Gender Reveal Celebration

Since finding out I was pregnant, I think I always assumed we would find out the sex of the baby.  I'm too much of a planner and the stress of trying to think of not one - but two names - seemed like a lot.  As the time got closer to the ultrasound, I decided it would be fun to invite our parents down for some pizza and cake, so that we could all be surprised together.  I really didn't plan on throwing a gender reveal party.  I'll be honest, I felt like no one would really care about the gender except Matt and I and it seemed a bit self-indulgent to make everyone spend their Saturday afternoon waiting for us to cut into a cake to reveal pink or blue icing.  However, as the days passed, we discovered our friends and family were actually interested in sharing this moment with us - and not only did they show up - they created some of the cutest gender reveal treats, games and decór.  It ended up being such a special day and although I was convinced this little human was a girl - I couldn't have been happier to see that blue icing!

I am not a big pink and blue type of gal (I am actually currently planning a black and white baby shower), so I wanted to go with a neutral cake.  My good friend Val absolutely nailed the cake and I think it actually turned out prettier than the inspiration picture I showed her.  I saw these banner flag style cake toppers on Etsy and felt pretty sure that I could create my own.  The timing was perfect as I found this mini flag banner in the $1 section at Target (seriously what did we do before the Target $1 section?!?).  I purchased a dowel rod for under $1 at Michael's and voilá - my own custom cake topper for way less than the ones being sold on Etsy.  I can't even begin to tell you how AH-mazing this cake tasted!  Seriously, if you need a cake, cupcakes or other sweet treat, definitely check out Valerie's Custom Cakes and Cupcakes.  The "baby" balloon was an Etsy purchase from Jamboree Party Box - you can check it out here.  The tassel garland was from The Flair Exchange.  You can actually choose your colors and make a truly custom garland!

My picture below is a bit blurry and does not do these eggs justice!  My aunt found this idea on Pinterest and I have to say they were an absolute hit!  We also had pink and blue chocolate covered strawberries, pink and blue punch and "nuts" and "no nuts" M&Ms.

Guests could show their support for either Team Girl or Team Boy by sporting these stylish shades.  We also had an area set up for everyone to cast their vote and also offer a name suggestion.

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I didn't pay much attention to any of the old wives' tales regarding the sex of the baby.  However, I think 7 out of 10 of my answers below were on the boy side, so there may just be some truth behind it! 

LOVE this Mama Bird shirt I found on Etsy...I am sensing a theme here.  It's from The Brunch Club and you can check it out here

This is a truly awful photo of us at the end of a very long day, but I had to share Matt's t-shirt!

My good friend April absolutely shocked me with her Pinterest skills and the work she put into making this day special for us.  I honestly never knew she had this Martha Stewart side to her...and now that I know, she's in trouble! 

All the wonderful ladies that dragged their hubbies and babies to our house in order to celebrate with Matt and I.  I have to say I am a pretty lucky lady and this baby is going to have some amazing aunties!

PIN ME for Safe Keeping! 

Sharing Some Big News!

I haven't posted in a while, but guys I have good excuses!  First, after several years working in the events industry, I decided to finally take the leap and start my own wedding and event planning business, Olive & Rose Events.  It's certainly been a labor of love and has taken a good chunk of my time previously devoted to blogging!  But let’s be honest, that’s not why you’re here right now!  Matt and I (and Manny) are so excited to announce that we are expecting our own little human (a Boy) this August!  I've kept it quiet for a while and am so happy to be sharing the news with all of you today.  The last few months have been a whirlwind filled with every conceivable emotion from joy to being completely overwhelmed to some moments of uncontrollable crying and anger (thanks pregnancy hormones).  My path hasn't always been traditional – (I’m considered in the medical world to be of “advanced maternal age” or the even crueler a “geriatric pregnancy” LOL). I suppose they have to call it something, but I can’t help but feel that the path I have traveled has been mine and mine alone and I finally feel (at least for this moment) that I’m in the place I’m supposed to be.  I’ve tried really hard (and failed at times) to “trust the timing of my own life.”  I think it’s important for everyone to remember that your timeline isn’t going to be the same as someone else’s and that’s ok and actually pretty amazing.  I've always wanted to be a mom and I can’t even begin to imagine the adventure that awaits.  I'm so thankful for all of you - and all of the continued support whether it be the blog, or the new business, or this crazy adventure ahead.  I promise to be back to blogging very soon - I sincerely miss it, so please stop back in the coming weeks!  Oh - and I literally have zero boy names in mind - so please if you have suggestions, let me know!

A huge thank you to Lauren of Wellesley and King for these photos.  She managed to capture not one, but many, photos of Manny actually sitting and looking at the camera, which I was convinced was an impossible feat.  Check out her site to see more from her portfolio! 

Festive in Floral

I'll admit it - I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day.  I'm not entirely sure why...I just never really gave it much thought or cared much about it.  I also usually don't dress in pink or red or anything super girly.  However, this adorable dress I found on Shopbop has me a little more excited for the holiday as I think it would be the perfect Valentine's date dress.  The ruffles and neck tie bow are totally feminine and I could definitely use this bright floral print to chase away the winter blues.  I also love that the length is short enough to pair with over-the-knee boots.  I even went full hearts and love with these cute rings from H&M (only $5.99).  So what are your Valentine's Day plans?  Night out on the town?  Romantic night in?  Quality time with your favorite gals?  I'll be looking for an excuse to wear this dress again...even if it's while sitting on the couch eating pizza.

Shop the Look!

Dress - re:named Floral Neck Tie Dress - Shopbop  / Boots (similar) - Miss KG Vegas Heeled Over the Knee Boots - ASOS / Bag - H&M - currently not online, but also love this one / Heart and Love Rings - H&M 

Friday Favorites

1.      Favorite new podcast!  My friend Emily Levenson has partnered with Betsy Brokett to launch a new podcast about finding what nourishes you – mind, body and soul – and I couldn’t be more excited to start listening!  If your goals for 2017 include getting healthier or embracing the bigger picture of wellness, their podcast, Nourish + Flourish, is for you.  So far, topics include the power of daily routines, movement versus exercise, an introduction to tarot and books that have changed their lives.

All the links you need:
The podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nourish-+-flourish/id1194201691
The website: nourishandflourish.us
Twitter: @nandfpodcast
Facebook: facebook.com/nourishandflourishpodcast

2.  Favorite new books to add to my reading list!  I've said it a million times, but I am such a nerd when it comes to books and reading.  I love diving into a good book, though I must admit I wish I had more time to devote to the hobby.  I'll also take a physical paperback book any day over a digital version.  Feeling those pages and breathing in the smell (yes books have a smell lol) is half the enjoyment.  I recently stumbled onto a post on The Everygirl titled "Inspirational Books That Will Actually Change Your Life."  Count me in.  I haven't read any on the list, but I'll certainly be adding a few to my Amazon cart this weekend.

chasing slow by erin loechner is first on my list

chasing slow by erin loechner is first on my list

3.  Favorite thing related to Dogs this week!  Yes, I am dog-obsessed.  You guys already know that.  The lovely people at Puppy Spot recently sent me this flowchart that's aimed at matching you with the perfect dog breed.  It's easy to fall in love with any number of puppies, but it's incredibly important that you educate yourself about the various breeds and are prepared for a lifelong commitment.  I can't stress this enough.  This fun flowchart is a great way to get an idea of what breeds might match your lifestyle.  Cheers to finding your perfect furry companion!

4. Favorite Beyonce news of the Week!  Beyonce announced she's pregnant with twins...and the world went crazy.  She can do no wrong in my mind, but I was quite confused by the announcement photo.

 

5. Favorite home beauty treatment of the week!  I don't know about you, but the cold winter temps do a serious number on my lips.  They are so dry and cracked everyday.  I've tried all the lip balms and nothing seems to really work, so I headed to Pinterest to look for some home remedies.  Now, I'll be honest, I plan on trying this one this weekend, so I can't say with absolute certainty that it works.  However, I like that it's natural and simple, so I'm willing to give it a try!  

 

6. Favorite meme of the week (ok, maybe of all time)!  I think this is hilarious regardless of who you voted for...though I'm sure not all would agree.  But I'm sorry, I literally cannot stop laughing...the caption is priceless.

How to Stay Motivated...in February

It happens every year.  The ball drops in Time Square and suddenly everyone is all “New Year, New Me.”  As a blogger who follows a lot of other bloggers on social media, it smacked me particularly hard in the face this year.  Instagram photos of shiny new planners with #girlboss and #dreambig hashtags.  Everyone chattering on about their fresh content and big ideas for the coming year.  And don’t get me wrong – usually I am one of those people.  I love shiny new planners with all their blank pages full of possibility.  I love goal setting and taking on new and exciting projects.  But this year....gag.  I was Just. Not. Feeling. It.  I didn’t particularly want to be Debbie Downer, but that’s where I found myself.  My motivation level was on empty.  So what’s a girl to do when she’s got zero mojo, but can’t just hide under the covers until spring?  I gave this some serious thought and decided to share what I came up with in the hopes it might help my fellow #girlbosses who just aren’t feeling quite so motivated these days.

1.  Break down tasks into blocks of time.  Here's what I mean by this: I often become overwhelmed by things that shouldn't be overwhelming.  For example, I will walk past a basket of laundry for days dreading the idea of having to fold it and put it away.  Now in reality, how long will it really take me to complete this task?  15 / 20 minutes?  Basically, way less time than I've spent dreading and ignoring it.  So, I've started to assign times to my tasks.  For instance, I will tell myself that for at least 30 minutes I will work on doing laundry and putting clothes away.  That is all I will do during that time - no distractions.  Once that 30 minutes is reached, one of two things typically happens.  1. I will feel relieved / proud that I accomplished something other than just watching TV or flipping through social media.  2.  I will usually feel more energized and want to keep working on the project even after the 30 minutes.  I compare it to exercising.  The worst part about exercising is getting started.  Once you get going, you always feel better and never regret working out.  I recommend breaking your tasks down into 30, 45, or 60 minute increments.  Setting a time limit lets your brain know that there is a stopping point and makes the task seem a lot less overwhelming.

2.  Get organized.  This one kind of goes without saying.  Of course, you are going to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated if you are surrounded by chaos.  Buy that shiny new planner and start setting some goals.  Some people do great with electronic organizers, but I am more of an old school pen and paper kind of girl.  I like to be able to write things down and feel the satisfaction of physically checking them off my list.  Find what works for you and get started.  The start of the new year is a great time to get your house organized.  I'm currently working on getting my home-office organized and prettied up.  I don't know about you, but I absolutely cannot work with clutter and mess all around me.  The new year is also a great time to dive into your closet and purge all those items that you know you didn't wear last year.  And don't fool yourself, if you didn't wear them in the last 12 months, you are not going to wear them in 2017.

3.  Think Spring.  Maybe you're a winter person.  But even winter people are a little "over it" as February trudges along.  Something I've found helpful is to incorporate some "Spring" into the more dreary months of the year.  What do I mean by this?  Well, we can't force the sun to make an appearance, but we can do small things to change our scenery and change our attitude.  Trade in that dark nail polish for a bright pink.  Add fresh flowers to a room you spend a lot of time in.  Swap out the pine scented candle for something floral or beachy.  Heck, start researching that beach vacation.  Subtle changes to your environment can have a big impact on how you feel.

4.  Do Something Good for the Soul.  Yes, you have a massive to-do list that seems to grow by the hour.  Walking away and ignoring that list might seem like the last thing you should do.  However, often times it's the smartest thing you can do.  I learned this lesson the hard way, but once learned I've lived by it.  During college and the years that followed, I used to push myself to get things done.  I'd sacrifice sleep, stay up all hours of the night and usually have some sort of tear-filled meltdown at 3 AM.  I've learned that you need to listen to your body and pause when your body is telling you it's time.  If you're sitting at your desk, but have done nothing but scroll through Facebook mindlessly for the last hour, it's time to walk away.  It can be scary to take that pause or to table your work for the next day, but it's so important.  What you do during that break is totally up to you, but should be something that brings you peace and happiness.  For me, 99% of the time it's taking my dog for a walk or to the park.  The combination of fresh air, getting my legs moving and seeing his wagging tail is all I need to feel reinvigorated.  I promise you, you'll be more productive when you return to your work.

5. Stop engaging in things that make you miserable.  Sounds simple enough right?  Surprisingly, this might be the most difficult thing in this post for people to actually commit to.  How many times are you scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and you feel like your eyes may permanently roll back into your head from reading certain people’s posts?  Don’t deny it…I know I am not alone here.  However, for some insane reason we keep following these people.  We let these opinions and values that we don’t agree with trickle into our mind and into our lives every.single.day.  It’s ludicrous.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret – it’s OK to unfollow these people.  It’s ok to not know what some rando from high school ate for lunch today.  Just Stop.  We live in this world where we fear we have to know what every single person is doing at every minute of the day or we might – god forbid – miss out on something.  Here’s what I’ve learned after my month of “unfollowing” people – you most certainly will not miss out on anything and the peace that you gain back is beyond refreshing.

Of course, this idea of not engaging in things that make you miserable extends well beyond social media into real life.  How many of you have a “friend” that is constantly negative and complaining?  I had a “friend” awhile back that I swear to you felt happier if I told her something in my life wasn’t going well.  In this case, misery LOVED company.  Who needs friends like that?  Remember when you were growing up and your parents wanted to know who your friends were, who you were hanging out with?  There’s a reason people.  Who you surround yourself with has a lot to do with who you become and how you view life.  Have a job that makes you miserable?  I’m not going to tell you to quit because I had people do that to me years ago and it’s infuriating.  Sorry, I can’t just quit my job – I have debt and bills and finding a decent job takes time.  However, I will tell you to start applying to new jobs.  Take some classes.  Create your own side business.  There are a million things you can do to shift the focus from the seeming misery of your current situation to those things that are going to set you up for future success.

6. Go easy on yourself.  Wait, we are talking about getting motivated and now you are telling me to go easy on myself?!  Shouldn’t I be pushing myself?  Well, yes and no.  Our world has become saturated with the idea that busy is better.  “Hustle” is a mantra that we toss around like confetti.  I shared awhile back how at one point in my life I was going to school for my Masters, working a full-time job, a part-time job and doing events on the side.  And for the most part, I was happy…because I like busy – I thrive on busy.  The problem is, especially for self-proclaimed perfectionists (like myself), being busy can become an obsession.  We start to compare ourselves to the other “busy” people in our lives and end up falling short regardless of how much we accomplish in a day.  It may seem odd to throw in a Ron Swanson quote at this juncture, but in an episode of Parks and Rec, he said “Never half-ass two things.  Whole-ass one thing.”  Sure it’s a funny quote, but it’s a pretty important idea.  The more tasks you layer onto your plate, the less you can give to each one.  So what I’m saying is, be kind to yourself.  Maybe you didn’t cross all 50 things off your to-do list, but you’re human.  Slow down, take a break, and I promise you the motivation to pursue those things that you are truly passionate about will come. 

If you still need more motivation, last time I checked Spring is only 48 days, 16 hours, 14 minutes and 54 seconds away.  We can do this.

Weekend Getaway - Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

Weekend Getaway - Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

What better way to beat the winter blues then a weekend getaway with a few fabulous girlfriends?  This past weekend, myself and three of my blogger faves, Ashley from Afternoon Espresso, Zoé from Zoé with Love Blog and Brianne from Just a Girl Boss headed to the picturesque Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.  If you’ve never been, Nemacolin is truly a one-of-a-kind resort, with a wide variety of luxurious accommodations, an amazing spa, golf-course, shops and an extensive selection of delectable dining options.

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60 Degrees in January

60 Degrees in January

I'm loving this adorable cardigan from Lulu’s that I swear to you I wore for three days in a row…and I’m not ashamed at all.  It’s difficult to know how to dress this time of year, especially here in Pittsburgh where it was 60 degrees on Saturday (not typical for January here).  Cardigans are a great way to layer up and ensure you’re comfortable no matter the weather.

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Day of Giving

Day of Giving

Today, I am sharing a few words and images surrounding our day of RAKS.  We joked that the more appropriate term would be PAKS (Planned Acts of Kindness) because we did plan quite a few things, but I wanted to make sure I hit a few of my favorite charities.  I share this not for a pat on the back because honestly we did nothing out of the ordinary.  I share it mainly because I want to show everyone that kindness is a choice – and most of the time it’s an easy choice.

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No Place Like Home for the Holidays

No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Today, I’m doing something a little different and taking you inside my home to check out some of this year’s holiday decorations.  I don’t consider myself an interior design expert by any means, but I think it’s fun to see how other people decorate for the holidays and to draw inspiration from their ideas.  We just moved into our new home in May, so it’s certainly still a work in progress.  Since moving out of my parents’ home, I’ve always lived in apartments, so I was super excited to have a home to decorate this year.  

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Holiday Party Style & 3 More Festive Looks

Holiday Party Style & 3 More Festive Looks

Today, I'm so excited to be joining three of my favorite Pittsburgh bloggers, Ashley from Afternoon Espresso, Lauren from Wellsley and King and Zoe from Zoe with Love to share looks for every holiday occasion.  Ashley is wearing the cutest outfit for visiting the Christmas tree farm, Lauren is showing us how to add some sparkle while still being work appropriate and Zoe is snuggling up in some of the cutest pjs for Christmas morning.  I'm wearing this adorable lace and tulle dress that's perfect for New Year's Eve or for any celebration that requires a little glam.

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Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls

To get into the festive spirit, I am sharing some of my favorite holiday decor items.  It's our first Christmas in a new house, so it's pretty exciting and to the dismay of my significant other, I want to buy everything.  He keeps telling me we need money for things like a snow blower (lame), while I would rather invest in things like marble Christmas tree figurines and pom-pom garlands.

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Snow Day!

Snow Day!

I ordered this cardigan and hat from Nordstrom last week and I am so glad I did because both items were perfect for the weather.  I'm absolutely obsessed with this cardigan.  It comes in three colors and it's a very chunky, thick knit which is great if you are like me and are always cold.  I'm also in love with this floppy wool hat that comes in five different colors.  It's perfect for those "I washed my hair three days ago" type of days.

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