olive june: 2017

a miracle morning challenge

yesterday, i mentioned some of the books, shows, music i am currently loving on my august media spotlight. well... one of them i am so excited about!! ... so excited that i have decided to ask you all to join me. i first heard about the miracle morning from one of my favorite people in life / one of my bridesmaids, my friend anna. we taught together for nine years and woke up early the way it was... but she was in love with hal elrod's concept in his book and began waking up even earlier every day. she always raved about it. however, i was always like... 'early mornings? umm, no way. i am a huge night owl... there is no way i would love this.' (now, i wish i would have started years ago). i have mentioned a lot lately about how i am trying to slow down. one of the ways i plan to achieve this is through the method that this book teaches. i want to start each day on the right foot by waking up slowly and intently. i am currently about half way through the audio book and have read countless success stories this week... making me anxious to begin my personal journey. i got lost on so many blogs and videos recently ... reading and listening to countless people post about their transition from being a non-morning person to loving it/seeing their life change in remarkable ways... and wanting to wake up even earlier? trust me- if this works for me, it will be a miracle. i recently read this article about moms who are night owls and stay up way past their bedtime (my husband and i usually go to bed around midnight- or later.)  i agreed with almost everything in the article; however, i really want to make some significant changes in my life and so many people are sharing how their businesses, health, and relationships all improved greatly by implementing this routine. so let's do it.

would you like to join me? 

an august media spotlight

here are some pop culture things i am currently loving | 

audio book | the morning miracle: the not-so-obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life (before 8am) by hal elrod - one of my best friends (love you, anna) has been encouraging me to read this for years... and i am finally (hope i don't regret the amount of time it took me to pick this up!) better now versus never and i trust her so much ~ so i am excited about this one. 

paper book | the story hour by thrity umringer 

parenting | no-drama discipline by daniel j. siegel

t.v show | daily: the today show + weekly: bachelor in paradise (no shame!) 

artist | valerie june 

movies | last weekend we watched lion on saturday night with my mom (so incredibly moving - i really, really enjoyed it! have you seen it? what were your thoughts...) and then on sunday, my husband and i went on a date together... we enjoyed thai and a movie, the big sick. we laughed lots. i highly recommend both movies. (this was only the second movie i have seen since parks was born- the other being beauty and the beast with my mom last spring) 

parks / children books | pat the bunny is his current favorite (he loves the interaction) 

spotify stations | billie holiday, lucy rose, message to bears
lastly, an 'end of summer porch rockin' playlist' - just for you | 


... what are you listening to, reading, and watching lately... 

a hospital bag ~ what to really pack

the packing of the hospital bags ... this happened about eighteen months ago- yet a part of me feels like this was just yesterday and another feels like it was a lifetime ago. (i am sure most moms can relate to this!) my younger sister (and one of the namesakes for my new blog re-brand, olive june) is due in exactly two weeks with her first baby. therefore, i thought i would create a post about what i really think you need to bring. these are just my thoughts... i am a big believer in doing what works best for you. i just remember the anxiety, the not knowing what was coming our way and thought this would hopefully help some of you who are struggling with what to bring to the hospital- a list for both momma and baby regarding the items i really think you might need for your stay.  

a note: we were there thursday-monday/a bit longer than normal... so again, you might not feel like you would need the same things? you just never know what the process will be like...
but what i do know? ... it's all worth it.

i wrote this post right before parks was born about what i packed in our bags

olive june

"warbel for lilac-time" by walt whitman
"for spring-time is here! the summer is here! and what is this in it and from it?
thou, soul, unloosen'd -- the relentless after i know now what;
come, let us lag here no longer, let us be up and away!"
{a master bedroom scene}

welcome to olive june~ the beginning of a new era for this space. this change is something i have been dreaming about for awhile. the afternoon before my birthday this past june my husband and i were relaxing in a high-post, antique bed at a local charlotte inn, enjoying a pizza + a latte, soft acoustic music playing and no technology for a few hours... as he drifted off for an afternoon nap, a lot of new ideas started to overcome me. there is something about summer and a birthday that brings on self-reflection and an eagerness for improvement, awareness, and challenges. i wanted a job change (something that would still allow me to raise parks, work from home, and something that would hopefully give me more time for relationships, for my loved ones). in addition, i also knew that i wanted something new for this blog. my eighth graders brainstormed and came up 'simply love' four and a half years ago when i started this journey, and although i dearly loved it, i wanted something more authentic, something that represents me a little bit more. i hope you all love the new name- i feel like it truly encompasses this time in my life. a special thank you to munch paris studio for helping with this transition. they created my blog design last august and i just can't recommend them enough. they are sweet, trustworthy, and so talented. 
{this dress is from my new line}

behind the name: 

i chose olive because i was looking at the most beautiful rose + olive colored vintage floral painting when i felt like the holy spirit spoke to me on this past birthday eve, regarding taking a few new risks. it's always the most graceful and soothing whisper. later that evening, my husband and i went to a special dinner at the place where our wedding reception was held and i told him all about my current thoughts + dreams... and like always, he was so supportive and open-minded. the man believes in me and i am so grateful for his trust in my constant soul-searching and new ideas. i also chose olive because an olive branch symbolizes peace. this year, more than ever, my relationship with God has led me on a deep path of discovering the value in slowing down and finding your inner peace ... fewer things and more experiences, that thinking about living is not the same as living, and that we do have choices in life. i am learning that "busyness" and "more" will never be enough- so i need to find my ultimate exploration, my purpose. there is something deep within me seeking true meaning. i don't think living a good life means fancy things. it is the quiet mornings, cooking alongside your lover, gathering flowers from your backyard, lighting your favorite candle. i feel like if we aren't careful, these moments will quickly pass us by. lately, i have been more committed to choosing my thoughts and actions carefully. as a result, i have become more dedicated to the idea of living my everyday life with intention. the word 'olive' + the image of an olive tree branch remind me of this concept. 

"the heart of a woman is the best mirror you can find." erin loechner, chasing slow: courage to journey off the beaten path
june is a special word because it represents these things: 
- my sister and i were born four days apart in the month of june and she means so much to me
- i married my sweet husband in june
- as a teacher, june was always a meaningful month - as i said 'goodbye' to countless students, young adults whom i saw grow, change and make an impact on others
- the Holy Spirit has spoken to me (in the most vivid ways) the past two junes 
- i am a hopeless romantic and have always adored the love between johnny and june cash + how their love represents my country roots so well 

and~ 'olive june' was born. 
my sweet boy is nineteen months old today 

i hope you love it as much as i do. your readership means so very much to me and i am so grateful for each and every one of you. i plan to continue to share my life + style + motherhood stories + self-awareness + gatherings + and all of the things i 'simply love' with you all in the years ahead... 


snacking (on) | lately, my favorite snacks have been boom chicka pop popcorn (i really want to try this flavor soon!) i am also loving lightly salted almonds, carrots with guacamole, and smoothies. 

anticipating | i have some big news coming to this space (hopefully next week!) so stay tuned... lots of changes to my business + blog coming your way. but even more than that... my sister is due in less than three weeks with her first baby. she lives in cincinnati (hyde park area- love.) with her husband and once when we get news, we are going to head up north to meet my new niece or nephew / parks' little cousin. 

borrowing | lots of ideas and books about balancing life (my main goal for this year) ... living a more soulful life, full of connections, faith, and the things that matter most. i am also trying to rid our home of chemicals (as much as possible) - along with striving for healthier living as a whole.  i plan to come up with a plan for the rest of this year soon... any more advice? 

admiring | so many of my favorite instagram girls ... like prettylittlefawn . ohjoy . thedarlings_ . bleubird . its.rachelanne amylouhawthorne . fancytreehouse ~ i just love the photos, the stories, the sharing of life that we get to experience during our era. i am constantly inspired. 

purchasing | a few things for my new business adventure but more than buying, i am getting ready to sell lots and lots of things. (and donate) have any of you ever used poshmark? thoughts? 

season | summer style

'but love, love equals, "i want the best for you no matter how it makes me feel."' - lisa-jo baker, never unfriended

last fall, i started a new series on pinterest, where i highlight my style for each season. today i thought i would share some of my favorites from my summer collection - as we get ready to welcome august tomorrow. today, we are getting things back in order from a trip to emerald isle with friends over the weekend. it was 'kids-free' and was pretty glorious. we both missed parks (so much) but took in the time with some of our lifelong friends. we laughed all weekend long and enjoyed the beautiful beach home, shore, time reading on the sound, seafood, cocktails, and games. what did you do over the weekend?

here are some of my favorite looks at the moment:     
loving blush, faded watercolors, chunky blankets, and white 

i carried you | a year older

while we were at the beach last week in south carolina, i remembered a post i wrote exactly one year ago. the monaco family beach trip included just parks and i for the majority of the week (tim sadly had to work) and was only parks' second time to the shore. i remember telling him, 'this is the sea. do you hear that? that's a wave. it's the water breaking on the shore. do you feel that? that is sand. you can see imprints of your feet sink into it. the taste on your lips? that is salt. isn't it so beautiful?" i would tell him as he slept. 
ps: i can't stop listening to this

a mood board | july edition

this month i am all about the light and airy. i am loving mustard, greens, stripes, roses, creams, and blush tones. maybe it was our trip to the shore last week but i feel relaxed and rejuvenated. this summer, the days at home with parks have been long and short all at once. we wake and have oatmeal at the table. we spend a lot of time playing with wood blocks, reading, and taking walks together. he smiles at me often, so does his whole body, and i always say, 'i feel so loved by him." his eyes are a golden brown, sometimes a deep hazel. he loves to nuzzle into me as i type or work, grazing his soft hands over my arms. in those moments, i know why i was sent here, why i needed to be sent here, why i needed to find him. 

a mood board | july

a city guide | charlotte, north carolina

ten years ago this past weekend, i moved to charlotte from columbus, ohio. i knew only two people from college- and not very well. one remains a very close friend, someone i can always count on. looking back, i hardly recognize that person~ a young and fairly dependent twenty-four-year-old, fresh out of college + studying abroad and beyond ready to take on middle school as a new teacher. but if i am being really honest, i was quite naive about life in general. however, i had a deep and true support from my family, who never once questioned my decision... and although i was scared out of my mind, moving here remains one of the best decisions of my life. growing up, i yearned for approval from the average bird and i grew to be good at following the rules and doing things that would make other people happy. i became good at shifting my words and personality to stay on the safe side. but what i have learned is that that is the fast track to losing yourself. i learned that sometimes we hide the real us under a thick security blanket that is itchy- but often appears perfect. i don't know about you- but i don't want 'perfect.' i want real, i want authentic, and i want connections that bring moments of presence. moving here gave me some permission to break out of those constraints. i began to recognize and love my country roots even more- while finding a new place to call my home, a charming southern city. this new road map and + countless life experiences all led me to a life that involves more calmness, acceptance, a passionate pursuit of balance, peace, and a love affair that struck the deepest chord of my soul. over the past few years, i am embracing myself more and have been celebrating the person that God created more. both my husband and i remain open to new adventures throughout life- but one thing i know for certain- charlotte, north carolina will always remain a special place. because of this move and all of the good people i have met, i appreciate the little things so much more. the mountains and the beaches always make me feel the closest to God and i am forever grateful for having the chance to live in such a beautiful state. as i continue my journey here, i pray to stay soft, to continue to find solitude, strive for balance, and hope to never stop exploring (and growing) in this one life. 
places to stay | 

places to eat |

on my radar to try soon: roots cafe, wu's cajun sea food, stoke and the suffolk punch
"exploration is really the essence of the human spirit' 

parks james | eighteen months

"this is the secret to finding and keeping friendships: become women who want to see the women around them flourish." - lisa-jo baker :: never unfriended 

on july 15, parks james turned eighteen months old. it just keeps getting better and better and he is growing up so much. we enjoyed a week at the beach last week (and are actually going again this weekend for a birthday celebration- sans baby boy). a weekend with friends will be wonderful and we both feel very grateful for the chances to escape and take in the salty air. parks loved exploring the beach and swimming in the pool and i can't wait to share the memories with you all. i did share some on instagram but have more to share soon. 
doctor's appointment today :: eastover peds (we love, love dr. cross)
he used her stool as a stroller for his baby while we waited (he was so excited his baby was with us!)
i think he has his momma's memory and remembered that this place means bad things: finger pricks and vaccinations. it's rare for this boy to cry and he cried right when we walked into the room... it broke my heart. he charmed the nurses and doctor with his thick comb over and sweet disposition though (and he did a great job!!) i rewarded him after the appointment with a smoothie. 

at-home teeth whitening for the busy mom

this post was sponsored by Smile Brilliant. all opinions are completely my own
lately i have been striving for simple. i have been purging, organizing, re-evaluating, reading more, and trying to enjoy the simple inspirations of life a little bit more. as a result, i have found that i am calmer, happier, and more productive. it's been a good month. as a mom, blogger, small business owner, and wife... sometimes i run out of time and there are not enough hours in a day. in addition, coffee and wine are almost aways part of my day. as a result, i started to notice that my teeth were not as white as they once were and my confidence was being affected. life is all about self-love and our teeth + smile are one of the first things people notice. enter smile brilliant (a company out of st. louis, missouri) they offer the absolute best value for your money. the kit works for both very sensitive and deeply stained teeth (it's even suitable for people who have stains from childhood or from tobacco). the process was smooth, easy, and i loved, loved my results. i feel like this also makes the perfect gift for a loved one. 
want to be a good mom? take care of yourself 
you can do this while you put the kids down for a nap, clean the house, mow the lawn, etc. 

the process |

1. creating the dental trays: the first thing i had to do was create custom trays that would hold my whitening gel. the instructions were very easy and quick (it comes with detailed instructions) and then you ship them back in a pre-addressed mailer. within two weeks, the trays arrived and i was ready to begin...

2. application of whitening gel: smile brilliant provides the gel in plastic syringes and the process is very easy. i love that the molds allow for every part of your teeth to get whitened at the same time and they don't slide around like whitening stripes (plus, this kit blows away those results!) you simply apply a thin strand of gel along each tray and affix both trays to your mouth. the only issue i had was applying (way) too much the first time and the taste and sensation on my gums wasn't pleasant. however, by the second time, i was good-to-go. if you experience this, here is some more information about tooth sensitivity. 

3. application of desensitizing gel: the last step is to apply this gel, which is done the same was as the whitening gel. i did not experience any sensitivity from this gel and felt like it made my teeth feel clean. 

top nordstrom anniversary sale picks

the 2017 nordstrom anniversary sale is here! thanks to my mom and sister, i am a big fan. i used to love more (less quality) things but have moved over to their side of the world in many ways. the customer service at nordstrom is the best of the best and i love to browse and shop with them. i recently fell in love with their zella workout line (amazing.) and bp (so soft) tees. today is the first day for early access so i thought i would share some of my favorite picks with you all. 

my fifteen favorites |

-what are your favorites-
if you score anything, i would love to hear! 
let me know in the comments below

baby beach gear

as we get ready for our annual beach trip next week, i wanted to share some of my favorite pieces for toddler girls + boys this season. last summer, i shared ten tips for the beach with a baby. sometimes i think that once you figure out how to pack, it can make all the difference. mom tip: i read once that a mom of five recommends building a large hole right when you get there... then the kids can play in it for hours while she can read (fingers crossed) or at least relax. what a great idea!! 

on my shelf | five books for mom + baby

"when you were too small to tell me hello, i knew you were someone i wanted to know." emily winfield martin, the wonderful things you will be 

for mom |

+ no-drama discipline by daniel siegel 
+ the morning miracle by hal elrod 
+ the handmaid's tale by margaret atwood 
+ podcast: parenting great kids with dr. meg meeker (any podcasts you love lately?)

starting to look into more podcasts options + just starting to get discipline advice for our (almost) eighteen month old... please let me know if there are any you love. 
for baby | 
+ the wonderful things you will be, emily winfield martin (the most beautiful illustrations and message) 
+ pat the bunny by dorothy kunhardt (his favorite + i love the vintage feel and he loves to do each page; patting the bunny is his very favorite though) 
+ bare and hare - where's hare? by emily gravett (fun, perfect for counting and he thinks it's funny) 
+ pantone color book by pantone (colorful, creative, and parks looks at it over and over again) 
+ if i could keep you little by marianne richmond (cute photos and will make any momma tear up) 

i think all of these are great picks to bring to the home of a new baby or a shower in lieu of a card

a 'kids memory' journal + tacos

"the snow is only meant, created, commanded to fall. the rain is only meant, created, commanded to pour down. you were only meant, created, commanded to be who you are, weird, wonderful, imperfect, messy and lovely. :: shauna niequist | present over perfect 

last week i was talking to a woman who has three grown kids and she said something to me that was so profound that i wanted to share with you all. we talked about her children and the struggles of raising them- the bullying (my greatest fear- besides health), the hardships, the overcoming, and the achievements. she saw parks and mentioned how much she misses them being little (i am going to have a very hard time with this... i know this.) then she mentioned her biggest regret. she said she wishes that she would not have been caught up in buying the perfect journal or having the perfect prompts to write... she wishes that she would have written a few simple things at the end of every day. 

creating a memory journal:
1. a simple notebook (any journal!) 
2. complete a few lines every day: the date, a few things that your kids did that made you happy, a few things they did/said that were funny
3. i think i am going to add a few things that i am grateful for 
4. i plan to keep this in the nightstand next to our bed 

i am so grateful for our conversation 
anyone want to join me?

speaking of joining... anyone else love tacos?
'let's taco bout it' {romper: amazon}
charlotte locals: you can get it at kid to kid huntersville (new) for $8.99

summer style | poppy and dot feature

this post contains affiliate links- all opinions expressed are 100% my own 
 one of the things i want to share more in this space is both my fashion style + parks' baby boy style. i hope to share more posts about ideas + favorites + tips. this past monday, my mom and i spent about seven hours browsing our favorite shops at a local mall. i rarely go to the mall (maybe about three times a year and usually only when she is here - it's one of our favorite things to do together + so many memories) we only went to a handful of stores and we had a great time together. although it was fun, i usually love to shop online for new pieces. one of my favorite places to shop is on instagram + small boutiques online. i am very excited to now be a blog ambassador with poppy and dot, which is one that i adore. they have such cute pieces + some of my favorite floral robes ever. please enjoy 10% off your order with the code: janelleM10 and let me know your favorites below... i would love to hear. 

my current poppy and dot favorites 
{use code janelleM10 for 10% off your entire order!}

clothes |

shoes | 

currently | july edition

“the world will tell you how to live, if you let it. don’t let it. take up your space. raise your voice. sing your song. this is your chance to make or remake a life that thrills you.” 
― shauna niequist, present over perfect: leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living

documenting | my dreams- both big and small. as you all know, i love, love our amazing church and last week, the focus was on resistance and achieving your dreams. i plan to make a board with my micro and macro dreams, along with how i plan to achieve these; conquering the resistance. 

accomplishing | last week was beyond successful! i can't even count all of the things i knocked off my to-do list but it felt great. lots of trips to good will + organizing almost every inch of our home + a deep clean. i am also focusing on healthy eating and working out... @emilybreeze on insta is doing a burpee challenge this month. it started with ten on july 1 and then you add one each day. you should join as well! 

enjoying | having a clean, organized home, where everything has a place and relaxing on the white rocking chairs on our front porch (my birthday gift from my boys) 

reading | chasing slow (it's probably the coolest + most beautiful book i have ever owned and so, so good!) and then our july book club pick is the handmaid's tale by margaret atwood. our book club began seven years ago this month and i still enjoy it very much. do you have a book club? if so, what's your set-up? we used to go to one another's homes but several of us had babies in the same year- so now we venture out to a local restaurant or wine bar. (and yes, we talk about the book... for a few minutes. haha) 

spending | time together with loved ones as much as i can. my parents visited charlotte this past weekend and we enjoyed walks, church, popsicles, delicious meals in and out, a shopping day with my mom all day monday, the splash pad + market uptown, parks, brunch, cocktails, and games at night. it was a very nice visit. in addition, i loved celebrating our anniversary with tim and parks last thursday at the whitewater center. parks loved watching the kayakers and rafting go to down the rapids- he would laugh and clap. we enjoyed salads, a beer, live music and a long walk. lastly, a fourth of july cookout with friends last night was the perfect way to celebrate ~ we grilled burgers/hotdogs, awesome conversations, we laughed, i made a trifle (layers of fruit, whipped cream, pudding, and pound cake) we spelled our names using sparklers and watched fireworks as they surrounded our neighborhood. how did you celebrate? i hope it was lots of fun!! 
haberdish sunday evening was fabulous and we had the best service- i love this place.
after dinner, we walked across the street to popbar (delicous!) 

summer fun travel tips with evenflo | flying with a toddler

thank you to Evenflo for kindly sponsoring this post. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
happy summer! bring on the travels~ any fun trips coming up? traveling is fun but with young children, it can also be challenging and stressful. today, i am sharing some simple tips + ideas to make things easier for you. in may, i traveled to my hometown for a family wedding with parks solo. you may remember that we were supposed to drive; however, i was experiencing intense neck pain so we booked a last minute flight. i learned a few things and reached out to a local girl tribe in charlotte to bring some summer travel tips your way. i hope these help you in some way as you make your plans and fly to those exciting places. 

here are some tips for flying with a toddler:
"one of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are."
- edith wharton
i think the best advice i was given is this~ go into the flight expecting it to be okay! often parents dread it and expect it's going to be awful, causing their anxiety to rub off on their kids. mental preparation is important for us too. stay calm and pray they do the same. 
in the dayton airport --> charlotte bound 
{i placed the car seat on top of the rolling suitcase}
car seat | evenflo . shoes | aldo . jeans | madewell

checking in | i always encourage checking in online for moms. if it's a holiday (like this weekend- happy fourth!), i would definitely try and check in online because sometimes flights are sold out and the last people to check-in are usually placed on standby/are bumped. because of my neck pain, we brought the sibby stroller (it's a perfect size for travels- more here). usually, i would baby wear parks in the airport (esp. for running to a gate) but we had a direct flight and there was no way we could have put him in a carrier with my pain. the stroller was perfect for this trip and i actually think i would do a stroller again next time. we were dropped off and checked in outside (the tip was worth it in this case) we checked our evenflo stratos car seat (color: silver ice) outside so we would be hands-free through security + walking to the gate. you can buy a bag on amazon for under $10 to help protect it but i don't recommend hauling it through the airport. it was easy, free, and was waiting for us at baggage claim when we arrived. 

security | a backpack is usually your best friend! (isn't this the case as a mom in general?) we love this one from fawn design. i found that one airport wanted all of his food and drinks in a plastic bag for checking- so i would do this in advance. kids don't have to take off their shoes until the age of seven and they can walk through with you. the stroller + car seat may require a more thorough check. 

at the gate | depending on the child, i think this is either a good time for exploring and 'getting out the energy' or a good time for them to chill. parks is a very chill toddler when in his evenflo stroller + car seat (versus let's say a high chair!) so that's what we did; however, many kids would probably be better off using their energy during this time frame. while waiting, i try and use the restroom before the flight and remember to fill up the sippy cup  + change diapers before taking off. i also recommend bringing some plastic grocery bag in your diaper bag for dirty diapers on the flight. 
in case you are lucky enough to enjoy a second of quiet (whether they are napping or are chilling in the stroller- like parks does in the sibby!!) do not forget to bring a book/magazine/your favorites, too. you just never know... 

and i thought i loved you then

june 29, 2013 
four years ago~ a gorgeous summer day in uptown charlotte, i married the most genuine, kindest person i have ever known. i know God brought him into my life and i know he's my true love. now we are mom and dad to the sweetest baby boy, continuing to enjoy our city, travel, and take in the simple moments in life. we dream, we try our best to overcome the difficult days, we challenge, we laugh, we cuddle, we pray, and we try to be the best parents we can for parks james.

here are just a few of my favorite memories from our wedding day: 
-my bouquet- 
the rosary was a gift from my maternal grandma and the colored brooch was my paternal grandma's (she passed away when i was a young girl) yesterday would have been her 103rd birthday. i could feel her love that day and i know she was with us
i surprised my new husband with a cannoli bar to honor his italian heritage 
the charlotte city club (especially the director, nathan hoffman) made it a day to remember- always.
now you're my whole life
now you're my whole world 
i just can't believe 
the way i feel about your girl 
we'll look back someday 
at this moment that we're in 
and i'll look at you and say 
and i thought i loved you then 
and i thought i loved you then 
{then by brad paisley}
j + t 
every day- i can feel how much my husband loves me. for this, my heart feels so full. 
what's even better? i know that our son feels the same love. 
my sister stood closest to my side all day 
from my bridal portraits - i loved my dress!! it was originally a one strap dress, turned high lace
the girls wore cream and gold + pink and coral peonies
my girls