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life lately

life has been busy, fun, crazy, exciting and so many other things lately. we have been truly enjoying the meshing of these seasons - autumn into winter, dewey nights into dark mornings, pumpkins into pine. it's amazing how routine slowly begins to really bloom inside the home with each shift; each season. some people get the 'winter blues,' but for me, i strive during these months. much more than i do during summer. as a night owl and a lover of chilly weather, i always feel more at peace during the cooler months of the year. i love the layers, the quiet intents, playing our record player, and taking in the twinkling lights. everything slows down and there's nowhere to be except for at home. (which is why i really loved having a winter baby... soaking up the sweaters, candles, and blankets with a snuggly babe on my chest) although, i truly believe i am one to welcome a sweet baby during any month of the year. 

in no particular order, i look into life lately:
parks' first thanksgiving 
we celebrated with mr. monaco's family near charlotte and enjoyed lots of great food, drinks, and a baby boy in a tie 
i have been looking up inspirations for my new small business, the clothing line lularoe
how cute is this lola skirt under an amelia dress on @lularoericahensel 
loving my new vintage christmas pieces from @ashleyanonymous
my sister, jess, and brother-in-law, bassey, visited us from cincinnati this past weekend
we enjoyed a trip to a brewery + christmas market, a delicious dinner at kindred in davidson (a favorite + more soon) ...  they thought it was my birthday and brought out a cake! so december 2 will now be a funny second birthday... they all sang and i blew out the candle. it was a good laugh we also did tacos and jalapeno margs ... which all helped me forget the fact that my foot was itching like it never has before... all due to a mound of fire ants attacking it thursday afternoon. friends- that experience is no joke. i will spare you the details but we found that ice, lotion, benedryl and a baking soda paste helped (a little). after almost two days straight of itching, things got better saturday afternoon with some relief. hopefully this never happens again... but any remedies?
how pretty was my mother-in-law's table on thanksgiving day?
my nephew, chase, is the cutest with parks
and always has been 
even when he was in my belly
right after this, they held hands.
trying to savor these days... the last days of parks before he turns one next month, the holidays, and lots of pop-ups and new friendships... i have been doing four to five a week, but am absolutely loving this business. honestly, it's been just what i needed... i really feel like something was missing. this has allowed me to be a mom but use my creative side to help woman get clothes that they feel confident, beautiful, and comfortable in. yay! 

hope your weekend went well
what have you been up to lately?

o christmas tree

it's christmas time in the city! 
the christmas tree is one of my very favorite christmas traditions. we used to drive about an hour awhile every year with my aunt, uncles, and cousins to a family-owned farm. we always brought along 'i spy' books and played christmas songs (my mom would round up all the tapes... and then the cd's!). the farm always had fresh apple cider, a warm, rustic stone fireplace, cats (i loved the cats!), and a donkey named rosa. we would all go out and search for the perfect one... sometimes it was bitterly cold and our hunt was much shorter. i remember layering with multiple pieces and lots and lots of socks. my dad would usually cut down the tree and when my brother got to be a little older, he helped as well. then we would all take a photo in front of the 'country pines' sign (usually wearing handmade puffy paint sweatshirts and big scrunchies). we watched as they wrapped our tree... i can still remember the sound of the machines, the chainsaws, and the smell of rich pine. i had a dream of one day taking my kids here ... however, my sister and brother-in-law (who are both coming to visit tomorrow!!) went last weekend to cut down their tree and were informed that it's their 50th year and sadly, their last year. however, we hope to find a similar farm in north carolina to create these memories at once our kids are old enough to take in the experience. did you cut down your own tree? there is just something about a real tree for me... 
so being able to take parks with us this year was so special
i have been going to this same market near uptown charlotte for the past nine years... it's where we get our flowers/produce in the summer and pumpkins in the fall. and those windows in the distance are the hospital where we welcomed our sweet baby boy into the world. it snowed the sunday after he was born and i remember looking out and thinking about taking him here ... and here it is! just like that.
he wasn't so sure for the first few minutes... that face
and then he thought, 'wait, this is pretty fun!' 
we go to the simpson family tree market on kings drive in charlotte
they are seriously the nicest people ever
love going there!! 
e
my cute boys 
his leather bowtie is from petite prairie 

stocking stuffers

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how fun are stocking stuffers? i hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving and am hoping your holiday season is off to a fun start. growing up, we always celebrated st. nick (the morning of dec. 6) we would write a letter to santa, using the sears catalog as inspiration, to finalize our top picks for the season. we would also put our shoes and stockings out and then dreamt of a visit. oh, the magic. it was so fun to wake up to candy, oranges, mints, and a few small gifts. when we arrived at school, our teacher usually had a small treat (a pencil, a candy cane, etc.) on the desks for each one of us. stockings are still so fun as an adult and i love to browse for cute, meaningful ideas. one of my goals this year is to only shop small... i love to support other families, other moms, and local shops and hope to do so this year- more than ever. as a 'thank you' to everyone who has supported me and my new business this year.  
lovely postcards 
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i think it would be a great touch to hang a stocking off of a new planter, especially a small cactus
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these are so simple and gorgeous
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this shop has the most beautiful metallic pieces
so sweet for a baby or child
have a man with some facial hair? loving this beard oil 
some of this beautiful 'elegant collection' should be arriving today in my boutique- pop-up shop soon! i am offering a cyber monday promotion for gift cards, the perfect stocking stuffer on my vip page today... let me know if you want the details! (boutique page)
...
what do you like to include?
happy holiday season to you

a gilmore girls giveaway | where you lead...

i will follow.
it's here! the netflix orginial series of gilmore girls (top three shows of all time for this girl- along with parenthood and sex and the city).  in honor of the launch today and tomorrow being 'shop small saturday,' i partnered with a few other bloggers to give you all the ultimate 'gilmore girls gift bundle' ... perfect for a fun night with friends, especially around the holidays. we are so thankful for you all and wanted to offer our readers a very special treat. (hope your thanksgiving was wonderful!)
i first watched (binged) gilmore girls when i was student teaching in germany, exactly ten years ago this fall. with no car, no tv, no smartphone (very thankful for this!), i would watch episode after episode on my laptop in bed, often late at night, tucked up in our attic apartment on an army base thousands of miles from home. i found myself teaching independently for the first time (it's crazy to look back to when teaching in front of a room full of kids was new and pretty scary!), working out, grading countless papers, lesson planning, and traveling almost every weekend. i was young, a little homesick, pretty dependent on other people, totally missing my boyfriend at the time, and was yearning every single day for christmas time with my family and friends... i was emotionally and physically exhausted. however, if i could go back, i would totally soak up the opportunity. my strong belief for simply 'living in the moment' was sadly, not yet completely instilled. i enjoyed my time abroad so much, yet often struggled at the same time. 

honestly, watching 'gilmore girls' seemed to help me feel less anxious and less worried, it really brightened those often hard days, far from home. it sounds pretty cliche, pretty cheesy... but it really was true. 'gilmore girls' taught me some things at the time... but so much more as the years went on. watching this show taught me to make sure you give your heart to the right person, to always follow your passion, life doesn't always work out the way you planned (and that's okay!), to always have a positive outlook, that we never know the impact we will have on someone, sometimes the best cure for a breakup is a good wallow, dreams take time, and most importantly at the time, that home is where the heart is. growing up in a very small town, much like stars hollow, i could relate to so much. news travels fast, people are always there for you, and little events and gestures mean a lot to others. 
looking back now, i also feel like this show inspired me to try and be the best mom possible. i am always learning from the relationship between lorelei and rory and their close, quirky relationship. still today, i am just fascinated by it. i have been re-watching episodes lately and every single one, makes me smile. i love, love their relationship.

things i have taken away regarding motherhood:

+  always be open, communicate a lot, and be honest with one another - with lots of positive energy! 
+  i hope to allow my kids to show their own style and i hope to embrace it - knowing that it's okay if we are different. in fact, it's probably a really good thing; the importance of embracing eccentricities 
+  coffee + poptarts can cure anything (and a good pizza delivery!) 
+  be true to who you are. always 
+  i hope to spend time doing things together, knowing that experiences make the best memories. whether it's mani/pedis, movie nights (with lots of fun junk food), picnics, shopping, diner and coffee dates or football games, arcades, bike rides, fishing, and jumping in mud puddles (or a combo!) 
+  i hope they know that they can always come talk to me and i hope to be calm and open (or at least most of the time) 
+ i want to act silly together and hope to have a sense of humor, not letting little things bring me down
+ snow is magical - go play in it together! 
+ i often feel like if you suffocate your kids, they will pull back (like lorelei experienced as a teen). relationships between moms and their children aren't perfect... and that's okay. they are often tricky and complex, but where would we be without mom! to quote my own mom, 'just do your best.' ... she always said, 'if you do your best, that's good enough for me.' so that's what i hope to do... in honor of my own mom (and i have an exceptional one) 
+ most importantly, don't take life too seriously!
my first thanksgiving as a mom
so thankful for you, baby boy
(i told you his ring finger is his favorite and this lularoe floral carly dress was perfect- so comfy!)
i am so thankful for all of these sweet bloggers, they have also inspired me so much over the years.
a 'gilmore girls' gift bundle to one lucky reader: 

+ Twine and Cotton Market 'Stars Hollow' Candle (etsy shop)
+ Snowman and Star Ornament
+ $20 Shop Credit to LulaRoe | Janelle Monaco 
+ Rose Gold Clutch
+ Mini Brush Trees
+ Milk glass Coffee Creamer + Sugar Set 
+ "Hot Stuff' Coffee Mug
+ Art Prints 
+ Darling Magazine 
+ Rose Gold Necklace (shop link
+ Darling Nightingale Knitted Donut (etsy shop
+ Poptarts - of course! 
+ Notebook 

parks james | ten months

and just like that, my baby boy is ten months old! parks turned ten months on the fifteenth of november and it's very surreal. he is changing every day and is learning new things quicker than ever. he loves to talk, sing when i sing (i am not a good singer!) but we sing a lot. and has the best laugh. overall, we are in 'awe' of his sweet demeanor. he is very snuggly when he is tired, which is when he wants his mom most. he loves to hug, give kisses, hold hands to walk, and often puts his head on my shoulder. 
last april... it's all gone by so quickly
i know, bud... momma is sad about it. but loves you more than ever. 
hey, i heard you were a wild one. 
things i want to remember:

+ your first halloween! you loved trick or treating in the ergo baby, our little wolf
+ the first time you started saying, 'wow, wow, wow' (november 2 in your high chair!) 
+ watching you brush your cute little baby teeth
+ how excited and yet peaceful you are during your baths
+ walking in and seeing you sitting up in your crib... and then a few weeks later, standing up!
+ how fast you are when you are crawling... you love it.
+ discovering new foods and watching your little 'pinchers' at work
+ the way you rock your reindeer winter hat
+ your sense of humor... you laugh a lot. 
+ how much you love your jellycats animals (favorites: dino, bunny, elephant, and pig) 
+ you LOVE trucks! and colorful books
+ how you suck your middle finger... and then slip over to the right ring finger- the one you love most
+ your first trip to indian food! you loved the naan
+ how much you love car rides
+ rocking you as you put your head on my shoulder