Handmade Shop Love || Freshly Picked

If you know Freshly Picked, you are probably wondering why I am writing a 'Handmade Shop' feature on such a major company. Yes, they were on Shark Tank and yes, they are carried by Nordstrom but did you know that, while frustrated by the lack of well-designed baby shoes, Susan Peterson started the company in 2009 with $200 she made from recycling window frames and a bag of scrap leather that she bought at a yard sale? The Freshly Picked success story is one of the best within the handmade world and I have great admiration for the way Susan has grown her business. 

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But let's talk about what I love the most about Freshly Picked...the moccasins! The softest leather, most stylish colors/patterns, and superior quality make their moccs the hands-down best baby and toddler shoe. Our littlest lady has moved on to her third pair (With Cream and Sugar) after wearing her beloved Coral pair for 10 months. 

No other shoe will hangout with your little one for ten-whole-months. The moccs stay on little feet even when the fit is a bit big and as they wear them, the leather stretches + expands to accommodate a growing foot. The sentimental Mama in me, loves how the bottom of the moccasins are little memory collectors. Parker learned to walk in her chrome moccs and found her toddler independence wearing her coral ones. "For every step", most definitely!

Back to the business, what Susan and her team have done with product design, collaborations, and expansion is truly a case study in small business success. In addition to their soft sole moccasins, they recently added a hard sole version (there is a pair under our tree for a certain almost-5-year-old!) and collaborated with Yosisamra to create a mocc for Mama (added to my wish list!). 

Now...to the fun part, I've teamed up with Freshly Picked to give you a chance to win a pair of soft sole moccasins (winner chooses size and color) just in time for holiday gift giving! Head over to my Instagram for all the entry details. Giveaway closes on Friday, December 11th. 

That's My Bike

I am officially obsessed with my new bike and wanted to share a little more about why I love it so much. In a previous post, I mentioned I got a Madsen Cycle. It was actually pre-ordered a long time ago so you can imagine my excitement when it finally arrived. The bike was a gift to myself when I made the big decision to stay at home with the girls. 

I have not owned (or even rode) a bike since I was a child so after my sheer excitement on delivery day faded, I was kind of wondering how I was going to handle not just a bike but one with a bucket attached to the back. Speaking of the delivery, the bike arrived in the most bad ass box. I knew I needed to get comfortable on the bike before I put the girls in the back of it. The good news is the bike handles like a dream and I was off and running (actually riding) in no time...with the girls in tow.

You know me, I love a good small business success story and Madsen Cycles has one of the best! Jared (Red) Madsen designed the original bike after hauling six neighbor kids around in a wheel barrow bucket bolted to the front of their first prototype. He realized the bucket on the front created an awkward center of gravity so they stretched the chassis and put the bucket on the back. The production model has changed but the mission has stayed the same; a bicycle should do more. The bucket includes two bench seats with four lap belts and can hold up to 600 lbs. After carrying two littles and a lot of groceries, pedaling my bike is quite the workout! Check out the Madsen video (from 2011) to learn more about the bike itself...

This bike really has been a game changer for me and this is why...

1. Fitness - Did I mention that I've had two kids and a week's worth of groceries in the bucket? Seriously, the first time I did it I really didn't think I was going to make it home but for this girl, that was a good thing. I constantly struggle with putting 'fitness' at the top of my to-do list so riding the bike everywhere - with the girls in the back - is a no brainer. I've also been riding it to/from spin class. The ride home is always a treat! 

2. Social - The day my bike got delivered, my hubs was in the garage and a very excited woman stopped to talk him about the bike. She was probably the only other person in our neighborhood who knew of Madsen so it was cool to hear that someone else shared my excitement. I found out later the woman was my spin instructor! So we bonded over the bike and I continue to let her torture me every week in class. It turns out the bike is quite the conversation starter. I usually talk to no less than 3 people when I am locking it up at the grocery store - I end up answering a lot of questions and accepting a lot of compliments! It really is a gorgeous bike. 

3. Adventure - My girls love the bike! They really do. I love that we can talk while we are riding and we can explore our neighborhood like never before. There are SO many playgrounds within riding distance - the girls think I am rockstar when we find a new one. I love that I can throw water bottles, snacks, toys, and jackets in the bucket without having to pack a bag. 

Listen, I will be the first to tell you this bike is an investment. But I will also be the first to tell you that it is worth every penny. I am so glad I made the decision to spend my hard earned money (actually vacation day payout!) on something that has enriched my stay-at-home Mom/small business life so much. AND the best price of the year is happening on Friday ($325 off!) so if you are thinking about a Madsen, now is the time!

Handmade Shop Love || Wee Rascals

Back in the Spring, I joined an amazing group of women - all creative entrepreneurs + bad ass driven women - who are smart enough to know that you can't build it alone. The Collective of Us, founded by Cyndie Spiegel, continues to play a big role in the way I approach entrepreneurship but most importantly, the wisdom and guidance of the collective group keeps me moving forward. Amy Poehler says it best, "As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own." 

Kylie, half of the duo behind Wee-Rascals, is one of those amazing women. I was introduced to Kylie and her inspiring shop when she joined the collective this Summer. I fell in love with the brilliant 'real superheroes' idea behind Wee-Rascals and knew I'd be ordering one of their smart tees for Blake. 

Wanting real faces, real people for her two boys and all kids to look up to, Kylie joined forces with her friend Liz (also a Mama of two littles) to launch Wee-Rascals. Based in Austin, TX, Wee-Rascals is stocked with the hippest long sleeve, short sleeve and raglan tees all inspired by people that have helped shape the world we live in. Real, historical SUPER heroes! 

We are big fans of the neon pink Honest Abe tee and Blake has even declared it to be 'softer than her pajamas!' 

Photos taken by  my girl Julie  at the  Tell Chronicles Memory Shack . 

You can shop some of my favorites from the Wee-Rascals online shop by clicking on the images below AND head over to Instagram to find out more about a fun Wee-Rascals x Conflicted Pixie giveaway!

Behind the Scenes || No. 06

We are having so much fun enjoying everything this season has to offer. We love visiting the pumpkin playground at our beloved farm stand and had so much fun on Blake's school field trip.

Our BIG art shows are complete! We worked our butts off...seriously...but it paid off and we enjoyed a successful couple of days. My very talented friend, Catherine, stopped by early for Crafty Bastards to hand-letter some signage (and model our strong necklace!) for me - such a lovely final touch to our awesome booth. Selling was certainly fun - we love talking about our products and meeting customers but the highlight really was meeting and connecting with the other vendors including Erin for AwlSnap, Katie from A Childhood List, Melanie from Grey Moggie, and Sara from Girls Can Tell & Occasionette. And we loved seeing our products in print - thanks to Washington City Paper for the features!

SO, I got a Madsen Cycle. It was actually pre-ordered a long time ago so you can imagine my excitement when it finally arrived. The bike was a gift to myself when I made the big decision to stay at home with the girls. It deserves its own journal entry so I will write more later but I will say this, the bike was worth every penny!

Parker turned two years old! How did this happen? We celebrated with family, ice cream cake, and an inaugural ride on the big girl swing. We also got to meet our new nephew and baby cousin. Obviously, we are all smitten.  

Shelfie Style || No. 2

I am a little late in posting this...hello, Fall!...but I love to add a bit of coastal decor any time of the year. I styled this shelf in September when thoughts of the beach, lake, and all things red, white, and blue were still on my mind. Here's how I put it all together... 

1. Start with art to anchor the grouping :: I love this crab print from Richmond, VA artist Laura Trevey. With its bold red color, it made sense to start with this bad boy. 

2. Pile up those books :: Two of our favorites to read and use as decor are Smarter by Sunday and Miss Mustard Seed's Inspired You. I am in love with Nathan Turner's American Style design book so much so that I thought it deserved to be featured. 

3. Keep a stash of open back frames and collected ceramics :: I should add vintage mason jars and glass insulators to this rule - I use them everywhere. And right now I can't get enough of the West Elm x. Fishs Eddie collab. This 'WELCOME' tray is only $5.99 and is the perfect kitschy addition.  

4. Add a natural element :: Simple grapevine wreaths are a great addition to any grouping by adding texture and breaking up a matchy/matchy color palette. 

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Behind the Scenes || No. 05

Back to school, back to school...to prove to Dad I'm not a fool. Sorry, I can't say or hear the words 'back to school' without referencing Billy Madison! Blake started her third and final year of Pre-K and is super excited to finally be a member of the 'Super Stars'. She is becoming such a big girl and a great helper in the kitchen.

We've been busy getting ready for our first art show this Fall, Crafty Bastards in DC. Go big, or go home - it happens to be a two-day show that is one of the biggest on the east coast. Spoiler, it went very well - more on that in a future post! How awesome is that custom counter that Greg built for our booth? And I DIY'ed my booth signage with help from a fabric transfer from Lumi - check them out for all your custom branding needs.

We took a mini, road-tripping vacation to Savannah, GA a few weeks ago. We were somewhat dreading the 9-hour car ride with two little ones but they did great and I made a lot of necklaces in the car! We traveled to spend time with family and celebrate my cousin's wedding but were able to play tourists with two littles in tow as well. 

We are so lucky that my family owns an awesome bar/restaurant in the heart of the historic district - The Distillery Ale House - a great family friendly establishment with awesome food and drink. We stayed in a lovely 2-BR garden apartment complete with a brick courtyard on Pulaski Square, very close to The Distillery. I can't recommend this place more if you ever find yourself in Savannah with kids! 

We loved the Georgia State Railroad Museum and were lucky enough to visit on a day when they were offering rides on a steam locomotive that was built in 1913. Watching the turntable was a treat too - just like on Chuggington!

Other highlights of our trip included shopping at The Paris Market, Prospector Co., and Shop SCAD; eating ice cream at Leopold's, grabbing coffee around the corner from our apt., and visiting the playgrounds at Forsyth Park - which also happened to be the beautiful location for my cousin's wedding. 

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Brown Hair, Don't Care

This is me as a brunette. I seriously don't recognize myself in these photos. I've been coloring my hair blonde for so long that I had no idea the color of my actual hair. After leaving my corporate job, we knew we would need to cut our spending significantly and my first contribution to the 'cut' was giving up my platinum sessions with my stylist. 

I really thought it was going to be much harder to give up the blonde than it has been. I am kind of loving the darker color for Autumn and am certainly happy to not be dropping the cash on my hair. We will see how long this lasts but for now, I am a brunette. 

These photos (and the photos in the previous post) were taken by Tell Chronicles at their amazing Memory Shack - a super cool natural light studio. If you live in the Washington DC Metro Area and are interested in trying out the Memory Shack, hit me up at erica@conflictedpixie.com!

Handmade Shop Love || Fresh BiB

See that awesome bandana Parker is rocking? It's actually a very cool bib created by Brooke Fish (and her equally awesome hubs, Adam), the Mama behind Fresh BiB. Brooke's style is impeccable and I am in love with the patterns she uses to create her super cool bandana bibs. And, as you can see, Fresh BiBs aren't just for babies - they are fun for teething toddlers too!

With degrees in Fashion Design and Photography, Brooke and Adam took what they learned early in their careers from folks like Todd Oldham, Fossil and various photography clients and created Fresh BiB. Simple, stylish and of course, fresh - that is what these two do! 

You already know I am a massive fan of an awesome gift box and always on the lookout for unique, budget-friendly gifts which is why I love their Fresh Box - a monthly subscription to reversible, stylish bibs and a super affordable gift giving option for the new Mamas in your life.

And let's talk details...Fresh BiB takes the cake! Each bib is 100% cotton, reversible, features beautiful green stitching + snaps, and arrives in a reusable glass jar! Brooke and Adam believe in thriving communities and supporting local businesses. Which is why their bibs are ethically produced right around the corner from their offices in Dallas, Texas. Gift for good, for sure! 

Not only does Brooke run an awesome handmade business, she also writes a fabulous blog. Her 'Motherhood' tag is definitely one to follow. You can shop some of my favorites from the Fresh BiB online shop by clicking on the images below and don't forget to follow Fresh Bib on Instagram because Brooke and I will be giving away a September Fresh Box, burp cloth, and a casual statement necklace!

Mama Style: House Clothes

Two and a half months have passed since I said bye to my corporate career and it hasn't taken me long to come to the realization that I may never wear my beautiful professional attire ever again. Honestly, getting out of what I call 'house clothes' most days is a challenge.

Since I am required to leave my home, I've upgraded my house clothes game so my flannel PJ bottoms don't get past the front door. I am on a strict shopping budget which is why I am loving Old Navy right now. Their lounge wear has really impressed me and the prices can't be beat. Some of my favorites include... 

While we are talking about Old Navy let me also tell you about my new best friend - their high-rise crops and leggings. There is nothing worse than the waistband of your leggings digging into your stomach - am I right, Mamas? These workout pants offer the perfect amount of support and are under $30 because let's be honest, I am not willing to pay more than that for workout clothes!