Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Moving Forward in 2015


pc: I'mKristen

This year has proven to be physically and emotionally, one of THE most challenging I've ever experienced (click here and here to read more on that). The hard parts, however, have shown me how loved and supported I really am. My husband being top on my list. He's not only taken a front seat and watched me first hand, he's jumped in whole heartedly in a way that's shown me a whole new side of him. My surgeries have been an opportunity to see how much my husband really cares for me. I knew he loved me, but to see and feel a love so deep, has only pointed me to my savior with a heart full of gratefulness. Not only for him, but my other family and friends who've stepped up to care for me, come beside me, regularly check in on me, and who weren't afraid to see me at my worst. I've been practically cared for with meals, gifts, visits, laughter, and also I know I've been cared for in many prayers. This year has changed me. I've tasted a small hint of how fragile life is. How the end is so very near. Every moment I've had with my husband, and my kids I've treasured in a whole new way. Something we all say we want, but until you experience that threat of it all being taken away, its so hard to really do it. I'm not saying I'm perfect now at all in the way I treat my kids on the daily! I still yell at them and can get upset about the dumbest stuff. But I'm quicker to see that they're "dumb stuff" more now than I ever did before. Death is such a negative, bad, scary word. Just looking at it on the screen gives me this tiny, sinking, out of control, even a little angry, type of feeling. But for the first time, for me personally, its so very real and close. Not some far away, worry about it later, act like it'll never happen type of thing. Therefore, it's shaped my life in a way that gives everything more life and value. I look at my husband in a completely different way. I treasure him like I never could before. He's bathed me, cleaned me up, he's seen things... ugly, awful, scary things. The things he's had to do for me, I wonder if I could for him. He's challenged me to love harder and freer. Even my children have jumped in at such a young age to show their care and love for me. They still pray for my healing every single night all on their own. It's mind blowing, and yet its all real. It's the biggest gift and totally worth all of the scary, painful, scarring, discusting things I've had to go through. I wouldn't dream of going back, not even for a second.

In light of all that's happened this year, I think I have more new years resolutions than ever before haha. I'm writing them down so that I can come back to this to keep myself in check. Just a little reminder.

1. I want to keep loving harder. That includes my family, my friends, and anyone else that comes into my life. I want to love people more in prayer and in practical ways. I want to reciprocate the love I've felt over this past year. I want to be someone who loves like Jesus does. No judgements. No strings attached.

2. I want to date more. My husband obviously is at the top of that list, but I also want to make time to date my three small ones. I feel like I do an ok job of that with Nyah, but the boys don't get dates with mommy and that needs to change STAT! Time is so precious and with two out of three in school full time already, I need to start getting in the habit of slotting out time to stay close to them.

3. I want to spend more time in the word. I've SO been slacking in this area, but I truly want to change that. I need God's word to equip me and I want to know him more. I miss it and so need to be reminded of truth!

4. I want to take better care of my body. I started doing really well with this last year and very slowly have crept back into old habits. Totally normal, I feel like most people have to reset over and over. I'm going to focus on staying active (teaching dance and a barre class is a start), but also I'll be starting another round of whole30 tomorrow! So hard, but it was so worth it the first time I did it. So here we go again. This time Neil is going to see how long he lasts with me! Never thought that day would come :)

5. I'd love to keep tackling debt! With hospital bills now adding onto what we already had... it got real! I want to find a balance of saying "no" to certain things to save money to keep putting a dent in our debt, but also want to live life with my favorite people! I think we've done pretty well with this, but I want to get better organized and make sure we are still making room to help others with our money as well.

I think that's it! I seriously have never had a list to even write. Normally I think of one thing I want to tackle in the new year, but all 4 of these areas have flooded my mind and I don't want to forget or focus only on one. They are goals of course, and really just directions I want to try and stay focused on, so I'm sure I'll have to come back to this list and make sure I'm still paying attention to these things.

Thank you to those who've been on this journey with me and have written me such loving comments in support of all I've been through. You have no idea how much it means to me and to know that it's provoked some of you to look into your family history has truly made me being open about everything that's happened so worth it! If you ever have questions you can email me! I'm no doctor, but I'm totally open to sharing anything that might help or give you direction. I'm thankful for this past year and all the new, amazing people I've met! Hope you all have a blessed New Year and that 2015 brings many new unexpected, incredible adventures!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Meet Keri // Litte Big Dreamers

She's cool, she's multi-talented, creative, giving, funny, thoughtful, and a busy little bee. Meet the amazing Keri from Little Big Dreamers! It's been such a joy getting to know this gem of a lady and watching her business grow! I'm happy to show you all of what she's made of and help you get to know this beauty a bit better! First, if you haven't checked out her IG (@littlebigdreamers) or her website, I HIGHLY suggest you do so! She has a lot to offer the little cuties in your life! From cold weather accessories, to leggings, to witty tees, she's got you covered ;) Here's some of our favorites from her!

 Let's start with her soft, stretchy, classic head wrap! I told my daughter as I was tying this polka dotted beauty on her, that I was sure to soon be stealing it! Er borrowing it.

here it's wrapped and tied in simple bow
here I twisted the wrap at the forehead and tied/knotted it in the back.

This time I finished with a knot at the forehead and simply tucked the ends under.

a closer look at the previous look

It's so perfect and wrapped nicely on her 9 year old head. I'm a huge fan of a classic black and white print, but she carries other options as well! I love that It can be worn so many different ways. I'm obsessed with it basically.



Then there's this "awesome-tastic" long sleeved pull over! It's super soft and cozy! Of course he feels extra awesome when he has it on ;) It's perfect for either girls or boys which I love!





This scarf is another favorite! Of course the colors are perfection, but really it's also extremely soft and so easy to put on, my three year old son put it on all by himself. He was so proud of himself and now he feels like such a big boy with his new infinity scarf :) bonus points that it matches his favorite baseball cap! The best part is his big brother and sister can also wear it! It's the perfect fit for any little neck and so so warm!

Now that you've seen some of our personal favs, Let me introduce you to the lovely gal behind this great shop!


Keri and her cutest ever winter fresh fam!


Where did the name, Little Big Dreamers come from? 


To be honest, it just came to me as if I had had it picked all along. I always kinda have the saying "dream big" in the back of my head and I wanted to play on the word "little". Secret, I have thought of changing it because the shop has evolved and changed so much since, but I feel so connected to it:)


What inspired you to start your own business?

Easy, my kids. It's funny, because I couldn't afford to go back to work with the cost of school and daycare (special Ed teachers don't make a lot of money)  and I have always been very ambitious and risky so I took a HUGE leap of faith! 


What is something on your bucket list that you're dying to check off?  

Hmmmm no one has ever asked me that. Crazy huh? Australia! Visiting Australia has always been the ONE place I don't and won't stop begging my husband to take me. Other than that I feel like I've accomplished my dreams when I created 2 amazing lives. 


How would you describe your own style?

Simple! I LIVE in jeans, t shirts and infinity scarves. It's insane how many I have. I don't leave my house without one. I call myself grandma now bc my neck is cold without one on. Ha ha. I just feel like they complete an outfit and are  interchangeable!


What does a typical day look like for you?

Coffee, drop off at school, play, park, library, kid naps, pick up, play, dinner, play, work. And when I say play it mostly means singing and dancing. And many breaks peeping Instagram because I would lie if I told you I didn't check in. 


What advice would you give to someone considering taking the jump and starting their own business?

Research! Do NOT get caught up in what everyone else is doing and believe in your product. The rest will fall into place. And be happy doing it! If you don't like it, don't do it, because it's 24/7 365 days. We live in a "always connected" world. Be prepared!


What is something super quirky/unexpected about you?

Hmmmmmm, I'm obsessed with the show friends. Anyone who knows me knows I watch it at least 2x a day. STILL. I'm goofy. I have a weird vocabulary of silly words that I speak to my kids in. For example, "mooka chathcy" (phonetically spelling haha) and my kids do it too. My older sister does it too -guess it's in the fam.


Yes! The secret nonsense language is awesome! Thanks for sharing a little about yourself and giving us a little peek into your life and your shop! Your not only a hard working mama, you have some great talent and a heart of gold! I'm so looking forward to seeing how much you continue to grow in 2015! I'm so honored I had the chance to showcase some great items of yours and I truly hope everyone reading is inspired by your story and provoked to shop small :)

Keri is offering all you lovely readers a discount code to use toward a purchase, so I'd hustle on over to www.littlebigdreamersllc.com if I were you! Just use the code "littleslife15" at check out to recieve 15% off! Discount expires January 1st!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

THE LITTLES LIFE | MEN'S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE


Guest blogged over at www.finomenonkids.com! Go check it out and get some great ideas/deals for the men in your life this year! Make sure to follow the shops on instagram to get even more discounts for black friday, small business saturday, and cyber monday deals!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Power & Significance in Giving


"Wealth isn't always measured in dollar signs. We each have time, talent and creativity, all of which can be powerful forces for positive change. Share your blessings in whatever form they come and to whatever level you have been blessed."
Jon M. Huntsman Sr.

For many of us, this life can become quite routine. I'm not saying routine is always a bad thing. Routine can help us be efficient, productive, and organized. We are creatures of habit right? But have you ever felt like your usual has become mundane and directionless? This has become quite the theme of many of us stay-at-home moms, though I'm sure it's not limited at all to that category. We can feel like people floating around with hardly any direction or impact on the world around us. We can compare our lives and paths with others. We can feel powerless and insignificant.  We can even become numb to the little extraordinary things that happen around us and many days, life can seem dull and grey. You know the days I'm talking about. When showers are a privilege as well as peeing or pooping without a kid invading your privacy or full on attacking you. When you spend your entire day in the car driving little humans all over God's green earth, cleaining up accidents, attempting to grocery shop or do laundry, trying to calm tantrums, and break up fights constantly. We can wonder what our "purpose" is and what importance do we have on this planet? We can feel a disconnect. "Is this it for me?" At the same time we desire the world for our children don't we? We want them to never be deprived of what they need, for their health to never be threatened, and for their education to be the very best possible. We want them to be selfless, caring, little individuals.

I don't think it happens over night that we wake up wondering what we can do to utilize our talents in addition to being a mom. Though we care immensely for our children, and desire to be great parents, it's easy to get so completely wrapped up in our littles, that we lose sight of who we are and lose connections with people. Staying connected isn't easy and being a mom is a grand job and very high calling, but you are still YOU and I believe that we teach our children through example don't you? 

What if I told you that you are NOT powerless or insignificant... not even in the least. What if I told you that I believe with everything in me that not only were you the mom hand picked for your child, but you were also put where you are today for a very good reason. I was thinking hard the other day about how much I wanted to help others this Christmas. Its our family's favorite time of year, but im very aware that it can also be very difficult. The loss of a job, loved one, being in poor health, and/or being alone are all examples of things that can cause the holiday season to be more painful than enjoyable. We may not have a lot of money, but my husband and I are employed, and our family is together and in great health, praise God! I'm not saying that to brag, We've dealt with the death of loved ones and how that can leave a huge empty space when others are celebrating. We've dealt with scary health situations. What I am saying is that I don't want to take my current comforts and blessings for granted and I know that those things are not owed to me in any way. But I want my actions to say that, not just my words.

So, it got me thinking. Sometimes it's the very small things we overlook that have all the power to affect others in a positive way. It's the little choices we make on the daily: buying someone coffee, smiling at someone you'd normally overlook, cooking someone a meal, giving up a "service" for free (something someone would usually pay for and you have the opportunity to do it free of charge), thanking someone for something that's expected of them, offering to watch your friend's kid so they can have a date night, being a shoulder to cry on, listening without judging, encouraging someone, shoveling snow off of your neighbors driveway, helping someone move, giving up your seat to someone older, asking how you can be there/help someone. These are all things that may seem "ordinary", but it can change someone in that moment and create a sense of community. None of these things take a lot of time or money in the big scheme of things, and you may never know the impact that you have on that person, but I truly believe that thinking of others can make us less aware of what we feel is missing in our own lives and how powerless we think we are. Reality is, the sky's the limit. Sometimes it's starting small and then eventually realizing that you have a calling to help others in a very specific way. We all have very unique qualities and abilities. We all have something to bring to the table and if everyone took a moment out of their busy day to do something good for someone else, imagine all the blessings that would be floating around! We weren't meant to live this life alone. Together is where we can make an even bigger impact.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, lets consider making an effort to not get caught up in the scheduled, day to day monotonous, duteous life we seem to easily sink into living. I've felt the most alive when I've done something for the good of someone else expecting nothing in return. Start small...you can even stay small! We can leave little legacies all over the place. We can choose in small, ordinary moments to be selfless and end up feeling rewarded just as much as the person receiving. We're also setting an example for our kids. Even if we don't do this often or well, expressing the desire and putting forth the effort will speak volumes to our children! I think that's pretty powerful on many levels right there. 

In a couple weeks I'll be teaming up with some other people to give you the opportunity to bless someone in need this Christmas! Make sure you're following me on Instagram so you don't miss it! Thanks for reading and hopefully you'll take part in helping me pay it forward!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Giveaway Winners!



THANK YOU all again so much for celebrating with me and taking part in my 2k giveaway!! It really means the world to me! I started this blog with the intention of highlighting the wonderful people that sacrifice SO much, risking it all, to chase a dream. That dream is opening a small business and that cannot be successful without people knowing it's there and knowing how great the product is!! The perk is getting to know the people who started though. I want customers or potential ones, to be able to connect with the shop owner in a more personal way. Really, at the end of the day we are all people doing the day today to get by, but how much richer is this life when we truly connect with others. My grandad always said, life is all about relationships! 

So, thank you for following me and the others! Your support is everything! And I promise you won't be disappointed with these ladies/shop owners! They were picked by me because they're truly one of a kind!!

And without further delay...
The winners of the giveaway are on the right of the shop! Please email me your address (thelittleslife@gmail.com) and any other contact info and I will forward it to the shop!! You should hear from them within a couple days (I know it's hard but we all have super busy lives, jobs, and families), but if you don't, please contact me! 

@ofonesea
@mamatoallboysp
@lovedbyhannahandeli
@jennifermariexc
@sugarplumlanebaby
@klayton0503
@the_flourish
@vdwarrick
@goodseeds_apparel
@moonbeamsandstars
@finomenonkids
@jessicalarabee
@humblehilo
@maddiereaz
@mulberrypressco
@yanachka_e46
@bestillclothingcompany
@kristella_marie
@vicariousclothing
@mumamichellexo
@featherson1st
@hdippold23
@rileyclaydesigns
@kmurl18
@birdapparel
@emmyjbh
@saltandpeppertees
@nashlanesmom

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Meet Jayme // Kate&jAMES

Jayme and Katie are the creative minds behind a shop that I'm sure you've heard of by now, Kate&jAMES! It's like they got in our heads and made tees that were exactly what we wanted for our kids, but didn't even know it! They sent my boys a couple tees and they're really so perfect! First of all they are super soft American Apparel tees so you KNOW the quality and comfort are there. Second, the designs are simple, yet playful, and witty. Straight and to the point cute! Not only that, but these ladies are so so great. I had the pleasure of chatting with Jayme and getting to know her and really guys, it's just icing on the cake when you feel like you're talking to a friend. Jayme has been awesome and it's so clear that both of these ladies have a real passion for creating a building a business that stands on its own and that brings kids something unique and fitting. Something that plays off of their personalities and highlights the best parts of being a kid! That's what I love about their designs. These ladies make it look easy, and we all know that it couldn't be more the opposite! Take a look at the tees we like to sport from Kate&jAMES!


yup... steeling mommy's coffee


"You're pretty much my favorite of all time in the history of ever"


moccs from Faas Design


my kinda time ;)


my little shredder "on beach time" // I love the pop of colors







There's way more to see on their website so make sure you check that out (scroll down to see the discount code), BUT FIRST... please meet the lovely Jayme from Kate&jAMES! She has great goals and aspirations and shares a little advice for anyone considering taking the plunge into being a business owner!


could they be any cuter? The lovely Jayme and Katie (left to right)!

 Where did the name, Kate&jAMES come from? 

We came up with Kate&jAMES after racking our brains for days about what to call our brand. Turns out our first name nicknames for each other seemed to fit perfectly. I call Katie, Kate, and I'm Jayme, and Katie calls me James. So Kate&James. :)


What inspired you to start your own business? 

We were inspired to start Kate&jAMES out of the love for design and our babes. We wanted to create something fresh, creative and that would work for all kids. 


What is something on your bucket list that you're dying to check off? 

theres a few mommas/lil babes out there that we would eventually love to collaborate with. fingers crossed!


How would you describe your own style? 

Simple. 


What does a typical day look like for you? 

Right now, Katie and I both work "other" jobs so we are usually either at work or working on K&J or enjoying time with our families! Right now it's been pretty crazy trying to juggle everything and the growth of K&J but things are looking incredibly positive for us, so hopefully we can focus on just K&J in the near future. 


What advice would you give to someone considering taking the jump and starting their own business? 

Go Slow, Start Small, and stick to your gut in regards to your designs. Keep it authentic to what your brand stands for and go for it!!!


What is something super quirky/unexpected about you? 

Kate and I have known each other for over 20 years. :)


Thanks so much for sharing Jayme! It's been a pleasure getting to know you and representing such a kid centered brand! I love your advice to "stick to your gut" when starting your own company! It's all a part of being authentic and I think people can sense that when they are browsing a website/IG. I wish you and Katie all the best of luck, though you don't need it because clearly you guys are doing fab!! Thanks for allowing me to represent your brand and spread the good word a little. We are all about shopping local and supporting small businesses! Making this big world a little smaller is one of my very favorite things!

Go visit  www.kateandjames.bigcartel.com and use the code THELITTLESLIFE for 15% off of your purchase!! That's right, the prices are already affordable and now they are a steal!! You have two weeks to use the code (good 'till 10/23), but don't wait till they're out of what you want! Happy shopping and Friday EVE :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Beauty in Pain


I'll be honest... parts of today have been pretty hard. More hard emotionally than physically. Most times I'm fine and tend to be positive, but if I'm to be completely transparent, there's also the occasional times where I'm flooded with awful feelings of defeat and negativity. Where it's all I can do to just get dressed bc my mind is so blown with crazy emotions that battle on and on. Moments where I feel like a freak, a science experiment that is sure to be ongoing. I can feel like I'm alone, different, broken, exhausted and a burden. Pretty soon after, I'm just plain angry at myself for wallowing in the trap of self pity in the first place! So frustrating. I know that I'm blessed, that there are many others that have it way worse, that at these times I'm just letting the dark thoughts take over. I must be still. I must start over. What is real? What is true? I must quiet my head, my soul.

“Jesus lost all his glory so that we could be clothed in it. He was shut out so we could get access. He was bound, nailed, so that we could be free. He was cast out so we could approach. And Jesus took away the only kind of suffering that can really destroy you: that is being cast away from God. He took so that now all suffering that comes into your life will only make you great. A lump of coal under pressure becomes a diamond. And the suffering of a person in Christ only turns you into somebody gorgeous.” 
—Tim Keller | Walking with God through Pain and Suffering 

We will all experience pain and suffering. I think that's something I need to remember too. It's OK to be a mess and cry sometimes. It's OK to let people in who love and care for me. I can be genuine with my kids and let them in too... let them see how I navigate through. I want them to see me for who I am. There will be good days and bad days. But ultimately my Savior knows my pain and He has promised to never leave me and to carry me through. Thank God for truth, for people who love me no matter what kind of day I'm having or how scarred I am, and for my health and ability to care for my loved ones. 

I wrote this mostly so that I could look back on it when I have another bad day, but I'm going to publish it just in case I can be a friend to someone else who's stuck in a bad moment, a lonely dark corner. You are not alone and The Lord hears your every prayer... even the whispers... even the unspoken. Let's be refined together.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Meet Danielle // The Flourish

 SO excited to share a super fun shop with you all today! Who doesn't like accessories? What about mommy/mini matching ones? I know right? I'm sold on this alone, but seriously seeing what Danielle has done with leather... braiding them and turning them into the most perfect accessories, makes it even more exciting! The quality of the leather is amazing and I love all the many color options she has!! My daughter and I wear ours daily! They're not too thick, not too thin. They have just the right amount of durability and are so easy to put on and take off with just a snap! This is crucial, because how many times have you wished someone else was around to help you put on your fav bracelet? Here's a couple photos of the matching set Nyah and I have, but I'm also going to include some others so you can see all the variety!


we have the peach colored mommy & me set ($14.00)


hers and mine

It really is the perfect size for layering with other pieces!



I tend to prefer neutrals mostly, but she has SOOO many colors! Bright neon colors, jewel tones, textured and patterned neutrals, pastel colors, just to name a few! And obviously not only does she have bracelets in a few different styles, but guitar straps, wallets, clutches, and key fobs are among her variety of leather items! I'm so glad she reached out to me, because as soon as I looked at her shop and saw what she had to offer, I knew it'd be a perfect share!! Now that I know first hand how great her items are, I'd encourage you to look for yourself!! Also because her prices CANNOT be beat for the quality you're getting! She has two different websites and trust me, you'll need to see both :) www.flourishleather.com & www.flourishleatherkids.com // clearly one is geared more towards kids with their mommy & me, and daddy & me sets that are to die for, while the other is chocked full of leather goods that us adults could really use in our lives ;) She has so much to offer that two sites makes a whole lotta sense!

Now that you've seen a little preview of what Danielle has to offer, lets meet the lovely lady behind the business! I'm so glad that she decided to take the time to share with me a bit more about herself and what got her started on this venture of hers! Read the little Q&A below!


Danielle and her cute fam!


Where did the name, The Flourish come from?

Actually, when I thought of the name I was just trying to come up with something that could describe a growing business. Flourish seemed like a good name at the time. I wasn't making long-term goals to have a business... just trying to sell some bracelets. I probably would've named it something completely different if I had long-term goals in mind. HA! 


What inspired/motivated you to start your own business?

I started working at a leather supply store and a co-worker showed me how to make braided bracelets. I thought.... Hmmmm! That could sell! -- So, within a few weeks I opened an Etsy shop and started selling bracelets. 


What's something most people wouldn't guess about you?

I have a really dry sense of humor. So much so, that sometimes people can't tell if I'm joking. I'm also insanely afraid of the dark, june bugs, and heights. Oh, and I love eating sauerkraut... right out of the can. I'm weird!


What is something quirky about you?

I think the things that people wouldn't guess about me sort of make me quirky, too. I used to work at a high fashion consignment store before ever entering into the leather business world and I can identify and authenticate about 40 different types of designer brands. My husband calls it a super power but that's probably the only quirky thing about me. I can still name any designer bag on any arm... all the time. Oh, and I did gymnastics for the first 13 years of my life. My mom thinks I can still do some of it,but I actually struggle to reach my toes. :) 


What does a typical day in the life of Danielle look like?

My day looks like this: 
Kid wakes up, I cook her breakfast.
Babysitter arrives.
I start working, shipping, photographing, answering emails.
I stop working, feed my kid lunch, lay her down for nap.
Keep working, shipping, taxes, post office.
Get the kid up from nap, eat snacks and watch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
Cook dinner, clean house.
Run errands
Hang out with dad once he get's home from work.
Beer
Bed
-- Do it all again tomorrow. 


What's one of your biggest dreams/goals for your business?

To have my husband be able to stay home with me! That would be most excellent to have him here too. 


What advice would you share with someone starting their own business?

Don't do it for success. That's the wrong reason. Do it because you LOVE what YOU are doing. If you love what you do, and you love it with enough passion, someone else will come along and love it, too. That's how you stay happy and creative. 


Thanks so so much for sharing, Danielle! I love how determined, hard working, and talented you are! You're business advice is perfect and the quirkier the better ;) At least, that's how I feel about it! Clearly your chaos is very organized!! I love how much you have to offer and how beautiful all the pieces are! On top of that, your dry humor is always appreciated and its been awesome chatting with you behind the scenes and getting to know you better! Thanks for being patient with me and allowing me the opportunity to gush about you and your shop!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Meet Stacie // Ahoy Amigo

Before I reached out to her, Stacie and I were kinda following each other and were already friends basically even though we didn't know it. Ok, that doesn't make sense really. But what does make sense, is that she's pretty cool and super creative when it comes to brainstorming new designs for your littles to wear! I love that I've gotten in touch with so many "take charge" kinda gals! Especially those stay-at-home mommy types who have loads of laundry, dishes, butt wiping, kid chasing, carpooling, and feeding mouths on the agenda.... and yet somewhere in there they fit running a business. Yup, pretty mind blowing. Definitely not something to look past or down play. It's a big deal. And what many of you don't know is how hard it is to make that jump! It's a daily test and yet, I'm so encouraged by women like Stacie  who are making it happen and plowing forward!

Her designs are super playful and really speak a kids language. As soon as I saw her creative juices on tees I just knew she had a good thing goin' over there and that at some point I just HAD to share with all of you! Here's some pics of my boys in the cute raglans she sent us. They are super soft of course (American Apparel) and unique. I don't know a single person who has these tees and don't know any store around that would create something this cute. So there :)

"always hungry" and "down home american kid" tees. LOVE

you'll start to notice a pattern of "I'm not in the mood to smile and I'm hungry in real life" face from Ryder






wanna see more styles... hop over to her website www.ahoyamigo.com (there's a discount at the bottom of my post duh bc Stacie and I like to share the love)

Now that you've gotten a feel for what Stacie's all about, Read the short Q&A I did with her on how she got started and what advice she'd pass on when it comes to starting your own business!

the beautiful Stacie with her little family

Where did the name Ahoy Amigo come from?  
I wanted something that showcased the innocence that kids have.  Kids don't judge you by your race, gender, or anything like adults do.  I wanted something that combined two different cultures but was still fun! Ahoy Amigo emerged.  And yes, pirates are people too ;)


What inspired/motivated you to start your own business?  
After having soo many people ask me to make things for them, I decided that maybe the rest of the world would also like me to make them things!! I actually started an Etsy shop called "PolkadotFluff" first (its still around for now) making probably the most random collection of things ever.  At the beginning of this year I set a goal of learning new things.  One of those things was to learn to screen print tees from home.  As most of us tee shops owners claim, there seriously was a lack of hip, modern, rad tees available for little kids in the toddler age range (which both my kids are in).  So I set forth to change that, one eye patch at a time.


What's something most people wouldn't guess about you?   
I'm super shy.  Like, I bring a book with me everywhere to use as a buffer in new situations.  well, now I bring a kid, they are such great ice breakers for real! I will avoid calling for a pizza because its a new situation that I've never encountered before and I'm scared!! This business is def changing all that though!!


What is something quirky about you?  
AHH!!! I hate these questions!! Um, I've never sang in the shower.  It sounds weird to me!! haha! That's the best I have!!


What does a typical day in the life of Stacie look like?  
With two littles under five, there is no typical day!! They are early risers so I usually throw the tv on in my room so I can catch a few more zzzz's while they bicker, I mean, watch tv.  Then its breakfast, chores (we make our beds and put away the dishes, jk I do all that while wishing they helped), then it depends on our moods.  Today we played with homemade slime!! It was pretty gross! haha! I try to get some work done at nap time but I'm usually sucked into the internet thus making my working hours after bedtime (a strict 7:30pm as they usually don't nap).  I work on masterpieces usually until 1:00am, then hit the hay!! 


What's one of your biggest dreams/goals for your business?  
To have a brick and mortar shop, preferably somewhere near an ocean!!


What advice would you share with someone starting their own business?  
Don't be too hard on yourself!! Everyone is at a different place in their business even if they started the exact same time!! Don't get down on yourself just because you didn't make a sale, or someone didn't like your Instagram post!! As long as you believe and don't give up, it will come!!


Thanks so much for sharing Stacie! I love love the advice you gave! I for one am super hard on myself and I think we can all relate to staying away from comparing! Such a tempting thing to do, but what you said is so true and we should def be able to encourage each other along when it comes to successes. And I agree! Kids are excellent ice breakers! I've met some of my best friends through my kids :)

Thanks to all of you for reading my little blog and not only supporting me, but ultimately supporting all of the rad people who put out some real great product that are more than worthy of sharing! Make sure to visit www.ahoyamigo.com and use the code "littleslife15" to receive 15% off your entire order, now till September 28th! Thanks ahead for shopping small friends!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meet Martine // Quirkie Kids

Do your boys like the color pink? Do your girls like Bob the Builder? Just a couple questions that will set the tone for the direction we are going with this feature ;) May seem strange, but according to Martine... these are questions that shouldn't demand a certain answer. Our children should be free to answer yes or no to questions like these without there being this certain expectation of gender deciding for them. Do you agree? I think the point she's getting at is pretty valid. We want our littles to be who they are, not what society says they should be. Martine's clothing line, Quirkie Kids, was born out of the desire for kids to be able to express their individuality through clothing. Here's a little snippet from her website that would probably explain better..

"The idea that a color is either masculine or feminine is absurd to me. I want my boys to grow up to become confident men who stay true to who they are. And that is what Quirkie Kids is all about: encouraging kids to embrace their uniqueness.



...To me, Quirkie Kids is about more than just pink t-shirts. It's about giving both boys and girls more options to express themselves through their clothing."

I love that Martine has taken a stand in this way. Let kids be kids and choose for themselves what they like. Go check out the website and see for yourself! There's some light pink, some dark pink, and maybe even a splash of purple :) There's also a couple onesies for the wee ones. Here's a few photos I took of my littles in their Quirkie Kids get up! I'm happy to say that every single one of my kids said these tees were now some of their favs. I'm sure it helped that all three of them love matching each other haha. 


just a little sibling love



Nyah is wearing the "skull" tee (skirt dot dot smile)

Kylan is wearing the "chompers" tee

Ryder wearing the "best friends" tee
All the tees are printed on American Apparel 100% cotton tees. They're soft and durable which makes them great for kids! Martine is so easy to talk to so if you ever had any questions, concerns, input... I don't doubt that she wouldn't make it a priority to value it and respond. I so admire her "big picture" way of thinking and that these tees of hers are just a stepping stone in that direction. I'm honored to feature her here and say that my boys and girl are not always so gender typical, but they are undoubtedly individuals! I'm so glad that she found such a creative and fun way to send such a positive message to our children. I was able to do a little bit of a Q&A session with Martine. Check it out below and learn a little bit more about her!

Martine and her precious fam

How did "Quirkie Kids" come come about?

I’ve always been someone to question things and ask why. One night, my hubby and I were talking about how ridiculous it is that things for boys are blue and things for girls are pink. If you have a son who likes pink, you have to shop in the girls department but most clothes for girls have bows or lace or some other detail that a boy may not like. If you have a daughter who likes something other than rainbows, kittens, or butterflies, you’re also out of luck. My hubby mentioned that someone should make pink t-shirts with cool designs you don’t usually find on a pink tee and so the idea for Quirkie Kids was born. I held a successful Kickstarter campaign and was able to raise start up funds to launch the business. 


Who/What would you say has been your biggest inspiration?

My boys! Being a mom has made me realize just how innocent children are. Until recently, my boys (Tyler age 6 and Tristan age 3) had no idea that according to society certain things including the color pink should be off limit to them. The idea that a color is either masculine or feminine is absurd to me. I think all kids should be free to wear pink regardless of their gender, which is why I started Quirkie Kids. I like to say that some boys like green. Some boys like blue. And some boys like pink and why not?


What advice would you pass along to someone considering starting their own business?

Ask for help! Few people have all the skills needed to launch a small businesses. I didn’t let the fact that I can’t draw stop me from launching a line of tees. I asked an awesome designer for help and he said YES! I am so grateful to have him as part of our team. The same goes for photography! I knew I needed good images so I asked a photographer that I admire for help. She took some fun images of some kids wearing our pink tees that made all the difference in our Kickstarter campaign. 


What is a dream you have for your shop?

I am going to dream big here, because I’ve decide to be fearless! To me, Quirkie Kids is about more than pink tees. It’s about encouraging kids to embrace their uniqueness and giving both boys AND girls more options to express themselves through their clothing. I want boys to be a able to wear a pink t-shirt without feeling self-conscious or worrying about getting teased. And I want to girls to be able to wear a t-shirt with a dinosaur or a space alien without feeling that they are being different or weird. 


What does a typical day look like for you?

The kids are home for the summer so, it’s definitely more challenging to find time to work! I usually work for a few hours in the morning while the kids play. Then we go out and have fun! We just moved to CA and are having a blast exploring new places to visit! I work for another hour or so when we get back and then at night once the kids are in bed.


What is something most people wouldn't guess about you right away?

I was born and raised in Holland. My boyfriend (now my husband) and I moved to England when I was 19. I never intended to not come back but it sort of just happened. We love living here, but it’s hard to be away from family and wish that we could visit more often. 


If you could only have three things to bring with you on a deserted island, what would you choose?

My first reaction is my husband and our two kids but they’re not things. So I am going to say sunglasses (I wear them even when it’s cloudy), coffee (I’ve tried going without but I love my morning cup of coffee too much), and a pillow (I cannot sleep without it).


I LOOOOVE your business advice! Ask for help! So simple, yet not always the first thing we think. So good. As long as you have the vision and the determination, there's probably a way. And way to go with using kickstarter!! So cool and glad that it was successful and helpful! Love what you are doing, Martine, and seriously wishing you all the best as you move forward. Thanks for sharing!

Martine is being super kind and giving all my readers 15% from now until August 31st!! All you have to do is use the code thelittleslife15 when you're checking out. Just go to  www.quirkiekids.com
and take a peak at all the other great tees she has to offer! Also be sure to follow her on Instagram (@quirkiekids) to be the first to know about give aways, new releases, and sales!! Thanks again Martine!!