olive june: 2017
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healthy babies | from the inside out with evivo


-evivo

two years ago, i was expecting sweet baby monaco... and now we are less four months away from his second birthday. i think one of the most overwhelming tasks when you are first expecting is figuring out what you really need once baby arrives. there are countless brands and products out there and everyone has a different opinion on what you really need once baby arrives. i would tell a new mom (all of these things) but also- and i know it's hard- but don't stress about all the things, because really, the most important thing is to really just keep your baby clean, fed, healthy, and loved! and you will be just fine. 

i try really hard not to hold onto things or have regrets (both of which are so diffucult at times) but one of the biggest things i would do differently? i am a huge proponent of these three things: chiropractic care, essential oils, and probiotics. every mother wants to give her baby all that he/she needs to grow healthy and strong. we all do. i feel like often we are wrapped up in the cute onesies and the best strollers (i am totally guilty of this as well- and it's totally okay to find excitement and to enjoy this process) however, i also think it's important to focus on the more important parts of infancy as well- like health. lately, this has been a main priority for both myself and for my family. i recently discovered evivo, the best probiotic for babies. evivo is the first and only probiotic that is clinically proven to restore a baby's gut microbiome to its original, natural state. so now with love and the science behind evivo, mothers can now give their babies an even better start. 

reminisce visual productions | an expression session

thank you to reminisce visual productions for kindly sponsoring this post. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
photos of parks are the most special images to me during this time period in my life. i just love them so much.  when stephanie, the owner of reminisce visual productions reached out to me about her new idea for toddlers- an expression session- i was all about it. she came over to our home with all of the supplies and was so easy-going, fun, and had the warmest personality. stephanie was so patient and took her time with parks (he loved her, too) as she took shots of his personality. then last week she sent me a message that said, 'there's a delivery on your front porch!!' ... and it was 'love at first sight' when i opened the door. 

my sister's baby shower

this past june, we showered my sister and her sweet baby (girl). (at the time, we didn't know whether the baby was a girl or a boy) my hopes for the day was that it would hopefully be personal, slightly bohemian, feminine and just a fun day; a celebration and an escape from the crib / stroller assembling and newborn birth classes. about an hour after the shower, the men/kids came over (many were at a local brewery during the shower) and we continued to celebrate with a bbq and campfire. i have never felt such appreciation and thankfulness for my planning than i did this entire weekend. certainly not why i spend countless hours orchestrating small gatherings, but it was very nice and i left feeling thankful for all of the people who attended. more than anything, i know my sister really enjoyed her special day. there are many more photos... but here are some of the details from the day.

landlocked social house

landlocked social house | a true neighborhood social house providing third wave coffee, craft beer, a small selection of cocktails, wine and local fare. when i went up to cincinnati to meet my new niece a few weeks ago, i fell in love with a new spot. i have a lot of ohio readers (hi!) and a lot of coffee shop lovers on here so i thought i would share this beautiful space with you all. i met up with a (much loved and missed) college friend... we enjoyed lots of laughs and had such a great time catching up. it was very down-to-earth with tons of natural light (always a plus for me) ... and you could tell that the people really cared about you being there and having a wonderful experience. 

our trip to the litchfield shore

as summer officially comes to an end, i wanted to share our annual trip to the south carolina shore with you all. we traveled there in july with my husband's family + some extended family and enjoyed our time away. it's such a peaceful beach and always a wonderful trip. 

simply loving

i have had better weeks in life ... but i am going to stay positive, keep praying, and remember that we all have our health. (minus the fact that parks and i already have 'the pre-school plague') but... we will be better hopefully soon. how was your week?

+ this top from my shop 
+ this post about friendship  
+ my new business cards for my blog + shop arrived (i am in love with the texture and rounded corners) i really wanted a clean, simple look and i really love the way they turned out. also, do you all use the 'honey' app on your devices? it automatically goes through every code on the internet and applies them to your order. (i saved over $19 on these and papa john's- almost always 25% off) because when you have days like yesterday, your husband brings home wine and flowers- and you order pizza (and brownies). 
+ our church is beginning a series right now with the enneagram institute and it's so interesting. here is the excerpt about our new series. our church is compassionate, it's welcoming, it's inspiring, it's creative... it's home. my husband is #9, the peacemaker (just like we predicted last week when they went through each one) ... i hope to take the test this weekend but i think it would be interesting for family members + friends to take it as well; to help us understand one another a little bit better- how we perceive the world, the way we tick- our strengths and our weaknesses- an awareness of how we can work together, understand, and relate to one another and to God in a better way. have you taken this personality test? if so, i would love to hear what you are. i am 95% sure i know what one i am... but we will see. 
+ a beautiful mess' new shop, oui fresh... esp. the essential oils. i have my eye on the fir and rose. i am going to be saving up for these two... rumor has it that these two + the grapefruit smells just like anthro! essential oils- i am all about you. i also love this coffee mug
+ velvet.

kids clothing | mrly

thank you to mrly for kindly sponsoring this post. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
hi! last week i featured one of our favorite children's clothing brands, mrly. today, i wanted to share some photos of parks wearing his cute + comfy clothes ... plus, you can still enter the promo + giveaway until midnight today! here is the link

parks' first day of weekday school

it's a big day in the monaco household... parks james started weekday school in a toddler class today (on his godfather's birthday). i was a little emotional (mainly because he has been my main sidekick, my bud, for the past nineteen months) but i was overall, good. i am so excited for him and hope he enjoys his time there. i think that if he was four/five and it was officially 'pre-school,' i would be a big mess. he will be going two mornings a week this year and i already love, love the school- which makes all of this so much easier. 

currently | september edition

celebrating | the launch of my shop + a beautiful new niece

watching | we are finally watching 'this is us.' ... i know. did you watch it? we are on episode five and i am really enjoying it and the characters.

welcoming | cooler temperatures (bring on the pumpkins, sweaters, and football)

preparing | for parks' first day of pre-school tomorrow... outfit is picked, lunch is packed, forms are filled out, and the letter board is complete. i can't believe it. i really think he is going to love it and i adore his three teachers. they seem wonderful. the school is less than ten minutes from our home, in uptown charlotte.

photographing | pieces of my new shop + clothes, parks (always.), the delicious food from brunch yesterday with my childhood best friend, renee, at luna's living kitchen + the gift box i got last week from bonnie + bud.

clothing brand | mrly giveaway

thank you to mrly for kindly sponsoring this post. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
mrly is one of my favorite children's clothing lines. they believe that 'simple is beautiful' (and i agree.) all of the pieces are high-quality, super comfy, everyday clothes that allow a kid's personality to do the talking. all of the clothes are easy to mix-and-match and the gender neutral colors allow you to hand them down to younger siblings or friends. all textiles are sourced from japan and are proudly manufactured right here in the usa. how adorable are these clothes?

check out the bottom of this post for a reader's promo + fabulous giveaway!

we're going on a bear hunt... a day at the cincinnati zoo

on sunday we took parks to the cincinnati zoo and he really enjoyed it... honestly, more than i thought he was going to. i really thought he was going to love the stroller ride and a graeter's ice cream cone most but he loved the flamingos, the train ride, and the elephants a lot. (but really the whole trip!) 

a special delivery | bonnie & bud

a few weeks ago, i wrote a post about unique gift ideas and ways to make them extra special. today, i received a very special delivery, a box from my very favorite of all, bonnie + bud. my parents sent me this box as a 'congrats / well wishes' on my new business adventure. it was the perfect surprise as parks and i walked outside, in the pouring rain, to run errands. we played in the puddles for a bit, took in the cooler/sixty- degree weather (love.), picked up my first psl of the season and got some things done around charlotte. we are playing 'catch-up' from our week in cincinnati.  i was just so surprised and as always, the beauty in these boxes always takes my breath away.

shop olive june | grand opening!

it's here! my shop, olive june, opened today. i fell in love with the shop stevie hender brand about a year ago and have found over the past year that i have a passion for curating fashion for others. along the way, this dream is something that i have not been able to stop thinking about. and now i have my own boutique- full of her line. as of this afternoon, you can now shop through my website at any point ... i am hoping to add denim, shoes, and outerwear (and lots of fall items!!) hopefully soon. i do have a lot of transitional pieces (from summer to fall) currently in my shop. in addition, a kids collection (hopefully) and plus size clothing (soon!) is on the way. i will be sharing styles on here from time to time, along with my journey. 

please know... i am always here if you need anything 

here is my website | olive june
group (styling, giveaways, promos) | olive june. stevie rep

simply loving

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"falling down is an accident- staying down is a choice."

hello, to the start of fall. first of all, thank you for all of the love regarding my new niece. she has my heart and it's been wonderful to be here with family all week. last night we celebrated my mom's birthday by all being together: homemade pizza on the green egg, a salad, a strawberry cheesecake and flourless buckeyes from whole foods, sparkling rose, and the start of football season. 

a niece or a nephew?

it's a girl! a precious niece

my sister and her husband welcomed a sweet baby girl on sunday, august 27 at 6:18pm (i was crossing through the west virginia mountains at the time with parks). we arrived in cincinnati at about 10pm and walked in to find out the gender... i saw the bow on the hospital cap and started bawling. (i would have cried either way...) her name is leona rose (after my paternal grandma, whose name was leona) this love is so special... just like becoming a mom. you can't explain it, you have to feel it... you have to experience it. 

tips for thrifting

let's chat about vintage finds- the dusty gems i love to use to make a home a little more cozy. people are always getting rid of things- so the shelves at a thrift store are always rotating and it can be an inexpensive way to add more personal touches to a space. although it's not for everyone, thrifting makes me giddy. i love to peruse the tight aisles and the clutter brings me a sense of calm rather than a feeling of being overwhelmed. my mom, cousins, aunts and i have a pastime of doing the hunt together- so it's also very nostalgic. my mom and i used to go often in charlotte with (pre-moving) parks (he would be nestled against my chest in the solly baby wrap) and then lately, i love to sneak out on a sunday afternoon with a coffee in hand. however, i think it will be fun once he is a little older to introduce him to the fun + history of 'junk.' 

now that i am on the path to 'chasing slow' + a more minimal lifestyle, i think these little charms can add a sense of simple touch when mixed with more neutral pieces throughout our home. 

a plant-based diet | where to start?

"every time you eat is a chance to nourish your body"

hi! as i mentioned last week, my main goals for september are to launch my new business, get parks adjusted to pre-school (he will be going two mornings a week starting september 12), continue my miracle morning challenge (loving.). find a new skincare regimen that is chemical-free and then hopefully begin the transition to a more plant-based diet. ever since i got pregnant with parks, i have not had a desire to eat a lot of meat. i really my body is yearning for a different avenue... i have been wanting to do this for awhile (or at least try it out?) and feel like i at least want to try this lifestyle... mainly for health but environmental factors as well. however, transitioning your entire diet can be a little overwhelming. below are some of my initials finds + ideas for the process. i am hoping to share recipes and my journey with you all on here.

simply loving


"she has fire in her heart and grace in her soul."

 hello! the weekend is here and i hope your week went well. in honor of my original blog name, 'simply love,' i think i am going to showcase some of my favorite things at the end of the week sometimes: lifestyle + bloggers + inspirations from others. i hope this is a series you enjoy. it might evolve into something else... we will see. i love to share my inspirations with you all and hope you love what i decide to share.

unique gift ideas + five ways to add a special touch

i am passionate about giving gifts. i have always loved the act of giving. from gathering the items to intricate wrapping, all of it brings me joy. i love to show others how much they mean to me, especially when they least expect it. today, i am sharing some gift ideas i adore + ways to make it a little bit more special than usual. i hope you enjoy.  

a mood board | august edition

"so why does our writing matter, again? they ask. because of the spirit, i say. because of the heart. writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. they deepen and widen and explained our sense of life: they feed the soul. when writers make us shake our heads with exactness of their prose and their truth, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. we are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along, with absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. - anne lamott from bird by bird


hello! i am now on day two of my thirty-day miracle morning challenge and am truly enjoying doing this with a few others... it's been so motivational, knowing that others are up bright and early and are hopefully experiencing something similar.  i am already feeling more renewed to create, to share, and to take in each day. i hope if you are joining me, you are feeling the same way.  

life lately | eclipse + routines + photo shoot + new shop

"remember, the moment you accept complete responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you claim the power to change everything in your life." - hal elrod, the miracle morning

this morning, my alarm went off at 5:30am for my new miracle morning challenge - please feel free to join along! ... i am not going to lie, getting up that early wasn't easy for me (and i kind of regretted the glasses of wine i had while watching 'bachelor in paradise' with my husband last night) but... i really, really loved it. and i am excited about this lifestyle change. after my hour alone, i had breakfast with my boys, parks and i took a long walk, we went to trader joe's, i cleaned/started laundry, he went down for a nap and i started working for the day. my mind and soul felt more clear and accepting of the day ahead. i think it's working. 

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 | 


enjoy!

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

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. 
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{this dress is from my new line}

behind the name: 

olive
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
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. 
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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... 

currently

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
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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:     
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loving blush, faded watercolors, chunky blankets, and white 
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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. 
{via}
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.