simply love : May 2017

things i would tell a new mom

i remember vividly what it's like to have a wiggly, tiny new life in your arms. everything seems unknown and exhausting and new and hazy and wonderful. you'll be tired, you will probably go longer than normal without showering, your meals will often be cold, and there will be tears. (sometimes you won't even know why.) one of my biggest pieces of advice is to try and lean on people who bring you up and encourage you. supportive 'mom friends' and family members can make the biggest difference in the world. always remember that it's okay to delegate and it's okay to ask for help. they will both make you a better mom. today i thought i would share some of the things i would tell new mothers, in hope of encouraging and lifting up as many as possible. 

 one of the first things i would tell a new mom would be, 'bless you... if you're trying, you're doing a great job." and in many ways, it does get better. and to be honest, in some ways, it doesn't. (enter moving... running, exploring, teething.) but it's all worth it, each and every step. the hardest parts for me were definitely the recovery from my c-section (here is my postpartum survival guide for a c-section) and then my (many) struggles with nursing... more than the lack of sleep (i actually missed him throughout the night and almost got excited to see him when he did wake up.) i know not everyone probably feels the same but that's honestly how i felt. (and i also know that with a toddler, i will, more than likely, not feel this same way- at all- the next time around). and maybe it's because i always wanted to be a mom, but i discovered that i was much more confident (something i had always yearned for...) and yet much calmer than i had ever been before. i often think that it's because of the many things that have now become a simply joy. (or that my cares and worries for this world were changed) 

a road trip | kennett square

where mr. monaco's parents were married on april 22, 1978
it might be the most romantic church i have ever seen 

one of the things we want to do most with our children is travel as much as possible. even if it's a simple or small trip. it is very important for us to expose parks (and our future kids!) to different people, smells, languages, tastes, and cultures; hopefully helping to shape them as human beings- while leaving lasting impressions and memories for the better. of course this can bring a go-go-go atmosphere but i think it is important to remember to just have fun! (and we really did!) i am really trying to work on slowing down and being more present, especially on trips. at the beginning of this month, we drove up for a long weekend to visit my husband's brother and his wife (and their two small children) with my mother and father-in-law. it was so nice to all be together- in such an incredible area of our country (right outside of philadelphia). we stayed in kennett square, pa and it was gorgeous. lots of rolling hills, historic homes, horses... it was just so peaceful there. 

here are some snapshots |
sister + brother
i walked down the stairs and caught a glimpse of this ... be still my heart. 
their love. just so special. this was the moment she went across the monkey bars for the first time
my sister-in-law has become a dear friend to me and i really look up to her as a mom
she makes it all look so easy... and is so patient and graceful
we went to an old home- turned ice cream shop- called foxy loxy 
the ice cream was delicious... i ordered black raspberry chip
"together we make a family" 
their dinner room is breathtaking 
how cute are my boys?!
enjoying a mint julep during the kentucky derby
tim's aunt and uncle's beautiful home... i could not get enough of the old homes in this area
my little family

simply loving

-a dream-
just add white or gray cabinets!

warm weather is approaching (or it's here in the carolinas. it's been in the nineties this week!) and lately i have set my sights on all things easy breezy- from both home and closet. i am loving soft linens and am lusting over simple slides. parks and i did a fun photo shoot yesterday with destiny law photography ... i taught her language arts (back in the day!) and now she is in college. what a talented and sweet soul. on a not fun note... today, i experienced excruciating back and neck pain and so i slowed down and watched parks nap. he may have been born an old soul ... but his heart is so tender. tomorrow we are traveling back to my hometown for a family wedding and i am praying the pain simmers. we are traveling solo (papa bear has to work) and although parks' demeanor is usually good -he is a toddler!- so i am slightly worried. please send some prayers our way. mainly due to the amount of pain i am in. thank you so much. xo
may is getting away from me and i haven't posted as much as i had planned
but lots of fun things on the way! trying to be patient with my time and dreams; knowing everything will play out under God's terms. but that won't stop me from dreaming.
these floors, the colors, the light, the rug, the art

pinned articles | 

step inside a dreamy 1940's california home

more style + home love | 
strawberry sheet cake with rhubarb meringue frosting
this bag is everything | vogue's ultimate summer bag guide

mother's day snapshots

spring, you are my most recent love affair (my boys being at the top of my list) with your pretty dresses and new flowers (everywhere you look) the pastels, the picnics, the lambs. for a long time, i considered autumn and winter to be my favorites. i love the months of october-december... from pumpkin pies to cozy, sparkling holiday evenings. but with each passing year, i find myself more and more fond of springtime. 
celebrating mother's day has also been a highlight
i think i love it even more than my birthday now
i can feel the love for all of the other moms around me

plus, my husband. well, he is just the sweetest
and he loves me- so much. 
he wanted to make it so special 
he brought up coffee in the morning while i got ready 
and took care of the baby all day. 
he made it a point to want and treat me to a day. 
it was so touching. 

here is a look into our day
our new church is the cutest.
my heart was bursting with joy the whole time... like i had tears in my eyes i was so happy.
the passion for God is so beautiful there. 
after church, we went to 7th street market in uptown charlotte
'i am all done!' we love, love this stroller from evenflo - the sibby
more about this stroller + self-care tips for moms here
it has been perfect for our family and i always receive compliments when we are out and about
we picked up some acai bowls from rico's and headed across the street to a new park 
we enjoyed the bowls (baby boy is obsessed with them) you may have seen the videos on instagram
but then he ventured over to the water splash pads and he had a blast (with his clothes on!)
he was so ecstatic running around; he was in his haven.

my dress | is from my shop and is an amelia floral dress
the weather might have been the nicest of the whole year
being his mom is my very favorite part of this one life

mother's day guide + a playlist

"moms make life beautiful."

mother's day is right around the corner! do you have any plans? today i am sharing some of my inspirations for this special day. from gifts to ideas to food to music. i hope you are are inspired in some way. please share your ideas below, along with any plans you have... or your favorite memory with your mom. i would love to hear! 

my first mother's day | here 
mother's day
mother's day by janelle-monaco 
{click on the link above for details on each item}

+ gift guide | these custom hand-painted silhouette paintings by mr. boddington's studio | springtwine and twig (one of my favorite small businesses ever- and local to charlotte) has a mother's day gift guide up + 25% off everything on their site with this code: mothersday (enjoy!) last year my boys got me the most beautiful gift box from bonnie + bud and it was beyond special. (they ship!) 

+ day ideas | last year was my first mother's day with baby boy. (today marks the two year anniversary of finding out that he was on the way!) when my husband asked me what i wanted to do... i said walk around greenville, south carolina and take photos (while enjoying time together; enjoying the simple things - like a smoothie, coffee, a book store, etc.) other ideas that i love: a quick day trip, a picnic in a park, a yoga class, an ice cream trip, a cookout, reading at a coffee shop together, visiting a bookstore or record shop, or adventures + a beer at the whitewater center

+ food ideas |  last year we enjoyed crepes at tandem creperie and coffeehouse (one of my favorite places ever!) i also love these ideas: tapas, a taco bar, fresh juice, acai bowl, homemade brunch + a yummy dessert. 
{via: spring}
{my very favorite piece of all | twine and twig style}

a playlist | 

winter song - the head and the heart
greatest love story - lanco
when we were young - adele 
mountains - message to bears 
silver moon - roo panes
lovesong - mariee sioux
moon river - the innocence mission 
lazy snow - down like silver 
polar light - david west 
sunrise - norah jones
tiger striped sky - little giant

this post was not sponsored | just sharing what i 'simply love' 

currently | may edition

baking | honestly, the only thing that has been in our oven all week has been bacon! we made blt's the other night... how good is baked bacon? i have my eye on these recipes for may though | lemon lavender cupcakes . s'mores cups . funfetti shortbread bites . churro creme brulee bars 

listening (to) | last night at bookclub there was some chat about how beloved podcasts have become... these are on my list: s-town, up and vanished, and grace not perfection. are there any you recommend? 

loving | blush + light pink accents in bathrooms. i swoon every time i see an inspiration. what do you think? 

planting |  during a trip to target a few weeks ago, i fell in love with the cutest herb garden planter! we live near the city and don't have much of a yard, but would love to plant a small herb garden. however, flowers are usually my go-to! excited to visit a greenhouse soon... i will be sure to share our experience on instagram. here is a similar from target | herb garden

remembering | all of the things from the book i have recently fallen in love with... "to stop. rest. play. create. connect. cultivate silence. and in the silence, discover the voice of Love; the voice i have been aching to hear." - present over perfect by shauna niequest. lately, i have been asking for help more and have been spending time with friends more ... the ones who i know will always love me, the ones who mean so much to me. i went to dinner and drinks with my friend, joel last week and got a mani & pedi + wine with my friend, kate. taking time to re-connect has been good for my heart- and my soul. 
what about you
... what are you currently loving... 

stop in tomorrow for a mother's day gift guide
{what do you love to receive as a gift?}
thank you anne and nancy for hosting 

acai bowl tips + favorite recipes

hello! thank you all so much for the kind notes about parks' birthday party. it was a joyous day and lots of fun. lately, i am all about acai bowls (both at home and around the city!) honestly, i could eat salads, smoothies and fruit all the time and for every meal. 
here are some tips for creating an acai bowl... have you tried? 

first step: 
combine and blend one packet of acai (available at any local grocery store), almond milk and a banana 

next step | create: 
be creative and layer toppings over the blend you just mixed - super easy! 

i recommend: berries, coconut flakes, flax seed, mangos, bananas, hemp seeds, granola, oats, honey (local if you have allergies!), mangos, hazelnut spread, and almond butter. 
recipes i love: 

let me know if you try one and please tag me (@nellemonaco) if you do!