January 2018 | Olive and Tate

Mom Wardrobe Must: Open Front Cardigans

Behold: my version of a Valentine's Day date night outfit. Mom Life, am I right?? We probably won't be able to squeeze in a date this year but I will be rocking my Mom Duties so I put together a little outfit that will keep me festive while I volunteer at the preschool Valentine's Day Soiree. Dark wash, skinny leg denim that holds in my tummy, a grey v neck tee and this open front, striped cardigan are in constant rotation - mostly because all of it can be machine washed when Georgia undoubtably spits up all over me. 

In my humble opinion, the open front cardigan is the most versatile, practical and stylish piece in any Mom's wardrobe. Bold statement, I know, but hear me out: what other piece can be popped over your pajamas and make you feel put together? 

I'm a jeans and v-neck tee kind of girl. Year round, I pull on denim and a white or grey v-neck and consider myself dressed and ready. With that in mind, I stock my wardrobe with classic items that can elevate that look - keep it fresh while still being comfy and washable, because, you know, babies...

Nothing fits the bill for me more than an open front cardigan. I have many in my wardrobe - super chunky knits that are cozy, light and airy cotton blends that are perfect for the transition to spring and belted cardigans that are perfect for Fall. Pair an open front cardigan with a tee shirt dress for cool summer nights or slap it on over a pair of leggings/sweatpants and your pajama tee for the run to preschool drop off - what more could a girl ask of an item of clothing? 

I've pulled together my current faves (including this insane orange, pink and grey number that I can't stop wearing - how cute will it be for Valentine's Day?!), cardigans that I own and love and a few that I have my eye on. Aaaand you better believe I snapped up that cream suede front stunner....

A note on the sweater I'm wearing: it runs large - I did not size down but I would if I ordered again. I'm tall (5'9") and the sleeves come down past my wrists, so if you're more petite than I am, go ahead and order a size down! 

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

I am so excited to finally share our living/family room! This room was absolutely one that we had to live in for me to really determine how I should style it -the space is fairly small and has a tiny bit of an off layout, mostly thanks to our gigantic TV, but we got to know the room, how we would live in it and made it into a space that I really love.

When we first saw this house, it was clear to Justin and me that we needed to remove the wall that separated the kitchen from this living room. We love an open floor plan - being able to keep an eye on the kids and enjoy our guests while we entertain is crucial to me. We also knew that opening up the spaces would allow for much more natural light to shine into the house and would give us the opportunity to create a really amazing island (you can see our current kitchen Before and After here).

All in all, we removed the wall separating the kitchen and living room, created a large peninsula that seats 4, painted the entire space top to bottom, including ceiling and trim work Wedding Veil by Benjamin Moore and tried to utilize every single nook and cranny of the space. We also removed the plaster detail on the ceiling and replaced it with new drywall, new recessed lighting and a new statement fixture. The Before shots are from inspection day, so you're seeing it just how Justin and I did when we began to re-imagine the space....


The below shot is looking into the kitchen from the living room


Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Seeing as we move a lot (that's an understatement!), we've been conscious to invest in large pieces of furniture that are neutral and incredibly well made. Each of our houses has taken on it's own style vibe and our neutral pieces allow us to change up the less expensive accessories to maximize the look of a room without breaking the bank.

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

It is so important to us that our home style matches our current stage of life, so we need a space that can handle rough and tumble, get together's with friends and serve as our hang out spot for our little family. I set out to design and create a vibe that is clean, fresh, slightly coastal, a little boho and all kinds of comfortable. Leathers, shades of navy and deep cherry wood tones bring a masculine element while the soft velvet pillows and gold statement chandelier play up just a touch of glam.

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Our credenza is an IKEA Billy Bookcase hack with a custom, raw edge wood top and actual dock cleats for pulls. All of the art on the walls has sentimental meaning - the large gold framed map is a nautical chart of the area that my Dad has fished my entire life (and a nod to my home state!), the coral pieces are DIY and I hand painted the art piece above the mantle, which is flanked by over sized family photos. I love to mix metals so I didn't hesitate to add the silver candlesticks that are a mix of my grandmother's heirlooms and newer pieces that were gifted to us for our wedding. 

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

Boho Coastal Living Room Reveal

All Photos by Courtney Malone Photography 

Shop our Living Room here:

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And, if you wanna see more of our Before and After work, check out our last kitchen! 

The Best One Pieces, Tested and Approved

After I shared on Instagram Stories that Justin and I are headed off on a destination unknown 5 year anniversary trip this Spring, I received a ton of messages asking for my fave swim and cover up options. Ask and you shall receive, friends!

When it comes to swim wear, I look for major chest support for my DDD ladies, rouching around the tummy for a slimming effect and full tush coverage. I have really good luck with the swim brand La Blanca, which I usually snag on Amazon, but have spotted at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack and at TJ Maxx, so always keep an eye out. I also always find a huge selection of chic black one pieces at Target - my all time fave suit was an off-the-rack, no-try-on win I picked up on a formula run last year. I always wear a size Large in Target swim, and a 10 or 12 in La Blanca. 

For cover ups, I love light weight, easy to pack options. Bonus points if the cover up can transition from the pool to grabbing drinks, mostly so that I don't feel super exposed when I'm not next to the water. I've also been a fan of slapping on my denim shorts with an oversized button down (I size up one size) to keep the sun off of my arms and chest. 

All of these pics are from our Beach trip last year, when I was just 5 weeks postpartum, so you can absolutely be certain that boob and tummy support is being put to the test. I own or have tried on all of the swim options I've listed below - and I've rounded up my go-to cover options as well! 

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Favorite Classic One Pieces

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| suit | kimono

Favorite Strapless One Pieces

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Favorite Halter and One Shoulder One Pieces 

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Favorite Cover Ups

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5 Mom Friends Every Mom Needs in Her Life (and where to find them)

photo by Christa Rene Photography with my mommy blogger friend Lauren

I'm here to say it: there is no way I could survive Motherhood without my mom friends. Some of them live in my phone, some of them live down the street but all of them keep me sane. For me, having a well rounded roster of Mom Friends has proven to be an invaluable Peanut Gallery of advice, opinions and knowledge and they each fuel me when I'm running on empty. Are you out there look for a Mom Tribe? Here are five types mamas that you absolutely need in your life (and where to find them): 

1. The Justifying Mom
My absolute favorite type of mom friend is the mama who is there to support my less than conventional parenting moves. No matter how desperate the situation gets, she's the first to employ a White House worthy spin to make a girl feel better about her stellar motherhood skills. So the kids had popcorn for dinner? She' squick to point out that popcorn was once a healthy ear of corn so, really, it's not so far off from serving the base of that damn food pyramid. They had unlimited screen time for an entire day? No problem, think of the hand/eye coordination those kiddos are developing! The Justifying Mom is always looking out for you, reminding you that you've got this shiz and she's got you.  

Where to find her: the Chick Fil A play place. She'll be scrolling social media while her kids hit the slide because the best dinners are the ones that come with a toy. 

2. The Same Stage As You Mom
There might not be a mom more valuable to stash in your Mom Arsenal than a mama who has a baby that is exactly the same age as one of your own darling offspring. She's right there in the trenches with you, unjaded and worrying about the same things that you are. Who else could you possibly text "should her poop be neon orange?"(complete with photo evidence) without a preemptive warning? If it weren't for my Same Stage Mamas, I probably would have expected my firstborn to crawl at 4 months and held off on solids until he had a tooth. Hey, it takes a village, am I right?

Where to find her: the Bouncing Babies story hour at the library. It's free, segregated by age and you can gauge her level of chill by her enthusiasm over the chicken dance. 

3. The Been There Done That Mom
She's seen it all, and will be the first to remind you that "were you breastfed or formula fed?" will not be on your child's college applications (and that he won't take that paci with him when he gets in). The memories of sleepless nights are a bit more hazy for her but her perspective on what really matters is invaluable. When you feel like teething will never end she'll be the one to point out that braces are just around the corner, and unlike teething, braces ain't free. This mama will inspire you to appreciate your littles when they're little but not to sweat the small stuff because you'll be onto the next stage before you know it. 

Where to find her: the school volunteer committee you were roped into joining. She'll be one of the head honchos because she's been around a while but she knows what's up (and, since you're friends, she won't stick you with clean up duty). 

4. The Sympathizing Mom
She's the first to pour you a cup of coffee when you find out your kid is the biter in class, during day three of potty training or after that time you had to drag you screaming preschooler out of a children's theatre show about balloons. Bless her, the Sympathizing Mom never asks why, never suggests you read that latest parenting book on the "spirited child" and never, ever starts a sentence with "well, have you tried...". She's calm and steady, ready to remind you that you will survive this motherhood thing, even if just barely. 

Where to find her: The pediatrician's office. You'll bond over your respective baby ear infections and she'll know the best remedy to help your little sicky sleep and the best wine you can grab at CVS to help you sleep, too. 

5. The Down For Whatever Mom
Just got a call from the Husband that he'll be working late? This mama is your go-to girl for a last minute Happy Meal and wine playdate dinner. She is flexible, doesn't take her schedule too seriously and you never clean your house for her. She's the one that won't roll her eyes when you tell her you just can't handle another Snow Day off from school and she always knows which play ground is closest to a Starbucks. She's down to do whatever it takes to make it through the day. Bonus: at least one of her kids is always in pajamas and she has never once made a kid friendly craft from Pinterest.

Where to find her: at the playground, sitting on a bench while her kids are in shouting distance. She definitely won't be hovering near the slide to make sure they stick the landing. 

Now get out there and build that tribe!   

The Best of 2017 and What's Up for 2018

Without a doubt, 2017 was a wild ride....

We sold a house, lived in an apartment, renovated a new house, moved, had a baby, became a family of four, battled colic, lost more hours of sleep than I can count and documented it all right here on this little blog.

The fifth most viewed post of the year:
Dear Dads, This Is The One Gift Moms Really Want

Over the course of 2017, I published 68 blog posts that were viewed a million times from all over the world. It never ceases to amaze me that my hobby has turned into a business that truly sustains me on a personal level. When I feel lost in the motherhood madness, I know that I can turn to this space for an outlet, for a chance to be me (you know, the real me, not just Gray's Mom or Georgia's Spit Up Rag).

This year was a huge year full of goals met and dreams realized for me as a blogger. I was able to work with brands that inspire me, artists with incredible talent and fellow bloggers who have taught me invaluable lessons. My work has appeared on outlets like Scary Mommy, HuffPost, Real Simple, Food and Wine and more. (I read that sentence and think HOW is that even possible!?)

The fourth most read post of the year:
Baby Girl's Nursery Reveal 

 So, what's ahead?

On January first, I published a few quick Instagram polls asking what you guys wanted to see more of in the new year - and the messages and results were clear that a return to the real deal motherhood posts is in the cards. Many of you have been around long enough to remember my first year of motherhood and the posts that came out of that time - they are very honest, vulnerable and, in some cases, controversial. I loved writing those posts but as my audience grew and the exposure of my vulnerabilities increased, it got a little hot in the kitchen. Admittedly, I couldn't take the heat, so I hopped right out of that kitchen and haven't looked back. But, you are the reason this space is what it is, so this year I will do my damnedest to put on my big girl panties, write some vulnerable/real motherhood stuff and deal with what comes. I mean, let's be real here, I could write a novel on surviving colic, so it's not like I don't have the stories to tell!

The third most viewed post of the year
Maternity Wardrobe Essentials 

Much to my surprise, it seems that watching me squeeze myself into a pair of jeans really speaks to ya'll, so I will absolutely keep up the clothing recs and try on sessions. My apologies in advance to all of my fave photographers who have to say things like "ok, maybe not so awkward" during my "fashion" shoots, looks like we'll be doing it more this year!

Honestly, I had really hoped to start the 2018 update with a little something like "2018 is going to be a year of calm, a year of settling" but it looks like things are going to be crazier than ever. Once it all shakes out, I'll fill ya'll in, but needless to say, I'll have my hands full!

The second most viewed post of the year
The Ultimate List of Second Baby Must Haves

For the blog, my goal is work smarter, not harder, to streamline all of the "noise" that comes along with the blogging world, to write a little e-book geared for bloggers, to work with an international brand and to keep producing content that I'm proud of. I've really taken a step back from Instagram and the hustle, if you will, and am instead enjoying keeping it real on Insta Stories, so I'll keep that up this year as well.

And, the number one most viewed post of 2017, my claim to fame and a tiny taste of going viral:
How To Build The Ultimate Trader Joe's Cheese Board

I want to thank each of you for every single comment, like, share and the time you take to pop over here and read my posts. After 4 years of blogging, I know that this community has made Olive and Tate what it is, and I am forever grateful! If you have an idea/topic/post that you would love for me to write about please let me know! And I promise I am working on that cheap wine round up....

Happy 2018, Friends!