LOCAL: AL FRESCO DINING

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sweater Vanessa Bruno // jeans Baldwin // espadrilles Robert Clergerie

I've always been in love with romance of dining. Its not just about the food for me, although thats really important to, but more so the experience. Ever since I was a little girl I've loved serving people meals, drinks, you name it. I get so much joy from their reactions when I would do it. But its not just that, it was creating the experience that I loved so much...setting the table, filling the bar cart, lighting candles. When we hosted parties my Dad would open the windows in our house and the music would pour out of the screens and on to the patio. It was magic. I think about that a lot these days now that I'm a mom and Luke notices everything. I want to pass on this feeling to him too.

My parents tell this funny story of me when I was around 6 years old. I loved waking up early and making breakfast for them, especially coffee. My sister and I would usually make pancakes, set a tray, and excitedly run up to their room to serve them "breakfast in bed" (FYI it was probably 7am). Every time their faces would light up, "This coffee is amazing Stephanie, thank you!". It was only about 5 years ago that they told me the coffee was horrible!!! I think I was bragging to Frank that I had been an expert barista from an early age and they gently corrected me so as not to crush my childhood memories :) 

I love The Perfect Provenance. The food is amazing, the experience is unmatched, and you will be transported to another place even for just a little while. If you're local go now, ask for a Solstice Sun iced tea, and sit outside! 

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dress Vanessa Bruno // bag Vanessa Bruno // espadrilles Robert Clergerie

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this post was sponsored by the perfect provenance

Posted on August 16, 2018 .

EASY TRAVEL DRESS

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SHOP THE POST

I'm starting to pack for our trip to Belgium and I want to bring everything and actually nothing at the same time! I've always had this dream of going to Europe wearing only jeans and a white t-shirt, and with an empty suitcase that I fill along the way. A GIRL CAN DREAM! I couldn't find my exact dress but linked very similar ones all in the same easy fabric below. I ordered this one the minute I found it. It reminds me of a Chloe and Zimmermann which would have been in the thousands and couldn't believe it was under $150. Happy hump day!

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DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT // LOVE SAM


dresses


tops


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BEST FOOT FORWARD



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STYLING NEUTRALS

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shop the post



I want EVERYTHING! I created a Fall shopping list for a client and had to share. She wanted neutral blush tones, a mixture of textures, and a asked for a trench that would go with everything. Et voila! 

  • Love these sandals ! They're a neutral version of another raffia favorite of mine from Carrie Forbes
  • I get so many questions about the rug in our living room. It's been sold out but found one more site with it. BEST neutral color and looks and feels very expensive!

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WEEKEND RECAP + THE BERKSHIRES

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We had the loveliest weekend in the Berkshires. I know I call a lot of places my "happy place" but this truly is. We've been going to Great Barrington as a family for almost 30 years. In the beginning it was for overnight ski trips to Butternut or Jiminy Peak. The proximity to Westchester and Fairfield makes it a super easy and convenient trip with kids and it feels like you're getting away.

When I was 25 my parents decided to purchase a second home in South Egremont, MA. For the next 6 years I would fall in love with the Berkshires...the air, the scenery, the people...it was all so calming for me and it felt like home. Looking back I wish I had been able to visit more but realistically my job didn't allow for it. Last year my parents decided to sell both of there homes and move to CT (closer to us...YAY!). This weekend was the first time we've all been up together since and we had the best time. Also there was lots of talk about finding a smaller place in Great Barrington. Day dreaming...

On Saturday night we went to Tanglewood to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra perform film scripts written and conducted by John Williams. If you're not familiar with John Williams he wrote the music for all the classics: Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Jaws, Jurassic Park, and Back to the Future to name a few. Rain or shine the show goes on at Tanglewood so we pitched a tent (literally) and enjoyed a magical night with the kids. I highly recommend seeing a concert here if you're heading up to the Berkshires!

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 RUBI'S IN GREAT BARRINGTON

RUBI'S IN GREAT BARRINGTON

 DEPOT 6 IN WEST STOCKBRIDGE

DEPOT 6 IN WEST STOCKBRIDGE

THE BERKSHIRES

WHAT TO PACK



 MYFAVORITE BERKSHIRE TEA AT DEPOT 6 

MYFAVORITE BERKSHIRE TEA AT DEPOT 6 

 RUBY'S IN GREAT BARRINGTON

RUBY'S IN GREAT BARRINGTON

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PLACES TO GO, THINGS TO SEE


restaurants

Depot 6

Baba Louie's

Bizen

Prarie Whale


activities

Bash Bish Falls

Monument Mountain

Turn Park


shopping

hammertown

One Mercantile

Jane Iredale


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 WALKING TO THE GREAT BARRINGTON FARMER'S MARKET

WALKING TO THE GREAT BARRINGTON FARMER'S MARKET

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VEGETABLE GARDEN AT THE BRIARCLIFF MOTEL

 BRUNCH AT PATISSERIE LENOX IN GREAT BARRINGTON

BRUNCH AT PATISSERIE LENOX IN GREAT BARRINGTON

Posted on August 13, 2018 .

COVERUPS FOR ON AND OFF THE BEACH

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GET THE LOOK

Harry and I had SO much fun in Watch Hill on Monday. We drove out for the day (two hours each way but its a straight shot from CT and I was happy to catch up on phone calls) and visited our friends at Coco and Lala. They have one store for women and the cutest store for kids. The selection for little girls is so adorable. If you're heading to Watch Hill or just passing through you have to stop by. Also I fell in love with this coffee shop when Frank and I went for a day trip back in May. The gluten free cookies are amazing!! 

Love this coverup! Its def an investment piece but I love that I can wear it as a dress apres beach. I just through a slip under it and it was good to go. I like this one

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PS I get a lot of questions about my this bag. I LOVE it. I've had it for a little over 2 years and I still feel like its a classic and not trend. I think its the color I have and the "saddle" style. My color is "abstract white". 

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ON AND OFF THE BEACH



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Posted on August 10, 2018 .

3 MUST HAVE DENIM STYLES

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These days shopping for denim can de overwhelming but it doesn't have to be. Clients always ask me, "Are these out of style?". My answer is this - at this point pretty much every style has come full circle and nothing is in and nothing is out. Of course there will be a trend every season but if you style them right, you should be able to wear almost ever jean in your closet and still look current. Sharing my top 3 styles for this Fall that I also consider classics and staples in my wardrobe. 

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THE WEDGIE



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THE STYLED JEAN



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THE IVORY JEAN



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Posted on August 9, 2018 and filed under Outfits, What to Wear.

MY FAVORITE SUMMER (OR WHENEVER) COCKTAIL

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I went barefoot and makeup-free for today's post! More and more we've been having friends pop over for a cocktail on a Friday night and its important to note that it doesn't have to be over the top! Especially in the summer...I love hosting and I especially love it in a casual setting, no shoes, music on, good food and good cocktails! I'm sharing my favorite go-to drink, a dark and stormy. I love to load up on the lime juice and the key is to use the best ingredients. I was so excited when I found this ginger beer - its the best!!

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garden entertaining in style



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DARK AND STORMY

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

2 limes 

1 handful of fresh mint

2 pieces of crystalized ginger slices

Belvoir ginger beer 

dark rum

2 wood skewers 

2 straws

* serves two 


Prepare the limes, one lime into wedges for garnish and one widthwise into 1 inch slices to place into the cocktail

Fill Ball jar with ice and pour in two parts ginger beer for 1 part rum. You can add additional rum/ginger beer depending on how strong you want it to be!

Squeeze the juice from two lime wedges into each 

Prepare the garnish, slide lime wedge, ginger, and fresh mint onto the skewer

Add skewer to cocktail and garnish with remaining lime wedges and SERVE!


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Posted on August 8, 2018 .

WEAR NOW, INVEST FOR LATER

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a dress for now and later

I always talk about how I'd love to live in San Francisco. To me this is the perfect SF outfit for a cool sunny day and a chillier night. This dress just makes me so happy and I will absolutely be wearing it in the Fall with a black leather jacket and booties. I'm trying not to post too much Pre-Fall because I know how annoying it is when stores start merchandising sweaters when its 95 degrees and humid BUT I just couldn't resist the little roundup below. No summer scaries here, Fall is going to be GOOD!!!!

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TRASITIONAL pieces 



Posted on August 7, 2018 .

A DAY IN NASHVILLE, TN

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NASHVILLE PACKING LIST

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PLACES TO GO, PEOPLE TO SEE

My friend took me to the loveliest lunch spot. It was perfect!

A must-go if you're in Nashville for the day is White's Mercantile. Founded by owner Holly Williams (her name might sound familiar to you if you're at all interested in country music hehe) it is an eclectic gem of all my favorite home and apparel brands. She also has another clothing boutique called H. Audrey which was hands down one of the best buys I've ever seen. I wanted it to be Fall IMMEDIATELY everything was so good. 

This ice cream place was adorable and they had the most creative flavors. They also get an extra thumbs up for having the best vegan/dairy free chocolate flavor ever had!

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 white's mercantile

white's mercantile

 the cafe at thistle farms 

the cafe at thistle farms 

Posted on August 6, 2018 .

OUTFITS FROM THE NORDSTROM ANNIVERSARY SALE

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Only two days left! I bought 5 pieces from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. I chose classic and versatile items that I knew I would want to buy once it started getting a little colder and a few that I could wear now too. One of the most important things I do as a stylist is help my clients wear their clothing in multiple different ways, style different looks, and make their wardrobe investments worth it. I loved creating today's Lust List because with 12 pieces you can create 8+ looks! Sharing my favorite 5 below:)

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LOOK ONE


look two

look three

look four

LOOK FIVE

LOOK SIX


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THE PERFECT TRENCH

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SHOP THE SALE

Posted on August 4, 2018 and filed under Lust List, Outfits.

WHAT TO WEAR: BREASTFEEDING

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Looking back at these pictures I can't believe this was only one year ago. Harry and I look so much younger HEHE! Brooke and I shot these for National Breastfeeding week when Harrison was only three months old and I thought wow, this is so special that I'm documenting this (I had never taken any pics nursing Luke) and I knew I would want to remember these moments one day. I also remember the feeling I had posting this picture on social media. I was so nervous...what were people going to think? So much has changed this year. Thanks to celebrities, influencers, and women speaking out everywhere, we are starting to normalize breastfeeding and its about time! 

About three weeks after this photoshoot we went on a family vacation to Sag Harbor. It was                     very special because my parents, my sister, and her fiancé were also staying in the house we rented. It was walking distance to town which was perfect for two sleep deprived parents getting up at all hours of the night. Harry was 3 months old and I was nursing him (and pumping) every 3-4 hours. What I didn't know was that he was starving. Well not actually starving...but kind of. I don't know if everyone can relate but for me I took nursing very seriously and always took it personally after I had just fed him or I had pumped and someone else fed him and then they would say, "That's not enough, he's still hungry". It bothered me so much. The week we were in the Hamptons it was so hot and I was trying very hard to not become dehydrated. Luke was born in the January so I hadn't run into the same issues when I was nursing him. The early months were the hardest for me because they need so much - it takes everything out of you. Long story short the entire trip Harrison woke up ALL NIGHT LONG: 12pm, 2am, 3am, 5am, 7am....I was a walking zombie. We didn't know what was wrong with him. 

The Monday after we returned home I brought him immediately to the pediatrician. I begged him to help...I remember crying in the office as I recounted all the sleepless nights of our vacation. Within 5 minutes he figured it out. He looked at the bottle of breast milk Harry had been drinking and determined my supply wasn't enough, I couldn't keep up, and we were both suffering. He suggested we start supplementing and I was devastated. How could this be? I nursed Luke exclusively for 9 months and then on and off after that. But I was desperate. The next day we added 8 ounces of formula to our routine and that night he slept through the night - 8 hours straight. I was so happy but also so shocked that I couldn't have figured this out on my own just a week earlier. Where was my mother's intuition?? I wanted to share this story because its ok to get it wrong. Its ok to breastfeed for one year, one day, or to decide its not for you from the get go. We all make mistakes as mother and it can be so hard when all you want is the best for your little one. Formula isn't always the answer but for me it was, and even though it was so hard for me to give up nursing because it wasn't my "plan", it was OK. 

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EASY ACCESS

love what you're wearing while your breastfeeding and after



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GIRL

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GET THE LOOK

If I could wear one outfit every day this would be it. The term casual chic is probably overly used in my world (just ask my husband) but its really the best way to describe this look. I love combining textures and fabrics, luxe colors, and creating something that feels good and looks effortless. The fact that I also feel like I'm in pajamas is and added bonus! So these shoes...I can't stop wearing them. The champagne metallic color goes with everything and they're extremely comfortable. I have a thing for this woven cane look right now: these shoes, this chair also love these sandals

  • This cardigan is from looks and feels lux but its under $100. If you don't see your size keep checking because they've restocked it a few times. I'm wearing a US 4:) 
  • While we're on the cardigan topic, this one is on my wishlist. Love that its a twist on a classic with the "chew" detailing + I would wear this color all year round. 
  • This under $100 ivory one paired with this silk tank and these jeans!!!

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ASK ME ANYTHING: BLOGGER QUESTIONS

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SHOP THE POST

Last month Instagram launched a new feature called "questions". I think it was an idea that stemmed from the oh so popular "5 things" where bloggers/influencers shared 5 things about themselves that you may not have known. It really caught on and IG decided to create something more permanent. Sharing answers to my most recent group of questions below!

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How do you stay so fit being as busy as you are?

I've been seriously slacking in the fitness department! You can ask my trainer! I'm always on the go which helps but honestly I consider myself "fat skinny". I may look thin but my mid middrift section is not toned AT ALL and I want to be a lot stronger. Its been really tough getting to the gym with my new schedule but I'm hoping to kick it into high gear starting this Fall.  

How do you get yourself protein despite your food sensitivites?

I'm not a vegetarian so I get most of my protein from chicken and fish. Other than that I eat a ton of nuts and other legumes like lentils and chickpeas. I probably could be a vegetarian or eat that way but so far I haven't had the desire. I find breakfast to be the hardest meal and I'll usually make a bowl like this one or have a nut butter smoothie. 

What was your first real job after graduation? Fave job other than blogging?

After graduation I went to work for IBM! You're shocked I know. Following that I went to Ralph Lauren where I stayed for 5+ years. Being a stylist is my absolute favorite job other than styling. I love helping people create their best selves...its not just about the clothing. 

What favorite places to shop?

shopbop // net-a-porter // goop // onekingslane

Favorite Designer?

Chloe

When did you start blogging?

my first post on the girl guide was January 14, 2011. The blog looked very different then! I purchased the domain though in 2009! I took a break in September of 2011 to focus on my career in fashion and re-launched in December of 2016. I like to say no regrets BUT...I wish I had never stopped:)

How do you balance your time with your adorable kids and running a successful business?

This is a constant work in progress! The biggest thing is support from others. I could not do this alone! We have an awesome nanny who is flexible and gives me peace of mind while I'm away. That being said when I left my corporate job in fashion a few months ago we had to significantly lower her hours which meant more time for me with the kids. I'm so grateful for the flexibility and the opportunity to see them more but it can also be really stressful working from home with a deadline! Actually nearly impossible:) SO - work in progress! My husband is also very supportive and helps out with the boys all the time. We have just started a once a week "meeting" to go over what we each have for the week. Its been extremely helpful in addition to a joint calendar. 

When you launched your blog did you post several posts at once or just one?

When I first launched I started with a single post. When I re-launched I had all my previous posts from my original blog but unfortunately all the imagery didn't transfer. 

When did you start blogging?

2011

What is your job other than blogging? I know you say you're self employed. 

I'm a fashion stylist and wardrobe consultant. I do everything from help an individual re-organize their closet, to assisting a family with a holiday photoshoot, to styling a brand's Spring campaign/lookbook. 

Do brands ever send you clothes that you're just like no way? What do you do?

I've never had a brand just send me something. They usually reach out first and say they would like to work together. If it's a item that I don't feel fits my brand I will kindly let them know. There is nothing worse than just accepting something you don't like just to get it. I've been on the other side of that working for fashion brands and retailers and it doesn't feel good. Partnerships should be mutually beneficial and I don't want to share anything with my followers that I don't absolutely love. 

What are the best ways to grow followers?

This is such a tough question. When I re-launched my blog a year and a half ago Instagram was already very different than it is today. It was even more different 3-4 years ago. I've listened to a few podcasts on this topic and everyone seems to say the same thing - be you, be different, be compelling. Your following will grow. Giveaways can help also - I did my first large giveaway once I reached 5k but its not something you want to do regularly. I also love my local community so I started there. Hope that helps!

Do you use photoshop for your layouts? If not, how do you make them?

I do all my collages on photoshop!

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Posted on August 1, 2018 and filed under Outfits.

HOME SWEET HOME

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I started decorating this room in my head three years ago - a year before we found our home. I always knew I wanted a white linen sofa and I found this one on my favorite home decor site, One Kings Lane. Ours is no longer available but here is this similar style. People always ask me how I keep our sofa clean with two little boys...the short story is this room is a food free zone but as we all know accidents happen. I felt better about getting an off white linen know it was a slip cover. Luckily I haven't had to strip the whole thing yet but for spot treatments I swear by this enzyme cleaner. It really works on EVERYTHING not just pet stains. 

  • I fell in love with this polished nickel lantern for our foyer - we've had it for 2 years now and it still looks pristine!
  • I found these cane back chairs for under $150. Love the Scandinavian feel of the grey washed wood and eventually I want to move them to another room in the house and replace with custom upholstered chairs (add that to my long decor wishlist). 
  • Semi-home related: I treated myself to this diffuser on a recent trip to Sag Harbor and I LOVE it. Sounds silly but every time I put it on it brings me joy. Luke recently started asking me to put it in his room at night. The same brand also makes the loveliest oils - we've been defusing Pacific!

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FOR THE HOME

Posted on July 28, 2018 .

SILK WRAP DRESS + WEDDING GUEST STYLE

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shop the post 

I loved my wedding. Not just the day, the whole weekend. BUT I do have one regret....my rehearsal dinner dress. SO BAD! You probably would look at it and say, "that's not terrible", but up close it was. It was stiff, not well made, and not cheap. I don't know why I left that dress till the last minute but unfortunately for me and my pictures, I did. If I could do it all over again I would choose something like this dress or this silk heart printed dress. This splurge style would be perfect for a destination wedding and this one....all the HEART eyes!!

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wedding guest dresses



for your hair


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A CLEAN BEAUTY LIFESTYLE

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Using natural and organic products has always been important to me. Ok, wait, let me take a step back. Eating natural and organic products has always been important to me. It was probably something that started early on during my summers in Belgium. Everything was from the farm, baked fresh, and required a short shelf life. I would return back home to the states and didn't understand how/why we ate bread that lasted a week plus. I also loved the system they used for glass bottles. At the beginning of the week water and other beverages would be dropped off in crates. When you finished a bottle you would return the empty glass bottle to the crate. At the end of the week the delivery company would pick up your empty bottles. Always recycling and always glass. I digress. 

When you're getting ready for the arrival of your first baby you want everything to be perfect. I did tons of research on the best baby skin care products, formula, cleaning products for our home, etc. After Luke was born something changed. Maybe it was the time we spent together nursing but I kept thinking, is this stuff I'm wearing on my face ok for him to have on his? The same went for my body lotion. And so it began...the hunt for as many natural and organic products as I could find! If you want to see more on my summer beauty routine click here!

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SUMMER BEAUTY HACKS

+ Bright eyes without the cake! Add a drop of your favorite face oil into the palm of your hand. Mix with concealer and dab over dark circles. My absolute favorite organic concealer plus this oil 

+ For the low back, the slinky silk summer tops and dresses Nippie Covers 

+ Traveling? No problem! Favorite Travel Steamer  

+ Not exactly a beauty hack but wanted to share this mascara. I use it everyday unless I'm shooting for the blog or going to a formal event. On those occasions I still wear my pharmacy brand stuff (which I hate doing but its always darker and lasts!). Still haven't found an organic one that I can wear 24/7. 


stephanie trotta - the girl guide

MY BEAUTY ESSENTIALS



HOT SUMMER SALE

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shop the post

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SHOP WHITE DRESSES

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NORDSTROM PUBLIC SALE



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Posted on July 20, 2018 and filed under Outfits.

PRE FALL FAVORITES

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A TRANSITIONAL LOOK

By not you're probably over all the #NSALE posts and shopping for sweaters and coats when its 95 degrees out seems silly! I will say you'll thank your summer self in September when you want to buy the perfect distressed jean to wear with a new sweater and everything is full price! This post began with a cardigan. It comes in 4 colors (love all of them) but I was really attracted to this minty gray blue. Its a color I've been seeing a lot for Fall and surprisingly looks great paired back to plaids and florals. I've ordered from this site before and its 80% great, 20% ehhh. I will say they represent their items well and the quality is usually one step above Zara. Hope you like this edit! 

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Posted on July 19, 2018 and filed under Lust List.

NANTUCKET weekend recap

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Last Thursday morning we jumped on a plane for a three day, two night trip to Nantucket and it was heavenly. I didn't know what to expect and honestly a part of me thought that all the hype would turn out to be overrated. Well, it wasn't! When we were on our way back to the airport on Saturday I kept saying to Frank, "I can't believe that was only three days...I feel like we've been on vacation for a week!". My sister-in-law rented a house from Saturday to Saturday that was in the best location and central to everything. It was a 15 minute walk to town and about a 25 min bike ride to this restaurant and Madaket beach. I would have walked anywhere on this island and I kept reminding myself to soak it all in - the smell, the flowers, the perfectly aged gray houses - it was all perfect.

If you're traveling with kids this company is amazing! They rent out everything from car seats to sound machines. If you're flying to the island its a must. We brought one stroller but rented a second once we realized we were going to walk everywhere. 

  • If you're looking for a casual lunch I lived here. If you follow me on Instagram and saw my stories during the trip you're probably laughing. I LIVED there! 
  • We went here for dinner the first night - very good and kid friendly! Request to sit outside though. The dining room by the bar and the one below are dark and not the vibe I was going for dining on an island.  
  • We went to Galley Beach on Friday for dinner. It is gorgeous at night and the sunset is not to be missed. The only reservation we could get was either 5:30pm or 8:30pm so we went with the latter. We met our friends Mackenzie and Will for a drink around 7 and took pictures. If you're thinking of heading here with kids I would say its kid friendly on the earlier side. Our boys can usually handle staying up a little later but dinner on the beach, in the sand, and in the dark (by candlelight) was too much! We definitely ended up shoveling our $48 entrees in our mouthes!  

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NANTUCKET PACKING LIST


DRESSES

for cold summer nights

tops with denim

bottoms


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Posted on July 17, 2018 .

BOY MOM

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SHOP THE POST

BOY MOM! No but really - its a thing:) For as long as I can remember I just knew I was going to have boys. People always ask me if I wish I had a girl and I honestly don't ever think about it that way. I can't imagine a life without my two sweet boys and I feel lucky everyday. Even when they're swinging their baseball bats into the TV and yelling "MOM" over and over again! 

Love this insert. I'm not a huge fan of the traditional "mom gear" thats out there but I love when I find pieces that are both chic and functional. The same brand also sells a tote which I would recommend for any new mom. They wear really well and are a great price point. 

  • Luke's car seat - Easy to clean and move between cars, found it on sale:)
  • Harry's car seat - This was Luke's too! Its lightweight and still going strong for baby #2!
  • Umbrella Stroller
  • Sound Machine - Beware you may become addicted to this too! I can't sleep without one now. They travel really well which is a plus!
  • Diaper Bag - I've blogged about this one before! The insert inside is mission critical for ever mom wanting to stay organized + you can have your monogram hand painted on the outside!

XX

S

THE THINGS I'VE LEARNED SO FAR

 

gentleman are not born they are made

always bring an extra pair of underwear

let them wear a different shoe on each foot - the battle will only upset you both and by the end of the week he'll be back to wearing a matching pair

its never too early for a date night (with your son)

they're always on the move - make sure you slow it all down once in a while and enjoy the moment

bless the mess - this is the hardest one for me and my saving grace is the no food, no toys room (with a white sofa) in our house. So far so good!

communicate - every night I tell Luke about my day and then he goes through his. EVERY SINGLE DETAIL! Even when I'm so tired I feel like I'm going to fall over! I know this is going to be a big one as he gets older. 

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY - this was so important for me as a mom working 40+ hrs a week and its a tough one to remember when all you want to do is spend more time with them. One hour of uninterrupted (iPhone free) time over 5 distracted hours. 

 

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BOY STYLE


tops

bottoms

footwear


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Posted on July 16, 2018 .