July 2015 | Olive and Tate

Can't Live WIthout It!

Dudes! I have so missed writing my weekly Can't Live Without It post!

I've been saving up a few items to share and was honestly waiting for the Nordstrom sale stuff to die down because, you know, it's been kind of saturating my feed so I know you guys have seen your fill too.

It's hot as hell in the South so I've been rocking (cheap) dresses like whoa. 

All day, 'err day.

My go to?
This little heavenly sack.
complete with pockets.

I don't button as many buttons as the willowy model in the photo and, quite honestly, I don't bother with the tassel belt unless I'm prepping for public viewing. The dress is a bit sheer, so I layer this go to tunic tank underneath and I'm good to go.

Check out all the dresses in my regular rotation, all of which are cheapy, cheap, cheap. 

Don't forget to enter the Rodan + Fields giveaway in yesterday's post!

Teenage Dream

Boring Disclosure: I was provided the items reviewed in this post but, as always, every word written is mine alone and based upon my honest experience and opinions. Let's be real, I ain't got time to make this stuff up.

Ok, let's talk acne.

Adult acne.

So, so damn sexy.

I honestly thought that by the time I was 30, my skin would finally catch a break from the torment of pimples, scarring and acne washes that peeled the top layer of my face off.

Yeah, no such luck.

I did get a teensy break through my pregnancy (which I did not see coming) but that just cleared the way for the new wrinkles and old scars to darken thanks to the hormone surge that is being knocked up. 

But since I evicted my off spring, I'm back on the acne roller coaster. Stress, Aunt Flo, travel and (probably) my 1,000 Chick Fil A visits a week all compound and show up on my money maker.

Not a good look.

Ya'll in a minute, I am going to do something that I never, ever thought I would do.
I'm going to publish a photo of my face, make up free, freshly scrubbed from the hot shower and completely unhidden by bangs for the entire planet to see.

If you aren't into that, and I can't say that I blame you, then go on ahead and skip to the bottom, you'll want to check out the end of this post, promise.

So anyway.

An Instagram friend of mine, Brittany, reached out to me after I went and blabbed about my skin during a rogue moment of self wallowing. She thought she might know just what to do and would I be interested in giving her 3 months to get my mug in order.

Frankly, I didn't think she had a shot.
We were in the middle of the move, stressed to the max, eating out constantly and traveling all over the place. But hell, who am I to stop a girl from taking on a challenge.

So I humored her, took her handy dandy little Rodan + Fields Solution Tool test and the next thing I knew, these babies were in my mail box.

Brittany told me that I just had to take a before photo.
Had to.
I just had to be able to see the difference when I looked back three months later......

So I set up my DSLR on the tripod and caught this shot of my skin fresh out of the shower.

Jesus take the wheel.

Try to ignore my busted lip. 
I do that to myself when I'm super stressed. It's gross and we don't need to talk about it. 

But go on and take note of the pimples, new red scars, old deep scars, redness and forehead wrinkles.

So, anyway. 

Seeing that shot in real time spurred me to tear open that Rodan + Fields box and get to scrubbing. I was prepared to start a new acne regimen and then need to hide out for a week or two as the wash peeled my face off and left me looking like Samantha at Carrie's big book party. 

But, much to my cynical surprise, the Unblemish Kit never once dried my face out.
The wash is sulfur based so it calms your skin instead of searing it off, like salicylic acid might.  
At Brittany's suggestion, I did add a bit of Cetaphil moisturizer to my routine as I already use it and I need the moisture on my combo skin.  

I started using the system at the end of April and took my After photos today, July 29, with the same camera, selfie style. 

Wanna see them? 

I honestly can't believe the change.

Maybe it's just me....

Ok, just kidding, here's the After shot, sans makeup and unedited:

Wanna know how to tell for sure that this photo is unedited and shot by moi in the mirror?
That double chin.

Buzz, your girlfriend....woof.
(name that movie)
One more After for good measure:

I never expected to see a difference in my forehead wrinkles! 
That was a total bonus that I really just noticed when looking at these shots.  

And, for your viewing pleasure, a side by side:

kinda crazy huh?

Let's get to the good stuff, shall we?
Brittany is some sort of Rodan + Fields angel because she has two of their most popular products sitting in her cute little hands, just ready to give away to one of my readers!

Want to get your hands on the impossible to order because it's always sold out Foaming Sunless Tan and the super popular Daily Body Moisturizer

Enter below and I'll announce a winner on Monday!

P.S. If you wanna chat with Brittany, the acne whisperer, you can email her at brittanyjgruber@gmail.com or check out her blog 

Wins and Losses

super real and unglam photo by Christa Rene Photography

  Today's Victories:

I showed some self control and gave the baby exactly half of our shared croissant from Starbucks

the baby wore two different outfits today, both clean

 the baby gate to the playroom was installed and proved to be very, very effective

he ate organic pouches, organic pancakes and some sort of blueberry breakfast bar thing.  According to the packaging, all of that was healthy.

I waited until after 6pm for my first glass of wine 

I picked up the dog toys, baby toys and rogue bottles that were tossed all over the house before I fell into bed at exactly 7pm

I did one load of laundry and made the bed

I put on lipstick

Today's Defeats:

 I showed some self control and gave the baby exactly half of our shared croissant from Starbucks. I really wanted the whole thing. 

Leaving the house to run errands and only making it through one before the baby lost his shit and we returned home, milkless and road weary. 

The DVR in my bedroom broke. It literally froze on a re-run of Four Weddings, otherwise known as the new version of water boarding. 

I needed an entire can of dry shampoo to rectify my hair situation. I hope the lipstick was bright enough to distract from my "top knot"

 The dog refusing to eat the grapes off of the floor that I so lovingly cut in half for the baby. I left them there for like 3 hours hoping she would get the memo.
*no need to worry about the dog ya'll, I knew she wouldn't actually eat the deadly grapes as she is very picky about what she will scavenge from under the highchair, I just didn't want to bend down and pick them up myself*

Having to put on a bra because we had an appraiser coming to the house - the appraiser was 30 minutes late and I was most mad that I had to wear a bra that long.

I have yet to unpack from the weekend away so I had to dig said bra from my suitcase, which I promptly zipped back up and put right back on my floor. 

Final Score: 
A Draw

Asked and Answered, Volume V

Ready for this week's nail biter?

Let's begin, shall we....

Asked: So, what exactly do you do at/for Willow Crowns?

Answered: I'm not sure where to begin with this one!

Maria always says to start at the very beginning, so let's start there and see where we end up.
(if you didn't get that Sound of Music reference, I'm not even sure what to say)

Way back when, Megan would send me snaps of a new idea or ask me how I felt about certain pieces for her Etsy shop. I would always react and answer with 100% honesty - which probably made her rethink her decision to ask me in the first place. She pretended to appreciate my candor and would say, "one day, when the shop gets big, I'm going to pay you to tell me what you think".

 I honestly never thought that would happen.

To be fair, I didn't mind giving away my opinions for free. I had just welcomed a tiny, screaming tyrant into the world and talking to Meg about the shop kept my mind engaged and focused on something other than formula and spit up for a second or two, so I didn't want or need to be a true employee, I was just grateful for the distraction. But, as it turns out, Meg has an honest passion for her business and was ready to actually hire me just a few months later.

My first task was to take over the website.

We moved platforms from Etsy to Big Cartel just as I came on board and it was my role to get our visual merchandising in order. I streamlined our pricing, product descriptions and our collections. The laces were named after important women and girls in our lives and the product descriptions became lengthy run on sentences that I love and use far too often. The website is still my role and I take it very seriously - if Meg moves the products around without talking to me first I threaten her life.  I'm the one behind the scenes making sure we are filling stock in appropriate sizes, keeping Meg updated on what is selling and making sure that we don't have a major issue on a launch day

Meg is most certainly the creative one so she often comes to me with an idea and I think of ways that we can incorporate it into the business in a logical, clean and cost effective manner. If you've ever received one of WC's gold mailers, you've held one of my little bursts of genius (if I do say so myself!) in hand. We wanted to update our packaging and loved the idea of our customers finding such a beautiful package in their mail box. In order to keep our costs, and thus our prices, low, I suggested that we make them a special occasion - for every 5 orders we send a gold mailer that contains a coupon code. Our customers love the treat, we have a gorgeous mailer and we didn't have to raise our prices to create an amazing experience with our brand. 

When it comes to creating a collection, Meg and I work hand in hand in brainstorming what the pieces will look like. She makes every single piece by hand, sources materials and photographs each piece and I rock her world by telling her that I either love or hate something. Honestly, when it comes down to it, we work really well together in creating a collection, even if it takes us a hot second to get on the same page. Our Fall Collection is in the final stages of prep and we went a few rounds trying to get it just perfect. We add pieces, scrap pieces, brainstorm new ideas, pull new materials and start over again. One of us usually has an idea that is the base for the collection (Megan was all over Fall, I picked the fabrics that were the launching point for Spring) and then we work together to build a cohesive set of pieces that covers all ages, price points and styles. 

Ultimately, my number one role is to think of our customer. 
While Meg handles almost every single aspect of customer service (sometimes you get me!), I spend most of my time and energy ensuring that our customer experience is the best that it can be. Something as small as how we lay out the listings is done with our customers in mind - our options for each product are carefully chosen to ensure that a mama can find the perfect piece for her babe, no matter how much hair she has. We want the shopping process to be fun, beautiful and easy for our customers and it's my job to make that happen. 

Meg and I work constantly but that's because we talk constantly (sorry, family data plan). We meet over FaceTime and text images, ideas, concerns and to do lists all day long. It's a unique set up, but it works for us, mostly because we are used to cramming in a meeting during nap time and don't think it's weird that we've coordinated our Mother's Day Out schedules. 

So, there you have it! 
Glam? Maybe...
Fun? Yes. 

what do you want to know?
email it

Reno Reveal: The Dining Room

It's Reveal Day!
Except, this is not HGTV and I am not all dressed up, ready to be surprised with a perfectly designed, sparkling clean dream home.
I'm in bed in day old sweats and drinking water to compensate for the food fest I threw for myself this weekend. 


I have to apologize in advance for all of the photos, I just can't stop.

So, wanna see one half of our open concept floor plan?

Here it was before: 

  (as always, keep an eye on the front door, back sliding door and windows so that you can keep your bearings when we hit the After photos)

I've had a few questions about the natural light in our home and if it's a result of editing - none of the before photos are edited so you can see what we saw when we first walked through the door.

I could never understand the pillars around the front door. 
When you walked in, you smacked right into them.

take a gander at the interesting angle and the uh, custom shelving (?) to the left of the mantle. 

the space below is the only space in the entire house where we actually added walls. 
I wanted a play room for the baby and couldn't imagine what we would do with a formal living room (the intended purpose of the space with the windows). 

And here's a little snippet of the during....

walls going in
(and old appliances waiting to be dumped)

pillars going away and paneling demolished

And now, the After

all sources at the end of the photo onslaught 

The view from the front stoop:

We decided to dry wall off the weird brick fireplace angle and rip out the fancy built in shelving. 
We actually kept the original mantle - after a good shot of pledge, she was too pretty to remove.

I've been asked a ton about the fireplace color - it's kind of a funny story - the fireplace was a happy accident. We were going to paint the fireplace brick the same white as the trim and moldings (Ben Moore Chantilly Lace) but I happened to drop by just as the painters wrapped up priming the brick. 
I loved the white washed look and asked them to leave it, so the color is actually just two coats of primer! 

Our dining room table may be one of my most treasured possessions as Justin and our friend Mark built it. We designed this room specifically for this table and the rest of the style elements were chosen to break up the dark wood of the floor and the table. 

If you look closely, you can see that the fabric of the chairs is actually two different colors - the arm chairs are grey velvet and the middle seats are an oat colored cotton

We swapped out the old sliding door for a double french door to our back patio space and I love how much light shines in. 

I can't wait to show you guys the kitchen so that you can see the impact of these chandeliers with our (gigantic) kitchen pendants!

A metallic cow hide rug isn't for everyone, but the shape of this space was tricky thanks to the slanted brick hearth, so a regular old square rug just wouldn't cut it. I love how it highlights the dining space but leaves the rest of the area open for traffic. 

P.S. there's a sneak peek of the playroom through the french doors

and a little glimpse of our kitchen lighting

I created an entry space using my mother's childhood vanity (gussied up with a healthy coat of spray paint) and baskets to catch dog toys and extra blankets and pillows. Mixing styles and price points with vintage pieces and heirlooms might be my most favorite way to decorate.

Ok, so what do ya'll think? Most of this space was decorated using items that we've owned from our previous moves - I think just the lighting, dining room chairs and the DIY art over the fireplace are new (and previously we had not a single chair for our dining room....classy, class, class).

Let me know if you have any questions about anything - and nope, we didn't use a designer or decorator!

Wall Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Marilyn's Dress
Trim Color: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
Dining Room Table: DIY by my husband using this tutorial
Dining Room Chairs and Arm Chairs: World Market
Chandeliers: I purchased mine through Ferguson via my lighting guru Caroline
Striped Poof: Target
Marquis Letter: Hobby Lobby, similar
Grey Sofa: West Elm
Mantle Art: DIY by moi, framed at Hobby Lobby
Glass vase on mantle: Pottery Barn
Silver Bowl and Candlesticks: Pottery Barn
Entry Way table: vintage, my mom's old vanity from childhood, spray painted Navy
Baskets: Home Goods
Lamps: Target, old
Mirror: Hobby Lobby similar
Glass Vase: Pottery Barn
Silver Tray: Pottery Barn
Lucite Candlesticks: Target  
Navy Octopus pillow: Target, old
Navy Circle Pillow: West Elm, old 
Play Mat Flooring: best purchase ever, Amazon
Hardwoods: Lumber Liquidators

#Parenthood: 7 Things I Think While Watching Disney Jr.

I'm into the list posts right now.
Just go with it. 

7 Things I Think While Whatching Disney Jr.

1. Why is every single TV in this house already set to Disney Jr?
We used to have lives.
(if miraculously not set to Disney Jr: Jesus, who changed the channel to ESPN?! Huuuuurry up, cable box, this kid is about to lose his mind if he doesn't get some Mickey in his system, like, yesterday)

2. Ok, how did Sophia the First's mom land the King if she was just a lowly townsperson?
Someone has some 'splainin to do - and that is an episode that I definitely want to watch. 
Maybe Tim Gunn can narrate. 

3. Hey, Miles from Tomorrow Land, your dad is kinda hot. 
And seems pretty young for your mom....just sayin.

4. Oh come ON! We just saw this Mickey Mouse Clubhouse yesterday. 
Is it not enough that I have to listen to Mickey's voice? At least toss some fresh content my way.

5. I'm pretty sure Hattie on Doc McStuffins secretly says a curse word every.single.episode. 
I swear the other day she said Sure As Shit, Sugar! I hit rewind to hear it again just to ensure that all of the Disney exposure wasn't seeping into my brain and making it useless.

6. Doc's dad is just way too perky. 
I want to see him in guy sweats with peanut butter smeared on his tee shirt and a little bitterness in his tone because that is real life. Instead he's celebrating Cuddle Day with special Cuddle Cakes and pre-breakfast snuggles. No. Just, no. 

7. Chuggington, get the hell out of here with that theme song. 
I will, without fail, sing the Chuggington theme song all.day.long. To add insult to injury, I'll most likely shout BADGE QUEST at the end, in public, because that is my life.

10 Things I Know For Sure

10 Things I Know For Sure

1. I am a terrible housekeeper. 
The best part about having a dog is that she eats everything that falls/is tossed from the highchair. Except fruit. I'm working on convincing her that she does indeed like raspberries. 

2. I swear too much but I don't care.
 It will really be a bummer when the baby starts repeating things and I have to clean up my act.

3. My distressed denim shorts are super unflattering. 
I wear them anyway. A lot.

4. I use dry shampoo more often than regular shampoo. 
I should work on that.

5. White sheets are a luxury for baby-less people.
I want to stay strong on my white sheet love but my dreamy white bedding has been tormented by the stains of veggie straws to the point of no return.

6. Autocorrect is literally the bane of my existance.
 I could turn it off but I'm weirdly attached to being infuriated by it. 

7. I will always clean up after my baby in a restaurant. 
Like, on the floor, under the table, picking up the food he tossed. I once asked the staff to bring me the broom thing so I could clean up crushed animal crackers. 

8. I should probably make the move to granny panties. 

9. Being a SAHM is weird. 
I'm exhausted, never alone and pee with an audience but most days, the only thing I have to show for it is greasy hair and baby who survived another day. There are no actual benchmarks for success except perhaps the 10 minutes you get with pediatrician who tells you the baby is developing perfectly. Otherwise, it's just a game of mom v. mom comparison and baby v. mom battle of wills.

10. Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry is the best diet soda in a can but it is impossible to find.
 Diet Cherry Pepsi will do in a pinch.

Bad Bride

I am old.

I spent the weekend celebrating my baby brother as he married his love, drinking tons of wine and wrangling my tuxedoed 12 month old. Monday, please be kind.

Because my brain is fried, I am going to treat ya'll to a post from the archives. Many of you weren't around when this post was published (to be fair, I'm pretty sure my mom wasn't even reading the blog at the time this post was published) so I thought you might like to take a peek. 

And for those of you who ask if I've always "been....uh....SO honest...." in my blog posts, I think this will answer your question! 

P.S. I joined Snap Chat this weekend and it.is.hard.
Follow along (user name: Oliveandtate) if you want, but it could be rough going until I figure out what the hell I'm doing. 

Bad Bride

originally published June 9, 2013


Our wedding weekend was absolutely gorgeous and filled with so many friends and family who traveled from far and wide to celebrate and love us. This post is a reflection on me, and me only, and has no bearing on those who worked tirelessly to make sure that we were happy, blessed and married by the end of the weekend. 
We could never say thank you enough to our parents, bridal party, ceremony participants and friends/family who went out of their way to host luncheons, farewell brunches, showers, bridal suite meals, rehearsal dinners and after parties. 
And most importantly, we could never adequately express our gratitude to each of you who put on your dancing shoes and showed your best moves on May 25th. 

We love you.

I have a confession to make.
I was a Bad Bride.

Seriously. I didn't looooooove our engagement, I wasn't over the moon to pick a dress and I sure haven't kept up with my thank you notes.

Don't get me wrong, and let me be very clear here, I love my now husband very much, but the process of marrying him drove me almost to the edge of insanity. And you know what?
I think it's ok to say out loud "Hey, that engagement BS was for the birds".

Looking back, I don't think I was what one might call a Bridezilla.

My lack of Bridal Bliss fell more into the category of straight up Anxiety. I wasn't always having fun, glowing or keeping spills off of my all white ensembles and that, in all honesty, made me feel terrible about myself. I thought It was my Bridal duty to naturally love every second, no matter what.

Obviously, I wanted Justin to propose for YEARS by the time we got engaged -and during that time I watched almost every single one of my very best friends get married and start families. 

I. was. ready. 

But I had no idea the pressure it would bring. I worried at every turn that my parents weren't happy, his parents weren't happy, everything was too expensive, no one would come, everyone would come and on and on.

There is so much pressure to have the perfect wedding. Pinterest be damned. I stopped looking at Pinterest about a month before our wedding. Quit cold turkey. First of all, it started to become repetitive. If you've seen one hay bale, you've seen them all.

Secondly, Pinterest made me feel like our wedding should be published somewhere on some blog/magazine/website. If it wasn't published, was it not pretty enough? I mean is this the stuff we have to worry about now? Getting our shit published? Well, quite frankly, yes. Our vendors need my wedding to be published so they can get their names out there. And all of our vendors worked so hard for us, why wouldn't I want that for them?

The pressure was too much for me. I quit. After I found out we were moving, I literally quit wedding planning. I sent my mom and planner an email that said "here's the seating chart, I'm done now." Thankfully, those two were there to pick up my slack in a major way, and selfish as it was, I just couldn't do it anymore.

So why am I telling ya'll all of this?

It is clearly deeply personal (and will sound insane to some), but I just had to put it out there for any other girl who is beating herself up over not enjoying the process. Yes, it only happens once (thank you, Baby Jesus), but it's ok if being a Bride just isn't your gig.

 It most certainly wasn't mine.

It's ok if your stomach clenches every.single.time that someone says to you, "oheeeemgeee! Enjoy every single moment, it goes so fast and it only happens once!!" just put your best fake smile on and power through it.

I say be grateful for the moment, but also for the fact that it does, indeed, only happen once.

So, for your enjoyment, I have compiled a list of the Top 10 Ways to Deal with a Bad Bride 
(not to be confused with a Bridezilla)

1. Do not, under any circumstance, say "Enjoy it! It only happens once!!" or any variation of that God forsaken saying.

2. Do not ask the Bride questions. If she is a nervous, worrying Bad Bride (like I was) she will have undoubtedly given you every.single.piece.of.information.you.will.ever.need. Please reference your Save the Date, Wedding Website, Invitation Suite, Itinerary or various informative emails that the Bride sent you before asking what time the wedding is.

3. Do not make an loud or sudden noises near the Bride. She is high strung and, if Southern, potentially armed.

4. Do appoint one even keeled, tough skinned Bridesmaid to stay with the Bride. My Bridesmaid Courtney spent the entire weekend with me and was my life line. Most importantly, she was my exit strategy. She knew when it was time to pull me out of a conversation or a get together and get me to safety.

5. Only say goodbye once. I can't tell you how many people said goodbye to me more than once at various events throughout the wedding weekend. It made my head spin!

6. Tell the Bride to hang in there. Remind her she's made it through however many of the scheduled photo ops and she'll be on her Honeymoon in a matter of hours. My Matron of Honor did that for me and it made my day.

7. Be on time. Always. To everything.
(If you are late, bring some sort of liquor based beverage for the Bride. That's just good manners)

8. Don't make side comments to the Bride about things she cannot control. 
The weather, how far away the bathroom is and her grandfather's dance moves will just have to be part of the experience. So it's a little chilly....dance harder and go with it baby!

9. Make sure the Bride has some downtime. 
Sometimes 5 glorious minutes alone to drink champagne straight from the bottle in a hotel robe can make or break the rest of the day.

10. When all else fails, hand her a sandwich. She probably hasn't eaten carbs in weeks.

And, as a side note, I can say with absolute certainty that I am an excellent Honeymoon Bride. Drinking, eating, lounging in resort wear - that is without a doubt the type of Bride that I was meant to be!

Summer Sangria Recipe

photo cred: Ashley of Life on Meyers | Mani is a gel polish and sadly nameless 

Um, this stuff is the jam.

Light, bubbly, easy and a perfect way to use up all of that yummy Summer fruit, I literally cannot get enough of this Sangria. We've served this Summer Sangria for both big parties and causal get togethers and it's a hit every.single.time.

We had a ton of requests for this recipe during the babe's party so I promised I would blog it - and side note, even those who don't love wine thought this Sangria was worth a swig.

Pro Tip: don't bother with fancy wine, head straight for the $5 bottles in Trader Joe's and get to mixing.

Summer Sangria
 The recipe is inspired by the Lemonade Sangria served at St. Paul Mountain Vineyard

1 bottle semi-sweet white wine 
(a drier Reisling is perfect - I wouldn't use something as dry as a Chardonnay or as sweet as a Moscato, but anything in the middle will work!)
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 2L of Diet Sierra Mist or lemon lime soda of choice
fruit of your choosing, roughly sliced/chopped
(we like strawberries, blueberries and peaches - raspberries, cherries and blackberries would be amazing, too)

Depending on the size of your crowd, mix equal parts wine and lemon lime soda.
Add lemonade concentrate to taste
Give a good stir 
Toss in the fruit and serve

keep chilled if drinking slowly (but I doubt you'll need to worry about it!)

For reference, for the party, we pulled out a large drink canister, mixed one full bottle of wine, an equal amount of soda and 3/4 of the lemonade concentrate. If you'd like the Sangria to stay bubbly, mix small batches and serve immediately or mix in a vessel that can be sealed until ready to consume. 


Asked and Asnwered, Volume IV

Asked: I'm a long time reader and love how honest you are when you answer these questions, so here's mine! When you and your husband argue, how do you resolve things? I'm always curious how other couples navigate the hard parts of relationships. Especially with kids in the picture, it's not always easy!

Answered: Dear Long Time Reader, 

Oh Lordy. 

So, let me first say that I have no idea what I'm doing as far as being an awesome partner goes. I'm obviously learning as we slog through this whole marriage thing, so take all of this with a giant grain of salt (preferably on the rim of a strong margarita). 

I can honestly say that in past relationships, I was not a stellar version of myself when it came to arguing. I was very, very unkind with my words and had no qualms about hurting someone that I loved very deeply during an argument. I am not proud of that behavior and it should come as no surprise that I am not fortunate enough to call any of my serious exes friends. 

With that being said, when I met my husband, I knew I wanted to do better, to be better, in our relationship. Selfishly, the guilt of my past behavior weighed heavily on me but I also never wanted to hurt him like I had hurt others (well, in the heat of the moment, I honestly did sometimes want to, but thankfully I was able to mostly rise above my inner bitch). 

It took tons of time (like, years) but we've mostly worked out the things that we just can't take the other doing or saying during a fight (certain words, bringing up certain past events/topics or certain actions like door slamming, for example). Obviously, the convos about the no-go activities had to be endured in a totally neutral time and space - well after the heat of the moment - but saying out loud the things that just made our blood boil or hurt us super hard have made a difference in the way we argue now.

Don't get me wrong, we still have knock down, drag outs that can escalate to levels that neither of us want to write home about, but we take care to avoid the things that we know can really bring the other to their knees emotionally. 

Another strategy that really seems to work for us is communicating via email. If we have an arguement that goes on and on with neither being willing to bend or over a topic that just can't be neatly resolved, we tend to send each other emails to discuss after the fact. 

That sounds very civilized, but picture having a huge fight, going to bed angry (we don't believe in the old "never go to bed angry" because we have a baby who does not give one single you know what that we were up late fighting about who should have washed the dishes. He is up at 6:30am come hell or high water.) and then spending the next morning fuming. At some point around noon, one of us might cave and send the initial email, laying the ground work for an attempted resolution. This really works for me as I can get incredibly frustrated when I feel that I'm not being heard or understood in an argument. And let's be real, who honestly says the words "I hear what you're saying and I understand where you're coming from" in a heated discussion? No one. 

Anyway, sitting down to type out an email usually allows me the time to dump all of my thoughts out, figure out what I really want/need to get across and then edit out all of the swear words and little jabs. Justin usually does the same and sometimes we send many, many emails back and forth addressing each others concerns and issues. Hiding behind the computer allows us to avoid seeing the eye rolls (a huge pet peeve of Justin's), hearing a certain tone of voice (a big issue for me) and affords us the opportunity to say exactly what it is that we want to communicate much more eloquently than we most likely did in the original fight. Many times we are able to type the words I'm Sorry well before we are actually able to say them. Honestly, when it comes down to it, sometimes I'm really off about what I thought Justin was upset about until I read his emails (probably because I was too busy hollering and stomping around to hear what he was saying) and I'm guessing he feels the same way about me (and I can assure you he does a lot of hollering and stomping, too). 

So, that's my best attempt at answering this question. We try to not cut too deeply with our words, respect each others previously established argument no-gos and to do our best to resolve an issue in a way that makes us both feel heard and justified, even if that requires a day full of tedious emails and a digital I'm Sorry.

Ugh, that was super honest. I need wine.

Got a question?
Don't be shy, send it to me at oliveandtate@gmail.com

Renovation Reveal: The Baby and Guest Bath


The very first reveal of the new house is ready for viewing! 

 I'm kicking things off with the Baby's Bathroom/Guest Bath....wanna see? She's super pretty and clean....for like, the first and last time....

| vanity | faucet |

Let's discuss:

 Because it will serve both wild bathing babies and adults whom we are hosting (and thus need a break from the wild baby who bathes), I went for a clean palette of greys, blues and whites with silver accents. Fun masculine details like antlers and a bourbon decanter turned vase mixed with Turkish towels, mix and match white towels and a basket for bath toys rounded things out in the decor department.

I'll break things down as we go and all sources will be credited it at the end of the post, so hold tight, I got you covered.

First, we've gotta start at the beginning with a little Before action:

In order to make a modern bathroom with a reasonable footprint/usable square footage from the existing bath we needed to do a few things to the spaces surrounding the original bathroom.

The first step was to move the water heater from it's location in the hall. 

In the above shot it's to the left, behind that sweet accordion door (or see the below photo). Once we popped out the water heater, we gained a few feet for the bathroom.

We also ended up re-shaping the hallway. By doing so, we gained a foot or so in our master bedroom, made the hallway smoother and more pleasing to gaze upon and picked up quite a few inches for the hall bath.

Basically, we crushed all of those weird angles and made things cleaner, brighter and bigger. 

The shape of the original bath was....unique. Just like the rest of the house, it was full of weird angles, tight nooks and surprising style elements (get ready for the tile placement in the shower). 

See the weird wall jutting out on the right side? That was part of the closet in the guest room. We ripped that closet out, moved the bathroom into the guest room a few feet and gave ourselves some room to breathe. Best decision ever.

Please note how tight the entire space is - you could literally sit on the toilet and touch the sink and tub.

Keep an eye on that weird window, it will help you keep your bearings in the After photos!

The space had clearly been updated a bit by the original owners to accommodate aging parents. 

Money Saving Tip: we didn't love the existing vanity unit for this bathroom but we didn't hate it either. We decide to save it from demo day and moved it into the new powder bath. 

We ripped this baby almost completely out and started over - see the weird little window in the shot below?

In this pic you can see the demolished water heater closet space, the completely demoed bathroom and the demoed wall that used to sepatate the bath from the guest room.

Ok, ready to see the After?

I'm kind of nervous!
This is the first reno reveal!  

Here she is.....

The toilet is now in the space that was the water heater closet

We ended up with a strange angle thanks to the fireplace brick blocking demo on the other side of that wall so my husband whipped up a set of shelves to add storage and fill the space. 

I wanted the tile in both the shower and on the floor to be the statement elements in this space. I found this Moroccan inspired tile at Lowe's during the Honeymoon Stage of this project and still love it to pieces, even after the fact. 

Pro Tip: white grout was key to making this tile clean and sophisticated. 


The Moroccan tile edges were finished with cut subway tiles (and so was the window area) so that we could achieve a clean line.

The vanity is in the space that we stole from the guest room closet - the guest closet is still very much appropriate in size and the shape of the bathroom is now large and much more square. 

The vanity was purchased from Amazon (after we saw it in person and needed to order a specific size) and my Cararra dreams came true when we had a custom counter top cut for the piece. 

The tile flooring is also from Lowe's and we set it in a brick pattern. It has a fun variety of shade and pattern that I think punches up the white shower tile and Cararra vanity top. Keep an eye out for the same tile in another space, just in a different pattern, in an upcoming reveal. Changing the pattern brought a pop of visual interest (and prevented the design from becoming stale) but keeping the same tile in all of the "wet" spaces brought cohesion to the open floor plan. You know, in my rookie design opinion, and all.

Want to see more of our Renovation? Check out our multipurpose Laundry Room/Mud Room/Office


Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Ice Cubed Silver
Trim Color: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace

Toilet: Ferguson
Vanity: Amazon 
Faucet: Delta
Mirror: Home Goods similar but much more expensive option
Light Fixture: Purchased from Lowe's
Clear Glass Globes for fixture: stolen from another fixture, thanks to my lighting partner in crime, Caroline
Shower Tile: Lowe's
Floor Tile: Lowe's - I've had a ton of questions about this and I can't find it online to link - the box reads: 3x6 Ancient Gray Subway Ceramic Tile, item #0526261
White Antlers: thrifted for like one dollar and spray painted to High Heaven similar
Silver Antlers similar (and one more) and Silver Horse Hand Towel Hooks similar: Home Goods
Turkish Towels: Home Goods similar, the small ones in the dish towel section similar
Bath Fixtures: Kohler, purchased from Lowe's
Decanter: Pottery Barn