Classic Blue and White Striped Shirt

Classic Blue and White Striped ShirtCT in Style Blog

Few things are more classic than a blue and white striped shirt. To me, it reads New England Coast. If you live in Connecticut, having a blue and white striped shirt should be part of your capsule wardrobe. Endlessly versatile, this shirt looks great with just about everything. It’s almost a neutral. LOL! Today, I decided to pair it with simple white denim shorts and red heels to make the blue and white pop. It has a nautical vibe, so when I was scouting for photo shoot locations, a local marina was the perfect backdrop. As we were heading back to the car, we spied some sailboats on the sand and snapped a few more pics so the red patent leather t-straps could get some camera time.

I love this Ralph Lauren shirt for so many reasons! All the buttons fall in all the right places. The neckline opens enough to show off your favorite necklace and the collars are the perfect width to flip-up if you want a preppy look and drape a sweater around your shoulders. The sleeves roll up to give you three different options: all the way down and buttoned at the wrist, rolled up a couple turns to end below the elbow to give you a three-quarter sleeve or rolled all the way up like I have it in the photos. The fabric is super soft and made from a medium weight cotton. I’ve bought other striped shirts and the fabric is so thin that you can almost see through it. Once you touch this shirt, you can tell that it will look great for years.

Classic Blue and White Striped Shirt

Ralph Lauren Blue and White Striped Shirt

| RL Roll-Tab Sleeve Striped Shirt |

Sarah O'Brien Blog

Sarah O'Brien CT

Sarah O'Brien

Nautical Lookbook

| Dooney & Bourke Cordova Drawstring the bag I have is sold out, the one I am linking to is prettier! |

Nautical Outfit








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My Morning Skincare Routine

Clinique products

Clinique 3-step routine

| the Clinique 3-step skincare routine |

Being the youngest of three females in my home, I unconsciously took advantage of my mother’s and sister’s skin care regimen when I was a pre-teen. At 12 years old, I wasn’t concerned with my skin but I used all their Clinique skin care products because they were at my fingertips. In the shower, I used the Clinique facial soap and after the shower I used the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. My mother had a strict rule that my sister and I could not wear makeup (or high heels) until we turned 16. With no makeup to remove, my skincare routine was very simple and minimal – as it should be when you’re 12.

Years later, nothing much has changed. My morning skincare routine is still simple and minimal. The Clinique product line has worked so well for my skin, I have never considered changing even though my skincare needs have. I use a 3-step skin care routine that’s hassle free and effective. The Clinique products I use every morning are the Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser, the 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula and the Clinique Smart™ Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Custom-Repair Moisturizer. Clinique offers different skincare and makeup products that are designed for every skin type, and there price point is more reasonable than other brands at this level of quality.

My Morning Skincare Routine

I’ve been a loyal client of Clinique products for a long time and I believe that the combination of their products and my steadfast commitment to a skincare routine is the reason why I have always had healthy skin. Of course, avoiding the sun is also one of the most important things you can do to have and keep great skin. I protect my face from the sun by wearing a hat, especially when I am at the beach or poolside.

Clinique Cleanser image


Cleanser foaming

Step 1 – I switched from the facial soap to the rinse-off foaming cleanser because it works better at removing makeup and I like how quick and easy it is to use. I only need a small dab of the product to mix with water and as soon as I lather between my palms, it starts foaming. It’s gentle to my skin and real or imagined, I like to think that all those thousands of tiny bubbles are washing away everything that shouldn’t be on my skin!

Clinique 7 day scrub cream image

Step 2 – After I cleanse, I use the 7 day scrub cream. It definitely makes my skin glow and feel super smooth by deflaking dead skin cells and reducing the appearance of fine wrinkles. It washes off without leaving a residue and primes my skin for the final step, moisturizer.

Clinique smart

Step 3 – As I have gotten older, my skin has changed and needs more help than the dramatically different moisturizing lotion. I want a moisturizer that has it all! The smart broad spectrum SPF 15 custom-repair moisturizer erases wrinkles, evens skin tone, lifts, and protects against UVA and UVB. The final product I use before applying makeup it eye cream. I use a small amount of repairwear anti-gravity eye cream under each eye and dab it into my skin with the tip of my finger.

Clinique products

My evening skincare routine is a bit different. I still use the foaming cleanser, but follow it with a night time cream.


My morning skin care routine

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Favorite Things

Catherine and Jackson 1

Favorite ThingsCatherine and Jackson 1

| one of the photos I took of my beautiful children during our holiday in OBX |

Happy Friday! A little over two months ago, Jackson dropped his backpack in the mudroom and hasn’t touched it since. Today ends the last full week off before school begins next week. It feels a little surreal that summer is really coming to an end. It has felt like a long summer, and in a really great way. I can’t remember a summer as carefree as this one. It’s been busy but very chill at the same time. We made many cool memories that range from my son’s baseball team winning the championship, BBQs with friends, beach days that turned into impromptu dinners and it was all capped off with unforgettable family holiday in the Outer Banks (I am still sifting through 1,000 photos to choose the best for a blog post).

This weekend we’ll start getting organized for back to school. All back to school supplies and clothes have been bought, and now we need to shake off the summer daze. I’ve started sending my kiddos to bed earlier and to my surprise, I don’t hear any grumblings. I think that it is a sign that they are ready for the start of the school year. I’m not ready. I don’t want it to end. I want to continue to drift in these long, lazy days of suntans and sandy toes. Have a wonderful weekend xo

Favorite Things

Favorite Things

| assembling my look book for a few excursions in September |

petite Bouq| love these petite bouquets from Whole Foods |
Honey tasting| an extremely fun and interesting evening pairing honey types with foods |

Styled Shelves

| in my mom’s kitchen, I’ve always admired how she styles shelves |

 Favorite Things

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Fruit Infused Water

Feature image

Fruit Infused WaterFeature image

During our 9-hour car drive home from our holiday in the Outer Banks, we stopped about halfway to spend the night at a hotel. In hindsight, I think that our kiddos could have easily handled the entire trip in one day because we break it up into multiple stops. However, this was our first experience driving this far with a 4-year old and a 12-year old and I didn’t want to push my luck. We arrived at the hotel around dinner time, had a quick bite to eat and then got to bed early so we could get a good night sleep before we resumed our journey home. The hotel boasted quite a fabulous breakfast buffet and one of the parts that I enjoyed the most, was the fruit infused water. Not only was it pretty to look at, it was healthy and tasted delicious! The combination of the fruits imparted such a wonderful freshness and I found myself going back a few times to refill my glass. It’s one of those little things that has stayed with me and I looked a bit deeper into fruit combinations and came across a great chart that shows the different health benefits from pairing fruits and vegetables. I’m going for hydration, digestion and appetite control so I whipped up a pitcher filled with cucumber, lemon and lime. Below is the chart if you are interested in learning more about fruit infused water. Cheers!

Fruit Infused Water


Limes lemons and cucumbers


mixed fruits


Glass with fruits


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Refrigerator Organization 101

Refrigerator Organization 101

Refrigerator Organization 101

Refrigerator Organization 101

| our newly organized refrigerator, but I’ve clearly broken a couple of rules by storing the melon and berries in here |

Just prior to our holiday in the Outer Banks, N.C., we practically cleaned out our entire refrigerator. Being gone for a week or so, I knew that most of the food would not last. With the exception of condiments, salad dressings and a few other items that have a decent shelf life, the refrigerator was bare. When we came back, I decided that an empty refrigerator was the ideal time to make some changes to whip my fridge into shape.Empty Fridge

I did a bit of research that all pointed to bins for maximizing refrigerator storage. I was looking for smart ideas on versatile containers that store with style, because I want it to be sensible and neat at the same time. Here are some refrigerator organization tips (including photos of our refrigerator) that will help extend the freshness of your food and make everything easily accessible for your family, especially the little ones. I’m also including a list of food items that should never be stored in the refrigerator. Lastly, have you ever been confused by the food product dating and what each date really means? Below is the short version, for more details click here to read the USDA guidelines.

  • A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.
  • A “Best if Used By (or Before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
  • A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.


Refrigerator Organization 101

Here’s the low down:

  1. Group similar food items together. It’s actually one of the first home organization tips I ever got, and it makes a lot of sense for everything in your home from art supplies to the clothes in your dresser.
  2. Store meat and deli cold cuts in the lowest part of the refrigerator where it is the coldest. Our refrigerator has three drawers on the bottom, the very last one is labeled “Vegetables” but I now use it to store meats.
  3. Determine which fruits and veggies last longest in which environment, depending on your refrigerator, you can adjust the humidity in certain areas to be drier or more humid. In general veggies prefer high humidity and fruits prefer low humidity.
  4. Doors are the best spot for items that don’t need the coldest storage. Items like condiments go in the doors, and I keep the most used ones like ketchup, mustard, mayo on the top shelf. Salad dressings, and other less frequently used condiments can go in the shelf right below.
  5. Make the healthy choices easy to grab. Prepackaged veggie sticks with “to go” size dips and fruits go in the door on the bottom shelves to make it easy for the little ones to get. It also makes packing lunch for school a snap, I can just reach in and add them to their lunch boxes.


Refrigerator Organization Tips

| these InterDesign refrigerator bins from Bed, Bath & Beyond made my organization super easy |

Top shelf dairy

| a lazy Susan makes it easy to see yogurt, applesauce and fruit cups and I don’t knock them over any more when trying to reach something in the back |



| two bins are used to neatly store ice tea and low-fat chocolate milk |



| all cheeses are grouped in one drawer so I know where to find them |

Meat drawer

| meats are stored in the lowest drawer where it is the coldest |



fruit snacks



| Catherine grabbing some tangerine wedges |

Arm and Hammer

| a bit of a fuzzy photo, but wanted to show the Arm and Hammer that I hang in the middle of the fridge to absorb food odor |

Here is an illustration from food and refrigeration experts on where to store food and I followed it the best I could, our refrigerator is a side-by-side, but with one door. I made some modifications to make it work for our model.

Whirlpool sheet


As promised, here a link to 18 Foods You Don’t Need to Refrigerate from the Farmer’s Almanac website (the copy is below too). Some of these foods I knew not to refrigerate, but I was really surprised about the citrus!

Humans have been preserving food with snow and ice for at least 3,000 years, but the first commercial refrigerators, produced around the turn of the 20th Century, were a game-changer. Home refrigeration units made it possible for the first time in history to keep perishable foods fresh in quantity.

But every advance comes with a dark side. In the case of refrigerators, one downside is that many people store everything in the fridge, regardless of whether it needs to be. While some foods absolutely require refrigeration, many don’t, and others that should be left at room temperature. Here’s a list of foods that do better if you skip the fridge:

  1. Tomatoes: If you take nothing else away from this article, please heed this. Never, ever, under any circumstances, store tomatoes in the refrigerator. Tomatoes begin to lose their flavor and texture when put in the fridge, turning mealy, mushy, and flavorless. Leave them right out on the counter.
  2. Potatoes, sweet potatoes: Yes, potatoes are supposed to be kept in a cool, dark place, so the fridge should be ideal, right? Wrong. The refrigerator is actually too cold. Low temperatures wreak havoc on potatoes’ natural starches, affecting both their texture and flavor. Instead, store them in a paper bag.
  3. Apples, Pears: You can refrigerate these fruits, but you don’t need to. The cold air inside the refrigerator tends to break down their crisp texture. Leave them out on the counter. But if you prefer your fruit cold, go ahead and refrigerate.
  4. Peaches, plums, cherries: Stone fruits should not be refrigerated. Store them out on the counter and enjoy them as soon as they’re ripe.
  5. Oranges, lemons, limes, clementines: Store citrus fruits on the counter. Keep close tabs on them, though, as one moldy fruit will spread.
  6. Berries: Fresh berries aren’t meant to last long. Leave them out and enjoy them over a few days.
  7. Melons: Store whole melons on the counter. The refrigerator will turn their flesh mealy. Once cut, leftovers can be stored in the fridge.
  8. Bananas: Refrigerating bananas will turn their peels prematurely brown and change their texture. Store them out on the counter and peel and freeze them for banana bread once they become overripe.
  9. Onions, garlic: Storing these pungent alliums in the refrigerator will not only impart their smell onto other foods, but will also soften them over time. Store them in a paper bag.
  10. Honey, jam, maple syrup: Honey and real maple syrup will crystallize if stored in the fridge. Store them it at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. While it’s fine to refrigerate jams and jellies, it’s also OK to leave them out after opening.
  11. Avocados: Store whole avocados on the counter. If they’re very soft, you can get a few extra days by putting them in the fridge, but you’ll pay for it in flavor. It’s better just to enjoy them right away.
  12. Bread: While many people refrigerate bread to keep it from going stale, doing so actually dries it out faster. Store it in a dark cupboard or bread box.
  13. Butter: There’s nothing worse than trying to spread rock hard butter. The good news is there’s no need. Depending on temperatures, you can store butter on the counter, covered, for a week or so. The best plan is to refrigerate butter and take it out one stick at a time. If the weather is very hot, you may opt for smaller quantities.
  14. Peppers: Store peppers in a paper bag. The refrigerator will soften their crisp texture.
  15. Winter squash: Store acorn, spaghetti, and butternut squash right out on the counter.
  16. Pickles: Pickles have enough sodium—a natural preservative—to keep them safe for a long time. The only reason to refrigerate them is if you prefer to enjoy them cold.
  17. Coffee: Refrigerating coffee beans or grounds saps them of moisture and flavor. Store them in the cupboard.

And here’s a puzzle for the ages:

18. Eggs — to refrigerate or not to refrigerate? In Europe, no one refrigerates eggs, but in North America we do. Does that mean we don’t need to? Turns out European eggs have a different production process and carry a much lower risk of salmonella. Here on the other side of the pond, it’s a good idea to refrigerate them, unless they’ve been boiled. Hard boiled eggs are safe to keep out on the counter for a few days.

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