenzied is all the GOING. My homebody tendencies strengthen with age, and the combination of events, showers, and family visits (all good things, mind you) that have filled up April's calendar have worn me out.

This outfit has been a perfect one for a busy month. The combination of pull-on skirt, tee shirt, and light outer layer (in this case, chambray...big surprise) is one that I reach for again and again when I have to go quickly from one thing to the next. In this case, I went from a busy day at work to a long car ride to visit my in-laws. It has just the balance of comfort and polish that I need.

Are you a homebody like me or is a full social calendar more your jam? 

Chambray shirt: Madewell | navy t-shirt: J.Crew Factory | floral skirt: Target | necklace: c/o Swell Caroline | yellow sandals: Steve Madden

Here are 2 other ways I've worn this floral skirt: 

{1 | 2}

Come back tomorrow for Your Spring Style and link up your "Spring Inspirations" looks. I'd love to see what's inspiring you right now and how you're interpreting that inspiration in your own closet. 

From the archives: 

Weekly Eats: Kitchen Essentials

Earlier this week I rounded up some of my spring wardrobe essentials, so today I thought I'd share a few kitchen essentials as well. I'm not a big kitchen-gadget person; there are a few I have and love (garlic press, citrus juicer) but otherwise I typically stick to the basics. Here are 5 things that I can't live without in the kitchen.

5 Essential Kitchen Items |

1. Good quality chef's knife. Aaron and I got a Wusthof knife similar to this one as a wedding gift, and it's still my absolute favorite. While I'm sure there are more affordable options out there, I'm a believer in having one really good knife vs. several cheap options. I pretty much use this knife every time I cook; it's without a doubt my most-used kitchen item.

2. Large wood cutting board. When I'm putting dinner together, I like to get all the chopping done before I start cooking anything, so it comes together more quickly. I like having a big cutting board so I can chop one thing and put it to the side, then move on to the next thing. Yes, I could put ingredients in pretty little dishes (like they do in cooking shows) but then you have to wash your dishwasher has to wash a bunch of pretty little dishes. I'd rather keep everything on a big cutting board.

3. Liquid measuring cups. Yes, it's a measuring cup...but it's so much more!! Other than the obvious use of, well, measuring liquids, I like to use these Pyrex bad boys for mixing dressings and sauces. When I make a stir-fry, for example, I make the sauce in the measuring cup and then add it to the pan. It's less messy because of the pour-spout, plus I don't have to use lots of other measuring cups since the measures are right on the side of the cup.

4. Microplane. I got my microplane as a stocking-stuffer many, many years ago and it's been a favorite ever since. I use it to zest lemons and limes, grate hard cheese (like Parmesan), grate ginger, and even grate peeled cloves of garlic. With it's nearly daily use, I'm so impressed with how sharp it stays, even when I throw it in the dishwasher time after time.

5. Oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven. For the longest time if I was starting a dish on the stove and finishing it in the oven, I had to transfer everything from a skillet to a baking dish. This Christmas though I got an enamel-coated Dutch oven that lets me go from stove to oven in one dish. (Do I sound like an infomercial or what?) But seriously, I love having the option of searing something (like chicken) on a higher heat on the stove, but then finishing it up in the oven so it can cook more evenly. A Dutch oven is also great for soups, stews, and braising large pieces of meat.

Tell me, what are your kitchen essentials? 

Go Blog Social: 3 Things I Learned

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend Go Blog Social, a blogging and small business conference that's held here in Kansas City. Although I attended their smaller, one-day workshop in February, this was my first full conference. I'm glad I went for a number of reasons, but a big one was that it forced me to get out of my comfort zone and network. I'm more caterpillar than social butterfly, so networking does not come easy.

In addition to meeting a lot of inspiring women (many of whom were equally reluctant networkers), I also learned some invaluable blogging advice.

Go Blog Social in Kansas City |

beautiful flowers from Trapp and Co

1. Stand out. Andra and Kelly, the branding experts behind With Grace and Gold talked about the importance of finding what separates you from the crowd. Your brand, they said, is more than just your logo and color palette, but it's the "why" behind it. They talked about creating a "signature move," something that is uniquely you, to set you apart from the crowd.

GBS Speakers Alea Lovely and Kilee Nickels |

Alea Lovely and Kilee Nickels

2. Look outward. Blogging is all about sharing your story, but another theme I heard at GBS was to shift the focus to your readers. Both Alea Lovely, a successful photographer, and Kilee Nickels, owner/creator of Nickel and Suede jewelry, talked about looking for ways to help others in what you do. By turning the focus outward, sharing your story can also help readers solve a problem.

GBS Speaker Mandy of Sugar Bee Crafts and GBS Team |

Mandy Beyeler and the GBS Team

3. Dream big, set goals, then be brave and get to work! None of the speakers talked about the ease of success, or how their triumphs have just fallen into their laps. Instead, they talked about how they made their dreams a reality by working hard every day. Mandy Beyeler of Sugar Bee Crafts talked about the importance of writing down your goals, something I've been trying to focus on this year. Part of attaining those goals is putting yourself out there, and being brave enough to ask for what you want was another oft-repeated theme. I often find myself finding reasons why something wouldn't work or why someone wouldn't want to collaborate before I even get a chance to ask, so this was a big one for me.

Blog Buddies and Lily Jade Co Bag |

With KC Blog buddy Lane (of Missalaneyus) and wearing a cute Lily Jade backpack

Although these are the big ideas that stood out to me the most, this is just a small portion of what I learned at Go Blog Social. I encourage anyone who's never been before to check it out, or attend a blogging conference in your area.

Have you been to a blogging conference? How about a conference related to your work? What was your experience? 

From the archives: 

The Reverse Bucket List

This week's The Circle linkup asks us to create a "reverse bucket list"--instead of listing all the things we still want to do, name a few that we've already done. Pretty cool, right? Be sure to check out the other lists at In its Time

I absolutely love this idea, especially since this year I've been trying to (and struggling to) focus on contentment. I have no beef with a bucket list, but sometimes focusing on all those things I still haven't done can be somewhat depressing. This idea though, to take stock of your life and say, "Hey, look at all these awesome things I have done!" is a beautiful thing. I think I needed this, in a way. Making this list reminded me that my life is actually pretty dang good, so I should really spend more time focusing on this list, and not the one I make with all those haven't-yets.

Awesome things that I have done: 

Reverse Bucket List Places I've Been |

1. Study abroad in Paris. The summer of my senior year at K-State, I traveled to Paris with a group of students to study French at l'Institute Catholique. If that sounds utterly fantastique to you, that's because it was! I stayed with a host family, a sweet motherly woman who bought me chocolate ice cream and teased me when my pants started to look a little tight by the time I had to go. (Some people gain the Freshman 15, I gained the Paris 20.) It was such a memorable, wonderful experience; my only regret is that I didn't go sooner and stay longer! 

2. Surprise my mom in Hawaii on her 60th Birthday.  A couple of years ago, Aaron and I got the crazy idea to go to Hawaii (where my mom lives for part of the year...sweet, right?) for my mom's 60th birthday. What would make it even crazier is that we wouldn't tell her, we'd just show up (we made plans first with her significant other, don't worry!). The look on my mom's face that day at the airport was unforgettable. So was the rest of the trip; Hawaii is breathtakingly beautiful, what an amazing memory. 

3. Go to a World Series game. Not just any World Series game either, but one that my very own Royals played in last year! True story, we sold Aaron's old pickup to pay for the tickets--those babies weren't cheap! But, it was an experience we both really wanted, and that pickup really needed to go anyway. My dad, a huge baseball fan, came with us, and other than the fact that we got our Royal butts whooped by the Giants, it was a good time. I will never forget that night! 

Reverse Bucket List Loves of My Life |

4. Meet a great guy and get married. I met Aaron in college; he was the roommate of my best friend's then-boyfriend. When I met him I knew right away that he was one of the good ones. I had a boyfriend at the time, but when I was single again it didn't take me long to not-so-subtly show Aaron that I was interested. Lucky for me, he felt the same way, and now, 11 years of dating and 8 years of marriage later, he's still the love of my life. 

5. Become a mom. I was never the type who dreamed about having babies; I had friends who did, and I wondered sometimes if I just wasn't cut out for motherhood. At one point though, this switch flipped inside of me and I knew that I wanted a child. This sounds cheesy and trite, but honestly, my life changed in the best way when Jona was born. Sure there have been lots of challenges (hello "angry baby" newborn stage!) but being that cute, sweet, stubborn little guy's mom is the best!

Reverse Bucket List Kansas City Adventures |

6. Discover the best ice cream in KC. You know how much I love ice cream. (If you're new here, welcome to my blog! I'm obsessed with ice cream. Now you know.) I'm not an ice cream snob; I'm happy to scoop myself a bowl of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (no more recalls please BB!). However, going out for ice cream is the best kind of treat. In my opinion, the best ice cream in Kansas City can be found at Murray's. They have an impressive selection of amazing flavors, but my favorite is Chocolate Flake Fromage, a tangy cheesecake-like ice cream with thin chocolate chunks. 

7. Have a play-date at the Nelson Atkins Museum. That's right, my baby is so hipster we have play-dates at museums! Or something like that. In reality, my friend and I went because our kids were still young enough to be happy* hanging out in a stroller while we walked around, chatted, and looked at art. (*Or so we thought...the kids were done with the art-viewing pretty early on, so we ate some lunch and walked around outside the museum.) 

8. Attend a blogging conference. Two weekends ago I attended Go Blog Social here in Kansas City, and it was such an inspiring event. I will share more about the conference and what I learned here tomorrow, so be sure to come back! 

What is on your "reverse bucket list"? 

From the archives: 

Your Spring Style: Spring Essentials

Every Tuesday in April, Anne and I are hosting a spring style link up. We would love for you to follow along and link up a spring look! 

This week's Your Spring Style theme is Spring Essentials, which was a bit of a struggle to narrow down, to be honest. My devotion to spring tends to make me think ALL THE THINGS are essentials. However, I came up with a list of five things that I can't live without in the spring.

5 Spring Essentials |

{four} print dress
{five} pop of color

One thing I love about these 5 essentials is that they all work really well together. This look, showcasing 3 out of the 5, is a combination that I've had on repeat for years. It's easy to swap out the bright sandals for a neutral pair, and add color with a pretty top. Or, instead of the jeans, I could wear the jean jacket with a print dress. So many combinations, it almost means I won't need to do any more shopping this spring. Almost.

Spring Essentials with jean jacket, striped top and white jeans |

Spring casual look with denim jacket and white jeans |

jean jacket and striped top #spring |

Jean jacket: Gap | gray striped shirt: J.Crew Factory | white jeans: Loft | necklace: Bauble Bar | yellow sandals: Steve Madden 

What are your spring essentials? We'd love for you to link up below! Just be sure to link back to the original post here or at In Residence so we can share the love! 

From the archives: