Monday, October 15, 2018

Meet Severina // Gabri Isle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Its a great length too!

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

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

Q & A

1. Where did the name Gabri Isle come from?

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

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

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

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

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

4. How would you describe your own personal style?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now for those awesome travel tips!!

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

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

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

1) Find the right "accessories"

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

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

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

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

2) Taking night-time flights

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

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

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

4) New “toys” for entertainment

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

5) Getting Baby their Own Plane Seat

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Yup, I Freaked The F//k Out!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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