simply love : January 2017
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the curated closet | five things i learned

"our clothes tell a story. our clothes reflect our personality and what's important to us."
-anuschka rees, the curated closet
first of all, i simply loved this book- so much. it is incredibly detailed and i honestly learned so much from it. sometimes are closets are so jam-packed yet we feel like we have nothing to wear. the curated closet presents a strategic approach to refining your space and identifying your personal style. it's full of useful graphics, charts, and activities, as well as beautiful photography, which all creates the ultimate guide for an authentic style. 
my book is full of notes and annotations... it has become a journal for me 
the book is broken into four parts: 1. the basics 2. discovering your personal style 3. building a dream wardrobe 4. the art of shopping
relaxing while parks sleeps and doing some 'homework' on my future approach 
here are the five main things i took away from this book:


+ minimalism isn't a numbers game | at the beginning, i think it can be a really good starting point; however, the heart of this concept isn't about numbers. instead, it's about getting rid of things that don't bring you joy while enriching your life and replacing those things with things that do; bringing meaning to different parts of your life. 

+ merging two different styles | this is totally me. both for myself and for my son, parks. i love neutrals and calm, romantic colors ... yet i love fun colors at the same time. i tend to gravitate towards romantic, boho, and vintage pieces. regarding my son, i also love neutrals and adore kids in knitted rompers and bonnets... but i also love the look of a pair of trendy jeans with suspenders and chucks. as a result, the style profile is fantastic... it is detailed and does a wonderful job of merging two different aesthetics. i am in the process of building my mood board and answering the style questions provided, which i plan to share with you all. 

+  the detox | this book does a great job of getting you ready for the detox and also showing you how to do clear out the clutter; how to say good-bye to anything that doesn't reflect your personal style and does nothing for your confidence. after i complete my style profile, i plan to do this next. although i tend to have emotional connections to 'things' ... i also know that i need this in my life right now. 

+ basics for you | i love how the book talked about different 'basics' options for every person; we are all different and have unique things about each one of us... therefore, so should our personal style. 

+ keep evolving | "your style isn't static, and neither is your personal style. a great closet is one that can grow and evolve alongside you, your style, and your life." 
what are your favorite sites for selling items? and favorite places to donate?
 i would love to do a combo as i begin my detox soon 
i just love her style!

tips for feeding + food ideas for a toddler

{parks waving 'hi' in the new bella tunno spring catalog}

a few weeks ago, right before parks turned one, he went from trying most foods to only wanting a few things: bananas, yogurt, whole wheat toast and baby food. it's so important to us that he eats whole, nutritious foods as much as possible at this age. i know that babies go through "stages" so i tried not to stress and just tried my best every day to feed him the best i could. plus, he was getting a few molars, along with other teeth, during this time period. 

at his one year check-up, this was really my only main concern... so i asked our pediatrician for advice and a day later, everything changed (for the better!) we love her so much- let me know if you are in charlotte and want her information. so i thought i would share what worked for us with you all.
tips: 
+ the first thing she mentioned was whether or not he was drinking too much milk throughout the day? we switched to whole milk right before christmas (and i stopped pumping right after christmas- after over eleven months... life is good right now!!) when she mentioned this, it immediately hit me... yes, he probably was drinking too much... and therefore, wasn't hungry for meals. 

+ give veggies first and/or things he may not love the most at the beginning of each meal

+ pretend to feed yourself and a favorite stuffed animal while making exciting reactions

+ once he tries a piece, cheer/clap/act really excited!! (he loved this, so many laughs and fun) 

+ don't think of snacks as being 'snack foods' (still try and give natural, whole foods) 

+ he used to throw food a lot... so she recommended that we just put a few pieces on his tray at a time (in case he does throw!) and then to all be stern and say 'no no' every time he throws (no laughing/everyone on the same page) *this has also gotten much better. 

+ about a week after we started this... things were getting much better. however, the next week for lunch, i decided to give him his first piece of cheese pizza (not something we will do regularly at this age) but i wanted him to see just how amazing food is... and the result was beyond successful. he loved it (so much) and now seems to try almost anything! 

+ we are loving this plate (it fits on our smaller high chair, which is also something i recommend from ikea) and these spoons

+ these sippy cups were also recommended by other moms and he is loving them 

+ to keep trying foods over and over- that several attempts is often successful. 

+ baby food is no longer part of his meal, but he is loving the pouches when we are out and about. she recommended not using them all the time so that he doesn't get attached to only eating those when he is older, which i also thought was excellent advice. 
here he is with his favorite stuffed animal, 'bobo nono' during storytime this morning
this boy is a lover and loves stuffed animals more than anything else 
food ideas for a one-year-old 

+ these 30 meal ideas are fantastic 

fruits | blueberries, strawberries, peaches, applesauce (with no sugar added), kiwi, raspberries, watermelon, pears

veggies | steamed carrots + sprinkled with cinnamon on top, steamed peas, avocado, mashed sweet potatoes, steamed green beans, cauliflower, and broccoli 

proteins | yogurt, string cheese, meatballs, salmon, tilapia, scrambled eggs, boiled egg, soft chicken 

others | black bean burger, gran muffins, brown rice, chili, smoothies, pesto tortellini  

as we find more things he loves, i plan to share more with you
(we have found that he loves spicy, ethnic foods like indian and mexican, just like his parents! yay)
(how cute is this food truck bib from bella tunno?)

what worked for your child?


also, any toddler food ideas that were loved in your home?

i hope this helps in some way... we were just so grateful for the tips.

inviting calmness | month one

there is a quote that i have grown to love. 

 “that was the day she made herself the promise to live more from intention & less from habit.”
 – amy rubin flett
i just love these words. one of my main goals for this year is to live more in the moment, to find balance and to be intentional with my time and energy. when i took a few moments to connect the dots of this simple message, it became very powerful. as each season comes and goes, i am always met with more questioning. questioning is good, it means something matters. 

what areas of your life have become more like habits? 
i want to feel lighter, more spiritual, as healthy as possible. i am yearning for a strong balance 
between raising and creating influential toddler activities for our son, working out/yoga, eating healthy, my faith, dates and quality time with my husband, meditation, reading more books, hanging out with my girlfriends, and putting my heart and soul into my business and this space. 
last year was honestly a whirlwind (in the best way.) and so this year... i want balance and i want to live with purpose. i don't want things to go on the back burner so easily; i desperately want to find time for each one of the priorities in my life. 
i stopped breastfeeding a few days after christmas and the process was worst than being pregnant for me (holy hormones!) did any of you go through this? however, for the first time in almost two years, i have felt that old and sturdy calmness within myself over the past week... and that has been the best feeling in the world. deep down, i knew i felt different... but it had become the 'new norm.' i feel like any anxiousness from that process was (not gently) but yet finally released. 

here are some ways i have tried to invite calmness so far this month:
+ this month i have started to organize our life and our home: 
1. throwing away extra things 
2. getting closets into tip-top shape 
3. communicating and creating task assignments -delegating! (something i am not good at doing!) 
4. keeping up-to-date with calendars (and using cute washi tape for fun)
5. putting things away right away (less work later!) 
6. staying on top of bills and house projects

7. scheduling out which chores to do daily around the house

8. cleaning out my purse, wallet, and the diaper bag every time we get home, while also always putting the car keys in the same place (they have been found in the refrigerator this year)

9. it was a splurge but we had our house deep-cleaned last week, for the first time since we built it two years ago 
(doing these things has brought so much calmness already)
+ reading: two books are on the way! one is a devotional for mom's (more info soon) and one is talking as fast as i can by lauren graham. i haven't read an (adult) book in over a year- besides my journey through the book, the curated closet, which i hope to also share soon. i mean the very hungry caterpillar is cute and all... and on the night you were born, is so heartfelt/beautiful... but i am ready for a good novel. especially to kick my tv/phone before bed habit. instead, i want to talk to my husband, listen to music, journal, and read. 
+ time with others: i was able to go to book club, two nights with girlfriends, and a date over the past week (it was beyond so nice- and all so needed!) for our date, we tried haberdish in noda and it was absolutely fantastic! i would highly recommend... the cocktails, the hushpuppies, the fried chicken. yum. plus, the atmosphere is really awesome. 
+ business: i planned out my entire month of february, while cuddling up with my husband during the bachelor last night! (who's your favorite?) 
next steps: more prayer/devotionals/church, a schedule for parks (activities throughout the city- what are some of your favorite things for a one year old?) and yoga/meditation 
a stroll through a local flea market lately - hoping to share my trip soon
a mouse in the house
last night during bath time
joy. 

what about you?
how do you live with intention?
...what are the ways you bring calm into your life... 

i plan to share this journey with you all over the next year
at the end of every month- the struggles, the changes, the hopeful improvements 
feel free to join along! 

currenty | january edition

gathering | we had a gathering for my son's first birthday last weekend! i can't wait to show you all soon. i tried to take in the day both by enjoying it and by snapping some photos... you may have seen a glimpse of the detail on instagram. in addition, last night i was able to attend book club (it's been way too long) and i totally fell in love with a spot in uptown charlotte called essex bar & bistro. if you go, order the butter chicken. you won't regret it. it was so, so delicious (like i will be craving this dish often) along with the cool atmosphere, company, wine, and baked alaskan goodness for dessert.

making | more time for mr. monaco!! i can't forget about him. so we are going on a date tomorrow night... we are hoping to try a new southern place in the arts district called haberdish. has anyone been? thoughts? so... basically i haven't been 'out' since november but am making up for it this week! 

reading | i plan to start reading the book, talking as fast as i can by lauren graham. i loved her so much in parenthood and of course in gilmore girls (she's so fabulous!) so i am really excited. 

following | i have been enjoying bloglovin' more and more. i really want to start using it daily. 

sipping | la croix, smoothies, and hazelnut black coffee lately  
a birthday | nursery scene
a rare hour away last saturday morning... i enjoyed walking around a cute anthropologie in charlotte

...what about you...
what have you been gathering, making, reading, following, and sipping?

a get to know

who am i?

last week, on january 12, this space turned four. as a blogger, it can be really easy to look at others in the blogosphere and put forth a certain image of who you should be, neglecting your true self. i always try to tell myself (and sometimes it's difficult) to remember that we are all unique for a reason. and it's important. so i thought i would tell you a few things about me; a re-introduction for many of you and a 'welcome' to some. i am so glad each one of you are here. 

+ i don't wear makeup every day, but i do wear lipstick and a little bronzer. it's my way of putting on my "lady face" 
+ to me, skirts and dresses are more comfortable than jeans or pants. however, i recently discovered madewell's jeans and they have been life-changing. so comfortable. if i am hanging out at home, i tend to put on a large shirt/sweater and a comfortable skirt to get real cozy in.
+ if i had to pick a 'spirit animal' it would be combo of my two favorites - a house cat and a bird {a pretty little yellow one}. the truth is, i am both an introvert and an extrovert. it's true. i need alone time and don't share much about my personal life (unless i feel secure/confident around the person) but also love to be with people/have gatherings. i love to be at home with my family, making it a nest, but i also love to explore the world. i love to take photos but am completely 'video shy.' i was raised to always 'fly;' to go off to new places and to take on adventures and risks but am content with a bubble bath and a book.
+ mexican + peanut butter + smoothies are my ultimate jams. i believe our bodies were designed to eat whole foods- yet i also love a good splurge. 
+ i own more shoes than i can count. truly. and each one holds a special place in my soul. i have eliminated so much from our home over the past year... but many of my shoes have stayed. 
+ i am a wife to a gentle soul and the momma of a baby (always) boy. this is my favorite part of life.
+ i am the queen of filling up my coffee mug and then having to re-heat it over and over.  
+ there is almost always music playing in our home. folk, acoustic, and indie are my true loves. and old school country like conway twitty, george jones, and waylon jennings. i grew up in the country and am not one bit ashamed!
+ i love, love white walls. if i could, i would paint them all a bright white (and if i was good at painting, i would totally roll up my sleeves and would do it on my own, even if it meant doing it throughout the night just to get it done without my new little toddler next to me!) speaking of, i don't need a whole lot of sleep- even though i know it's healthy to get more than i do.  
+ i tend to get overly excited about the little things in life and therefore, overuse words like: cute, love, amazing. the people i am meant to be friends with love me for this. and i love them.
+ local breweries and farmer's markets have my heart throughout every season of the year 
+ starbuck's banana bread is my go-to treat + a hazelnut skinny latte 
+ i am both a scandinavian | clean look lover and an eclectic | vintage lover
+ in other words, i love neutrals and colors {i honestly confuse myself}
+ i am not really a dog or a phone person (even though i think dogs are cute- just not for us... right now.) 
+ i have a thing for pom poms- on anything. 
+ thrifting and spending hours searching in a flea market are pure bliss for me
+ i love fall most but prefer the colors and symbolism of spring
+ i am dreamer. so my mind never stops going and i consider this both a good and a bad thing.
what about you? 

what are some unique things that make you- you.

simply loving

hi! i hope your week is going well! recently i created a new series on my pinterest profile where i plan to pin based solely on a particular season of the year. i have thought long and hard about this... and feel like i am the type of person who needs season. living in a place that has all four is important to me; i love a change and a new start after a few months. 

i love the colors of spring, the travels of summer, the weather of fall, and the coziness of winter. 

here are a few recent pins and things i am loving from my 'winter collection.'  
these shelves, books, chairs and striped rug
these tiles! all the tiles. 
i love this look so much 
do any of you have a wood headboard? do you like it? 
someday i want to do a capsule wardrobe ... i am not there yet but maybe at some point!
have you watched the documentary 'minimalism' on netflix? 
my brother thinks i will love it and i am hoping to watch it soon 
i would love to know your thoughts
{if i did do a capsule, maybe for a season, or a month, to try it... my space would totally be styled!!)
so delicate and unique
linen mustard baby doll dress | doesn't yellow have a way of brightening a dreary day?
{via}
these floors and this plant area... this set-up is a new goal for a future home
we are needing a new wreath and this one is calling my name. maybe another diy?
such a soothing nightstand ... and i am all about a calming bedroom space

what are you simply loving lately? 

a new year | inspiration board

the start of a new year is always exciting. a fresh start, hope, bright beginnings on the horizon. this year excites me. this past year was one of many new starts and i hope this year brings more calmness, balance, and the act of being 'present.' if this is your first or hundredth time visiting this space, i am so thankful for you and that you have decided to stop in and soak it up. cheers to a new page and a more beautiful year to come. 

i created this mood board an an inspiration for 'simply love' and the new year:
new year


new year

topics and hopes:

+ to continue to 'simplify' our home
+ yoga + meditation 
+ motherhood, i love sharing this journey with you all (you have become a very special part of our 'village')
+ small gatherings
+ books and magazines
+ poetry
+ decor
+ playlists
+ healthy recipe ideas (and also fun ones) 
+ more home scenes
+ self improvement
+ toddler activities
+ diy ideas 
+ mood boards 
+ 'tourist in my city' 
+ my faith
+ essential oils
+ collaborations + giveaways 
+ creating balance and focusing on living in the moment 

// beannacht, a blessing for the new year 
“on the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
and when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
when the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
may the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
and so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.”
so gentle and yet powerful.
much like i hope this year is... especially for each one of you. 
... may flocks of color surround you each and every day. 
thank you for being here. 
xo

baby's first christmas

today i am sharing some of my favorite (there are so many more!) photos from parks' first christmas. it was so special and one to remember. we went up to ohio and enjoyed time with family and friends. here are some black and white photos (my favorite) to celebrate and remember the occasion. 
my mom had special things around the house for parks 
all things kids love: music, lights, sparkles (bells) 
can you find the black santa? 
waiting for 'santa' - he comes on christmas eve in our family (which i love) 
dressing up, cocktails, desserts and lots of unwrapping fun 
someone wants mom when he's tired- but i love my aunt pam! we had so much fun - lots of great girl chats over red wine. 
kisses from papa 
christmas eve 
you are so loved, baby boy
parks and i spent the week in cincinnati/my hometown with my brother and we have such great memories
my mom's eyes light up around this little boy - every single time 
he LOVED the polar express bell ... i mean really loved.
before dinner on christmas eve
he sat at the table and enjoyed it with us 
we always go around and give 'thanks' -pray- do 'cheers'
i will never forget my big brother, bassey's 
"and to parks... who has surely brought so much light to all of our lives this year!"