April 2018 | Olive and Tate

5 Years: How The Blog Brought Me Back to Life



Believe it or not, today marks exactly 5 years since I hit publish on my very first blog post. Somehow five years has blown right by and yet I still look as young and well rested as I did then (jokes, total jokes)!

First ever post is here, if you want to read! 

On April 30 2013, I honestly, in one million years, would have never dreamed what would take place in our personal lives or here on Olive and Tate in the 1,825 days to come. Needless to say, it has been nothing short of an adventure. Somehow, I've managed to document it all from our wedding, through four or five different moves, our journey from newlyweds to parents of two babies and my discovery and resulting love of home renovation and design.

the title of this pic should be "Trying Not To Fall Down the Stairs" | dress wearing a 10 | shoes | earrings

But what you probably don't know is that this space actually taught me how to thrive in motherhood. 

When I had Gray, I struggled more than I thought I would. The actual care-taking of a baby came naturally to me but I was wildly unprepared for the sacrifices of self that motherhood would bring. I struggled with a huge loss of identity, of autonomy, with the lack of time to myself, the lack of energy to pursue what made me happy as a person and the struggle to find happiness in the mundane moments that come with having a new baby. At the time, it felt to me that in order to raise a happy baby, I needed to sacrifice myself and my dreams to nurture his. 

But there was always this space. 

I could always come to this space and be something other than just Gray's (and eventually, Georgia's) mom. I could set goals and pursue dreams that seemed big and scary but that I somehow managed to accomplish. I could be myself, the person I was before I became a mother, even while actively mothering my babies. Over the last five years I've managed to build a business. A business that was sometimes run during late night feeds, often a packing box being used as a desk and sometimes while a baby was crying (Georgia, I'm looking at you). But I built it nonetheless and the pride I feel when I open my URL is one that is rarely matched.  


So this is my little thank you letter to this blog - a thank you for the last five years, for giving me a new set of dreams and for giving me myself back. Thank you for teaching me to search for inspiration in motherhood, in my mom jeans and in the chaos that is our extraordinary life. 

And to each of you who read my words, thank you (and maybe I should say bless you, as we do in the South). So many of you have been here since the start, have gone on this adventure with me, transitioning from newlyweds to the next steps in life and I am so grateful for your support. On top of that, so many of you have become my dearest friends. I've traveled with girls I had never met in real life, have cross country relationships that are more than I could ask for and have a dream team of creatives around me that I am flat out lucky to know and work with. 

I can say with all honesty that I have no idea what will happen next but whatever it is, I'm sure it will be a wild ride...

Cheers to Olive and Tate and all that is to come! 

One Room Challenge: It's All In The Details

I say this every single ORC but man, do these six weeks fly by. It's week 4 of the One Room Challenge and, honestly, this has been a tough one for me to keep up with! Maybe it's the move but I'm really struggling to create the time to ensure that this design comes together. I have a feeling things will really move quickly next week once the wallpaper goes up! 

Today, I want to chat about details. I've decided to limit myself to accessories in this space that are either functional or mounted to the walls, seeing as it's a playroom for a babe and a pre-schooler, and I think I have my game plan finally figured out. First let's talk about what's headed to the walls:

I'm working with Missy of Little Miss Missy to create portraits of the kids that will serve as both decor and to designate which toy storage bin belongs to which offspring. Most of our toys are separated out by age, and Gray has reached a charming spot where he is totally not cool with his sister messing with his stuff. I decided to give each kid a toy storage bin so that they can clean up their goods more easily and to keep a sense of autonomy amongst the things. At this stage, Georgia has to be play gated into her zone, so that keeps her out of her brother's treasured possessions, but once she's older I'm guessing he'll have to keep a stash in his room. 

Anyway, I wanted something a little less traditional than a framed photo of each babe so I reached out to Missy to see if she might be wiling to whip up something for me. Her work is whimsical and fun while still being heirloom quality, so once the kids no longer want their friends to stare at their baby mugs, her work is coming to live in my room. 

She sent me a sneak peek yesterday and, you guys, I am in love....

wanna see??


My heart flutters when I look at those little faces! Georgia even has on her Willow Crowns bow and the shape of Gray's face is so distinctly his, I just couldn't be more in love. 

Here's how Missy's process works: I sent her two photos of each child, chose the style of portrait that I loved most (ours is the Alec!) and chose to do a digital download format. I chose digital download so that I could upload her artwork straight to a framing website without having to deal with shipping the portraits. I literally cannot wait to get these sweet little faces up on the playroom walls! 


Missy offers a handful of styles and her prices start at $45 for a digital file. Hello, Mother's Day? Yeah, go ahead and order one. 


She also does pet portraits for the dog parents out there! You can follow her on Instagram to see more of her work - click this link to head to her Insta account! 


As for other updates on the playroom, the gold and glass fireplace door is long gone and I'm working hard on the fun element that will replace it, a pair of these fabric ottomans have been ordered thanks to Bellacor and will hold court as the room's "coffee table" and an art station is coming together thanks to our new home's proximity to IKEA. Our wallpaper arrived from Livettes Wallpaper (all the way from Latvia!) and it is even more beautiful in person. 

My current internal debate is over bookshelves, so help a girl out - should we do the classic IKEA spice rack hack or should I go with acrylic book shelves like we have in Gray's room? I''m leaning toward acrylic because I love the clean look but I'm also up for a change. Let me know what you think in the comments!

See you next week for our first adventure with wallpaper....

Here's my original design plan for the space, in case you want to see if I've stayed on task!

Be sure to check out all of the other One Room Challenge designers here! 



The Best White Paint Colors

The Best White Paint Colors

If I were a betting girl, I would bet that no matter what, every single day, I will get an email asking me about paint colors. And not just any paint color, but the perfect shade of white. Through all of our renovations, I've played with paint colors, whether on the walls, trim or on furniture pieces and I have absolutely settled on my go-to shades. Most recently, I've found my favorite shades of white - in all tones - and I happily recommend them regularly. All of the colors happen to be by Benjamin Moore and all are 100% the shade mix from Benjamin Moore (so no lightening or custom mixing in store). And as it just so happens, the number one paint color I would choose if I were stranded on a desert island and had to paint it just one color is on this list!

Shop my faves for our home


Cool: Wedding Veil

The Best White Paint Colors

Cool tones are my preferred shades for interiors and Wedding Veil is, hands down, my favorite paint color of all time. I love it so much, it would be the one paint I would choose until the end of time. Wedding Veil reads a gorgeous crisp, bright white with maybe just a hint of blue based grey underneath. It plays really well with shades of blue, brings out soft shades of grey and really shines when paired with rich gold metallics in fixtures and accents. It's really no surprise that I love it as it's the shade of white that lives in the same color swatch as my second favorite paint color of all time (and the best shade of grey on the market), Marilyn's Dress. In our Living Room, pictured above, Wedding Veil is painted on the trim work, ceiling and wall. 


Medium: Chantilly Lace

The Best White Paint Colors

In my opinion, Chantilly Lace is the truest, "no color" white I've worked with. It is the prefect shade for trim work and ceilings and, no matter what the lighting situation, always reads as a true white. If you don't have much natural light to play with, Chantilly Lace would be my suggestion to keep a space airy and fresh. In our first Kitchen Renovation, pictured above, Chantilly Lace is on the cabinets, trim, ceiling and island. 


Warm: White Dove 

The Best White Paint Colors

White Dove is by far the warmest shade of white I've worked with, as I don't care for warm/yellow based/"off" white tones. I have seen White Dove described as a "true white" but I don't agree. It has a very warm undertone, especially when painted with any level of gloss, say on trim or doors. It has a very homey affect to me, and feels softer than the true, stark whites above. When paired with certain colors, the yellow tone underneath shines, bringing out the warmer vibe. In my son's Big Boy Room, pictured above, White Dove is painted on the trim and walls, and the ceiling is painted Ice Cubed Silver by Benjamin Moore. 

Want to see more of my favorite paint colors? Check out the post below! 




One Room Challenge Playroom, Week 2


So, I'll admit that this week isn't super photo-worthy but, people, progress was made in this space today. Major. Progress.

I wouldn't dare post evidence of what my playroom looked like prior to my 2 hour man-handling session, but if you really wanna see, you can check out my Instagram stories for the next 20 hours or so. After that, all of the evidence will be wiped clean and I'll never admit that it ever looked that way. 

 (check out that sweet lampshade in our entryway)

Week two of the One Room Challenge has been all about schedules, emails and majoring purging. The kids had been playing amongst the boxes until today but I am proud to say that the boxes are no more. I tackled a dozen mover's boxes, found some, um, non-playroom things like baking flour and spices in a box or two, and scrounged up three bags of garbage. 4 boxes were re-packed and are headed to Goodwill and endless trips were made to the attic. I also managed to separate out our toys by age and set up our two storage units to accommodate baby toys for Georgia and big boy toys for Gray. Now that the room is cleared out, I really am struck by how big the room is. I have a lot of work to do....


The rug is new for this space and I really love the colors - and Gray is really pleased with the arrows, so I'll take that as a win. I'm hoping to play up the green in the rug with 

The wallpaper installation team is headed to the house on Saturday to quote the job and set the date, photos have been sent to Little Miss Missy  so that she can work her magic on a set of portraits and sourcing storage bins is my newest obsession (Legos, you are the worst). 

Next up is to tackle the fireplace and that gold grate! 


You can see the design plan for our playroom here!

Be sure to check out all of the other One Room Challenge Designers here!


One Room Challenge: The Playroom!

One Room Challenge: The Playroom!

The room we've settled on as the Playroom is actually the largest in the house and what was intended to be a formal living room. I debated choosing this space but ultimately, it just made the most sense to turn it over to the offspring. The plan is to create a space that will grow with them, eventually becoming more of a hang out space and less of a toy corral. 

Here's a look at the Before, on inspection day (staged by the previous owners)





Because the space is actually a formal living room, I have some work to do on our fireplace to bring it up to date and make it less formal. The brass fireplace cover has got to go, mostly because I know someone will pinch their fingers in those hinged doors! 

Seeing as we're fresh off of a move into this house, the current playroom is a disaster. I mean, level 5 hurricane, hide in the storm cellar, get on an ark type of disaster. There are half unpacked boxes, toys strewn everywhere and probably a half eaten tub of Nutella somewhere. A lot of designing this space will revolve around organization solutions (and will include a lot of clean up by yours truly).

Even though it's a kid's space, it is the first room you see when you walk in the front door, so I want to create a vibe that's welcoming, fun, playful and bright. And I need to do it all in six weeks! 

Let's chat about the inspo board! 

One Room Challenge: The Playroom!


I'm using our large sofa for the space because honestly, that sofa is huge and only fits in that playroom! Normally, I wouldn't put a beige/khaki/tan sofa in a kid's room, but it is what it is and we're rolling with it. 

I've been longing to live in a house long enough (and without the intention to sell quickly) to put up wallpaper and this is the house! I can't wait to see how the wallpaper situation pans out, seeing as my husband is a little skeptical, but I know it will be so fun for the babes.

I plan to set up an art station, reading nook and provide endless storage for toys - all of which will include a major purge during preschool hours - so I'm stocking up on bins, baskets and my beloved play room storage, plus I'm looking into display options for books and artwork. 

Here's the overall six week to do list:

Remove gold fireplace doors
settle on wallpaper and have it installed
order two more storage units
clean out and purge all toys
unpack and remove all boxes left in the space
order custom art of the kids
install sconces
create book shelves/storage/display for books
create art area that is organized and out of reach for the baby
snag soft, fluffy pillows for lounging 

If I can pull this one off, it'll be a sight to see! 

If you're new to the ORC, make sure you take a peek at my past projects and my tips on how to survive the Challenge

Be sure to check out all of the other ORC designers here!


Fave White Jeans: High, Medium and Low


Mom Style Fave White Jeans: High, Medium and Low

Friends, it's time. 

I know some of you are scared, some of you say "oh, I could never..." and some of you just can't imagine, but today, we're talking about it. 

It's time to try on White Jeans.

Yep, I said it, white jeans are a staple for me from March through October and I wear them as a size 10/12/L, as a mom with extremely messy littles and you can, too. I'm rounding up the three best pair that I personally own and wear, broken down by their price point (high, medium or low). I'll drop all of my real sizes, my thoughts and which pair you should never buy full price below, so let's dig in, shall we??

My Stats: 
I'm 5'9", a large/10/30 in bottoms and denim. 

Mom Style Fave White Jeans: High, Medium and Low

$128, wearing size 30

Ok, so $128 is a lot of money for a pair of jeans that my son will inedibly smear Nutella all over. With that said, I honestly believe that this pair is worth the investment. The waist is so high (above my belly button) and the denim is thick without being bulky. The waist never gaps on me and the fabric does not lose it's shape during wear. Stains wash out well - I just battled with a blueberry situation thanks to my daughter's high chair - and am pleased with how they wash and wear (I chose not to dry them, so I'm only commenting on a little washing machine action). The length is just perfect for a girl with stems like mine but if you're on the petite side you'll like how the ankles cuff if you choose not to hem. 

Mom Style Fave White Jeans: High, Medium and Low
| top similar | shoes |

$69.50, wearing size 30

The Loft Modern Skinny is a great mid-level price point option if you don't mind a tiny bit of a lower waist. They refer to the rise as "mid-rise" and I would agree, it sits below the belly button and I prefer to wear them with tunics or longer tees. Loft also offers this pair in a petite and a tall although at 5'9", I wear the regular length. As a heads up, I never, ever buy anything at Loft full price. They are known for their 40% off sales so absolutely wait until a sale to snag this pair.

Mom Style Fave White Jeans: High, Medium and Low
| tee | shoes |

$32, wearing size 10 (although, I do occasionally size up in ON white denim to compensate for the thinner fabric) 

While this is the cheapest pair, it is by far the softest. I love the feel of the fabric and the built in sculpt is my jam. Jam, I tell you. The rise is labeled as mid-rise but it does come higher than the Loft pair and sits just at my belly button. I will caution that Old Navy white jeans can be a little less forgiving than some but if you ignore the size in the tag and find the size that truly fits you, you'll be really pleased with the results. They do carry a stain repelling line, which I own in a distressed pair, and I rave about them as well. If you aren't so sure white jeans are for you, I would start at an Old Navy in the built in sculpt section, and prepare to be convinced that any body, any shape, can rock a great pair of structured white jeans! 

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Mom Style Fave White Jeans: High, Medium and Low