Monday, November 30, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Trisha from Still Rad Clothing

Today on Moms on Mondays I am excited to have Trisha from Still Rad Clothing!  I got to participate in a photo shoot of her brand (see it here) and have talked to her online a few times and she is just the sweetest.  Her clothes are so cool and I hope to one day meet her in person when she moves to Arizona (get out here!).  Check out her post and then go shop!  

The name of my shop is Mombie Brand, which also encompasses our brand Still Rad Clothing.  We can also be found on Instagram and Facebook.  We sell mainly screen printed clothing for modern parents and kids.

My best friend and I used to always draw shirt designs as teens, and pretend to own our own clothing company.  As I got married, and had 3 kids, I decided that I was bored with the clothing available in stores.  I decided to start learning to screen print.  I had a lot of fun designing and printing clothing for my kiddos, so I decided I really wanted to make a living at it, and that it would also allow me to have a more flexible schedule.  We've been in business for 2 and a half years.

My background is actually in criminal investigation.  I clearly decided to go a different route, but I always have it as a back up, because I still am very passionate about that type of work as well.

I have 3 children, all with their completely unique personalities.  Minerva is my oldest, she is 7, she is sassy, strong-willed, has a fashion sense and a love for bunnies.  She is also really into Goosebumps.  Sadie Morgan is 5, she is sweet and very friendly, but sometimes shy.  She loves cats and dogs.  Finally, my youngest is Silas Benjamin, he is 3.  He is super smart and picks up very easily on anything he learns.  He loves learning, monster trucks, Pokemon, letters and numbers.

This company helps provide extra money for my family, and is actually helping us move across the country, which has been a long time dream of mine.  For me, personally, it allows me to have a creative outlet, as well as a flexible schedule to be with my family.

In some way, I always kind of thought I would be running my own business and doing something creative, so I'm not surprised at where I am now.  Currently, I'm the only one working on my company, but my best friend does help on her free time.  She is a really great friend, and is very enthusiastic about my brand.  I do my best to run my shop and squeeze it all in while my kids are at school.  It doesn't always work out, so I end up spending night time hours to catch up on things I didn't get done during the day.

I love the relationships that I have built with both my customers, and other small brands.  There is a wonderful network of parents and creative minds out there, and social media makes it easy to connect with them.  I also get a lot of pride in knowing I built this business from the ground up.  I like to believe that we are growing at a good rate, and cannot wait to see where we are a year from now.  It's so exciting!

The most challenging part of this business would have to be the time management and task organization.  I tend to try to start many projects at the same time, instead of starting and finishing one after another.  Things can get chaotic fast, and I get overwhelmed easily.

In the future, I see us pursuing more wholesale accounts and getting our brand into more boutiques across the world.  We kind of slacked with this because it was very overwhelming for one person, and the help of a friend here and there, to keep up with.  I would also like to see our clothing being manufactured to our specifications.

Our Mombie Defined shirts are probably my favorite things I've created because they truly define motherhood.  Any mother of small children can relate to them.

My advice to future mom-entrepreneurs?  Don't give up.  There will be times that you feel you can't do it anymore, but you need to keep going.  It gets harder before it gets easier, but I assure you, you will learn to make everything work.  Always remind yourself that you have so many things to be proud of.  For instance, I take time each day to express the things I am grateful for.  Doing this keeps up my positivity and will work for you too.

I have so many favorite shops I had to narrow it down to just four - Kinship Goods, Passive Juice Motel, Loved by Hannah and Eli and Weestructed.  I couldn't leave out Weestructed because at least once a day I am using one of their products!

Check out Trisha's feature on BuzzFeed as well!

Thanks Trisha for being a part of this series, I loved having you!  :)

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Baby Boy Updates - 4-14 Weeks

4 - 10 Weeks

I spent the past two days worrying that I'm pregnant.  I can't sleep, can't eat and haven't told anyone.  Today I told Ian at lunch and he said I need to just take a test, because there is no way I could be pregnant.  Seriously he said "no way."  I agreed, I needed to put my mind at ease and I had a weekend of fun planned for my birthday.

Took a test, found out I'm pregnant at 37.  Spent my birthday weekend feeling like an old, pregnant lady.  Can't believe this is all happening again, just can't believe it.  We have so many trips planned this month, I had birthday plans and was so happy with my rockin' bod that I worked so hard on (ha, but for reals!), it was just so unexpected and such crazy timing.

Lemon, Ian and I traveled to Disneyland, then a couple of weeks later Lemon and I went to Oregon with my mom.  I started to feel pretty tired around 6 weeks and by 8 weeks I was dead tired.  I never got sick, but felt nauseous and wore my Sea Bands religiously.  I started eating a ton of food, every time I felt sick I would eat, and gained 8 pounds in 8 weeks, a pound a week.  I look like I'm 6 months pregnant.

My napping spot at school (in the yoga room next door)!

We went to the store and bought sausages and rice for lunch (because I usually eat salami and goat cheese, both off limits now), and beef jerky for snacks.  It only took about a week before all of these sounded disgusting to me and I couldn't even open my fridge at school because of the smell.  Now I eat organic hot dogs, hummus, baked chips for lunch; and peanut butter on a rice cake is my fave breakfast food (along with my normal Lara bar).  I used to be able to eat a Lara bar and last all day, man those days are over.  Now, when I'm hungry, I'm starving!!

I went to the doctor at 8 weeks, with my best friend, Christine, because Ian forgot to call in a sub at work.  We cracked up when we saw the baby on the ultrasound, it was just so unbelievable.  I spent a good part of these early weeks in shock, dismay, worry and just kept eating so I wouldn't barf (if you know me, you know I hate to throw up).  These weeks went by in a blur, and I knew secretly to not get too attached because loss can happen, and was just trying to process it all.  After seeing our baby on the ultrasound, though, it felt more real, and I started to get more excited, I think Ian did too.

I told my dad early, at 5 weeks and my mom before our trip to Oregon (at 8 weeks).

11 Weeks

Miranda, who is 18 weeks pregnant, gave me my doppler back today (I bought it on eBay for my last pregnancy and loved hearing Lemon's heartbeat every night before bed).  I thought it was a long shot, but I tried to find the baby's heartbeat.  I found it!  Music to my ears, so exciting.  I sent a video of the doppler to my close friends and my brother and sister-in-law.  We saw Ian's mom and sister the next night and told them too, they were so excited!  I think everyone was as surprised as us at the news.  I would have loved to have waited to tell everyone at the same time, in a big, fun reveal but man, I already look super pregnant.  Ha.

We told Lemon, officially, even though she's heard a lot of talk about babies lately (everyone is pregnant!).  She was SO excited to be a big sister!  It is also awesome that Season 2 of Daniel Tiger came out on Netflix, and the first 3 episodes are all about how his mom is having a baby, perfect timing.  She's obsessed, and I'm happy she has the show to kind of explain things to her.  Such a good show for kids!  Everyone is getting more used to the idea and we are all getting super excited to meet this baby!

12 Weeks

We went to the doctor today and saw our baby in 2D and 3D.  The ultrasound tech couldn't tell us if it was a boy or a girl, too early she said, but later I went to a lab to get the blood test for Downs Syndrome and to find out the gender.  I was so excited to find out and thought for sure they'd let us know in a couple of days, turned out we waited 7!  The longest week of my life!

I went back to prenatal yoga this week, my first time since I was pregnant with Lemon!  There is a different teacher and the class wasn't super challenging, but I was out of breath halfway through and realized that I need to start working out more - yoga regularly again and walking on the treadmill.  Now that I'm feeling better it's just a must!  Ugh.

My mom and Joe bought Lemon a big girl bed this week and we moved the crib out of her room, and built it.  It sure was bittersweet but knowing another baby will be in that crib just blows my mind.  So fun!

13 Weeks

The doctor called today to tell us what we were having, but I didn't see the phone call pop up on my phone (after being crazy about checking my phone for the past 7 days!).  I called Ian in his classroom to come up to mine, when I saw that I had a voicemail from them, and we listened to the message together.  The nurse said that our baby tested negative for Downs and was a baby boy!  Then, I may have cried because I was not prepared for that news (I have SO much baby girl stuff!).  Later, I started to get excited about seeing what a baby boy would look like and act like, and about the bond between a mama and her son.  I hear boys just love their mamas and I already have a mama's girl (who sometimes I have to bribe to let me snuggle!).  I can't wait to see the bond between a sister and a brother, or just a sibling bond in general - something I've never experienced myself.

Ian came to my room, later that day, with a list of the craziest baby boy names, including such gems as Ghost, Spirit and Ace.  I had also been making a list of my own, too funny that we both went right to work trying to think of names for a boy, it's tough!  For a girl - Peach Rose, for a boy - we have no idea.

Sent a picture of my expanding belly to my besties.  It looks fairly normal in the morning but after lunch, it grows!

I think we are eventually going to keep Lemon's room the baby boy's room, and then re-do Ian's man room as Lemon's new "big girl" room.  Of course we had to plan some sort of house renovation for this pregnancy, just like our last one (we painted the outside of the house), we can't just relax.  Lemon is excited about her room and I hope to post the transformation here.  So, I had to start planning out baby boy's room, using the existing aqua color for the walls:

I like the idea of a wall map, like making it an "adventure" room:

After hearing the boy news, we thought we had to do an attic overhaul because I knew that I had bags and bags of girl clothes stored up there.  Little did I know how many!  15 bags/boxes of clothes/toys - it was unbelievable.  Apparently I am a baby clothes' hoarder.  I sorted them out, kept what I could (girl clothes are definitely not "gender neutral") and ended up giving 5 bags to my good friend Miranda (Jonah's mom) because she's having a girl this time around.  It was sad but necessary, gotta just let go and start over!  Here's to some new boy clothes!

14 Weeks

Everything is all baby all the time around here.  When Lemon first heard talk of babies (from Miranda's pregnancy) she started carrying around her "baby" every day and named her baby Grape.  From that moment on, baby Grape hasn't left her side and she even snuggles her every night while she sleeps (it is so dang cute!).  She dresses her, feeds her, must find her when she's lost and wants to play with all her babies and change their diapers.  I just love it.

Do you see baby Grape?

Lemon constantly asks me "Can I see your baby?" and wants to see my tummy.  She gently pushes her baby brother down because "he's standing up" and gives him kisses.  She talks about what they will do together and what a mess he will make, and also how much he will cry.  She wants him to sleep in her bed with her and get bunk beds too.  And to think, I may never have experienced all of this - this awesome sibling planning and excited-ness - it is the absolute BEST.  Melts my heart.

She has called him a myriad of names, including Tootie, Grape, Blue and in this video she calls him Bluie.  :)

Cara over at A Pocket Full of Posey made us these cute shirts for our pregnancy reveal next week.  I love them!!  (Read more about her shop here.)  I can't wait for you to see it!!  :)

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Cara from Pocket Full of Posey

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This week I am featuring Cara from A Pocket Full of Posey.  She makes the cutest, personalized, hand-stitched clothing and you can custom make something with her too.  Check out her post and then go shop!

I'm Cara and I run A Pocket Full of Posey, named after my crazy daughter Posey. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook. I make hand stitched appliqué shirts and other items. If you can appliqué it, I'm all about it. I've always loved to embroider and do appliqué, and have made my kid's birthday shirts since they were born. 

Last winter I decided, what the heck, I should open a shop and sell stuff. I specialize in custom kid's birthday shirts, and think it is beyond awesome to get an order from a kid who wants a unicorn and their name and lots of purple and a bunny - and know I can make that happen. Every item I make is drawn, cut, and sewn by me, completely by hand. I prefer the look of hand-made vs. machine appliqué or embroidery. I love that each item I make takes time, attention and is unique. Even if someone orders a shirt that I have made before, it will never be completely the same because each item I make is made-to-order. 

I grew up in Milwaukee but I've lived in Austin for over 10 years now. I've been married to my best friend for 7 years and have a 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. I received a degree in Math from a tiny college in Milwaukee named Alverno, then moved down to Austin where I taught high school Math for 7 years.  {I teach high school English!}  

I quit teaching full time when I had my son; but, in addition to my shop, I also mentor new Statistics teachers and teach weekend math sessions for AP students. I love math, sewing, my family, and Scandal . . . not necessarily in that order. If you would have told me when I was younger I would spend my days doing laundry and sewing, I may have not believed you. But man am I happy about it!

A Pocket Full of Posey is 100% me. I put my kids to bed at night and then I usually sew for 2-3 hours while I watch bad TV. Sometimes I sew at the park while my kids play, or at the bounce house while my son goes up and down the slide 500 times. I'm lucky that I am able to still be a full time mom and also do something that I totally love. Sometimes I can't believe how lucky I am. My favorite part of what I do is becoming a part of someone's special event. I love getting an order for a birthday or holiday shirt, or a new baby, or a grandma who wants a matching shirt with their grandkid, and being able to create something with love that will become a part of those memories. If I can make a shirt for a little girl turning 6 that is exactly what she wants and she's full of joy wearing it on her birthday, well . . . that's just so lovely!

I look forward to the next year and growing my little business. I plan to start an Etsy shop and have more ready-to-wear items. My favorite orders are custom orders, however, so what that will look like is yet to be seen. I want to learn to quilt as well, so that's on my list of goals for the next year as well. Mostly, I just want to keep making my customers happy and creating unique items for wonderful people everywhere. 

Thanks Cara, I hope you continue to live your dream!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Another baby! WHAT?! A boy?!

I am going to be real with you guys, not all pregnancy stories are magical, mine was a total surprise and will be magical, just in a different way.  Before I tell you about my journey this time around, I have some numbers to share with you:

3 - The number of days before my 37th birthday that I found out I was pregnant, again, unexpectedly.

0 - The number of times I've been unexpectedly pregnant until now.  Ha.

37 - My age.  I never thought I'd be having a baby at 37 and am aware that it is still fairly "young" in baby baking terms, but man I feel like an old, pregnant lady.  All of you young ladies, start making babies earlier!!

1 - The amount of kids I decided I wanted, after realizing I was 2 days late and proceeded to freak out the entire 2 days until I took a test.

6(+?) - The number of times I've cried about being pregnant, both happy and sad tears.  Like a said, it was a shock to us, something we totally weren't prepared for.  But, are you ever really prepared for a baby?!

8 - The amount of weeks it took me to come to terms with the fact that we are having another baby, and doing this all over again.  Now, I'm excited!

2 - The number of days it took me to recover from shock after receiving a phone call with the results of my blood test with the news that we are having a boy.  A boy?!

As you can see, ever since my birthday weekend (the end of September) we have had a secret and it has just been a whirlwind.  I was up at night for most of my 1st trimester worrying about money and insurance, seriously why do money woes even have to factor into having another baby?  It's the worst!

I am excited for Lemon to have a sibling, something I never had, and wished for a sister for her, just because I always wanted a sister myself.  I am also old, tired and am feeling super unprepared to shop for boy clothes, buy boy toys and chase after a boy - I just want to take a nap.  But, he's coming, and I am coming to terms with the thought of having a tiny boy in our pretty girly, princess filled house (that Lemon has obviously taken over with toys).  And Lemon, oh Lemon, every time we talk about baby she calls it her "sister," and yesterday when I told her that it may be a boy she said "No, a sister."  Well, it looks like she'll just have to get used to the idea too.  :)

I learned, through my miscarriage, that you can't control anything in this life.  Nothing at all.  Then I seem to have forgotten that, because I was floored when I found out I was pregnant this time around, again, trying to control a situation I obviously have no control over.  Then, when we got the call from the doctor about our baby boy, I was again overwhelmed and shocked (when really, nothing should shock me anymore).  The universe threw us for a loop once again.

There is a plan for us in this life and sometimes we have no idea what it is.  Two teachers with not a lot of money and horrible insurance (for having a family, great for individuals) are adding another baby to the mix, and it wasn't in my plan but it was definitely in the stars for both of us.  I truly to believe that I was meant to be a mom of two, a girl and a boy, and we will just figure it all out, because the universe decided this path for us.  And, don't parents just always seem to "figure it out?"  I feel like that should be the tag line of parenting - "We just figured it out."  Haaaaaa.

And you do, you just figure it out.  I could go back and read all of my posts from when I was pregnant with Lemon - how nervous I was, how I didn't know what to do, even when she got here.  But, we figured it out and raised an awesome kid.  And, we'll do the same with our little man, he was, in fact, planned, just on another level.

I just have to learn to let go - why haven't I learned this yet?  I am a Libra, I blame my astrological sign, it's hard for me to be spontaneous and accept change.  But, I am also an optimist and know that our family can do anything, together.  So, everything that the universe gives us, we will make it work, we will figure it out.  You can too in your life, let's just stop stressing so much about things, even big things.  These big things will work themselves out, just like the little ones we worry about too.  I need to practice this more and I bet you do too.

Anyone else have a fun, surprise pregnancy story to share?  I'd love to hear yours!

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Cindy from Ruthie Box

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Today on Moms on Mondays I am happy to feature Cindy from Ruthie Box!  I've never met Cindy but she lives in my neighborhood, and I was referred to her business by another mama, also a neighbor.  She started this awesome business to lift up other mamas/women, and I think it is just fabulous.  Give her social media a follow and order a box for a friend today!

What is the name of your business and how can we find you? 

My business is called Ruthie Box and you can also find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  (If you check out the website everything is linked there, to make your life easier!)

Tell us about what you sell.

I sell unique, high-end care packages! Each box contains a bar of dark, craft chocolate made in New York (Mast Brothers chocolate), super cute colored elastic hair ties, the best lip balm on the market, a charm necklace on an inspirational card and a guaranteed favorite mug designed in France. There are different flavors of chocolate, different colors and patterns of the hair ties, and different charms on the necklaces - so every box is a little bit different and has an element of surprise! They are hand-packaged and each box comes with a customized note. They are perfect for when you want to send someone a gift that is more thoughtful than flowers (or just something off of Amazon), but you don’t have the time to put a care package together yourself! 

People have sent Ruthie boxes for many different occasions - for a friend who is pregnant or just had a baby (things like chocolate and a mug are perfect when you are sleep deprived, hormonal and feel like nothing fits, trust me I know), to commemorate a new job, a move, an engagement, for someone recovering from surgery or illness, a birthday, or even just to brighten someone else’s day! The best part is, unlike flowers, your Ruthie box won’t wither and die!

Why did you decide to start this business?

A few years ago one of my best friends was going through a breakup and she lived across the country. I couldn’t stand not being around to comfort her, and I wanted to send her a care package to cheer her up, but I didn’t have the time to shop around and put a good one together. So, I consulted Google for a care package company that could help me out and I was shocked that all I could find were care packages of junk food. So, that was when I thought there was a real need for this type of thing. Of course I never got around to sending my friend something, but once I had the business up and running I was sure to send her a Ruthie Box! And now she is happily married with a baby so don’t worry, it all worked out! 

How long have you been in business?

I launched in June of 2014. I took a break after I had a baby, our third bundle of joy, because I wanted to focus on figuring out life with 3 littles. Also, I figured if I was going to be running a business I wanted to run it well (which meant actually sleeping a little bit). Now I am back in business and couldn’t be more excited about it! I love knowing that I am helping make someone else’s day and spreading a little joy in the world. 

What is your background (college/career/etc.)?

I went to a small, Catholic liberal arts school in Texas called the University of Dallas. It is a great school and I loved going there! I got my degree in Psychology and Pre-Law, but by the end of my senior year I decided I didn’t want to go to law school. After graduation, I married my best friend and we both got jobs working in Italy, and we had our first child there - talk about an adventure! We moved back to the states and have loved raising our children near family.

Tell us a little bit about your family.

My husband, Steve, and I have 3 kids. A daughter, who is 5 and two boys, aged 2 and 8 months. Steve has been unbelievably supportive of my business venture and I’m grateful my kids are always happy to lend a helping hand (even if sometimes it’s a sticky one!).  

How does this company help your family?  Or you?

I am so lucky and blessed to be able to run this business from home. It has been great to pour myself into an endeavor that is business oriented, and have something in addition to family life. It is nice to have work while also not having a boss! I guess that is the best case scenario for anyone. I really enjoy researching and finding fun, quality products to put in Ruthie boxes. When we were choosing the chocolate to put into the care packages my husband and I cracked open a bottle of wine one night and ‘taste-tested’ a bunch, so the job does come with perks.  :)

How do you find time to run your business?

I do most of my work at night, after the kids have all gone to bed. My husband is actually an artist in his free time and spends many evenings painting or sculpting, so it is pretty fun. We put music on and create together. I work on Ruthie box stuff and he makes beautiful art, so it is a nice groove we have going. Whenever I’m extra busy and need to get stuff done during the day, I must confess I have been known to resort to Netflix to keep the kids entertained.

What do you love about this business?

I named my business Ruthie Box after my Grandma Ruth who passed away a couple of years ago. I chose her name because she could always bring me comfort when I needed it most, and I wanted my care packages to do that for people - to bring them a piece of comfort. I love being a part of brightening up someone’s day or celebrating special occasions. Also, who doesn’t love mail? I have always loved getting mail and being surprised by a thoughtful gesture via snail mail, so providing that joy for others is great.

Where do you see your business in the future?

I hope to expand our boxes and carry more options! Also, I am now offering customized boxes for groups, for something like an office wide appreciation gift at your place of work, or for a way to ask your best friends to be bridesmaids; so I’m hoping to see growth in those areas. At this point, the entire business is just me. I made and run the website, the packaging, everything from the top down; so if one day I am at the point where I need more employees that would be amazing (and make the office meetings a little more exciting). 

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

My main piece of advice would be to just go for it! Pursue whatever dream you may have. I know that sounds super cheesy, but it’s true. That is how Ruthie box originated, I had this idea and I thought “I just want to see how far I can take it." I love being able to see my hard work pay off, and feel like I am helping contribute to our family. It has also made me feel a renewed love of our country, where if you work hard enough anyone can enter the business realm, and most of the people you encounter along the way are encouraging and want you to succeed as well. So, enjoy living in this great country that encourages anyone to be an entrepreneur and truly take advantage of it! 

Thank you Cindy, I loved having you today!

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