One Headband, Four Styles

Our next launch is just around the corner and it's a fun one! We'll be launching our floral crowns and one new adult headband, Poppy. I was a little apprehensive when I first got the fabric sample and saw how wide it was but it didn't take me long to fall in love with the gold threads and bold floral pattern!

Like all our headbands, there are so many ways to style this piece and I've broken down the four easiest below!



 Top knot tutorial HERE 



There are video tutorials of all of these over on our Instagram and I'm hoping to have more of them uploaded to our You Tube page soon! 

This piece and our new floral items will be on the site at 10 AM CST on Tuesday, April 5th! You can sign up for an email reminder here

Easter Weekend: The Details

I always find the best parts of any holiday lie in the memories and the details. We had a quiet Easter at home just the three of us with lots of good food and a lazy afternoon. I hope yours was wonderful as well!




My friend Traci told me about champagne stoppers (how did I not know?) and it's totally changed my holiday mimosa mornings!





Kid Made Modern Paints


The Truth About Our Miscarriage: What I Gained from Our Loss



When we miscarried in early October I comforted myself by saying "well at least I'll be pregnant again by my due date". 

The calendar now tells me that's unlikely.  That bitch. Pardon my French.

May 2nd is just weeks away and despite the many online forums filled with people saying that just a couple months after their miscarriage they found themselves pregnant again, that just isn't me and that's okay. 

Now don't get me wrong. This post isn't to tell you all that I'm 100%. That we're completely healed, and that things are all sunshine and rainbows and unlimited boxes of Thin Mints. It's more about finally getting to a place of acceptance and how despite something truly devastating happening to us, I can see the good that's come from it.

33 weeks pregnant with Liv

Before I get to the healing, let's talk about the dealing. One of the most brutal aspects of my miscarriage has been watching other people grow their families. Friends, family, hell, even Doc McStuffins' mom and dad just adopted! It's where I'm at in life. At nearly thirty it's no surprise that the people around me are pulling the goalie and moving full steam ahead towards baby town. You can't really fault them for that. Just like I can't fault myself for flinching when I open Instagram or Facebook and am greeted with yet another pregnancy announcement. Sometimes it's more than a flinch. Sometimes it sends me right back to October when I was rocking myself in the corner over the loss of a child I'd never get to know. 

No matter when you miscarry, whether it's five weeks, eleven like us, or God forbid further into pregnancy, it's a loss. How it affects you, how painful it is, is personal. There's no expiration date on your grief and there's no wrong or right way to feel...but you have to feel. I'm someone who "pushes through". I have to, don't I? I have a child to care for and a business to run. Sitting in bed crying for days on end just isn't an option for me and I found it so tempting to just push through the pain and not feel it, which really didn't help at all. So I felt, and I felt some more. I let in the disbelief, the longing, the anger, and the crushing sadness. 

So where's the good that's come from it? What's the point in sharing? I guarantee if you ask a friend who's miscarried how much time they've spent on the internet reading about pregnancy loss, they'll tell you it's significant. I found blog posts from other women whose stories became a lifeline for me in those early days. Whether they had gone on to conceive again or not, I clung to their stories because the one commonality they all shared was this:

They all survived.

Melodramatic? Maybe. It's sort of my personality, but in the days after my miscarriage I felt swallowed by pain, grief, and true misery. Seeing that these women had gone on to find happiness, in any way, was a sort of salve for my soul. It gave me hope that things wouldn't always feel this way. I'm hopeful that this may help somebody, somewhere, who's looking for some comfort, some hope, something to look forward to.

When I lost our baby I knew exactly one other person who'd miscarried. Now I can't even count the number of people I consider friends who've miscarried on two hands. So there's your silver lining number one. I've met and developed relationships with the most amazing women throughout this process. Women who give me comfort, strength, perspective, and who really make me believe that this is all going to work out. Nothing cuts through the BS of competition and cattiness that women can sometimes create quite like mutual loss. Even women who've not miscarried have become friends I may not have made otherwise. In the months after my miscarriage I really put myself out there, trying to keep busy, and it paid off so much. Existing friendships were bettered and my appreciation for them deepened. Not too shabby.

Silver lining number two:

Personal growth. My experience with grief has been mercifully little. I suppose I never really had any practice dealing with the emotion. I've still got all four of my grandparents and the only time I've really had to say goodbye was to our family dog. 

I've learned that grief is a funny thing. It either breaks you or makes you and maybe even does a little of both. I felt so broken when we left the hospital, and while I'll never get that piece of myself back, it has really changed who I am for the better. I'm more compassionate, I'm more fiercely protective of my family, I'm finally able to stick up for myself,  I'm stronger, and I've learned that I can fight. Fight every day to find something positive, to focus on that goodness and to try to build on it. In an effort to distract myself I threw myself into my business and watched that grow much more rapidly than it would have otherwise. I've taken up new hobbies I've always wanted to try and enjoyed them immensely. I've taken the time to nurture relationships with my husband, friends, my mother, even my daughter. It has truly made my overall life more full.

As time passes, wounds heal and while I'll never forget this experience, I can feel myself moving on. I've accepted that this happened to us and that there are far worse things we could suffer. I have such a heightened appreciation for the good things in our life and I don't want to let this precious time with my daughter pass me by because I'm so focused on something I cannot change. I'm sure that someday we'll have another baby (though even if we don't) and I don't want to look back and regret that I squandered this time by obsessing over what was clearly not meant to be. I've grieved and will continue to as I find I need to, but that gripping sadness has faded. 

For the majority of the past few months I've been wanting a pregnancy to help punctuate this time. I felt that I couldn't move on from our loss without another pregnancy. While I do think another pregnancy will absolutely make us happy, it can't be the punctuation. That has to come from me. I have to decide that it's time to move from "post miscarriage" into "living life".  I hope that's what someone going through this will take away. That it really does get better. That the potential to turn things around is there and you're capable of it. 

So does that mean I'm not trying frantically for another baby? While I wouldn't say frantically, I'm going to continue to pee on all the ovulation sticks in the land because 1. we do want to grow our family and 2. it's just kind of fun. Yes, the disappointment with each successive "not pregnant" month is hard, but what are the options? Give up? Or keep going.

So while we wait for our time to come,  I'm going to say congratulations to the McStuffins family, accept the pain when it comes (because it will continue to come knocking from time to time), maybe pour a glass of wine, and then shift my thoughts to what's in front of me...and realize that while I've lost, I've certainly gained.

Lately

Well last week was an interesting one, wasn't it? 

For us it was and by interesting I mean couldn't end fast enough.

The combination of the Gigi Detox, Daylight Savings, no Mother's Day Out, and Ryan working late every night just about sent us all to bed crying each night. Ok, so that's dramatic, but our schedule was way off and that never bodes well for my mood. I think my exact words to Steph in one text were "well if you're going to be reasonable, this conversation is over". 

See?

The upside is that we've turned it around, had a fantastic weekend, and our schedule is back to normal this week, which we all needed. Now despite a bumpy week, we've had some good moments and I'll share them here now. Really just so I can document that I did something other than vent to girlfriends and mainline coffee all week long.


Don't let this photo fool you. It was a rough ride over here and Olivia told me at one point "Mommy, you need to be NICE!". Ok fine, but you just tossed an earring in the toilet and poured a yogurt pouch onto the rug because "look, it's snow". Come on.


 We're in full prep mode for our April 5th flower crown launch. The pieces will be live on the site at 10 AM CST so set those alarms!




This week's effort at another naked cake. The daisies are my favorite floral garnish to date! I snapped the whole process over on snapchat (willowcrowns) so I hope you'll follow along to see more of them as they get created!


I'm a little behind on Easter prep, so I'll be checking that off my list this week, but I am putting some new headbands in Liv's Easter basket eggs!


Friday night Traci and I handed our husbands the reigns and got out for an amazing girls night. We had a three hour dinner that involved about four different appetizers, a champagne and St. Germain cocktail, and cappuccino to polish it all off. It was heaven and I waddled myself home after.


This weekend was chilly (now I mean Texas chilly and I know that calling 60 degrees "chilly" is going to get my New Englander credentials tossed quickly) which calls for comfort food! I added some corn to a simple chili recipe from Gimme Some Oven (my go to for easy recipes) and tossed some cheddar cheese and jalapeƱos in with my cornbread mix to kick it up a notch!

Now tell me honestly. How do you deal with the crazies? Because I know another week like that is going to pop up again when I least expect it!

The Perfect Topknot

One of the most requested tutorials I've had over the past couple of years has been how I do my top knot! Meg was over today and we filmed a whole mess of tutorials and took some stills of different styles for different hair lengths and it was the perfect time to knock this one out!



All I use for this style is a Willow Crowns headband (if you so choose, I'm using the Blake) and the following:

- clear elastic
- several bobby pins
- dry shampoo (gives texture and helps hair "stick"), I love the Living Proof variety.
- brush
- fine tooth comb



Hope this is helpful and please leave any questions you have in the comments!

p.s. if you're looking for a 20% off code, rumor has it that we've posted one on our Facebook page!

xoxo

Willow Crowns Launch Schedule

I can't believe its more than halfway through March and that our Summer launch is less than 8 weeks away! We've got lots of gorgeous pieces lined up for now through September and thought it might be helpful to lay out our launch schedule from now 'til then so you can mark your calendars and be sure to snag what you want!


 Our flower crowns are next to launch and we're adding a gorgeous blush full floral crown and white demi (or half) crown to the shop, just perfect for weddings and festival season!

Also, if you feel so inclined, stop on by our Facebook page tonight for a one time only 20% off coupon! 

A Long Weekend With Family

In a lot of ways I think we've handled a cross country move and living 2,000 + miles away from all our family pretty well. In other ways....well, sometimes I cry because it's Sunday and I just want to get a Starbucks with my mom. 

The past six months have been pretty crazy and while our families are always there for us and support us unconditionally, sometimes it really hits me that on a day to day basis we're dealing with the curves life throws us alone. So when my parents roll into town and take care of the kiddo, help us fix up our house, listen to me pour my heart out, and just generally make everything feel better, it's hard not to adultnap them and force them to move to Texas. 

Since I have a feeling that there won't be any adult abduction going on, I was happy to make the most out of our four day weekend together and am counting down the days until June when we're together again! Here's a look at some of the things we did...spoiler alert: it's mostly food related.

My mom is all about crafts and fun project with Olivia and my dad is a fantastic cook, so they've each got their special things they do with Olivia and she's come to expect that Papa will make pancakes with her on demand. Or pizza.







My mom and I drank our weight in coffee and talked about all the things while Ryan and my dad worked in the garage, tackling another project on our lengthy home improvement list! 

So now that they're gone, let the grandparent detox begin. Womp, womp. It's also Spring Break week (aka no Mother's Day Out) and Daylight Savings time, so talk about a brutal week to be all off schedule, which means I've crammed our schedule with playdates, projects, and a super fun blog collab to keep us busy! 


A Spring Sweater

We've officially hit that strange season in Houston where it's chilly one day, warm one day, raining one day, and humid all the days. Fortunately for me I've found a fantastic sweater that's lightweight and versatile, making it perfect for this fickle weather. Even more fortunately for you, Ailee snapped a few photos of my outfit at our Tuesdays Together meeting and your'e spared my iPhone outfit selfies for a week!  



Can you tell how awkward I felt posing? Ailee was literally telling me to stop talking and just look at the floor. My anxious chatter was just ridiculous. I do love this sweater though, the scalloped hem on the sleeves and the bottom seem special without being crazy and it's perfectly lightweight for this in between season. These new platinum flats go with every darn thing and my jeans are my standard go-to until May hits and it's sundresses or nothing at all. 

Our Tuesdays Together topic this month was taxes/finances which normally gives me a stomachache, but it was good to hear how other creatives manage their finances. The business side of the business isn't super glamorous but it's necessary and a good reminder of all the things I could be doing differently. 

I'm thrilled because my parents are on their way into town and I'm so looking froward to a long weekend with them, so I'll catch you next week!

xoxo

Small Business Series: Behind the (Instagram) Curtain




It seems like Instagram has quickly become more than just a doctor's office time killer. I remember back in 2012 when I first downloaded it and my first uploads were grainy bowling alley photos from a friend's birthday party and I think it took me days to get a single like. Ah, simpler times.

Now, Instagram is part of my job. It's essentially our sole source of marketing for WC, and lots of time goes into curating and staging the images that get posted. Which I know sounds silly and tedious but it's actually my favorite thing to do in terms of WC. Our Instagram following has had a direct impact on the business and it's super gratifying to see how Instagram has helped it grow over the past couple of years. Not to mention how much I love getting to connect with customers and other small business owners!


I really love pretty photos and making them happen has become one of my favorite hobbies, but the problem with social media is that it can all look a little too perfect. I always get emails asking how we make our photos look the way they do, does my life really always look so bright and crisp and pink? So I thought it would be fun to show you some before and afters. Some are dramatic, some not so much, but the reality is that a few simple tweaks to completely average photos can make a big difference in how your page looks (no photoshop knowledge required!), which is especially important if your Instagram account is a marketing tool.



I'd say the biggest change I make to any photo is the brightness. No matter how good a raw image is, I typically brighten it up with VSCOCam. I don't always get great light to shoot photos in or sometimes it's just not as white as I want it to look. Sometimes I want to get rid of a wrinkle on my forehead and upping the exposure will fix it all. 
These two are great examples of how just brightening an image can make it much more aesthetically appealing.

Other times I'll add brightness, and some contrast, as well as increase the color saturation to make the image really pop, like this:

Other times, a little cropping goes a long way.


I didn't love the edge of the brown table in this image, but cropping it made it fit into the feed much more easily. This is one of the reasons I take almost all of my Instagram photos with my good camera. It might seem a little over the top, but if you end up wanting to crop an image you won't lose quality and end up with a grainy picture if you're starting with a high quality raw image. iPhones take great photos, don't get me wrong, but once you start to enhance and crop them, they can get grainy really quickly.

Then there are the photos that take a fair bit more work. Since I don't have a professional photographer at my beck and call (though I do know, love, and use professional photographers a lot for the site!), I love a good tripod and remote shutter setup.


This image was obviously brightened and I added some contrast so I wouldn't blend into the wall, but it really started like this:


Pajamas, the spot in my room that gets decent light, and no shame.

Same for this! A little cropping and brightening after taking the image with a remote and voila. 

My favorite app to use is VSCOCam because it's versatile and convenient! I use my trusty bluetooth SD card to shoot the photos to my phone, edit them, and they're ready when I am!

If you have any other questions or a topic you'd like to see me cover in the Small Business Series, please let me know! I plan on tackling why we switched to a ready to ship setup later this month and I know I've had some requests about how we manage finances/taxes/etc and as soon as I figure out a way to talk about it that isn't beyond dull, I'll cover them here! 

A Little Getaway

When Ryan asked if we wanted to tag along to his conference in Fort Worth last week, I said "hell yeah!" before he even finished the question.

We have friends in the Dallas area with a brand new baby, we've never been to Forth Worth, and I'm always up for a change of scenery, so it was a no brainer for me. We made the four hour drive, kiddo in tow, which brought me back to the days when Olivia was a newborn and we'd make the drive from Boston to Maine to see my family all the time. We love a good road trip and since Ryan barely had to spend any time at the conference, we had a blast! 







We stayed at the hotel where JFK stayed the night before his assassination (weird, morbid historical fact quota for the day now met), visited the historical stockyards, rode a longhorn, ate loads of good food (Joe T Garcia's and Little Red Wasp were my favorites in Fort Worth), and while Ryan was conferencing, Liv and I did some shopping and visited with one of my bridesmaids and her two week old baby girl in Dallas!

It was the perfect mid-week getaway and had us feeling like we had a five day weekend by the time today rolled around since we'd spent so much time together!

The Camera Roll

We're currently wrapping up a little three day getaway to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and have been loving our time here! I'll post more about it next week, but in the meantime I thought I'd post some photos that have been kicking around my camera roll/sd card and haven't all made it onto the blog or social media platforms yet!

We've had a lot going on lately and it's all been fun. Lots of delicious food, calligraphy classes, lunches with friends, baking and crafting around the house, and quality time together. Not documented are the times I've locked myself out of the house, the box of ice cream cones Olivia demolished in the living room while I put my contacts in, or the underwear that was stuck inside my pant leg during a MDO drop off, but that's really better for everyone. 















Hope you all have an awesome weekend!

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