simply love : September 2016
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a new blog + a new business


the day is here!!! this is something i have been dreaming about for a very long time. and it's here! the truth is, i have a dream of opening up my own space or business someday; hopefully once my kids are in school full-time. many of you know this. my hopes are that this opportunity gives me the ability to get business experience/knowledge while being able to support my family and do something i feel passionate about- being with my son + sharing my love for cute clothes. i am really looking forward to providing them to other people. last summer, before school was about to begin, i witnessed my first, of many, lularoe parties online and it was love at first sight. i told my husband last fall, 'i want to do this...!' as i watched a stay-at-home mom post the most beautiful pieces and i was so intrigued. and my love has only grown over the last year. i have been following some very inspirational girls on the west coast for about a year now and as summer came to a close, i officially decided to join. yay! the clothes are very comfortable, so cute, and i just love the mission of the company, which is to support your family and always give to others. all consultants have different inventory and the focus is not about getting people to join under you, which i really love, instead, it's about collaborating with one another- not competing.  

i plan to share more on here from time to time, but decided to launch a new space for my journey. i plan to share mom + baby styles on my new blog, fawn + linen. i also plan to collaborate with others and share outfit ideas (not as a professional fashion blogger but more as the 'girl next door' type). i hope you will follow along... and know i am always here to help. my goal is to make women feel confident and beautiful. 

'simply love' will remain my lifestyle blog where i share everyday snapshots, gatherings, writings from the heart, travels, home decor, motherhood, etc. i plan to share more information over the next few days on fawn + linen, along with a few giveaways so please go check it out. i posted an 'inspiration board' for the new space today + information about a giveaway (worth $100!). tomorrow, i plan to share more on fawn + linen about lularoe and why i love it so much. (+ another giveaway!)

my facebook page: lularoe | janelle monaco 
instagram: fawnlinen 
have you heard of lularoe?

...if so, what's your favorite style?...

my favorites are the amelia dress, lucy skirt, sarah duster cardigan, ana dress, and carly dress. 
(of of course, the butter soft leggings!) 

a special 'thank you' and love to these woman who have inspired/help me in the most unbelievable ways already- you are all inspirations to me. 

(go check them out for some cute fall styles!) 
lastly, to my family, friends, and readers:
thank you in advance for any prayers you can send my way 
i am so excited and appreciate any support/love you all send
i will keep you all posted on my initial inventory 
it should be here soon
(i never want my family/friends to feel obligated to buy, but i also want them to know that i am always here. ps: if you live in charlotte, feel free to stop over and shop whenever you wish!) 
i have been blown away by the support already and appreciate it so much
i plan to host both online and at local pop-up shops
and am always here
here's to a new journey 
in this one life.
xo

i am participating in the blogtember challenge with bailey jean this month
(today's prompt was to share five of our blogging besties... so i shared some of my future blog/business besties! ) 

five photos that represent this year

without a doubt, it has been my fastest and best year of my life. for many reasons... and thankfully lots of photos to remember these special days. today i am sharing five photos that represent my year so far. 
welcoming a baby boy in january; life changed in the most extraordinary way possible
dreaming about a future business... stay tuned for an update (very soon!!) so unbelievably excited 
reading books + simplifying parts of our life and home (and loving the beach/travels/time with family!) 
introducing parks james to our catholic faith, something we both love very much. 
i am proud of many things in life, but nothing beats being a mother
celebrating my first mother's day at tandem creperie and coffeehouse | traveler's rest, south carolina
(one of my favorite spots ever)

what about you
what photos + memories from this year stand out most to you? 

i am participating in the blogtember challenge with bailey jean this month
(today's prompt was to share five photos that represent this year so far) 

a memory | i carry your heart

this past weekend we went to a wedding (i posted a few details on instagram but it was very beautiful- so intimate, colorful, and we had a blast!!) during the outdoor ceremony, a friend of the bride read the poem, i carry your heart by ee. cummings. this poem means so much to my sister and i (our friendship is so special to me) and was read at both of our weddings. i was so excited to hear it read again at another wedding. today, parks and i are road tripping to cincinnati to visit my sister and her husband... so when i heard that today's prompt was to share a recent photo, video, or memory that brought emotion... i decided to share these photos with you. i recently found them on my phone and they made me so happy to relive. the night before my wedding day, after the rehearsal, my sister and i jumped on the bed together... as my dad snapped a few photos. these photos. i will always cherish these.
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 is 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)

a book review | meditate your weight

(i read this book at the beach, which i would also totally recommend- if possible!!) 
i am so excited to introduce a book that has already changed my life for the better. when i first moved to charlotte in the summer of 2007, i had a lot of anxiety and considered going on medication. instead, i started practicing yoga and saw dramatic results. little things did not seem to affect me as much and i felt happier- more at peace with daily tasks and experiences. at the beginning of this year, i wanted to take it a step further after hearing more about the powers of meditation from a few family members. so when i saw this book, i knew i was interested. it did not disappoint. 

what if you could meditate to lose weight? would you do it? for many of us, our lives are jam-packed and often include very hectic days. this book teaches you that stress does not have to control your life. the author, tiffany cruikshank, is a meditation expert and the yoga medicine founder. she did such an incredible job of setting the book up in parts that make it very user friendly- both informational and hands-on. she teaches that a few minutes of meditation per day can help you address the physical, mental, and emotional restraints we often put on ourselves; the things that stand in the way of achieving our best inner and outer health. a few minutes of mindfulness (one of my goals for this year) can also help you achieve the weight you want by giving you a better self-image and instilling healthier eating habits.

i think it's important to note that you can meditate no matter your religion. you can adapt to your own beliefs to make better choices and maximize your metabolism. i am a christian and have found great success with meditation and its stress-relieving techniques. this book provides a very helpful way for how to get started, works through what things are weighing you down, addresses the myths and facts of the practice, and most of all, talks about how to bust through the mental blocks. the second part of the book is a 21-day retreat that focuses on awareness, presence, authenticity, cravings, nourishment, food vs. fuel, vitality, stress, self-limiting beliefs, and radiance, self-esteem, love and so much more. there are daily journal prompts and advice to guide you along the way. this part of the book was done in such a fantastic way- so powerful and eye-opening. lastly, the book ends with an awesome 'meditation tool kit' that focuses on meditating through food and movement. 

overall, the book is easy-to-use and teaches a whole new way to lose weight, relax, and energize

less stress = less belly fat.
more calm + more balance = a healthier you. 

a diy wreath for fall

today i am so, so excited to share this diy wreath i recently created. it felt so good to create again. my mom and i went to hobby lobby and found all of the materials and then she watched parks while i put it together the next day. it was super easy. my wreath was inspired by one of my favorites on instagram, @amylouhawthrone (she's so sweet and creative!) and a friend in charlotte (go check out her amazing art studio, create in us art studio) thank you both for the inspiration- it was fun and i love the way it turned out. i feel like it's just my style. 
how cute is amy, her sweet daughter, everly, and everything that she posts
ahh. all the heart eyes for her front porch!! 
i love the white pumpkins and the color of the door so much 
my wreath!
(we also picked up this mat for our front door for $15 at hobby lobby)
the stripes, feathers, pom poms, gold, pastels - just loved it from the moment i saw hers

a family recipe | mom's carrot cake

when i was younger, my mom's carrot cake was always a total 'crowd pleaser' - at every family event. it's a three tiered circular cake with cream cheese frosting... made with love every time and again, always a favorite. sometimes at easter she would put some jelly beans or candies on top, which was extra special as a kid. my grandma's sister gave the recipe to my mom at her bridal shower. it's simply delicious. i thought i would share it with you all and i hope you enjoy it as much as we always did! 
ingredients 

cake: 
3 cups grated carrots 
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil 
1 tsp. vanilla 

cream cheese frosting:
1 (16oz.) package powdered sugar
1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, softened 
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla

directions

combine carrots, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; stir in eggs, oil, and vanilla. spoon batter into three greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake tests done. cool.

cream cheese frosting: cream ingredients until well blended. spread on cooled cake layers 
she is soon going to have another little cake eater! 

truly it's just so good. 
let me know if you make it... i would love to know what you think! 
what's one of your family's favorite recipes?

also, any weekend plans? 
(ps: stop in tomorrow for my diy wreath for fall!)

i am participating in the blogtember challenge with bailey jean this month 

fall favorites + european memories

happy first day of fall! i am welcoming this season with open arms. you know how some people get the 'winter blues?' ... sometimes i feel like i get this way in the summer. i am not a heat person. i would much rather bundle up, put on some boots, and rock the day. today, i am remembering a very special fall; one that occurred exactly one decade ago at this time. i student taught a class of fifth grade american students abroad (about thirty minutes south of frankfurt, germany) on a u.s army base with a program through my university. it was simply unforgettable and one of the best experiences of my life. on the weekends, we traveled by train/a few by air (we slept, drank wine, journaled, and talked) as we traveled to various places. while i lived there, i did not have a car, a regular cell phone, tv, and my computer crashed half way through the semester. social media wasn't big, i don't have that many photos, and i used my computer primarily to email home and binge watch gilmore girls. however, looking back, i am thankful for all of this. as a result, i feel like i was able to take in every moment and experience with more attention and appreciation. i thought i would share the first five words/things that come to mind for each city i was able to explore. 
vienna | an authentic dinner party, my first glimpse of europe, cute buildings, delicious food (duck!), mountain views

switzerland | hiking in the alps, the milk chocolate, quaint villages, a fun sushi dinner, the overall beauty!

munich | biergartens, a bike tour, the sorrows of dachau, the grand marienplatz, celebrating my roots at the oktoberfest ... in addition to spending thanksgiving day at the hofbrahaus with my family (so many memories from that day!) 

luxembourg | an adorable center city, a colorful/cultural united nations school (25 countries are represented/kids are taught in their mother language), salsa/chips + wine outside, beautiful flowers, friendly people 

paris | true love. cafes, turning the corner to see a twinkling eiffel tower, the clothes, a bike /boat ride/gelato tour, a fondue dinner with baby bottles full of wine (they cut the top so it's easier to drink- so hilarious. we could not stop laughing.)  

london | christmas trees being carried throughout, strongbows, fish + chips, adorable markets, writing in cafes, my first starbuck's latte in almost four months (a peppermint mocha for christmas time)

dublin | jolly men dancing in the street right as we walked out of the airport, watching the football (soccer) championship game with locals, lots of guinness, castles, churches 

prague | historic (it felt the 'oldest'), christmas markets, one amazing night out on the town, watching the devil wears prada (we didn't know it when we went in but it was in english- a great surprise- and was our first movie in three months!) a rich culture 

stockholm | staying in a 'boastel' (a boat/hostel), fall leaves, water surrounding the city, cobblestone streets and paths, boats (this was another favorite!) 

amsterdam | red bikes, van gogh, the anne frank house, canals, row homes (i also remember enjoying a delicious breakfast there) 

+ here are some of my favorite pieces for fall 
fall favorites
fall favorites 
(click for information)
what are your fall favorites?

+ all of target's kids + babies halloween costumes are 40% off today
i love so, so many 
these are a few of my favorites: rocket | lamb | sock monkey | pig | lobster

oh and the blue crayon !!
mr. monaco was a blue crayon once
and a homemade christmas tree- how cute. 

i am participating in the blogtember challenge with bailey jean this month 

ice cream flavor

today's prompt is to share what ice cream flavor we would be? 

i would pick strawberry cheesecake with sprinkles!

+ the strawberry represents the fact that i try to be sweet to the people around me- being kind to others (always) is very important to me. 
+ the cheesecake chunks throughout represent the fact that i love a good surprise! 
+ the sprinkles (yes, i still order sprinkles!) represent my love for color, creativity, and the importance of always being a 'kid at heart' 

what about you?
what ice cream flavor represents you?
we ventured out for ice cream last week with my mom 
parks wore his new car + truck jammies from the gap
(i also love these cloud jammies!)
and you guessed it... i ordered a strawberry cheesecake + apple cinnamon (to celebrate fall!) cone 
i am participating in the blogtember challenge with bailey jean this month 

parks james | eight months

on september 15, this little lovebug turned eight months old! seven months was the fastest one yet. every month gets better and better. i have been soaking up my days with him and am thankful every day for the chance. when i look back on my life, i have a feeling that these may be my most favorites days of all. 
eating | he loves to eat and eats pretty much anything we give him. he gets two-four fruits/veggies a day and somehow i am still pumping. it's been quite the journey but i also know that it's worth it. parks loves grapes, healthy grain bread + butter, avocado, eggs, whole milk yogurt, organic cheese sticks, squash, and a few other things. a friend told me about dr. praeger's spinach cakes, which i want to try soon. in addition, hoping to let him try some of dad's homemade pancakes soon! for a snack, we love happy baby teethers
sleeping | parks also loves to sleep and is 'kind of' on a schedule but is very flexible at the same time. we are very lucky with his sweet and loving demeanor. he usually goes to bed between 7:15-8:30 (see this is what i mean by a 'schedule!') and then wakes up between 6:30-7:45 in the morning. parks takes a morning nap about 1.5 hours after he is up and then sleeps every 2-3 hours after he's awake throughout the day. his naps are usually 1-3 hours long. once he starts sucking his thumb and rubbing his eyes, i put him down. he loves his blanket and bunny + dinosaur jellycats while sleeping. he usually snuggles into them, flips over, and drifts away to sleep. he's honestly pretty easy. we took him out and about a lot at the beginning, which i think has helped with this... well people comment all the time on his flexibility. we make sure he gets his sleep, but also want him to him to be adaptable if possible. (if that makes sense?) just keep it up, buddy!!! note: if we have a baby in the future that requires a strict sleeping schedule, we will totally do it. parks is just totally happy with this... so it works for us right now. 
milestones |
+ he now has four top teeth and two bottom (and is working on more i think!)
+ totally on the move! lots of army crawling (this actually began on september 16/the day after he turned 8 months old at the cabin in tennessee) before that... lots of rolling around rooms. life is going to change real soon. 
+ lots of 'talking' aka babbling
+ eating many more things #pleasebeafoodie 
+ starting to wave and loves to 'high five' 
+ just happier than ever (so many laughs and giggles during the day!) 
+ wearing 6-12 and nine months clothing and size three diapers (grovia hybrids at home) 
things i want to remember |

+ the way you nuzzle into me every time i walk up the stairs with you
+ the way you look up at me 
+ how much you love to swing outside in your lil swinglets swing 
+ wrapping you up and carrying you around (dear beautiful boy- i carried you
+ how excited you get when you get something you want (toys! food! but you really love remotes and water bottles) 
+ your perseverance 
+ our special time with mimi (you love to shop and hang out at resturants with us) 
+ bath time! your favorite ... we play music, sing and play. (love olive & marula shea moisture shampoo!) 
+ your first ohio state gameday - we sang carmen ohio together at the end and watched script ohio at halftime (baby boy- you wear scarlet and gray on saturdays!)
+ the way your little legs sway back and forth in your high chair and in shopping carts
+ mommy + me yoga (you didn't get much further than 'happy baby' pose!) 
+ reading books to you (you love this book!
+ how excited you get when daddy comes home from work 
+ seeing you try new foods
+ our daily walks 
+ how every saturday morning you and your dad go out and about together on your 'guys day out' (your dad loves to wear you in our ergobaby carrier) and you usually come home with a bouquet of baby's breath and a coffee for momma- so sweet.  
+ going into your room every morning to see that sweet little grin, your slightly rosy cheeks, and then how you yawn + stretch while i change your diaper. 
+ your ear to ear smile (it's straight across and i don't know how you do it.) 
we are leaving parks overnight for the first time this weekend
as we travel to asheville for a wedding
i know it's totally healthy to get away with one another but we'll miss him at the same time 
parks will be with my sister-in-law/her family and i know he will be perfect hands
(+ his older cousins just adore him)
the truth is, i have no problem trusting others with him
i just know i will miss him like cRaZy. so much. 
say a little prayer for me. 
parks james 
(a.k.a parksie or boo bear) 
i love you to the moon and starts
moon and stars.

things i wish more people believed

- you are important and you are enough. 
- how the ocean can cure any mood; the waves can soothe and the sand grounds. 
- unless someone really does you wrong, forgive them. be the better person and clear your heart. i believe that everyone deserves a second chance. holding a grudge will only bring more harm to you. surround yourself with those who lift you up... these are the people who will always be there for you; during times that are both joyous and sad. 
- it's ok to cry- it represents a warm heart. (my government teacher in high school taught me this.) 
- that being a stay-at-home mom is not a 'vacation' and there is nothing wrong with being a working mom... whatever works for your family should be respected by others. (this goes for all of parenting) unless the child is at danger, i believe that people should judge others far less. most of us are only doing are best and having a supportive village surrounding us would make life so much better. 
- if you love something, never give up on it
- practicing yoga can be life-changing 
- live in the moment more; take up the scenery around you and tell yourself, 'this is enough.' 
- believe in yourself and believe in self expression- you are worth it. and you deserve it. 
- always follow your passions and never stop dreaming. 
- take risks and always keep prayer in your heart. 
- learning to not envy someone else's blessings is what grace looks like 

what about you?
what do you wish more people believed? 
a few morning scenes 
also i finished my diy wreath for fall and can't wait to share it with you
i love the way it turned out!

i am participating in the blogtember challenge with bailey jean this month 

favorite blog posts + a grateful heart

today's prompt was to share some of our favorite blog posts from the past. 
here are a few i wanted to share with you all today:

a grateful heart:
i took a little break from the challenge the past few days while we traveled to tennessee for a family reunion in the mountains. we rented one large (holds 52 people) and one small cabin (for my aunts and uncles) and am just so thankful for the opportunity to spend time together. i am number seventeen of nineteen cousins on my dad's side and ten years younger than the next cousin closet in age to me so i grew up looking up to all of them. we would travel to different cities to visit many of them (we cover twelve states!) i always loved our visits and times together. my grandpa passed away in february of 2009 at the age of 95 and since, we haven't gathered as much as we used to. it was so fun to be able to hang out with one another and catch up. everyone was so chill/super fun and all but five of my cousins were able to come with their families. there was hiking, antique shopping, cards/games, delicious food, a sundae bar, lots of meaningful chats, pumpkin beers/cocktails (lots of toasts!) and a tennessee volunteer football game on saturday afternoon to cheer on two of my cousins. i walked away with a sense of pride, love, and comfort knowing that i come from such a wonderful family. a family full of loving and (very) funny people. the truth is, i continue to look up to all of them today as hard-working people, who have a strong faith, a great outlook on life, and are extraordinary parents. many are raising/have raised such incredible kids. these kids. wow. i was blown away by all of them. there was no complaining and no crying (even in the heat! and even the little babies! although it would have been completely acceptable for them to cry, of course!) but i sincerely hope parks is half as amazing as my cousins' babies... big shoes to fill. many of them played and helped out so much with him; loving on him all weekend. in fact, he laughed harder than he ever has for hours friday evening... i will never forget the many sounds of happiness radiating from his laughs, giggles, and squeals. it was simply unforgettable. 

here are a few photos from our weekend:
enjoying the porch swing with my parents
loving this lularoe carly dress
go vols! 
she's so sweet. her heart is pure gold
wolf pride - go #80 and #82 (we are so proud of you both!)
sweet stella (from colorado!) and big boy parks were besties 

looking forward to the next family reunion already!!
it was sad to leave but am so grateful for the chance to gather together
my heart feels a little bit happier this morning

i am also linking up with emily of ember grey for her 'grateful heart' series