Summer Sweetness

Smak Parlour Fruit Print Dress
Smak Parlour Fruit Print Dress

Have I sung my praises for Smak Parlour before? Okay, that’s a trick question because a quick search of my own archives tells me, no, I haven’t. It’s time though, so pull up a seat.

For the uninitiated, Smak Parlour is a a boutique in Old City Philadelphia, plus a fashion truck (think food truck, but with clothes not tacos). The store is painted pink, and they sell clothes and accessories that are a mix of retro, kitschy and modern. The founders, Katie and Abby, have their own USA-made label, Smak Parlour Cut & Sew Collection. Oh, and the Smak Parlour Instagram is everything.

Anyway, most of my past purchases from Smak Parlour have been accessories. I’ve wanted one of their dresses for years, but the price tags meant I could only justify it as a special occasion purchase. So I promised myself when I found a new job, I would purchase my first Smak Parlour dress.

As luck would have it, my new job has me working from home most of the time, so I don’t really need new clothes for the office. It felt silly to spend money on a dress just to keep a silly promise to myself.

The weekend before I started my new job, my friend and I were browsing Smak Parlour. It was Memorial Day weekend, so the store was having a sale. This fruit print dress was in my size, marked down to $15(!!) and you know, it fit like a glove. Even better, it was just fun.

Do you know what we call that? Fate.

Smak Parlour Fruit Print Dress
Smak Parlour Fruit Print Dress

The first time my fruit print dress and I went out was for brunch with the PHLbloggers team — Chrystina, Melissa and Priyanka. This dress seemed a little too casual, too American for Parc, so I dressed it up — as much as you can dress up a dress covered in cherries, strawberries and watermelons. Hopefully, sand-colored wedges, pearl studs and subtle makeup did the trick. It doesn’t really matter though, because I was too busy enjoying my mimosas and my new dress.

~ Sarah

Dress: Smak Parlour | Wedges: Crocs | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bag: Century 21

Shop the fruit trend:


Well, hello summer! The last few weeks have been crazy, but in a good way!

In June I started a new job! I work from home now and write for luxury marketing publication, Luxury Daily. The subject matter is super interesting, and it’s fulfilling to finally be using my journalism degree. I have a lot to learn, which is exciting, but everyday I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

June also marked eight years since I started Shades of Sarah. This space has gone through a few evolutions and more than a few hiatuses over the last few years, but we’re still here. It’s crazy how many things have changed since I first signed up for a WordPress account. I had just finished my freshman year at Fordham, and now I’ve lived in Philly for half a decade. I’ve moved, changed jobs, made new friends, adopted dogs and this blog has been a constant. My blog is one of the first things people ask me about when I haven’t seen them in awhile, and it’s nice to have something I do just for me. Of course, I do appreciate anyone who has ever read my blog over the years! You guys are the ones who encourage me and make it more fun.

Anyway, onto the outfit! Summer in Philly is my favorite — there is so much to do and the whole city comes alive. It also gets hot, so I need to get creative with my wardrobe. This outfit felt very me, so I thought it was perfect to mark my 8 year anniversary! The crochet crop top and the earrings are a little bohemian, but the polka dot skirt is feminine and classic. The glitter sandals? They’re just fun, and comfortable enough that I can walk in them for blocks.

Oh! And I almost forgot about the sunglasses. I love them, and I love the trendy vibe they add to my outfits. Also, it’s always important to protect your eyes from the sun!! (Anyone else notice the guys on Queer Eye never wear sunglasses? It drives me crazy!)

Anyone else have a summer outfit that feels very them? I want to hear about it!

~ Sarah
Crop Top: Forever 21 (similar)
Skirt: Dress altered to be a skirt (similar)
Bag: Thrifted (similar)
Sandals: Target (similar)
Sunglasses: Foster Grant (similar)

A Weekend In Gettysburg

Gettysburg Guide - Shades of Sarah

Remember when I went to Gettysburg last summer? I almost forgot, until my friend Nancy asked me for suggestions! What I do remember is that Gettysburg is an easy drive from Philadelphia, and the perfect weekend escape from city life. It’s also an incredibly dog-friendly area, which is a major bonus when you’re traveling with 120+ lb of dogs. (Highly recommend.)

Where To Stay

Gettysburg Guide - Shades of Sarah

I suggest checking out local Airbnb options (here is my referral code). Gettysburg is an interesting mix of tourist areas and rural country hills. You can definitely find a chain hotel to stay at, if that’s your travel style. Airbnbs offer you some more space, and as someone who has always lived in the suburbs or city, more of a cultural experience. What I’m saying is, YOU CAN STAY ON A FARM. Which is exactly what Melissa and I did.Gettysburg Guide - Shades of Sarah

Our Airbnb was a dream. There were chickens, horses, farm dogs and goats. One of the highlights was bottle feeding two baby goats. We brought our own snacks and wine, and drank on the porch and looked at the stars. This is such a city girl cliche, but OMG there are so many stars. The next morning, we drank our coffee and tea on the porch and took in all of the sounds of ~nature~. Definitely a more relaxing soundtrack than city buses.

What To Do

Gettysburg Guide - Shades of Sarah
Gettysburg Guide - Shades of Sarah
Gettysburg Guide - Shades of Sarah
I couldn’t go to Gettysburg and not visit the battlefields. (Fun fact: I was an American studies major.) Gettysburg National Park is overwhelming in scope. There are a lot of audio tour options and bus tour options, but since we were traveling with Zamboni and Arya, we chose to walk. We mostly walked around Devil’s Den and Little Round Top. (Dogs are allowed on the grounds, but not indoors or inside the cemeteries.) You could spend a whole day walking around Gettysburg National Park and not see everything. Everything is very spread out, and, tragically, it puts history in perspective.

For a more traditional hike, our Airbnb host recommended Pine Grove Furnace State Park, close by in Gardners, PA. We ran out of time for this, but it looked awesome.

What To Eat & Drink

Gettysburg Guide - Shades of Sarah
Melissa and I were pleasantly surprised to learn that Adams County is home to several winerys and cideries (it’s actually nicknamed Apple County)! We wrapped up our day at Hauser Estate Winery, which has beautiful views. In addition to their own wines, they also make Jack’s Hard Cider! My favorite drink was a crisp cider sangria, which was perfect for summer. We also had fried apple dumplings to snack on! Hauser Estate also has dog-friendly outdoor seating, although the pups were too wiped out to join us.

Other wineries and cideries in the area:

Adams County Winery
25 Chambersburg St
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Reid’s Orchard & Winery
2135 Buchanan Valley Rd.  
Orrtanna, PA 17353

Reid’s actually has a tasting room in downtown Gettysburg too (400 Baltimore St.). Before we left Gettysburg, we visited downtown and ate lunch. Also, be aware that much of the town is actually closed on Sundays! We had lunch at One Lincoln, where we sat out on the patio with the dogs overlooking Lincoln Square and drank some Big Hill Cider. We didn’t visit any museums, but the Gettysburg Railroad Station is a very cool building.
Gettysburg Guide - Shades of Sarah

I enjoyed my time in Gettysburg, and I would definitely go back in the future to visit more wineries and try a ghost tour. A trip to Gettysburg is also shockingly affordable compared to a big weekend in the city. You can read Melissa’s recap here.

~ Sarah