EASY PICKINS

Which books are you must grabs for the summer reading list? What are the five best ways to style a scarf? Where are my spots for pimento cheese in the South? Find my favorite quick tips at Easy Pickins!

Stock Up on Cozy

Yesterday morning, I woke up my sweet baby girl to get ready for school and opened her drawer to find one long sleeve shirt that fit that sweet girl. With a high of 55 yesterday, I knew it was time to hop online and stock up for my growing toddler.

Even here on the coast, the same is true for me! I am spending my afternoon hunting for a few new pieces to add to my cozy collection in preparation for the cooler months ahead. This year, I am looking for pieces that transition easily from lounge to daywear.

Below are a few items from National’s web exclusive line – that’s right, available only online. Each piece is incredible cozy, easy to layer, and perfect for this time of year. Which one is your favorite?

 

Day-to-Day Cardigan
Simply Noelle®

Fleece Tunic
Cuddl Duds®

Long Sleeve Tunic Hoodie
Cuddl Duds®

Striped Basic Layering Henley
Simply Noelle®

 

Stay warm,

Parker


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Pant Collection with Pizazz

If you’re anything like me, when Fall makes its way to your home, you reach for the same pair of go-to pants all season long. Admittedly, I am a creature of habit and my clothing choices can begin to seem like a “uniform,” especially when I am in, “working-mom-hurry-up-and-go” mode!

Typically, I split my week between my favorite pair of dark denim jeans and a cozy pair of black leggings. However, this season I am committed to branching out and adding some pizazz to my pants collection! Carrying forward inspired florals and jewel tones, ShopNational carries an array of embroidered, printed and detailed pants for the fall season. Whether you prefer delicate pastel flowers or a bold plaid print, we have quite a few options for you to consider. Not ready to fully branch out? Opt for our solid color Lattice Pants with cuff detail. All pair easily with a solid color top or button down blouse – still affording simplicity and ease when getting ready for the day!

Fall Blossoms Embroidered Jeans
National®

Menswear Plaid Pants
National®

Embroidered Jeans
National®

Lattice Detail Pants
UltraSofts®

 

Which pair is your favorite? Share your pick in the comment section below!

 

Happy fall,

Parker

 


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Flying in Comfort

I write to you today from 32,000 feet and 5+ hours of flying time as I make my way from North Carolina to sunny California for a retail conference. Currently supporting my energy level? The very best compression socks money can buy!

Whether you are tucked in for a long flight or spending a lot of the day on your feet, compression socks offer a myriad of benefits to your overall health and energy levels.

  1. Maintain blood flow, especially during “stagnant” periods. Compression socks are great for long flights and support overall blood flow when you are sitting for long periods of time. Even on a two hour flight, I wear my compression socks to ensure I have the most energy upon landing. The difference I’ve seen flying with these socks is pretty incredible!

 

  1. Support your overall energy. Our blood has to pump all the way through our body, from our heart down to our toes and back again. Compression socks enhance the process and support easy blood flow, thereby restoring your energy and supporting your health in the process.

 

  1. Minimize varicose veins. Studies show that continued use of compression socks reduces the appearance of varicose veins. Especially after having my daughter, I’ve found this to be one of the best (and unforeseen) benefits of adding compression wear to my routine.

 

Below are a few options for travel or everyday wear. When and why do you wear compression socks and can you tell a difference?

Mild Compression Socks
Dr. Motion®

Mild Compression Socks
Dr. Motion®

Moderate Compression Socks
National®

Microfiber Graduated Compression Dress Sock 2-pk
National®

Microfiber Graduated Compression Dress Sock 2-pk
National®

 

Happy travels,

Parker


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Yesterday, Today, and Always-Our National Family


“The National Family”

We are thrilled to announce that SHOPNATIONAL.com has been formally recognized by Newsweek as #1 ranked on their list of “Best Online Shops 2020” for Women’s Fashion (single brand). We have the honor of sitting alongside some incredible brands in the industry, including Chadwicks, Victoria’s Secret, and White House Black Market.

More than anything, I wish my grandparents could see this milestone – a tribute to their hard work, deep belief and commitment to our National family.

Founded in 1952, NATIONAL started from humble beginnings as a mail order business by Eddie Smith, my grandfather, in the town of Lexington, North Carolina. An exemplary American entrepreneur, “Georgie,” as he was known to most, cared for and evolved the company based on a customer-centric philosophy, and in 1999 at the age of 80, he was inducted into the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame.  

“The Early Days”
I remember these days so clearly….I strapped on roller skates and made my way through the warehouse as a little girl. The rows and rows of inventory made for perfect hide and seek territory. Many individuals in this photo are with National today and, therefore, my giant extended family for which I am so thankful.

 

Today, NATIONAL continues to thrive under the personal care of my gifted and compassionate mother, Lynda Smith. We  remain committed to offering a wide range of apparel and accessories, designed for the mature woman to provide them with all-day comfort and style.

We have long held to our mission –  “Living the Comfortable Life.”  The second-generation, family-owned business has thrived in the trade for over 65 years thanks to the commitment my Grandfather made to the customer – first and foremost.

“Family Leading Family”
Growing up in family business, I don’t remember the business suits and posed photos. I remember my Grandfather’s 6 a.m. visits to our house after his morning jog. I would come downstairs and find him in the sunroom with my mom discussing work, family and everything in between. Sometimes the conversations centered around really important, often difficult business decisions. Always, the conversations ended with a hug and a smile. Family first, no matter what.

“All in the Family”
In the years since business school, it has been an incredible journey with the National family in my role as business strategist. Collectively, my mom and I have evaluated key opportunities for the business and learned to work together with respect and excitement for all that is ahead. Not often an easy task in family business, but for us…thankfully…it’s (almost always 😉 ) pure joy.

So, how did we get recognized by an international publication for this commitment?Newsweek developed the rankings based on an independent survey of 20,000+ U.S. customers who were asked whether they’d recommend brands to friends or family. Respondents also assessed the brands on their communications, technical competence, service range, customer focus, and accessibility. More than 130,000 evaluations were collected.

That means – YOU

Our National customer, you shared feedback and supported National’s leap into the spotlight. More than that, you have walked alongside our team….our family…for generations. Thank you for being a part of the National family!

“Give Personal Care”
Mom taking time to read and answer letters from our loyal customers, our extended family!

 

 

With gratitude and love,

Parker

 

 


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Layering for Fall

The temperature is NOT EIGHTY DEGREES! I repeat. I repeat. Fall is here. As such, we’re doing the one thing we always do in preparation for this season: packing up for the mountains of course!

As we prepare to celebrate a family wedding this weekend, I am rummaging deep in my closet for items that offer easy layering for changing temps. My go-to for this time of year? A loose fitting blouse paired with a sleeveless tank top. Adding in comfort doesn’t mean sacrificing style. The National team has developed an array of printed tops with elegant silhouettes, idyllic for pairing with a short sleeve or sleeveless shirt.

I have perused National’s New Fall Collection and selected four options for this weekend. Pair each with jeans, or go for a dressier look by coupling with tan leggings or black slacks. Which look is your favorite?

Embellished Lyocell Top
Given Kale®

Embroidered Henley Top
UltraSofts®

Embroidered Hem Plaid Blouse
National®

Mixed Print Blouse
Figueroa & Flower

 

Happy fall,

Parker

 


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Get Carried Away with Fall Travel

Fall is upon us, and for the Wilson family – that means a lot of travel these next few months. We have a family wedding next week, a football weekend with friends in November, birthday parties, anniversary trips and more. To make the trips as simple as possible, I am focused on a minimalist layered look. My color of choice? Anything that goes with denim!

Easy Packin’ with ShopNational

Key selection criteria? Comfortable, stylish, and easy-to-coordinate. Due to varied climates, I have included a sleeveless tank and button down jacket in my assortment. I also snagged a 3/4 length shirt  with neckline detail for in-between days. Most important for easy travel? A cross-body bag with loads of organization. How do you prepare for a quick getaway? Share your upcoming destinations with me in the comment section below.

 

Happy trails,

Parker


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Solid Transition to Fall: The 3/4 Length Tee

September. Are we allowed to officially start discussing the joys of fall? It’s 88 degrees in Wilmington today, but it was “chilly” last night. (By chilly, I mean 78 degrees. So yes. We’re talking about fall)!

During this particular time of year, I am a sucker for a 3/4 length shirt paired with shorts or a skirt. I prefer a cotton blend that affords comfort, colorfastness and shape retention. National’ UltraSoft fabric is idyllic for this time of year, and these unique styles blend fashion and comfort perfectly. For a simple but elegant look, I opt for the black Criss Cross Tunic. For bold color and a unique neckline, choose the Grommet Detail Knit Top. Want a softer shade with a bit of pizazz? The Pearl Neckline Top is a beautiful transition piece for fall. If you like to pair tunics with straight leg jeans or leggings (like yours truly), the Ruffle Hem Tee will be your new favorite.

Which option is your go-to? Share your favorite selection in the comment section below.

Ruffle Hem Tee
UltraSofts®

Pearl Neckline Top
UltraSofts®

Criss Cross Tunic
UltraSofts®

Grommet Detail Knit Top
UltraSofts®

Happy shopping,

Parker

 


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Wednesday Recipe Series-Cooking Up With Coconut Aminos

Last up on my back-to-school meal list, an all time favorite….chicken fried rice. 

When I had my sweet baby girl, I had to ditch soy from my diet thanks to a newborn with MSPI (milk soy protein intolerance). I’ll be honest – I didn’t even know that was a thing until I was up all night with a screaming baby who couldn’t seem to keep down anything I fed her. When I cut dairy and soy from my diet, I was extremely sad to say goodbye to delicious chicken fried rice (but thrilled to snuggle a content and growing baby girl).

Meet the next best thing: chicken fried rice made with a delicious soy sauce alternative, coconut aminos! Coconut aminos are a liquid made from the aged sap of coconut blossoms and have about 65% less sodium than regular soy sauce! This particular recipe only takes a few minutes (and some extra chopping) to pull together. Its savory ingredients and loaded veggie base will delight and nourish all members of your family!

Whole30 Cauliflower Chicken Fried Rice

 

Enjoy,

Parker


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Patterned Shirts

Patterned to perfection – these web only exclusive options are lightweight, comfortable and stylish. Each one brings a unique trend element to the forefront.

The Jacquard Cold Shoulder top (on sale, by the way!) includes cutaway detail at the shoulder, 3/4 length sleeve, and a high-low banded hem. With a hint of spandex in the fabrication, this top holds its shape and color with every wash.

National’s Embellished Stripe Top by Ruby Road features a soft cotton knit with a unique stripe pattern and gold stud detail at the collar. Pair it with denim jeans for lunch with a friend or khaki slacks for a more polished look. Also by Ruby Road, the Paisley Patchwork Knit Top is a colorful and comfortable top with 3/4 length sleeves and studded detail at the collar. For a softer, more muted pattern, opt for the Horseshoe Floral Top with delicate pattern and a detailed neckline.

Which top is your favorite? Share with me in the comment section below!

Solvron Jacquard Cold Shoulder Blouse Erin London®

Embellished Stripe Top
Ruby Rd.®

Paisley Patchwork Knit Top
Ruby Rd.®

Horseshoe Floral Top
Ruby Rd.®

Stay bright,

Parker

 


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Wednesday Recipe Series-Healthy Goodness

It’s back-to-school week here in Wilmington! For parents around the area, easy dinners are top of mind (especially after the wild joy of packing lunches 5 days in a row)! I’m a sucker for a great pasta dish; recently, I discovered black bean rotini at Trader Joe’s! Time to put that goodness to use.

Tonight, I’m trying a new version of baked rotini thanks to this recipe from Healthier Steps. Instead of a tomato based pasta sauce, I’ll be using a creamy, vegan cashew sauce.

I’ve been working up a list of easy, healthy meals and sharing them right here every Wednesday. I have a couple more weeks of goodness coming your way. Anything in particular you’d like to see? Comment below for a meal you’re craving, and I will source my go-to recipe for you!

Easy Vegan Rotini Pasta Recipe

Five Minute Cashew Sauce

Happy cooking,

Parker

 


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