April 2016 | Olive and Tate

About Town with Love Lola and Levi's

This post brought to you by Levi’s®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Olive and Tate.

At the beginning of every year, I sit down and write out my goals for Olive and Tate - sometimes they are boring (like, do a better job of filing receipts) and sometimes they are really fun (like, do a better job meeting more bloggers in my area). I am absolutely slacking when it comes to the boring goals but I am on a mission to accomplish my task of meeting more of my Greenville blogging community. 

I've been searching our local hashtags, joining more Facebook groups and reaching out via email to the local bloggers that I find on social media. Recently, one of my fave local bloggers, Caroline, told me about her fave local blogger, Lauren, and off I went to stalk the blog, Love Lola.

 Lauren is an amazing photographer so her blog is stunning - she also radiates the most beautiful energy (perhaps because she is a yogi), especially when she is photographed with her sweet babe, Piper. I made a mental note to send Lauren an email and then, along with most of my mental notes, completely forgot to do so. 

Thankfully, fate stepped in and I heard through the grapevine that Lauren and I would both be attending an event together. I knew I had to meet her and thought there would be no better way than to force her to include me on one of her About Town adventures. I love that particular series on her blog and honestly wish I had thought of it myself! She was gracious enough to succumb to my peer pressure and off we went to the back patio of local coffee house, The Village Grind for fancy coffees, donuts and blogger girl talk.  

Because Lauren and I met for the first time when we were both asked to host a styling session at a local VIP Shoppers event, I decided to bring my best "bloggers who coffee" outfit game. And I'm so glad that I did because Lauren was rocking an insane pair of lace up sandals and a denim on denim look that did not disappoint. 

I had to bounce into my office after my date with Lauren so I paired my new go-to distressed white Levi’s® 711 Skinny jeans with a tweed moto jacket, tassel necklace for a pop of color, my go to v neck tee (I own six of them) and nude wedges. While most people can't rock distressed denim in the office, I'm lucky enough to be The Marketing Girl and can get away with a bit more. 

To top if off, I also wore the same outfit to a design meeting at my house that afternoon and for drinks after - so, I'm pretty confident I can take this look anywhere.

Many of you reached out to me wondering about the fit of the Levi’s® 711 Skinny on a shapely Mom Body such as my own. I'm wearing a 31 in this particular cut and am pleased to report that, despite the low price point, the denim does not stretch out and loosen during wear. In all honesty, the saggy look isn't flattering and I hate snagging a pair of jeans only to find that I can't keep them up around my waist by the end of the day. I'm also a huge fan of how they sit on the waistline - they aren't extremely high but sit a bit below the belly button, so still high enough that I'm not yanking them up all day in an attempt to keep my parts in. 

As a complete bonus, the distressing is very minimal and only on the knees. Sometimes I see a bit of distressing through to the skin just under the pocket area and I am certain that portion of my thigh does not need to be exposed to all of the other moms at Mother's Day Out. 

My verdict is to head to Macy's and, at the very least, try them on, but be prepared to love them.

I hope you'll head over to Love Lola and say hey to Lauren - especially since she was sweet enough to take me up on my demand offer to allow me to chat about her here on Olive and Tate. Be sure to take a peek at the sweet nursery she designed for her babe (um, and every single post in her House to Home archives because her style is just perfection).

Thanks for the pretty pics, Christa Rene Photography!

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One Room Challenge Week 4

Somehow, Week 4 of the One Room Challenge is in the books. 
Time, you are not my friend on this one.

Sneak peak of the hand painted accent wall by Andrea! All photos stolen from Amanda Louise Interiors

We made some gorgeous progress this week but to be honest, the majority of the room is going to come together just in time for photo day. As in, moments before photos begin. We didn't plan it that way but that's the fun of the One Room Challenge, right? 


With a six week timeline, any bumps in the road (uh, hello green chairs) can turn your already small window of opportunity into the Design Time Crunch From Hell (dramatic, party of one!). 

Now that I've secured my nomination for an Oscar, let's discuss this week's successes.

In one of Amanda's most gorgeous money saving tips yet, she suggested that we order IKEA Lenda curtain panels and have a seamstress add a panel of gorgeous persimmon silk to the bottom for a custom look. And get this: the silk was from the clearance remnant rack. 

To make the panels look even more expensive, we had the seamstress cut off the top tabs and add backing to the top so that we could use gorgeous hardware - that was also an insanely cheap find. We're using curtain rods from Amazon and having our fave creative TJ Briel of Slab Woodworking hand make wooden finials to customize them.

It's safe to say that the number one thing that I've learned from Amanda is that you can make anything happen when you know a seamstress (or how to work a sewing machine/have a mother in law like mine). She took silk from the scrap bin, IKEA curtains and Amazon curtain rods and the completed look is stunning. I can't show you the entire look, but a sneak peek is certainly in order! 

(old pillow, not staying in the room)

In other IKEA news, TJ also finished the Billy bookcase hack and it is insanely gorgeous. The raw edge wood top is meant to incorporate my husbands love of dark woods and TJ hand died it (note, he did not use stain, he would die if I let the world think he used store bought stain) to match Justin's pool table. I'll write an entire post on the hack but for now, take a look at that top! 

We ordered new pulls and are moving them to the top of the doors and you won't believe what we're using and what I paid for them! 

We've also decided to use my bamboo end tables as something other than end tables - because they fold flat, we are going to use one for a bar and one for pool table accessory storage when we entertain. They actually fit in the little nook between the new cabinets and the wall so when they aren't in use, they'll be folded and stashed away from grabby toddler hands. 

 What's next:

Grab all of the pillow goodness from Wheaton Whaley Designs
Wait anxiously by the door for the arrival of the CB2 coffee table
Cross fingers that the chairs look better when they come home from their second trip to the upholsters
Hang the gorgeous art piece from Marquin Designs once it comes home from Bennett's Framing and Art Gallery 
Style the crap out of the room.

Thanks to Linda at Calling It Home for hosting the One Room Challenge!


So, after my most recent Anxiety spike, I decided to take a peek at what in my day to day life might not be helping me keep things, um, regulated. I mean, obviously, my life is a nut house, we all can see that (thanks Snapchat) but maybe there were a few bad habits I could prune that might make things just a tiny bit easier on myself. 

As it turns out, I have a ton of bad habits so finding a few that I could regulate on proved to require zero effort. I also stumbled across this article from Buzzfeed and, while I don't know that I should build my existence based upon Buzzfeed, I did think that this one had a tip or two that I could make happen.

Change Numero Uno:

Thanks to the Buzzfeed article, I decided to set two alarms on my phone - one to turn off all social media and put my phone down at 9pm on weeknights and one to turn off the TV and go to bed at 10pm. 

Seems simple but, man, has this been life changing.

I hadn't really put too much thought into it but I had been spending endless hours at night scrolling through my phone on social media. Endless hours. I would look at the clock and realize that I had managed to stay up until midnight just scrolling through the same posts on Instagram and reading the same articles on Facebook. And I can assure you that none of it was worth the lack of sleep. My kid religiously wakes up around 6:45am, so some nights I was getting roughly 6 hours of sleep, and not an ounce of it seemed to be beauty sleep.

Looking back, I can also say for certain that the late night social media stalking was also contributing to the anxiety slide as I was looking at other photos, blog posts, outfits, make up or accomplishments and wondering why I wasn't able to measure up. The more I scrolled the more my anxiety convinced me that I was a sham of a blogger, mother, wife and so on. In my rational mind, I truly believe that comparing yourself to others is a fruitless task (and it should go without saying that I am, of course, thrilled for others successes) but my alone in the dark, late at night, burned out mind was having none of that.

Shutting off my phone at 9pm has proved to be a game changer - and going to bed at 10pm on the week nights (and, let's be honest, on the weekends, too) has only added to a calmer brain. 

Change Two

I am a serial Weight Watcher. I keep the app active on my phone and go in spurts where I am totally on the wagon and then much longer periods of time where I'm eating a wagon full of carbs. Feeling down  about my general physical appearance (whether warranted or not) is never good for my emotional well being so I'm working hard to follow my own advice and dress my body well while I'm working the plan. I'm also doing my best to take care of myself in a physical sense - it may seem superficial but keeping up with my eyebrows and nails keeps me from feeling like I'm a hot mess who is too overwhelmed to keep her life together. As you can imagine, when I have a uni-brow, I don't feel like I'm kicking ass and taking names. There is power in feeling your best and I need that power on my side while I'm handling my anxiety.

Change Three

When I recently plateaued on the whole WW thing, I complained to Meg that I was going to the trouble of measuring my wine and still nothing was happening. As she always does, she asked me if I had been drinking my water. And, as I always do, I said no. I never drink water. Coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper are my life sources so I really have no time for water. As it turns out, I was wrong. I now drink something insane (to me) like 5 Venti cups of water a day (and of course, a Venti coffee). As a random side effect/bonus, I am so full of liquid that I no longer drink diet soda. I can't even remember the last time I had a Diet Dr. Pepper and I weirdly don't even miss it. The lack of caffeine has helped with the whole going to bed at a reasonable hour and sleeping well thing and I'm sure there are other health benefits, too (jokes). 

As it turns out, talking about my anxiety has led many of you to feel comfortable discussing your own battles with anxiety. I never intended to keep mine a secret, I actually thought the cat was out of the bag, but I'm glad to keep putting my experience out there for ya'll to read. In fact, after my last post, I was asked to speak on a panel here in Greenville about successful women who deal with mental illness - and I couldn't be more proud. My goal is to continue to take care of myself physically and emotionally so that the next time I start to slide (and, there will always be a next time), I'm able to catch it sooner and rock it out harder. 

Ok, so tell me, what habit should I adopt from the Buzzfeed article next?
(cue my husband saying "the one where you're supposed to compliment your partner!")

Dressing the Mom Body: Date Night Denim

This post brought to you by Levi’s®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Olive and Tate.

 Ah, Date Night, you elusive little devil.

I don't know about anyone else, but as toddler parents, we need Date Night. It doesn't have to be fancy, or expensive, or a production but it does have to include a babysitter. 

And wine.

Justin and I recently committed to making bi-weekly Date Nights a mandatory activity in our marriage and, in the spirit of spicing up our marriage, I decided to find a new, adults only outfit. 

And nothing says "child free zone" like white jeans.

I have to admit that I've been on the hunt for a pair of distressed white skinnies since the weather started to warm up. Here in the South, we don't adhere to rules when it comes to our white jeans - if it's warm, we wear them. For me, white denim is appropriate from March til Halloween so snagging a pair of go-to white jeans is serious business. Luckily for me, our Macy's is right next to my signature toddler bribery spot in the mall (Auntie Anne's) and I happened to blow through there on a recent shopping trip. I spotted a pair of white Levi’s® 711 Skinny with distressing and figured that I had bought myself enough time with my pretzel bribery to hit the fitting rooms.

 Um, hello perfectly distressed skinny white jeans. 

 So, I get that trying on jeans, especially jeans of the white and skinny variety, could be a painful experience but I think you might just need to trust me on this one.

The Levi’s® 711 Skinny sit a little lower on my hip than my Mom Jeans (see: spicing up the marriage) but are still high enough to contain all of my secrets, something I know we are all thankful for. The distressing on the knee is just enough to keep them on trend but not too much that they make me look like I just lost a battle with my weed wacker. 

For the aforementioned Date Night, I tossed them on with a lace top (similar) and nude heels and honestly, I felt pretty darn good about myself. Fit wise, I'm rocking a 31 x 32, and the length is perfect on my 5'9" frame. Tall girls, you'll be pleased to know that the length is just right with no special ordering required. Because nobody has time for special ordering. 

| clutch similar | earrings |

I've said many times that I think you should save your pennies when it comes to trendy denim and I am pleased to report that the Levi's 711 are under $50 (and some washes are currently on sale for less than $35! Just FYI, Beach Fossil and Time Travel are my faves.). 

And can we please talk about my butt?
(probably the first time ever I've said that particular sentence)

  Somehow the jeans lift and contain it at the same time, no small feat for any denim of mine. 

Ok, now off you go to try on a pair. 

And schedule a date night while you're at it- those new jeans deserve a night on the town!

P.S. Thanks for the pretty pics, Christa Rene Photography
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Sunday Vibes

Things have been so busy, all go-go-go and "don't mess up the routine" around here that we needed a weekend of nowhere to be, nowhere to go and no RSVP's. I am so glad we were able to go with the flow this weekend because it was a good one. A really good one.

On Saturday Justin hit the golf course super early and was home in time for me to sneak out for a long lunch at my new fave spot with Ashley.

We noshed on cheese boards, flat breads and glasses of wine at The 05 before heading home to work with Amanda on a few new elements of the living room design. While we were lunching, Ashley and I made plans for our next meal (we take our food seriously around here) and decided we would set off early on Sunday morning (with my husband and baby in tow) to hit the Biscuit Head pop up at Swamp Rabbit Brewery in Travelers Rest, SC.

On a total side note: while I was out on Saturday, Justin took Gray on a guy's outing and found him the cutest baby boy belt I have ever laid eyes on. Justin told me that he gave Gray three options (fish, American flags or dogs) and Gray chose the dogs all by himself. Justin got him all dressed for our Sunday out and I died a little when he came running in to show me his new belt.

I mean, come on. 

Anyway, I haven't been to the Biscuit Head locations in Asheville or Atlanta but I (along with everyone else in town) have heard amazing things and cannot wait for the new Greenville location to open in a few weeks.

To say the pop up did not disappoint would be an understatement and I ate my body weight in the Swamp Rabbit Frittatta. Between the three and a half of us, we managed to order almost the entire menu and couldn't have cleaned our plates any faster.

We decided the weather was too nice to not take advantage of (the temporary Mainers in us still flock to the sun) so we hosted an impromptu BBQ at our house with some of our best friends. No plans, nothing fancy - these are our people and they come as they are and take my house as it is. 

We watched the babies play in the water table, grilled burgers, drank my newest Sangria concoction and called the whole thing a night just in time for bath time. 

It was, without a doubt, the type of weekend that was good for the soul.

One Room Challenge Pattern Play Panic

Week Three of the One Room Challenge has traditionally been, for me, the week of not much action and a whole lot of panic. Not one to buck tradition, I kept the theme going this go 'round and sent the following text chain to my poor, sweet, unsuspecting decorating partner in crime, Amanda:

Cue Amanda running as far away from this project as quickly as possible.

I know that most of you aren't the least bit surprised that I'm having a moment with my new found pattern bravery, but bare with me, I'm still working through it! 

Its not that I don't believe that all of our ideas can come together and be absolutely stunning when they do, it's just that we are in the stage of the game where nothing is coming together. Every single project is being diligently attended to - Elizabeth is stitching pillows, TJ is working on our IKEA hack, Andrea is putting the finishing touches on the wall and Amanda is working hard to keep me sane - but all I can do is hope the chairs look better when they come home from their second trip to the upholsterer. 

There has been an amazing bright spot this week: I got a teensy sneak peek of the custom art piece the amazingly talented Marquin of local Marquin Designs created for our living room! I am so honored that she took the time to paint such a beauty for us and I am so proud to hang her work in our home. 

The painting is currently holding court at the framer's so I won't see her for a while, but she will for sure be a knockout (especially when she is appropriately photographed by a professional and not me on my pack patio!).

In all reality, I am crazy excited to see the space start to shape up and to get the furniture back into a usable formation. I have a feeling the next update will be full of amazing progress - just three more weeks to go! 

To see the rest of the One Room Challenge rooms, head over to Calling It Home for the link up! 

the PERFECT bathing suit!

Attention ladies! 
(or gents or anyone who is in need of a slimming one piece)

By some random miracle, I stumbled upon and am now the owner of the world's most flattering one piece. I honestly just picked it up without trying it on at Target and drug it to the beach, tags attached, a few weeks ago. Low and behold, as I wrestled it onto my lumps and bumps, it transformed into the most flattering bathing suit of all time.

And we all know I don't make claims like that lightly. 

The boning in the suit is strong enough (so, industrial strength) that I actually do not need the included halter strap to keep it from buckling under the weight of my DD ladies, the backside is appropriately covered to contain my cheeks and the rouching over my tummy is slimming and forgiving. The "flounce" is laser cut and makes the suit look a little more pricey than it really is. 

During wear, I did not need to keep adjusting the top (which is news worthy in of itself) and I would have added the halter strap if we were playing in the ocean or I was at the pool with the baby. I did adjust the bottom a bit here and there but that's because I was blessed with a throwback Khloe K. backside. I'm rocking a size Large in the suit.

Bottom line:

You need this suit.
(it comes in plus size, too!) 

And no, I will not be modeling it for you. 
A girl can only scrape up so much self esteem before 10am.

As an aside, Target is kinda killing it in the Black One Piece department so I'm linking a few of my faves below - if you have a fave, please report back in the comments so others can snag it! 

Loving Lately

All of the things I'm loving lately, including the hot pink azaleas in my yard:

Kind Words
Thank you so much to all of you who reached out after reading my Anxiety post this week. I am touched that many of you trusted me to share you own experience with anxiety and each of your comments meant so much to me. 

A Clean House.
Everyone in this house, especially my husband, suffers from pretty rogue allergies and this season can bring us to our knees. To combat the pollen (and as a sweet gesture to help me feel better) Justin arranged for GSP Clean to come out and scrub every inch of our home. They literally moved the furniture and organized my make up brushes. Somehow, they rescued a necklace that had been trapped between my dresser and the wall and hung up on the cable cords (yeah, yeah, and by "somehow" I mean they used a magical cleaning tool like a Swiffer Sweeper, stop judging me). I love them. Justin wishes they would move in with us. So do I.

Girl Bosses
I had a coffee date with Leslie who runs the world over at Advanced Cosmetic Surgery this week and loved every second of it. She and I share a great mutual friend but had yet to sit down and talk all things business. We had a serious brainstorming session and I can't wait to share a fun project that we've decided to officially collaborate on. And I may or may not have convinced her that she needs and intern and that intern should be me.

Flowy Dresses

Two of my absolute fave flowy dresses from Anthro are now marked down to insane price points. Both the Peasant Dress and the Shirt Dress have made appearances on the blog many times and I'm honestly a little jealous of anyone who snags them at this price. 

This Highlighting and Contouring Tutorial
My friend Meg O. makes all things beauty seem so approachable and this highlighting and contouring video is my fave tutorial that she's ever whipped up. If you don't follow her on Snapchat, you should.

The Stage

I had so much fun speaking and styling at the Haywood Mall VIP Shopping Night last weekend. I was asked to pull three signature looks that reflect my style so you know I went all Dressing the Mom Body crazy. Example A:

 No shame in this game. 

I can't stop thinking about the Banana Republic coat that I styled (with distressed boyfriend jeans and an insanely soft v neck grey tee) and will be keeping my eye out for it to go on sale (I actually don't think it's great for Spring as marketed but do think it will be perfect for a Southern Fall with dark denim and riding boots). I actually wanted to bring home all of the outfits but I resisted and only snagged the dress that I'm wearing. It's on sale for less than $30 and there are still some sizes in stock! 

This stunning recipe from my friend Sara would be perfect for hosting a brunch. I mostly just want Sara to host the brunch and invite me over so I can eat her Greek Yogurt Souffles but that's just because my house is currently a decorating disaster. Thanks One Room Challenge. 

One Room Challenge Living Room Week 2

Ready for Week Two of the One Room Challenge?

Now that you've seen the Before (and the Currently), let's talk about our plans for the After.
I really want to embrace color and pattern in this space, even though my natural inclination is to go with an all grey space and be done with it. Because I'm a big baby and am scared of pattern, I asked my partner in crime, Amanda of Amanda Louise Interiors, to help me create a cohesive space that blends my love of neutrals with a few pops of color and a big, bold pattern.

We decided the best way to handle that big, bold pattern thing was to have a local artist, Andrea, paint a feature wall.

Yes, a feature wall.

From shades of white to a hand painted feature wall in a bold pattern, things are potentially getting insane around here. The wall is in progress and already looks stunning but I am for sure anxious to see how all of the elements are going to come together.

To keep our budget in check (because we did just do an entire renovation, so the goal here is not to get crazy re-doing a brand new space), we are using all of our furniture with the exception of our coffee table.  We are keeping our couch, rug, pool table (duh) and chairs, which means we get to focus our cash elsewhere and spare my more fiscally responsible better half a heart attack.

To punch up the color in the room we are recovering the two chairs - in fact, they may have already been recovered once already - and we may have chosen a horrific fabric and created the worst chair fail of all time (to read all of the details head over to Amanda's blog). I really did want the chairs to be redone in emerald green velvet but in all honesty, I did not take our lifestyle into account before falling in love with the idea. Amanda was sweet enough to tell me that velvet + a wild toddler baby was a terrible pairing and we've adapted the plan accordingly. And I'll admit that I didn't want to adapt the plan until I saw the chairs after the first round of recovering. So, we are on our second round of fabric and this time we've gone with a gorgeous, rich shade of seafoamy grey that I love.

With our budget in mind, Amanda has been spilling tons of super sneaky design money saving moves and I'm loving it. We ordered the world's ugliest (and insanely inexpensive) poufs from Amazon and had zippered covers made for them by a local seamstress. Not only we were able to choose the fabric and trim but now I have covers that I can toss in the wash when needed. We're also using IKEA curtains as the base for new window treatments and just selected curtain rods from Amazon that will have a special touch added to make them unique.

Our biggest money saving project is for sure going to be the resurrection of what was supposed to be an IKEA hack to make a set of Billy bookcases and shelves look like built ins. We never finished the hack and it never looked built in. At all. We've called in my newest artisan crush, TJ of Slab Woodworking to help us create something that is stylish, neutral and has the capacity to store a ton of random stuff.

The piece is also in progress and I can't wait to see it completed.

With all of that said, here's our To Do List:

Move the TV from the back wall to the right wall
Recover two arm chairs (again)
Turn the disaster of an IKEA hack into a useful and beautiful piece of furniture
Find a new coffee table to fit the space
Recover poufs to provide more seating for kiddos
Paint the feature wall
Flip the sofa to the back wall and re-position the new entertainment center under the TV
Use IKEA curtains as the base for new window treatments
Find an art piece and use framed family photos to balance the TV

See you next week!


This post is based upon my experience and mine alone. 

It's been quiet around here for almost a week (and on my Instagram, too, which is probably more shocking) and it's taken me some time to figure out why. I've been in a weird place recently and I seemed to be struggling most with blogging. I would sit at my lap top and stare at the blank screen, waiting for the words to come. Every time I started a post, I would slowly begin to hate it, thinking that it wasn't right - not a perfect fit for my style, my readers or even articulating what I want to say. I tried to blame my blahs on being a Burned Out Toddler Mom but I knew it was something more.

I've joked often on this space about being high strung, needing to double down on my meds and some of my other neuroses, but I'm not sure that I've ever outright explained that I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was in my mid twenties. Looking back, it is very clear to me that I have always battled anxiety but when I was younger, I didn't know that what I was experiencing was any different than what anyone else was going through. As I've gotten older and taken on more responsibilities and life experiences, my anxiety became a larger part of my life. Typically, my anxiety is well managed with medication, a few behavioral tricks, self awareness and acceptance on my part, but occasionally, and sometimes without provocation, the anxiety really ramps up and takes over.

 My anxiety tends to manifest itself in a few main ways, one of them being my extreme response to making mistakes. If I feel like I've made a mistake or need to be corrected, I die a little inside (imagine feeling like you've been hit in the belly, heart racing, face hot and pulse throbbing all at once). I can remember, in sharp detail, incredibly small mistakes that I made as far back as five or six years old, even if they did not result in any sort of embarrassing moment. Somehow that crazed anxiety was wrapping itself up in creative mind, leaving me feeling like anything that I wrote wouldn't be good enough and would thus be yet another mistake. 

As everyone knows, I love having an identity outside of Wife and Mom (no need to sound the alarm, I love my Wife and Mom roles most). Being a blogger typically brings me so much energy and purpose and the thought of losing that aspect of my life because of my misplaced anxiety was incredibly nerve wracking to me. 

And cue a new panic over losing my creative drive (ugh, are ya'll tired of reading this yet?).

If that doesn't make sense to you, that's OK. Sometimes anxiety doesn't make sense and it looks and feels different to all of us, so I get the confusion. In fact, just last Sunday, I was up on stage blabbing to an audience of strangers about how to dress their post baby lumps and bumps without breaking a sweat. Public speaking can send even the baddest B running for the hills but I was knee deep in a rough anxiety patch and up there loving every second. 

It's not rational but that's anxiety.

 What matters most is that I was a little lost in it but I've figured out (and said out loud) what's been keeping me tied up in knots and away from my keyboard. I made a valiant effort to spare everyone from this post (honestly, I did) but everything else I tried to write just kept turning towards my anxiety roller coaster - and no one wants to read an Easy Dinner Recipe post tinged with anxiety.

If you're still hanging in there at this point I hope you don't have a headache from trying to decipher my stream of consciousness and thanks for indulging me in this one.

If you're suffering with anxiety, just know that I empathize with all of the wildness churning inside of that brain of yours and am sending calm thoughts your way.
Linking up with Jess, Annie and Natalie today

One Room Challenge - The Living Room!

One Room Challenge, get ready to meet the ugliest Living Room of all time.

In case this is your first time dropping by Olive and Tate, allow me to catch you up.
A year ago we bought the ugliest house ever to be built in our dream neighborhood.

Despite never tackling more than some cosmetic upgrades to our two previous homes (we move a lot), we needed a home quickly and it proved to be incredibly difficult to snag a property in our dream neighborhood, so we thought we just might try our hand at a renovation. 

And by renovation, I mean a complete and total gut of all 2,000 square feet of a fifties rancher in it's original condition (see: the Austin Powers bar in the shot below). And, just to keep things interesting, we decided to do it sans designer or architect.

Anyway, our Living Room was once a garage and is built on a cement slab, making renovations interesting to say the least. I envisioned an open concept, family friendly living area that somehow magically encompassed my husband's regulation size pool table and served as an entertaining space. 

Dream big mama, dream big.

Let's just say that, while I nailed the Kitchen (if I do say so myself), I totally fell flat in the Living Room. 

Here's how we've been living in it for the last 8 months or so:

(we do have new windows so there is no need to be concerned about the rogue painters tape holding together that one window on the left, or the fact that it was installed horizontally while the right window was installed vertically) 

It's not wrong (in fact, it's exactly how I designed it), it's just not right.

The space is visually blah, the attempted IKEA built in hack was never finished and looks cheap, the pool table dominates the space (and yes, it's staying) and the coffee table is too large and bulky. I want so badly for our house to be completely finished and this room is the one thing holding me back from loving our home.

And of course, with our open floor plan, I spend a ton of time looking at my least favorite space.

So here's the rub - I know the elements of the room that I don't love but I spent so many months dreaming, designing and implementing a vision for the entire house that now my design brain is shot. I literally can not imagine the space any other way. I have no idea where to begin, what to move, what to keep, what to rearrange and I am just so frustrated with the process. 

Or I was, until I made the best decision of all time and reached out to Amanda Louise Interiors

I found her on Instagram, stalked her for a bit and then asked her to coffee. 
I told her about my living room, my lack of inspiration and this little blog event called The One Room Challenge (which she had, of course, heard of).

We hit it off right away and I told her about some of the design elements I wished I was cool enough to pull off: deep emerald green velvet chairs, a stunning accent wall hand painted with touches of metallic, palm leaf pillows, bold pattern and an acrylic coffee table.   

If you've seen any of the spaces in my home, you should be thinking "she's lost her neutral grey and white loving mind" but somehow Amanda understood exactly what I was hoping for and whipped up what became our very first design board. While it has gone through many changes since (including one major change that was based entirely on a single pillow cover by Wheaton Whaley Designs), the majority of that design board is still the scheme for the design. 

Wanna see the design board that Amanda came up with?

Isn't it fun? I am so incredibly excited to break (way) out of my design comfort zone and give this room a little punch.

As a huge bonus, I am honored to be working solely with local Greenville makers, artisans and craftsmen. Everything from pillow covers to a hand painted feature wall will be created by insanely talented artists right here in my hometown. It is going to be such a pleasure to introduce them all to you and show you their insane talents. I am honestly in awe of what has already been done and the best is yet to come!

Hang on for the ride, it's going to be an interesting six weeks!

Want to see more of our reno (including our kitchen that has been featured on TODAY.com and Apartment Therapy!)? Check it out here