ARTIFACT UPRISING Holiday Card Giveaway
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Can you believe December is right around the corner!?  Have you ordered your Christmas cards yet!?  I’m always so busy helping other people design their Christmas cards, that I tend to put off creating my own!  Thankfully, Artifact Uprising made it easy for me this year with their beautifully designed holiday photo cards.  I chose an instagram friendly template for our cards this year, but I also love the new 3-in-1 card :  it’s a card, a photo print and gift tag – all in one.   Family & friends can tear away the photo print for year-round display and use the gift tag for holiday gift-giving.  How smart, right!?  I have been a long time advocate for this company, their mission, and the quality behind everything they do!  Their products always impress!

Today, we’ve teamed up for a giveaway, offering up a free pack of 25 holiday cards!  Simply type in your email address below to enter!  A winner will be chosen on Sunday, 11/30! Good luck!

 


Rylee & Cru
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Photos by Jackie Wonders

Well, it’s finally here.   Introducing Rylee & Cru.

This big secret project I’ve been working on for what feels like an eternity!  This process was not smooth by any means.  There were a lot of bumps in the road, trials and errors, factory delays and frustrations….but I did it.  I kept at it and I’m so happy to finally be able to share the fruits on my labor!   For a few years now I have had the itch to start a children’s label.    I have always loved fashion, always loved art, and in becoming a mom, motherhood quickly rose to the top of my priority /passion list.  I kind of feel like I was meant to do this.  I feel silly saying that….like this is my “destiny” or something, but it really does feel like that.   It’s the merging of all of the things I love the most…and I can’t tell you how fun this has been for me (despite the setbacks I’ve encountered!)   My background in fashion design and merchandising, paired with my love for illustration and pattern making, made this all a little less intimidating of a dream.  Although going out on a limb and starting a brand like this amidst so much competition is always a risk, and always a little nerve-wracking.  But if there’s anything I’ve learned over the last few years it’s that great things never come from comfort zones.  I used to be afraid of failure and concerned about what other people thought of me and my work.  I’m not sure if it was just me getting older or slowly getting used to taking risks in my career that changed that mindset, but it’s no longer something that scares me.  If I have a passion, I want to pursue it.  Yes, this could totally fail.  But if the worst thing that could happen is it not work out, I will be ok with that.  At least I know I tried.  But with that said, I’m really proud of this line.  And God willing, this is something I’ll be able to do for many seasons to come!  The name obviously comes from my own two kids, Rylee and Cru (sorry to my third child if we decide to have you!)  They are my world and a never ending source of inspiration.

My dad has owned a screen printing factory for over 30 years.  So it was a no-brainer that I partner with him on the printing of all of these garments.  I worked with a local factory on the manufacturing of these goods as well, so everything you see is made in the USA. Each piece is made up of a slub jersey fabrication and has gone through a garment dye process, which means they are pre-shrunk and have a super soft, vintage feel to them.  From experience, these are the type of clothes that get the most everyday wear around our house.  Comfortable and versatile.  Kids get their clothes dirty.  It’s a fact.  I like it when I can throw them in the washer and dryer and not have to worry about shrinkage.  And that’s this entire collection.  And of course, art was at the forefront of the design process.  Each print is hand illustrated or painted…..a subtle mix of watercolor and line art.  The overall feel is very soft and organic and the “color” is primarily found in the carefully selected color palette of the garments, rather than in the prints.  The prints are mostly just 1-2 ink colors, which is what I generally prefer for any graphic print.  For this initial launch collection, I partnered up with my friends at Oh Cozy Knits for some limited edition knitwear that will be sold exclusively at Rylee & Cru! Pom hats, pixies hats and tiny knit bloomers, OH MY!  They compliment the line so well and I am so excited to reveal this collection in its entirety to you!  The launch date is officially set for Wednesday, November 26th!!

In celebration of the launch, I am running two really big giveaways now through Tuesday on Instagram!  One for boys, and one for girls.  So if you haven’t seen them yet, pop on over to my instagram, @ryleeandcru, to enter!  I’ve curated a great selection, joining forces with some of my favorite brands for littles:  Zuzii, Petit Pippin, Twig Creative, Solly Baby, and Oh Cozy Knits.  Each giveaway is worth over $400, so be sure to follow and enter!

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Thanks to all of you who have followed along and encouraged me through my journey!  I know I have not been as active here as I have in months past, but now you know one of the reasons why! I appreciate you, and I’m inspired by you daily!


CRU’S NEWBORN PHOTOS
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Photos by Acres of Hope Photography

I can’t believe my baby is 2 months old today.  How is that even possible!?  It seems like it was just yesterday that we were bringing him home from the hospital and wondering what life would be like with him a part of it! I thought it was about time I finally shared his newborn photos that were taken just a few days after he was born.   I have to say that the last two months have not been easy.  Cru has had a lot of digestive issues and discomfort since he was born.  To most people, I call it colic….but I’m not convinced that’s exactly what it is.  After trying everything I could think of, from changing my diet to gas drops to probiotics, I realized that the only thing that would probably help was time.  And now, at 2 months, I finally feel like he is turning a corner.  There are moments during the day when he is awake and happy, which was never the case just a week ago.  He is receptive to my talking and just started to give me the biggest grins and coo’s.  It’s so incredibly life giving after weeks of feeling pretty helpless and defeated.  I know this is something so many mom’s have had to deal with, I just had no idea how hard it really was.  Rylee was an easy baby, so learning how to cope with the constant crying all the while still trying to attend to an attention starved 3 year old has been…..well…..exhausting.  I am looking forward to the day when all his tummy troubles are gone and he is the happy baby I know he will be.  I feel like I have been getting glimpses of it lately, which is one of the only things getting me through this tough season.  Knowing that it will pass and that in time, I will probably forget how hard it was and want to do it all over again ;)  That’s the way it’s supposed to work isn’t it?

Anyway, happy two months Cru man.  You’ve taught me so much already and I can’t wait to see you grow.  I love you more than you’ll ever know.


PS I ADORE YOU: FAYE’S STORY

I am honored to be the PS I Adore You sponsor for the month of November!  PS I Adore You started with three passionate moms who were committed to bringing awareness to childhood cancer.  By offering fresh, on-trend items they’ve created a platform to shine a light on courageous children battling their disease. Your purchases fund the fight, and this month, we are focusing on miss Faye.  Here is here story, written by her mama:

Three and a half years ago we were expecting our third baby and Faye, then three, often complained of leg pain.  Doctors chalked it up to growing pains, but Faye’s pain increased, she often had fevers, and eventually she didn’t want to leave bed. The only comfort she could find is if we were rubbing her knees 24/7.  Several days after her brother Nixon was born, we took Faye back to the doctor where they did x-rays and blood tests.  Hours later we were in an ambulance heading to Texas Children’s Hospital where Faye would stay for the next five months to receive chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a rare type of leukemia that is difficult to treat.  The doctors told us a bone marrow transplant was an option, but Faye responded so well to chemo that we (doctors included) thought it would be best to proceed without a transplant, despite her little brother Nixon being a match.
Faye spent the next three years in remission and enjoyed all the things normal little girls enjoy–going to school, playing softball, and spending time with her brothers.  She has taken the name “Mini Mommy” upon herself.  She is incredibly helpful with another new, now one year old little brother.  When she began complaining of leg pain again we were scared to death, but her blood work looked great and we told ourselves her prior chemo could have long range effects on her body.  As the leg pain continued though, we wanted definite answers and asked for an MRI, which showed abnormalities in her bone marrow.  After a bone marrow biopsy, our worst fears were confirmed.  Faye’s cancer is back and this time a bone marrow transplant is the only option.
Faye spent the month of September in the oncology ward of Texas Children’s Hospital receiving chemotherapyto bring a second remission, which has been achieved.  Currently Faye is on the bone marrow floor where shereceived additional chemo to kill her bone marrow. She has received her transplant using Nixon as a sibling match. Now it is a waiting game to see if her body accepts the cells from Nixon.
Faye is as brave as a little girl can be as she goes through what no little girl should have to and has always prayed for her brother Nixon that “he will be OK when they do the ‘bow and arrow’” (Faye’s way of saying bone marrow).  We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father and for the heavenly and earthly angels who are helping Faye and our family through this fight.
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As a mom, I can’t imagine walking through this with one of my own children.  To see your child suffer in any way,  especially from a life threatening disease like cancer, is one of the worst things imaginable as a parent.  And on top of the emotional toll it takes on a family, there is also a huge financial one.  Fortunately, this is one part that we CAN help with.  10% from every purchase made on PS I Adore You this month will go straight to Faye and her fight.
I’ve styled some of my favorite items that will be available this month below!  Please join in helping this sweet family and receive something fabulous in return!
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Giraffe Dress – available now
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Striped Dress – available Nov. 6th
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Knit Circle Cardigan (available Nov. 18th) and little girl’s dress (available Nov. 6th)