April 26, 2013

My Everyday featuring ... Alaina Guido


[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
I met my husband, Kevin, in New Mexico while serving at a church together. He was the College Pastor of Calvary of Albuquerque and I worked at the church’s coffee shop. After making him many coffees we got married and continued to serve there until we moved to Kalispell, Montana with some friends to help start Fresh Life Church. We have fallen in love with this small mountain town and we LOVE being planted in God's house and watching Him change peoples lives. Now Kevin serves as the Creative Pastor, overseeing all the creative, technical, production and music needs of the church, while I stay at home and homeschool my two extremely unique and creative kids (ages 3 and 5).

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
We try to go for a bike ride or on a walk every day. Montana winters are long and I have found it necessary for my well-being (and theirs) to get outside for some fresh air and sunshine, if there is any. It's amazing to me how much all of our spirits are energized and uplifted by something so simple. I love seeing their antics, silliness and wonder of nature. Montana has some beautiful scenery and some great bike paths nearby and so it's always a fun time!

[#3] Name Three Instagram MOMS who inspire you?
@jenlusko / @saratrammel / @kristinrogers

[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
Right now I'm realizing that tension comes when I view them as interruptions instead of including them in what I am doing. I have to let go of my desire for things to be "perfect" or not messy and include them into my world. The reality is that they will be small for such a short season and I know that I will look back and miss these days that I have with them now. So a lot of my creativity includes them. Tuesday night is family night for us and so we'll have family art nights, game nights, treasure hunt dinners, etc. My kids love it! But it also takes time, creativity and planning on my part. I try to infuse creativity into everything I do as a wife and mom; cooking dinner, setting the table, planning traditions, birthdays, holidays and even just making everyday special. I am learning more and more how to simplify and focus on the essentials. When I try to do too much, I become easily stressed and am unable to be the best mom that I could be for my kids.

[#5] What are your staple go-to pieces from your closet this month?
Right now, I love this wool jacket and flats that I recently bought on sale at Zara. At home, l usually wear leggings and will throw on pants or jeans before leaving the house.

[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
Last year, we were given a beautiful 100 year-old upright piano. The whole story behind it is pretty neat. But I love that when my husband comes home from work, he is able to play and write music while I cook dinner or wash dishes. Every song that he has recorded has come from those moments. A lot of times the kids will sit down and join him while he plays and I have so many videos of them singing and playing together with their little off-key voices as they make up their own melodies to go with his.

[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
My husband actually took this picture...I don't usually take pictures of the hard moments; tantrums, tiredness, or fighting. I think I'm usually too busy praying for strength patience and wisdom in those moments then to even think about taking a picture.



Be sure and follow @alainaguido on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms

April 24, 2013

My Everyday Featuring ... Kristy Carlson


[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
A year and a half ago our family decided to pack up and move to Burundi, east Africa in the hopes of helping rural coffee farmers live a better life. We’ve learned a lot since that day, and it’s been one wild ride!

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
I love picking them up from their little French speaking school at lunch time. It’s just good to have them back and it’s fun to connect with all the families that have their kids in school there.
[#3] Name Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
@becky_earl / @amandalairdcherry / @sarah_kieffer

[#4] The chores are done, there's nothing expected of you & you've got 45 minutes of personal free time ... how would you spend it?
That’s probably a toss up between an episode of Iron Chef America (I have no clue why, but I really love this show) or adventuring around town with my kids just photographing things. We love exploring together, always with at least one camera in the car.

[#5] What are your staple go-to pieces from your closet this month?
Haha! Hilarious, probably NOTHING like the lovely ladies living in America. The not-too-fitted white linen shirt… it’s the only thing even resembling long sleeves that I can manage wearing in the heat. It looks trendy half tucked with a bold printed skirt and relaxed chic untucked with colored skinny jeans and a chunky gold necklace. Secondly, stripes. I can’t get enough of them these days and it makes me happy just seeing them.


[#6] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
When we were in South Africa recently we picked up a few bottles of our favorite wines to bring back to Burundi. While on the road, we turned around to find our 3 year old cuddling with the bottles (wine doesn’t need to be kept in the trunk in South Africa). A) He’s not in car seat (legal in South Africa) B) He’s 3 and still has a bottle (of water) in his mouth C) Cuddling with wine? There was no way I wanted to try to explain all of this on Instagram… yet somehow I’m sharing it here! We still laugh about our 3 year old wine cuddler.


Be sure and follow @kristyjcarlson on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms

April 19, 2013

My Everyday FEATURING ... Lila McCann Wolofsky


[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
I began my journey as a musician, recording my first country album when I was 15. I was young and it was an unreal way to spend a childhood...In a good way! After 3 albums, 3 record labels and almost 15 years later, I was feeling very uninspired and burnt out. That's when I received the biggest blessing of my life up till that point, my first son Abraham, (now 4.) It was at that point I realized my path was changing in beautiful way. I began to re establish my love of photography that I first had as a teenager. Borrowing cameras and lenses from friends and taking in as much as I could, feeling so inspired... specifically by photographer Brooke Boling (and she happens to be my bestie too, so how lucky am I ?!)

Now, I have 2 children… My youngest Benjamin (16mos) is our crazy boy! I spend my days hanging with my boys and taking pictures. I have really found a love for photographing children and families. There is nothing better to me than catching that perfect moment of a child when they feel as if no one is watching, or they know you are so they ham it up! It brings me so much joy. I live Nashville, TN... a city that I truly adore... I still sing and write music, as it is my first love. I have just found more inspiration writing songs for others to sing, rather than being the one in the spotlight. I guess being a Mom does that for me in a way, and I wouldn't change a thing.





[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
The morning. My 4 year old always creeps into my husband Mike and I's bed. He brings all of his little sleep friends and blankies with him and hops into the middle spot. That's his favorite. Then he lets me know his little brother is also awake, so I get him and we all snuggle, as a family.  It's the same thing every morning, and it's the best!

[#3] Name Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
@brooke_boling /  @ELIZABETHMESSINA / @michellebranch

[#4] The chores are done, there's nothing expected of you & you've got 45 minutes of personal free time ... how would you spend it?
Running- it's become my new quiet place. No music, no nothing- just me and the pavement. LOVE it.

[#5] What are your staple go-to pieces from your closet this month?
My AG Stevie Straight leg jeans in dark wash, and bright colored flats. Easy, yet still put together.


[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
My kitchen. I love to cook with my kids and we spend tons of time in here. Plus, there is always a candle burning and fresh flowers, my favorite.

Bonus!
Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
Our Bed- after our morning snuggle it pretty much always looks like this- a perfect mess. Just something I wouldn't normally post a picture of!


Be sure and follow @McCannsky on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms

April 18, 2013

My Everyday featuring ... Casey Chappell


[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
Settled into marriage, balancing two very demanding jobs and expecting our first child, my world was turned upside down when I was told at 28 weeks that my son wouldn't live past birth. For 10 very long weeks we prayed for a miracle. God did work a miracle the night Asher was born and the nights to come in that He held me close to His heart and carried us while we cried and embraced the emptiness that loosing my sweet baby boy brought.

Just 4 months later in a series of unexpected events a tiny baby girl was placed in our aching arms. We needed her just as much as she needed us. God knew she would bring so much healing to our home. Then 10 months later with just a few days notice opened our hearts to a newborn boy who needed us to be his foster family for a few months but now are over the moon to be his forever family for a lifetime.  

As if having two little ones so close wasn't crazy enough we really felt led to just start the beginning steps of an adoption process from the Congo. We knew then we would have some time on our hands to prepare. Insert heavenly laughing here. A 9 month whirlwind of paperwork, fundraising and growing excitement brought us across an ocean and into an unsteady nation and into the lives of not 1 but 2 congolese cuties.   
So now, as a mom of 4 who are 4 and under. I'm surrounded daily with the laughter of little ones, the cries for mommy and constant reminders that life is precious and to treasure those whose lives have been entrusted to you for however long they have been entrusted to you.

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
I would say that my favorite part is two-fold. First, I adore the one on one moments I get with each of my kiddos. I intentionally make it a priority to cuddle, kiss on, tickle and hold each of my babies on their own during some point in the day. I cherish those moments and breathe them in like sweet air to my soul. Secondly, Because I know that making the choice to have a bigger family will directly effect each of them, I can't help but to smile and enjoy those moments when they are all playing so well together right after breakfast. They pitter patter around playing and letting their imaginations run wild, their adventures become bigger and their joy becomes greater because they are interacting and sharing and imagining with their brothers and sisters.
[#3] Name Instagram MOMS who inspire you.

[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
So many. I'm not one who adjusts to change easily, yet my life seems to attract it by the bushelfuls. As a former professional hairstylist and photographer my days were filled with creative expression, so to be thrown into a world of everyday tasks that seem anything but creative, let's just say it's been difficult at times to get used to. But I've come to realize that just being a mom to so many little ones requires a constant use of creative forces in order to keep things humming. I just have to approach things differently. Maybe I wear a cute hat instead of get a shower....Maybe the kids can have a picnic on the floor instead of clearing a project off the table...  Maybe a friend gets talked to on the phone that afternoon or they might get a text that asks for a raincheck.... Maybe we order out instead of dinner getting cooked....  maybe the day looks more like a dance that when done right, and even when steps are added that weren't planned, can still be a very beautiful fulfilling creative achievement.


[#5] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
It would have to be the kids jumping on the bed or flying of the couches .... because it depicts a lot of tiny bodies with abundant energy and lots of togetherness, and that, my friend, is what the Chappell home is all about.
[#6] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings. 
*The one of Kids before and after sippy cups. With a 1 year old, a 2 year old, a 3 year old and a 4 year old we have all sorts of fits being thrown, boo-boo's being made, teeth being cut, and feelings getting hurt. So sometimes (when my immediate attention isn't required) I have to take a photo to remind me to take a breath... and to remind myself that at one point I didn't have a baby to soothe and they didn't have a mommy to run to.


Be sure and follow @caseychappell on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms


April 12, 2013

My Everyday Featuring ... Lara Casey


[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
I publish a magazine (@iloveswmag) and help creative entrepreneurs make things happen (@powerfulbrand). I don't have a degree in publishing or business, just a lot of passion and far to many creative ideas. We were joking in my office yesterday that I need to start a #stopthetrain hashtag for when I have a big idea that I need to NOT do. Too many great ideas at once = burnout. I am also extremely passionate about helping business owners make a life that means something. God, family, friends, job. In that order. And if you can get God into ALL of those things, you find true joy.

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
Right when Grace wakes up in the morning. I go in and pick her up, carry her back to bed with me to feed her and then we sing and talk and pray for a few minutes (and watch cute kitty videos on YouYube) before I have to get dressed for the day. That is my favorite.

[#3] Name Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
@KristinRogers is the mom I want to be! She homeschools her amazing daughters (one of whom is adopted) and is SO creative with them. Her dedication to their learning blows me away. The way she shepherds their creative hearts is really inspiring. 
@TheLottofUs has a huge family of adopted children and some with very special needs. This family wows me with the love they share. 
@CaseyChappell is a dear friend who I met through instagram and she is… well, I just don't have words. She adopted four children (notice a theme here with what lights my heart on fire!?) and is a strong woman of God. I love you, Casey!

[#4] The chores are done, there's nothing expected of you & you've got 45 minutes of personal free time ... how would you spend it?
I've always been drawn to the ground. Maybe that sounds weird, but when I am stressed or overwhelmed or totally exhausted, I just lay down on the floor and take a deep breath. I love being close to the earth. So, quiet time would just be laying down, taking a deep breath and praying. I don't do this often because I am usually either working or watching Grace. There's not a whole lot of me time these days, but part of me feels like that's God's design for me at this point in my life. I am selfish by nature and He is teaching me that my time is not my own.  It's meant to be used for giving and building other's up in faith.

[#5] What are your staple go-to pieces from your closet this month?
My @tieks. If I could afford a pair in every color, I would get them. Target T shirts and Target pants in a rainbow of colors!

[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
I love my house, but I am always reminded that Heaven will be the best home ever. I try not to get too attached to my stuff. My mantra: You can't take it to Heaven with you! And before anyone asks about my white furniture and having a toddler… I have multiple slipcovers and these are all from Ikea : )

Bonus!
Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
I'm pretty open about posting real life, but here's a shot of what's in my fridge right now. Not a whole lot! We eat a lot around here. The fridge gets empty fast. And yes, that's breastmilk. Grace is still on a bottle and I'm still pumping full time. I'm trying to wean but my hormones aren't cooperating and Grace really doesn't like milk in a cup. We may have to go cold turkey on the bottle soon! 



Be sure and follow @laraacasey on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms

April 10, 2013

My Everyday Featuring ... Rachel Brooke



[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
I grew up in a small town in east texas. My brother & I spent most days outside making adventure for ourselves (at the urging of our parents). In my late teenage years, I met my husband and shortly after we got married. Since then we have moved 6 times all around Texas!  Being the "new kid" for the last few years has helped to tear the doors off of my introverted tendencies. Last May our hearts grew about 5 sizes when we welcomed our daughter, Georgia Eve, into the world. She has brought an immeasurable amount of joy and brightness into our lives. Most days you'll find me reading books & mimicking animal noises, babywearing, doing laundry, and singing....and in my mind, this is my fairytale brought to life. I love and value the tangible acts of creativity like photography, painting, and sewing, but I regard caregiving as the ultimate reflection of art in my life. 

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
Peek-a-boo time is my current favorite! The laughter that ensues when I pop around the corner is the highlight of my day.

[#3] Name Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
@kelliseeley / @heather_essian / @gordienali

[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
I've struggled with the most obvious one, sleep deprivation! Just feeling enough energy to even have a desire to create new projects and ideas. I've also struggled with distributing my passions. I tend to be "all or nothing" so I'm currently trying to figure out how to invest in multiple areas, rather than throwing all I have into one thing and not taking time to nurture other needs. 


[#5] What are your staple go-to pieces from your closet this month? 
My navajo cuff, a fringed scarf & minnetonkas.

[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why? 
The nursery! My reason is 2 fold : 1) it's the only room that is always clean (for now at least) 2) it's the only room that I started from scratch on, so I feel like it met my vision completely. Plus it is sentimental because of the memories that have taken place inside those 4 walls.
[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
How about a photo of what my nightstand looks like nowadays? It used to have pretty lip gloss tubes, regal books, maybe some spunky nail polish. It has been babyfide and is now covered with nipple pads & butters, diaper cream, and a nasal bulb.


Be sure and follow @rachelbrooke on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms


April 9, 2013

Free Desktop + iPhone Download


Hello friends!

I just wanted to share this April desktop + iPhone wallpaper with you. This is a collaboration I do with Thorn + Sparrow that I feature on my personal blog every month. Visit my blog and download these files for your computer and iPhone!

Here's the story behind this image and quote ::



Life doesn’t always look the way we want it to. There are times that we don’t find what we are looking for. Sometimes what we are looking for doesn’t exactly look the way we have it in our minds, but once we get past our pre-conceived ideas…..it turns out to be exactly what we need- in that season. I’ve so been in this season- many times. I love this reminder to do what we can…with what we have…right now. Don’t stop in your tracks because life in front of you doesn’t look the way you thought it would…..it could very well be the bridge that connects you to where you are to be next.
Life is never without purpose, especially in the seasons of waiting or in the quiet. Keep moving forward….take one step at a time….enjoy the little moments.
xoxo,
Kelli
Desktop Download

iPhone DOWNLOAD 

April 5, 2013

My Everyday / Creator Series Featuring ... Andrea Webb of Colin's Closet


[#1.] When did you launch "Colins Closet" and what prompted you to start your own business?
I officially launched Colin’s Closet in November of 2012, so just a few months ago! But, I had been working on everything from the design of the bow ties, to the website and logo design since Spring of last year! I didn’t want to launch until I felt confident in my business plans, the product and website. My son Colin is THE reason behind Colin’s Closet. I think like most mamas, once they have a child of their own, most everything revolves around them. For me, some of my sewing creativity was put towards him! Last Easter I was sewing a bow tie for him and had some compliments on ones I had made before and I thought to myself “I could do this! Like, really do something with this.” So, I did.

[#2.] What tool/marketing strategy has helped you the most in regards to getting your business noticed?
I have had a lot of great opportunities over the past few months with getting the word out about Colin’s Closet and having opportunities to display my product! Close to the same time that I launched the online pop up shop site Brickyard Buffalo launched as well! I contacted them and around the holidays I had a feature on there and that was great! Being able to mark my product down a little and just work on getting the product into the hands of people was key! I felt it was a great way to provide the customer with an introductory promotion and let them see the quality of the product so that they would hopefully return! That along with Instagram has been HUGE! I have been able to “meet” and network with some really talented gals (just like you Kelli and Vanessa!!) and have my product displayed on different platforms such as; Instagram giveaways, blog features and flash site deals.

[#3.] Share with us a few of your tips for balancing motherhood and business.
This can be really tough. Having a growing business along with being a mama can be challenging to balance at times. I try to do most of my work during my son’s naptime or through the night when he is sleeping, but that leaves one really tired mama in the morning. Over the past few months I have learned a few things. I need to know my limitations and how much I can physically do, so I am in the process of trying to find someone that can hopefully help with the production side of things. Being rested is important! When I have had a couple of late/all night sewing sessions and still have work left to do, I know that it really would be better to just take a break completely. So, I would take one day and night of nothing business related and catch up with my son and with my sleep and my husband and then I feel a little rejuvenated to get everything else done. Also, not that Colin can do much, but I can try to involve him sometimes! If I am scrambling to get a few orders completed I have had him hop up on my lap and I keep sewing with him sitting with me!

[#4.] Divulge one of your dreams for your business.
Through this whole process I have had the attitude of “I will see where things go!” Whether things remain small-but successful! Or if it continues growing into something more, I would be happy with either, because there are definitely pros and cons to both situations!! But, hoping that things continue to grow, which is ideal, I would love to have my product in more store locations. I was fortunate to have my first opportunity with store placement just this past month in a darling boutique in NYC! It was a great learning experience and I feel much more confident as I continue to approach other retailers. I have also thought that venturing more into the wedding and special occasion market could be really great as well and I think I would enjoy that!

[#5.]What advice do you have for moms who have a creative dream in their heart and desire to start their own business from home?
I say go for it! If you feel really passionate about something, I think you should definitely do it and don’t think you can’t. One important thing is to take your time with it, don’t rush. In my experience it was great taking those 7 or 8 months really figuring out all of the details, from competitive pricing, design, website and networking. I would recommend taking the concept or product that you would like to make a business out of and really plan and think about every aspect of the business and perfecting whatever it is you would want to do. That being said, I am definitely learning so much along the way, but I waited until I felt like my product was exactly how I wanted it to be, which I felt was really important!

[#6.]Share with us a peek of your working space.
I have a little desk set up in the nook of a hallway in our home, I store everything there, but most of my work is done at the kitchen table! But, we are currently in the process of moving and I have been selling some of our things, such as that very kitchen table! So, this past Easter season has been produced at a makeshift workspace! But, I am SO looking forward to our move, our new home will have a work room just for me and the business and I couldn’t be more thrilled!!

[#7] Name three mompreneurs who inspire you.  
@bannerboutique – my dear friend Lindsay owns a flourishing business for baby girls-adult accessories! She has been my “mentor” so to speak along the way as I started my business. She has given me so much advice on everything she has learned along the way. I had the opportunity to work with her when I first launched and she made some coordinating products with my bow ties!

@brickyardbuffalo – it has been so great working with these ladies twice now (I have communicated mostly with Karlee and she is so, so great!) and I have to credit a lot of my success to their great site and having the opportunity to be featured there! Working with them and as a result having some advertising through Instagram has helped develop a larger following on Instagram which I think is one of the best networking tools these days!

@sweetlittlepeanut – this was my most recent blog feature and it was a complete success! It was such a great experience working with Megan over at Sweet Little Peanut (a peanuts and momma inspired blogazine). She styled 8 of our current bow ties on the most adorable little boys (including two of her own!) and the photos turned out incredible thanks to @jessialexis. I look forward to working with Megan again in the future!

/// DISCOUNT CODE:: MYEVERYDAY20 gives you 20% off your entire order from today through next Friday, April 12th!

/// GIVEAWAY DETAILS:: Visit Colins Closet and leave us a comment below and tell us which bowtie is your favorite! Winner will receive TWO BOW TIES of choice and will be announced on Tuesday, April 9th!


Be sure and follow @colinscloset on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms






April 3, 2013

My Everyday Featuring ... Elizabeth Griffin


[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
Born & raised in the grand state of Texas. Well, except for junior high. I spent those years living with my family in Siberia, but that is another story. Despite all my protests, I ended up attending a university in my hometown. Good thing I did, because I met a fantastically good looking lad who eventually asked me to be his wife. 

Jady & I married in 2003 & moved to Seattle in 2005. Our daughter Sophie is 6 & our son Tait is 3. We are in the process of adopting two kids from Uganda and hope to bring them home this year.

After almost six years in Seattle, we have moved back to Texas. My husband is a pastor & I am a work-from-home mom. I write and work part-time for an anti-trafficking group called UnBound. When the kids are napping, I can be found working away. I guess you could call me a nap-time abolitionist. 

It is a lot to juggle, but we seem to manage!

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
My daughter started kindergarten this year, so my favorite part of the day is when she gets home. I love catching up on her day and telling her about ours. The kids then spend the rest of the afternoon playing outside till daddy comes home. 


[#3] Name Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
 @stayingawake / @inspiredrd

[#4] The chores are done, there's nothing expected of you & you've got 45 minutes of personal free time ... how would you spend it?
This would be a toss up between getting ahead on work or taking a nap. I have a supernatural gift of power napping though. So, I would probably sleep for 15 minutes and then use the remaining 30 pushing some projects through for work.

[#5] What are your staple go-to pieces from your closet this month?
Skinny jeans/ boyfriend cardigans/ vintage shoes

[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
Sometimes as a mom it feels as if each day is stuck on repeat. Wake up, read my Bible, cook, work, read Dr. Seuss,  load the car, unload the car, wipe faces, kiss scraped knees, fold laundry, collapse in bed & do it again tomorrow. I made these signs and hung them next to my bed so it is the first thing I see in the morning. A reminder that today is what I make of it.

Bonus!
Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.

Well, a few days ago I discovered a jar of sprinkles I bought to put on cupcakes for a Super Bowl party. When the kids weren’t looking, I filled the cap and took a shot of sprinkles.  I repeated this action throughout the day. The bottle is now empty.




Be sure and follow @larkandbloom on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms