February 2016 | Olive and Tate

The Best Toddler Shoes for Boys

Toddler sneakers and pajamas, because that's how we do.

The Best Toddler Shoes for Boys
Toddler shoes

Truth: once the baby began walking, I really had no idea what type of shoe to put him in. I'm not sure if I missed some sort of "Welcome To Toddlerhood" memo, but it became clear as soon as he was running full speed across the play ground that the mocs were no longer going to cut it.

And now I would like to take a minute to pour one out for the baby mocs. I love teeny little leather baby moccasins. We've owned multiple pairs, all from small shops, and most in a certain shade of orange. We also have a black pair for formal events (I kid, but he did in fact wear them with his baby tuxedo at my brother's wedding) and I came to think of the orange moc as his signature look. Sadly, my little tornado is a bit too rough when on the move to rock the mocs but I will keep the two orange sets in my mom box of (weird) memories. 

Anyway, it took a bit of time and research calling other moms to figure out what type of shoes my new walker needed to have in his arsenal and I think we finally have it under control. All 4 of these shoes are pairs that we own, use and standby (which basically means they don't make the baby scream when I jam them on his feet on the way out of the door). 

The Natives were the first pair of "real" shoes that I ordered after the baby took his first steps. Meg sand the praises of Natives when her daughter was a toddler and I knew they would be easy to get on, function well in the heat (no socks needed), could handle getting wet/puddle jumping and would be appropriate for school. They are Amazon Prime eligible and seem to be indestructible.

Sperrys are our "fancy" shoes and our shoes that match Daddy. Don't let the laces fool you, they are faux and the shoe actually has a Velcro opening under the lace up panel. I can't imagine lacing up a toddler not once, but twice, so the fact that these puppies had hidden Velcro made them a yes for me.

At first, I wasn't so sold on the navy sneaker look (boy mom probs) but we had this pair fitted at Striderite and they are so easy to slide on and off. They seem to really support his feet when he runs (he doesn't seem as wobbly) and he loves to wear his "blue shoes". 

I love the look of the Hunter Davidson boot for little boys! The big buckles boy things up a bit and I have visions of G being able to put his boots on by himself in the very near future (keep dreaming, mom). And just a little FYI, I purchased the red pair through a crazy sale at Wal-Mart.com - they are half off and with that kind of savings, I purchased a green pair for next year, too!

Ok boy moms, spill, am I missing any??

All Of The Things

I never do weekend recaps anymore (because, honestly, our life is not what I would call riveting) but this week has so many happenings that I thought a little round up of things was in order. 

 Honestly, this was the sweetest little weekend. The weather was so fantastic that everyone was in a nice mood - even the toddler! We hit the park downtown on Friday evening and ran out our wild ways. For dinner, we hit a Mexican place for margs and guacamole and made our way back to our beds by 8pm. Friday night done right, if you ask me.

Saturday was spent getting our house in order because my parents are coming to town for their monthly date with my offspring. And while they're here, this mama is heading to NAPA for a long weekend! I'm almost positive that Napa is my homeland and the fact that it's taken me thirty one long years to make my way to the land of grapes is almost shameful. I am lucky enough to be going on this adventure with three of the best bloggers (and friends) I know, Cait, Laura and Natasha. It's honestly a quick trip for a cross country jaunt, but I am so grateful that I'm able to spend some time surrounded by other moms/bloggers/women that I love. Girl time is good for the soul. 

Sunday started off with our weekend ritual of donuts and coffee followed by a nap for the babe, golf for the husband and a little work for me. The Willow Crowns Spring Collection is launching on Tuesday morning and I am whipping things up behind the scenes. This collection is so soft and sweet, full of watercolor prints and leather in brand new shades. I obviously worked up an appetite, so Ashley took the babe and I to a brunch of cocktails, french fries and endless episodes of Peppa Pig. 

And now for a little business:

Colleen and I are blown away by the support everyone has shown for Taboo Mom Talk! We originally intended that the series only last for one month but because we love it so much, we decided to make it a monthly thing! We are now going to go live (yes, still on Blab) on the second Tuesday of every month. We hope you will continue to join us live at 8pn EST or catch the replay on our YouTube channel. We'd also love to know what you want us to talk about - no topic is off limits (as was made clear last week) and we are open to all of your suggestions. 

Also, I just can't help but share that Apartment Therapy is featuring our kitchen renovation on their site today! That damn kitchen was such a labor of love that I can't help but be excited when it gets a little love of it's own. 

I hope everyone had a great weekend! xo

Can't Live Without It

 Ready for some earth shattering news?

 I've decided that I'm bringing back my Can't Live Without It series! I loved putting it together every Friday and the quick posts are perfect to kick off the weekend. I don't know why I stopped doing them really, so enough of that, it's back! 

Today's Can't Live Without It is my favorite toddler hack of the moment.

 Does anyone else snag these little activity packs in the Target Dollar aisle? 
I pretty much always have to drag the babe with me when I run in to grab dog food/dry shampoo/sports bras so I swing through the dollar aisle and grab G one of the packs to hang on to. He is (at this point) content to just hold the pack while we're in the store and yell "COLOR" to our fellow shoppers. When we get home, he carries it inside and I open it up, immediately hide the stickers and hand over the coloring book and a crayon or two. I can unload my purchases and he hangs out coloring a Minion face. 

I usually grab an extra pack or two and stash one in my car and one in my bag for waiting around emergencies that require a new activity. Oil changes, long waits at the pediatrician and a poor unsuspecting waitress that can't quite make that kid's grilled cheese appear "as soon as possible" all warrant a surprise activity pack. Mom win.

Have a fabulous weekend my friends!

Taboo Mom Talk, Episode 4

I won't lie, last night's Taboo Mom Talk took a turn that I was not expecting! 

We started out with the plan of chatting real life motherhood versus social media motherhood (in fact, we showed up for the live show just as we were from a day of living the mom life) and around minute 33, the topic shifted and things got....wild.

Who knew I was the weird one?!  

P.S. If you have a topic that you'd like for us to tackle, shoot either Colleen or I an email - we can keep the source if anonymous or we might just ask you to join us if you're up for it!

Hot Mess Express: Shipt to The Rescue

So, you may have noticed that I wasn't around this little space a ton last week. I wanted to be, trust me, but I was being held hostage by my current nemesis: baby molars. By the end of the week, Gray managed to cut 4 molars at the same time. Four. Molars. My poor babe was struggling.

To add insult to injury, both of our vehicles had massive break downs that required immediate attention. In all seriousness, in a matter of 24 hours, my steering column went out and Justin had a set of brakes call it quits. And, would you believe me if I told you that Justin had a major work event that required him to work super late most of the week?

It's safe to say that I was Captain of the Hot Mess Express and we were all about to go down with the ship. With no vehicles (we eventually got a rental car, which I am still rocking) and no parenting partner at my disposal, I had to figure out a way to outsource a few things or we were going to find ourselves completely out of all of the things that were soothing us: baby pain relievers, smoothies, milk and cinnamon raisin toast.

And coffee. All of the coffee.

Seeing as convincing my parents to move to town is off the table, I turned to Shipt.

Never heard of it? Well get this: Shipt is a grocery delivery service that delivers groceries from Publix as soon as an hour after you place your order to your home. I am happy to admit that even when my toddler is not teething, he is still, you know, a toddler, so grocery shopping with him in tow tests my parenting skills to the max. Having someone handle the dirty work while I drag my baby out of the dishwasher is an ok deal with me.

Shipt is new to Greenville so this was my first experience using their services and there is no shame in my game: I am hooked. You shop on the Shipt app, create your grocery list, add your preferences per item (you can specify how you prefer your deli meat sliced) and a Shipt shopper does the rest. As a bonus, you can use your app to store your grocery list as you run out of things and just hit Purchase when you're ready to order. I made my grocery list in the parking lot of the car service shop and had it scheduled for delivery around the time I hoped we would be home.

Thankfully, I was able to purchase all of the infant pain reliever, Starbucks K Cups (no vehicle, no Starbucks drive through) and gallons of milk that Publix had to offer and my Shipt delivery was dropped of (by Sarah) just an hour and a half later.

and no, we still don't have blinds.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I honestly think this would be the best gift ever for new parents. Especially new parents who have just welcomed their second (or third) baby. I may just be making a Shipt gift certificate my new go to birthing present (in case you're wondering, I currently give Starbucks gift cards, would you expect anything less?).

Ok, because I loved my experience with Shipt so much, I sweet talked them into doing a little something special for those of you who were faithful enough to make it through this ramble of a post - enter the code OLIVETATE when you sign up at Shipt for $10 in free groceries on your first order. Similar to Amazon Prime/Now, Shipt memberships can be purchased for a yearly rate of $99 or $14/month.

Now go forth and spend your time somewhere besides the check out line!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Shipt and I was provided a membership so that I could review my experience. All opinions and thoughts reflected in this post are obviously mine and mine alone. 

P.S. We are working with the Blab team live to ensure this week's Taboo Mom Talk goes off without a hitch so make sure you join us Tuesday at 8pm EST. Click here to subscribe!

Taboo Mom Talk, Round 3

Just dropping in to share the link to our latest episode of Taboo Mom Talk!

For those of you who have been watching live, I am so sorry that Blab has had so many technical difficulties! We are actually in talks with the Blab team to figure out what is up (technically, Blab is still in their Beta version) and discussing the possibility of moving to another forum. For now, we love the way Blab lets us interact with all of our viewers live and shows all of our feeds/faces throughout the conversation (I mean, what would Taboo Mom Talk be without my ridiculous facial expressions?!).

Anyway, episode three was really on a roll and I was loving it, so I hate that we only made it 30 minutes before Blab crashed. We decided to publish the video anyway so that those who missed it could see our talk with Courtney of Sweet Tooth Sweet Life because she is fabulous. We tackled all kinds of topics including the rude things people say when you are preggo with baby number 2, why some choose not to spill their baby names before the baby is born and all of our thoughts and feelings on the genders of our babes and future babes (Colleen, Courtney and I are all boy moms!).

Colleen and I will be back next Tuesday at 8pm EST and I'll keep you posted if we change hosting sites! And I will forever be wearing my hair down after re-watching that video.

P.S. If you have an idea for a Taboo Mom Talk topic, leave it in the comments and we might just tackle it!

The easiest Guacamole Recipe Ever

It feels like it's been a million years since I last shared a recipe on the blog but a few of you (ok, so maybe just my mom) reached out to ask me for the details on my Super Bowl Instagram showcasing my inappropriately large single serving bowl of guacamole.

If I'm being completely honest, this recipe is so stupidly easy but so, so good. My husband finally admitted that my easy recipe was better than his complicated, 20 ingredient version and I'm taking that all the way to the bank.

Here's what you'll need:

4 medium sized ripe avocados (or two large ones)
1 cup diced sweet white onion
1/2 fresh jalapeño
the juice of one lime
the juice of 1/2 of a lemon
salt (I prefer freshly ground sea salt) 

First, scoop out the avocado, making sure to reserve the pits, and place in bowl
add the pits to the avocado and set aside (the pits will keep the avocado from browning)

Cut the jalapeño in half
remove the seeds
roughly chop, toss into a food processor 
(I prefer to use a food processor, you could easily hand chop this entire recipe)

Slice/rough chop the onion so it fits into the processor 
toss into the food processor with the jalapeño

Spin in food processor until finely diced

Add the mixture to the avocado and pits 

Mash the avocado with a fork, mixing in the onions and jalapeños as you go. 
Keep the pits in the bowl 

Add the juice of an entire lime (I prefer a large one) and half of a lemon (I prefer a Meyer lemon, they are sweeter, but a regular lemon works perfectly).
Tip: roll the lemon and lime under your palm on the counter before cutting - this will loosen the juices and making it easier to squeeze. 

Add salt to taste. I prefer quite a bit of coarsely ground sea salt. 

Leave the pits in the bowl with the guacamole until ready to serve - or while serving! 

See? So easy! 

8 Things I Did While The Baby Was At Grandma's

 photo by Life on Meyers

If you caught my Instagram on Thursday night, you know that my in-laws called and literally said these magical words:

"we miss the baby, is he available to come stay with us this weekend?"

Um. Yes. Yes, he is.
I know many can't imagine, but we hit the jack pot when it comes to grandparents so I was excited for Gray to get a weekend being spoiled rotten by two of his favorite people. I honestly didn't even realize it was Valentine's Day until I was pondering just what Justin and I might do with a weekend full of baby-free hours together. As it turns out, things got wild. Toddler parent style wild. 

8 Things I Did While the Baby was at Grandma's
Alternate Title: All of the Things I Took for Granted Before I had a Baby

1. Slept in until 10am
Without meaning to and still felt a little tired. 

2. Took a shower.
A long one. Shaved everything, accidentally used all of the hot water and maybe burned through a razor or two.

3. Went to lunch during nap time.
Chose a really small, impossible to navigate a stroller through, very far away from convenient parking, sushi fusion restaurant. Asked the hostess to sit at a high top table that in no way could accommodate a booster seat. Considered ourselves rebel parents and high fived my husband for our wild ways.

4. Decided at the last minute to attend a very loud sporting event.
Purchased good seats from a stranger on the street, knowing we wouldn't have to leave if the buzzer was too loud, the dancers were too pom-pomy, the seats were too constricting or the pop corn was too delicious (in case you didn't know, toddlers generally hate pom-pomy dancers)

5. Took a nap.
Because I'm not cut out for all of that spontaneity anymore and it wore me out. 
I'm not proud, just honest.

6. Went to a fancy dinner (at the late hour of 7pm)
In a silent wine cellar. No background music, no Peppa Pig on the iPad, all kinds of breakable glassware. Honorable Mention at dinner: the long dangling earrings and dry clean only dress that haven't seen the light of day since the day my baby learned to crawl.

7. Talked to my husband.
Literally had a conversation with him. Discussed our plans for our family, careers and travel. We even held hands at the table. We actually stayed at the restaurant until the staff started to not so nonchalantly circle the area with brooms and blowing out candles. And we stayed awake the entire time. If only our twenty five year old selves could see us now! 

And, now the one you've all been waiting for, and knew was coming:

8. Secretly/not secretly scrolled through pictures of the baby.
Blew my cover by making random announcements to my husband like "G has the cutest teeth ever!" or "oh my god, wasn't his oddly shaped newborn head just the sweetest?!". 

I told you we got wild! What can I say? We know how to make a weekend count (wink!). 
I hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine's Day filled with wine, blooms and surrounded by the ones you love!

Anthropologie Hits and Misses

Ready ladies? 
It's time for another round of Anthropologie Hits, Misses and Why Did She Try To Squeeze Her Boobs Into That??

Ashley was sweet enough to invite me as her plus one to the February birthday party at our local Anthropologie last week and I took advantage of the free champagne, cupcakes and new arrivals like a boss. P.S. I had no idea that Anthro throws monthly or bi-monthly birthday parties but they do, typically after hours or late in the day, and always with a discount on the entire store. Ashley happens to be a February baby and I was all to pleased to share in her 15% off discount (and the $25 gift card I won for choosing the right cupcake to shove into my mouth). 

Anyway, let's get started!

Wearing: size Large
After I wrangled myself into this top and pranced out to the big mirror it occurred to me why I loved it so much. I already own it. To my defense, I own it in a completely different color, pattern and material, but still. I love this top and all of the prints that it comes in but be warned if you have big boobs that the buttons were not really constructed with enough material behind them to accommodate for large chested movement. The actual top fits nicely but the thin strip of material behind the buttons can become wrinkled and cause skin to show. I am so jealous of all of you Tiny Tina's out there who don't have to worry about that (otherwise known as me, pre-baby). 

Verdict: a no for me because I already own it, but I did consider bringing it home anyway

Wearing: Size 12
This blouse looks totally different on the model than it does in real life. For one thing, it is a full long sleeve - not a three quarter as it appears in the listing photo. I will say that the pleating is really flattering and the back is longer than the front so it covers your butt. And, surprisingly, the pockets do not add bulk to my already bulky bumps. The price point is really nice and I honestly think this piece would rock the office to dinner lifestyle I used to have. There are other patterns and color options online that might even be cuter on the stripes so I'm going to keep my eye on them and if they go on sale, I might just pull the trigger.

Verdict: I loved the stripes but ultimately decided that I just wouldn't wear it enough to justify buying it. 

 Wearing: Size L

This top is so sweet and sooooo soft. The cut is very flattering if you're trying to hide your tummy (me.) and length is almost perfect. I'm 5'9" and I would have loved for it to have been just a hair longer but that's pretty standard for me. Love the sleeve length and the dark navy pattern. Honestly, it would be a perfect transition piece and travel piece because there is no way that material is wrinkling. 

Verdict: I should have bought it. Going back ASAP.
P.S. Here's a super similar piece on sale! 

Wearing: Size L
Holy Crap this top looks so different on me than the model. It took me forever to find the listing online because, quite frankly, I didn't know it had a "pleated back" until the online listing told me so. This is an ok top but not worth the price point of Anthro. Basically, it's just another black top that you could find anywhere and clearly it will need some maintenance to look sharp. And let's be honest, I am not going to iron, so I think we all know how this ended....
 Verdict: No way, find a dupe at Rack or Gap

 Wearing: Size L
I have mixed feelings about this top. One, I think the cut outs accentuate my large chest. On the other hand, I think the white layer adds length and makes the otherwise tight knit more flattering.
The quality is really sharp and the price point is ok for an investment work piece. Ultimately, I had to admit that I would only wear this top to the office and none of the other days of the week so I had to pass. I may keep my eye on it and see if it goes on sale. 

Verdict: beautiful piece for the office but I don't have the time or energy to hand wash.

Wearing Size L
Behold, the perfect day dress. Full, peasant sleeves, a super loose midsection and pretty details on both the back and front make this little number a huge win. The top is so flattering on my chest and the length is just above the knee so no crazy mom thigh is shown! I almost asked if I could wear this dress home but I decided to save it for my girl's trip to Napa in March! It will pack without wrinkling, allow for much wine drinking and makes me feel pretty. I wish it came in other colors and I've got a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to go full on BoHo this spring. Consider yourselves warned.

Verdict: you better believe I bought it! And the (on sale) hat, too! 

Random Honorable Mention: This tunic wasn't available to try on in my size but Ashley tried it on and it was adorable on her. She bought it and I am jealous.

What I Really Want For Valentine's Day

flowers are nice but a nap would be better....

Dear Husband and Father Of My Offspring,

I know we rarely exchange gifts on Valentine's Day but this year just feels like a year to give. Let's be honest, we both know we won't get a sitter so we might as well plan to stay home and live it up Toddler Parent Style. With that in mind, you might as well go ahead and grab me a little something from this list, you know, in the name of keeping things "spicy".

What I Really Want For Valentine's Day

Sexy Pajamas
If they are fleece, thick, cover every inch of me and have lots of give in the midsection, then you're in the right department. I want something that screams "oh baby, let's go to bed at 7pm".
This ensemble will do.

Fancy Makeup
I hear this little drug store number is all the rage. Perfect for hiding the evidence of our coupling and the resulting lack of sleep for the past 19 months. I'll slap this one on my face and we'll both pretend that I look as fresh as I did the day you first laid eyes on me.

Every girl dreams of a new bauble for Valentine's but I say why reinvent the wheel? Let's just reinvent my old baubles that no longer fit thanks to post pregnancy weight gain and ligament stretching. Go ahead and call the jeweler, mama needs her rings back!

Good Old Fashioned Coupon Book
Let's kick it old school and hand make each other a little something sweet. Maybe a coupon book filled with goodies I can redeem whenever my heart desires. I think "Redeem For One Entire Sink Full Of Dishes" sounds like something I just might consider cashing in before the pesky expiration date! 

I know you probably had your heart set on a little hanky panky on this oh so holy day of love but I would suggest skipping Victoria and heading straight to her distant relative, Spanx. Nothing feels sexier than panties that I can pull up to my bra strap, you know what I mean? Want to really seal the deal? How about snagging me a full coverage bra that can wrangle my set back to their original locale. Just be sure that it looks sturdy and comfy because these babies are long past "demi" and "bralette".

While a spa day is a sweet idea, the prospect of booking a babysitter and shelling out her fees seems a bit much, so why not just grab me this. It smells potent fancy enough that we can both pretend that I managed to find time to shower by the time you come home from work.

I love you, now let's celebrate passionately with a nap. 



Taboo Mom Talk

So, apparently when I stay up talking on the Internet until 9pm, I will pay for it the next day with a level of exhaustion that only multiple trips to Starbucks can cure. I had so much fun talking about my HuffPo article, crying it out, the post baby body, making mom friends, when I want a second baby and all things motherhood with Colleen and the 5,000+ of you (!!!!) who watched our Taboo Mom Talk on Blab last night. Colleen and I are in talks to make this a regular thing and I'm honestly crazy excited about it. 

In case you missed our talk last night, we uploaded the entire one hour segment to the Taboo Mom Talk YouTube channel. I'm going to drop last night's into this post because it was the first but I'll spare you the rest as they can be watched on YouTube.

If you've never been on Blab (I hadn't), watching this video may seem like we're super distracted but on our screens we can see text messages and conversations happening between participants so we're attempting to multitask while drinking wine after 8pm. Forgive us. 

side note: I make a ton of ridiculous faces throughout this video. 

I hope you enjoy!
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The Myth of a Mother's Love

Exactly one week ago, I wrote these words:

"I haven't published a post about motherhood on Olive and Tate in what feels like forever and there's a reason why. About a month ago, I wrote what I think is my most heartfelt and "put it out there" motherhood essay and it has left me feeling all of the feels (mainly, totally exposed). I know my words won't be met with complete understanding and will potentially draw some negative feedback, but the topic is incredibly personal to me and the post needed to be written. It took me 18 months to finally find the right words and now they sit in my drafts folder, waiting to be published.

All that I ask is that even if you don't understand my experience or share similar feelings, you consider that maybe another mother you love knows exactly what I'm talking about. So, with her in mind, please try to be thoughtful in your responses and commentary.

Here's a little sample:

 "In the hours and days after I gave birth I waited. I waited for the tidal wave of feelings, the rush of extreme love that every other mother was telling me I should be feeling. I waited and it never happened. I never changed."

Many of you reached out after I published the excerpt of "The Myth of a Mother's Love" to tell me that you've felt similar feelings or wished you could have said the right thing to a friend who was going through a similar experience. Thank you to each of you for your kind words - my hope is that I was able to tackle this topic with a little bit of grace and a lot of understanding.  

To read the full article, head to the Huffington Post