Monday, July 28, 2014

Product Review + Giveaway: Freshly Picked





Introducing Freshly Picked!
If you're not familiar with Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked, get ready to meet an incredible force of nature! Susan is the hard-working mama and entrepreneur behind the brand Freshly Picked who started making baby moccasins in 2009. When I saw her on Shark Tank earlier this year, her story immediately resonated with me. She worked at her kitchen table, she persisted, she hustled, and she grew her business from its humble beginnings to what is now an extremely successful and focused brand and line of products that people have come to know and love... myself included!

Earlier this spring, I was so honored to be asked to review these beautiful moccs. In full disclosure, I did receive a complimentary pair of moccasins to test for the review, but was not compensated in any other way to write this post. All of the opinions expressed below are mine. And Ethan's, too. After all, he's the one who's worn these around the clock for the past two months! ;-)

Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for giveaway details ... one lucky reader will win a FREE pair of moccs in the color and size of their choice! Our "Inklings + Freshly Picked" Giveaway will launch this Friday, so stay tuned for more details!

Review Time!
Our one-year-old was pleased to volunteer his services by wearing a pair of Freshly Picked soft-soled moccasins, and after two months of good old-fashioned wear-and-tear I'm writing this review.

Packaging
The moccs arrived in the cutest little reusable drawstring bag, complete with a button. I love me some green, eco-friendly packaging that you can re-use:



Elastic Openings
If you're like me, one of the most stressful experiences with young kids is simply getting them out the door. These soft-soled leather moccs feature a unique elastic opening which allows you to simply stretch the shoe opening to slip it on those chubby bare feet easily, which makes leaving the house just a little easier. Better yet, they give a nice snug fit around the ankle that keeps the shoe on when you're out and about with your babe, and the elastic is concealed by leather so there are no rough or exposed edges. They're easy to take off as well. The other day, we got home really late after a week at the cottage. I transferred Ethan to bed, praying that he wouldn't wake up. I was able to slip these off his feet without him waking. Win!



Cute Factor
Maybe this shouldn't be a category, but let me put it this way: every time we go out in these shoes, someone stops to comment on how cute they are. Every. Single. Time. Now Ethan is a second child, which means that most of the clothes he wears are hand-me-downs or mismatched outfits. Fair enough. But with shoes this cute, what does it matter? No-one notices that the pants he's wearing are actually PJ bottoms, or that his onesie is tighter than Beyoncé's body suit in the "Single Ladies" music video. Over time, the fringe has started to curl up a little, which just makes them even more cute in my books... and the soles of the shoes feature a unique FP stamped imprint to show that they're the real thing. These shoes are available in a host of cute colors, including their Neon Pink and Heirloom moccs (cream with gold dots). Gah!

Durability
The moccs are made from 100% genuine leather, which makes them super soft and durable. As I write this, we've used ours for over two months, and they're holding up beautifully. The color is vivid, aside from a few little scuff marks due to our turbo-crawler dragging his feet across the floor. In the past, we've gone through shoes in a matter of months in our household with two busy boys, so the prospect of having one of our littles actually outgrow a pair of shoes before they break down to a pile of rubber and fabric in our front entryway is attractive.

Made in the USA
Each item that Freshly Picked sells is made in the USA. As an American made company ourselves that is focused on building and supporting our local economy, this is something that I really appreciate.



Cost
Now let's talk money. These moccs are unapologetically priced at $60. At first, I felt that this was a little steep for a pair of baby shoes (heck, that's more than I typically spend on my own shoes) but here's the thing: these are a premium product. The materials are beautiful, they're made with care, and they're built to last. And one of the intangible benefits that I'm looking forward to is the footprint wear pattern that others report seeing on the bottoms of the soles after many months of use. We haven't been wearing them long enough to see an imprint, but once our little guy starts walking more I'm sure we'll see it. What a cute way to capture your little one's tiny footprint for years to come!

If you're frugal like me, consider ordering a size larger to get a longer use out of a single pair. I ordered their limted edition Aruba moccs one size larger than our little guy's current foot size (he's 14 months, and I ordered a size 5). While they're just a little loose on him, they do stay on well with the elastic closure. This way, I'll (hopefully) get a good deal of use out of them depending on how fast those toes grow!

Wrapping Up
Would I recommend these for a friend? Absolutely. Would I buy them for a friend? Yes, if I really, really love her. Would I like them in my size? Heck, yes. But I don't think they'd look quite as cute on my size 9 monster feet. ;-)

Want a free pair for yourself?
This FRIDAY we're hosting a giveaway valued at over $100! Win a free pair of Freshly Picked moccasins (view all available colors here) in the color and size of your choice, and a custom Inklings Quote Keeper filled with 120 cards in any combination of colors from our shop! See the sneak peek below. More details are to come, so be sure to follow our Instagram feed and our Facebook page to get a jump start on the giveaway:



Wishing you happy little ones with happy feet,






Disclosure: I did receive a complimentary pair of moccasins to test for the review, but was not compensated in any other way to write this post. All of the opinions expressed above are mine. And Ethan's, too. After all, he's the one who's worn these around the clock for the past two months! ;-)





Thursday, May 15, 2014

ethan's first birthday party!


Dear Ethan,

You're one! Getting to know you this past year has brought me the greatest joy, so I thought I'd write this little post to you. 

A little about you right now: You love your big brother, and you love to drum. The other day, the dryer was going and thumping out a beat. I turned to see you bopping in time. Every time music plays (or any type of beat, for that matter), you bop your head and move around and bring smiles to everyone nearby. So it's pretty appropriate that most of the gifts you received for your birthday were musical. You pound those drums with the biggest, most toothy smile!

You hardly ever cry. Except when you're hangry, or when a tooth is bothering you. And you drool. Boy, can you ever drool. So we keep these fabulous little BibbyBubby bandana bibs on hand, and pretty much soak through five bibs a day. We do loads of laundry just for bibs these days. 

You're not too mobile yet, and up until this point you've just been pretty content to let the action come to you. And believe me, there's a lot of that around our house. So you roll places, and usually find yourself in sticky situations. 

Your nicknames right now are Monchichi, Loverton, Lovenut, Droolerson, and E-fin (thanks to your big brother).

This weekend was Mother's Day, but we also celebrated your birthday with family members and a few close friends. It was a fun, beautiful, simple day and you were surrounded with those who love you most. You attacked the cake with enthusiasm, and enjoyed opening gifts with the assistance of your big bro. Here are some snapshots from the day.

My hope and prayer for you? That you will grow up to love and honor God with your life. That you will love others genuinely, and with a servant's heart. That a deep and lasting friendship will form between you and your big brother. That you will discover your true passion, and that you'll find satisfaction in it. You know... little things like that.

Love you to the moon and back!

~mommy






Noisemakers by Oh Joy from Target. Printable cupcake toppers by Inklings Paperie.









Monday, April 14, 2014

Party Inspiration: Gold Wedding and Party Ideas




Oh, how we're loving gold this season! With gold, you can lean towards the luxury and 1920's feel of a Great Gatsby themed wedding, or you could go with a more whimsical Kate Spade bridal theme with a gold polka-dot motif. Either way, you can't go wrong!

We've gathered some fun ideas to get you started. Don't miss the links and image credits at the very bottom! 


1. Dress up a classic white balloon with gold foil paint! This gold-dipped effect is so sweet. We think that gold polka-dots would be adorable too!



2. Add some sparkle with a gold tassel garland! DIY, or find one on Etsy to complete your gold wedding decor. For the more ambitious, this gold sequined backdrop by Oh Happy Day would be absolutely fabulous. (Click on the image for DIY instructions to get this look!). Get the look in a more simplified way with a circle garland  (bottom)




3. The cascading polka-dots on this cake by Bobbette & Belle make it a work of art! What a perfect centerpiece for any gold themed wedding or special event.



4. We're loving these gold heels, and of course the Kate Spade watch.


5. Need a place to hold all your Great Gatsby wedding ideas? Plan your with style by using these sweet folders and planner by Kate Spade.




6. You can invest in special serving pieces that will become keepsakes, or opt for pretty paper placemats or coasters that will dress up your table on a budget! 


7. Have a little fun! We designed these glamorous gold foil scratch-off cards for an easy, chic party game. Perfect if your looking gold wedding ideas, bachelorette ideas, or just want to have an entertaining evening with friends. Each set of 12 cards comes with a single winning card, but they're so pretty that everyone will feel like a winner!

8. We love these gold swizzle sticks so much! Bring a bit of the exotic to your art deco party theme, or use them for a children's party as stir-sticks or cupcake toppers.


9. Glittery monograms... what's not to like? We think this would be a great keepsake for the guest of honor after the party or gold wedding shower! Make one yourself, or find one on Etsy.



10. Include these sweet little enclosure cards with favors to thank guests! Use gold polka-dot washi tape to seal the envelope for a cute finishing touch! 




1. DIY gold-painted balloon by The Hen Planner
2. Tassel Garland by StudioMucci; Gold DIY Sequin Backdrop by Oh Happy Day; Gold circles garland by TransparentEs Decor on Etsy
3. Cake by Bobbette & Belle
4. Glitter heels photo by Living Pierside; Gold watch by Kate Spade
5. Gold folders and planner by Kate Spade
6. Gold champagne glass; Gold Zag Tray by Up In The Air Somewhere on Etsy; Gold confetti coasters by Kate Spade; Gold straws by FancyThatLoved on Etsy
7. Gold foil scratch-off cards by Inklings Paperie on Etsy
8. Gold animal swizzle sticks from Babble
9. Glittery monogram by Laura Drayton Creative on Etsy
10. Enclosure cards by Kate Spade; Gold washi tape by Paper Source


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wedding Inspiration: 10 Radiant Orchid Ideas



Everywhere you look, Pantone's color of the year for 2014 can be found! Radiant Orchid is a stunning pinkish purple that pairs beautifully with gold (also a big color this season) and champagne pink. We've scoured Pinterest to bring together some our favorite purple wedding ideas or for your bridal shower or big day! 

Pantone describes Radiant Orchid as an "expressive, creative and embracing purple"... that "emanates great joy, love and health." We couldn't agree more, which is why we find this shade of orchid the perfect purple wedding color!

Here is some inspiration in the form of ten "must-haves" for a Radiant Orchid wedding or bridal shower this spring: 


1. Kick the party off with gorgeous berry-infused cocktails. 


2. Set the scene with this tassel garland for a perfect sweet table or photo booth backdrop!


3. Don't be afraid to bring your palette inspiration into your cake! 
We're swooning over this gorgeous ombré cake in our stunning purple orchid color by cake artist Maggie Austin.



4. The little details matter! Tie off favor boxes with a coordinating orchid or purple bow, and top them with in-season or artificial flowers for a sweet finishing touch!


5. Dress to impress! These stunning gowns are just a few of the many available dresses for bridesmaids or guests of honor. We love the Catherine Deane dress on the left ($1,298), but the more affordable Nordstrom gown ($145) is lovely, and would be much more considerate of your bridesmaids' pocketbooks. ;-) 


6. Don't be afraid to add texture and variety with flowers in various shades of pink. We think that pairing them with succulents adds a fun twist!



7. Set the table for a party! An orchid-dipped ombré table covering is a gorgeous way to draw attention to the head table or a sweet table, and a single bloom at each place setting could be a more affordable alternative to an elaborate floral centerpiece. Paper straw flags also add a bit of whimsy.




8. Purple wedding inspiration doesn't just apply to your big day! Your bridal shower and can be perfectly coordinated with our Radiant Orchid wedding collection of paper goods. Don't forget the printable decorations for all the little picture-perfect details.





9. Give a gift that says, "I love hue!" Essie's nail polish, "The Girls Are Out" would be a cute bridal shower favor! As for the Kate Spade Carousel Bangle... well, one can dream!




10. Last but not least, go for the gold! Mix in some gold metallic for a luxe twist on your Radiant Orchid wedding theme. You can't go wrong!



1. Berry-infused cocktails by Paul Rich Studio
2. Ombré radiant orchid cake by cake artist Maggie Austin
3. Tassel garland by StudioMucci on Etsy
4. Favor boxes by SweetPP on Etsy
5. Dresses by Catherine Deane (left) and Nordstrom (right)
6. Succulent bouquet by Sophisticated Floral
7. Placesetting bloom by Style Unveiled; Wedding Wishes cards by Intimate Weddings;
Chevron pattern paper straws by The Pretty Party Shoppe on Etsy
8. Bridal shower games by Inklings Paperie
9. Nailpolish by EssieKate Spade Carousel Bangle
Ice Cream Scoup photo by Stylesight
Cupcakes by Culinary Covers.
10. Table place settings by My True Blue