A Festive Friday

If I ever felt like saying "Fri-yay", it's now! I sure do love a three day weekend when hubby has the day off work, the weather ahead looks gorgeous, and there's food and fireworks everywhere.

We had a date night tonight and I'm happily tucked in bed, food baby straining against my pjs, thinking about our plans for this Fourth of July weekend.

We'll probably walk down the road to the small parade happening first thing in the morning, chill by the pool/do some yard work in the afternoon, and then head out to the Woodlands for some food truck and fireworks action if we're all still conscious come 9 pm. 

I hope you all have fun plans, whether they're big or small. Cheers!

Have Toddler, Will Travel: Carry Ons

Our first trip to Maine is about a week away, so I'm thinking carry ons! I feel like we fly fairly often but it tends to be in clusters. A bunch during the Summer and a bunch during the Winter, which means that with about 6 months in between traveling clusters, it's like having a brand new kid to travel with. The stuff that kept her happy 6 months ago may or may not cut it this time, but I'm feeling fairly prepared...ish.

Pre-baby, I prided myself on traveling light. Carry ons only and a sleek, pared down purse. You've probably guessed that's not how we roll now. We're gate check, maximum number of carry ons, stuffed absolutely to capacity people now. Oh heyy.

We've got a four hour flight to Boston (direct because ain't nobody got time for missed connections with a temperamental toddler) and then a four hour drive. We could fly directly into my home town, but again, a 54 minute layover in Philly makes me way too nervous (if you've ever sprinted to Terminal F, you feel me) so this way I figure if the flight is an absolute nightmare, we'll be in the car for the rest of the trip and won't have to subject another plane full of people to our issues. Oh, and it's like another $1000 to fly directly into Bangor. The joys of small town living. Anyway, here's what I'll be packing for our "twip on a pwane to Maine":

I'll keep it light for myself, because I can promise you I probably won't be leisurely reading a book or watching a movie. This little cross body bag will hold my ID, credit cards, and phone from security until the plane door closes. My bags tend to turn into black holes, preventing me from finding my ID at critical moments, or my debit card when I absolutely need a people magazine and some M&Ms. This way the important stuff is close at hand when I need it. Then it gets tucked in my pink tote (leaving my good leather totes at home and sticking with this Old Navy one because spills will happen) with loads of snacks (because food is straight up entertainment while traveling) and a change of clothes for O once we board the plane. I'll also stuff  the rest of my wallet, sunglasses, and the bare beauty basics of lip balm and a hair brush in there. I'm sure you're aware that plane hair = horrible hair and I'll probably wear a baseball hat since I know it will be a lost cause. 

Liv will tote around her little Pottery Barn Kids backpack (this is the small size) stuffed with hopefully enough activities to keep her happily occupied until we touch down in Boston.

Mess free coloring kits (Water Wow and Color Wonder are the best), a fresh chapstick (her new favorite toy), lots more snacks (this water bottle is the best, most leak proof one I've ever found), headphones, and the tablet are my go-to's. For her tablet we bought an Amazon Kindle Fire for a couple reasons. 

1. It's cheap, well cheaper than an iPad. We had to repair two iPads after they spent a few minutes in her possession (even in cases) and we were over it. For $99 and an insurance plan that will replace it no matter what happens to it, I'm sold.

 2. This thing is freaking durable. Drop it, spill on it, run it over with your Cozy Coupe, whatever. It can take it.

3. Since she's not sharing it with us, we can fill that thing to the brim with movies and shows and not have to worry about running out of room for our precious apps and digital content. We're selfish like that.

She doesn't use a ton of apps these days, just loves to watch her Disney Jr. shows and movies on it, cackling out loud every few minutes in this adorable (albeit slightly evil) laugh. I've downloaded a dozen new episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that she hasn't seen before and we should be ok. To be honest, I'm really relying on the tablet and the snacks to get us through. Movie/show suggestions your kiddos love are so so welcome!

Copious quantities of wipes will obviously be making the journey with us (as well as a gallon of hand sanitizer since she never met a germ ridden surface she didn't just love) and since my potty trained little lady is petrified of public restrooms (the loud flush totally wigs her out), we'll be resorting to pull ups for the day. Regression, shmegression, it's just not worth a traumatized kid.

Finally, she'll have a sweatshirt in case the plane is cool (this Purl Lamb hoodie is new and I just love the ears on the hood) and because Maine gets stinking cold! I know I'm going to lose all my New England cred in just a second, but temperatures in the 50's feel freezing to me now. 

And that's it. Wish us luck, ok? Fingers crossed she doesn't drop her bottoms and accidentally pee on the floor of baggage claim at Logan Airport like she did last July...I really don't want to go two for two on that one.

Four Years

Wednesday is our four year wedding anniversary and while I don't often blog about my main man, I think our special day deserves a little blog love once in a while!

I actually didn't pick our wedding date, Ryan did. Before he proposed to me, he knew we'd have a shorter engagement (9 months to the day) since we were hoping to get married prior to him starting business school. Like any man in a long term relationship, he was well aware that venues and churches book up well in advance and that 9 months might not be enough notice to book the church and hotel he knew I had always loved. So he asked my dad's permission, got the green light, and then teamed up with my mother to pick a date, book the church, and put a deposit on the hotel ballroom 4 full months before he popped the question.  After he proposed (and I replied with a weepy and incoherent "yes"), he shocked me with the news that our wedding date was set and all the arrangements had been made. Kind of awesome, right?

Anyway, on July 1 at 4 PM, we tied the knot in the church where my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents had all been married and we haven't stopped going 100 miles per hour since!

It was incredibly hard not to spam you with a dozen photos of our wedding, so I'm patting myself on the back for limiting it to five.

Happy anniversary to my sweet hubby,  I'm so glad you asked me to dance in the 7th grade. Not many men would work all day, snuggle our baby girl in her toddler size bed, and then help me  package over 100 pieces of Willow Crowns inventory on the floor of my studio. You are the best.

Weekend Wrap Up

Happy Monday! This is our last full week in Texas before we start flying back and forth to Maine this Summer, so it's going to be a busy one!

One of our favorite photographers is coming over Monday morning to take some "day in the life" photos for WC and I can't wait! We rescheduled our Thursday shoot which was probably a good thing, since I was not even a little bit prepared. I'm really excited to show you all the studio space and what goes on behind the scenes of running my little business!

In the meantime, I've got a quick weekend wrap up via the iPhone camera roll and here they come.

We hit the bounce house to keep the nugget busy and ran our usual errands to the grocery store, got some always delicious Tex Mex for lunch, and Liv played makeup while I did some work. I usually try to leave WC alone over the weekends, but with so much travel coming up, my time to prep for our Fall launch in September is limited. So I've been working on getting Fall inventory made (yes, already!) and think it's finally time to get some help with production. I'm a control freak and really like making each and every piece so I'm a little anxious about it, but I think it's time. 

I also spent a fair amount of time getting my sister's nautical themed bridal shower finalized! It's in less than two weeks and organizing it from 2,000 miles away isn't always easy, but I hope she'll absolutely love it. My suitcase is very, very full. I don't think we're going to be able to go carry on this time. Whoops.

We're having her bachelorette party later that same night (gotta get all the activities in while we're in the same state!) and we found the most amazing venue. It's a private room in an old bank vault and it's going to be awesome. I'm fairly certain I'll be the only one there with a child so I'm a little nervous I'm going to be the cool mom from Mean Girls, but I'll try not to get in over my head. I already asked them not to judge when I fall asleep at the table at 10 pm. 

Finally, we ended every night with Orange is the New Black. For me, there aren't many better ways to spend the night than snuggled up in clean sheets with a thunderstorm booming outside while watching Netflix with hubby. Popcorn, please!

That's all she wrote - I hope you all had awesome weekends!

Well Dressed

Well, well, well. What have we here?

All three dresses for my sister's wedding festivities, purchased, accessorized, and waiting to go? Weeks early? It can't be.

Well it is! Insert the fist bump emoji right here, ok?

We leave for Maine and round one of wedding activities in a week and a half or so and I always like to start thinking about my packing early. Two of these bad boys will be making their way into my suitcase for the shower and bachelorette and I just had to share with you!

Two are saves, one is a splurge, and I love them all equally. The pink and blue Aztec pattern dress and the navy and white dress are both amazing finds from the Nordstrom Rack clear the rack sale (I cleaned up). I spent about $60 for both and am so happy to have them as part of my wardrobe. The Aztec print is for the bachelorette party (which a lingerie party) and the navy and white will be perfect for the rehearsal dinner (the wedding is nautical, so it was meant to be). The Aztec print isn't available on the Nordstrom Rack site, but you can find the exact dress here!

The splurge dress (which I've mentioned before) is an Anthropolgie gem, resulting from a collaboration between Rifle Paper Company and Paper Crown. This dress is for the bridal shower and I bought it for three reasons. 1. I died over the print. Just died. 2. I feel like I can eat a ton and expand under this bad boy without anyone noticing. 3. This thing is so darn roomy that I'm confident I can fit a pregnant belly under that when the time comes.

So there you have it...the three items that will give my yoga pants a much needed respite. Happy weekending!

Around Here: By the Numbers

One of my favorite times of day (besides coffee time, morning kiddo kiss time, and lunch time) is around 9 PM, when I get to lay flat in my bed, prop my laptop on my chest with double chins galore and get to interneting. 

More often than not, I'm snuggled up next to a passed out little kidlet still wearing her tiara, tutu, or whatever princess paraphernalia she's retained from her busy day of being faux royalty and hubby will pop in from his office to check on us/give us a smooch while courteously keeping his Howard Stern podcasts confined to the man cave. I hate that junk. 

So it got me thinking about the number 9 and the other numbers that seem to pop up around here....

So let's start with 1.

1 sassy little number who keeps saying "wook at me, mama! I dance like Rella" and who told me today that the preferred food of cows is fruit snacks. Sure, ok.

3 pm when I finally made it to the Post Office today.

4 loads of laundry waiting to be folded and put away....they've been through the dryer quite a few times.

6 open mouth kisses (from Olivia, just in case I need to specify).

9 times today I started to order supplies and got distracted.

11 times I asked Liv to PUT ON SHOES so we wouldn't be late for our play date. p.s. we tried a new playground (Exploration Park) in the Katy area today. If you're local, you oughta go, it's awesome.

15 texts in a group text with my mom and sister. Her shower is only two weeks away and I can't wait!

17 trips up the stairs for my phone, Liv's pants, a brush, and Lawd knows what else.

1 million clear elastics, bobby pins, dried bits of play doh, and random crumbs that got vacuumed up today when I went a leetle bit crazy on a cleaning bender. There's nothing quite like visiting someone else's immaculate home to get your mind right about cleaning your own.

Small Business Series : The Photos

I've been slacking on the small business series, but it's only because my small business is keeping me busy! That's a good excuse, right?

In all seriousness, you ladies are awesome and I know you're all largely responsible for the success WC has had and Steph and I love you for it! I want to get into talking about how to start growing your business (strategies, marketing, who to reach out to, etc.) but first I want to talk photography because I really feel that's one of the biggest determinants in having success in the handmade community.

My first photos of my products were absolutely laughable (and actually my first products were too). Embarrassing. Cringeworthy. I'm not even going to show them here, they're that bad. As WC slowly grew though, I spent more time learning how to shoot in manual mode (I have a Canon Rebel t1i) and how to stage product shots.

I really feel like I'm just now hitting my stride and I can't tell you what a difference it's made. In my mind, when I land on someone's website and the photography is fantastic, I immediately think "ok, they're legit" and I'm determined to have that be the reaction when a customer lands on our site

I spent lots of time talking to my photographer friends, stalking Pinterest tutorials, and a ton of time just experimenting with different settings, set ups, and scenarios. I got a nifty fifty lens and that was a big game changer as well. I also outsourced a lot of my photography and I've never looked back. Want to see why?

I may have gotten pretty good at product shots, but no one does it better than the pros. Period. I'm lucky to know lots of fabulous photographers from Texas to Florida to Maine and use them all. 
I get as many pro product shots as I possibly can (probably the most time consuming and stressful part of preparing for a launch) and then fill in the holes with solo product shots taken at home. The end result?

A mix of pro shots with simple, clean, bright product shots.

I'm super, super proud of the site and am also super, super happy that Stephanie handles the listings now. Thanks, buddy!

I won't go into how long it takes Stephanie and I to agree on the homepage images before a launch but I will tell you that I always change them and second guess them minutes before we go live while Stephanie texts me something along the lines of :

"if you screw up the order of the products, I. Will. Kill. You."

The love is tangible, no?

I overthink whether or not the heads are all looking in alternating directions, if there's too much color (I like lots and lots of white), if it's too seasonal, not seasonal enough, blah blah blah, neurotic neurotic neurotic.

As for the logistics, we have a dropbox account that we store all our photos in and we never ever delete photos, even for old products because you just never know. We organize them by season/collection and I regularly ransack said dropbox for Instagram content. 

The bottom line, I really believe that photos can make or break your business. In the online shopping world, it's all you have to go off of, they're what sells your product. There isn't a salesperson there to convince you that this headband makes you look thin or that you absolutely need it for this event you have coming up. You can't hold it in your hands and appreciate the craftsmanship or admire the fabric. The photos have almost the sole responsibility of selling them for you, so I can't stress enough how important the photography is!

That being said, I need to get my studio together. This place is a sty and sweet Ashley is coming over Thursday to document a day in the life over here and I'd like for you all to think that my days aren't a complete hot mess.
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