RACK of STYLE

As a young gal growing up in the world of retail, I hopped on the fashion train way too early. Despite my efforts to destroy any evidence of some of my early fashion choices, hints of my styling efforts creep up every now and then. Thankfully, I have found the straight and narrow of the styling world – in other words, I know how to work a closet! Check back each week for glimpses of my favorite fabrics, colors, and go-to styling tips!

Lazy Days a Loungin’

Real talk: We spent the weekend in an attempt to potty train our baby girl. The weekend was filled with legos, building blocks, and plenty of cleaning. Whew! Potty training is not for the faint of heart. (But I have to say, that little bare bum sure is adorable).

Because we spent most of the weekend lounging, I spent all of it in easy-to-wear clothing that could transition from the couch to a scurry towards a potty in no time flat. My favorite silhouette for a relaxing weekend at home? A dress!

While you may not be in potty training mode this week, I am certain a component of your summer weekend will include lounging. In preparation for continued days of sunshine and summer schedules, I have selected a few options for comfortable and stylish lounging. Whether you prefer a neutral, solid tone or a vibrant pattern, the team at ShopNational has plenty of options for your summer days!

Calypso Caftan
National®

Long Knit Lounger
National®

Striped Hydrangea Lounger
National®

Keilani Floral Lounger
National®

Happy lounging,

Parker

 


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Staying Safe in the Sun

Last week, Thomas, Hatton and I spent July 4th in sunny Boca Raton, Florida. We were visiting my husband’s family. We relished long days in the pool and beautiful strolls along Deerfield Beach. However – despite my attempts to apply and reapply sunscreen consistently – I still found myself a bit too “crispy” by the end of our trip. It wasn’t until the end of our vacation, while repacking my suitcase, that I found my UV protectant cover up. I somehow threw it into a corner while searching for Hatton’s swimsuit (Lesson 1: pack and unpack more efficiently)! Given my 2:00 a.m. scratching sessions as this sunburn “cools off,” I can assure you…I won’t misplace my UV clothing again!

Thankfully for Hatton, I packed multiple UV protectant shirts and rash guards for her swim time.

One poor assumption I made during our time in Florida: “clouds are here, I’m probably safe.” Cloud cover does not inhibit UV rays. In fact, the precipitation often magnifies their intensity. Even a simple stroll around the block requires UV protection – no matter where we live! I can assure you that for the rest of our summer adventures, I am stocking up on UV products to make certain I am just as well cared for as my feisty two year old.

Below are a few of my newest UV additions. These options are perfect for daytime adventures and poolside chats. Which one is your personal favorite?

Stay sun safe,

Parker


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Interview with Blog Influencer – Amy Christensen of STYLIN’ GRANNY MAMA

Recently, we had the greatest pleasure to work with Fashion Stylist and Blog Influencer, Amy Christensen of Stylin’ Granny Mama 

Real Women, Real Life – A Faith & Fashion Blog

Beauty, Style & Grace with Amy Christensen of Stylin’ Granny Mama

I so enjoyed reading about Amy and learning about her very unique approach to fashion, style, trends, and all things that are REAL for her lifestyle. These were some of the areas I was excited to learn more about the gal behind, STYLIN’ GRANNY MAMA:

What first inspired you to craft such wonderful styles from your closet? And how do you go about selecting a “look” for the day?

What is your go-to staple style/piece and how do you like to incorporate it? 

I tend to rely on neutrals in my closet. What do you recommend for folks starting to bring bold colors into their wardrobe? (I.e. how do you add to your closet and where do you start in making sure you pick the right color for your complexion?) 

Summer is here, so, what trends do you anticipate for this year and how are those reflected in your summer wardrobe? 

___________________________________________

What first inspired me:

I grew up with two older brothers, so being a tomboy was a perfectly natural choice as a child. When I married and had children, I dressed like a typical mom…hair in a ponytail, mom jeans (which are now trendy, by the way), socks that matched my shirt…if you would have told me at that point, I would be a fashion blogger, I would have laughed in your face.

As my girls grew older, they developed their own sense of style and started to share with me things they thought were good, or more often, bad about the outfits I was wearing. I distinctly remember being at my in-laws for the holidays when my girls were both out of high school. At that point I was taking some of their fashion advice and had donned a particularly cute outfit. My younger daughter said, “Wow, mom! You are really stylin’!” I laughed and said, “Yup, that’s me! Stylin’ Granny Mama.” I had become a grandmother by that point so the name just seemed perfect.

What actually kicked me in the seat of the pants to start the blog, was my desire to write. I really want to be a published author. I was affiliated with a writing guild at the time and one of the pieces of advice that stood out to me was, start small, but get writing. I thought, why not. My older daughter was a photographer and my younger daughter a make up artist, so I had a lot of help getting started.

How do I go about selecting an outfit for the day:

In all honesty, I am a clothes horse. I love to thrift shop, or just shop in general, so I have plenty of clothes. The further I’ve gotten into this blogging adventure, the more I realize that I have a closet chuck full of sensational outfits, just waiting to be put together. I always pick my outfits out the night before, so I am not scrambling in the morning to figure out what to wear. I don’t really have a method, so most of my day to day outfits are picked out according to how I feel. On a cold drab day, I might feel the need to be cuddled in a cozy sweater and a good fitting pair of jeans. On a warm sunny day, I might choose a graphic tee and a moto jacket because I feel more confident and ready to chase after my dreams. Mood is often my main motivator for picking out an outfit. Occasionally, I’ll choose something the direct opposite of how I feel, because in doing so, it makes me feel better.

What is my go-to style piece:

Definitely jeans. I love my jeans and I wear them in all washes and all silhouettes; flares, skinnies, straight leg, you name it. I wear jeans to work and dress them up with a floral button up and a sharp blazer. I wear jeans for date nights with heeled boots, graphic tees and fun moto jackets. I wear jeans when I need to feel confident and tuck them into combat boots with a silky bomber jacket. Jeans are always my go-to.

Bringing bold colors into your closet:

If you have visited my blog, you know I love color. Each year since I have started blogging, I do a spring/summer and a fall/winter series, based on the Pantone Color Institute’s New York and London color palettes. I think the best way to bring bold colors into your wardrobe, especially if you are more of a neutral kind of gal, is to do it minimally and slowly; think accessories first. Start adding color to your closet by purchasing bright colored jewelry, scarves, bags or shoes. From there you could add a piece or two, like a bright colored sweater, say pink or yellow for spring, then a royal blue or rusty orange for fall. I am a firm believer that all women can wear all color. Sure certain shades look better on us than others, but just because one red doesn’t look good on me, doesn’t mean I can’t wear red at all. It is just a matter of finding the shade that looks right on you. My advice is go shopping with a girlfriend or someone you can trust to be honest. Compare how certain shades look on you and ask your shopping buddy what they think. Remember, the lighting in most dressing rooms is not complimentary. Buy a piece, take it home and see how it looks in natural light. You might be surprised how many colors really do suit you.

Summer Trends:

Whenever we talk about trends, I go to the web to see what is currently out there according to names like Bazaar, Vogue, or Cosmopolitan. I am not a trendy person, so what I like to do is research what the big names in fashion say and then pick the trends I find most suitable for me. Not everyone is able, nor wants to wear trends like the 80’s mini skirt or fishnet anything other than hose, but this summer offers a few trends that never go out of style: florals, bold patterns and soft pastels.

Fortunately, being the clothes horse that I am I have many of these trends currently taking up residence in my closet. Even though we are still having cool weather in the midwest, I am trying to incorporate pastels, florals and bold patterns into my clothing choices when I decide outfits for the blog and for my everyday wear.

National offers a variety of pieces that feature these trends. Florals are featured in pieces such as the Eric London Solvron Jacquard Cold Shoulder blouse (Item #20791) and the Gingham Floral Blouse (Item #20662). I love the bold patterns of the Tiered Shutter-Pleat Blouse (Item #20046), and the Aruba Print Top (Item #20730). Soft pastels are easy to find with pretty feminine pieces like the Eyelet Knit Top (Item #20733) and the UltraSofts Knit Tank (Item #8409).

I tell you what ladies, I learned so much from Amy and her creative flair for fashion styling. One thing is for sure, I will visit Stylin’ Granny Mama again and again for neat tips and tricks for all things fashion forward. I suggest you do the same! 🙂 Thanks so much Amy for working with us here at National!

Welcome new friend,

Parker

 

 


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Keep it Moving – Mind, Body, & Soul

As another week comes to a completion, I am making time for myself. The weather is so pretty and the air is so light, I’m inspired to move my body. You’re familiar with this adage:

There you have it, stay in motion. Today, I couldn’t help but be inspired by Parker’s interview with Phyllis Lerner of www.followphyllis.com.

Phyllis is an amazing woman full of life, vigor, and tenacity. She has inspired me to keep my body in motion with her informative and practical advice on being healthy and staying fit. I’ve come to learn, there are so many simple exercises I can accomplish every day. Setting small goals is helpful. I am determined to ease my mind, move my body, and relax my soul.

I think I will begin an exercise routine by walking in the park more often. I love looking at all the beautiful colors of flowers blooming and the trees just flourishing. Do you enjoy walking during the spring season? National has comfortable styles for doing just that.

Here are some soft, comfy clothes, and shoes to get you started on your new path of living healthier. I’ve found my spring collection at National and I know you’ll find yours. Share your fitness routine with me!


Seasonal Traveltime Walkers
Easy Spirit®

Cut Out Floral Stretch Denim Capris
National®

Tropical Print Top
UltraSofts®

Keep movin’ & groovin’

Ronelle


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Earth Day Tones

Happy Earth Day from National! Today we celebrate the stunning creation that surrounds us – and take an opportunity to relish the many gifts it has afforded us.

As a mom, I recognize the importance of leaving our home better than we found it. I want my daughter to have the opportunity to explore the Grand Canyon, celebrate her birthday on clear blue water, and hike to the top of Pike’s Peak with nothing around her but the crisp Colorado air. I have tried to make concerted efforts to reduce the amount of plastic I use on a daily basis and be intentional about recycling. I’ve found incremental shifts make the biggest difference – and for me, step one was a great, multi-purpose tote bag.

This bag serves as a weekend suitcase, a quick grocery run tote, a beach bag and a catch all diaper bag. It is made with a striped paper braid and comes in a variety of colors (so you can hang onto more than one…just in case!) Sturdy leather straps and a zipper closure ensure all of your goodies will stay safe, wherever you go.

Here’s to small (and stylish) changes in our daily habits – as we work together to celebrate countless Earth Days ahead.

Cheers,

Parker


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A Q & A With Fitness Expert and Style Icon, Phyllis Lerner

Meet Phyllis!

Today, I am thrilled to introduce you to Phyllis Lerner, founder and author of Follow Phyllis. I had the chance to catch up with Phyllis and ask her a few questions. Read up on our time below!

  • What catapulted your courage to share fitness and encouragement with women worldwide?

I’ve always been a girl’s girl. Long before my career in fitness, I was a woman that supported other women. My commitment to fitness was born out of tragedy. When I was just about 23, I lost my 53 year-old-mother to a massive heart attack, which was primarily a result of her obesity and Diabetes. As you can imagine, this loss rocked my world. I was determined to lead a healthy life – for myself and for my future family. It wasn’t until I picked up a book by ArnoldSchwarzenegger that I fell in love with bodybuilding and physical fitness. Shortly after reading this book, I joined the first all-women’s bodybuilding gym in New York City. 

I saw my body transform. I uncovered a newfound sense of happiness, pride and accomplishment. I established healthy habits. I met wonderful people. I became the best version of myself when I embarked on my wellness journey. After realizing the benefits that living a healthy life bestowed upon me, I combined my love for exercise and my love and support for women to create followPhyllis – a safe place for ladies to gather, inspire and be inspired. 

  • What first inpsired your love of fashion? How do you incorporate that love into your blog and overall “best life” routine?

Since I was a young girl, I’ve had a passion for beautiful clothing, just like my mom. There’s nothing quite like getting all dolled up. As a woman, my love for fashion exploded as I worked hard on maintaining a fit and healthy body.

When women work towards being healthy and fit, many develop a newfound appreciation for fashion. When I feel strong and empowered, I feel inspired to dress up. To indulge in fashion – hair, makeup, nails, clothes and self-care – is a celebration of you and your successes and thatis why it’s a big part of followPhyllis. As women join me on a journey to wellness, I want them to also join me in celebration. That is what fashion means to the followPhyllis community. 

  • For those of us a little intimidated by fitness, where do you normally encourage someone to begin?

While it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious when starting something new, I would tell any fitness beginner to keep one thing in mind – we all need to start somewhere. Arnold Schwarzenegger had a beginning. Jillian Michaels had a beginning. I certainly had a beginning. If you believe in yourself and invest in your personal growth, you’ve already won. Take the first step – that’s the hardest part. 

If you don’t have much fitness experience, I recommend starting small. Two or three times a week, go for a walk. Do some floor exercises in between commercial breaks. Maybe experiment with 2-pound weights. Be consistent and over time, you will be able to up the ante. 

Another great way to stay accountable is to grab a workout buddy and set goals together. The reward here is twofold: 1) You’ll help a friend become the best version of themselves and 2) You’re less likely to skip a workout or slack off when you have a partner in tow. 

  • What are a few of your favorite trends/styles for Spring?

Oh, this is fun! The one thing I love more than springtime itself isdressingfor springtime! I love color and fun prints for this time of year. I always like to challenge myself (and encourage my readers) to be bold with fashion choices. 

The gorgeous Pintucked Print tunic and silky leggings I recently received from National Wholesale are right up my alley! With florals so popular this spring, this tunic gives you the trend without being overwhelming. This season, I encourage my followers to purchase a few staple pieces such as these two items that can very easily be dressed up or down for any occasion with the addition of fun shoes, purses and jewelry.

Another spring trend I love is the color lilac. It has always been of my favorite colors because I think it casts a beautiful soft glow on skin. The other current trend I’m in love with is ruffles, but I haven’t figured out how to wear them in a flattering way. Maybe a lilac, ruffled, floral scarf will be the answer!

Read more about Phyllis’ fitness, nutrition and style tips on her website, Follow Phyllis.


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Vegetable Goodness

Last week, I shared tips on planting for this time of year and a preview of what the Wilson garden will include. We’re looking forward to Brussel sprouts, cucumbers and squash (of many varieties). Preparing for our harvest, I am already dreaming up a load of delicious recipes.

I love a good char on my Brussel sprouts and prefer a sweet and savory combination when cooking them. Cucumbers are great in everything and add crunch, flavor and texture. Below, you will find a recipe for an easy salad! Get those perfect grill marks on your squash and impress your friends with an incredible take on this easy-to-make veggie.

Click on the image to review the recipe in detail. What are some of your favorite presentations of food from your garden?


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Inspired by Nature

Last week, I shared some planting tips for this time of year. In the last few weeks, the Carolinas have received a great deal of rain but have finally experienced a pause – revealing lush greens and bright shades of pink, yellow and purple.

Inspired by the happy pops of Spring, our team developed exciting and new products an updated and stylish seasonal look. Below are some of our brightest, most spring forward looks. These prints are Pair easy to pair with a coordinating solid color or neutral shade of blue or black. Opt for a dark tank with our Saint Lucia Floral Skirt or brighten your look by pairing our 3/4 sleeve top with white denim jeans.

Is your closet ready for spring? Which one is your favorite?

Here’s to happy,

Parker


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An Array of Bright for Spring

Brightening Up for Spring

This weekend brought 75 degree afternoons after a week of gloomy days. We went out of town this weekend, and upon returning, we caught glimpses of the incredible blooms Wilmington boasts in spring.

This weekend is Azalea Festival – an annual celebration of the most plentiful flower in our city. We celebrate the array of colors all weekend long – in music, outdoor parties and downtown art markets.

National has grabbed a hold of some of my favorite floral inspired colors and translated them into warm and inviting staples for my closet this season. Some of my must haves – this cozy side button sweater, my favorite (and so lightweight) tote bag, and a splash of sparkle. You can tell that coral comes forward as a favorite shade for spring, mixing well with neutrals and serving as an easy option for a pop of color that compliments everyone!

Which piece is your favorite?


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Welcome to the Carolinas

It’s another glorious spring day (fresh on the heels of a 35 degree evening), and I am gearing up for a seasonal tour of some of my favorite coastal towns.

The Carolinas are well known for many things – stunning tree-lined roads, colorful mountaintops, and sparkly shorelines. With warmer days ahead, I am planning our beach trips and preparing for time by the water.

A view from the bridge to Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

Thankfully, I live near one of the best beach towns in North Carolina. If you’d like to experience an authentic Carolina beach town (without the commercialized and overdeveloped challenges of some of our neighboring areas), swing on down to Wrightsville Beach. You can enjoy strolls along our wide strand and nourish that sun-induced hunger with a hot dog from Trolly Stop or a fresh Poke Bowl from Zeke’s.

A snapshot of historic Beaufort, N.C.

If you are searching for something with more history and a quintessential Carolina feel, make a pitstop in Beaufort. With stunning homes along Front Street and some of the most delicious food you’ll find along the coast, you will relish time in this postcard worthy town.

A North Carolina neighbor, Murrells Inlet, S.C.

Are you headed further south? Make sure to add Murrells Inlet to your itinerary. On back-and-forth trips to Charleston, my heart grew attached to this quaint town – especially given its proximity to other amazing places on Highway 17 (Pawley’s Island and Charleston aren’t too far away!) Stroll along the water and enjoy coastal shops for miles.

What’s on your list this spring? Share your travel adventures with me in the comment section below.

Happy trails,

Parker


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