Monday, June 30, 2014

Moms on Mondays - Chrysti from Dandy Lion Co.

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This week I am excited to tell you about Chrysti from Dandy Lion Co. (she is also on Instagram).  She is a fellow Oregonian, like me, and we actually grew up in the same small town - what a small world!  I love that she supports and hypes other Portland-based businesses and her stuff is to die for.  Check out her website for kids' clothes that are "the epitome of casual cool and moveable for any adventure!"

 Lemon in Chrysti's lemon print shorts!

I started Dandy Lion Co. in October of 2011.  My inspiration behind opening was the fact that I absolutely loved to make my daughters' clothes.  My oldest was 3 and my youngest was only 4 months.  So, it was a slow start to say the least.   I loved to shop for and coordinate fabrics for their outfits, and because I was getting several requests from friends and strangers inquiring about my girls precious clothing, I decided to turn my creative outlet into a shop on Etsy in hopes of selling a few pieces a month.  I named my shop Dandy Lion Co.  Dandy meaning very good, and Dandy Lion being a play on dandelion, something every little one loves :).  It just sounded fun and playful, like a child.  

Before I had children and started DLC, I worked in the mortgage business as a Loan Officer.  I loved the fast pace nature of the job.  And, though it was great before kids, when our first was born I realized that unless I was willing to put my daughter in full time care, I wouldn't be able to sustain my work load and be successful at it.  So I quit.  I became a part time notary for closings to earn some extra cash for our family, but it was never something that I planned to build on, and I quickly burned out on the evening and weekend trips to meet clients.  

The most challenging part of running a business is juggling it with motherhood, it can be tricky.  My youngest is in preschool 2 full days a week.  So I have two days, plus nights, to keep up with orders, emails, and networking.  I want my girls to see that working hard and staying dedicated pays off, and to also teach them to have fun and love what they do.  Owning a small, handmade business allows me to be flexible with my schedule.  And, having this creative outlet has been so good for me during this time in my life.

Outside of our regular routine I am an avid runner and lover of the outdoors.  I have completed marathons, an Ironman 70.3, and a couple ultra marathons.  That might sound intense, but it is absolutely one of the most calming and relaxing things I do.  Training runs allow me time to meditate, be creative, sweat, etc.  And, when it comes to race day, competing is a great reminder that hard work and dedication pays off.  For me, doing these runs coincides with success in all areas of life.  When I'm feeling tired or burned out I remind myself that life is a never-ending marathon.  There are moments when it's easy and smooth, and moments when you feel ready to throw in the towel, but you don't.  

We love to get outside as a family.  Whether it be hiking, biking, backpacking, walking to the park or a beach day; it is so important to my husband and I teach our girls to love and appreciate all that nature has to offer.  A typical night in our home involves us putting on a record and my husband whipping up something delish, he is a phenomenal cook.  I'm spoiled in that area.  At the end of the day family time is so important. We sit down at the dinner table every night and catch up on everyone's day.  It is my absolute favorite part of the day.

I have learned so much about myself over the last couple of years running DLC.  I think I have always been the type of person to choose the road less traveled, to explore new paths, and to really find my way.  DLC has allowed me to hone that creative bone.  Designing, creating, and working with my hands is extremely therapeutic to me.  Since starting DLC, I have enrolled myself into the Pacific Northwest College of Art where I am learning all kinds of new tools that I hope to apply to my business in the near future.  I see no end in sight for my growing, creative business. 

For fellow mom-prenuers the best advice I can give is to enjoy and accept where you are in life while still following that burning passion.  This has been one of the hardest lessons for me--and something I have to remind myself of frequently.  As much as I just want to devote a full time work schedule to DLC, I have to acknowledge that my youngest just turned 3 and it is only 2 years before she is in school full time.  I want to soak up these years the best I can, because I think I would regret doing it any other way.  I know my time is coming, and I'm prepping myself and my business the best I can for it. :)

Some of my favorite handmade brands:

Jen Shank of Swanky Shank makes the cutest, original, and custom appliqué tops.  You can tell that there is so much love and passion behind her one of a kind pieces.  And they are very well made.

I was recently turned onto Camp Wolf on Instagram.  They use Pendleton Wool for a lot of their products, which is what initially caught my eye (I love Pendleton!).  But, they are also a Portland company.  I'm so impressed with what they are doing.  The pieces are classic, yet hip and original.

I love Anna Joyce Design (this is for the mommas!).  Anna is a fellow Portland artist.  She is a textile designer and applies her designs to pillows, bags, linens, etc.  Her stuff is so lovely.  I own several of her pieces and they make excellent gifts.  

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

2nd Birthday Trip: Day 3

We hung around the house this morning, for awhile, and it was nice not having anything we had to do. We watched The Croods, played with play-doh and danced around. Lemon had her first potato bug experience and loved watching them roll into little balls. We played outside with a ball we got her at the grocery store yesterday too, the grass here reminds me of Oregon, it's the big, thick kind. Makes me nostalgic.

A new game Daddy made up today where he wraps her up like a baby and sings Rock-a-by-baby to her. So so cute!

We finally went to Target to kill some time (and some of Lemon's energy) and then were home again for a nap.

Lemon took a nap, I read my book and dozed off again (did I mention that I love vacations?!) and Eb went for a bike ride. We are lunch and then got ready and headed out to our 3rd ever Instagram meet up with Courtney and Asher. We met them at Balboa Park and this time I brought the pack so it was better than carrying Lemon. However, it was a lot of walking and I wished we had the stroller, I am now never leaving the house without our stroller, the pack AND a sweater - it got so chilly! Thank goodness for good, new friends that let us borrow theirs!

As you can see, Lemon carried a squash around with her, that Eb grew in his school garden, almost the whole time. She loved running around and her and Asher instantly became best buds, shrieking and running around together. They danced to the violin and Lemon even reached out and touched him with her finger and gave him a hug goodbye. We were off to Burger Lounge (our fav) for dinner in Hillcrest, with our new friends, and then back home for bed.

Some videos from today:


Thanks, Asher, for letting us borrow your coat. Courtney even had an extra in her car for me!

My shoulders and back are going to be sore tomorrow because we walked a ton again today but I am loving laying on this couch right now. We are off to meet more IG friends tomorrow, Kate and Brady, and see some old friends too - Megan, Ellie and Nick. So many peeps to see but we are oh so lucky to have the time for it, I am loving our trip so far and Lemon is too!

I'm a bit nervous about moving to the hotel on Wednesday, her birthday, because she calls this house "home" and it will be different us all not having our own space. But I always worry and she always goes with the flow so I should just stop worrying. Nighty night friends!

2nd Birthday Trip: Day 2

Gotta love the Blogger app, deleted my whole post when I was already done with it. I seem to remember this from last year, ugh!! This, coupled with the dogs barking outside, just may throw me over the edge tonight!! I will do my best to recreate . . .

We slept great last night and woke up when Lemon did at 6:15am this morning. I was surprised she was up so early because she was so tired, and only napped 30 minutes, but new place so it was to be expected. 

After breakfast, chocolate chip waffles and eggs, we decided to walk to the park. Lemon cried the whole time, wanted me to hold her, not daddy, and it was a longer, hotter walk than we expected. 

She had so much fun when we got there, played so much with her daddy and loved the sand on her feet, but was ready to head home for a nap. I got to lay in bed, read my book, get tired and nap too, it was wonderful.

Lemon woke up around 1pm and after lunch we decided to head to the closest beach, La Jolla, to window shop and stick our toes in the sand. Lemon kept saying "water, water" over and over again and loved playing in the sand and running away from the water with daddy.

Everyone at the beach loved her, she tried to take everyone's balls at Skripps Park, chased after a girl to blow bubbles for her and said "hi" to everyone we passed. She even answered the "how old are you" question with "2!" and tried to make her little fingers into a 2, it was so cute and I had just taught her that this morning!

She was so so tired after the water and gelato, but we headed to the grocery store to get some more essentials. We made spaghetti and were in for the night, the babe went to bed at 8:30. It's a big late for her but we are doing our best on vacation!!

I was a bit disappointed in La Jolla today, a lot of the beach steps were under construction and the beaches we ran into were really small and rocky. We did get to see some sea lions, which Lemon didn't care about, and it was all a bit stinky. I know La Jolla is fancy shmancy but I wasn't impressed. Lemon had a great time and we loved her loving the water, wind and sand.

Now we are on the couch watching Game of Thrones and I'm beat from carrying the babe around. She only wants me and she's 25 pounds so I'm tired! Tomorrow we get to meet our Instagram friend Courtney and her son, Asher, who I've been following since she was pregnant, I'm excited!

Ugh typing that twice was tough, goodnight all!