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The Heidi Style Files: We love Chooze!

29 January 2015

As many of you know, it's been a longstanding priority to me to be able to shop for things I love and enjoy with companies that make the world a better place with values like ethical labor practices, charitable giving and environmentally conscious principles. I really thought the opportunity to shop this way would only increase with the addition of a baby to the family. After all, don't we want to take utmost care for what we purchase for our little world changers? Unfortunately, it seems as though finding socially conscious products for our kids that are also cute and affordable is way more challenging than I expected. 

The thought of a completely fair trade, organic wardrobe for Heidi went out the door about day three. Instead of letting it get me down, I've tried to remember that even the small choices I make as a consumer can set a good example and have an impact. We love to shop for recycled clothes on Instagram consignment sales like Amy's Evolving Closets, who also happens to be using her profits to bring home her son from Burundi. Since shoes for little ones can be one of the highest clothing related expenses and something that I prefer to purchase new, I'm so happy to have Chooze shoes and products as an option for Heidi. 

Chooze is a lifestyle brand for children designed to foster confidence and creative thinking with their unique designs. Instead of a perfectly matching set, each shoe in a pair complements the other, helping the little one wearing them feel unique and embrace the beauty of differences! Every detail of the design and manufacturing process, from vegan materials to the recycled "art boxes" the shoes come in, are meaningful to me. The fact that Chooze invests their profits in anti-poverty programs and the company is based in Dallas makes me even happier to be a proud supporter of the brand. 

We've started out on the Weechooze mocs for babies and love them. The elastic on the shoes helps keep them on as Heidi's foot has grown, and there's grippers on the bottom that make them safe as she gets more comfortable running (yes! - running) on our hardwood floors. They're a warm addition to chilly days but breathable fabric as we've ventured outside when it warms up! 

Heidi took modeling her consigned jean jacket and pants and her Weechooze shoes very seriously this past weekend. :o)

I'm so glad that we're already loving our Chooze products and that it's a brand we can continue to grow with as Heidi does too! The vintage, Woodstock-ish print on their 2-sided backpacks and lunchboxes is my favorite thing I've ever seen. I love the big girl shoes like their ballet flats and printed mary-janes and the slippers are such a cute Christmas or birthday idea! Boy moms, don't feel left out, some of their cutest selection is for the young lads. 

Chooze Shoes

A big thanks to Chooze for being such a great, local company and for sending Heidi a pair of Weechooze to try! We are totally in love and proud to support such a ground breaking company for our future leaders and taste makers!

Ready for the Good

01 January 2015

2014, holy cow. 

Last New Year's Eve I sat on my sofa staring at a baby girl, wondering how something I had wanted for so long and the events making it come to be were possible. The biggest surprise of the season could have very well been our only surprise of the year and we would have been plenty amazed.

There were about a million plus reasons I was excited to have a baby and a few reasons I was a little scared. I was used to having Markus' full attention at home and enjoyed it. I do not do well on little sleep, even just a little bit less than usual. I take my time warming up to new people, ideas and chapters in life - that's life in the sign of Cancer. These all seemed to present themselves in conflict with changing the dynamic of our house as significantly as a new baby does.

At the end of the year, I realize I was right about all of those challenges. They were the tough parts, and sometimes tougher than I would have expected. The aforementioned million good parts were also there and made the tough parts manageable. 

Markus and I's lives have a history of being very quiet until they are almost unmanageablely interesting. We went from our first coffee to being attached at the hip in about 4 days, then were old creatures of habit until four months of a college graduation, our wedding, new jobs and a new house. From then to now life just kinds of run together of normal, good stuff: trips to Home Depot, concerts, pizza, Netlfix and inside jokes.

A good life is good, but it doesn't much test you or make you stronger. Bad can do that, as I have the experience to know. I learned this year a shit ton of awesome will also do that. On top of new miraculous baby life rearranging we also were hugely fortunate to both get new jobs that we feel are very exciting and forward moving for us. The type you want to dig into and move your life around a little for...once you figure out what your new life looks like.

2014, you were insanely awesome. You were too awesome to be true. Things I've worked for over the span of years, if not in some ways my whole life, came together in ways I could only imagine in my prayers. I've never felt so close to Markus, my family, my community and my own spiritual life.

I learned this year the tests you have when the times are bad can present themselves when the times are overwhelmingly awesome. I had moments where I questioned how to get through the day in one piece, how to keep myself centered in huge waves of change which, as confessed earlier, are not naturally my thing. I found myself taking the snowballing momentum of amazing and instead of piling the glitter on top of it, seeing how I could rein it in instead.

The bad before and the amazing of this year has really taught me to appreciate the good. A season of knowing what to expect and being appreciative of it is something I think I will find a new happiness in. 2014, you were amazing. I'll never forget you and you've made me ready for a good stretch of good this year. If the most exciting parts of the day are often daycare art, what's for dinner and an inside joke, I am going to be happy. Contentment is the resolution I hope to keep beyond just the start of 2015.

Heidi's Farmer's Market Party

31 December 2014

So the first good chunk of the year I was pretty dead set against a party for Heidi. The kids parties tend to get a little out of control in my opinion, especially a first birthday that will only be remembered by the celebrated guest in photos. With Heidi's birthday on Christmas, it felt more natural to just have cake with family that day and call it a done deal. 

A funny thing happened as I got close to the one year mark. I saw the light at the end of the baby tunnel and a little human started hanging out in my house. She was pretty fun, I could take her to a greater variety of places and she even does this little dance in her high chair that is the cutest freaking thing I've ever seen. It dawned on me that, I DID IT. I was going to have a party and everyone was invited. 

One of the saving graces of the year was discovering how fun it was to shop at the Dallas Farmer's Market. Our friends turned us on to Omar at booth 126 in the new shed. He always has the best produce and Heidi adores him - and his samples. It made the weekend errand running marathon a little more fun, and it became our loose theme for the birthday party. 

These invitations were from PeraPress on Etsy. I just ordered the .pdf because the PostNet at Inwood and Forest in Dallas has always done a good job being about to print these types of files for me. It was double sided with a cute gingham on the back (**important details**). 

farmers market party

I put the party in the early afternoon to leave room for the afternoon nap time and put it after lunch so the food could be pretty light. We had some sandwiches and a fruit/cheese tray from Celebration Market, and I took their veggie tray and put them in these farmer's market baskets to keep it in theme. Almost everyone in my family is gluten free, but we were of course entertaining for others. I think we struck a fairly good balance with some gluten-tastic sandwiches but two gluten free pies from Whole Foods (one cherry and one apple) and some mini-cupcakes from Spiral Diner that were also gluten-free. They were white with chocolate icing and crushed chocolate on top to look like dirt, and I stuck a Runt candy on top of each one so it looked like fruit. 

The little fruit stand was a Zulily find in the toy section but turned out better as a cake stand than for kids to play with. Wish I had a link because our guests thought it was pretty cute. Zulily you so tricky!

farmers market party

We didn't have a ton of kids coming, but they ranged in age from 1-10 years old. I kind of scratched my head about what would make such a variety of ages entertained and also not be annoying to adults. Then I remembered the answer to any question in life is PONIES. 

Kangaroo Kate was a referral from my godmother who raised horses growing up. Kate is so sweet and loves the ponies and therefore has the best time introducing children to them. It's hand led and a very fun experience for the kids since they are more involved over ponies being circle led. 

Heidi is a natural cowgirl! We will probably just do barrel racing for her party next year. :o)

kangaroo kate

To have something else to do while taking turns on the horse, I ordered canvas eco shopping bags and Crayola fabric markers on Amazon and threw them on my mom's picnic table. Literally anything you get from my mom's house comes in a canvas bag now, due to my overzealous ordering. 

Spiral Diner also did Heidi's birthday cupcake! We found out Heidi is a little pyro when she picked up the list candle off her cupcake as we were singing Happy Birthday. Made for a good video!

The best time was taking a moment before the holidays to be with good friends and show them how grateful I am for their support this year! The timing of Heidi's birthday can be a little crazy, but it is also a great time to get people together and remember how fortunate you are. I'll take it. 

This is my awesome family who makes everything possible and puts up with my weirdo brain. I flipped out the day before the party wondering if I had done enough. Heidi didn't have a party hat and I hadn't printed pictures of her!! Markus and Sistah helped me remember one of Heidi's best features is her head shape and if people wanted to know what she looked like they could just stare at her at the party. 

I think details at kid's parties can be so fun, but I am also thankful that the hectic nature of the season only allowed me to focus on making it hospitable and memorable, not about a lot of projects and crafts. In the end it was about celebrating a great first year and the people who made it possible. 

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