olive june: 2019
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simply loving | first holiday edition

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it was a fairly quiet weekend over here at the monaco home, and it was much needed by all. we watched movies, had dance parties, organized our spaces, made homemade soup and spent time together. september and october were both whirlwinds and i have learned that i need time spent hibernating alone with a slower rhythm to recover.  i am thinking ahead at simple ideas to make this season special without (hopefully) over- scheduling our family. i want it to be memorable and intentional while focusing on the most important parts: making, gathering, giving, resting, caring, appreciating, reflecting, and remembering.

november intentions

"be enough
for yourself first
the rest of the world can wait."
-fw

an earthy baby shower

i have such a special post to share with you this morning. one of my closest friends growing up is expecting a darling baby boy in december. we wanted to create an intimate and whimsical event inspired by natural elements. it was such a heart-warming pleasure to host a gathering for one of my favorite people. i hope you enjoy the details from the shower... and as always, here if you have any questions.

creating a restoring nighttime rhythm | with magiclinen

in partnership with magiclinen
"rest nurtures creativity, which nurtures activity. activity nurtures rest, which sustains creativity. each draws from and contributes to the other." - kim john payne

halloween! | you've got a friend in me

happy halloween! this day has always been fun, but this year has had more anticipation here as parks has been planning costumes since last spring (or maybe even before!) he has gone through many costume ideas: mario, chase, luigi, captain america... but then one morning in early september while we were waiting in the carpool line at school, he said, "momma, i got it!" 

autumn family photos | a sneak peek

"the sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing to find where all the beauty comes from."
c.s. lewis

gentle reminders

"feel what you need
to feel and then let
it go. do not let it
consume you."
- dhiman

an updated room for nash

last weekend i rearranged nash's nursery a bit. it was one of my favorite spaces in our home, but i found this large vintage rug (for $40/i have been selling pieces we are no longer using so it felt justified) and wanted to give his room a mini refresh. the rich, timeless colors for the fall + winter days really inspired me. the layered rugs that were in his space were moved to our den (which includes a piano/play/sitting area in the front of our home) to give that room a bright feel and a soft space for the boys to play on. 

the avett brothers echoing throughout our home, coffee on the burner, nursery rhymes and the crisp breeze through our windows is bringing me renewed energy to purge and organize and re-evaluate what we have before the holiday season.  do you ever find yourself doing this around this time of year?

pumpkin patch magic

carrigan farms . mooresville, north carolina

in our city | the batch house

"people first, cake second" 

an october morning

lately, there has been cinnamon in our oatmeal, costumes on our minds, acorns in our pockets and leaves underfoot. we explored a nearby city last saturday morning with my cousin and her two little girls while my husband enjoyed a golf trip in florida. there was an enchanting crispness in the air as families browsed the market- reminding me once more why i love this time of year. a middle school student played the guitar and sang- this age group still warms my heart when i see them shine. we enjoyed story time at a local bookstore and then took a walk over to a local pumpkin patch. although brief, watching nash fall in love with the pumpkins was something i always want to remember (balls-and his dad- are his favorite things) so he was very much in love. 

simply loving

little apple paintings we created early this afternoon

practicing mindfulness with kids

mindfulness has become such an important aspect of my life and is something that i want to pass onto my children. from simple rituals like nightly family dinners, dance parties, reading books, going for walks/the park to special times like vacations and christmas traditions and birthday celebrations- i want them to pay attention to the events happening in the moment. i yearn for them to carefully observe thoughts and feelings- to develop a sense of self awareness. 

we often feel disconnected from the earth and from each other and are looking to fill voids and ease pain. what i have learned? things will not fill the hole of disconnection we experience. only through deeper connections and quality time and the reality of our emotions and in our relationships with others, can we achieve mindfulness. 

an autumn rhythm + craft + playlist

with the crisp air coming through the windows and the leaves starting to change, we are creating a new autumn rhythm in our home. i have always been something of a season watcher. it's worth the moment to marvel at the way the light changes in a room after dinner and how acorns spread across the local park. i tend to want to wait until the season happens and then embrace it wholeheartedly. 

for me, autumn brings a renewed energy. the cozy, hygge months, always seem to be my favorite and i am looking forward to creating slower and more meaningful rhythms; focusing on gratitude and simplicity. i plan to pull out books and seasonal songs and poems to read and sing. i also plan to incorporate nature inspired crafts + activities now that parks is older ... and hope to share more with you all soon. it's a fun way to incorporate beautiful language, creativity and music into our day at home. 

life lately

the gift

Be still my soul, and steadfast
Earth and heaven both are still watching 
though time is draining from the clock 
and your walk, that was confident and quick, 
has become slow. 

So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part. 
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful. 
That the gift has been given. 
-mary oliver

soups for fall

today is hopefully the last day of extremely high temps/high 90's with high humidity ... we honestly have had this type of weather since the end of may (with only a few cool days / it doesn't cool off at night here like it does in the midwest - which makes it feel stifling at times during the summer months) needless to say, i am ready and ecstatic about the cooler temperatures coming later today. bring on the coziness and warm bowls of soup as the leaves turn golden. here are some soup recipes in case you are needing some inspiration. 

a self / body positivity 30 day challenge

"if you wouldn't say it to your friend,
don't say it to yourself."

nash charles . 15 months | things i always to remember

the other day we played 'pumpkin shop' because his older brother really, really loves pumpkins

october intentions

"and the sun took a step back,
the leaves lulled themselves to sleep
and Autumn was awakened."
-raquel franco

simply loving

parks is so into fall - all the pumpkins, the halloween costumes, the colorful leaves, the seasonal donuts. he's in love. the other day, i brought home three small pumpkins from trader joe's and he immediately assigned them all owners/rooms and went and placed them. he had so much excitement + joy when he saw them. his biggest treat right now is looking at costumes on target.com and as much as i would love to pick out a cute costume for him this year, i tell him... 'you can be whatever you want to be, sweetie. whatever you want.' he finds joy in the smallest things and it reminds me to stop and be present - not to worry about the past or the future- but to just be still and savor. 

"slow down 
and everything you are chasing 
will come around and catch you."
-john de paola

mr. and mrs. wolf

mr. and mrs. wolf

ten children's books for fall

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now that parks is back in school, he seems to be relaxed and calm and more ready for bed than during the summer hours. his little eyes start to get sleepy around six in the evening. still, a picture book (along with affirmations and prayers) remain the most beloved time of our day. lately, we have been reading simple, quiet books ... and books about strolling through nature and taking adventures. because isn't childhood, in a nutshell, all about capturing everyday magic and discovering the comfort of routine. 

i wanted to share some of the titles we have been reading with you all

a grateful heart

"may you approach
this season with
gratitude and a
 deeply rooted hope
that everyday will
teach you something
that is an integral
part of your growth"
-mnh

ten things i love

"and i say to my heart:
rave on."
-mary oliver, thrist

a late summer home tour

today i am sharing a glimpse into our home for a late summer tour - before i add a few fall touches soon. for fall, i love to add real pumpkins and a few dried flowers throughout. i want our home to look like something that's been curated over time in a thoughtful way; mixing old and new for an eclectic look. if i am honest with you, old homes have my heart. and probably always will. but... we don't currently have one- this home was built in 2014 and although i am so very, very grateful for it, it's not exactly my style. therefore, i try to add pieces with charm and pieces that have meaning for an overall aesthetic that is minimal, personal and cozy. being a mother and working from home and wanting to create meaning and connection more than anything else, has forced our family to simplify our lives. it's been hard (especially at the beginning- where to begin?) and yet, so incredibly refreshing ... and much easier to take on and continue now. we try and pick a few things to focus on each month and that has really helped us.

i hope you enjoy a little look inside...

september intentions

"never forget how wildly capable you are."

things i always want to remember | 1 and 3.5 years old

there aren't many things i love more than a baby in a bonnet

an afternoon at the carnival

we spent this past sunday afternoon at a local festival with the boys; a fun way to send off this special summer; a summer where the boys became even closer - the first one where they were both mobile to play with one another. i know it is one i will always remember.

five diffuser blends for august

we have been weaving essential oils into our everyday rhythm for awhile now - ways to calm and heal and create rituals for our family. they purify our home and nurture our bodies. i have enjoyed exploring different blends and salves and mixtures. they have become a way to live with more intention and with care and with earnest goals of lifelong wellness. here are some diffuser blends that i am currently loving for these late summer days.

childhood magic | 15 natural activities

when i was a little girl, i spent most of my childhood outside. well, outside and at the local library.  i played in barns and creeks until the streetlights came on, rode my bike until my legs couldn't move, swam with friends, explored local lakes, built snowmen and secret forts. it is clear that my love for the world outside has been passed on to parks and nash. whenever we need to breathe easier and find solitude, we venture outside and it's as though we are floating through the earth. 

this morning, i took the boys to wing haven- a beautiful garden and bird sanctuary. they both splashed in the mini waterway and ran barefoot and noticed the bees having lunch in the flower bushes. 

days like this with my babies, it's who i am, it's what i'll remember most. 

a grateful heart

“the thankful heart and a praying mind
are the revealer of the secrets of beauty.” 
― toba beta

an afternoon at the park

august 12 . 2019

a grateful heart

perhaps in the waiting 
you are doing more
than merely waiting 
but you are growing 
in the way you were meant to 
you are finding that Light 
shines on you 
strengthening you for the season you are in 
reminding you over and over again 
life can be beautiful 
in the waiting

mindful practices

'When your world moves too fast
and you lose yourself in the chaos,
introduce yourself to each
color of the sunset,
Reacquaint yourself with the earth
beneath your feet.
Thank the air that surrounds you
with every breath you take.
Find yourself in
the appreciation of life.'
-Christy Ann Martine

august intentions

...counting down the days until i can wear cozy knits...
while also embracing these final weeks of summer
the days of letting our toes breathe, floral sundresses, dewey skin and watermelon slices

gentle reminders

"you are worthy of a beautiful, fulfilling life just as much as anyone else." -mhn

a beach trip to avalon, new jersey

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"don't rush the wild ramblers, 
wanderers, dawdlers and dreamers

don't push or compare the child 
who tarries and turns over
every pebble-

who stops to fill overflowing pockets,
talk to trees and look for a 
shimmering chrysalis under
every milkweed leaf-

who listens to the wind current &
message of each spiraled shell. 

don't rush them,
for they will grow up
to be the noticers, connectors
and guardians.

their pace will carry a certain peace
back to the rest of the world."

-nicolette gowder

essential oil blends for summer

it has been awhile since i have discussed essential oils on the blog, but i am hoping that that is going to change. our family uses oils for so many things but one common thread is that they seem to change with each season. there are also ones that are wonderful year-round but i thought i would share some that i tend to pull during the summer months. here are two roller ideas and two diffuser blends that i love for summertime. 

a summer week in the country

we took two trips back to my hometown in the midwest in june and enjoyed the simple days together - spent swimming in the pool, s'mores and stories around a campfire, watching the sun set to the west + the stars shine above, smoked meat and hometown pizza and ice cream cones, country music and most of all, catching up with all the people we love and who love us. i can always feel the love. apart from the infinite exhaustion, we have been loving our travels this spring and summer. throughout this year, our kids have traveled around 180+ hours in the car on road trips - and have rocked them all. they don't always sleep the best when we arrive, but we really have the best little travelers. 

july intentions

"do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do." -oprah

a birthday reflection

a june evening: i went to bed as my birthday began to my husband rubbing my back and the warm sound of summer rain pitter-pattering a soft birthday song outside our bedroom; one year older, one year more grateful. and awoke to: "happy birthday, mommy!" and a beautifully curated rattan breakfast tray (with my favorite clay mug and cloth napkin and a homemade trolls card with purple crayon scribbles) ... i spent some time stretching and then pondering, dreaming, reflecting on this past year. it was a hard one. really hard at times... two young boys- a toddler and a baby. yet, it was one of my very favorites... if not, my favorite of all. thanks to so many things; things i am forever grateful for. 

first birthday celebration | a garden picnic for nash {part two}

yesterday i shared some scenes from the garden picnic birthday party we threw for nash last saturday, june 15 near uptown charlotte. 

'i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere 
i go, you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) 
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here if the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud, of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

-ee cummings

first birthday celebration | a garden picnic for nash {part one}

a year ago today was nash's due date... and now we are reminiscing about all of the joy and wonders and beauty he has brought us. i thought i was as connected as i could be one year ago...  however, it turns out there's always room for growth and connection. our healthy, happy little boy makes us smile so much our cheeks hurt. he's a heartbreaker with his tooth gap and tiny, soft curls. he is a daily reminder to celebrate the simple moments and to take every day slowly. 

nash loves sitting on a quilt and playing at the park; eating fruit, listening to music and throwing balls. when we visited my friend's urban garden at the end of april, he intently watched the chickens cluck and peck all afternoon. it was then that i knew a garden picnic party- next to the chickens- was just what we should do to celebrate our nash charlie turning one. so this past saturday morning, we gathered with a couple of close friends and my husband's family and we had an intimate picnic in the garden. i kept looking around: taking in the perfect weather, the way the shade trees swayed above, the rooster protecting his coop, and jovial kids running about and playing together.  

it was endearing. 
and was full of so much love for our son.

his birthday gathering was everything i had dreamt of for him
and more.

simply loving


"and the beautiful thing about 
God is this: even though we
cannot fully comprehend His 
love, His love fully comprehends." 
-morgan harper nichols

june intentions

your soul knows what moves it most; what makes it flow and thrive and just be

what are things you have done for yours lately? 
setting intentions for each month this year has allowed me to set goals and to become more of the individual God has created me to be. there is no doubt that this season of life is hard but i am trying my best to not only manage it all - but to enjoy it all at the same time.

nash charles is one!

The Messenger

My work is loving the world. 
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird- equal seekers of sweetness. Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep i the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? 
Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, 
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished. 
The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture. Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here, 
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-cloths, a mouth which to give shouts of joy to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all, 
over and over, how is it that we live forever."
- Mary Oliver

my sweet nash
my love for you is forever 

may you always love the world with simple and sincere gratitude
with intentions 
with roots
with kindness

a letter for nash on the eve of your first birthday

it's the eleventh of june and tomorrow our sweet nash charles (or 'nash charlie' or 'charlie boy' as i often call him) will turn one. 

still my baby, always and forever. 

yet, i am having a hard time with this milestone. he's been such a dream baby and i have tried to take in every moment, every stage with him. the simple moments together; heartfelt embraces, his contagious giggle, the smell of his soft skin. 
and it's all gone by more quickly than any other year of my life. 

oh my, has this week been hard. 
and at the same time- it's been so incredibly magical. 

a grateful heart

"may you approach 
this season with
gratitude and a 
deeply rooted hope
that every day will
teach you something
that is an integral
part of your growth"
- morgan harper nichols

favorite shoes for summer

this past monday was the unofficial start to summer and with temps in the high 90's in charlotte lately, i thought i would share some shoes for summer that i am loving... 

a weekend by the sea

You are the moon, 
dear love, 
and I the sea.
The tide of hope swells
hight within my breast,
and hides the rough
dark rocks of life's unrest
when your fond eyes
smile near in perigee.
But when that loving face
is turned from me,
low falls the tide,
and the grim rocks appear,
and earth's dim coast-line
seems a thing to fear.
"You are the moon, 
dear love, 
and I the sea.

// ella wheeler wilcox