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!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Meet Ainat // Calinana Designs

When it comes to jewelry, I like having a couple statement pieces here and there, but mostly, I like simple and classic every day types. The kind that you can wear all day and it never bothers you or weighs you down, and then you can transition it into "going out" scenarios and layer on top of it even! That's one of the reasons I really love Calinana Designs! Ainat has done a terrific job offering a little bit of everything! But of course I'm a sucker for the classics always! All her jewelry is handcrafted in the USA and she uses all kinds of semi precious stones, metals, and leather to create beautiful, well-made pieces of jewelry. She even created a kids collection! I love the natural beauty that springs out of all of her designs and the attention to detail. I also must rave about the endless customizable options she allows her customers to have. You can literally change almost anything in her collection and even personalize some pieces! Like my necklace below... this gold initial hand stamped beauty is literally perfect. I can wear it alone, or layer it with other pieces and it's so light weight and dainty, I forget it's even there. I've already gotten a ton of compliments on it and can easily suggest something this good of quality to my friends for themselves or as gifts! You seriously must check out her other pieces! You can go to her website or go directly to her shop by clicking here :)






It's the perfect length and I love that you can choose to have a square or circle!


here I've layered it with another necklace

the kids' bracelets that she sent my daughter. She LOVES them and thank God they actually fit around her tiny wrists! A little heart and peace sign charms were the perfect touch ;)


Now that you have at least a little sneak peak of what Ainat has to offer, let me introduce you to the brains and creativity behind the operation! I'm excited for you to get her take and learn a bit more about who this lovely lady is and what made her decide to take the risk of being a small business owner!

The beauty herself.

Ainat, with her... ridiculously attractive family!


Where did the name, Calinana Designs come from?

Cali stands for California, nana means mint.


Who or what motivated you to start your company?

I always wanted to own my own company, and jewelry was always my passion.After spending years in graduate school I finally had the time to start my own jewelry company.


What would you say had been your biggest lesson learned?

In this field, the opportunities are endless. You need to stay focused and keep doing what you do best.


What's a goal/dream you hope to accomplish?

I love working with buyers. I get excited every time I meet with them. My goal is to grow the quantity of boutiques I’m working with and make Calinana a recognizable name for fine jewelry.


What does a typical day look like for you?

Every day starts at my office. I always start by going over emails. Then I’m checking the orders that need to leave the warehouse that day. Calling new and existing customers and following up on the jewelry they carry. 2-3 times a week I have meetings with buyers at their location, showing them new styles and checking inventory.


What is something quirky/unexpected about you?

I have a Ph.D in educational leadership.


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

time control, this is something I never have enough of…



Thanks so much for sharing with us, Ainat! So cool to see you doing what you love and clearly you have such an eye for jewelry design! I'd literally wear everything I see on your website... for real. Such a variety and all so beautiful! I love that you were determined enough to pursue this while raising a family as well. That is no easy task!! Thank you for allowing us to get to know you and your company a little better and I SO look forward to hearing more and more good things about you in the future!

Like what you see? Consider shopping small and supporting a hard working mama who's got mad skills :) hop over to www.opensky.com/calinana and use the code "thelittleslife" to receive 30% off of your next purchase!! The code expires next Wednesday the 23rd. Happy shopping and thanks for reading!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Meet Grace // Oh Purple Panda

Happy Monday everyone! I'm back and excited to share a really cool shop with you! Ever heard of Oh Purple Panda? Well if you are a mommy of a little one who loves to eat your jewelry, pull and pinch while you're feeding them, and love to wiggle and have a hard time sitting still (I think this pretty much covers all little ones haha), then trust me when I say, these beautiful necklaces are PERFECT for you and your little! It's called a nursing necklace because it's perfect for baby to hold while you are nursing them...you know, instead of them pulling on your shirt or hair ;) Its clearly awesome for all kinds of other situations as well, like that little teething one or that baby that is always breaking your jewelry so you stop wearing any. The fabric is soft and safe for baby and so are the hardwood beads inside. They are completely non toxic and made to hold up through all the pulling and biting! I love them because not only are they practical, but super cute! Grace has made a variety of patterns to choose from so there's something for everyone! I like to wear something basic and then throw one on as a statement necklace because the patterns are so pretty. They're super light so you totally forget you're even wearing it! I definitely wasn't expecting that, but happily surprised! I only wish I'd had one of these throughout every single baby stage! Check out the ones I have below :)

I promise I'm not mad... It's just my normal face haha.





They're the perfect length too! I really love them and I just know you would too. They're also perfect as a baby shower gift! They fit everyone and are a great thing to have when the baby comes :) If you want a little "sneak peak" discount and be the first to see her new designs, go to www.ohpurplepanda.com and sign up for emails. You can also go to www.ohprurplepanda.etsy.com and use the code LITTLESLIFE20 for 20% off of your purchase now through December 31st! Now that you've gotten an idea as to what Grace offers in her shop, let's meet her!!
 

The lovely Grace!
Grace and her little beauty!

Where did the name "Oh Purple Panda" come from?
 

I wanted something unique and hopefully memorable. Purple is my favorite color and Panda is an endearing term I use with those closest to me. And I say "Oh, Adam" (my husbands name) when he's being cute or a little odd. So, put it all together and you get the endearing and quirky name Oh Purple Panda.

 

Who or what inspired you to make these beautiful necklaces?

The true need to give my grabby baby something to hold on to when she was nursing. I had to give up wearing all jewelry around her, for her safety, and I really wanted something to make me feel put together (that "third piece" you could say). The necklace solved two problems. She stayed focused when she nursed and I got my cute accessory.

 

What's been the hardest lesson learned so far when it comes to being a shop owner?

There's always going to be a part you hate. For me it's the taxes and accounting. But you have to do it! Another hard part is putting yourself out there. A business will not grow in a bubble. It takes networking and getting in front of people to succeed. I still struggle with that part.
 


What does a typical day look like for you?
 

I never have a typical day but I love my morning routine (family breakfast, coffee, Instagram, shower). From there I focus on what needs to get done. Fabric shopping (online), social media, sewing, market research, accounting, fulfilling orders, photography. Those are just some of the tasks I do each day. I also look for learning opportunities from other Etsy and handmade sellers.

 

How would you describe your personal style?
 

Casual/Contemporary. My wardrobe consists of skinny jeans, flouncy shirts and flats and of course tons of soft Oh Purple Panda necklaces.
 


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

Teleportation. I would love to wake up and say, "hey, today I want to have an espresso in Paris" or "I'm going to spend the day at Disney World today" and then *BLINK* and be there. I hate planning, and I hate flying so the spontaneity of this super power sounds amazing.

 

What is a big goal/dream you have (business or personal...or both!)?

I want to run successful business with my husband. One that allows us to involve and empower our girls (the second one is due in March) in the business world and gives us a flexible lifestyle to spend valuable time with family. Life is not about the time between work. I want our work to be fulfilling and allow us to be a close and happy family.


Thanks so much for sharing Grace! It's definitely hard to balance having a family and owning your own business, but I love that you're pushing forward and making quality time a priority! And Teleportation! That would be incredible! I think you've really hit the nail on the head with style, comfort, and practical use when it comes to these beautiful necklaces! I know a handful of mama's personally that would really benefit from these beauties!! So glad you decided to make a business out of a great idea and I so look forward to seeing your business grow!

Don't forget to click on the links above to check out her shop and receive some great discounts! Also make sure you are following her instagram account so you don't miss out on giveaways and sales as well as new releases! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Meet Sarah // Jumping Jack

Hey Guys! I'm back and so ready to hit you with another gem of a feature! Every girl likes to dress up every now and then, but lets face it, most of us hustlin' mamas don't have a ton of time to get ready before toting kids around, running errands, and keeping up with the daily to do's. Can't we look cute and casual? comfy and chic... at the same time? DUH yes! Some of my favorite brands are the ones that allow me to be comfortable and functional and feel good while doing just that. I've gotten so many compliments on this super cozy, laid back, not too loose/not too tight, wear it till it has a hole somewhere, v-neck tee from Jumping Jack! It's thin and soft, so I can layer it... even wear the thing to bed and still rock it the next day haha! What? Did I just say that out loud? Yes... yes I did. This tee represents me so well and also is super stylish. Doesn't matter how you wear it to be honest. I can wear it to work out, with jeans and a flannel (as seen below), or with my pj pants while watching netflix! "drink the coffee, do the things". How perfect is that... my life in a nutshell. You feel me?!





I love that you cannot find this tee anywhere! Nope, it's not your typical  tee that is mass produced and everyone else in the world has it. It was created by a lovely hard working mama who wants to make a living and honor her son's memory while doing it. Sarah's one of those people with a lot of creativity and depth. She used her creativity to help her get through an extremely painful part of her life and is now spreading awareness through her story. I mean, her strength is just as admirable as her perfectly designed tees! Read the short interview I did with her below to get to know her and her story a little better! (ps theres a little treat for you at the end)

Sarah with her husband, adorable daughter, and photo of her baby boy, Jack.

Their precious son, Jack.


What inspired the name, Jumping Jack? / Who or what really motivated you to open up your own shop?

Before Jumping Jack, I was a full time preschool teacher and did photography on the side. In 2011, our son Jack was born. Shortly after his birth, we started noticing he was having trouble holding his head up and breathing on his own. After a whirlwind at the hospital, he was diagnosed with the #1 genetic killer of infants and children, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA. Jack required 24 hour care. He was unable to hold most baby toys because of his weak muscles. I started to craft and make him small fabric crinkle toys that he could hold. Crafting was very therapeutic for me during this horrible rollercoaster ride we were on. In August of 2011, I opened my etsy shop with Jack right there by my side. I sold crinkle tag toys and headbands. The very first headband I made was actually for Jack. We needed something to help hold his oxygen and feeding tube in place. Jack lived 199 days. He is the strongest boy I know and the reason I do what I do each day.




What have you learned from your experience?

After our daughter was born in 2013, we created our Instagram account (@shopjumpingjack) and started working on our shop more full time. When we first started focusing on our business, there was a lot of figuring out how we were going to be seen. Instagram definitely helped get our name out there! After we started selling more product and more customers shared where they got our items from, we started growing pretty rapidly. Being able to connect with other entrepreneurs has been really great! It allows me to create lasting partnerships and we learn from each other on how to grow a successful businesses.
Instagram has been a great avenue to share our story and spread awareness about SMA as well.




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

I would like to take the next step in hiring a few more employees to allow us to expand the business. That way, I can focus on what I am good at and have others focus on separate parts of the business making it more efficient over all.




Describe what a typical day looks like for you.

I work an average of 30 hours a week. A lot of that is when our daughter is at school, napping or asleep for the night. That way I am still able to spend quality time with her and the business doesn’t take away from that.




How would you describe your personal style?

Our mom life top knot tee describes my style pretty well! I love anything comfortable! I throw my hair up in a top knot, add a headband, some yoga pants and I am good to go.




What's something quirky about you that most people may not know or a fun fact?

I lived in Hawaii for 4 years and still love to visit every couple years.


Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your story and for allowing me to feature you! I cannot wait to see how your shop continues to grow and of course I wish you all the very best along the way! 

I hope you all enjoyed reading this and that you take a minute to go check out her shop! Christmas is right around the corner (only 4 weekends away!!) so don't wait till stock is down and shipping has to be of concern! Just hop on over to https://www.etsy.com/shop/jumpingjackjack now and use the code SHOPSMALL15 to receive 15% off of your purchase! Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Meet Gwen // SOKO

Happy Friday eve loves! I'm a little over the moon because I'm about to let you in on an amazing company! This feature was SUCH a pleasure for me to create! You know I love companies that give back... well this one was founded on that very idea. I can't emphasize to you enough how genuine and passionate these ladies are and I'm so honored that they allowed me to share their story with you!

Soko was born out of a love of design, a combination of global perspectives, the desire to connect and empower entrepreneurs via the use of the technology around us, and a belief that women can change the world. I'm so inspired by them and their mission to reach out and provide open doors to those less connected to the world. Gwen, along with her co-founders, make it their mission to give makers in developing countries the opportunity to make a living for themselves by connecting them through technology. The growth they have had and their heart to equip women in underprivileged economies is just stunning. On average, within two months of joining Soko, artisans increase their incomes by a factor of 4x! How amazing is that? Soko works with artisans in Kenya to create modern, ethical jewelry that is handmade from sustainable materials. These ladies are all about transforming the fashion industry to be more of a positive force. 

On another note, their jewelry is GORGEOUS! I mean, take a look at the necklace they sent me below for example. It's simplistic, yet noticeably chic. Check out their website to see more and I guarantee you, you'll have a hard time not wanting to scoop it all up! As you can see, hey're all such classic pieces you can wear everyday... casual or dressed up. It really doesn't get much better than that!

PoP Geo Sasi Lariat necklace | Pencils of Promise Capsule Collection







They recently launched a capsule collection for this holiday in partnership with Adam Braun's Pencils of Promise. Soko will donate 20% of every purchase toward Pencils of Promise's school builds in Ghana while 30% goes back to their artisans in Kenya.
"We see this as the next generation of fundraising, where both the creation and the sale of the product supports under-served communities around the world.
 For us, it's been meaningful to make the connection between access to dignified and safe work for parents in the developing world as a key to being able to invest in the next generation's future.

check out this short video clip to get a picture of what this collection is supporting. It's a pretty wonderful thing to see for yourself and super heart warming.

Now that you've gotten a little taste of what the products look like and the mission behind this beautiful company, lets meet one of the founders!...

The lovely, Gwen, co-founder of Soko.


Where did the name, Soko come from?

Soko means 'marketplace' in Swahili. Our company mission is to bridge the gap and create equitable trade of beautiful goods between artisans in Africa and consumers worldwide.


What/who was the biggest 
inspiration to start this shop? 

 
For years working in tech and international development I had witnessed the mobile phone becoming a huge driver of development, due to its pervasive and accessible nature. The mobile phone is the most ubiquitous technology in the world, with over 90% of the population in places like Kenya owning a mobile phone and being mobile literate. About 3 years ago, I was working in Kenya and was serendipitously sharing a house with and met my co-founders Ella Griffith, who also had a background in design, as an architect, and Catherine Mahugu, a Kenyan technologist. They are amazing women and had both worked extensively in technology innovation and community development. We realized a convergence that was happening between pervasive mobile ownership and literacy, mobile money penetration (branchless, creditless banking for the poor), and a global appetite for products with backstory that supported an emerging cool of ethical behavior that could provide an opportunity to completely change the face of global commerce.


What's something you've learned from doing this? 
 
If I were to give advice to my younger self, I wish I had understood how fun and how hard it would be, and to begin asking for help and support from my extended network as soon as possible. People want to help and champion good ideas, organizations, and individuals. Remember this and always extend the opportunity for people to get personally involved in your mission or business.

 

What does a typical day look like for you?
 
Between Soko’s headquarters in Nairobi and our Sales and Marketing team in San Francisco, my days are anything but typical. When Im at home in the Bay Area, I often take early morning calls with Kenya from home, then head into our office in downtown San Francisco. I travel about 50% of the year, so when I’m in San Francisco, it’s great to take advantage of the opportunity to spend time in person with our team here. While in Nairobi, where I spend about 2 months of every year, you can find me prototyping new designs with our artisans, developing our tech systems, or dreaming up new ideas with my two co-founders (who live full time in Kenya). 


What is a goal that you hope to attain in the near future?
 
 To normalize a new category of consumption,"Ethical Fast 
Fashion ​,” where international consumers can easily and affordably purchase high quality goods that are handmade in emerging markets. 


What is your personal style?  

Well, amongst the amazingly stylish ladies of Soko, I would describe myself stylistically as the little boy of the group :) I studied design, amongst other things, and my love of simple designs that celebrate material or construction comes out in my style. I love androgynous fashion with a feminine edge.


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

Never having jet lag! Catnapping and teleportation would be great as well!


Thank you SO much, Gwen, for sharing a bit more about yourself and your company! So grateful that you took the time to let us in on what you're doing and that you're reaching women in other nations and giving them opportunities! Love, love it! I'm a supporter for life and cannot wait to see what other amazing things you ladies will accomplish through Soko in the future!

For all of you that want to support these lovely women (founders and makers), consider shopping small this holiday season. When you give a gift from Soko, you are giving to more than just the receiver. You're giving to men, women, and children who do not have the comforts and opportunities that we have here in the US. It's a small thing, but it can make a world of a difference. Hop over to www.shopsoko.com to check out all their stunning jewelry options for you are a loved one! Thanks for reading and happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Willful Child


I've decided to post something a bit personal in the hopes that it could bring encouragement to someone who may be in a similar position. For those who don't know me, HI! I'm Jessica... wife to my best friend, and mommy to three littles. I was 22 when my first, my daughter, was born. My husband and I had no clue what we were doing or what was about to happen. She overturned our lives in an amazing way, causing us to be challenged, loved, and entertained haha! What I'm getting at is, she was not only hilarious, talented, smart, and affectionate... she was also very willful. VERY. Every child is different. Some will sit quietly playing at home, or calmly in the grocery cart (I have one of those too), however, some just can't. I was the mom getting stared at when my daughter would throw full blown tantrums in the middle of Target. The mom who had to be called (more than once) by the preschool teacher because her daughter was sassing the teacher and getting into mischief. If you've never had a challenge child, then maybe you were the one staring and hopefully not judging a mommy who was trying her very best. OR, maybe you can relate.

I have memories of many moments (leading up to yesterday) where she's tested my patience in a major way. God has been teaching me more than I could communicate at this moment through being her mom. How weak I am, how I cannot do this alone, how showing her my love for her is really always a good idea. I want to tell you, that if you have a child who tests you constantly, DO NOT GIVE UP! I know it's hard, and you WILL make mistakes, but that's ok! Let them see your mistakes and tell them you're sorry when you can. It will provoke your little guy/gal to do the same and bring the two of you back into a real relationship, not one that is surface. I' haven't always succeeded at doing this because, well... I make mistakes too. I'm still learning, and honestly, sometimes in the moment when I 'm caught up with emotion, I just don't make the right choice. Luckily, children are so forgiving... more than we deserve.

As my daughter gets older, I notice more and more glimpses of hope. Feelings of gratitude that I never gave up on her. Glad that God gave me the strength to push through and do the hard things with her (and I'm SURE there will be much more). She's ten now, in 5th grade, and has a whole life of her own. Between school, dance team, band, and any other activities that happen to come up, she's more and more becoming her own person. There are more and more times that she blows me away. Yesterday she came home with an English assignment to choose a person who is an example of temperance. She immediately told me that she already knew who she was going to choose. Jesus. She said she couldn't think of a better example and couldn't wait to share with her class. Mind you, she does not go to a Christian school. She goes to a public school. Her paragraph was very moving and true, but lets be honest... I'm sure controversial. Her willingness... even better... EXCITEMENT to share was like a wave of wonder crashing over me. I'm amazed by her boldness. Not a care at all about what others will think or say. She's had the opportunity to stand up for her beliefs on several occasions at school already and none of those moments (as hard as they were) were causing any shadow to fall over her desire to share truth with others. She was genuinely proud. She's not naive, she's brave. Even typing this I'm in disbelief. I was nothing like that as a child...nothing!

What's my point in telling this little story? Those willful ones who challenge you are also gifted. They see and hear more than you think. I'd heard encouragement like this before when she was much younger and was encouraged by others' stories and clung to the hope that she could use some of those stubborn qualities for good. Of course, this isn't the first time she's surprised me. Her love for others and how she openly and creatively expresses that also inspires me. But this event really provoked me to share. She doesn't care what other people think about her. She is easily distracted, but pays attention to MANY details. She pours her energy into whatever she believes in (you can't convince her not to), and she'd do anything to protect the ones she loves. I'm overwhelmingly provoked by her. In so many ways, I want to be like her. I can learn from her too. I whole-heartedly believe that God placed her in my life to grow us both. I don't know what the future holds for her, but I'm grateful for the moments where I see that there is so much good going on even in the areas that I'd originally counted out as being negative. Don't count them out! You will be tired, stressed, worried, etc., but God cannot be limited. He isn't just capable of using your childs "weaknesses" for good, He created them exactly as they are for a reason... a purpose that we may not fully understand. And at the end of the day, we are all flawed! Let's just pour love all over them regardless of all the testing they do. Let them know that you will never give up and will love them matter what happens. I can't see anything negative that would come out of that! We got this!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Meet Crystal // Shorteez

OK, I'm a little overly excited about this shop. Only because the owner happens to be my best friend, her product is cute, high quality, and very practical... that's all, no big deal ;) How many of you out there have girls? How many of you have girls that love to be girly, but are also very active? Welcome to my world! Ok, a lot of our worlds probably. My friend, Crystal came up with the idea of designing shorts in a wide range of colors for girls to wear under their skirts and dresses. I don't know about you, but I've looked for these shorts myself (before these existed) and honestly none of them were "right". Either they're way too see through, have slits and bows on the sides like underwear, or they are in strange colors/patterns and are more like biker shorts (longer and not very breathable). I'm so glad Crystal decided to take matters into her own hands assuming that we probably weren't the only ones that weren't very satisfied with the options that were out there already. Her shorts are perfect! The material isn't paper thin or too thick... it's just right and is nice and breathable. It's also super stretchy so there's no picking at them or pulling on them. They move great with my daughter and she's a mover as you'll see below :) I love that she offers a ton of different colors and that they come in a pack of three! You really must check out her website, instagram, and facebook as well! Also, she's offered all of my readers a lovely little discount code if you decide you'd like to give her shorts a whirl! Just use the code shorteez25 when you check out to receive 25% off your purchase (offer expires 9/16 @midnight EST)! You can see below some examples of the product and how my daughter enjoys them :) But don't miss the short Q&A sesh I did with Crystal (scroll down!) to get to know her a little better and how/why she started Shorteez.

the perfect gold color shorts from the neutral collection



Here are the pink shorts from the bright collection.


Here, Nyah is wearing the white shorts from the neutral collection



As you can see, no panties playing peak-a-boo even in THIS position haha. Can you tell she's a dancer?

I'm in love with the variety of colors and the adorable packaging! My daughter has already filled hers with nail polish and make-up! These are the four collections she has to offer with three shorts in each.


Now that you've gotten to see some great examples of Crystal's Shorteez and how we like to style/wear them, here's a bit more about the woman behind the scenes! She's one of the most driven, creative, open minded, hardest working people I know. She also happens to be a great mother and friend. I'm honored to feature someone so talented and close to me on my blog! Meet Crystal...


What inspired you to start Shorteez?

Both of my daughters love to wear dresses but are also very active.  They used to wear soccer shorts underneath of their dresses so that they could still dress up and play at recess.  I didn’t like how bulky and long the shorts were so I went to the local mall to find soft, slim-fitting play shorts that they could wear instead.  I was very frustrated on my search because the majority of the stores didn’t carry play shorts for girls.  The few stores that did carry play shorts didn’t have the best options to choose from.  The shorts were either too sheer or had a funky design on them.  That’s when I saw that there was a need for play shorts that were not only simple, soft and comfortable with full coverage but that were also available in packages that had multiple shorts in different color options.


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


I would love to collaborate with a non-profit organization that provides support for young girls that need help in realizing their full potential.  There are so many young girls out there that have low self-esteem and are surrounded by many community problems.  I want to be able to donate a portion of Shorteez profits to an organization that will help young girls become our future leaders.


What has been your biggest challenge so far?


My biggest challenge was finding the material for the shorts.  It was hard to find fabric that was soft, breathable, had full coverage, and affordable.  It took me months to find the perfect fabric.


How would you describe your own personal style?


It’s hard to describe my own personal style.  I feel like putting myself in a box limits me to try new things.  My style shifts everyday.  I can be very feminine, masculine, and in between.  I love playing with different silhouettes, colors, fabrics, and textures.


What does a typical day look like for you?


As a small business owner, I tend to wear many hats.  I find that switching between different modes can be mentally exhausting so I organize my calendar to have in days and out days.  On my in days I focus on phone calls, paper work and I don’t leave my office for the entire day.  On my out days I schedule meetings, visit boutiques, and ship out products.  This technique helps me save time from running around all over the place and it also helps me focus more on the tasks for that day.


What is something quirky or unexpected about you?


I love watching crime dramas.  I could watch Investigation Discovery channel for hours but I try to only watch it in small doses.  I start becoming paranoid if I watch too many of those shows.


If you could cross anything off your bucket list today, what would it be?


I do have an idea for a high-tech invention that currently doesn’t exist.  I would love to create this product some day in the future and see it change peoples lives.


Thanks for taking the time to share Crystal! Of course I love and admire that you want to give back and quip young women to be bold and believe in themselves to make a difference in this world! I hope you find a great non-profit that fits that mold. Also I love that you always have killer ideas! I can't wait to see what you come up with next! Not just in your new business, but beyond! I'm always so inspired by you :)

Don't forget to check out her website and make sure to follow her on instagram to get the latest on new product releases, sales, and giveaways (hint, hint... there's a killer giveaway coming that you wont want to miss!). Thanks everyone for taking the time to read and support my friend! Don't forget to use that discount code before it expires!!