Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Balance

Isn't life all about it. Trying to find that balance between work and play, family life and job opportunities, whatever it may be I'm sure we can all agree that it can be a huge challenge. Now, I'm not saying that I have the solution by any means. I'm simply sharing how I get my mind right. There will always be things vying for our attention, things distracting us, things worrying us, etc, but all the noise at some point has to be quiet so that even for a moment, we can focus on what truly matters and remember what's real.


Everyone's daily life looks different. For me, I'm a stay-at-home mommy to three. Two out of those three are in school full time, while my youngest is at home with me majority of the time. He has preschool for a couple hrs two mornings a week. They all have sports and extracurriculars, so I'm that mom that is driving the world over. I also work at a dance studio teaching one night a week and two to three days a week I watch my baby nephew. In a nutshell, My life is full. My husband just quit his job and started is own company so that has increased pressure and decreased any kind of secure income. It's hard to fit everything in, to make time for everything, to quiet my mind of worry, to keep track of lists. I'm realizing how crucial it is to stay focused on truth. I can easily let my mind wonder, or believe lies about how I'm not a good enough mother or play all those "what if" games. I'm just an imperfect person who truly and deep down wants the best for my family. So, in case anyone is like me, looking for a balance, a way to "get your mind right", here's some things I try to start my day off with... If I can't technically start my day with these, I at least try to incorporate them somewhere in my day. That's really the goal for me because everyday looks a little different at my house.


1. COFFEE. Duh...getting the kids up and ready with lunches packed for school while I'm still half asleep can be a challenge. Thank God for coffee.


2. READ.  Ok, I know what you're thinking. There's no time you crazy lady! Well you're absolutely right. There never is really. So take the guess work and searching out of it and literally all it takes is 2-5 min. I downloaded the app "solid joys" on my phone and I can't even tell you how useful that has been for me. I need truth! I used to make the excuse that I just didn't know where to start, I didn't have time to really meditate on it or focus on what I was reading because of the kids and distractions, but this is what I was missing the most. Truth. God's word in my face and me trusting that He would use it even if I wasn't thinking I was getting much out of it. That app is just a great place to start. It always starts with a bible verse so if you wanted to read more you can. Again that's where apps come in handy because I know you have your phone at your fingertips at all times! Bible app! do it. You'll be amazed at how easy this all really is and how whether you start your day with it or read it in the carpool line, or right before you fall asleep at night (take a break from instagram for 2 minutes!) God WILL use it and it will totally bring about peace of mind.


3. YOGA. Well that's just an example :) Sometimes I like to start my day with yoga because I'm not quite ready to go full tilt with a HIIT workout just yet (I try to work out 20-30min 5 days a week). Plus stretching and toning in yoga is such a release for me. And I usually have this little blonde moppy headed kid right next to me saying, "look mommy I'm doing the doggy!", but it's all good! I'm still getting it done and frankly, I think I'm really gonna miss that little side kick when he's in school with the others. If not yoga, find a good stretch routine! Even if its literally just a couple minutes of stretching each day I guarantee you will majorly benefit! Read up on it.  I subscribed to the "tone it up" channel on youtube and there's a ton of good workout, stretch, and yoga routines there. 20 min and under people. Super easy to follow with the touch of a finger! Oh and there's even a "tone it up" app as well ;)


4. GREEN JUICE. Coffee is pretty great, but then it's good to consider eating something healthy and maybe throwing some greens in there! I don't know, something about starting my day off knowing I've already got some greens in is good for me mentally as well as physically. I try to drink as much water as possible and to eat healthy, but its hard to remember to get my veggies in sometimes. So whether you have a blender, a juicer, or purchase a green juice (like me), get those greens in! Again, so many benefits to that. I buy Suja brand of juice because it's organic and cold pressed. I wont get into all the deets here, but it's good stuff and they sell a giant green juice at Costco...done. If not a juice, there's always the option of a good dark green salad for lunch.


That's it! not a super long list or anything very difficult! It's just what I have found to really help me jump start my day and help avoid any funks. I need coffee, I need to be reminded of truth, and I need to take care of the only body I have! Engaging my mind and body helps me feel like I'm staying young. Who doesn't love that feeling?? I'd love to hear what things YOU do to help jump start your day! Comment here or on instagram and #TTLjumpstart so I can share with others any good ideas you might have to add to my list!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Meet Christina // Coco Lobo

First of all, Christina is one talented, multitasking lady! Talented, because she had an idea, a vision, and she not only made into reality, but she did it in such a way that the attention to detail is really what makes these stand apart! Multitasking, because she's also a mommy of two little ones and has successfully been juggling the growth of her business and all the tasks and responsibilities that come with being a mama! I have so much respect for her and that she committed herself to finding a creative outlet... and that we get to benefit from that :) Christina's mini loafers are exceptional!! Not only is the leather of the best quality, but the design is just on point! She leaves the raw edge at the top of the foot which gives it such a clean, simple, no stitching, comfortable on tiny feet, organic type of feel! I knew I'd love them from the photos, but putting them on my nephew sealed the deal for me. Another perk, they never fall off! Praise JESUS! I'm sorry, but in my 10 years of being a mom, I cannot even begin to tell you how frustrating it is to constantly lose a tiny shoe! If you don't lose it, it seems to be on way too tight and cutting of little pudgy feet circulation! These little shoes are just perfection. He wore them for hours... no red marks, they were easy enough to get on and off, no ties, just simple and comfortable. It's like a miracle. I love that there is literally no stitching to be seen anywhere on these beauties. It gives it that clean modern feel. To me, it makes them stand out. You notice the texture in the leather and how well made they are... nothing else. I'd HIGHLY recommend you go check out her other designs on her website! There's so many great choices and colors! Check out our pair below!






Now that you've gotten a little peak at Christina's little loafers, I'd love to share with you a short Q&A I did with her so we could all get to know her a little better! 



What made you choose the name Coco Lobo?

I don't really have a cool story...I just wanted something fun and catchy.  Coco Lobo is Spanish for 'coconut wolf'.  I was going through lists of words and I came up with Coco Lobo.  I don't speak Spanish but I do speak German and I'd love to learn!  Anyway,  I chose Spanish because I've always wanted to travel to Spain and I love how pretty the language sounds. 


Who/what inspired you to start your own business?

A few things.  I've always been creative and have had a 'do it yourself' attitude.  For example, I would sew clothes for my American Girl doll when I was little and when I was in middle school I was more into decorating my room; I saw a really cool beach themed sign in a PB Teen magazine but it was too expensive so I made my own! After my daughter was born, I decided not to go back to work and stay home with my two babes so after a few months I felt like I needed to find that creative outlet again plus I wanted to be able to have some money of my own and so I started selling headbands- I never sold a single headband haha! After a few trials and many errors I ended up here. 


What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Time management and finding my target market. 


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

I would tell someone to give it your all and go for it.  Don't get discouraged easily and don't compare yourself to others! Do try to network with others.  If the internet seems too big, focus on marketing your business in your hometown or nearby cities by participating in craft shows and networking with local businesses who have a similar target market.


Describe a typical day for you?

A typical day…. I wake up, get my kids up and around, thankfully Alex helps me out in the mornings before he heads off to class/studying until 10:00 pm, breakfast made, run any errands if needed, playtime, check in on Instagram, emails etc. lunchtime, play outside, nap time/quiet time, I try to take advantage and work on shoe related things, prepare dinner, clean up, playtime/read books, get ready for bed then I try to pump myself up and work on my shoes whether it's shoe concepts, improving my design, working on my website or working on orders. 


What is something quirky/unexpected about you?

I only eat cookie dough ice cream and I nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it - I know it's really weird!


Haha now I'm curious about microwaving cookie dough ice cream! Thanks so much for sharing Christina! I love your business advice and the quirky inspiration behind the name!! So fun getting to learn more about you and your journey! 

For all of you who are drooling over these  adorable baby shoes I have great news! Christina is giving all my readers/followers 15% off for a week starting today!! Just go to her website (www.shopcocolobo.com) and use the code littleslife15 at check out!! You won't regret it! Make sure to also follow her on Instagram so you can be the first to hear of new releases,giveaways, and discounts! Thanks for taking the time to read and for supporting small shops!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Meet Cady // Enjoy Essential

When I stumbled upon Cady's shop, Enjoy Essential, I was immediately impressed! She has such an eye for design and has expanded her shop to have something for almost everyone! Her journey started in 2013 with a design on a onsie. Now she has "mommy & me" matching tees, both boys and girls tees, and adult sizes. The quality of the tees and the prints on them are on point as well. My daughter and I have worn ours MANY times already and have been stopped countless times and asked where we got them! Oh and she's not limited to just tees. She has pillow cases, dresses, headbands, and more! It's no surprise to me that her business took off so quickly! There's such a variety to choose from, which makes it easy to make a pretty long wishlist! She's one of those stories that would motivate anyone to take a chance and chase after a dream whole heartedly. She's put so much of her talents and time into this business of hers and it shows!! I'm honored to share with you a small piece of what she has to offer! Check out the tees she sent my daughter and I!


"I don't do mornings"



my little sass wearing her "I'm so fancy" tee :)



There's so much more to see on her website so make sure you go check it out! Also use the code, LITTLESLIFE to receive 10% off your purchase! I guarantee you'll be hooked! Her tees and other goodies make great gifts (even if its for yourself haha) and when you purchase from her, you're supporting her dream! And the best part is, she's into giving back. She does all the designing, packaging, etc. all on her own! There's a lot of love and creativity packed into what she does and I think it's pretty obvious. Thankfully she let me grill her with some questions so that we can learn a little bit more about her and how she got started!


Cady, her husband Matt and their super cute dog Crash!

How did Enjoy Essential come about?

In November of 2013, a girlfriend told me I should make paint a onesie for her daughter. I honestly can't remember how the conversation came up, but I started hand-stamping a couple and they were always hit or miss if they would turn out well, so I got the idea to buy a pack of iron-on paper and use my (unprofessional) experience in graphic design to come up with something I could print out and iron on. "Don't Kill My Vibe" was the very first real design I ever put up on Etsy. I sold so many of them so quickly that I started feeling incredibly guilty that eventually iron-on designs would fall apart. So I got myself a heat press, which allowed me to seal the designs onto the fabric for much longer. Sales were out of control after only one month. The labor of making the shirts was overwhelming and I knew I had to make a change. I needed a screen printer. On March 1, 2014, I put in my two weeks notice with my marketing job and took a huge leap of faith. On March 17, I launched enjoyessential.com and have never, ever looked back. It's amazing where an idea and a hustle can take you.
 
 
What inspired the name?

Ugh. The name. Well I wanted the brand to be called Essential. Just one word. But every version of the .com was taken. I tried ShopEssential, BeEssential, and eventually settled on EnjoyEssential. There have been so many times I've wanted to change it, but once you make a name for yourself it's important to stick with it- change confuses customers and that's the last thing I want to do! But Essential means "important; absolutely necessary" and I love that.


What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up at 7am for my first Instagram post of the day when my husband gets up for work, and then fall back asleep until 8. I'm lucky enough to be able to make my own schedule AND I don't have children yet, so the entire day is mine! I work from my phone until about 9/10am and then my dog and I head out my daily large black iced tea with sugar free raspberry and his morning dog treat. They have it ready by the time I get to the window which is awesome and also embarrassing. I have a problem. Twice a week for three hours my assistant Rachel comes and pulls and ships orders. Shipping takes an incredible amount of time away from me so having her is such a blessing. We ship over a hundred packages three times a week, and I like to get them out on consistent days. While she does that, I work on emails, exchanges and photos. I also run another company with my best friend called The Greek Years, a sorority apparel company, and that is probably the most time consuming of all my projects- when Rachel is here I really get to focus on that. When she leaves, I grab lunch and head back to my computer. Around 2/3 I take a TV break and catch up on my trashy tv. I'll also try and get a nap in during this time because I often stay up til 1am working. I make dinner for my husband and then I usually head back to work. I individually package every shirt by myself- I spent this entire week (literally the whole week) packaging over 3,000 shirts. I still have a LOT more to go but I'm determined to finish this week... And then I'll restock and have to start again! My days have been a lot more free recently since we got orders down to a three day turnaround. I'm remodeling the garage into a showroom in two weeks, so I have been busting my ass to get everything as organized as possible and get orders out next day. 
 
 
How would you describe Enjoy Essential's style?

100% of the things I design are things I would wear myself. I love when little kids dress like adults (not inappropriately, but just chic and stylish). I draw a lot of inspiration from songs or phrases that I personally love. That's what sets EE apart I think- you can really see ME in the brand and designs.
 
 
If you could have any super power what would it be?
 
I always say flying. Or teleporting, like in Harry Potter when they use Floo Powder. I just want to be able to be exactly where I want, when I want. And right now I want to be in Costa Rica.
 
 
How would you describe your personal style?
 
I have a story that will always stick with me. When I was 17, I worked at Hollister, and one of the regional managers, Biz, would come in to visit and always has the weirdest outfits on. Because I was a high school kid on a budget, I would always buy off the clearance rack- the stuff no one really wanted. But I would still buy it and wear it and they dubbed me "Bizzle" and my style "Biz-wear." I love mixed prints and patterns and kimonos and things with jewels and tears. Always the stuff you wouldn't expect people to put together, and I'd like to think I pull it off. To this day I'll post a photo on Instagram and a friend from my Hollister days will comment "Biz-wearrrrrr." It always makes me laugh. Who would've thought I'd end up in fashion?!
 
 
Thanks so so much for sharing Cady! I love that you create designs based on what you would wear! Clearly a bunch of us like your style :) And teleporting is always a good one! Who wants to spend the time and money traveling when you can just appear!? I love your story and am so inspired by it! I hope it inspires others as well. I so look forward to seeing what other amazing designs you come up with in the future!!