Yesterday we explored Phoenix. We live in the west valley, so downtown Phoenix is only about 20-30 minutes from our house. We love going down there to check out new places to eat and shop at. Logan and I would love to live in the heart of downtown, but unfortunately it is just way too expensive! In fact- last night I was browsing 3 bedroom apartments and found one that looked somewhat affordable but too good to be true. So, we called to verify the price, and…well…the price that was listed was actually PER ROOM. So TRIPLE the price that we thought was reasonable. HA! So we will just have to accept the 20 minute drive [for now].
Anyways, one place that we love to stop at for some coffee is The Teapot. It’s very kid-friendly, and the large backyard area with the playground is perfect for beautiful days like yesterday. [The high was in the 70’s]
I took some photos of the kids playing there. We got there about an hour before they closed [they close at 2 P.M.] so we had the place to ourselves. 🙂
Cash having fun on the playground.
We got a hummus + veggie + pita bread tray, along with a fruit cup. The kids approved.
The kids never want to leave!
Soy Bean had to check out these pretty plants before getting into the car.
Until next time!
So many things to check out downtown. I will have to try to document some more good Phoenix-finds!
I always love finding new things to do with the kids. We have tried out a lot of different places around the valley, and some have become our favorites that we enjoy visiting frequently.
I have put together a list of our 5 favorite places around the valley that we love to take our kids.
1. PLAYGROUNDS FUN ZONE & CAFE • GLENDALE, AZ
Ideal for ages 8 and under. There is a section for babies, a section for toddlers, and then a playground for all ages. Cash and Sawyer absolutely LOVE it here. It’s very open and clean, and they offer a great cafe menu with a large range of items to chose from. We like to get there early and grab coffee and breakfast while the kids play.
2. THE TEAPOT • PHOENIX, AZ
We actually just visited The Teapot for the first time last week. It is now one of my new favorites! This is an adorable little cafe located in downtown Phoenix, and has a “hipster” vibe. There’s some toys inside for kids to play with, and outside there is a large grass yard with a playground and other activities for the kids. The place is pretty tiny, but we got there early on a Tuesday and it wasn’t too crowded.
3. CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF PHOENIX • PHOENIX, AZ
There are so many things to do at the Children’s Museum, the kids have a blast exploring the 3 story historic Monroe School building. There are more than 300 play experiences throughout the entire museum. The 3- and-under room is one of Cash & Sawyer’s favorites. It’s full of things to climb, slide down, and crawl under. Cash also really likes the 2 story jungle gym, and running through the noodle-forest. There’s seriously a whole days worth of things to do, you and your kids will not get bored!
4. SEA LIFE • TEMPE, AZ
We have been to a few aquariums around the valley, and this one is our favorite. It’s not a huge aquarium, so don’t plan a whole day around it. However, Sea Life is located at Arizona Mills in Tempe, so you can enjoy it before or after doing some shopping or seeing a movie in their IMAX theater. Cash (3) loves it, and screams “WHOA!” at every single tank. While Sawyer (1) isn’t as amused. Sea life is located right next to the “Legoland Discovery Center”, which is next on our list.
5. LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER • TEMPE, AZ
The Legoland Discovery Center is located right next to the Sea Life Aquarium at Arizona Mills. Usually we buy tickets to both, because there is a discount! We like to walk throughout the aquarium, then let the kids play at Legoland. Some areas are more geared towards older kids, (I would say 6 and up?), but Cash and Sawyer love the area for younger kids. And Cash has a blast on the two “rides” there. (They are very low-key, but he enjoys them.) There’s also a little cafe area, with items such as sandwiches and chips.
I’m sure there are gems we haven’t discovered yet, but so far these 5 places are our favorite. I’d love to hear what your favorite kid-friendly places are!
So, it’s been a few weeks since I last blogged. I am so bad about keeping up with this. I don’t want it to be fake. I want to keep my posts authentic and original, but of course I want them to be engaging and interesting.
I could write lists of my favorite things all day long, but when I look back on this blog, those won’t be the things I care to see. I will care about my journey. So, I’ve decided I will *try* to blog at least once a week, but I am aiming for twice a week. I will try to be real about what’s going on in my life, and not put a pretty little filter over it.
I realize that most bloggers try to make their life look perfect, and that is totally understandable. Being vulnerable and sharing the not-so-perfect stuff with strangers is a difficult thing.
I want to share my struggles, my fears, my good days AND my bad days.
So, here’s to being REAL!
Let me start off by talking about January.
This January has been one of the most awful starts to the year for us. Actually, it’s probably been our worst month ever. The struggles we had this month might seem frivolous to some, so I don’t want to go into complete detail, but I will say it’s been rough.
Lots of crying, frustration, and anxiety.
Logan got an interview with a great company last month, just a few days before Christmas. He left the interview feeling very confident, and took the second part of the interview that day. Then he went and did the THIRD part of the interview and was offered the job, upon the review of his background check. Unfortunately the offer had to be taken off the table because of 2 speeding tickets he got 2 years ago. (Their company policy is no more than 1 speeding tick in the last 3 years.)
It was a pretty depressing way to start the holiday, to say the least. Logan was devastated.
Another struggle for us the last few months has been the transition from Root Avenue to Modern Scout. Root Avenue was our main income for just over a year. It did great! However, with the over saturation of the market, and the new Instagram algorithm, I feared that it may not always be as successful as it was this last year. So, as I started to neglect Root to focus on MS, I could see that it was rubbing off on my followers.
I totally believe that my customer’s could sense that my passion was not FULLY there, and I believe it rubbed off. While RA has still been great, it is not reliable.
With all that said, it’s been a pretty stressful start to the year. The unknown is scary!
Despite the stress, I can say that I am still extremely thankful for the many blessings in my life. My babies are my world, and they make me smile every single day. (Even the days that I want to rip my hair out…which, let’s face it, is almost every day.)
Sawyer turned one a couple months ago, and Cash turns THREE in a couple weeks. AH, how will I survive in a house with a 1 year old and 3 year old.
Sawyer tries hard to keep up with her brother. It’s crazy how quickly she catches on to things. She has also become quite the monkey, and climbs on everything! She can say a few words, but her favorite by far is “YEAH!” and it is soooo cute when she says it. Oh, and I just weaned her. Since we call her Soy Bean, I called the it, Operation :Wean The Bean. I crack myself up. She made it extremely difficult, but it had to be done, for my own sanity.
Cash has thrived the past few months. He knows all of his letters, numbers, colors, shapes, and animals, and he has been fully potty trained since October. He is like a parrot, and repeats everything. (Which has made me try to make habit of not cursing.) He is definitely one of a kind, and can be quite the handful. But when he is in a good mood, he is just the sweetest little guy.
Both of my kids think the world of me, even when my patience is short with them. Their love is like nothing I have ever known before. It is truly amazing. They have my heart!
My goals for the rest of this month are to get my shit more organized, stay optimistic and focused.
Praying that this rest of this month goes out with a bang! (A good bang.)
Something really bad is happening to small businesses, primarily children’s clothing brands that have gained popularity through Instagram.
As most of you know, for the last two years I have owned a small business called Root Avenue. Root Avenue’s main product is children’s graphic t-shirts. When I first opened shop I started off with 5 designs, that I created myself in photoshop. Root’s first big ‘hit’ was our Pretty Fly For A Small Fry raglan. Before I released this design I searched all over the internet to see if anyone else had an item with this phrase. I searched hashtags, Pinterest, Etsy, Google, etc, and it was nowhere to be found. Within weeks of releasing this shirt I started to see copies being made. They started to pop up in the hashtag on Instagram, and in Etsy shops. I was furious that people were ripping me off, and I eventually had to invest in trademarking this phrase so that I had legal grounds for reporting knock-offs.
As a small business every single sale is a huge deal for me and my income. Every time a copy is made, it takes away from my business. Yes, even if it’s made for personal use. Copying a small business is the exact opposite of being supportive.
Taking the time to report every single replica became part of my daily schedule. It took away from time that I could have been doing productive things for myself and my company.
Then came the knock-offs from *China. (*I do not want to write the name of the website, so I will be referencing “China” instead. I do not want to help promote this wholesale website in any way.) The first time someone notified me that my design was being sold on this popular Chinese wholesale website, my heart dropped and it felt like someone punched me in the gut.
Reporting “copy cats” was one thing. China is a whole other level. Once an item has been copied by China, you not only have to worry about the Chinese wholesaler, but you have to worry about THEIR supplier, as well as boutiques that buy in bulk from them.
There are also “Buy-In” groups on Facebook, where women go in on buying in bulk from this website. I understand that some women don’t even know that they are buying knock-offs. HOWEVER, I believe that a majority know exactly what they are buying. Some even have the nerve to go to these groups and post photos from small businesses pages and ask if it can be found on the Chinese wholesale website.
All of this is a HUGE problem. Copying is directly effecting small businesses, and it is stealing! Stealing from business owners who have worked their butt off creating, designing, promoting, and running their business. All to be ripped away from them because of GREED.
I have seen people say things such as, “Well, you should be flattered that they like your product enough to copy it!”
To me, this is the same thing as someone getting robbed, and then be told, “Well, you should be flattered that they liked your stuff enough to steal it!”
Because that is exactly what copying is. It’s STEALING.
Being copied is one of the most discouraging thing for business owners to deal with. Even with trademarks and copyrights, it is extremely difficult to track down and remove all of the replicas. Not to mention the amount of frustration it causes and time it consumes.
Wondering how to be able to tell the original from the replica?? Here are few helpful tips.
How to find out where the original came from:
If the item is something that is easily searched, such as a phrase on t-shirt, I recommend browsing Instagram hashtags. This allows you to go back and see when it was used first and which company started it. There are some generic phrases that are hard to claim, but you can at least see if a design was replicated. (Font/placement/garment/etc.)
The photos on the Chinese wholesale website all look very similar. Here’s some examples. Now, it can be very hard to tell sometimes. The Chinese wholesale website will often steal the small business’s photos. This screen shot is straight from the Chinese wholesale website. The three photos that have a picture of a child were all stolen from the original makers. So, just because you see a picture of a child wearing the item does not mean that is the actual item you are buying. Photos of my children are being used by the Chinese wholesale website, as well as by boutiques who have purchased from them.
If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Many “crafters” will charge very low prices just to make the sale, and because they will purchase a very cheap blank. A “custom” t-shirt, for example, might be sold for $10 because they purchased a blank shirt from somewhere like Walmart, & used their vinyl cutter to make the design. Ripping off designs means they don’t have to work hard on being creative or promoting a business, they can just copy someone else and make a quick buck.
Boutiques selling children’s sets (example: shirt, bloomers, bow ) for $13-$20 were most likely bought from China. Many sets on the Chinese wholesale website are being sold at prices as low as $4. (If that doesn’t scream sweatshop, I don’t know what does!) Now, figuring out if the item is a knock off is another thing, but a little research can usually help you determine it’s authenticity.
The photo above is a great example of what you get when you buy a knock-off from China. Check out the spelling errors on the shirt.
The originals can be found here:
Headband | Shirt | Leg Warmers | Adorable Baby Model
END THE DEMAND
Whether it be a friend making a copy, or contributing to a bulk buy-in, THIS is the type of thing that needs to STOP NOW. If we can work together to end the DEMAND, then we can hopefully eventually end the SUPPLY.
I know this might seem like a lot of information, and I understand that this might not resinate with a lot of people that it doesn’t directly effect. I just want to get this information out there, and if this stops even one person from buying or making a knock-off, then I would be happy.
When you buy from the original maker, you are helping support a family and a dream.
SUPPORT CREATIVITY AND THE ORIGNAL!
#supportlocal #buyhandmade #shopsmall #makesmallbig
Side note, yes, I do buy things made in China. I have even purchased things (such as tape, and paper clips) from the Chinese wholesale website. I want to be clear that I am not saying that all things made in China are bad, I am simply stating that there is a huge problem with creators being ripped off by them.
I am about to launch my new company called Modern Scout, and I thought that it would be a good idea to write a little blog post about my new adventure.
To make a short story long…
I currently own a clothing brand called Root Avenue. Root Avenue was started in October of 2014 in my parents kitchen. My family & I were living with my parents while we saved up money to buy a home. I wanted to help bring in extra income, and starting a clothing brand was always something I was interested in. My parents helped fund the start up costs, and within just a few months I was able to pay them back and start contributing to saving for a new home.
By June of 2015 we had found a house and were ready to move out. I remember that right before moving out I told my parents that my next project would be writing a children’s book.
Fast forward to Spring 2016, I had been brainstorming children’s book ideas, which led me to thinking about starting a whole new company. I absolute love interactive books and journals, and an interactive adventure journal sounded like something a lot of people would enjoy. I began creating my journal, which I titled “Adventure Collector”. This journal is the first edition, of hopefully many, which I have labeled Troop Edition. The Troop Edition was created for families, and each page has a new adventure idea, along with blanks to be filled out along the way. It is perfect for families with children ages 3 and up. I think that children between the ages of 7-12 will especially enjoy it if they are able to fill in the blanks themselves. I already have my second edition in the works, which will be for couples.
While creating the journal I started to have a clear vision of what my new brand would be. Modern Scout will be about all things ADVENTURE! We will carry patches/pins/stickers/journals/etc. Unfortunately, I will not be able to carry all the items that I would like to at it’s launch. But my goal is to be able to add new items frequently and hopefully very soon!
A little about Modern Scout’s main product, the Adventure Collector Kit:
The Adventure Collector kit includes the Adventure Collector: Troop Edition journal, adventure pouch, Modern Scout pencil, tape, page clip.
Part of my mission with Modern Scout is to bring adventurers together. Our Adventure Club keychains each have a different number, to make each ‘membership’ truly one of a kind.
*My favorite part about the keychains:*
We (my husband and I) really wanted to be able to give back, and keep it consistent and local. We decided that we would give $1 from every Adventure Club keychain sale back to the community. So, once a month we will go out and give back. Whether it be paying for people’s groceries, paying for someone’s gas tank to be filled, or providing kids with school supplies.
This is all just a little “sneak peek” into what Modern Scout is all about. I have so many ideas and plans for this little brand. I hope & pray that people love it as much as I do!!
Exact launch date will be announced soon. It will be towards the end of January 2017.
To be notified of our grand opening please be sure to join the mailing list!
Excited to explore with you all!!
I still plan on writing children’s books one day. So stay tuned for that. Ha! 😉
Okay, so I am all about comfort when it comes to fashion. I also don’t spend a lot on myself. I usually shop at Forever 21 & Target…I am also a drug store make-up buyer. (*gasp!*)
I’ll spend $50 on a pair of kid’s shoes that they’ll wear for a month, yet I cringe at a $30 price tag on a women’s tank top.
So I would say that my style is best described as: cheap chic. Omg…I think I just made that up. Going to trademark that.
Anyways, here are a few of my favorite pieces/tips for staying comfortable, while looking [somewhat] put together.
I almost always wear black pants. They can be dressed up, they can be dressed down, and they don’t show stains very easily. (Bonus points for moms!) The ones I am wearing in the photo above are actually jeggings, AKA leggings with pockets and stitching…so basically the best things ever invented.
Despite the fact that my husband always makes fun of me when I wear hats like the one in the picture, they are one of my favorite things to finish off an outfit. Sometimes I will seriously be so unhappy with an outfit I have on, then I’ll put a hat on and *poof* just like that, I look trendy, as if I am some sort of fashionista or something. And the best part is, you’ll be able to get away with going on day 3 of no shampoo. (Ew, what, who even does that………) *guilty*
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “jeans are NOT comfortable!” and I totally agree. I hate wearing jeans. I have to mentally prepare myself before putting them on for the day. BUT ripped jeans are just too cute to pass up, and if you get those knee holes big enough your legs can actually breath a little, and bending is super easy. (Can you tell that I’m really trying argue that ripped jeans can be comfortable?)
I rarely wear dresses. This photo was taken on Thanksgiving. I will avoid dresses at all costs, mostly because I am nursing Sawyer still…and there’s really no way to publicly nurse in a dress unless it’s low cut. Another reason I will avoid them is because my legs are super pale. However, for fall/winter I can get away with wearing leggings with the dress, which allows me to nurse still…AND they’re super comfortable, opposed to tights. So, if you want to wear a dress but don’t feel totally comfortable bearing those legs, just wear some leggings and boots and you’re set!
There you have it! My simple, not-so-helpful, (but maybe a little helpful?) tips for staying stylish and comfortable!
If you have kids and haven’t found the children’s clothing/accessory world that exists on Instagram, then you are definitely missing out! I absolutely love discovering new clothing brands online, especially one’s for my little humans.
From shoes, to rompers, to headwear, there is no shortage of amazing and unique brands on Instagram.
I’m going to share a handful of my favorites. If I shared ALL of my favorites, we would be here all day.
Let’s start with the little feet!
Potato Feet carries the cutest moccasins & booties, in a wide variety of colors and patterns. I absolutely love these shoes because they slide on so easily, and they STAY on. Their quality is amazing, and will last for as long as long as they fit your your kiddo’s feet!
Piper Finn Footwear has the most adorable leather oxfords for children. I want one in every pattern for my kids! Sawyer has the polkadot ones, and they are one of my favorites on her.
Urbemm carries leather goods, including the most amazing leather boots for kids. Why do kids get to hog all the good stuff??
Rad Revolution is another one of my all time favorite shops. Everything is designed by the owner, Mallory, and she is constantly coming out with new [and adorable] items. Rad Revolution carries pants, hoodies, bonnets, swimmers, and, my personal favorite, ROMPERS!
Little Urban Apparel has unique and quality pieces that are just darling! (I don’t usually talk like that…but, ‘darling’ is seriously the best way to describe this brand!!!)
Vivie & Ash makes the cutest peplum tops, bloomers, and dresses for little ladies. I seriously think Sawyer needs one of everything from this shop!
Exciting news! 🎉 We are thrilled to introduce our newest giving partner, Breakfast Club of Canada. It has been a goal of ours since we launched cuddle+kind to give back in our home country, in addition to supporting children in need around the world and in the United States. We are so excited to now be donating meals locally and across Canada! We are grateful to be able to contribute to the health and success of our country’s youth and we’re humbled to be working with the great organization Breakfast Club of Canada. They do amazing work! By providing nutritious meals to children before school, they give little ones the energy they need to learn, thrive and reach their potential. We’re inspired by their efforts and proud to be working with them to make an impact in Canada. Thanks to all our giving partners, we’re reminded every day that we each hold the power to make a difference for generations to come. #thankful #givingbacklocally #1dollequals10meals #onemillionmeals #breakfastclubofcanada
Cuddle and Kind has the most adorable hand knit dolls. Dolls come in two different sizes, and they have a variety of different characters to choose from. One of the things that I love about this company is that for every dolls sold, they provide 10 meals to a child in need.
Little Sapling Toys makes wooden toys for babies and toddlers. They sell everything from blocks & teethers, to furniture. I ran into the owners at Disneyland last year, and they are very sweet!
Noxx is known for their wide variety of handmade beanies. They also carrie headbands, scarves, blankets, and burp clothes.
Fall never looked so good! 🙌🏼 You guys are amazing! I'm so excited to start seeing these on your cuties! Just a handful left in most of these prints so grab one before they are Sold Out 😩 Ps Brand rep search ends tomorrow so don't forget to enter!!! #snapback #babytruckerhat #georgehats #kidstruckerhats #fallrepgeorgehats
George Hats has the cutest selection of trucker hats & sun hats for little dudes! (Girls could totally rock these also.) I love the patterns they offer!
Let me know what some of your favorite small shops to follow are!
Like I said, I love to discover new shops!
Yesterday we took the kids to MacDonald’s Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ.
The kids had fun, but it was way too hot to completely enjoy ourselves. We plan on going to a couple other pumpkin patches before the season is over, hopefully we’re able to enjoy one on a cooler day next time!
Here’s a quick video from our trip. I lost a lot of footage that didn’t upload properly! So, that was a bummer. But we were still able to get a cute little video out of it.
When I was pregnant with my first child, Cash, I knew that I was going to breastfeed him. I didn’t even bother buying formula because I was set on exclusively breastfeeding. I did a ton of research, I got advice from a lot of moms, and I joined breastfeeding groups on Facebook. I thought I was prepared, and figured it’s natural, so it MUST come naturally. Right?
Boy, was I wrong! The first few days trying to nurse Cash were so discouraging. I wanted to give up. I did finally get the hang of it, and Cash ended up exclusively breastfeeding for 15 months! I am now nursing my daughter, Sawyer, and we are almost 11 months into our journey. I plan on nursing her for at least a few more months.
I’ve learned a lot in these last couple of years, and had some items that I found necessary for a successful & comfortable breastfeeding journey.
I wanted to share a five of my favorite breastfeeding must-haves with you guys today.
- A Nursing Cover
I am all for a woman nursing in public without a cover, if that’s what makes them comfortable. I, however, prefer to use a cover when I’m in public. Covers like this one have multiple uses. Besides covering your goods, it can also be used as a shopping cart cover, carseat cover, scarf, blanket, and spit up rag.
- A Nursing Pillow
A nursing pillow makes breastfeeding so much more comfortable for new moms. I remember being in the hospital, trying to nurse Cash, and really wishing I had one with me. As your baby gets a little older, this can also work as a good head rest for diaper changes, or as chest support for tummy time.
- Comfortable nursing bra + clothing
One really inconvenient thing about nursing is having to wear “nursing-friendly” attire. Most dresses won’t work, unless they’re really low-cut. (Think about it.) I’ve also had shirts that didn’t work because of belts/ties that went around the stomach area. Basically, stick to comfortable shirts that are easily lifted or lowered to nurse. I also recommend being prepared for the worst, such as leaking through your shirt! Make sure your bra is nursing-friendly as well! There’s a lot of good ones on Amazon to choose from.
- A good breast pump
Most insurance providers will actually help pay for a breast pump. I used the Madela Pump in Style Advance, and I have no complaints. I didn’t/don’t pump very often, but it’s definitely necessary for when you want to store some milk for your little, or if you feel like your need a little assistance in draining a full breast. (Oh, the joys of breastfeeding!)
Every nursing mama NEEDS support! There’s many times that you will feel discouraged, and having a support system is key to continuing your breastfeeding journey. I highly suggest joining some breastfeeding groups on Facebook. There’s also blogs and forums just for moms! I suggest checking out The Baby Cubby blog for, not only breastfeeding topics, but parenting topics in general.
Most of the items linked are to Baby Cubby. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you definitely should! The reason I love purchasing from them is because they always price match (even Amazon!), they only carry the BEST and safest gear, and you can get free shipping on all orders over $49. It doesn’t get much better than that!
There are a lot of other items that I could recommend, but these are just 5 of my personal necessities for breastfeeding. You’ll find what works (or what doesn’t work) best for you!
Enjoy the journey with your babe(s)!