Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Does Instagram Make You Struggle?

There's some things I’ve been super aware of lately that I come back to pretty often, but don’t always feel like I know how to communicate them properly. I won’t try to say things perfectly I’ll just try. Sometimes I find it hard to find a balance here. I want to remember some of the best times of my life, to capture them and share them. At the same time, I’m aware it can give people the impression that my life is perfect (which it most certainly is not!). I've definitely had people make comments eluding to that or have friends that in the past have struggled with FOMO and comparison enough to make them a not so nice person anymore. On the flip side, I imagine that venting or complaining TOO much can lead to putting people off, causing me to seem ungrateful because other people have it way worse. Not to mention how obnoxious that would become. 

I honestly try to find a happy medium. I simply try to just keep it real. I’m a real person and I’m typically a happy girl. I’ve always tried to find the silver lining, the rainbow after the storm, the light at the end of the tunnel… Its who I am and I’ve always been that way. But, please don’t mistake that for my life being "perfect". I feel blessed to have a hard working husband and a healthy beautiful thriving family, but the truth is, we struggle on the day to day just like everyone else! My husband and I argue over dumb crap, my kids make me want to scream and drink, our income is so shaky most of the time because my husband is still in the early stages of starting a business and is constantly adding onto his business to grow it, which is wonderful, but it also means more money out and absolutely zero guarantees! High risk, high reward right? That’s what we hope for, and we pray that a lot. Living on a prayer has truly taken on a whole new meaning for us these past few years! 

I’m not saying this to make make you feel bad for me or to think I’m a soldier. I’m saying… Hey, my life is truly wonderful, but it aint perfect! We’re over here trying to find joy in the small things and to remember that ultimately God is in charge not us and up to this point, He has never once let us down even when its come down to the wire and we weren’t sure if we were going to make it… He pulls through every time. every. single. time. Maybe not always the way we anticipated, but still He does. I encourage you not to compare yourself, your journey, your family or your looks to other people's on the gram. You don’t know what their life is like and some people are happy not sharing “real life” things. 

Before I'm done ranting I just want to say...
Remember you are not alone and you are probably blessed way more than you know!
I'm all about doing life with other people and opening myself up because even if I end up looking stupid, I feel whole. I feel like when other people have taken a chance on me, opened up to me, been vulnerable with me, and cried and laughed with me, i've felt the most genuine form of love. Don't be afraid to be real, it attracts others just like that and builds the most amazing community of people. What's better than that?

(#blessed necklace by @erinpelicano use code THELITTLES for 15% off!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Small Shop Holiday SALES

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday... whatever it is I've got a pretty amazing round up to share with you guys! Here's the list below! I've separated it into two categories... products/services that I have personally used, and ones that were recommended to me by friends! So hopefully you all find some great options to shop small this holiday season!

Product I've used and love...

@jamesmichelle // www.jamesmichelle.com - 20% off use code "BLACKFRIDAY20"

@merry.maker.shop // www.merrymakershop.com - 20% off use code "THANKS20" (valid until 11/26)

@topknots.co // www.topknots.co - 15% off use code "BLK15" (valid until 11/25)

@kortnijeane // www.kortnijeane.com - 35% off use code "BLACKMAGIC" (valid until 11/26)

@vintagestampjewels // www.vintagestampjewels.etsy.com - everything is already discounted!

@ofonesea // www.ofonesea.com - 40% off use code "Aloha40" (11/20-11/27)

@gigipip // www.gigipip.comSpend $50 get 15% off, Spend $75 get 20% off, Spend $100 get 25% off + free shipping  (valid until 11/28)

@themomculture // www.themomculture.com - 25%off use code "thankful25" (11/20-11/26)

@buckwhatfoods // www.buckwhat.com - 20% off use code "thankful" (11/20-11/25)

@gabriisle // www.gabriisle.com - 23% off use code "thanks23" (11/20-11/26) free shipping with $50+

@shoplovedua // www.designdua.com - so code needed! (sale runs until 11/27)

@wildexplorers //  www.shopwildexplorers.com - use code "EARLYBLACKFRIDAY"

@lilyjadeco // www.lily-jade.com - ALL BAGS ON SALE + free packing cases with a purchase of a bag! (ends 11/26)

@soulfoxliving // www.soul-fox-living.myshopify.com - 30% off all things kindness!

@californiababy // www.californiababy.com - 15% off all bulk sizes!! Use code "Holiday15" (11/1-12/4)

Products recommended by friends...

@mintedmethodshop // www.mintedmethodshop.com - 25% off use code "BFCM25" (11/23-11/26

@phyllisandrosie // www.phyllisandrosie.com - 30% off  use code "BLKFRIYAY" also on Cyber Monday for any order that's $150+ will receive a free pair of earrings ($75 value)!

@masalababynyc // www.masalababy.com - 50% off use code "MBTHANKS2018" (11/26) free shipping $100+

@tokimats // www.tokimats.com - 15% off use code "SBS15" (11/24)

@lovemajka // www.lovemajka.com - 20% off use code "lovemajka"

@loveallette // www.alletteboutique.com- 30% off use code "FORME" (11/20-11/26)

@rebeldisciple // www.rebeldisciple.com - 30% off use code "BLACKFRIDAY" ($25 min purchase)

@bookerandme // www.bmenyc.com - 20% off use code "BLKFRIDAY" (11/20-11/26)

@therhappystudios // www.youneedtherhappy.com - off is through facebook www.facebook.com/events/248477519163290/ 

@milestones_by_ab // www.ashleighbergman.com - 22% off the entire site (11/23)

@babybaazaar // www.babybaazaar.com - 30% off use code "BFCM30" (11/23-11/26)

@victoriaroadny // www.victoria-road.com - Black Friday & Small Business Saturday (11/23-24):
- Buy 1 girls’ dress or skirt, get 1 matching 18" doll dress or outfit (while supplies last!)
- Enter "DOLLYANDME" at checkout (Limit 2 uses per customer)
Shop for Good Sunday (11/25):
- Buy 1 girls’ dress, get 1 girls' black velvet cropped jacket for free ($88 value) (while supplies last!)
Enter "VELVET" at checkout  (Limit 1 use per customer)
Cyber Monday (11/26):
- 40% off any order over $50 Enter "40OVER50" at checkout 

@partakefoods // www.partakefoods.com - 20% off use code "CYBER20" (11/26)

@_bonnenuitbaby // www.bonnenuitbaby.com - $100 (normally $150) virtual newborn sleep consultation. Must book between 11/23 & 11/27 but can be redeemed anytime before 1/31/19

@worthythreads // www.worthy-threads.com - 30% off use code"Bf18" (11/20-11/30) 

@treasuretrunktheatre // http://www.treasuretrunktheatre.com/birthday-parties-2/ - $75 off all Birthday parties booked at the Brooklyn location and 10% off Birthday activities at your home! Use code "THANKFUL" Bookings available in Brooklyn and LA. Deposit must be made online to confirm party by 11/26 at 5pm.

@bashandsass // Bash + Sass – Use code PUMPKINPIE for 20% off site wide from 11/23 – 11/26. 

@chasingpaper // Chasing Paper – From 11/23 through 11/26, Chasing Paper will be hosting their Cutting Room Floor sale. Score select wallpaper starting at $20/panel, and all other wallpaper on sale for $32/panel  (normally $40/panel). They will also be offering their art prints and wall stickers for 50% off during this time. No code needed.

  • Free shipping on all orders from 11/17 – 12/1. No code necessary.
  • On 11/23 (Black Friday), take 15% off + receive free shipping. No code necessary.
  • On 11/24 (Small Business Saturday), take 20% off + receive free shipping + a chance to win a gift with purchase. No code necessary.
  • On 11/26 (Cyber Monday), take 15% off + receive free shipping. No code necessary.

 @shopmeridianny // Meridian – Use code "HOLIDAY25" at checkout to receive 25% off all orders 
over $75 (11/20 – 11/26) 

  • From 11/22 – 11/25: take 30% off your entire order with code READYMADE30; get free shipping to the US and Canada.
  • From 11/26 – 11/28: save up to 40% on Cyber Monday Bundles (no code needed); take 30% off non-bundles with code READYMADE30; get free shipping to the US and Canada.
 Cyber Monday Bundles:
o    90s Babe Choker Stack Bundle (Not Your Mother’s Pearl Necklace + Grungette Star + Pearlette Star) will be $144 (retail value of $240)
o    Necklace Keepsakes Bundle (Dollfriend + Bubble Wand necklaces) will be $96 (retail value of $160)
o    Bracelet Keepsakes Bundle (Dollfriend + Bubble Wand bracelets) will be $78 (retail value of $130)
o    Best Friends Forever Necklace Bundle (2 Dollfriend necklaces) will be $96 (retail value of $160)
o    All-Grown-Up Bundle (1 each of Not Your Mother’s Pearl Necklace in goldrose gold, and silver) will be $162 (retail value of $270)
o    90’s Nostalgia Bundle (Forever Sticker Earrings + Bubble Wand Bracelet) will be $144 (retail value of $240)

@hellokestan // KESTAN – On Black Friday (11/23), Small Business Saturday (11/24) and Cyber Monday (11/26): 
  • take 20% off orders under $100
  • take 25% off orders $100 - $249 
  • take 30% off orders of $250 or more. 
Includes selected sale items and free shipping on all orders. No code necessary.

@elvafields // Elva Fields – From 11/23 – 11/26, take 30% off site wide with code SOGRATEFUL at checkout.

@maisonmiru // Maison Miru – Get the Surprise Ear Bar Trio (including two pairs of studs and one ear cuff, guaranteed to be a $100+ value, regularly retails for $69) for just $49 from 11/20 – 11/26. No code necessary.

@seriousserum // www.seriousserum.com - free shipping use code "SMOOTH"

@getfreshwipes // www.freshwipes.com - free shipping use code "SOFRESH"

@totesavvy // www.totesavvy.com/collections/organizer - up to 45% off every Totesavvy, no code needed! (11/19-12/10)

@bestustudio // www.bestustudio.com - 30% off use code "Grateful" (11/23-11/26)

@reytoz // www.reytoz.com - 25% off use code "THANKSFORFOLLOWING25" (11/23-11/26)

@paynesgrayhome // https://www.paynesgray.com/pages/blackout-sale - up to 30% off select items no code needed! (11/20-12/3)

@luluandshay_jewelry // www.luluandshay.com - 20% off + free shipping use code "THANKS20" (11/20-11/25) Also through the month of December a percentage of their sales will be donated to help with the devastation of the California wildfires. 

@matrescenceskin // www.matrescenceskin.com - 20% off entire Rose Glow collection (11/20-11/26) no code needed.

@rookiehumans // www.rookiehumans.com - 30% off use code "EARLYACCESS" 

That's it for now! I was originally going to post photos but the list got so long that it would take me even longer to do that before posting and I don't want you guys to miss these sales!! I may add photos in slowly or just put them on my stories to share with you guys! Or maybe both depending on how much time I have before Turkey Day! Happy shopping small!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Meet Severina // Gabri Isle

I met Severina in person through HeyMama earlier this year so I'm a bit biased when I tell you that she is pretty freaking awesome! We met a couple times and discussed our dreams and goals a bit and right away I was very impressed with her! Not only is she funny (I only hang out with funny people) ;) but she is super driven and hard working! Because of all of these things, I'm excited to share with you some of what she's doing and let you in on a little pre opening special she has going on. She's opening an online shop called Gabri Isle. It can be best described as an e-commerce platform that offers curated collections of modern baby clothes from European female-driven brands.  How awesome is that?? She's also sharing some of her best traveling with littles tips!! I'll get to all of that, but first check out the cute pieces she sent me (ok really Iyla)! 

how adorable is this nautical jumper? It has easy snaps at the top and is soft yet durable!

The cozy bands at the bottom keep the jumper from getting caught under her feet!

This dusty rose colored dress is everything! First off I love the color!

2nd... look at that cute low back! Now that it's getting chillier just throw on a cute little jean jacket, but in warmer weather how cute is this?

the ruffle sleeves add a feminine touch and the fabric is super soft!

Its a great length too!

Now that you've seen a bit of what Severina's shop style is, lets get to know her a little better! Here's a little Q + A I did with her so you get a better idea of who she is and what her shop is like! A bit of a face to a name :)

Severina, her husband, and precious daughter on their first trip abroad as a family to Spain.

Q & A

1. Where did the name Gabri Isle come from?

The inspiration for the name came from my daughter.  We gave her two middle names in honor of her grandmother and my last name. Gabri means “my strength” and Isle is a translation of my last name. When it came down to picking a name for the company, I wanted to name it after my daughter and also after my own roots, both of which have inspired this venture and molded it into what it has become today.

2. Who or what inspired you to start this venture of owning an online shop?

It has been a dream of mine to build a company.  I have always been interested in the fashion world and before my daughter was born I started getting interested in baby clothes and even designed my own outfit for her to wear home from the hospital - a double breasted suit in honor of my hopes for her in the wake of "I’m With Her." When she was 4 months we took her on a family vacation to Costa Brava, Spain, and I fell in love with the clothes there. I noticed how much I loved the European aesthetic and how expensive it was in the United States for the same quality and look. That's how the idea began building. I started talking to female brand owners across the pond, traveling to Europe to attend fashion week, and meeting these entrepreneurs in person. Having my daughter has definitely inspired me but also given me the push I needed to go after my dreams. I want to set an example for her and she makes me feel a sense of urgency I hadn’t felt before.

3. How would you describe the style of Gabri Isle?

Gabri Isle carries European wear for babies but with a modern twist. Overall, I fell in love with the vintage aesthetic but from a modern perspective. For example, I think peter-pan collars are cute for the little ones and I love masterfully designed outerwear, but updated for today. Personally, I love unique pieces that have stories behind them and that is what Gabri Isle offers. Some of our brands are using dead-stock fabric or producing capsule collections so by definition there is limited supply, ensuring your babe is wearing something unique.

4. How would you describe your own personal style?

I love curating my wardrobe - picking out select pieces one at a time. My style is eclectic but I have always loved the black and white aesthetic and color blocking. I look for pieces that are simple yet interesting and unusual in some way. I always pick up new pieces when I'm traveling and I tend to hold onto them for years. I find items that are unique and I love wearing them season after season when you might not be able to get them anymore.

5. What is something people wouldn’t expect when getting to know you?

I was actually born in Ukraine and immigrated to the U.S. with my family when I was six. Seeing my parents start over in a new country has always fueled me forward and is a driving force behind the creation of Gabri Isle.

6. What does a typical day look like for you?

These days the juggle is real! Both my husband and I work during the day and travel for work a fair amount. I work on Gabri Isle in the evenings and sometimes into the night. Although no two days are alike, I make sure every evening from 5:30 PM until her bedtime is reserved for time with my daughter. I look forward to it everyday!

7. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

I was just thinking about this! I would love the ability to freeze time - even if it was a power I could use only a select few times.  Sometimes it feels like time is moving too fast and there’s so much I want to accomplish and I think that if I could freeze time for a bit I could catch up.

Thanks Severina for answering these and allowing us to get to know you better! She is doing an exclusive closed pre-launch at the end of the month that's open to early subscribers and friends and family.  All who are are invited will receive a password to shop and 20% off site-wide.  People can sign up at www.gabriisle.com for an invite.

Now for those awesome travel tips!!

Globetrotting/trotting anywhere at all... with Baby!

Before our daughter was born, my husband and I decided that we would continue traveling after our baby was here. We’ve both been bitten by the travel bug - whether it’s to the other side of the world or a day trip we plan the morning of - we find it hard to stay in one place for too long! So before she was born, we made a 90’s movie-style pact that we were going to travel with our little one. We took our first plane trip with her at 5 weeks and have been overseas with her several times so far.  Traveling with a baby/toddler is not always easy but I believe it's worth it. We love immersing her in different cultures and experiences early on and hope to foster in her an appreciation for others of all backgrounds.

That said, traveling with a baby can be an interesting experience that leaves one wondering if you’re being punked. We’ve found some travel hacks that have worked for us.

1) Find the right "accessories"

We researched travel items (carriers, strollers, diaper bags, etc.) like two college students in desperate need to finish our thesis. We wanted to figure out what would make our life easier and how to get around the need to seemingly pack eight suitcases for one tiny human.  The few items at the top of the list are the Doona stroller for babies, the Nesting Days baby carrier, and the 3-in-1 portable bassinet diaper bag.

The night before our first flight with our daughter my husband purchased a Doona and we've never looked back. We've mitigated the need for so many things when traveling with baby by using the Doona, which is a stroller/carseat in one and is FAA approved.  There are no separate pieces to take off and it doesn't need a base so you can use it in any car and in any country (and on a plane!).

The Nesting Days carrier was a great way for us to take the baby on the plane early on because she was able to sleep inside and I could breastfeed her on take-off and landing (it was also slimming!). People couldn’t believe there was an infant on the plane when we landed that first time - she was so comfy in there and slept the whole time!

The portable bassinet was a great item to have for everything from beach trips to picnics. The bag allows you to pack all your regular diaper bag essentials and then unfolds to become a bassinet, so no need to bring a baby carrier and all the baby needs separately.  It was easy and convenient and our baby slept in there on multiple beach trips!

2) Taking night-time flights

Babies-turned-toddlers can be difficult to entertain on long flights. Timing our flights has worked well for longer trips. We try to shoot for somewhere between 9:00 PM and midnight, knowing she’ll definitely be tired and ready for bed. Our last overseas trip with her was to Copenhagen. We got her in her pajamas at the airport and she slept most of the 8-hour flight.

3) Use a standard crib or pack-n-play

We were gifted a Graco Pack ’n Play and we used it almost exclusively at home as a bassinet and a crib for the first 14 months. The pack ’n plays are almost universal and we've found that no matter what country or city we're in, we can find a similar pack ‘n play. This has helped our little one adapt quickly to her new surroundings and go to sleep!

4) New “toys” for entertainment

Before a flight, I like to get something new for her to play with that I know will keep her entertained. We're in a phase right now where she wants to put the caps on all bottles.  Before our last trip I purchased empty makeup containers with wide flat covers (so it's not a choking hazard) for her to play with. I put them in a drawstring bag for her to open and pull out one by one. Those empty bottles kept her busy on the plane and beyond.  We have been home for a couple months since that trip and she is still learning to twist those caps on the empty bottles!

5) Getting Baby their Own Plane Seat

Domestically, we’ve found that travel with a lap infant is fairly easy. However, a long overseas flight is a different story. We’ve gone about getting our daughter her own seat in different ways, but it has been worth it every time. The first time we flew to Europe with her, we found inexpensive tickets from an airport that was 2.5 hours away. We decided that was worth it and ended up driving to Philadelphia from DC to fly direct and to give our babe her own seat. It was a huge load off of us.

Now that she’s a toddler, we find that having her own seat with her own designated spot to sleep in is priceless! Having that space and comfort for all of you is helpful, especially since you have to be on parent-duty right away upon landing. Tips for getting an additional seat for baby are: using miles, booking on less popular routes to raise your chances of getting a free seat, or flying out of different airports, like we did.

Although traveling with a baby can be stressful, we’ve found that with a bit of planning and creativity, the world can be your oyster - even with baby!

Thanks Severina!! These tips are amazing! Don't forget to click here to get an invite to receive 20% off when her shop goes live! I'm so excited for you all to see all the amazing pieces she has for you little ones! Happy Monday! And thanks in advance for supporting my beautiful friend!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Yup, I Freaked The F//k Out!

That's a nice way of putting it really. I'm going to be completely vulnerable with you all because I like you, and I didn't start this instagram and blog to be a distant person who looks like her life is perfectly in order! Maybe you'll read this and feel really good about yourself. Or, maybe you'll read it and feel less alone. I'm totally down for either one. Bottom line is, I feel a tug on my heart to share with you how I freaked out yesterday.

I woke up late due to my sweet baby girl sleeping in and the fact that I was up until the wee hours of the morning getting things done (preparing for work and doing laundry amongst other things). I try not to stay up late, but sometimes it's the ONLY time I have to get things done. I had 10 minutes to finish helping my bigger 3 kids get ready for school and then we rushed out the door. I've tried to teach them to do more for themselves in the morning because I have a needy baby who can't make herself a bottle or get herself dressed. Some days my bigger kids do well with making their own breakfast, getting dressed and ready, and packing some of their lunch. Other days they do terribly. This was one of those days. We were a mess but we made it out the door in ok time.

As I'm driving down the road headed to school, I get pulled over by a not so nice police officer. He had a field day with me... outdated insurance card, no license plate on the front of the car, old address on my license, and speeding. He was very happy with all of his findings and I was already at my wits end. I just cried. I tried not to. It happened. He handed me my ticket and left quickly. Smart guy. The kids were all very quiet (never happens) as I drove down the road sobbing my face off. I tried to talk positive to myself like I usually do, but it was NOT working. I tried praying... it just made me more mad. I wanted to just keep driving away... very far and not come back.

Let me back track a tad. Just the night before I had a long night of teaching at the studio, I hadn't eaten enough and I felt drained (this was before I stayed up until 2am getting stuff done) and I told my husband I felt myself starting to feel overwhelmed and discouraged.  I'm naturally such a positive person that sometimes I tend to overlook or ignore the negative, focus on the positive, and then the negative gathers up and makes a group effort to bite me in the rear! I was feeling a break down coming. I was starting to feel like I was drowning. He listened... I know he can relate. He owns his own business and our income is extremely unpredictable. It's hard to live in that headspace all the time. Not knowing if you'll get what you need or not. God has always provided, but the more our family has grown, the more weight I feel. I also feel out of control because I feel I can't work enough hours to feel like I'm contributing "enough". This is of course my mind getting away with me because I stay at home with my 1yr old and then work in the evenings. I'm working. I just hate that I can't help MORE.

Anyways, back to sobbing in the car... I called my husband and flipped out. I was sobbing and yelling... total cry for help. But thats just it... I need help. I can't get all four of my kids up and ready every morning in addition to staying up to late to get things done. I need my husbands help, I need my kids help. I need to tell them this or they will have a very overwhelmed emotional mother/wife to deal with! I think I try to take on the world sometimes. I want to do all the things and make everyone happy and man, I just CANT. I need to ask for help and I need to learn to say "no" to things! Why is that so hard?

Why am I telling you all this? I started to explain, but I'll expand. Theres a few reasons. The first one, I want you all to know I'm not perfect, my kids aren't perfect, and I freak out like everyone else! Just because my instagram is a highlight reel of me and my kids doesn't mean theres not ugly hard things happening in the background. The second reason, I want to remind you it's ok. Maybe you're not like me and you're pretty good at letting yourself freak out or get emotional or be negative every now and then. I'm NOT good at this. Being positive is wonderful, and choosing joy is lovely, but people lets be REAL! You cannot ignore the sad, the hurt, the bad, the frustrating, the anxiety... it's there and coping with it sometimes means acknowledging its there and talking about how you feel and why it's affecting you. I struggle with being overly positive and end up pushing the "bad" thoughts aside. They WILL come back and I need to get better at being vulnerable and letting myself go there. I need to let people be there for me in those times. Sometimes I do, but typically that is a struggle for me. If this is you...you are not alone! DM me! Email me! Lets have a cup of coffee together (even if it's a virtual one)! I love connecting with you all. It's why I started doing this and it makes my heart so so happy.

My last thought on freaking out... I'm learning that it's good for my kids to see it. I'm serious. I don't think creating this picture perfect have-It-all-together image for our kids is super healthy. It's not like that's the goal, I think it can happen if I'm not careful to be vulnerable around them. I want my kids to know its ok to cry. It's ok to freak out sometimes and be vulnerable. I want them to see me for who I am. I want them to see me freak out and reach out to a man that loves me even at my worst. How will they know if they don't see it? I will say things I regret just like everyone else, and I will apologize just like everyone else. I will be unhappy sometimes and cry and I'll laugh with joy when I'm happy. The people who love me will love me regardless of my emotions and as I get older I have a strong desire for my kids to see that authenticity, not perfection. My daughter (who's 13) said to me the other day, "Mom, it makes me super uncomfortable when people come up to me and say 'Oh my gosh your family is so perfect!' We aren't perfect! We aren't better than anyone else." It made me really think again on how deceiving images we put out can be and I was glad it bothered her. It should! I love my pretty feed to look back on and save beautiful moments, but we are so much more than that! I am human, so are my kids, and my husband!

I try to be real without being a debbie downer or sounding super sorry for myself because I know there are others who are truly suffering horrible things. No matter where you're at today. I just want you to know you're not alone. I actually care and would love to hear from you! I say that with the deepest sincerity. Share with me your thoughts, advice, whatever... I welcome it all! xoxo

Saturday, September 1, 2018

All About Hair

Ok guys, your votes are in and it's pretty clear that ya'll are curious about my hair so I'll do a little sharing of all my secrets that I don't tell a single soul. Haha I'm totally kidding. I really have no secrets! In fact, you're probably going to be surprised by what I tell you, or you might not believe me, but I PROMISE you it's all true! I should make it known that none of these brands have endorsed me or given me anything. This is just me guys, giving you my personal choices on purchases.

Ok so lets start with the product I use, then I'll share a couple ways that I keep my hair as healthy as possible and none of this is complicated whatsoever!

Dove Advanced Moisture shampoo and conditioner is what I use most. Yup, nothin' special, not expensive at all. I've tried other brands just to shake things up, but nothing leaves my hair as smooth as this stuff! I just keep going back to it. I'd say any shampoo/conditioner that has intense moisture capabilities is really what you want!

Once a week I'll use the Shimmer Lights purple shampoo or conditioner by clairol. This stuff is magic! And again super inexpensive! I typically won't use both, but if you're a blonde and you deal with a ton of brassiness, you totally could. I typically don't need very much and I'm not a huge fan of the smell (thats the only downside for me) so using both together isn't my favorite and kind unnecessary. 

This argan oil hair mask is a life saver! When I highlighted my hair 3x in a row (I know I'm an idiot, but too vain to leave it messed up guys) this stuff brought my hair back to life! I only had to use it a few times and my hair felt untouched! 

Eva NYC Mane Magic... it's no accident that "magic" is in the name. This stuff is AH mazing! Not only does it smell like heaven, but it has all natural ingredients (mostly argan and sunflower seed oil), it gives your hair a little detangling and shine, while it protects your hair against heat and combats frizz. A little goes a long way for me so it lasts me a while. 

A few tips/tricks to keeping your hair healthy...

I typically will wash my hair first in the shower and then condition it right after. Then I'll leave the conditioner on my hair for the rest of the time. The very last thing I do is rinse the conditioner from my hair before getting out of the shower. This gives my hair time to really soak in all the moisture.

Also when putting in the conditioner, I never near my scalp. My shampoo is a "moisturizing" shampoo so I try to stay away from getting the conditioner near my scalp to avoid oily hair, but I soak my ends in it.

I don't put heat on my hair everyday. Obviously in the winter time I end up blow drying more often, but in the summer or whenever I can help it, I avoid it. Same goes for flat ironing or curling. Those two things I do even less. I know not all of you can do that as often, but any break you can give your hair will make a difference. Sometimes it's just embracing your curl, or wave, or the in between and just rolling with it (with great product of course) for a day. Your hair will thank you!

I don't trim it super often anymore, but this does help a lot! When you're trying to grow your hair out, keeping the ends healthy to avoid breakage is so key! All the moisturizing and less heat helps majorly, but the next step is finding a hair stylist who can do a good trim to start, but then only "light dustings" after that. You may need to threaten their life, but it really helped my hair grow quickly.

I'm not a big fan of all these hair and nail vitamins. I think they're not always super beneficial but we all want a quick fix so we buy into it. A few women I know had strange things happen when they took these vitamins so I'm not really a huge fan though I have not tried them personally. I would just say be careful and pay attention to your body if you choose to take them. Read reviews and stop taking of you notice side affects. Acne was a big one... I mean lets leave my face looking cute with shorter hair thanks!

That's really it! Feel free to ask me more questions if you have them! I tried to hit on everything I've been asked in the past. I linked all the hair products I use in case you want to try any of them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

It's been a while...

A lot has happened in the past three years that I've taken a little break from this place. My husband started his own business, had a TON of equipment stollen and basically had to start over, we moved two times, and had a baby. That's it in a nutshell! Kinda crazy stuff. I tried to find the motivation for posting and it just wasn't happening. We were in a tough place and honestly, leaning into my family and close friends and spending less time on here just seemed to be way more refreshing!

On the flip side, I've missed the connections with people in similar seasons of life. I've gotten to know some really fabulous people through my blog and instagram and a part of me is a little sad that I've lost touch. I think having a husband who started a business from nothing really had me fascinated and wanting to support other people doing the same because MAN... it's really hard! It's hard to raise a family of 6 on a shaky start up income! It's been humbling and faith building.

I'm still trying to decide what direction I want to go in with this space. I want to be genuine. I want to make real connections with people and have a place where women can support each other! There's so much jealousy and competition I've run into and heard about in recently and I just don't believe thats all there is. I believe theres more women out there who are truly desiring to build genuine connections and support each other.

After having my unexpected 4th baby, I felt the most lost. I know it sounds crazy, but all I kept thinking in my head was, "I can't do this....I'm not going to make it." I felt alone. All my other friends were done with kids or hadn't even started and here I was stuck in this weird place in a season on my own.  I struggled with depression and isolated myself to an extent. I wanted to be ok, but I totally wasn't. A part of me was ashamed to admit it. I felt ridiculous saying out loud how upset I was knowing that there are so many women out there who struggle so hard to have children and would kill to be in my shoes. How could I complain??

Anyways, my little love is 1 year old now and I feel like I've slowly been able to find my new normal.   For me, the best part was meeting her and having her in my arms. I knew I'd love her, but I think I was surprised by how much I really connected with her after all I went through emotionally before having her in my arms.  Now that I'm a mom of 4, and still teaching dance and barre, I'm in a place of trying to figure out where I want to invest my time. Do I keep this little blog? If so what do I do with it? What do people really care to hear/see anyways? If you're anything like me, it's the need for more real life stuff. If you want to give feedback I'd of course love that! If not, no biggie. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Meet Liz // The Ark Threads

I love sharing great brands with you guys that I feel like are truly unique, comfortable, and well made. I also love it when there's a wonderful message shared through those awesome companies! With that being said, let me introduce you to The Ark Threads! Liz has done an incredible job of creating some really great designs for tees that also carry a great message! It also helps that the tees are super soft and kid approved :) I can't think of anything better than, comfort, style, and best of all, truth. She made sure there were t-shirts for kids, babies, and adults! So literally, everyone in your family can rock her perfect designs and spread a good message at the same time. Now wherever my kids go, they're spreading a message. It's so cool to see how proud they are to wear their new tees and talk to other kids about what they say and what it means. It gives kids the chance to voice their beliefs in such a genuine way and those opportunities are incredibly valuable in so many ways. Clearly Liz is one hard working, creative, inspired, driven, and dedicated mompreneur! She has a family of her own and manages to find time to bust out all these perfect designs! You can read more about her below! First, take a little peak at the tees she sent us to get an idea of what she has to offer!

"Bible stories are for real"

I mean, how perfect is this one!?

"the greatest love story ever told"

I'm all about reminding my kids what Christmas is really all about, and this tee does that for me :)

"JOY . yourself . Jesus . others" and this one has a hood! Super cute and she could not WAIT to show this one to all of her friends! I mean, if my tween over here approves, I've found a true gem people!!

Ok so, now you see why and how much we really love this company, but I'd love for you to hear from Liz herself! I was able to ask her a few questions so we could all get to know her a little better and understand how she came to open up this awesome shop! I'm excited to share that with you all!

What inspired the name, The Ark Threads?  

When I first started my business it was called Little Charmings. I just wanted a cute name. I thought if Snow White and Prince Charming had kids they would have little charmings running around. Thats when I thought, Hey, our kids are our little charming's. So I went with that name in the beginning. Than after about 7 months or so I decided that I wanted my customers to know who I was and what I sold just by hearing my business name. That is when I decided to change it. I had a bunch of names in the running. I belong to a Facebook group with a bunch of gals that run their own Christian stay at home businesses and they helped me settle on The Ark Threads. The Ark obviously because of Noah's Ark and Threads refers to sewing needle and thread. I use to sew leggings but now I focus on tees only.

Who/what inspired you to start your own business?

I always had an entrepreneur mind set. I tried to make home made ping pong table tops, my own photography studio, crocheting on etsy, blogging. It all kind of went no where. Than one day I hopped on Instagram and saw really cute tee shirts that moms were making from home. I thought it would be really neat to make tees that talked about Christ and would shine the light on Him. I wanted to get the Gospel out to people and remind everyone about Christ's message of hope and His love for us. That is what it is all about.

What has been a huge lesson learned so far? 

Sometimes I get down when I see other companies doing so well. I will come up with a design and than see someone else's and wonder if mine is good enough. But when I bring my thoughts back to why I'm doing this, the negative thoughts disappear and I just keep going. I remind myself that there is no destination. It is a journey and Christ is helping me. I can either quit and go no where or keep going and see where this takes me.   

What is a goal/dream that you hope to accomplish?

I hope that I can remind people of the gospel or even introduce the gospel to those who have never heard Jesus's name. It's really a fun way to teach kids about God too. Instead of wearing princess shirts all the time, my daughter will wear an Ark Threads tee. She loves Jesus and she loves that mommy made it for her. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

I take my older girls to school and than go home with my two younger ones. Yes, I have four! I'll get the two kids breakfast and set them up with something to do. Than I try to get work done on the computer and catch up with orders, emails, and I like to post to IG twice a day so I'll get those ready. I might work on a new design in photoshop or order more marketing materials online. Than I try and play with my kids, feed them lunch and put them down for naps. The girls get picked up at 3:30pm. and its back home for dinner, baths and bedtime routine. Our bedtime routine with four kids takes us about an hour. After that I'm usually heat pressing shirts with my husband. He helps me out and I wouldn't be able to do it without him! We like to watch a television show ( we love Heartland at the moment! ) and than we will get to bed. The next day it starts all over again! 

How would you describe your own personal style?

I loved drawing growing up and even got one of my drawings published in Teen Beat magazine. I drew the 3 Hanson brothers because yes, I was a huge Hanson fan! lol I went to college for photography. I like to use both talents to create my designs in photoshop. I get my inspiration from music artists, bible scripture and even my family like to give me ideas! 

If you could have any super power what would it be?

Hmm, I think being the Flash would be helpful, because I could get a lot more done in one day!

Thank you SO much for sharing Liz! I love your story so much and am grateful that you decided to go for it and put to action a vision you had to spread the gospel! I'm honored to support you and cannot wait to see what the future holds for you shop!

Make sure you visit www.thearkthreads.com and check out all the options! They're great to give as gifts as well because lets face it, you won't find these designs anywhere else while shopping around at the local mall. Make sure to use the code JOY20 to receive 20% off of your purchase as well!! The code is good from today through December 31st! Also be sure to follow The Ark Threads on instagram to be the first to hear about new releases and sales!