Welcome to Stripes and Whimsy!

Stripes and Whimsy - striped maxi dress - black and white striped maxi dress - j crew striped maxi dress - long sleeve striped maxi dress - beach photo ideas - beach photo outfit - panama hat with black ribbon - Bellows - best Oahu sunrise location - Hawaii sunrise - Oahu sunrise location

Hi everyone and welcome to Stripes and Whimsy!  It has been over 5 years since my blog had a redesign and I hope you like the fresh new look as much as I do!  I also decided to go with my gut and change my blog name too (and I’ll get into the why farther down).

Back in 2014 when my home tour came out on The Everygirl I had a Blogger-based website that I created myself.  I clearly had no clue what I was doing and it looked awful, to be quite honest.  A few days after my story and home tour got published an incredibly talented and generous web designer name Marianne of M. Elle Creative reached out to me and offered to design my blog for free, since she had been touched by my story and could tell I needed a bit of help.  She designed the Life with a Dash of Whimsy page I’ve had for the past 5 years (still Blogger-based), and I knew she was the one I wanted to hire when it came time to relaunch my brand and blog.  I decided it was time to migrate to WordPress too because it allows for more flexibility, and she took care of all of that for me and built this beautiful website.  Marianne listened to all of the little things I wanted, she answered all of the questions I had (there were lots), and she worked so hard to design the website I could only have dreamed of just a few weeks ago.  She also designed my logo, and isn’t it perfect?!  I’m so happy with how it all turned out and I’m so glad I chose to work with Marianne again.  If you need a web designer I would recommend her without any hesitation.

Stripes and Whimsy - striped maxi dress - black and white striped maxi dress - j crew striped maxi dress - long sleeve striped maxi dress - beach photo ideas - beach photo outfit - panama hat with black ribbon - Bellows - best Oahu sunrise location - Hawaii sunrise - Oahu sunrise location

Now before I talk about the new blog, I want to talk about the photos and this outfit!  My dear friend Steph of Stephanie H. Photography took these photos at Bellows as the sun rose a few weeks ago.  I had so much fun working with her and she made me feel so at ease in front of the camera!  She may start taking clients soon, so if you’re in Hawaii you should keep her in mind.

My long-sleeved striped maxi dress is old but here is the current version of it, here is a more flowy maxi option, and here is a shorter version (I’m obsessed with this one).  You can’t beat a good long sleeved striped dress, and I think these photos sum up my new blog name perfectly!  The earrings are old but they come in a few other colors now (though I just found this affordable rattan pair that I can’t wait to get in the mail), and the hat is old from H&M but here is my favorite sun hat that now comes with a black ribbon.

Stripes and Whimsy - striped maxi dress - black and white striped maxi dress - j crew striped maxi dress - long sleeve striped maxi dress - beach photo ideas - beach photo outfit - panama hat with black ribbon - Bellows - best Oahu sunrise location - Hawaii sunrise - Oahu sunrise location

Ok now back to the blog news!  Life with a Dash of Whimsy will always be near and dear to my heart (and you can still find all of my old content here on the new blog), but after being in the “blogging business” for a few years I’ve realized that the name was too long and I wanted something short and sweet that summed me up more concisely.  As you may know, stripes are my favorite pattern and I’m almost always wearing them in one form or another.  And if I’m not, then chances are that one of my children probably has them on instead.  I think they’re playful yet classic, timeless yet ever evolving.  Which, coincidentally, is how I’d summarize my style.  I’m not all about trends, but I love to study the current adaptations of classic silhouettes and timeless patterns and I believe that the best pieces will never go out of style.

Stripes and Whimsy - striped maxi dress - black and white striped maxi dress - j crew striped maxi dress - long sleeve striped maxi dress - beach photo ideas - beach photo outfit - panama hat with black ribbon - Bellows - best Oahu sunrise location - Hawaii sunrise - Oahu sunrise location

I also wanted to keep “whimsy” in the title, as a nod to the old name but also because I still believe life, outfits, interior design, motherhood…everything is more fun with a dash of whimsy thrown in.  Whimsy is defined as “playfully quaint or fanciful behavior,” and even when I wore Army camouflage every day I still found a way to set myself apart and incorporate a little fun into my daily life.  I was taken seriously because I was a strong officer and could hang with the guys, but you’d better believe I carried a pink pen (with black ink) and a feminine notebook with me, even when I was deployed to Afghanistan.

Stripes and Whimsy - striped maxi dress - black and white striped maxi dress - j crew striped maxi dress - long sleeve striped maxi dress - beach photo ideas - beach photo outfit - panama hat with black ribbon - Bellows - best Oahu sunrise location - Hawaii sunrise - Oahu sunrise location

So what can you expect from the new blog?  Well, it’ll mostly be lifestyle, motherhood, personal style and fitness for the time being.  That’s where my heart is now, so that’s what I’ll share.  Life with a Dash of Whimsy started out as an interior design blog…and while I still have a huge passion for decorating I don’t have the space to complete DIYs in our small Hawaii apartment and it’s tough to decorate when you know your home is just temporary and most of your stuff is stacked up in the garage anyway because it can’t all fit in your home.  We don’t have the need (nor space) for anything new, so now is not the season of decorating for me.  One day, once Tom retires from the Army and starts a second career, we will settle down and maybe we’ll get our dream house, but for now I’m passionate about sharing real life outfits that are timeless with a whimsical twist, affordable style ideas, easy lifestyle tips for the busy mom, fitness posts, and beauty tips that don’t take too much time.

Stripes and Whimsy - striped maxi dress - black and white striped maxi dress - j crew striped maxi dress - long sleeve striped maxi dress - beach photo ideas - beach photo outfit - panama hat with black ribbon - Bellows - best Oahu sunrise location - Hawaii sunrise - Oahu sunrise location

We’re still working on getting all of the old posts labeled with the new category titles, but you should find the site much more navigable than it used to be and a whole lot more fun to peruse.  All of the things I wear and share in Instagram photos can now be found here on the blog, and we’ve included a way for you to see all the things I’m currently loving too.  I also love that my blog now offers suggested posts, because there are 5 years worth of content and now the old stuff will be easier to find.

Stripes and Whimsy - striped maxi dress - black and white striped maxi dress - j crew striped maxi dress - long sleeve striped maxi dress - beach photo ideas - beach photo outfit - panama hat with black ribbon - Bellows - best Oahu sunrise location - Hawaii sunrise - Oahu sunrise location

Truthfully, I’d love to turn Stripes and Whimsy into a real business rather than have it mostly just be a hobby.  As a stay at home mom I’m passionate about caring for my kids and I’m thankful for the opportunity to stay home to be with them, but I would love to be able to help contribute financially a bit more.  I plan to post more regularly and have a true editorial schedule (fingers crossed I can stick with it).  My camera man (Tom, haha) and I are learning how to use my DSLR camera better, so hopefully photo quality will improve too.  And as always, I’d love to hear about the kinds of things you want to read about!  Your topic requests have become some of my favorite posts, so please let me know if you have anything you’d like me to cover!  From motherhood highs and lows to fitness to affordable style, what you want to read matters to me and I’m always open to ideas.

Stripes and Whimsy - striped maxi dress - black and white striped maxi dress - j crew striped maxi dress - long sleeve striped maxi dress - beach photo ideas - beach photo outfit - panama hat with black ribbon - Bellows - best Oahu sunrise location - Hawaii sunrise - Oahu sunrise location

You may have noticed that I now try to share all outfit details on Instagram and often mention the LiketoKNOW.it app, which is where I link everything to make it all shop-able.  I’m doing that because I often get questions about where I buy things so it’s my way of making things easier to find, and if you happen to shop through those links (or many of the links I share on my blog) it helps support my blogging endeavors so I can keep providing you with content.  It doesn’t cost you any extra, it’s just small way to help keep this blog going.  I’d also love to incorporate the occasional sponsored content, but only if it’s a product I truly love and would use.  I’m not going to sell my soul, I just want to contribute to my family and do it in a creative capacity that suits the life we live.  Who knows if it’ll happen, but I think the blog relaunch is the first step.

Stripes and Whimsy - striped maxi dress - black and white striped maxi dress - j crew striped maxi dress - long sleeve striped maxi dress - beach photo ideas - beach photo outfit - panama hat with black ribbon - Bellows - best Oahu sunrise location - Hawaii sunrise - Oahu sunrise location

To those of you who have been reading since the very beginning, I appreciate you sticking with me all this time!  To you newer followers, thank you so much for deciding to join me.  There are so many blogs and platforms out there that share beautiful photos, but sometimes they can make you feel bad if you can’t live up to those standards.  I consider those “aspirational” blogs, which are fun to follow but not realistic for the majority of us.  I hope you’ll find Stripes and Whimsy as a source of inspiration, not aspiration.  You won’t see high style or crazy expensive items, because that’s simply not my life.  I’m just a real mom trying to figure out this new phase of life and I’m going to write about it as I go along.  I love a good splurge piece from time to time (and by splurge I mean going with J.Crew instead of J.Crew Factory haha), but I also love combing the racks at Walmart to bring you the latest affordable finds that I will also wear with pride and without batting an eye.  You all mean the world to me and I wish I could hug (or toast) each and every one of you.  Your page views, follows, shares, clicks, comments, and messages all mean the world to me and I am so incredibly thankful you’ve decided to visit my little space on the internet!  Cheers!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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27 Comments

  1. February 25, 2019 / 3:40 am

    Welcome new blog! I loved your old one and can’t wait to see your changes!

    • February 25, 2019 / 8:28 am

      Thank you so much, Erin! I appreciate you following along!

  2. Kelsey
    February 25, 2019 / 4:45 am

    Hi Katie! Your new blog name & refresh looks great! I’ve been following since your Everygirl feature and I love your content! “Splurge on J. Crew instead of J. Crew Factory” YES! I feel the same way. I also have two littles and love the practical yet stylish pieces you feature. Keep up the great work!

    • February 25, 2019 / 8:29 am

      Thank you, Kelsey! Haha we sound like kindred spirits! Thanks so much for following along 🙂

  3. Leslie
    February 25, 2019 / 7:35 am

    Congratulations on your new design! I love your blog and I’m excited that you will be posting more! I can definitely relate to your lifestyle and find it inspirational in a way that’s very motivating!

    • February 25, 2019 / 8:29 am

      Thanks Leslie! I appreciate you sticking with me all these years, it means more than you know!

  4. Julia
    February 25, 2019 / 8:03 am

    2014… that means I‘ve been reading your blog for 5 years! I can‘t believe time passed this quickly. Congratulations on the „new old blog“, it looks beautiful. I can‘t wait to see what is next for you.

    Love from Germany!

    • February 25, 2019 / 8:30 am

      5 years? Isn’t that crazy?! I love knowing that I have a sweet reader all the way in Germany, thank you for following for all this time!

  5. February 25, 2019 / 8:22 am

    I love this post so much, Katie! What a neat next step for your blog. It’s one that feels just right, and I look forward to continuing to follow along with you through it. 🙂

    • February 25, 2019 / 8:30 am

      Thank you, Anna! Hope you enjoy it even more now!

  6. February 25, 2019 / 8:43 am

    So, so excited for you!!! Always look back fondly at our first IRL date 🙂 Come back to DC for a visit soon!!

    • February 25, 2019 / 8:59 pm

      Thanks Monica! Gosh that was so much fun!

  7. Tracy Carson
    February 25, 2019 / 10:02 am

    Love the update!!! Already ordered the dress and kiddo sweatshirt (through your links!) I’ve been here since the everygirl debut and its been a total joy to connect!

    • February 25, 2019 / 9:00 pm

      Thank you, Tracy! And I appreciate you shopping through my links and for following along all this time 🙂

  8. Meg A.
    February 25, 2019 / 10:56 am

    I love the new name & look! I believe in the future of your blog— you’re so creative & have such great taste! Thank you for continuing to share with us! ❤️

  9. Christine E-E
    February 25, 2019 / 12:11 pm

    Perfect blog title! and so YOU! Congrats on going where your 💓 takes you…. although I’m probably one of your older followers (almost 70), I enjoy reading how you balance motherhood with the “roller coaster ride” called LIFE. My daughter’s are in the throes of raising my grandchildren, so I am particularly interested in seeing how your two kiddos continue to grow and thrive. Looking forward to reading your blog posts….

    • February 25, 2019 / 9:01 pm

      Thank you Christine! Throes is absolutely right, that’s what I call it too. But it’s incredibly wonderful at the same time! Thank you so much for following along.

  10. Cynthia
    February 25, 2019 / 1:35 pm

    Wishing you much success and so much fun!!

  11. Erin
    February 25, 2019 / 2:27 pm

    Katie- The new blog looks great and definitely looks like you! I can’t wait to read more.

    • February 25, 2019 / 9:02 pm

      Thanks Erin, I appreciate you checking it out!

  12. Gretchen
    February 25, 2019 / 2:42 pm

    I really like all the things you post about! Excited for the changes. Look forward to seeing them!

    • February 25, 2019 / 9:02 pm

      Thank you so much, Gretchen! So glad you enjoy following along.

  13. Lisa
    February 26, 2019 / 12:42 am

    Looks great Katie. Congratulations, and Keep on Blogging!

  14. Johanna
    March 9, 2019 / 1:28 am

    The new blog is so pretty Katie, well done! And I think the new name suits you perfectly. I’ve been here since the Everygirl feature, and I have really enjoyed following along on your journey and seeing you evolve. Thanks for sharing with us! Can’t wait to see what this new direction brings 🙂
    Oh, and I booked my tickets to Hawaii! Aaaah! Will be there for two weeks, on Oahu and the Big Island. I can’t wait!!

    • March 9, 2019 / 11:25 am

      Hi Johanna, thank you so much for saying that and I appreciate you following along all these years! And oh my goodness, that’s amzing about your Hawaii trip. You must be so excited!

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