olive june: 2017

thanksgiving decor ideas

good morning! i hope your week is going well... thanksgiving day is one week from today. being a new parent around this time of the year has me thinking about all of the traditions in life, the things + moments that tend to really bond a family together. my parents were so incredible at creating these magical childhood experiences. i hope to share more about the importance for me and my absolute favorites. today, i am sharing my favorite decor ideas for thanksgiving day this year. we are leaving this afternoon for ohio (my hometown and columbus) and chicago to visit my brother. be sure to follow along on instagram as i document our adventure. what are your plans for this upcoming holiday week? 

a grateful heart

breathe it in. be all there. 

little missy rae portraits | a giveaway

this post were sponsored. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. 
thank you so much for supporting this blog. 
hello! i am so excited to share one of my favorite young business owners with you all today, rylee of little missy rae... she is so talented and creates the most beautiful paintings. rylee has her own etsy shop and is only fifteen years old. i have been buying her artwork for a few years and was so excited when she wanted to offer one to a reader of 'olive june.' these portraits would make the most thoughtful christmas/holiday gifts. i have given one to my husband's parents, my parents, my husband, as wedding gifts, and she also makes anniversary portraits as well. 

trick or treat

max, where the wild things are 
for his former english teacher momma
& one of his favorite books to read before bed

charlotte spotlight: hall family farm

happy halloween to you and your family

a mood board | october edition

october is all things cozy and good: family movie nights, piles of books, soups and hearty dinners, warm beds, costumes, layers, and extra cups of toasty drinks. i hope your autumn has been good so far. ours has been pretty slow- although i have been trying to organize/purge every inch of our home, i have also been taking social media breaks more often, along with enjoying long weekend naps. i feel like i have been pretty productive while trying to embrace slow living at the same time. 

simply loving

 parts of this post were sponsored. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. 
thank you so much for supporting this blog. 
'don't let yesterday take up too much of today.' 

charlotte spotlight | pachyderm music lab

this post were sponsored. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. 
thank you so much for supporting this blog. 
yesterday we attended our first baby punk class... featuring nirvana! at the pachyderm music lab in indian trail, north carolina (right outside of charlotte). they offer group classes for both adults and children, private lessons on a wide variety of instruments, jam sessions, band rehearsal spaces, a vinyl exchange club, they believe in music as a form of therapy, and provide various ways to bond with your children. 

diy | ten pumpkin ideas

there are less then two weeks before trick or treat night- do you know what you/your kids are going to be this year? i am excited to dress parks up for his first interactive halloween... last year he wasn't walking and i think this year will be lots of fun. one of my favorite things to do each autumn is to diy some pumpkins for the front porch. here are some of the ideas i am loving most this year...

simple ways to embrace slow living

throughout this year, i have been writing about how i want to embrace 'slow living'. when i look back, we traveled/had plans almost every weekend from march through july. in august, i launched a new business and re-branded this space. september was so good for the soul, especially with parks starting toddler school. a few hours a week alone for a wahm + sahm was much needed. i love to travel and usually get the itch after too long... but at the same time, it usually leaves me feeling burnt out and craving time at home. lately, i am trying to practice more of the lifestyle i yearn for- as i stop glorifying busy and implement everyday practices that promote relationships, my faith and mindfulness. november is going to bring lots of trips so i am trying to really take in october... 

autumn in the carolinas

sometimes you just need to pack up your toddler and get out of the city to prance around a farm and play and pick out pumpkins and eat apple cider donuts and enjoy a hayride. so that's precisely what we did on saturday morning and i cannot think of a better way to spend an autumn day. this little place known as hall family farm has such a friendly and festive vibe.  my heart bursted about a hundred times as i watched parks explore. despite his quick pace, he reminds me to slow down and savor the moments. 

fall fashion | for the littles


good morning! i shared this photo on instagram the other day but i turned around while getting ready to this scene. size 4t rain boots, no shirt and joggers. my boy loves some rain boots... so now these are in his playroom. it's no secret that i love clothes, fashion, bargain shopping, etc. i honestly love to bargain shop basics so that i can purchase a few things that i really, really love every season. today, i thought i would share some of my absolute fall favorite pieces for toddler boys + girls. i am hoping to share more fashion posts with you all regularly. what do you all think?

 would you like to see more clothing inspirations on here?

just take your time

will you count me in?
i've been away for a while now
you've got me feeling like a child now

just take your time
wherever you go.

simply loving

parts of this post were sponsored. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. 
thank you so much for supporting this blog. 
-simply loving-

+ the book, big little lies (i just started the hbo series last night!) 
+ an hour at the gym. parks loves school, the gym and our church's childcare centers- so it's been nice to have some time to myself lately. i have next week planned in advance regarding classes: a combo of pilates, yoga, and cardio. 
+ these autumn cookies  
+ anyone else watch jeopardy? this guy is pretty funny. 
+ i want to buy these romper jumpsuit overalls for parks ... one for every day of the week
+ tom petty radio - all week. 
+ juice + smoothie bars (i would take the pumpkin ones over a psl every time.)
+ most of all- the book, the war on normal by jenny baker and sarah blight. this book is really speaking to me. the kindle version was released today but you will be able to purchase the paperback version very soon (i will post about it on here + insta) a description: 'giving birth is one of the most empowering moments of a woman's life, but it's also the very experience that catapults us into one of the hardest and longest fights we'll ever face. shame, discouragement and frustration flood our thoughts and feelings as we struggle to move our post-partum bodies towards an ambiguous standard of "normal". in the war on normal, we cry, we think and we dig deep, as we examine the messages our culture, our friends and even our inner voices convince us to be true. we look at research and hear from other moms, as we learn tools to help us uproot the lies that lead us to despair and show us how to walk in the truth and freedom that leads us to contentment. the fight is touch but we are worth it! join us on a journey of freedom and personal growth as we fight the war on normal and finally experience contentment in our post-baby bodies. ... want to join me? i am currently reading it and it's been so eye-opening + just what i think i needed. so much that just thinking about it all brings tears to my eyes. there are interactive parts that allow you to dig deep through journaling. i am excited to share more and invite you if this fight has been a struggle for you?

currently | october edition

styling | our front porch for fall! last week, i picked up a wreath at michael's for 60% off and took off the pieces that didn't fit my style + put on some lighter pinks. i love the way it turned out so far. i am hoping to share more on here but i did give a sneak peek on instagram the other day. i also picked up some neutral pumpkins, a mum, and a few plants. last year, i made this wreath

saving | i am starting to sell lots and lots of things from our home (this month is going to be a full overhaul/purge- hopefully.) and am trying to decide what i want to save up for? ... a piece of furniture (a couch and headboard are at the top of our list) or a trip? or savings? maybe a little of all three? or something else... also, what is your favorite site to sell used clothes on? thoughts on poshmark? (any tips if you use/enjoy?) 

searching | for the cooler weather... it's been a little better in the carolinas but i can't wait for it to be here for good. i am a cool weather lover- through and through. (because... i adore coziness + the fashion) i am also searching for things for my shop: olive june. there are many more cute things on the way. for all of you, please enjoy 10% off today with code: theolivejune (here if you need anything!) 

picking | up fresh flowers/food from the market and then hopefully going to an apple orchard with friends soon and an anticipated trip to a local pumpkin patch (or a few). 

making | i am still experimenting with a more plant-based/vegetarian diet - loving eggplants, lots of fresh veggies/hummus and smoothies/juices. 

a clean products feature | beautycounter + a giveaway

this post was sponsored. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. 
thank you so much for supporting this blog. 
i started converting products and lifestyle choices to safe ingredients and practices at the beginning of this year, and was so hesitant to dig into my makeup bag and skin care routines because ignorance is bliss, right? i am taking this process slow and am taking on one or two different goals each month. after reading and hearing some eye-opening facts about the effects of toxins on our health, i knew i couldn't ignore it any longer. honestly, i wasn't expecting to find clean ingredient products that i love as much as i do with this company but i feel like i hit the jackpot when i tried beautycounter (and i am thankful for annie for reaching out to me- she is so sweet and has been incredibly helpful). here is my honest experience and a round-up of some of my wow-factor faves for skin and body care. in addition, i am giving away one of my very favorites to one of you.

essential oils | fall blends


one of the things that i want to talk more about on the old blog is my love for essential oils. sidenote: i do not sell them but have a few people i know who do if you are interested in purchasing. my hope is to create posts that show you how to simply and effortlessly incorporate oils, along with many other natural plant-based products, into your daily routines so you can benefit from their restoring, supporting, and nourishing properties. 

our family uses essential oils for many things but one common thread i have noticed is how much this changes seasonally. the oils we pull out in the summer months are vastly different from those we lean on in the winter. this makes sense of course, because nature has a way of both fading away and flowing just like our immune system and the way our bodies respond to drastic seasonal shifts. today, i am sharing some mixtures that i recommend for the current season: autumn! let's jump in with some ideas for what to diffuse to make your home smell cozy + lovely for crisp autumn days. 

autumn inspirations

today, i am sharing some of my favorite autumn inspirations at the moment... i am loving the color camel, velvet, moody images and paler skies. 

autumn has finally come. 

and i am so glad she has. i was actually counting my breaths until her arrival, waiting for summer to be gone, to start anew. i remember a distinct moment the other morning, when i was doing laundry and photographing for my shop and parks was staring out the window eating his little bites of a blueberry waffle. the smell hour-old coffee was still lingering. in that very moment i thought

i am so happy to spend another autumn with you, 
my littlest love.

a mood board | september edition

it is i the morning that i feel closest to this little tribe of mine, moving slow and rhythmical together, making our way through the part of those first few hours of sunlight.  i know that it won't always be this way. and sometimes that is hard. i know that each month that passes, new demands will ask us to change, to shift, to evolve. but for as long as i can, i will hold onto what we have, right now. just the three of us, just like this. 

my miracle morning challenge

"there is nothing to fear, because you cannot fail- only learn, grow, and become better than you've ever been before." - hal elrod 

it's been a month since i started reading the miracle morning. in case you missed my original blog post about the book and this challenge, you can find it here. now that i completed the challenge... here is an update on what i learned, what i am taking away from this experience. 

a special thank you to chrissy of chrissy winchester blog and kayla of the accidental nomad life for joining me. i have really enjoyed getting to know both of them better through this and feel like it brought two new wonderful online friends into my life.  

healthy babies | from the inside out with 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 difficult 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 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

"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 | 


... 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...