19 November 2015

these are a few of my favorite things

I know people freak out when big stores put out all their holiday products months in advance. It's like, just let us enjoy the moment, people! I generally feel like that, too, except when it comes to Christmas. Seriously, put out the twinkly lights and the glitter and the plaid in September, and I will be a happy girl.

We are just moments away from full holiday cheer, and I thought it'd be the perfect time to share a few of my favorite things from some of my favorite small businesses to help inspire your holiday shopping, check some things off your wish list, and get your homes and hearts ready for the very best time of the year. I own at least one something from each of these shops, and I really love them all. 

Ok, so I may be slightly biased because these hand lettered signs made of reclaimed wood are from my sister's shop. But really, they are such beautiful pieces of work. I may have to start a gallery wall just to showcase all of them. She is restocking her etsy shop on November 27 - follow her on instagram for flash sales, sneak peeks, and some fun Christmas discounts.

My friend and fellow Noonday ambassador, Amanda, started Spoken For this fall as a way to help raise money for her trip to Rwanda and Uganda. It's a collaborative effort among many in the handmade community (including me!), and she has curated some truly beautiful things. Stamped jewelry, prints, upcycled wine bottle candles - I've already made two orders for Christmas, and can't wait to pick out a few more things!

Amber of Beautiful and Beloved has a heart that seriously inspires me to no end. She created an online boutique filled with jewelry, accessories, and clothing, that is all created by women around the world who have overcome incredible odds, fought their way out of sex slavery, and have a vision for creating a better world for themselves and their children through dignified work and community. I love everything I own from Amber's boutique, and I am currently drooling over that quilt made from vintage saris (so many heart eye emojis). You can get free shipping through November with the code "grateful".

I am seriously swooning over these stockings from Linnea's shop. I love every single thing that she makes! I have an initial ornament for each of my kids and I am lamenting not knowing what this next baby is so I can order their ornament asap. Everything she creates has the sweetest aesthetic (and she has the sweetest personality to boot!).

Coffee cozies, reversible headbands, fabric flags, and garden calendars. These are some of the gorgeous things Natalie creates from her farmhouse in Arkansas. Everything is so lovely and made with love, you can't go wrong picking something out for your favorite soul sister. AND she's offering you guys 15% off orders of $10 or more right now with the code "lovelylittle15". Don't miss out! Her stuff goes FAST.

For the foodies in your life. These all natural jams are SO delicious and Nicoletta offers sweet little gift packs and monthly deliveries. It's kind of a fun, unexpected gift for someone special - a grandparent or a teacher, or for yourself! We had fun making jam thumbprint shortbread and trying all the different flavors, or if you need the perfect recipe that makes a star out of orange marmalade - this yogurt cake from PW is ridiculous. It's one of the first recipes of hers I'd every tried, and it was amazing. Nicoletta is offering 10% off to all my readers with the code "littlewhimsy"!

And finally, my girl Stephanie of Sand and Starfish, is so talented and makes the dreamiest things. I have many of her zippered pouches, tassel bracelets and necklaces, her driftwood and seashell wall hangings, and some of her sweet vintage floral garland. Basically, I'm obsessed with everything she makes. She is having an awesome sale right now (bracelets start at $4!). It runs through December 2, so get going!

I'll be back in the days to come with more gift ideas from some of my favorite shops. Tell me yours or share your own business in the comments - I love connecting with new shops and supporting small businesses in our community!

01 November 2015

scarfament 2015: it's time!

It's that time again! My bestie, Danielle, and I are joining forces to bring you another year of SCARFAMENT. I'm here to tell you that this is an amazingly fun swap that you do not want to miss out on. You get to pick out a fun little ornament, a super cute scarf, and send it off to a new friend! It's like the best version of Secret Santa ever. You will have no idea who you're receiving from, and your partner won't know who you are until that very happy mail day. Suspense is fun.

Here are the details:
1. Open to US residents 18 and over.
2. Budget for the swap is about $25, give or take. If you want to spend more, go for it! If you can't spend that much, and you're the creative type, you can always makes something beautiful for your buddy and cut those costs way down.
3. You have to pinky promise, cross your heart and raise your right hand that you will definitely for sure without a doubt send your gift by Dec. 1. If you think there is even a little itty bitty chance you're going to miss the deadline or not pick up a scarf and ornament for your new BFF, PLEASE DO NOT SIGN UP. It is so sad to send something, anticipate you're own package, and then get left out in the cold. 
4. You will get your assignment no later than November 9, possibly before.
5. If you don't receive your package by Dec 7, we will attempt to contact your partner ONCE. We can't chase after people because we are just two busy mamas with 11 kids between us, and I'm about to birth my sixth, so I will probably just be snuggling my babe. 
6. If you don't ship your scarfament and your partner gets in touch with us, we will attempt to contact you and beyond that point, we will let them attempt to contact you, so basically, send the package.
7. Have fun with it! This is a great way to make a new friend, have fun creating or shopping, and bless someone else. You can use the hashtag #scarfament to share your finds and the gifts you receive to spread the love! 

So, make haste - spots are extremely limited! We can't wait to swap with you!

23 October 2015

brooklyn (and nyc) with my girls and serendipity

A couple of weeks ago I boarded a red eye and made my way to New York. It was time for my yearly weekend away with some of my favorite friends - girls I met through social media four years ago, girls who God put in my life in a surprising way at just the right time. They are kindred spirits who know me well, good and bad, and love me exactly as I am. They are my prayer warriors, my encouragers, and pieces of my heart are scattered with them in all different parts of the country. I look forward to these weekends so much - not just to recharge (which we mamas need, am I right?), but to breathe with them. To laugh at ridiculous things and eat delicious food and just be. 

New York is one of my favorite places, and I feel so lucky to have been able to go so many times. It's beautiful in the fall, and it was fun to go and explore with my girls. We set up camp in Brooklyn, in the basement of a brownstone, just a couple of blocks from the subway. With perfect weather, we walked the tree lined streets and stopped in countless bakeries, sat around the table together, explored flea markets and little shops. We snuggled up at night and watched romantic comedies and ordered in Chinese. We ate cuban food outside under bright, colorful umbrellas, poked around book shops, walked a million miles and climbed a thousand subway stairs. We ate doughnuts and sipped iced coffees and were convinced we saw several celebrities that no one could actually name. It was perfect.

For me, New York is all about what was filmed where and I am a total nerd about it. I tried to stop myself from listing every movie filmed in the New York Public Library (Ghostbusters! Breakfast at Tiffany's! Sex and the City!) as we huffed up and down the marble steps. I pointed out where Serendipity was filmed, which was one of the movies we watched in our little apartment (it's streaming on Netflix right, now, in case you need your fix). As we walked along Central Park on our way to Zabar's (You've Got Mail! Also, get the cherry cheese strudel.) and Shake Shack for dinner, a tour guide asked us if we wanted to know about the 312 movies that have been filmed in the Park. I was like... uh, yeah I do. But we needed those shakes and burgers and strudels immediately, so I bit my tongue.

It was a magical weekend. The perfect location and the perfect company and the perfect refreshment. I am so grateful for all of it, for all of them. New York has a little piece of my heart, and even more now that I've shared it with my girls.

31 August 2015

the faces behind what we wear: their stories matter

I've been working with the Noonday Collection for over a year now. If you don't know much (or anything) about the company that started just five years ago, I really believe they are changing the way we connect globally right in our living rooms. Simply put, it's fair trade jewelry and accessories. But it's so much more.

It's real faces, real stories, real connection with women and men and families in places like Ethiopia and India and Afghanistan. It's communities in Uganda and Rwanda and Vietnam and Ecuador and Guatemala who have seen transformation happen because people are sharing their stories and their work. It's knowing that not only is every piece that Noonday offers beautiful, but each is made with love and bringing sustainable, lasting change in the lives of each amazing person who makes them.

Noonday isn't the only group trying to create a lasting change in our world. I have fallen in love with the heart behind the Root Collective, who provide (gorgeous) handmade shoes from Guatemala. My friend, Amber, started a boutique called Beautiful and Beloved, working with women who have come out of sex trafficking and are making the loveliest of clothes and jewelry.

We live in a time of fast fashion - where it is so easy to get really cute clothes on the cheap. Trends turn over almost immediately, and we need the next thing at affordable prices. But who is making those things that we can't wait to get our hands on? There is a really eye opening documentary that came out this year called The True Cost. It's uplifting and hopeful and worth watching, and it's streaming right now on Netflix. I am so encouraged when people offer real options if we want to start making a difference, no matter how small it may seem. We can know the faces and the stories behind the things that we wear, whether we shop small and handmade, or we choose to shop fair trade, or we just start considering what that means and how it can work in our own lives. We can all start somewhere.