simply love : June 2015
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a grateful heart: a secret {oh baby}

my heart is exploding with excitement as i write this post {on our second wedding anniversary- the best two years.} mr. monaco and i are expecting our first baby on january 14, 2016! it's our biggest and most exciting endeavor yet and we couldn't be more thrilled. my entire life, i have wanted to become a mother... it's always been a calling and my ultimate desire & hope for this one life. when i was a young girl, playing with my dolls, nannying, and helping my mom with my baby brother were all things that made my heart most happy. i adore kids and love being around them. i know it's not an easy job, but for me, it's the most important job in the world {and the job i have always wanted most}. it's been so hard to keep the news in since may 5 {the week of mother's day}, especially as i was feeling so sick, nauseous, and exhausted {hence the lack of blog posts- i knew you would all understand/thanks for reaching out... i missed you all, too} i am so excited to be able to tell you!! i will be sure to keep you posted when we find out the sex {on july 12!} and other fun news along the way! simply love won't turn into a baby blog {completely!} but considering my new circumstance, i will be sharing my journey with you all {along with my usual content!} 
thank you so much already for all of the love and support…
baby monaco is so blessed.
and our hearts are so grateful.
a few photos from our wedding day on june 29, 2013- the best day {so far!}
wedding photos by melissa tuck photography 
she's the best... if you are in the d.c area, i highly recommend her! 
one of my previous students {she has always been very near and dear to my heart} took the photos on a friday evening in june {we are so thankful- as it was about 95 degrees!} she was so, so sweet and did such a wonderful job! i will be blogging more about her business soon, but here is her page: emmerson studios! she is entering her senior year of high school and is a talented young woman! 
thank you, emmie! 


and baby makes three
lindsey at ljdesigncompany made the adorable signs - she was so fantastic to work with!
telling our family, close friends, and loved ones was one of the best experiences of my life- every. single. time. i will be sharing how we told soon! everyone has been so loving, supportive, and unbelievably amazing. i have been really homesick lately… however, telling everyone has been so special. how lucky are we to have so many special people in our lives. although there is a lot of distance between us-- my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and forever friends have been there for us- in more ways than i ever imagined. thank you. xo
sweet baby monaco- we can't wait to meet you!
mr. monaco has been SO wonderful ...  helpful, loving, awesome. 
i know he will be such a great dad.
again, thanks so much for being part of this special journey! 
...i am so excited to share it with you... 

any advice for the second trimester?
or on entering motherhood?
ps: look for bump updates soon!
...
 ...what is your heart grateful for this week...
Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey
hope your weekend went well!
xo
also linking up with life of meg and b loved boston
 
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a french press morning {volume five}

welcome coffee and cafe fans- so glad you are here! first of all, thank you so much for all of the birthday love yesterday… it was the perfect day. i only wish i could have seen my family/close friends from home but in the end, it was wonderful. hoping to share photos soon {as i did discover my new favorite restaurant last night!} today begins the fifth stop on our simply grey coffee tour. i am joining the lovely emily at ember grey for a tour of our favorite cafes and coffee shops. please join us on the last friday of each month. our next one will take place on friday, july 31. we would love for you to link-up and share where you decided to spend some quality time with a cup of joe. in case you missed, french press morning {volume one} {volume two} {volume three} and {volume four}. today i am sharing photos from a new favorite spot in my city of charlotte, north carolina called 'not just coffee' in 7th street market. i have been to another location of 'not just coffee' in charlotte at atherton mills {an adorable indoor market} and loved it. everyone was so friendly and the coffee was made with so much love. one morning a few weeks ago, mr. monaco and i got up early on a saturday for complimentary yoga in an uptown park and then headed over to 7th street market {this is also where the sip & shop was located} it was such a nice morning … we walked around the market and had a latte {for me} and a pressed tea {for him}. we will def. be back! need some relaxation or a coffee date with a loved one, we would love to see where you decided to go! join us… we would love to have you! 
here are some photos from both the market and coffee bar:
 again, we loved the service! everyone was so sweet and friendly 
this is always important to me… thanks to my small-town growing up and my mom 
 the market is full of produce from local farms - which the rural girl in me absolutely loves. 
my roots are def. 'rural and proud.'
so i try to purchase and support the farmers whenever i can
 this is how mr. monaco's tea came out… it smelled so incredible 
and he loved it! 
 my latte was delicious and so pretty i didn't want to drink it! 
 i loved sitting at the bar and chatting/watching them create 
lots of early risers venturing to the market for breakfast, produce, and coffee
 the iced coffees were served in vintage mason jars and looked aMaZinG 
we are in the middle of an intense heat wave here 
{like 97-99 degree days since june 5}
so a refreshing iced coffee is calling my name. hoping to go again soon! 
 any fun coffee shops in your city? 
wishing you a great weekend
...
 linking up with: 
Rebecca at XOXO Rebecca
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simply love

thirty-two

today i turn thirty-two!
i will be spending the day enjoying a massage, grabbing coffee with a dear friend, reading, relaxing, and simply enjoying some quality time with some of my favorite people in my life.
i can't go by without me publicly thanking my mom who carried and
delivered me 32 years ago this morning.
thank you, mom. 
thank you dad, too. 
you have both played such an important part in my life. 
always believing in me and always allowing me to fly
to follow my dreams and to take risks without fear
through trust, confidence, and faith 
i am so blessed to have lived a full and vibrant life so far
i also know how lucky i am to know who i am
to have a loving husband, family, and so many close friends
i am so grateful, i am so happy, and i am excited for another year.
& my wish today is a special one. xo

family and friends:
thank you for making thirty-one a great year 
i was able to get to know many of you on a deeper level 
and i adore you- very much. 
it was a fantastic one and i have many of you to thank for that. 
it was also an extremely heartbreaking year at times
thank you for the love and support- always. 
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bento box lunches

hi friends! i hope you have had a wonderful week. i have been traveling over the past week {we went up to the philadelphia area and had a great time - excited to share more photos soon- you may have seen a few on my insta feed} but in the midst of spending time with loved ones/visiting the area, i took a small blog break. although i missed you all dearly, it felt good at the same time. hoping to be back for good now! yay! also, a friendly reminder that this friday, june 26, is another stop on our #simplygreycoffeetour. feel free to join ember grey and i as we explore another cafe! 
one of my goals for the summer is to research and discover more healthy living tips. today, i am looking into lunch ideas that are both fun, creative, and healthy. i am hoping to integrate bento boxes into my life as soon as possible. i think the idea is perfect for maintaining a balance regarding each food group and incorporating healthy/convenient food into a meal. in japanese, 'bento' refers to a compact, nutritiously-balanced, visually appealing meal served in a box. 
here are some tips and ideas for you:
advice for starting: 
1. find a box you love {more on this soon- i am currently researching options!}
2. pick a food from each food group: fruit, veggie, grain, and protein
3. mentally split up the box for each food group
4. fill each section of your box (if you’re looking for inspiration for different foods to pack, check out Lunch Box Idea List)
i love the idea of an asian inspired box! yum… 
other ideas i plan to incorporate are: mini pitas, lots of hummus, salsa, shrimp, edamame, hard boiled eggs, dried fruit, granola… hoping to share my boxes/photos soon!
some benefits
healthy: if you follow the bento box concept truly, you will have a balanced and good portion of each food group in your box- hopefully full of naturally healthy food. it's also great for portion control because everything should fit in the box. 
save money: bringing food from home {or leftovers} is always more economical than spending money at a restaurant. 
eco- friendly: bento boxes are reusable! 

 there are so many incredible sites that provide ideas for kids - both healthy and fun!

i love this site for starting {it's full of ideas/info}: bento 101 tips 
 this european inspired bento box is perfect! 

the more colorful- the healthier {usually} which makes these an amazing option!
ps: this site provides great snack ideas to put into a bento box

have you tried or do you pack bento boxes regularly?
...any advice… 

sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
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father's day gift guide

in need of a last minute gift for your dad? father's day is this sunday and here are some ideas i love… i am all about some personal touches {cards, poems, photos, their favorite drink or dinner served} but also love these fun gifts, too! 
father's day gift guide

father's day gift guide

what about you? any great gift ideas?
… i would love to hear...
 
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