simply love : 2017

at-home teeth whitening for the busy mom

this post was sponsored by Smile Brilliant. all opinions are completely my own
lately i have been striving for simple. i have been purging, organizing, re-evaluating, reading more, and trying to enjoy the simple inspirations of life a little bit more. as a result, i have found that i am calmer, happier, and more productive. it's been a good month. as a mom, blogger, small business owner, and wife... sometimes i run out of time and there are not enough hours in a day. in addition, coffee and wine are almost aways part of my day. as a result, i started to notice that my teeth were not as white as they once were and my confidence was being affected. life is all about self-love and our teeth + smile are one of the first things people notice. enter smile brilliant (a company out of st. louis, missouri) they offer the absolute best value for your money. the kit works for both very sensitive and deeply stained teeth (it's even suitable for people who have stains from childhood or from tobacco). the process was smooth, easy, and i loved, loved my results. i feel like this also makes the perfect gift for a loved one. 
want to be a good mom? take care of yourself 
you can do this while you put the kids down for a nap, clean the house, mow the lawn, etc. 

the process |

1. creating the dental trays: the first thing i had to do was create custom trays that would hold my whitening gel. the instructions were very easy and quick (it comes with detailed instructions) and then you ship them back in a pre-addressed mailer. within two weeks, the trays arrived and i was ready to begin...

2. application of whitening gel: smile brilliant provides the gel in plastic syringes and the process is very easy. i love that the molds allow for every part of your teeth to get whitened at the same time and they don't slide around like whitening stripes (plus, this kit blows away those results!) you simply apply a thin strand of gel along each tray and affix both trays to your mouth. the only issue i had was applying (way) too much the first time and the taste and sensation on my gums wasn't pleasant. however, by the second time, i was good-to-go. if you experience this, here is some more information about tooth sensitivity. 

3. application of desensitizing gel: the last step is to apply this gel, which is done the same was as the whitening gel. i did not experience any sensitivity from this gel and felt like it made my teeth feel clean. 

top nordstrom anniversary sale picks

the 2017 nordstrom anniversary sale is here! thanks to my mom and sister, i am a big fan. i used to love more (less quality) things but have moved over to their side of the world in many ways. the customer service at nordstrom is the best of the best and i love to browse and shop with them. i recently fell in love with their zella workout line (amazing.) and bp (so soft) tees. today is the first day for early access so i thought i would share some of my favorite picks with you all. 

my fifteen favorites |

-what are your favorites-
if you score anything, i would love to hear! 
let me know in the comments below

baby beach gear

as we get ready for our annual beach trip next week, i wanted to share some of my favorite pieces for toddler girls + boys this season. last summer, i shared ten tips for the beach with a baby. sometimes i think that once you figure out how to pack, it can make all the difference. mom tip: i read once that a mom of five recommends building a large hole right when you get there... then the kids can play in it for hours while she can read (fingers crossed) or at least relax. what a great idea!! 

on my shelf | five books for mom + baby

"when you were too small to tell me hello, i knew you were someone i wanted to know." emily winfield martin, the wonderful things you will be 

for mom |

+ no-drama discipline by daniel siegel 
+ the morning miracle by hal elrod 
+ the handmaid's tale by margaret atwood 
+ podcast: parenting great kids with dr. meg meeker (any podcasts you love lately?)

starting to look into more podcasts options + just starting to get discipline advice for our (almost) eighteen month old... please let me know if there are any you love. 
for baby | 
+ the wonderful things you will be, emily winfield martin (the most beautiful illustrations and message) 
+ pat the bunny by dorothy kunhardt (his favorite + i love the vintage feel and he loves to do each page; patting the bunny is his very favorite though) 
+ bare and hare - where's hare? by emily gravett (fun, perfect for counting and he thinks it's funny) 
+ pantone color book by pantone (colorful, creative, and parks looks at it over and over again) 
+ if i could keep you little by marianne richmond (cute photos and will make any momma tear up) 

i think all of these are great picks to bring to the home of a new baby or a shower in lieu of a card

a 'kids memory' journal + tacos

"the snow is only meant, created, commanded to fall. the rain is only meant, created, commanded to pour down. you were only meant, created, commanded to be who you are, weird, wonderful, imperfect, messy and lovely. :: shauna niequist | present over perfect 

last week i was talking to a woman who has three grown kids and she said something to me that was so profound that i wanted to share with you all. we talked about her children and the struggles of raising them- the bullying (my greatest fear- besides health), the hardships, the overcoming, and the achievements. she saw parks and mentioned how much she misses them being little (i am going to have a very hard time with this... i know this.) then she mentioned her biggest regret. she said she wishes that she would not have been caught up in buying the perfect journal or having the perfect prompts to write... she wishes that she would have written a few simple things at the end of every day. 

creating a memory journal:
1. a simple notebook (any journal!) 
2. complete a few lines every day: the date, a few things that your kids did that made you happy, a few things they did/said that were funny
3. i think i am going to add a few things that i am grateful for 
4. i plan to keep this in the nightstand next to our bed 

i am so grateful for our conversation 
anyone want to join me?

speaking of joining... anyone else love tacos?
'let's taco bout it' {romper: amazon}
charlotte locals: you can get it at kid to kid huntersville (new) for $8.99

summer style | poppy and dot feature

this post contains affiliate links- all opinions expressed are 100% my own 
 one of the things i want to share more in this space is both my fashion style + parks' baby boy style. i hope to share more posts about ideas + favorites + tips. this past monday, my mom and i spent about seven hours browsing our favorite shops at a local mall. i rarely go to the mall (maybe about three times a year and usually only when she is here - it's one of our favorite things to do together + so many memories) we only went to a handful of stores and we had a great time together. although it was fun, i usually love to shop online for new pieces. one of my favorite places to shop is on instagram + small boutiques online. i am very excited to now be a blog ambassador with poppy and dot, which is one that i adore. they have such cute pieces + some of my favorite floral robes ever. please enjoy 10% off your order with the code: janelleM10 and let me know your favorites below... i would love to hear. 

my current poppy and dot favorites 
{use code janelleM10 for 10% off your entire order!}

clothes |

shoes | 

currently | july edition

“the world will tell you how to live, if you let it. don’t let it. take up your space. raise your voice. sing your song. this is your chance to make or remake a life that thrills you.” 
― shauna niequist, present over perfect: leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living

documenting | my dreams- both big and small. as you all know, i love, love our amazing church and last week, the focus was on resistance and achieving your dreams. i plan to make a board with my micro and macro dreams, along with how i plan to achieve these; conquering the resistance. 

accomplishing | last week was beyond successful! i can't even count all of the things i knocked off my to-do list but it felt great. lots of trips to good will + organizing almost every inch of our home + a deep clean. i am also focusing on healthy eating and working out... @emilybreeze on insta is doing a burpee challenge this month. it started with ten on july 1 and then you add one each day. you should join as well! 

enjoying | having a clean, organized home, where everything has a place and relaxing on the white rocking chairs on our front porch (my birthday gift from my boys) 

reading | chasing slow (it's probably the coolest + most beautiful book i have ever owned and so, so good!) and then our july book club pick is the handmaid's tale by margaret atwood. our book club began seven years ago this month and i still enjoy it very much. do you have a book club? if so, what's your set-up? we used to go to one another's homes but several of us had babies in the same year- so now we venture out to a local restaurant or wine bar. (and yes, we talk about the book... for a few minutes. haha) 

spending | time together with loved ones as much as i can. my parents visited charlotte this past weekend and we enjoyed walks, church, popsicles, delicious meals in and out, a shopping day with my mom all day monday, the splash pad + market uptown, parks, brunch, cocktails, and games at night. it was a very nice visit. in addition, i loved celebrating our anniversary with tim and parks last thursday at the whitewater center. parks loved watching the kayakers and rafting go to down the rapids- he would laugh and clap. we enjoyed salads, a beer, live music and a long walk. lastly, a fourth of july cookout with friends last night was the perfect way to celebrate ~ we grilled burgers/hotdogs, awesome conversations, we laughed, i made a trifle (layers of fruit, whipped cream, pudding, and pound cake) we spelled our names using sparklers and watched fireworks as they surrounded our neighborhood. how did you celebrate? i hope it was lots of fun!! 
haberdish sunday evening was fabulous and we had the best service- i love this place.
after dinner, we walked across the street to popbar (delicous!) 

summer fun travel tips with evenflo | flying with a toddler

thank you to Evenflo for kindly sponsoring this post. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
happy summer! bring on the travels~ any fun trips coming up? traveling is fun but with young children, it can also be challenging and stressful. today, i am sharing some simple tips + ideas to make things easier for you. in may, i traveled to my hometown for a family wedding with parks solo. you may remember that we were supposed to drive; however, i was experiencing intense neck pain so we booked a last minute flight. i learned a few things and reached out to a local girl tribe in charlotte to bring some summer travel tips your way. i hope these help you in some way as you make your plans and fly to those exciting places. 

here are some tips for flying with a toddler:
"one of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are."
- edith wharton
i think the best advice i was given is this~ go into the flight expecting it to be okay! often parents dread it and expect it's going to be awful, causing their anxiety to rub off on their kids. mental preparation is important for us too. stay calm and pray they do the same. 
in the dayton airport --> charlotte bound 
{i placed the car seat on top of the rolling suitcase}
car seat | evenflo . shoes | aldo . jeans | madewell

checking in | i always encourage checking in online for moms. if it's a holiday (like this weekend- happy fourth!), i would definitely try and check in online because sometimes flights are sold out and the last people to check-in are usually placed on standby/are bumped. because of my neck pain, we brought the sibby stroller (it's a perfect size for travels- more here). usually, i would baby wear parks in the airport (esp. for running to a gate) but we had a direct flight and there was no way we could have put him in a carrier with my pain. the stroller was perfect for this trip and i actually think i would do a stroller again next time. we were dropped off and checked in outside (the tip was worth it in this case) we checked our evenflo stratos car seat (color: silver ice) outside so we would be hands-free through security + walking to the gate. you can buy a bag on amazon for under $10 to help protect it but i don't recommend hauling it through the airport. it was easy, free, and was waiting for us at baggage claim when we arrived. 

security | a backpack is usually your best friend! (isn't this the case as a mom in general?) we love this one from fawn design. i found that one airport wanted all of his food and drinks in a plastic bag for checking- so i would do this in advance. kids don't have to take off their shoes until the age of seven and they can walk through with you. the stroller + car seat may require a more thorough check. 

at the gate | depending on the child, i think this is either a good time for exploring and 'getting out the energy' or a good time for them to chill. parks is a very chill toddler when in his evenflo stroller + car seat (versus let's say a high chair!) so that's what we did; however, many kids would probably be better off using their energy during this time frame. while waiting, i try and use the restroom before the flight and remember to fill up the sippy cup  + change diapers before taking off. i also recommend bringing some plastic grocery bag in your diaper bag for dirty diapers on the flight. 
in case you are lucky enough to enjoy a second of quiet (whether they are napping or are chilling in the stroller- like parks does in the sibby!!) do not forget to bring a book/magazine/your favorites, too. you just never know... 

and i thought i loved you then

june 29, 2013 
four years ago~ a gorgeous summer day in uptown charlotte, i married the most genuine, kindest person i have ever known. i know God brought him into my life and i know he's my true love. now we are mom and dad to the sweetest baby boy, continuing to enjoy our city, travel, and take in the simple moments in life. we dream, we try our best to overcome the difficult days, we challenge, we laugh, we cuddle, we pray, and we try to be the best parents we can for parks james.

here are just a few of my favorite memories from our wedding day: 
-my bouquet- 
the rosary was a gift from my maternal grandma and the colored brooch was my paternal grandma's (she passed away when i was a young girl) yesterday would have been her 103rd birthday. i could feel her love that day and i know she was with us
i surprised my new husband with a cannoli bar to honor his italian heritage 
the charlotte city club (especially the director, nathan hoffman) made it a day to remember- always.
now you're my whole life
now you're my whole world 
i just can't believe 
the way i feel about your girl 
we'll look back someday 
at this moment that we're in 
and i'll look at you and say 
and i thought i loved you then 
and i thought i loved you then 
{then by brad paisley}
j + t 
every day- i can feel how much my husband loves me. for this, my heart feels so full. 
what's even better? i know that our son feels the same love. 
my sister stood closest to my side all day 
from my bridal portraits - i loved my dress!! it was originally a one strap dress, turned high lace
the girls wore cream and gold + pink and coral peonies
my girls 

thirty-four candles

yesterday, i turned another year older and it was one i think i will always remember. last fall i wrote about my most memorable birthdays (here) but this one is right up there. it was simple, spent with my boys, and full of love. i have spent a good portion of the past year striving for simpler, more soulful living - so this day was ideal for me. 
a confetti bundt cake from a friend ... she brought it over with a bouquet of white tulips last week.
my boys put a gold candle in it and i made a wish (my very favorite part of every birthday!) 
after the perfect service at watershed (love so much) this week, the message really spoke to me- like it usually does there- but it really aligned with our conversations the night before, which made it very special. after church, we met my mother and father-in-law at the workman's friend for brunch (one of my favorite spots in the city!) they watched parks overnight (we had a charlotte staycation) so it was the best just seeing him and spending time with them.  
my sweet brunch date + i love this boy 
saturday night, we stayed at a local bed and breakfast, met one of my favorite friends and her husband for cocktails uptown and then had a romantic dinner at the charlotte city club (which is where we had our wedding reception... four years ago on thursday) they treated us so well (too well) it was lovely. nathan hoffman - the director- is a very special person and we adore him. 
one of the best parts of the day was (finally) finishing the book, present over perfect by shauna niequist. i am a reader- always have been and i am not sure if a book has ever spoken to me in such a profound way. in the book, she offers an honest account of what led her to begin a new journey- a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, prayer, simplicity, and connection with the people that matter most. 

so this- this is my main goal for year thirty-four
i feel ready 
never more excited for a new year 
(hoping to share my journey here!)
ps: do you have any advice?

a first birthday party | sweet bunny love

my cousin, megan, and her family were just here visiting from colorado. like i mentioned yesterday, we truly enjoyed their visit and parks is missing his buddy, stella mae, lots today. from the moment i saw photos of stella's first birthday garden party in may, i knew i wanted to share with you all. it's just too cute for words... they celebrated in their backyard with a bunny themed party for the birthday girl. i hope you all enjoy this extraordinary birthday gathering. 
''bunny food' treats! 
she also had some cute food for kids sitting out ~ annie's bunnies and peter rabbit pouches 
vibrant bouquet runner | megan shreve . matilda jane
megan has her own business and is a matilda jane trunk keeper~ you should check it out (the cutest pieces for women, girls, some accesories and home decor) this swimsuit is my favorite for a little girl and i have this black (joanna gaines collection) skirt coming my way. (love) 
calligraphy sign by: mcclelland custom creations
she looks so excited! a nothing bundt cake is the perfect size for this occasion.
it was springtime and easter- so target was full of bunny goodness. (like this garland!)
she took clay pots and painted them with chalk paint for the labels + paper crate holders for the veggies. such a festive look
the one-year-old birthday photo shoot was also simply beautiful