A Week of Wear

And just like that it's Friday! 

My go-to uniform of relaxed, comfy tops with my favorite denim has been completely consistent lately, but if it's not broke don't fix it, right? I may still struggle to melt chocolate without burning it every time, but I've got dressing for comfort/function as a stay at home/work at home mom down pat! Here's what I wore this week: 


For: Sunday crepes with Ryan and Liv, a day of cleaning, and meeting Veronika for coffee.

Favorite Piece: I've snagged a few tops from Anthropologie over the past couple of months (as you'll see!) and I've been wearing them constantly. They are just so well made, the styles are gorgeous, and they just really work with my style comfort zone. This boucle sweater was on crazy sale (still is, but not quite as much) and since it's my favorite turquoise color, I couldn't walk away. A little random, but I still wear my maternity tanks (Liz Lange from Target) long after my pregnancy underneath my cardigans because I just love the length and the stretch!


For: Honestly. I don't remember what we did this day. I legitimately started driving the wrong way, realized it, and didn't turn around for five more minutes. Distracted? Yes. So let's assume work and playing with the kiddo? That's a safe bet.

Favorite Piece: Bad hair days call for hats, always, so thankfully this Anthropologie hat is as versatile as it gets and goes with almost any outfit I throw together. I actually can't wait to wear it with my new cream sweater that's two images down!

Older Old Navy Sweater | AG Denim | Sam Edelman Flats

For: Grocery shopping, a coffee/play date, and an casual dinner out.

Favorite Piece: Get ready to see these flats again. And again. And again. They're Sam Edelman and they come in a bunch of different colors so I might have to give these a break and grab another pair next time they go on sale!


For: Morning in the studio, a lunch playdate, and a walk to the turtle pond

Favorite Piece: This Anthropologie sweater is new and ladies. Seriously. It's worth the splurge. As you know, I'll never turn down a poncho, but this feels more like a regular sweater and the embroidery details on the cuffs and hem are just delicate and pretty. It's a nice, lightweight sweater which makes it a wardrobe possibility for at least the next few months here!


For: Drop off, a day in the office, and a quick lunch with Ryan.

Favorite Piece: I think I've instagrammed this sweater before, and if there's a favorite top in this post, it's a tie between this and the Anthropologie Poncho. It's super comfy, and the top half isn't some cheap, flimsy material like some shirts of these style. I always struggle with ruffle hem shirts to find one where the material joining doesn't hit me square in the middle of my stomach (not at ALL flattering) so I sized up on this one to get a little extra length. 


For: Drop off, coffee with Meredith, an appointment, and an afternoon playing outside.

Favorite Piece: It was a little cool this day, so I grabbed my go-to flannel from J Crew! While it's not available in this print at the moment, here's the same style and I promise you'll love it!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Shops I Love : Allison Cole Jewelry

Hey, friends!

Thanks to the many (many, many, many) hours I've logged on Instagram over the past few years, I've managed to connect with lots of really amazing small business owners who are doing some pretty fantastic things. I'll stumble across an account on the explore page or see someone tag someone I'm not following yet and my not so subtle stalking process begins.

Which is exactly what I did with Nicole from Allison Cole Jewelry. Thankfully she wasn't horribly repulsed by my fan-girling and agreed to chat with me a little bit about her gorgeous, nautical-chic Etsy shop! 


First I should let you know that while I'm currently residing in Texas, I'm a New England girl at heart and anything nautical catches my eye. When you add in fantastic craftsmanship, versatility, and great style, I'm a goner. 

I asked Nicole to tell me about her shop, pieces, and to spill on what some of her fave small shops are (you know, so I can stalk some more people)!
The Allison Cole line was recently launched in May of 2015 by designer, Nicole Recomendes. Each piece is handmade by Nicole out of her home in Westchester, NY. She was raised on the South Shore in Massachusetts and spent a lot of time on her family's boat growing up, which is where her love of all things nautical was born. Using rope, a material found on most of her pieces, she puts a unique (and pretty!) spin on what is normally a not-so-glamorous tool. You can shop her pieces at allisoncolejewelry.etsy.com.
A few of my other favorite small shops are Rania Dabagh (www.raniadabagh.com), Ruby James by Lauren Wall (www.rubyjamesbylaurenwall.com), and Knot Unraveled (knotunraveled.bigcartel.com)


When Nicole and I started chatting she offered to send me a couple of pieces and I shamelessly agreed, because I've had my eye on these navy and ivory pieces forever. Navy and cream are two of my most frequently worn colors and the gold metallic accent? Heaven. 


The quality is top notch, I get loads of compliments on them, and they're perfect for stacking with my everyday pieces, which makes them even easier to love! Olivia has already tried to swipe them from my dresser top multiple times and if they can survive a minute in her possession, they'll last forever and that's a fact. 


So what's the best part? Nicole is offering my readers a 20% off coupon code so you can snag a gorgeous bracelet of your own! Just use the code MEGAN in her shop and be sure to let me know which one you grab!  Also be sure to stop by her Instagram @allisoncolejewelry for more gorgeous wrist action!

Five Things I Do Daily...

....that make me feel like I have it together.

1. Get up early (ish)


For a couple of years Olivia served as my alarm clock and it was fine, but I had the hardest time waking up while she was wrapped around my leg and it felt like I never had enough hours in the day. Now I get up about an hour before her, make my coffee, check my instagram and e-mails, and it makes such a difference. I get some really restorative quiet alone time, and can take my time waking up. I usually get a load of laundry in or the dishwasher unloaded and it just makes my day run more smoothly.


2. Make the bed


My mom was big on making the bed when I was a kid (still is and has me well trained to wash my sheets on a designated day of the week) and I still have to do it daily. First of all, it deters me from climbing back in and secondly it makes me feel like I've already accomplished something even if I'm still wearing last nights blemish spot treatment.

3. Peel off the yoga pants

If I don't put on real pants most days, I feel sluggish. Sure, my jeans probably have a banana smushed on the butt and my tops of choice are glorified mumus, but it just motivates me to put on clothes that aren't mostly spandex. 

4. Cover up the dark circles


I never noticed how purple the inner corners of my eyes get (how I missed it, I don't know) until the day before my wedding my makeup artist looked at me and said "do me a favor and get some rest tonight". Yikes. Now I know that they're large and in charge and even if I don't put on a full face or mess with my hair beyond putting it in a topknot, I almost always cover up my dark circles. I'm obsessed with the First Aid Beauty concealer ( I keep it in the fridge) and it's wonderful coverage and super brightening! Then when I need to subject the other moms at MDO or the grocery store to my mug, they aren't completely repulsed. 

5. Sit down to breakfast


When Liv gets up, we sit down with her at the table each morning, no matter what. She's finally warmed up to the idea of a solid breakfast which lends itself to some fun morning conversations about how much she looooves eggs. We don't always get to do family dinners due to Ryan's schedule, her evening crankiness/picky eating, etc. so getting at least one guaranteed family meal each day makes me feel like our day has a little more order to it.

My days are pretty nonstop and it used to feel pretty overwhelming until I nailed a few of these things down (especially the getting up early) and finally found a groove that works for us.  Sure, it's nothing groundbreaking and I'm still totally wiped at the end of the day, but it's feeling a lot more balanced lately!

In The Studio

Apparently January is almost over?

I'm going to choose not to freak out that we have a launch in just under five weeks (what the hell?!) and try to go the cool, calm, and collected route. Even though that goes against every fiber of my being.


We're debuting our Spring collection on Tuesday March 1st (and I secretly love when we get to launch on the first of a month, it feels so official) and here's the deal:

It's the biggest collection we've ever done. 

I mean BIG. Not just in quantities (which is it), but in the variety of styles. I can think off the top of my head of at least ten different styles we'll be listing. So I've been working my booty off in the studio for the past couple of weeks to get the inventory made, photographs taken, and nail down the quantities. I'm hoping to get it all done in the next two weeks so I have three weeks to finalize everything and get it all packaged!

I'm dying (and I mean it) to share some sneak peeks with you but I can't just yet! First, I want to to tweak a few things before I show you. Secondly, we've had some issues lately with infringement. Maybe that's a bad word. Ugh, this is such a downer to talk about, but if you're a small business owner, you know what I'm talking about.

No, we don't own the rights to the laces or fabrics, or even the designs/styles we use, but in general there's kind of an understanding in the handmade community that we try not to step on each other's toes (like styling, etc.). Unfortunately, our images have been finding their way to other sites, so I'm trying to figure out the best way to handle that. Yeah, it's "just headbands" but it's my work and I take a lot of pride in it, so I like to wait until we're pretty close to the collection launch before sharing too much.

That being said, there's been so much awesome stuff going on that it greatly outweighs anything frustrating. I was compiling all the tax garbage (I really hate taxes) for WC over the weekend, which meant going over our total profits/expenses for the year and I was absolutely shocked to see we'd grown 300% over last year. Even though I do it quarterly, I somehow didn't really grasp how much growth we'd had this year and I almost cried/threw up. Lots of you have emailed with questions about how we handle the financial stuff for WC and we use quickbooks and will be filing our taxes quarterly this year. Sexy, right?

Anyway, boring financial talk aside, I've snapped a few quick pictures here and there while in the studio to share with you so you can get a look at what's been going on!







I've also been working on lots of custom orders (bachelorette crowns and florals, yay!) that I can't wait to share on Instagram (@willowcrowns) soon! I hope you're having a great week so far!
xoxo

A Week of Wear

Whew. This week is flying by and while I've managed to check a dozen things off my to-do list, the stuffed unicorn that's been in the bathroom since Monday hasn't managed to get moved back to the playroom? Priorities.

We've had some awesome weather lately - cool, but sunny and perfect for outside play dates. My favorite times have been when friends come over to share some wine or coffee on the patio while the kiddos slide, do crafts, and generally raise hell in the backyard. Needless to say it's been a very casual week of wear since I've been working a lot on WC and scooting around town for playdates but I'll share them nonetheless!


For: A day of watching football and errands

Favorite Piece: This Old Navy sweater makes yet another comeback. I've styled it with heels, flats, and now boots. Love it all and can't seem to quit this cozy style!


For: a day at the zoo

Favorite piece: This hat below! I snagged mine from Crystal Faye and think a baseball cap is a must have for a casual wardrobe. It covers my bad hair days but the monogram is just enough to keep it from being dowdy.






For: Meeting friends for a picnic lunch and playground date, grocery shopping

Favorite Piece: I bought this Choose Joy tee after a difficult week and it was the perfect pick me up. Since miscarrying, I knew I wanted to try to get pregnant again right away and it's not exactly been smooth sailing. I needed the reminder to focus on the (many) amazing parts of our lives and to relax and stop fighting this chapter. We'll have another baby when the time is right and I need to choose joy until that time comes. Come to find out, this tee was designed after Kim ( the designer ) had a miscarriage and I just love that she chose to focus on the positives and then spread that message.


For: busy day in the studio and a visit to meet baby Lincoln! 

Favorite Piece: I want to say the vest (because I do really love it) but these standby Tory Burch flats just never disappoint. I was so reluctant to splurge on them, but I've never regretted it. They're worn constantly and go with just about anything. I'm actually on my second pair and found them at Nordstrom Rack for $100 off, so don't forget to look there it you're scouting a discounted pair!

As for the rest of the week, we're gearing up for another big football game this weekend (go, Pats!) which means I need to hit Pinterest again to look up some good snacks/dips to make, and lots more time in the studio to keep cranking away at our Spring collection!

Easy Photo Management

At the time of writing this post I have 11,652 photos on my phone.

So.

I take loads of photos. On my phone, on my SLR, all the time. I take photos of Olivia, our family, our home, anything to do with WC, and yes, an embarrassing number of photos of coffee. I don't know why.

One of the questions that comes across my inbox most often is how I manage storing/organizing all that crazy. Between my personal life, the blog, and WC, there are just too many photos to count and I've often been nervous that one day my phone will collapse under the weight of all those  gigs of photos and just die, leaving those photos lost forever with all my bobby pins and missing socks. So about a year ago I decided action had to be taken and decided to organize and store all my photos, but in a way that wasn't particularly techy, intimidating, or time consuming.


Here's what I use:

1. my computer 
2. a usb cable


Once a month I plug my phone in to one usb port on my computer, plug my external hard drive into the other, and get cracking. There's a folder for each month on my external hard drive and all the photos from my phone that month get dragged directly to that folder.


Since most of my blog photos are personal photos, I don't really bother to categorize them into personal/blog photos, but I do separate the WC photos. I have a separate WC folder with sub-folders (product shots, flat lays, Instagram photos, etc) and those photos get separated and dragged to that folder. Those photos then get doubly uploaded to dropbox so Stephanie can access them as needed. 


These bluetooth SD cards are hands down the coolest thing I've bought this year. All I have to do is power up my camera, select the SD card as my wireless source, and open the flash air app. All the photos I've taken can then be easily downloaded to my camera roll.  I keep three or so on hand so that I don't have to clean them out when they get full. I just grab a new one and start fresh, thinking that keeping the photos on an SD card is an additional layer of backup. This means that almost all the photos on my SD cards end up on my phone (since I do most of my brightening and adding contrast in the VSCO cam app) but there are a few that don't always make it over and I drag them to the appropriate folder from the SD card. 



This external hard drive isn't particularly special, but it's the top seller in external hard drives on Amazon which made it good enough for me. It's got 1 TB of storage, which based on the 10 gigs of photos I have on my phone right now, equals a little over one million photos worth of storage.

Once all my photos are backed up, I usually keep the past few months worth on my phone for easy Facebook/Instagram upload and delete the rest (once I double check that they've saved to the hard drive!). I'm way overdue for a delete session and here's a quick tip: to delete your photos in batches and speed up the process, go to the photos tab (not albums) on your camera roll and you can select days at a time by hitting select at the top right corner and then select above the date for each batch.


My system is really streamlined and simple, but it works to keep my phone from getting too cluttered (when I take the time to delete old pics) and ensures that my photos are safe. Every few months I pass the external off to my husband and he then uploads them to a cloud server for an extra layer of backup! I know the iPhone has a cloud backup, but I've not always had great luck with it, so I like having another system in place to make sure I don't lose the photos I work so hard to get! 

Around the House

A weekend recap just didn't seem interesting enough to dedicate a whole blog post to (not that that's ever stopped me before), but we've had a busy couple of weeks around here and I finally managed to pull a couple hundred (yikes!) photos off my camera. While I won't be spamming you with all of them (that privilege is reserved for grandmothers and aunts, I'm sure to their delight) I've got some highlights for you!

After weeks of traveling, holidays, and an unnecessarily extended "reacclimation period" (aka lazy, tired, didn't wanna), we're back to eating real food and cooking real meals. O loves helping in the kitchen, whether it's counting out scoops of coffee or rolling croutons to sprinkle on our fish for dinner. She's such a little helper lately and while it slows almost every activity down to a crawl, I'm kind of loving it. Unlike her new tendency to call me "mommy pig" (thanks, Peppa) which I could love a little more.



The weather here has been fantastic lately. It's been sunny almost every day and I'm reminded of why we hang in there during those brutal Texas summers....the winters are fantastic. We've been hitting the playground almost daily, walking or biking to the turtle pond, and taking trips to the zoo with her little friends. The zoo can be such a haul, but it's so worth it. She's old enough to walk it now which completely wears her out, making for a gorgeous nap time, but allows the moms enough time and space to fit in some grown up conversation, something I'll never take for granted again. Just like being able to pee alone or eat all of my own meal!



When we're not outside or cooking, it's crafting. The older she gets, the more her confidence in her artwork grows and she'll be deeply offended if you don't know that blob with eyes and something that sort of looks like red hair is the little mermaid. How dare you.




We've been making some changes to the house, both big and small. I recently gave a clearance find bar cart from Target a white paint job and found the perfect rug and ottoman for our master bedroom. Ryan just tore out the carpet from his long-standing office renovation and the new stuff gets installed Wednesday, which is major progress!


The rug in our master makes a pretty bold statement and it took my eyes a few days to adjust, but I'm actually loving it. Our room desperately needed some color and something interesting to mix things up and this is just the ticket. The Safavieh ottoman was an Overstock find and I love the pale blue/aqua and how it compliments the rug without being too matchy. 



Rug (can't get Rugs USA to load, but it's the SM01 Distressed Stamped Emblem)  | Ottoman

I finally made it over to Veronika's to meet baby Lincoln yesterday! Holy heavenly chubster, guys. He was just adorable and I probably overstayed my welcome because I couldn't stand to put him down. 


p.s. I screwed up and had my ISO up wayyy too high for this one and it could have been so much crisper. Rookie move.

Finally, on the work front, WC launched its Valentine's Capsule last Tuesday and I was a tiny bit surprised by how quickly things flew off the shelves. 


Every collection we grow and I get a little bit obsessive with tracking our growth from launch to launch but this caught me off guard. I figured since it was a pretty limited capsule it wouldn't draw much attention but I was wrong. So we're hunkering down to make some changes for our next launch to make sure we've got more inventory to go around and even more styles to choose from. I started doing mock ups for our Spring collection over the weekend and I found a gorgeous, gorgeous fabric to base the collection off of and it's already coming together so nicely!

I hope you've all been well,  enjoyed your weekend, and have fun things lined up for the week ahead. Now I'm going to hunker down and try to listen to the debate...people arguing back and forth tends to stir up my anxiety, so I'll be balancing out my desire to be informed with a comforting english muffin with nutella and a glass of sauvignon blanc. 

I've got a quick post lined up for tomorrow about how I manage/store all my photos, so I'll see you soon!
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