Fall Wardrobe for Toddler Boy Plus Smart Shopping Tips

Last week I talked about a few of my fall staples, and the importance of buying versatile pieces that can be worn many ways. When I'm shopping for Jona, I keep the same thing in mind; I want clothes for him that can easily be mixed and matched. One difference is that while I can make do with a lot of what's already in my closet, I have to buy new clothes for Jona because he's outgrown a lot of his clothes from last fall and winter. (Although he's kind of a little squirt, so some of last year's things still fit.)

remixable fall staples for toddler boy | www.shealennon.com

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Jona is in size 24 month clothes, which means that in some stores that's still in the baby department, and in others it's the toddler department. I've learned too that some stores don't even have size 24 months anymore, only 2T, which is still pretty big on him. So confusing! Here are a few things that help me stay sane and save money when shopping for my little one. 

fall toddler wardrobe and smart shopping tips | www.shealennon.com

Smart shopping tips: 

{one} Know when to spend and when to save. While I rarely pay full price for kids clothes, there are some things I'm willing to spend more money on than others. I make a list of staples Jona will need at the beginning of each season, and try to keep in mind when to go for quality and when to go for quantity. Here's my list for fall: 

  • Tee shirts: These are definitely a "quantity" item; Jona goes through tees like crazy. Toddlers are messy! Tee shirts are always cheap, so I buy a lot of different styles. Right now my favorites are baseball tees, striped tees, and graphic tees. 
  • Button-up shirts: I love seeing little guys in man-style button up shirts, and I love this adorable plaid version
  • Outerwear: For fall, all Jona will really need is a lightweight jacket and a sweatshirt or two. This cute field jacket will go with everything, and it will keep him warm on chilly days. 
  • Pants and jeans: I put Jona in jeans more than anything, so I buy a few good quality pairs (Gap is my go-to) that he can wear again and again. To those I'll add cords or colored denim and a few pairs of comfy sweat pants, which I can usually find pretty cheaply. 
  • Shoes: This is one item that I tend to spend more on, and focus on quality over quantity. I usually buy him one "everyday" pair from a high-quality brand, like Stride Rite or See Kai Run. Then I'll buy one to two others at a lower price. Right now I love the cute slip-on sneakers Old Navy has. 

fall toddler wardrobe and smart shopping tips | www.shealennon.com

{two} Sign up for unroll.me. I rarely buy anything for Jona at full price, so I watch my emails for sales at Gap and Old Navy, two of my favorite places to shop for him. Since I don't want my inbox full of store emails, I combine all my shopping emails (among others) into one using unroll.me, which I love. 

{three} Follow money-saving blogs. I used to do a lot of couponing, and one blog that helped me keep up with the coupons was Penny Pinchin Mom, who is local to the Kansas City area.  While I don't have time to clip coupons anymore, I still follow her blog because she also writes about sales happening at various places, both online and in-store. For example, through her blog I learned when TOMS was having a sale through Zulily and I was able to get Jona a pair last year for a great deal. 

{four} Find a few favorite brands. To me, baby and toddler clothes are a lot like women's clothes in that every brand fits differently. For most of Jona's clothes, I shop at Old Navy and Gap, because they have great sales and I like the fit and quality of their kids' clothes. Because I know I can rely on those brands, I also know I can shop online without worrying about returns. 

Do you have any tips for shopping for kids clothes? 

Linking up with Oh, Hey Girl!

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. 

From the archives: 

Fall Style: How to Layer Without Adding Bulk

When I think of fall fashion, I automatically think of layers. That’s one of the things I love most about fall, the layering options. However, despite how easy the J.Crew models make it look, adding layers without bulk can sometimes be tricky.

Because fall weather can vary quite a bit, I put together three layered fall looks for early, mid-, and late-fall. I used the same base layer in all of my looks, a chambray shirt and these “girlfriend” jeans from Gap. (By the way… I’m not sure how these are supposed to look, but they’re pretty much just slightly more relaxed skinny jeans on me.)

How to layer without adding bulk. | www.shealennon.com

Look 1: Early Fall

This look works perfectly for the type of weather we’ve been having. It’s slightly cool in the morning, but it heats up to summer-like temps quickly. My cargo vest adds a layer without adding much warmth. 

Early fall layers | www.shealennon.com

Early fall outfit idea | www.shealennon.com

Chambray shirt: Madewell | cargo vest: Old Navy (similar) | girlfriend jeans: Gap (darker wash) | lace-up flats: Topshop

Look 2: Mid-fall

When it starts to cool off a little, I’ll swap out my vest for my favorite cargo jacket and add a lightweight scarf.

outfit idea for mid-fall | www.shealennon.com

mid-fall layers | www.shealennon.com

Chambray shirt: Madewell | girlfriend jeans: Gap (distressed version) | cargo jacket: Old Navy (similar) | scarf: c/o Ross (similar) | sneakers: Converse

Look 3: Late-fall

Finally, when it’s downright cold out I’ll keep the jacket but add a sweater and ankle boots for warmth.

late fall outfit idea | www.shealennon.com

late-fall layers | www.shealennon.com

Chambray shirt: Madewell | gray sweater: Gap (similar) | girlfriend jeans: Gap (distressed version) | cargo jacket: Old Navy (similar) | ankle boots: Crown Vintage (similar)

Tips for layering without bulk:

{one} Think about proportion and balance. What I mean is, if you have a looser-fitting top layer, like this “boyfriend” style chambray shirt, keep your bottom layer more fitted. Alternatively, if your bottom half has the fuller layer, such as jeans are the relaxed-style boyfriend jeans, keep your top layer more fitted.

{two} Vary your hemlines. If you have a long outer layer (hits at the hip rather than the waist), make your legs look longer by choosing a shorter inner layer (or tucking it in, see below).

{three} Experiment with tucking and cuffing. If the proportions still don’t look right and the layers still feel bulky or unflattering, try tucking in your shirt. Sometimes I just tuck the front in, and it really does make a difference and makes your leg-line look so much longer. Similarly, a cuffing your sleeves or your jeans can also make for a more flattering look. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find an overall look you like.

{four} Fit is everything. I know so many people who say “I can’t wear [insert trend here] because of [insert their perceived flaw here].” While it may be true that some trends really don’t work for everyone, I would say most things work for most people if they fit correctly. The same is true of layering; layers that fit well will seldom look bulky. So be picky when you’re shopping—if you don’t love the way it fits, either get it altered or leave it at the store!

Shop fall layers:

Do you have any layering tips to add? What are your favorite fall layers?

Linking with Hello Monday, Mingle Monday, Mix it Mondays, A Lovely Little a la Mode, Let it Shine, "Meet my Boyfriend" at the Creative Closet, On Trend Tuesdays, Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me, Confident Twosday, and Just Jacq

From the archives: 

Friday Treat: S'mores Spinoffs

My “For the Sweet Tooth” Pinterest board, where I hoard all my dessert recipes, is dominated by two things, chocolate (duh) and s’mores-inspired desserts (which yes, include chocolate). This obsession with making all the s’mores things shows no sign of fading, and in fact, I find fall to be the best time of year for the real, campfire-toasted s’mores. So whether you have a campfire or just an oven, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite s’mores spinoff recipes. 

4 S'more-inspired Ideas for a sweet treat. | www.shealennon.com

{cones} No-Mess S'mores ConesThis rather genius idea takes the s’mores fillings, marshmallows and chocolate, and puts them in a waffle cone. You cover it in foil and either bake in an oven or over a fire. Then proceed to eat like an ice cream cone! My grocery-store waffle cone left a little to be desired, but I bet you could buy homemade waffle cones from your local ice cream shop. In fact, a scoop of ice cream on these would be delicious!

{ice cream} S'mores Ice CreamYou knew I had to include ice cream, right? This ice cream uses toasted marshmallows in the base (yum!) and then graham cracker and chocolate pieces are mixed in. So, so good. 

{cookies} S'mores Cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are always good, but it’s fun to change them up every now and then. This recipe adds graham cracker crumbs and mini marshmallows to the cookie batter, to taste like a delicious cookie-s’more hybrid.

{bars} Chocolate Chip S'mores BarsThis one is my go-to any time I sign up to bring dessert to a pot-luck. It’s a crowd pleaser for sure, and don’t expect to bring home any leftovers. It’s one of those messy, but oh-so-good, desserts. Chocolate chip cookie dough is layered in a baking dish with chocolate pieces and an entire jar of marshmallow fluff. Then it’s topped with more cookie dough and baked in the oven to get gooey and melty and golden brown. Drool.

Are you a s’mores lover? Are there any other s’mores-inspired desserts I need to try? 

Linking with Pin to Present at In Residence. 

From the archives: 

Recent Reads: Recommended Books for Mom and Toddler

A branch of our local library is conveniently located between my work and Jona's daycare, so I make trips there pretty regularly to freshen up our bookshelves. Over the past month a lot of the books I was in a long holds queue for were finally ready for check-out... all at the same time. So I've been trying to read like a maniac so that I don't have to turn them in unread and get back in line. Here are a few that I've read, plus some favorites I've picked up for Jona too.

Recommended reads: for mom

Recommended reads, mom edition | www.shealennon.com

If you want... 

{to know what the fuss is about} The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. This much-hyped page-turner tells the story of daily train commuter Rachel, who witnesses something from the train that could help investigators with a missing persons case. However, Rachel is an alcoholic and has a hard time both remembering events clearly and telling the truth. I liked, but didn't love, this one. 

{to visit a far-off land} The Rocks by Peter Nichols. In Mallorca, off the coast of Spain, something happens on a couple's honeymoon that drives them apart and keeps them that way for the rest of their lives, despite both living on the small island. Not only does the setting make for a unique tale, but also the fact that the story is told at the end of both their lives and works its way backwards in time. While I never felt connected to any of the characters, this book was a nice escape from the real world. 

{a ghost story} Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.  I wrote a little about this one in my post here, and found it to be hard to put down, yet it was equally hard to get over its strangeness. If you like stories that are a little eerie, yet more fiction than science-fiction, this is one I'd recommend. 

{a zombie-free post-apocalypse} Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. If you read one of these only, make it this one. After a flu pandemic wipes out nearly every person worldwide, civilization as we know it collapses. Although this sounds like the beginning of countless books and movies, this one is different for a number of reasons. I'm not sure my description could do it justice; just pick this one up if you get a chance and see for yourself. 

{a fast-paced literary thriller} The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker. Harry Quebert is a famous, award-winning author who is suddenly arrested when new evidence is found that links him to the 30-year disappearance of then 16 year-old Nola Kellergan. Marcus Goldman, also an author, goes to visit Harry, and risks his own career to support his mentor and friend. His quest for the truth leads him to write a book about the case, which will be sure to both skyrocket his career and put his decades-long friendship in jeopardy. If you like any sort of mystery, crime, or thriller-type novel, pick this one up for sure. It was excellent. 

Recommended reads: for tot

Recommended reads, toddler edition | www.shealennon.com

If you want...

{something clever} The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. This one proved to be a little long for Jona, who just turned two, but it was such a fun one. It's a collection of letters to a child, written from the perspective of his crayons. I enjoyed the clever writing, and Jona loved the colorful, familiar pictures. 

{repetition and vibrant images} Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton. Night after night when I asked him to choose a story, Jona would grab this one and say "We have plan!" Kids love repetition in reading, and he could easily "read" along with me as we followed the hunters whose plan was continually foiled by a colorful bird. This one had few words, but they managed to tell a big story. 

{a silly tongue twister} Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss. This was a childhood favorite of mine, and I think I drove my mom crazy (and made her tongue very numb) with frequent requests to hear it. I'm thrilled that Jona seems to love it as much as I did, and I've been having such a good time navigating Suess's nonsensical tongue-twisters. 

{fun for the imagination} This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris. A movie director attempts to document a moose in his natural habitat, but he gets much more than he bargained for when the moose insists he wants to be an astronaut. He's joined by his grandmother who dreamed of being a lacrosse goalie, and a giraffe who wants to be a doctor. I loved reading this one just about as much as Jona loved listening to it. It went back to the library a few weeks ago and he's still quoting it: "We can't take 5! The moose is in outer-space!" 

What are you reading right now? What are you reading your kids (or what was your favorite book as a kid)? 

Linking with Oh, Hey Girl!

From the archives: 

7 Items, 7 Outfits: Fall Staples

Sometimes I start to convince myself that my budget is preventing me from having a wardrobe that I’m satisfied with. Like my toddler, I get the words “need” and “want” confused, and I start to believe that more is more. However, I’m continually re-learning the concept of contentment, and trying to balance that with my desire to shop.

One way I find balance is by making sure that when I do shop, I shop smart. I try to purchase pieces that are versatile and that are easily remixed with what I already have. For example, two recent additions to my closet are a striped dress and a black and white check shirt. Both are items that I know I’ll get a lot of mileage out of. Combined with other basics like a jean jacket, black pants, and a bright-colored cardigan, I have a week's worth of outfits made from just a handful of pieces. 

7 Fall Staples: 

7 remixable staples for fall | www.shealennon.com

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

7 Fall Looks: 

With the help of some accessories, these pieces combine to make 7 fall outfits perfect for work or play. 

7 looks made with 7 fall staples | www.shealennon.com

From the archives: 

Family Dinner Friday: Pizza Night Rut Busters

Because it's on the short list of Jona-approved foods, pizza is a popular dinner item at my house. Jona can't take all the blame; Aaron and I both are pizza-lovers too. However, you know how much I crave variety in my weekly dinners, so I like to find alternatives to mix up my menu a little (while still keeping my guys happy). These pizza-like recipes are also perfect if you have little helpers who like to be part of the cooking process. (I can't cook nowadays without "help".)

Here are four easy ways to bust out of that pizza-night rut without sacrificing the pizza-night flavor.

4 recipes for getting out of your "pizza night" rut | www.shealennon.com

Clockwise from top left:

{one} pepperoni pizza pull. This pizza-casserole combo combines cut-up breadstick dough, pepperoni (and anything else you'd like), and cheese; all are layered into a loaf pan and then baked in the oven. Super quick and easy! 

{two} pizza waffles. This is one of those "why didn't I think of that?!" recipes. The pizza dough in this case is biscuit dough that you fill with your desired pizza toppings, and then cook in the waffle iron! How cool is that, right? One tip: be sure to make your dough plenty thin (and you may have to keep pressing down your waffle iron) to be sure that it cooks all the way through. This is a fun one that's sure to be a hit. 

{three} mini cauliflower pizzas. This one is an excellent way to sneak some veggies into your family's diet. Jona inherited his father's aversion to most vegetables, but they both gobbled these up. The "crust" is made from cauliflower and it's surprisingly light and crispy. Just be prepared to work hard to wring out the water from the cauliflower when you're making the crust... that is some watery stuff! 

{four} mini pizza pockets. Mini-sized everything is just cuter, right? These little pizza pockets are adorable, delicious, and easy to make.  Just cut up crescent roll dough and put it into a mini muffin tin, then simply fill each cup with sauce, cheese, and pizza toppings. When they bake they puff up into little pizza-flavored muffins. 

Do you have pizza night often at your house? 

From the archives: 

My Fall Wishlist

At this time last year there was no shopping in my future, as I had just started my first capsule wardrobe. Although this year I have no "rules" to follow, due to the fact that we will likely be making a rather large purchase as a family soon (a house, fingers crossed) I have to keep my fall purchases in check once again. However, there are a few things I'd like to add to my wardrobe, and most of them I'm sure I'll be able to find on a budget.

Here's my wishlist:

5 Fall Must Haves | www.shealennon.com

Clockwise from top left: 

{flare jeans} I don't see myself trading in my skinny jeans anytime soon, but I'd love to add a pair of boot-cut or flare jeans to round out my denim wardrobe. I haven't shopped at Express for a long time (since my college days maybe?) but this pair from there are exactly what I'm looking for. 

{lace-up flats} Is there ever an item you come across that you can't get off your mind, and even if it's not the most practical item in the world, you convince yourself that your wardrobe just won't be complete without that item? Well for me, that item is a pair of lace-up flats. I love this Topshop pair and I've also seen some (more expensive, unfortunately) at Zara. But, as Jona says frequently, "I want!" 

{denim skirt} I keep seeing that the denim skirt is a big trend right now. I didn't realize it stopped being a trend, because I've had a denim pencil skirt on my list for quite some time now. I just haven't found the right one, but this one from Brooks Brothers (who knew?) is perfection. The price is a bit hard to swallow, so I may have to keep searching or wait for a sale. 

{bright cardigan} In the great closet clean-out of 2014, I said farewell to a number of sweaters in my then-sizable cardigan collection. I still love a good cardigan, however, so I think one in a bold color like this one from Nordstrom would be a good addition to my closet. 

{tan wedges} I tend to wear more flats than anything, but when I do crave a little heel height, wedges can't be beat. I'd love a pair in a rich, go-with-everything cognac shade. These Jessica Simpson beauties are pretty fantastic I think. 

What's on your wishlist this fall? 

Linking to Thursday Fashion Files and Just Jacq

From the archives: 

Plaid Shirt for Work: Now and Later

If fall had an official pattern, it would probably be plaid. When I'm putting together my fall wardrobe, a plaid shirt is always one of the first things on my must-have list. I've had the same couple of options on repeat for the last few years, but I stumbled upon this black and white check shirt at Target last weekend and decided it needed to come home with me. 

I'm wearing it for two work looks today; one is perfect for the weather now, while it's still warm enough for bare legs, and the second look is better for cooler days of late fall. 

While I am looking forward to fall, I want to embrace this bare-legged weather as long as I can. I know that once I pull out the tights it will feel like an eternity before I put them away again. With my favorite turquoise pencil skirt and fuchsia pumps, this black and white plaid shirt walks that summer-to-fall line. 

Checked shirt: Target (similar) | turquoise pencil skirt: The Limited (similar) | turquoise necklace: c/o eNVe Designs | belt: Loft | pumps: Nine West (similar)

It's inevitable that there will come a day when these white legs will no longer see the light of day, and that's when I'll start pulling out the long pants. Combined with this plaid shirt, flats, and a scarf, my go-to black pair make an easy fall work outfit. Swap them out for jeans and your weekend's all set too. 

Checked shirt: Target (similar) | black pants: Old Navy | scarf: Target (similar) | taupe ankle boots: Crown Vintage (similar, great price)

What clothing items say "fall" to you? 

Shop more black and white plaid shirts below: 

From the archives: 

Family Dinner Friday: Dinner in a Bowl

My dinner cooking philosophy is similar to my reading philosophy: I want to cook ALL the dinners and read ALL the books. I’m not one to regularly make the same thing week after week; instead, I hoard dinner ideas on my “What’s for Dinner” Pinterest board and I try to plow (Chop?) my way through it. Just like I can never get to all the books on my to-read list, I can never seem to keep up with my to-cook list either.

However, if there’s a meal that I will bump to the top of the list or even (gasp!) repeat regularly, it’s the dinner-in-a-bowl idea. There are endless combinations of starch/grain, vegetables, meat, and cheese for this type of meal, and I haven’t tried one yet that didn’t make my variety-craving self happy.  

Here are a few dinner-in-a-bowl meals that have been hits for us lately. The best part about these is that they’re so easy to change to suit your taste and ingredient supply.

{one} Burrito Bowls (like this Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl or this Fish Taco Bowl). To me, this is classic dinner-in-a-bowl. Rice (or recently, quinoa) is topped with meat and veggies and mixed with sour cream and cheese. If it tastes similar to, or dare I say it, better, than something you’d order at Chipotle, consider it a success.

{two} Noodle Bowls (like this Asian Noodle Bowl from Iowa Girl Eats). Similar to a stir-fry with rice, these heathy, flavorful bowls combine veggies and noodles in a sweet and spicy sauce. These are perfect for a fridge clean-out.

{three} Pineapple Chorizo Bowl (from How Sweet it is). This puts a unique twist on the burrito bowl idea, by using spicy chorizo sausage and mixing in caramelized pineapple. It gets even better when you add a dollop of chipotle cream and avocado cream and give it a mix.

{four} Quinoa Enchilada Bowl (from Boys Ahoy). I saw this recipe on Anne’sblog and I knew I had to give it a try. It tastes like the love child of a burrito bowl and an enchilada, and it’s so hearty and comforting that you’ll forget for a moment that it’s good for you too.

Do you have any favorite bowl-style recipes? 

From the archives: 

My Everyday Beauty Routine and Favorite Products

I consider myself a beauty novice, so I don’t mention much about hair or make-up here on the blog. However, I thought it would be fun to talk a little about my everyday beauty routine, as well as share some favorite products.

My Everyday Beauty Routine

{face} I start with a clean face and apply an anti-aging serum, followed by moisturizer (I prefer one that also has SPF). 

{cover} I apply foundation, CC cream, or tinted moisturizer, depending on what I’m using at the time. Usually in the summer I prefer lighter coverage and a bit heavier in the cooler months. 

{conceal} I use a thick formula concealer and a brush to cover dark spots and blemishes. For under-eye circles, I prefer a thinner formula.

{set} To set my make-up, I use a fluffy brush to apply powder. 

{cheeks} I apply a pink or peach blush to the apples of my cheeks. I’ve been on a cream blush kick lately; I like how it stays put. 

{eyes} For my eyes, most days I keep it pretty simple with just neutral eyeshadow and mascara. When I think of it (read: when I’m awake enough to remember) I apply a light golden shade to the inner corner of my eyes and my brow bone to highlight. 

{lips} I love trying new lipsticks and lip glosses, and this is probably the step that changes the most. Some days I stick with a neutral gloss, while other days I go bold with red or bright pink lips. 

{hair} I shower at night, and only wash my hair a few times a week, so when I’m getting ready in the morning my hair is already dry. The morning after I wash it, I usually straighten it or curl it with a straightener or curling wand. The next day I’ll just touch up sections as needed. By day three I try to give my hair a break from the heat and just wet it a bit and spray with beach spray, or pull it back into a ponytail.

Recently, the kind people at Irresistible Me sent me their 8-in-1 Sapphire Complete Curling Wand to try. Lately I've been wanting to try curling my hair in soft, loose waves, and this wand was perfect for achieving that look. I'm definitely an amateur when it comes to hair styling, so I can't wait to get more practice using it. Stay tuned for more wavy looks! 

Clockwise from top left: 

{Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion} This has been my favorite moisturizer for years. It's lightweight, non-greasy, and it has SPF. I use it everyday and love it.

{NYX Cream Blush} My skin is pretty dry, so I like cream blushes more than powder. I like the consistency of these NYX blushes, the color shows up nicely and they last.

{Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow in Tastefully Taupe} I have quite a collection of brown eyeshadows, but this is the one I keep coming back to. It's the perfect not-too-light but not-too-dark color.

{Cover Girl LashBlast Super Sizer Mascara} This is a new one I picked up at Target recently, and I love it. It has a tiny brush that really gets to all the lashes without clumping. I hate clumpy mascara!

{Irresistible Me Diamond Sapphire 8 in 1 Curling Wand} This is such a great hair tool. It offers versatility in curling options, which is perfect for someone growing out her hair, like me. I also love how quickly it heats up and how hot it gets. Even my stubborn hair cooperates and curls beautifully!

{Burt's Bees Lip Shine in Smooch} This is a lip gloss I always keep in my bag. I mentioned before that I love to experiment with different lip colors, but on days that I don't feel like messing with lipstick, this is what I use. The color is a pretty berry shade that looks really dark in the bottle but is a lot more subtle on.

What are some beauty products that you can't live without? 

Linking to next week's "My Everyday Face" at Makeup Mixup. 

Disclosure: Irresistible Me provided me with the styling wand to review. 

From the archives: 

3 Ways to Wear a Striped Dress: Summer to Fall Transition

Today marks the unofficial farewell to summer, although you never know when Kansas will be ready to bid it adieu. My closet is a little jumbled right now; I’ve started moving in some fall pieces, but I’m not quite ready to send my sandals to purgatory (basement storage) just yet.

I recently found this striped dress at Old Navy, and it’s been perfect for these in-between-seasons days. I love this fit and flare style, it’s so flattering; in fact, I’m contemplating picking up another one in a different color!

Here I have three ways to style a striped dress: for the weekend, for a night out, and for cooler fall weather.

{one} weekend stripes. You can’t get much easier than throwing on a dress and sneakers, and I love how a cargo vest adds a layer without adding much warmth. This look is perfect for my frequent travels to our weekend home, otherwise known as Target. It would work for lots of other, less glamorous (ha!), weekend destinations as well.  

Striped dress: Old Navy | vest: Old Navy (similar although higher price) | necklace: Etsy | sneakers: Converse

{two} a night out. It’s a little fuzzy, but I vaguely remember a time when I would get dressed up and go out for drinks, and if I recall, sometimes dancing, with my girlfriends. I’m not sure if this tradition still happens in our society, but sure does sound like fun. This dress, with heels and a statement necklace, would be just right for such an occasion.

You know how much I love adding a statement necklace to an outfit, so I was so happy to partner with Happiness Boutique for this look. I love their jewelry, their customer rewards program, and best of all their free shipping and reasonable prices. 

Striped dress: Old Navy | necklace: c/o Happiness Boutique | belt: Gap Outlet  (similar) | sandals: Old Navy (similar)

{three} feels like fall. What I love about dresses is how easy they are to style for any season. When it starts to feel like fall, I’ll trade out my sandals for a pair of ankle boots, and I’ll add some light layers like this pink cardigan and scarf.  

Striped dress: Old Navy | pink cardigan: Old Navy (similar) | scarf: c/o Ross (similar) | taupe ankle boots: Crown Vintage (similar)

What are some other ways to style a striped dress?

My dress is from Old Navy (and now only $15!) but there are lots of other striped dresses to choose from right now, here are a few. 

From the archives: 

Family Dinner Friday featuring Basil

I’m going to change up my Friday food posts a little. Rather than sharing my weekly menu, I’m going to try to focus on a theme for each week’s posts. (Because you know I love a good theme!) This week it’s all about that basil. I know that fall is approaching, but there’s still time to enjoy this sweet, summery herb. Here are a few recipes to use up your fresh basil before it gets cold. 

{one} Turkey Pesto Burgers from The Brewer and the Baker. A burger made with ground turkey with pesto mixed right in with the meat. It's topped with fresh mozzarella and more basil, and then drizzled with (or drowned in, in my case...whoops!) balsamic vinegar. 

{two} Chicken and Snap Peas from Martha Stewart. I featured this recipe a few weeks ago, but it was so good I had to mention it again. It's simple and fresh, and the flavor of the basil really comes through. 

{three} Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan from Iowa Girl Eats. This has been a go-to recipe in my weeknight arsenal for a while now; it tastes wonderful with fresh basil pesto and fresh mozzarella, but if you don't have either it's still delicious with store-bought pesto and brick mozzarella. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are topped with pesto, mozzarella cheese, and marinara sauce, then baked in the oven. That's it! So easy and good. 

What are some of your favorite basil recipes? 

From the archives: 

Currently: September

I'm a little sad that the long days of summer are coming to an end, but I'm ready to welcome September. I hope this month I'll be able to slow down and soak up the last few days of summer, and also make some plans for the season to come.

I'm linking up with Anne and Jenna to share what I'm currently...

{reading} Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I'm just about to finish this bizarre yet captivating tale of two sets of twins. Edie, the mother of twins Valentina and Julia, is a twin herself. When her estranged twin Elspeth dies, she leaves her London flat to her nieces on the stipulation that their mother Edie and her husband never set foot in the flat themselves. The twins are perplexed, yet they move from the US and settle into their new London home. As they surround themselves with Elspeth's former neighbors and former possessions, the twins begin to get the eerie feeling that Elspeth may not quite be ready to leave it all behind. 

{making} corn with everything. Mmm, summer corn on the cob is the best, and lately I've been in the mood for corn with everything. This summer pasta with corn and sausage that I made last month was one of my favorites. 

{pinning} all the fall looks. Despite the warm weather, like a good little blogger I've had fall on the brain lately, and I've happily been pinning lots of fall inspiration. I finally found a striped dress that I love (hooray for Old Navy!) and I can't wait to style it like this look from Dana's guest post on Just Jacq

{anticipating} a new home. Even though I'll be sad to leave our first house, I'm so excited to start a new adventure in a new house. Thinking about decorating rooms, driving around a new neighborhood, and of course pinning home DIYs like mad. I love this cute rug from the gals at A Beautiful Mess. 

{loving} funny toddler-isms. Other than the time spent sleeping and eating, Jona spends his day talking or singing. Aaron and I joke that there's some word quota he's trying to hit each day. He's our little chatterbox, and it's amazing how in the past several months he's gone from saying simple phrases to talking in nearly full sentences and asking questions. Lately I've been cracking up over the things he comes up with. Here are some funny ones: 
  • He hasn't quite figured out the concept of "finished" yet. He was eating and he said "I finished now!" so I came and took his plate and he started shouting "I'm finished! I'm finished!" angrily. So I asked him, Jona, are you done? And he said "No, I still eating!" So not finished, then. 
  • He pulled a french fry from his plate and said, "Ohhhh, it's a big one!" 
  • I told him I was mopping the bathroom. When I stopped, he goes, "You done hopping now?" 
  • He's all about claiming things right now. He'll say "This is my OWN mommy. This is my OWN vacuum." 
  • The other day he got mad while he was in his carseat. He hit his seat and said "No, carseat, you stop it. You stop it right now!" It's hard to maintain my stern mom face when he does that. 
What about you, what have you been up to currently? 

From the archives: