olive june: April 2017
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parks' first birthday | a bear themed winter woodland

it has been a little over three months since parks' first birthday party (i have been wanting to share for so long) but here it is! his birthday, january 15, was on a sunday and we had a few close friends + family here to celebrate. ever since he rocked a fuzzy bear hat from the gap (when he was a newborn, our sweet winter baby) we have referred to him as our 'boo bear.' when i started to plan this gathering last fall, i decided to go with a bear | woodland theme. we served my mom's chili, mexican cornbread, veggies, and chips and salsa, along with fun cocktails - to celebrate one year of parenthood. it was a cozy winter day; some of my very favorite days of the year.

here are some details + snapshots:
target had gold and silver painted greenery the day before... i decided to pick up some of the gold!
the lighting wasn't the best that day for photos... and i played photographer/iphone + mom + hostess. 
i hope you are inspired in some way though... and here if you have any questions. 
parks was sadly diagnosed (through x-ray) with pneumonia just two days before his birthday 
but i think he still enjoyed his special day 
luckily, he was not contagious so kids could still come and enjoy
he -almost- made it one year without any illnesses!! 
we are thankful for that and are so glad that he recovered so well 
the sprinkled 'p and one' donuts were from suarez bakery 
(they make the most beautiful baked goods) 
my dress | anthropologie 
necklace | twine and twig 
this is usually our tv stand, an antique buffet from sleepy poet ... transformed into a dessert bar
i decided to just do two decor tables, one for the desserts and one for the sundae bar 
originally, we wanted to do the party at a local brewery (so all of our loved ones could come and celebrate!) but the prices were out of this world. so instead, we cozied up with mostly family and really loved having it in our home. 
birthday bear | half pint fauna
it meant so much to have my parents here. they were so helpful and have done so much for us! 
how cute is she? i picked up these bear mugs at target for hot chocolate 
plus, her airplane leggings are from my shop 
she has the sweetest soul 
instead of favors, i created an ice cream sundae bar ... 
full of candy, poppers, party hats, and toy animals!!
there was also our favorite book, the wonderful things you will be, which people signed with a birthday note for parks. 
there were metallic animals (from etsy) throughout the dessert bar
my best friend, anna's son ... he was ready for cake! (and a posed beer) 
we are best friends for many reasons. 
my sister wasn't able to make it... so having this very special friend there meant the world to me. 
the letter board | letterfolk co 
"when the polar bears heard, they danced until dawn'
- on the night you were born by nancy tillman- 

the illustrations are so beautiful in the book, the wonderful things you will be by emily winfield martin. along with the message... this book is my favorite. 
his party hat | prop shop boutique
cake topper | perry hill rustics
sundae bar | all of the paper products, banner, and hats are from target

weekend moments

reminding myself that spring showers will bring may flowers... but i secretly loved a cozy rainy sunday at home with my boys. we ventured out in the morning and then spent the day here in our home. this weekend we went to a birthday party... a new church (loved) ... trader joe's instead of the market (due to the rain) 

here are a few scenes |
it felt so good to sit down and read saturday afternoon while parks slept 
my dress | a floral amelia in my shop
i am reading | darling magazine and this book
after church we went to trader joe's as a family and picked up (only) healthy food for the week 
the temptation is real real there! but i love shopping at trader joe's... esp. the friendly people!! 

a mood board | april edition

hello! hope your week went well. we have been busy getting things back in place from the beach + photo taking + shipping for my business. we toured parks' new school (for next fall) yesterday and went to a toddler playdate today. i am in love. can you even imagine our boy with a little backpack. he will be going two mornings a week and it is just such a cute school.  what i love most: the teachers are so friendly (and seem so wonderful), it is christian-based, and we really wanted parks around diverse peers. the toddlers today were so cute interacting and crafting. this weekend is our only 'free' weekend until memorial day so we plan to soak up some family time. we are traveling a lot in may and have fun events coming up. 

what about you? what are your weekend plans?

i am also sharing my mood board for this month... all the things i am adoring.

april mood board


april mood board by janelle-monaco 
you can click on the link above for info on each piece

simply loving:

this song has been on repeat
{my baby boy's first art project. he really loved creating art this morning- made momma happy}

what do you love most? 

a trip to the carolina coast

"i have one thing left to do and that's to be the wave that i am and then sink back into the ocean.' 
- fiona apple
i wanted to share some photos from our trip to the beach last weekend for easter and a mini family vacation. we traveled a few hours away to north myrtle beach and stayed at a hotel called the towers at north beach plantation. the outdoor space at the hotel was simply beautiful, with lots of options! if you live in the carolinas (or near), i recommend this place! 
there were pretty snap dragons everywhere

a review | vIIcode o2m oxygen eye pads

“be you, love you. all ways, always.” ― alexandra elle

as i get older, skincare products have become more important to me. i care more about my skin than i used to. i write about self-care often around here, but the truth is, it's so very important. to help rejuvenate, i am all about a 'home spa night' ... bring on the candles, a soak in the tub, a book (check out the five on my bookshelf at the moment here) lavender or eucalyptus, a good playlist, and products to help my skin improve its appearance are always a plus. 

so when vIIcode reached out to me about their oxygen eye pads for dark circles, i was all in. you all- i could not be happier. i noticed instant improvements (just with one use) my skin was so much smoother and the puffiness was almost completely gone. this product is fabulous. 
the box comes with six packs | each pack has two eye pads

the pads feel cool and comfortable on your face. this product takes years off of your appearance by reducing fine lines, dark circles, puffiness, and bags. i could feel the oxygen flooding my muscle cells and when i took it off, everything seemed so much calmer under my eyes.
how do you love to relax? 
one of my favorite things to do regularly: 
pick up some fresh eucalyptus at (trader joe's has excellent bouquets!) and hang it in the shower! 
the process is so simple and it was not sticky at all. i actually really loved the way the pads felt 
(and i can't wait to use them again soon!) 
ingredients | ecological oxygen plant extraction from the rare plant vadaniya – directly from the alps.

five books to read

"it is she who has enough confidence to define success and failure for herself who succeeds."

you may notice lately on instagram and on here that i have been reading books centered on business and books centered on self-improvement. over the past few months, i have developed an insatiable thirst to learn and absorb as much as possible about becoming a better-version-of-myself or gaining knowledge to influence my business in a positive way. having a sweet toddler around, a blog, a home, and a small business hasn't allowed for much fiction reading. when i do get to read, i yearn for the more intellectual experience. however, i also love to escape in a good novel as well. i thought i would share the current books on my bookshelf. what have you been reading lately?

1. #girlbossi have heard that this book is a total game-changer and is a must-read for lots of reasons. description: "amoruso spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and scrounging in dumpsters for leftover bagels. by age twenty-two she had dropped out of school, and was broke, directionless, and checking ids in the lobby of an art school—a job she’d taken for the health insurance. it was in that lobby that sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on ebay. flash forward to today, and she’s the founder of nasty gal and the founder and ceo of girlboss. sophia was never a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she’s written #girlboss for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success, even when that path is windy as all hell and lined with naysayers. #girlboss proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly." ... i can't wait to start this one!! 

2. present over perfect | i am about halfway through this book and i recommend! it's speaking to me on so many levels and is all about living a life with meaning and connection- instead of pushing for perfection. description: "a few years ago, i found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. i was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. and, it seemed almost everyone i talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy. i am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, writer, and i know all too well that settling feeling. but over the course of the last few years, i’ve learned a way to live, marked by grace, love, rest, and play. and it’s changing everything. present over perfect is an invitation to this journey that changed my life. i’ll walk this path with you, a path away from frantic pushing and proving, and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth." ... you all, it's just so good.

3. never unfriended | "in a world where women can unfriend each other with the swipe of a finger, how do we find friendships that we can trust to last? maybe by first becoming those kinds of lasting friends ourselves. as the community manager at the website incourage.me since 2010, lisa-jo baker has had the chance to engage hundreds of conversations with women about friendship. she’s learned that no one can make us quite as unsure about ourselves as another woman. and nothing can wound as deeply as unkind words from a friend. while we are all hungry for friendship, it’s the fear of feeling awkward and being rejected, left out, or hurt (again) that often keep us from connecting. but what if we knew we could never be unfriended? would we risk friendship then? starting with that guarantee from the most faithful friend who ever lived—Jesus—this book is a step-by-step guide to friendships you can trust. it answers the questions that lurk under the surface of every friendship—what are we afraid of? what can’t we change? what can we change? and where do we start?—with personal stories and practical tips to help you make the friends, and be the friend, that lasts."

4. go with your gut | "through her health coaching practice, your healthiest you, robyn youkilis has helped thousands of women discover the real reasons why they feel like their bodies just aren't listening to them, reconnect with that gut instinct, and learn how to make choices from that place of inner wisdom. 
in go with your gut, you will get the what, why, and how of creating a truly healthy lifestyle. each chapter includes a practice to reinforce robyn's simple, yet effective, lessons, such as “breathe”, “chew”, “eat”, “drink”, “shop”, and “shed,” plus over 75 healthy, easy and insanely delicious recipes - from the superhuman breakfast to chocolate cake to homemade sauerkraut. with these practices and recipes you will have everything you need to learn to listen to your body and love your life."

5. the little book of hygge | i have also started this book and again, it's speaking to me. this is the lifestyle i love... i didn't know that getting cozy with blankets, taking a bubble bath, using lamps/candles is an actual lifestyle (with an actual name) that helps make the danish the happiest people on earth... but it is. it's called hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) and this book explains how they create a life of happiness. their life is all about being with the people they love, a feeling of home, and a feeling of being safe. "the little book of hygge introduces you to this cornerstone of danish life, and offers advice and ideas on incorporating it into your own life, such as: get comfy. take a break. be here now. turn off the phones. turn down the lights. bring out the candles. build relationships. spend time with your tribe. give yourself a break from the demands of healthy living. cake is most definitely hygge. live life today, like there is no coffee tomorrow."
which book(s) looks the most appealing to  you?
also, what are your recommendations?
happy reading, friends
xo 

easter day with parks + tips for happiness

-target has had some great blooms lately-

we enjoyed our trip to the south carolina shore this past weekend (i plan to share more... but here are a few on instagram)  we got back and i snapped a few photos of parks in his easter attire. i am so thankful for the chance to get away for a few days and take in the ocean air. it was fun and relaxing. if you celebrate, how was your holiday? i hope it was wonderful.
he's growing up before our eyes and i am loving each and every step
i love this face 
-details-
outfit | vintage and purchased at kid to kid (a consignment store in charlotte)
bunny | jellycat
sandals | saltwater sandals and purchased at shoe zoo in charlotte
egg, bow tie, basket, and hat | target
he has been so active lately and i secretly love it (such a fun age!) 
i mean... these photos took countless takes!!

a toddler activity | coloring eggs

today was an exceptionally busy day- as i worked to get orders filled/off to the post office and began to get ready for our trip to the beach tomorrow... and you know how i was going to start saying 'no' to things more often... well i am glad that i went with my gut and squeezed in this activity (despite not really having the 'time' for it.) i am fairly certain it is a memory that i will always cherish. it was very easy, so fun, and very cheap- so i thought i would share with you all. 
 what you need: 
+ eggs
+ a foil pan
+ gel food coloring
+ vinegar
+ cool whip 
i picked up the bunny plates at pier one last year. i remember how excited i was to get out of the house last spring to go walk around pier one for an hour or so.  i remember how alive i felt getting away from the pumping/routine of my life at that moment. i cherish those days so much though. 
the process:
so simple. boil the eggs and then soak them in vinegar for about ten minutes so that the food coloring will stick. mix the food coloring in the cool whip. place the eggs in the pan and let them go at it. 

(once he was done, i sprinkled some food coloring over the eggs and then went and gave him a -much need bath- then i came back and rinsed off the eggs) 

the bathtub (or outside) are also great places to do this activity. parks (surprisingly) didn't try to throw the eggs... throwing balls is one of his favorite things to do with his dad. so i wasn't sure!! 
my outfit: a floral 'perfect tee' from my shop tied over a dress from the gap
(they had a sale last weekend and everything was 50% off!)