We just received our New Year’s cards in the mail from Minted and I love how they turned out! In case you missed my earlier post, you can read more about the design process here. And in case you didn’t get around to sending out a Christmas card this year, there’s still time to put together a festive card celebrating the new year on Minted.com. The process is super easy and the card design options are pretty legit. There are cards with real gold foil, glitter (my fave!) and the letterpress options are gorgeous. Once you upload your photo/photos, there’s this slick feature that let’s you preview a sample card in each design template with that photo. This saved me so much trial and error and I put our New Year’s cards together in less than 20 minutes. I included the feature to print addresses on the envelopes which is also a major time saver. And Minted had my cards to me in less than 3 business days. It doesn’t get much better than an efficient, seamless process for beautiful cards for a mama with not a minute of free time to spare these days.
I’ve never been one to storm the department stores on Black Friday; however, I am a huge advocate for small business Saturday. My bias may come from working for one, Biscuit Home, but I’ve always weighed my shopping experience heavily, thus I tend to prefer beautiful displays, curated products and getting the inside scoop on the people and passion behind small brands. So, here’s my favorite around Houston…
Baanou – The most recent addition to our small business circle of this list, Baanou is located in the new River Oaks District. And I fell for this blue tweed knee-lengh vest as I’ve found Houston winter to by idyllic for vests.
Indulge – Tucked behind beloved Tiny Boxwoods, this small home goods and linen shop has expanded into the cutest French clothing shop. I just got these there and may have to gift these Les Toiles du Soleil bags for all the trips to parties with bottles of wine and to and from the supermarket during the holiday season.
Brooke Feather -This clothing store draws its inspires from the West Coast, but we’re so glad it’s right here in Houston at the River Oaks Shopping Center. Carrying Jerome Dreyfuss bags, Koch clothing, and elegant jewels by Anne Sisteron, you’ll find something for every girl on your list.
Paris Texas – As for the guys, head to the new brick and mortar store for the Paris Texas Apparel. Made popular from their famous Southern tie prints, they’ve expanded into barware and leather goods, ideal for gifting to all the guys in your life.
Cuteheads– One of Lyndsey’s favorite clothing brands for her girls, is making clothing right here in Houston. We’ve collaborated with Cuteheads over the years here and here.
And last but certainly not least, a few of our small business favorites from around the web….
BURU– We are so lucky to call BURU’s founder, Morgan Hutcheson, a dear friend. She started a shopping destination focused on chic clothing for mamas during pregnancy, breastfeeding and well beyond from the carpool to cocktails. And with 3 kiddos under age 5, Lyndsey’s utilized BURU’s latest and greatest on the reg. Not to mention, Morgan just launched her own clothing line which has been wildly popular since it’s washable, inexpensive and always on trend, I might add. Check out these amazing holiday outfits, all under $200!
Mignonne Gavigan– Mignonne Gavigan, has been an accessories favorite of ours consistently on L. Avenue over the years. We love Mignonne’s signature scarf necklace (on sale!) and wish we could have one in every color. Statement earrings are also Mignonne’s jam and we’ve rocked this pair a lot lately. Stay tuned because we’re giving a lucky reader this pair during our “7 days if gift-aways” in a few weeks.
Freshly Picked-I’ve loved watching Susan Peterson build the Freshly Picked business into the cult favorite brand it is today. Check out the FP Marketplace on her website which highlights/sells goods from her favorite small businesses too which we love love love— Koko’s Nest, Hazel Village, Sproutling + C0, Madeline’s Box, The Posh Society, Bannor Toys and Covered Goods.
Speaking of shopper experience, there’s nothing quite as seamless as surfing online for all the sales that come on Cyber Monday. The only thing that can get in your way is that big, bad SOLD OUT sign, which is preventable if you prepare in advance on Sunday. Stay tuned for that then. Thanks!
The clock is winding down before this baby will be here. From the get go I was certain this baby would be early. I was deemed “high risk” because my fluid has been low with both prior pregnancies and I had to go on hospital bed rest when I was pregnant with Charlotte. Of course, the second you proclaim your confidence in any future outcome that truly isn’t in your control it goes the opposite of the way you planned. Especially when it comes to life events as unpredictable as pregnancy can be. The only certainty with this pregnancy is that my C-section is scheduled for early November if I don’t run out of fluid (can’t help but laugh when I talk about fluid, makes me feel like a car or something!) or go into labor between now and then.
Odds on the gender…
I’ve also been pretty confident about my gut feeling on this baby’s gender. I’ve been thinking boy from day 1, so it will be pretty hilarious if this baby ends up being a girl. It’s so hard NOT to be confident this baby is a boy. Case in point–everyone I know (except Bret) thinks I’m having a boy. If you hear something enough you can’t help but start to believe it’s true. Further evidence shows that there are girls being born all around our circle of friends and family and zero boys. When gender odds are 50-50 and everyone you know is rolling pink, the dice has to roll blue at some point. So I’m going all in on blue this time around. Which means this baby is for sure going to be a girl now, right?! Either way, I’m super excited, anxious, nervous, happy to be on the verge of bringing a new baby into this world.
When I was 27, single and traveling 24/7 working on a Presidential campaign I didn’t foresee a husband and 3 kids at 35. A LOT has happened in the past 8 years that’s for sure. My Mom always told me my 30’s would be my best years. They have certainly been the most major of years in my life, a husband and almost three kids later. I look back over my 30’s so far and if I can take one thing away for the next 5 it’s to slow the F down and enjoy it all a little bit more. It’s not naturally in my DNA to do this. I didn’t realize it until I was talking to Leighton’s teacher about her personality and her feedback was exactly what I’d seen written on my report cards year over year. In so many words, lighten up! People see a fun, outgoing exterior but at the end of the day, I’m pretty intense and overly focused; Serious about being a good mom and wife to a fault that I dwell on my own shortcomings way too much. And serious about doing things in this word productivity wise—being successful in business, making money, contributing to my church and community. It’s exhausting and it’s time to slow my roll. Say yes to less. Take the time to waste a moment. And while I’m at it, enjoy the moment. Put the phone down. Nothing is that important that it can’t wait a few more minutes. This new mantra might not help my punctuality though. Oh well.
Wow, I really got off on a tangent there guys. I’m sure most of you have already clicked to the next thing on the internet by now so I’m probably just talking to me (and maybe my Grandma who reads this blog religiously). Anyhoo…..here’s to the next 5 years that make up what I will probably look back on as the best years ever.
All coffee talk aside, it wouldn’t be a birthday on L. Avenue without a wish list. Since it’s Friday, I’ll give y’all my Friday 5 ultimate birthday wish list.
I swear I don’t usually intend to match with the girls, but when I realize that we are in fact twinning it makes me smile pretty big. They love it and I realize my days of a. picking out their clothes/shoes and b. the girls thinking it’s cool to match with their Mommy are numbered.
I’ve been on the hunt for silver metallic shoes for a while. I almost bought these pumps last year but passed thinking I wouldn’t wear this metallic enough. Well metallics are hot again this fall and the loafer is king. I’ve been drooling over the Gucci loafers but recently came across this Rebecca Minkoff pair for less. They sold out on Shopbop quickly but are still available here.
This week has been turned upside down. Flooding in Houston has caused schools to be shut down so we’ve been unexpectedly housebound for the past two days. And maybe more given the fact that more rain is en route. Rain days are so strange to me. Being from Ohio where snow days were like Christmas coming early, snow in my experience is way more fun than thunderstorms, right?! I’m really a jerk to even complain about the rain because we are safe and our home is dry. So many Houstonians have lost so much the past few years because of flood damage. I promise I’ve got this whole thing in perspective, but just couldn’t get out of my grumpy mood given the schedule crashing that comes with “school’s closed” emails. After pouting around for most of Monday I knew I had to right the ship so I took the girls out for a bike ride. Acting like I was of age (2 and 4 years old), we raced through puddle after puddle, the two girls squealing at the top of their lungs with excitement. And it felt so good. I mean, it’s the most fun I’ve had in a while and all it took was some high energy puddle jumping. I may have even squealed a little bit too. They’re saying school will likely be closed for the third day in a row. There better be some good puddles out there….
It’s been a while since we’ve done a Mom Love Monday on L. Avenue. I’ve missed blogging about everything Mom-centric! I’ve got a lot of really fun collaborations coming up, so you’ll be seeing this series more often in the near future. Mom Love Monday was one of the very first series I ran on my blog and it’s special to me because being a Mom is such a special, integral part of my life.
I’m really excited to collaborate with another Mom entrepreneur today. Atlanta based designer, English Norman, has been silver-smithing and hand-crafting for over 17 years and her name collection caught my attention. You can personalize her gorgeous bangles with important, names, birthdates, anniversaries, etc. I chose to have a bangle made for each of my girls with a custom inscription of their name and birthdate. The bangles are simple enough for everyday and also look great stacked with my other bangles and bracelets. Jewelry is the one thing I rarely buy for myself. It’s personal and I think means more when it comes as a gift. Most of the staple pieces I wear have been gifts from parents, the hubs, friends and family because they mean that much more to me coming from the ones I love. That’s why this collection is such a great gift idea for your favorite people to commemorate the important events in their lives.
Ok guys, matching with your mini-me’s, yes or no? I’m all for it, although I don’t think I’d go so far to wear the exact same dress as my girls. When I see matching dresses on moms and kids they look absolutely adorable though. It’s a personal preference. I love the idea of coordinating color, prints, etc. for special occasions. Correction, for any occasion. I’ve been known to show up at the airport with the Z gals all dressed in stripes or plaid or all white get-ups. I don’t think I could get my hubby on board on the reg but have been able to trick him into coordinating with us from time to time.
For our outfits today, I’m mixing prints in coordinating colors. I love the stripe underneath these super fun reversible vests. Because the girls’ prints are busy, I’m going with a solid sweater vest with a pop of pattern underneath to pull our outfits together. I love these outfits for a casual Saturday out and about with my girls.
What I wish I could say to my Mom on Mother’s Day…
With every scroll through my Instagram feed this week I’m reminded that Mother’s Day just around the corner. And every time I see a post about what to buy Mom or a Mom and me selfie it knocks the wind out of me. This day is always going to be hard because I don’t get to spend it with my mom. It’s conflicting, because I really want to enjoy the day with my kids, but the void that I can’t be with my Mom on Mother’s Day leaves me feeling pretty empty. I think about her all the time but even more so during the time of year that’s dedicated to mothers. And I realized this week what I would tell my Mom if I could get an outside line to Heaven this Sunday….
But first, a quick backstory. I spontaneously flew up to DC to see my favorite band perform at my favorite venue with some of my favorite friends. A lot of favorites right there, woohoo! At first, the details and logistics involved anytime a coach (me!) leaves her team, even if it’s for 24 hours, sounded daunting. Who will watch the kids? Am I a bad Mom for leaving the kids? Will B send L.E. to school in pajamas? Just thinking about leaving was exhausting, (packing, two 3+ hour flights in 24 hours, yada yada yada). But since my Mom passed away I really do feel like the B and I started operating on the “life’s short, live it now” mantra. Especially when it comes to bucket list opportunities with dear friends.
I put a lot of energy into surrounding myself with the people that mean the most to me. You know, the chicken noodle soup friends in life. And as important as it is to be with these VIP people in our life, it’s equally important to have passions, hobbies, whatever it is in life that makes us insanely happy. For some it’s a happy place vacation spot, others it’s playing as many cool golf courses as possible (you know who you are, honey!) My happiness overload activity involves listening to live music. And guess what, this was my mom’s happiness sweet spot too. I was raised around music, it played such a big role in my childhood and I’ve got so many great memories rocking out to 80’s hair bands with my Mom. In spite of the happy memories, I never understood my mom’s interests, style, and what really amped her up until just this week. Side note: why are we so hard on our parents during our formative years? Seriously, I gave my Mom such a hard time about anything and everything. She wasn’t allowed to like Guns N’ Roses, parents should be listening to old people music, right?! And I was always so embarrassed when she rocked double denim and ripped jeans. Currently trendy again and now in my outfit rotation. Ha. And she had more white tees and button downs than I have shoes (that’s a serious number). Classic white and denim was her jam. And I find myself gravitating towards the same look now too. And when I looked in the mirror when I was getting ready for the concert, it might as well been her standing there circa 1981. That night at the concert was magical, a you-can’t-breathe-because-it’s-so-awesome kind of experience. Part of what made it magical was that I felt her presence. I realized that piece of her had rubbed off on me, rocking ripped jeans, a white tee and screaming at the top of my lungs to every single song lyric. I know it might sound hokey, but I’m going to make it through this mother’s day a little bit happier knowing that I spent Mother’s Day week hanging with my Mom at that concert. I just wish more than anything I could tell her how cool I think she was.
5 ways to aim higher
launch a blog enjoy the fun of failure
ask for help
work smart enjoy now
Um, where did March go? And is April really almost over too? Yikes! I actually wrote a draft for March’s happiness project post shortly after reading the chapter and it mysteriously disappeared onto the island of misfit blog posts. Better late than never?!
The common theme of the 5 happiness mantras for March is growth. Yeah, I realize I’m never going to be 5’8″ even though that’s what I tell doctors and the DMV. That ship has sailed. It’s the other kind of growth that needs my attention, so today we’re talking personal growth. I’m almost glad this post came to y’all a little tardy, because it’s given me even more time to reflect on the relationship between personal growth and overall happiness. And I can honestly say it’s clear to me that I’m happier when I’m growing. Putting yourself out there in life can be intimidating. What if I fail? Fear of failure can be paralyzing. But the actual process of putting energy into aiming higher, whether we succeed or fail ultimately makes us happier because we’re challenging ourselves and pushing the boundaries in life. Adrenaline rushes, excitement, and overcoming the fear of failing is liberating in a sense. For example, I finally overcame my fear of hearing the word “no” and pitched a publication to feature my blog. I put together what I thought to be a compelling email with some photos attached and It felt so great when I finally got the nerve to hit the send button. And guess what? I got a big bold NO. I was crushed when my proposal was rejected. But after a little boo-hooing to the hubs, I was ready to come up with my next pitch. Looking back, I now realize that it actually made me much happier putting myself out there as opposed to agonizing about wanting to take action and then feeling like an inadequate loser for not following through. “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” Right?! It really is about the journey. Which leads me to another integral happiness mantra, enjoy now. Need I say more?