What I Read: July

This hasn't been a month for much reading and relaxation time. We're putting our house on the market in less than a week, so July has been crunch time for the great house project to-do list of 2015. So I'm quite happy with my two-book month. Here's what I read.

{one} Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. When she lost her Uncle Finn to AIDS in the late 1980s, June Elbus lost her best friend and the only person she ever felt at home with. Although she knew Finn was gay, after he died she discovered there was a whole world he never shared with her, that of his life with his long-time partner Toby. At first, she pushes Toby away and blames him for Finn's death. Yet eventually she lets herself be befriended by Toby, and in him not only does she find friendship and comfort, but a before unseen window into the life of the person she loved most. 

Recommend? Yes. A beautiful, sad, sweet story that's worth getting lost in. 

{two} Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay. Sydney Blake is staying with her father Tim, a divorced car salesman, right before she disappears. Tim's not willing to sit back and let the police handle the investigation alone, so he starts taking a close look at the life she led to discover where she might be. When the people at the job Sydney said she was going to every day claim they've never seen her before, he knows that there was more to her life than what he and her mother ever knew. Full of twists and turns, this thriller keeps you guessing to the very end. 

Recommend? Sure, it's a fun read. Maybe not if you have a teenage daughter. 

Have you read anything good lately? 

I will be taking the rest of the week off so that I can focus on getting our house ready to sell. I will be back with a style post on Monday. I may be slow to respond to comments and read your blogs but I'll do my best! Have a great weekend! 

From the archives: 

#SoakUpSummer Instagram Challenge

Well, I had a stripe-themed style post planned for you today, but I asked the question "What else could go wrong today?" before we took outfit photos and the camera's battery died right after yesterday's pictures were taken. I know, I was pretty much asking for it. Life is a little crazy right now; our house is going on the market in just a few days, and it's crunch time to get everything done.

However, I did want to share that that my blog buddy Beth and I are joining forces in August to host a summer-themed Instagram style challenge! Instagram is my favorite (follow along, I'm @shealennon) and I love participating in IG style challenges. I was even more thrilled when Beth agreed to host one with me. I would love for you to join in the fun.

August #SoakUpSummer Instagram style challenge | www.shealennon.com

Feel free to share this graphic on Social Media and post your August summer looks using the hashtag #SoakUpSummer

Here are a few recent Instagram looks; I love sharing my daily outfit and joining in challenges. Most recently this summer I did #WearWhatWearJune and #Create28SummerLooks. 

Do you do any Instagram challenges? 

summer daily outfits @shealennon | www.shealennon.com

Linking to Bloggers Who Inspire Me and On Trend Tuesdays. 

From the archives: 

Stripe Week: Weekend Striped Dress

I can’t continue to do these themed style weeks without including my favorite pattern, stripes.  I love stripes for a whole host of reasons, but mostly because they’re just so easy to wear. They play nicely with other prints, and I can’t think of a time when stripes didn’t sit at the cool patterns table.

Since it’s been hotter than [insert regional heat metaphor here—I’ll go with “a mosquito’s tweeter,” no idea where that came from] lately, I can’t get enough lightweight dresses. This striped cotton dress, with floral shoes and a bright necklace, is ready for the weekend.  

What is your favorite pattern? 

summer weekend look: striped dress with sneakers | www.shealennon.com

summer weekend look: striped dress with floral sneakers | www.shealennon.com

striped dress for a summer weekend | www.shealennon.com

Striped dress: Old Navy | necklace: Swell Caroline | sneakers: Gap via Twice

From the archives: 

Weekly Eats: Menu Week of July 20 and Project Food Budget

Since doing this Project Food Budget I’ve been asked a few questions about what my weekly food budget includes. This budget is our weekly grocery budget, which includes food for all the meals we eat or make at home each week (typically this is all meals except for 2-3 weekend meals out). We have a separate Target/Costco/non-food budget, but since I sometimes get food from Target and Costco the dividing line between the budgets can be a little fuzzy. To be honest I still don’t really have it figured out, although in general I do not include Target or Costco purchases (even if they’re food) in my grocery budget. Finally, one more thing I’ll mention is that I buy meat when it goes on sale and freeze it until I’m ready to use it, so each week’s meals aren’t necessarily reflective of what I bought at the store that week. Rather, they’re a combination of fresh ingredients, freezer finds, and pantry staples. Here are this week's deets.
  • Target budget: $75
  • Actual spent: $72 (woohoo!)
  • Splurge: Talenti gelato was buy one get one free. Even though I just made ice cream, it doesn’t hurt to stock up on more. Clearly I have a problem. #icecreamhoarder


Clockwise from top left:

{one} mediterranean chopped chicken pita from martha stewart. This one is probably the simplest of them all this week, yet I think it was my favorite. It's just simply seasoned grilled chicken on a pita (we used naan bread) with hummus, tomatoes, scallions, and feta cheese with a sqeeze of lemon. So fresh, summery and delicious.

{two} bbq chicken pizza pasta bake from picky palate. This was quick and easy and different from anything I've had before. The barbecue sauce, corn, and cilantro made this cheesy pasta dish taste really fresh and summery. It was a hit. 

{three} pineapple pork kebabs from budget bytes with rice and beans. I'm not the best at remembering to marinate meat the night before I make it, but I'm learning that it really does make a difference. Pork is one of those meats that can get dry really easily, but the flavor and juiciness of this pork I'm sure was due in part to the overnight marinade. While these could easily be done outdoors on the grill, I just popped these under the broiler and they were done in just a few minutes.

{four} shrimp chowder from martha stewart. This one took a bit of convincing for Aaron; he's typically not a soup-in-the-summer type of person. However, since the soup had shrimp in it, he was willing to give it a go. Even though it was piping hot soup, the shrimp, corn, and milk broth (rather than heavy cream) kept it from being too heavy for this time of year. 

What's the best thing you ate this week?

From the archives: 

Neon Week: Neon Accents for My Summer Uniform

So far for this neon week, I've done a neon print top paired with white denim, and chartreuse shorts paired with gold. Today I'm taking a more subtle approach to my neon, because not everyone looks at a pair of chartreuse shorts and thinks "hey, I should buy those!" (In my defense they were on sale, I've worn them quite a bit, and I was more tan when I bought them. Two truths and a lie... you can guess which is which.)

Here, the neon necklace, belt, and sandals add some interest to a basic shorts and white tee look. This shorts plus tee combination has pretty much been my weekend uniform lately, and I like how the blazer and necklace dress it up just a little to go from errand-running and toddler-chasing to dinner out.

What's your current weekend uniform and how do you change it up? 

casual weekend look with neon accents | www.shealennon.com

striped blazer and tee with neon accents | www.shealennon.com

adding neon accents to basics | www.shealennon.com

coral lips and nails | www.shealennon.com

casual weekend look with striped blazer and neon accents | www.shealennon.com

Striped blazer: Gap Outlet | white tee shirt: J.Crew Factory | jean shorts: Loft (similar) | pink necklace: Bauble Bar | chartreuse belt: Loft | orange sandals: Old Navy

Linking to Summer Style, Thursday Favorites, and "Craving Coral" at Makeup Mix-up.

From the archives: 

Pinterest Inspired: Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

You probably know by now that I have a slight obsession with ice cream. It's my desert island food (if my desert island were equipped with a freezer, of course), my comfort treat, and my constant craving. Forget flowers if I'm having a bad day, Aaron knows that an ice cream run will cheer me up like nothing else.

Typically when a craving hits, I seek instant gratification. Either whatever's in my freezer or Sheridan's Frozen Custard right down the street will do the trick, thank you. However, sometimes I come across an ice cream recipe that sounds so good that it's worth waiting on, and this Mexican Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream from Homesick Texan was just that.

The chocolatier the better is my personal ice cream credo, and this one combines chocolate ice cream, brownies, and a bit of spice to keep things interesting. I made the recipe, including the homemade brownies spiced with cinnamon and ancho chile powder. However the brownies were a bit of a disaster. I'm sure it was me, not the recipe (my old stove-top has two temperatures, off and hot, and it went downhill from there), but they turned into little brownie-shaped hockey pucks. So rather than the spicy brownie bits I mixed in chopped up regular store-bought brownies and pecans. The end result was a chocolaty, creamy ice cream with a hint of spice. Yum!

Do you ever make ice cream? What's your favorite to make (or eat)? 

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream | www.shealennon.com

Pinterest inspired Mexican chocolate ice cream | www.shealennon.com

Spicy, sweet, and chocolaty: Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream | www.shealennon.com

Linking to Pin to Present at In Residence

From the archives: 

Neon Week: Chartreuse Shorts with Gold

I'm continuing this week's neon theme with these chartreuse shorts that are perfect for a hot summer day. I got the idea for this look from Lydia of Chic on the Cheap, one of my favorite bloggers, when she wore a cute gold pineapple print shirt with a neon yellow skirt.

I liked it so much I wanted to recreate it with similar items in my closet. For some reason, I don't often think to pair neon yellow with gold, but after trying this combination I really like the two together.

What's a color combination you recently tried and liked? 

Neon shorts with gold accents | www.shealennon.com

How to style chartreuse shorts | www.shealennon.com

Neon yellow shorts with gold accents for summer | www.shealennon.com

White and gold tee: Old Navy (similar) | chartreuse shorts: Old Navy (similar) | necklace: Bauble Bar | gold braid belt: Loft (similar) | gold sandals: Target

Jona wanted in on the neon week action too, so he put on his chartreuse polo shirt. He paired it with pink plaid shorts and his (mom's) favorite slip-on shoes. Oh, and for Jona no look is complete without a hat.

Neon yellow mom and toddler boy look | www.shealennon.com

neon yellow toddler boy look | www.shealennon.com

On Jona: chartreuse polo: Carter's | plaid shorts: Carter's | slip-on shoes: Old Navy | hat: gift

Linking to "metallics" at the Creative Closet, On Trend Tuesdays, Bloggers Who Inspire Me, and Confident Twosday

From the archives: 

Neon Week: Hot Pink and Cobalt Top

I know I already had a bright color week, but in an effort to make my "dress colorfully" summer goal happen, this week I'm upping my color game even more with neon week. I've been embracing the neon trend for a few years now, and I wondered when coming up with this theme if neon is still cool. Then I decided that I don't care. I mean, as someone who brings a book with me wherever I go--just in case--and thoroughly enjoys the task of alphabetizing my boss's business cards, I'm pretty sure the "cool" ship sailed (leaving me on the shore) some time ago.

Today I'm incorporating some neon with this new top I got in my first Stitch Fix (see my review here). I love how the hot pink pops against the cobalt blue; both are colors that I like to wear yet don't have a lot of. I wanted these bold, bright colors to stand out, so I paired my top with white jeans and neutral sandals.

Come back tomorrow and Thursday for more neon inspiration.

How do you feel about neon? If you're a fan, what's your favorite neon piece to wear?

neon print top with white denim for summer | www.shealennon.com

neon print top with white denim for summer | www.shealennon.com

neon pink top and white jeans | www.shealennon.com

summer outfit idea: neon print top with white denim | www.shealennon.com

Pink and cobalt top: 41 Hawthorn via Stitch Fix | white jeans: Loft (similar) | jeweled sandals: Target (similar)

Linking up with Mix it Mondays, Let it Shine, Monday Mingle, and Mingle Monday

From the archives: 

Weekly Eats: Menu Week of July 13 and Project Food Budget

Despite buying pork chops, pork tenderloin, and chicken this week I managed to stay on budget. Three cheers for that! 
  • Target budget: $75
  • Actual spent: $72
  • Shocker: I did not buy any ice cream this week. (But don't worry, my freezer is well stocked.) 
  • Favorite thing on sale: avocados (I forgot to put them on the tacos, so I had avocado toast instead the next day.) 


{one} one pan honey garlic chicken and veggies from damn delicious. Damn Delicious has been killing it lately with the one pan dishes, and this was another good one. I was skeptical; I've over-cooked chicken breast in the oven more than once. But this chicken was juicy and tender, and the potatoes and broccoli rounded out the meal nicely.

{two} cajun shrimp with garlic parmesan cream sauce (also) from damn delicious. It seems I have a food blog obsession of late. For his birthday, I knew Aaron would want shrimp for dinner, so I pulled up all the shrimp recipes I have on my Pinterest boards and let him choose. This one was the lucky winner! 

{three} pork tenderloin with peanut-lime sauce from the food charlatan. You know how much I love peanut sauce. (And if you don't... well, I love peanut sauce!) I totally recommend this recipe, it was incredibly flavorful. 

{four} easy weeknight chicken tacos from how sweet it is. The night I made these there were thunderstorms going on and tornado warnings in our area. Our dog Ellie was freaking out and Jona was extra energetic. On top of the tacos I was also making corn, so at the time I scoffed at the name "easy" chicken tacos. It seemed like I had about a million things going on and the tacos were a little more involved than I had expected. However, when we finally sat down to eat them, Aaron and I just looked at each other and said "Wow, these are good." So maybe not the easiest weeknight meal, but totally worth it. (And likely will be much easier under normal weather and pet conditions.)

What was your favorite meal this week? 

Check out the other awesome PFB bloggers! 

From the archives: 

My First Stitch Fix Review: My July Fix

This month I signed up for Stitch Fix, something that I'd been thinking about for a long time. It appealed to me not only because of reviews I've seen on other blogs, but also because even when I have money to shop (which is not as often as I'd like) one thing I don't have is time. Stitch Fix makes shopping easy by sending five pieces, based on the style profile I filled out and link to my summer style Pinterest board, which I can choose from and keep all or none. I really enjoy reading others' Stitch Fix reviews, so I thought I'd share mine here.

Here's what I got in my July fix.

{one} Bay to Baubles - Piper Teardrop Bauble Necklace: $34

July 2015 Stitch Fix Review | www.shealennon.com

I love that my stylist, Katrina, sent me a bright statement necklace, because this is a detail I love adding to outfits. However, for some reason I just didn't love this one. I can't even say exactly why, I just know that to me it wasn't worth $34.

Verdict: Return

{two} Hailey 23 - Gavin Striped Dress, Medium: $68

Stitch Fix Review: July 2015 | www.shealennon.com

Guys, I really wanted to love this dress. After my Old Navy striped dress shrunk, I've been keeping my eye out for another one, because it's something I know I'll wear all the time. It isn't too obvious in the photos (surprisingly--usually photos are the worst!), but it was not flattering. The area just below the waistline was very clingy; that area of my body has never been my favorite, and it's even less so since the whole 9 months of growing a human thing happened a couple of years ago.

Verdict: Return, regretfully

{three} Skies are Blue - Kavinski Button Down Blouse, Small: $44

July 2015 Stitch Fix Review | www.shealennon.com

I was impressed by the quality of this blouse, and this is something I would totally pick for myself and try on at a store. I liked it, however I just didn't love the fit. It was a little loose overall, and the shape just didn't really flatter me. For $44, I just didn't like it enough to keep.

Verdict: Return

{four} Dear John - Lillie Cuffed Short, 6: $58

July 2015 Stitch Fix Review | www.shealennon.com

I liked these and they fit well, although once I rolled them up they felt a little short. However, I already have a pair of jean shorts (seen here) that I really like, so I just couldn't justify having another really similar pair.

Verdict: Return

{five} 41Hawthorn - Shalley Split Neck Blouse, Small: $48

July 2015 Stitch Fix Review | www.shealennon.com

I loved this blouse! You know how I've been talking about wanting to add more color to my wardrobe this summer, and this one fits the bill. I love the cobalt and bright pink, and the pattern is fun and different from anything I have in my closet. I immediately thought of several ways I could wear it. Although $48 is more than what I typically spend on a top, I think it's worth keeping.

Verdict: Keep!

Overall, I had a great experience with Stitch Fix. I felt like my stylist listened to what I wanted and looked at my blog and Pinterest board, and really used those things in her selections. I liked all the items I got, even though I didn't love them all on, which is pretty normal for any shopping trip. I also didn't have the budget to buy everything, so honestly I'm relieved that it was a pretty easy decision for me. I'm hoping to sign up for another Fix next month, although I haven't signed up for the automatic monthly delivery. Right now with all the house stuff we have going on I'm just going to play it month to month depending on our budget. But for those unsure and thinking to try it, I would wholeheartedly recommend Stitch Fix!

Have you tried Stitch Fix? Are there any subscription boxes you receive each month? 

Linking to Summer Style, Just Jacq, and Thursday Favorites. 

From the archives: 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review, however I do get credit if you sign up for Stitch Fix using the links I've provided.  

Introductions: A Little Bit About Me

Today I'm linking up to The Circle, where today's theme is all about introductions. I'm so happy you stopped by, and if you're here for the first time, it's so nice to meet you! Be sure to head to In Its Time to get to know some other bloggers in this inspiring, encouraging community. 

{about me} Hi, I'm Shea, welcome to my blog! I live in a suburb of Kansas City with my husband Aaron, our almost two-year-old Jona, and our completely spoiled mutt Ellie. I'm an assistant to the CEO of a wellness company by day, but it's here in this space that I get to do what I love most: write, share my story, be creative, and (hopefully) inspire other women to do the same.

{a few of my favorite things}

  • thing to eat: ice cream (the chocolatier, the better)
  • relaxation activity: reading
  • room in the house: kitchen 
  • alcoholic beverage: wine (red in fall and winter, white in spring and summer)
  • sport to watch: baseball (go Royals!)
  • college team: Kansas State Wildcats (my alma mater)
  • organization tools: google calendar, paper planner, multi-colored Paper Mate flair pens 
  • accessory to buy: shoes
  • type of flower: sunflower

{about Shea Lennon} If you're new here, welcome! Here's what you'll find on Shea Lennon (which are my first and middle names, by the way). 
  • personal style that focuses on remixing what's in my closet
  • weekly menus featuring recipes I cook for my family each week
  • other ways I find my "good life" while living on a budget
Thanks for reading! I'd love for you to tell me a little about you or about your favorite things in the comments. 

From the archives: 

Pastel Week: Sweet and Modern

Yesterday was all about toughening up pastel, but today I'd like to embrace its sweeter side. I think it's possible to wear pastels in a way that looks feminine and soft, but still age-appropriate and sophisticated.

One of my favorite pastel shades right now is mint green, and I love the way it contrasts with navy blue (my current favorite neutral #navyforever). I combined my mint cardigan and necklace with this palm print navy blue dress, and I think it keeps the sweetness of the pastel while still looking modern. I've worn this dress, which has a fun cut-out back, to a couple of weddings this summer, but with a cardigan it becomes work-friendly as well. You know how much I love a piece that can do double-duty.

How do you dress down a party dress? 

sweet but modern pastel look for work | www.shealennon.com

sweet but modern pastels for work | www.shealennon.com

wavy hair with braid detail | www.shealennon.com

"Bronzed" for Make Up Mix Up at Making Mrs. M

navy blue, mint green, with gold accents - work look | www.shealennon.com

Mint cardigan: Gap Outlet (similar) | navy palm print dress: Loft | mint necklace: gift | gold braid belt: Loft | gold sandals: Target (similar)
Once again I got Jona in on the photo-taking action. He had a pastel shirt of his own that he wanted to show off. Toddler style blogger in the making? I think so.

toddler boy look: pastel button up with jean shorts | www.shealennon.com

mommy and me pastels - blue for toddler boy, mint green for mom | www.shealennon.com

On Jona: pale blue button-up: Old Navy (similar) | rolled jean shorts: Gap Outlet (similar

Linking with "Mint to Be" at The Creative Closet, On Trend Tuesdays, Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me, and Make-up Mix Up

From the archives: 

Pastel Week: Toughened Up

When I think of pastels, it’s not Easter eggs or Jordan almonds that come to mind. Instead, I think about the tight-knit group girlfriends I had in high school. While we were your typical teenage girls in some ways (boy crazy, rolling our eyes at our parents and their rules) in other ways we were anything but. We practically lived at each other’s houses on the weekends, and one year we got into a kick of having themed hangouts. I remember one “pastel party” in particular, in which we all came dressed in various shades of pale. I know there's even a photo lying around somewhere, I recall asking my mom snap a picture of us after we had arranged ourselves into a pastel pyramid. (#socool)

I look back at that memory and can't help but smile. However, the last thing I want to do is look like I jumped out of a late 90s Gap commercial. I still love pastels, but to me the best way to modernize them is to toughen them up a little. So today I’m pairing my pastel blue floral button-up with my favorite ripped up jeans, snakeskin flats, and chunky jewelry.

Come back tomorrow to see a sweeter, yet still modern, pastel look.

How do you wear your pastels? 

Weekend casual look with pastels | www.shealennon.com

pastel shirt with chunky statement necklace | www.shealennon.com

pastel shirt with chunky statement necklace | www.shealennon.com

casual weekend look with pastel shirt | www.shealennon.com

Blue floral button-up: Gap | distressed jeans: c/o MODE (similar) | necklace: c/o eNVe Designs | bracelets: gift, Oia jewels | snakeskin flats: Target (cute sandal version)

From the archives: 

Weekly Eats: Menu Week of July 6 and Project Food Budget

Some weeks, I look at my grocery list and I know it's going to be a budget buster. Other weeks, those extra dollars sneak up on me, jumping in here and there, and $90 later, my budget is down the tubes. I bet you can guess which kind of week I had... 

  • Target budget: $75
  • Actual spent: $90
  • Splurge: fresh basil for $3.99 (Let me tell you this was SO worth it. I love basil, and was heartbroken when what we tried to grow ourselves this year didn't make it.)  
  • Second splurge: Nutella (on sale for $3.39)
  • Third spluge (oh...I see how I spent $90): MORE Bunny Tracks Ice Cream (on sale for $3.49)
  • Lesson learned: I have a hard time resisting "treats" when they're on sale, but I need to be pickier about my treat selection and not buy all of them just because they're on sale.

This week's menu

Menu Week of July 9 2015 | www.shealennon.com

Clockwise from top left: 

{one} Basil Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Tortellini from Oh, Sweet Basil. This was wonderful. The chicken was so juicy and flavorful, the sauce was genius (blend half of the sun-dried tomatoes into the sauce for extra thickness, love it!), and the fresh basil took it to the next level. I'll be making this one again for sure! (I used mini ravioli instead of tortellini, because it was on sale.) 

{two} Chicken and Snap Peas from Martha Stewart, with rice. With the exception of the rice, this was a one pan dish that was quick and easy to make. I admit that I wasn't super excited to make it; chicken, snap peas, and rice... it sounds a little boring to be honest. Why do I doubt Queen Martha? Thanks to basil (how I love thee) and a simple sauce the chicken and peas cook in, this dish has such great flavor that's not boring at all. 

{three} Chili-Lime Pork adapted from Martha Stewart, with corn. I've been on quite the Martha kick lately and with good reason; she has so many surprisingly easy meals without a lot of ingredients that are perfect for busy weeknights. Since Aaron and I both just wanted corn on the cob (rather than in a salad), I just used the pork portion of her recipe. I also used pork chops instead of pork tenderloin, because every time I blink my grocery store has more pork chops on sale. If there's ever a pork apocalypse I'll be ready--my freezer is well-stocked with pork chops and bacon! 

{four} Shrimp Po' Boys adapted from Rachael Ray, with grapes. This one was all for Aaron. Not that I don't like fried shrimp, I do, but they're not my favorite seafood. I don't make them too often, but we picked some up last Costco trip (different budget--I can't blame the shrimp for this week's over-spending!). 

What was your favorite meal you ate this week? 

Check out the other awesome PFB bloggers! 

From the archives: 

Re-purpose Week: Dress as Skirt

All week I've been talking about how I re-purpose different clothing items to stretch their use. Monday I wore my dress as a top and Tuesday I tried my blouse as a kimono-style jacket. Today, I'm doing a re-purpose that I do fairly often: wearing my dress as a skirt.

I did this last week with my navy blue knit dress, and today I'm trying it with this print maxi dress. For a casual weekend look, I'm wearing a knotted tee shirt over my maxi dress and a simple pair of sandals. It's been a while since I've pulled this maxi dress out of my closet, and I had forgotten how comfortable it is. As a skirt or a dress I plan to get lots of wear out of it this summer.

How do you like to style your maxi dresses? 

Maxi dress styled as a skirt | www.shealennon.com

knotted tee over print maxi dress | www.shealennon.com

bright sandals with print maxi dress | www.shealennon.com

maxi dress styled as a skirt for summer | www.shealennon.com

summer maxi dress look: styled as a skirt with a knotted tee | www.shealennon.com

Turquoise t-shirt: Target | print maxi dress: Target | necklace: Etsy | coral sandals: Old Navy

Linking to Thursday Favorites, Summer Style, and the Wednesday Pants

From the archives: