simply love : May 2016
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a spring picnic

the weather has been so beautiful and bright here in charlotte this spring. i have been wanting to take lunch to the park for a picnic so yesterday for memorial day we packed up the baby and headed uptown. one of the many things i love about charlotte is that, because of the nice weather, people are usually out and about. everyone flocks outside to get sunshine and fresh air. i grew up constantly playing outside; running and playing and such. i hope parks loves to do the same someday. therefore, i love the park scene here and try to go as much as possible. there are so many to choose from. we decided to stop uptown at the 7th street market where we browsed and picked up an ice coffee and sandwiches. then we headed across the street to the new, first ward park, which was pretty cool. we would have stayed there but there weren't very many large trees for shade {because it's brand new} so we headed down the street to our old neighborhood to enjoy independence park in elizabeth. 

i enjoyed the hot steak sandwich and mr. monaco the hot italian. the cucumber salad was crisp and very flavorful. it was the perfect scene for some willie nelson on pandora and some serenity under a tree. parks slept in his stroller for the first thirty minutes while mr. monaco and i chatted and read. there were little kids running around laughing and joyously enjoying the pretty spring day, while 20 somethings played sand volleyball next to us {as memories came flooding back from my initial days here- my friends and i spent many sundays playing}. we came home a few hours later with dirty feet and smelling like fresh cut grass. these family outings, these moments spent together, they are my magic. 
7th street market- uptown charlotte
parks and i are both wearing h&m 
my dress is super light/ideal for southern summers and was only $10 
park is wearing patriotic moccs from an instagram sale- $12 
his american flag hat is also from h&m {they have such cute baby boy clothes!}
diaper bag: fawn design 
blanket: vintage from noda salvaged beauty in charlotte
we prayed and thought about all of our american fallen soldiers
"home of the free- because of the brave."
"don't hold a chip or a grudge - bitterness keeps you from flying"
{lyrics from the song, humble and kind by tim mcgraw- my song for baby parks}
this boy- my whole heart. 
...
do you like to picnic?
if so, what's your favorite thing to bring/do?
...hoping we have many more {summer} picnics ahead... 
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a nordstrom sale | favorite picks under $100

hi! hope your weekend is going well! we had a great time with my friend, lori, and her precious family last night. we went to a brewery and then a rooftop restaurant for dinner. their three kids were all so good... and so cute. i loved talking with them all night {even though they had a rare 'technology pass' for dinner} they chose to talk to us instead... until 11pm! {such troopers!} they made me laugh so hard. i loved being with some hometown people... sometimes i forgot the differences between there and here {there are so many- neither one better than the other- just different.} i absolutely love living in charlotte, but it's always good to be around the people i grew up with {and miss}. i have lived here so long that sometimes i forget certain things that go on there... and it was so funny to think about how people here would react to their life {and vice versa!} the kids' reaction to the rooftop and view of the city was something i will never forget- loved. the service at peculiar rabbit was fantastic... especially regarding the kids. i am so excited to hangout with this sweet family again today. we plan to play games/enjoy some appetizers here this afternoon and then plan to head to a german biergarten tonight. i thought that would be appropriate for my fellow german friends {although these friends are definitely more like family to me!}
legion brewing company last night - plaza midwood
parks is ready for summer!

nordstrom is having an amazing weekend sale ... so i thought i would share some of my favorites: 
{$20.98!}

what's your favorite pick?
any memorial day plans?

and in case you missed my post yesterday, i shared healthy living goals + a giveaway!

looking for a pandora station for a cookout this weekend? 

i recommend: 
first aid kit
bob dylan
avett brothers
trampled by turtles
eric church
blackhawk
grateful dead 
...
happy memorial day weekend, loves
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healthy living goals + a giveaway

hi! hope your friday is going well... it's a beautiful day here in charlotte. so excited to hang out with a lifelong friend and her husband/kids this weekend. i have mentioned that lately mr. monaco and i are striving to live a better lifestyle. i feel like once you become a mom... your body is no longer just yours ~ you are also living for someone else. so i wanted to share some of the things i have written down lately as goals for living a better lifestyle. how do you live a healthy lifestyle? 
healthy lifestyle goals: 
1. drink more water 
2. wake up early 
3. think positively 
4. eat plant based foods
5. a morning prayer devotional 
6. try new recipes
7. exercise daily 
8. snack on healthy foods
9. face my fears 
10. spend my time and energy on the people who appreciate me for the person i am {a lot more on this soon! i have been inspired by so many people lately regarding this...} 
parks and i went to trader joe's yesterday 
we picked up some herbs, healthy food, and wine! 
i have always thought that the people there are just the absolute sweetest ever 
however, yesterday i was blown away by the love!! 
they kept asking me if i needed anything, told me how handsome he is {i was wearing him in my solly baby wrap} and then they helped me take my groceries out and loaded my car. i mean, so sweet. i just love the people there! {and the food is the best}
  with my friend, lori, who is visiting this weekend
i went home on the first day of kindergarten and told me mom that she was my best friend
and she would be.
 she went home and told her mom the same thing. 
she is the most selfless, caring, domestic, and loving friend. 
speaking of friends who lift you up... i have been blessed with the best. 
they are kind and they inspire me 
{our rehearsal dinner- june 28, 2013}
our city is full of beautiful breweries
... what did families/people do before this new 'let's spend all day saturday at a brewery?"
maybe smaller waistlines and better yards? ;) so fun though. i love how they are full of dogs, kids, and babies
+ a giveaway:
it's all about balance, right? 
my plan is to be strict on the weekdays and then have a {little} fun on the weekends! however, wednesday night i had a craft beer and a brat at old mecklenburg brewery with my book club girls. 
we have several new moms in the group so we decided to start venturing out to wine bars/breweries around charlotte instead of gathering in our homes. and it's been so much fun! the book we read this month was the nightingale by kristin hannah and it was so fantastic!!! i absolutely loved it. i wrote a little bit more about it on this post, nightingales, but decided this week that i wanted to pass the love onto one of you! so i am giving away my hardback book... along with a surprise coffee mug!! please feel free to enter below! it's awesome. 
fresh salad last night for dinner + a tiny glass of a two buck chuck {cab} 
market flowers 
a smoothie bowl for breakfast 
not quite as pretty as the ones i shared, here. but so yummy! 
after his bath yesterday - my sweet baby boy. that face. i can't 
wishing you a wonderful weekend
...
i hope it's spent relaxing and having fun with family and friends
my thoughts and prayers are with all of our brave, fallen soldiers, and their families
xo 
...
linking up with:  
Astleigh at Hill Collection  
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a summer bucket list + healthy skin

summer is so close... i can taste the sunshine, colorful days, and adventures. {it's actually my least favorite season, but i am going to soak up the fun days. i know... i am crazy. my order is: fall, spring, winter, summer. i am not a 'heat lover' and would much rather snuggle up. what about you? what's your order?} i have been loving all of the photos of kids' last day of school lately. yay! we have some exciting summer plans coming up... including multiple trips to the beach, parks' baptism, visitors form my hometown girlfriends {this weekend and next weekend} mommy & me yoga, our anniversary, birthdays, story time, music in the park, food truck friday, breweries, etc. 

1. paint a canvas
2. sleep in a tent
3. have a bonfire with friends
4. rent a cotton candy machine
5. visit a state landmark
6. go strawberry picking 
7. library story time
8. outdoor yoga
9. visit a lake and go boating
10. home depot kids workshops
11. dance in the rain 
12. can fruit
13. create a taco bar
14. go to a carnival 
15. make chore charts
16. learn a magic trick
17. spend an entire day watching movies
18. carve your name on a tree
19. cover the driveway with chalk 
20. take photos at a photo booth together
21. drive-in movie night
22. go an entire day with no technology  
on another note, yesterday i faced a fear i have had for over a decade now... i went to the dermatologist for a skin check. i was inspired by a previous co-worker, erica, who posted a very honest personal account of her recent experience with malignant melanoma at the age of 30. she waited longer than she should have and the skin cancer went into her lymph nodes resulting in four surgeries, eight incisions, and countless scans/appointments. she went through treatment and is doing so much better {so happy about this} but her posts were so real and so inspirational. instead of sulking, she encouraged others to be proactive with checks + wearing sunscreen. her posts, along with the love i have for my young son, got me to the dermatologist {after waiting way too long}. yesterday's appointment went really well and i am determined to take better care of my skin. skin cancer runs in my family; along with fair skin, light eyes, tanning all throughout high school for cheerleading/prom/homecoming {so dumb.} and then countless stories from people about losing loved ones early in life. i remember practicing yoga when i first moved to charlotte {a practice that changed my life- please try it if you haven't!! i used to live with so much unnecessary anxiety...} and hearing eva cassidy's beautiful voice throughout the entire practice that evening. i went up to the instructor after class and asked about the singer; she went on to tell me that she sadly lost her life at the age of 33 because she didn't follow up with an abstract mole {over a three year span}. if you have never listened to her, i would do that, too. her voice is so incredibly lovely. this story always stuck with me. my fear was a build up of family history, personal stories from others {i almost passed out at a christmas party when a girl told me that she just had a mole cut off her forehead with a pair of medical scissors/she could hear the snap}, and then waiting way too long in my 20's. as a result, the thought of going to get checked got in my head and became a fear. now that i went yesterday {and it went well + baby boy was so good during my appointment!} i am determined to go every year + use lots of sunscreen daily. thank you, erica, for being such a positive person {she really is so uplifting} - you are truly an inspiration. 

do you get checked regularly? 
if not, i hope to pass on the love erica has given me and i hope you make an appointment soon. and please pray that her road to recovery continues to go well- thank you 
also, if you are looking for two great products for summer, i recommend these two from the skin care company, rodan + fields.. they're both fantastic! 

rodan + fields sunless tanner {you don't get orange/it's the perfect glow!}

feel free to message me for information about how to get free shipping + 10% off
{monaco.nelle@gmail.com}
mr. monaco and i are trying to get healthy lately 
we want to be healthy for ourselves, one another, and for our baby {+ future kids}
yesterday, i shared fifteen smoothie bowl ideas 
and hope to share more of our journey with you soon 
lastly, i saw this image recently and also wanted to share! 
very interesting, right? 
what would you add to a summer bucket list for your family? 
...
linking up with: 
Party at My Place

hope your week is going well! 
 
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fifteen smoothie bowl recipes


on mother's day, i discovered my newest food love in greenville, south carolina. my friend, renee, introduced me to a smoothie bowl at southern pressed juicery. it was instant love. i had been wanting to try a bowl for awhile and it was so delicious. just my style and something i would definitely love to incorporate into my daily routine and lifestyle. i would much rather fill my body with one of these over meat/a traditional meal. have you ever had one/made one? here are fifteen inspiration bowls that i would like to try soon. they are all nutritious, colorful, refreshing, and require minimal prep. renee is visiting parks and i next weekend for a 'girls weekend' + baby. mr. monaco will be in philadelphia for a wedding so we are going to hang out, watch chick flicks, make healthy food, and catch up. i am so excited to see her!
mango smoothie bowl | cook with manali 

are you a smoothie bowl lover, too? 
any recipes you enjoy? 
please link or share below
...
+ i plan to share what we make over our girls weekend together with you all! 
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