Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I am obsessed with...

Big Buddha Venus Small Hobo!

{image via Piperlime}

Love the ruffles...love the gray! 
Dressy or Casual…goes with EVERYTHING
And it's a Rachel Zoe pick…

Do you see why I need it? 


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Etsy Discovery - The Home Centric

I have a love for stylish design.  So when I heard about The Home Centric, I instantly fell in, well, LOVE!  What I saw made me want to completely redesign my living space around HER designs!

Satin. Dupioni. Velvet.

Every pillow is artfully mastered...reminiscent of Romance, Elegance and Femininity.  

Satin Ruffles, Satin ribbon roses, sequins…

I also couldn't help notice that some designs took on a vintage-esque touch.

Suede flowers and Silk tissue flowers…

Are these pillows not to die for??  Well, now that you have seen some of her FABulous designs it's time to learn about the designer!  Meet Urvi from India.  Urvi is a qualified Fashion and Textile designer from The Pearl Academy of Fashion & Technology, Delhi.  She has been designing for 5 years and holds an amazing resume from European garment houses that include Etam, Zara, Esprit, Bershka, Debehams and more!

She considers her own label not only a profession but a soul passion and designs every product with three principles in mind..."Offer Finest Designs of Great Quality Product at the Right Price!"

Does it get any better than that?  These days it is very hard to find a quality design at a reasonable price! 
Do not hesitate another minute and head over to her Etsy shop.  

Very nicely set up and easy to navigate, you won't have a problem finding the perfect design fit to your home decor.  I can even bet you will find one to use as your inspiration to re-design YOUR Living space!

Here are some of "The Home Centric" magazine features:

1.  The Fashion Journal Magazine - Winter 2010 


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Round is the New Rectangle!


Rectangle is out! 
Round is in…The ROUND changing table that is!

Recently I had the one of the greatest pleasures of befriending an amazingly creative woman!  Meet Paige Burton, the face behind Time for a Change™ and the coolest changing table ever!  


It first came on the scene when Bill Horn & Scout Masterson started tweeting about the amazing changing table they were getting for baby Simone!  Then the beauty of it was revealed on Celebrity Babies and Child Mode when Bill & Scout graciously introduced us to baby Simone and gave us a sneak peak of her Nursery!

photo courtesy of Child Mode

I had a chance to chat with Paige to find out more about her Chic and Unique changing table!

Lisa - What was your Ah-Ha moment?
Paige - My ah ha moment…hmm…there were several...Seeing my husband put the babies on the floor to change them because he hated the awkward side angle of the standard rectangle changing tables.  He would always say "I have to face them to change them right!".  Then there was seeing my husbands mother trying to change our son on a standard rectangle table and hold him on the table while having to reach underneath for supplies.  And finally, seeing three changing tables pile up in my basement because they were useless once the baby was bigger.  I always hated how they were so unattractive and took up a wall as well.  And then it just came to me...Baby changing tables should be round!

L - What steps did you take to create the "concept"?
P -  Well, I can't draw at all so I made a sketch.   I had my husband sketch it out much more professionally the night the idea came to me.  The next morning I hired a patent attorney and began the patent process.  I immediately came up with the name "Time For A Change" and trademarked it!

L - How many prototypes did you go through before you created the final design?
P - This is funny…Our first prototype was made out of a playdough can 
(it looked exactly like the table) and then we cut drawers out !  We were so lucky the when first table came back perfect, with the exception that the knobs were a little bigger than we had wanted, but that was a minor correction.  The changing table never needed to be redesigned.  When we opened the first one, it was more beautiful than we could have ever imagined!  I knew how much I loved it in the sketch but seeing the first one out of the box, it hit me...I knew we had an amazing product!

L - What were some of the challenges you faced?
P - Our main challenge was how to get it made.  I literally worked for months trying to get it made in the U.S. but we couldn't find anyone.  Through our Facebook Fan Page people were able to see the 3D photos we had an artist do of the table.   It was a stroke of luck that one of my husbands high-school friends, John Geer, fell in love with the table!  When we shared with him our troubles of having it made, he connected us with one of his old college professors who had manufacturing connections!  One thing led to another and we were on our way.  Thank goodness for social networking!!

L - Turning an idea/concept into an actual product must have been frustrating, time consuming and costly.  Were you nervous investing in something so different & unique?
P - Honestly, I was never nervous.  I have five (5) children and have extensive experience with changing tables! lol!  I think when the patent attorney said you have something really huge here…that was when my husband and I got really excited.   

L - How does it feel to finally see your dream turn into reality?
P - It feels amazing!  It's surreal.  Especially when I started hearing such great things from people on the fan page. And then to have Scout Masterson and Bill Horn want my table…that took it to a whole different level of excitement!

L - Scout Masterson and Bill Horn were your first customers!  How does it feel to have two AMAZING parents stand behind your product?
P - Having Scout and Bill wanting the table for their baby Simone was amazing!  I was truly honored.  I could not have hand picked better first customers.  They have been beyond supportive.  They are two of the nicest guys and they really love the table!  Simone looked absolutely gorgeous on it!

L - What do you see next for your company?
P - Right now what I see for my company is our official launch in October!  I am very excited and hopeful that soon everyone will know about "Time For A Change".  My ultimate goal is to make the "old" rectangle changing tables completely obsolete!  

Don't miss the official launch of Time for a Change in October!  And in celebration, you can receive the special launch price of $699!  Offer ends November 30, 2010 and will return to the retail price of $899 on December 1, 2010.

Make sure you become a Fan and follow this amazing company by visiting them on Facebook!  



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

{NEW} Getting to know BRUZ WEAR!

I was elated when Ambajam introduced me to Kathryn Ames of Bruz Wear!  

I was so intrigued by her story and how her passion to support 
her son spurred her on to create and begin Bruz Wear.  

We had a chance to chat and here is what she shared with me…

Lisa - I was so touched after reading your inspiration to start Bruz Wear. Would you like share your story?  
Kathryn - Basically I decided to develop these little pants to solve a problem for my son. When Nicholas was crawling he had terrible bruises that were very painful. Nicholas has a severe bleeding disorder called Hemophilia. Crawling was one of the first developmental milestones that seemed to be an issue for him. He did not want to move and we did not want him to stop. I looked all over for knee pads and pants with knee pads but nothing seemed to work very well or look very cool and the market was extremely limited. I was so inspired by the history of this community that I decided I needed to move on my idea of pants with padded knees. From the onset my goal has been to develop a top quality product, grow a sustainable business, and be an advocate for the bleeding disorder community. 

L - Tell us a little bit about the cause you support.  
K - My son Nicholas has Severe Hemophilia A, which means he is deficient one of the 12 clotting factors in the blood. He was diagnosed after his circumcision, the day after he was born. He bled for 18 hours before they were able to confirm this diagnosis. Hemophilia is very rare. Nicholas is 1 in 20,000. The community has an incredibly sad history (see this page for details: 
http://www.hemophilia.org/NHFWeb/MainPgs/MainNHF.aspx?menuid=178&contentid=6&rptname=bleeding). Not that long ago, in the 1980's, people were treated with fresh frozen plasma which later was found to be contaminated by HIV/AIDS. Approximately half of the people with hemophilia in the U.S. became HIV-infected and thousands died. We never would have known about this if our son hadn't been diagnosed. We feel so lucky for the treatment available today for Nicholas. There are still people suffering around the world who do not have the access to the treatment that we have in the US. Children in other countries are suffering from joint disease, arthritis, joint replacement, disability and even death as a result of limited treatment and medication. Some of the problems we face in the US include the cost to treat and the limitations with insurance. We have come a long way but there are still many hurdles to overcome. 

L - How did you take your ideas for Bruz Wear and turn them into a business?  
K - I have to say it took me some time. I had no prior business background or knowledge so I was learning and consulting every step of the way. First I did a lot of research on just starting a business. From there the focus was on product development. This step, I have learned, is really on-going and will continue to change if you want to keep up with trends and keep making your product the best it can be. Once you get your product going, time is spent on marketing, selling, growing, and cutting costs.

L - We know Bruz Wear was created for a unique reason.  Are there any other benefits for children wearing Bruz Wear?  
K - Bruz Wear makes no medical promises. At a very basic level we hope our pants provide comfort and style. We have however had many, many comments on how these little pants have helped with bruising and have given both children and parents courage in situations that they might otherwise not be comfortable with. I had a mom call me the other day when she allowed her two sons with hemophilia to roller skate for the first time but only with their Bruz Wear pants on. She was so grateful they they could be out there looking cool but with a little extra support. It made my day for sure!

L - What challenges have you faced since starting Bruz Wear?  
K - For me one of the greatest challenges is limited time and resources. I know we have an awesome product and a loyal following, the challenge is just figuring out how to grow that population. I am a mom of 3 beautiful kiddos and they come first so the amount of time I actually have to work on my business is about 2-3 hours a day! I guess when you do the math, what I have been able to do in the last 4 years IS pretty great. I know as my kids get older, I will have more time to grow my company so in the meantime I am trying to just enjoy where we are. Another challenge we face as a small business is competing with all the other clothing companies who manufacture overseas. I love being a US based company but keeping our costs down is a real challenge. 

L - You are an active member of the Hemophilia Society of Colorado (HSC) AND chair for your fundraiser, Black and Blue!  How do you manage to bring balance your life, professionally and personally?  
K - Balance is an ongoing challenge. Some days I get more done than others. When you have a lot on your plate you learn to take advantage of every little moment you can. Chairing Black and Blue for two years in a row took a lot of my time but it was worth the commitment because I know I was helping my son. I am a board member and an active member of the HSC because it's important to me, my family, and so many other families. People with hemophilia and other bleeding disorders really need a supportive community because it is so rare. It's also very challenging personally, emotionally, physically, and financially. For all those reasons, I do what I do. Admittedly I have to get better at saying "no" but I will do what I can, while I can, and always do my best!

L - You seem to be set on a great course already...but what else is next for Bruz Wear?  
K - I want to continue to grow our fan base, increase web sales, and pursue more wholesale accounts. I would love for Bruz Wear to become a known brand for active kids everywhere. I also want to pursue partnering with other companies who would be interested in purchasing Bruz Wear pants for kids who really need them. Recently a few organizations in the bleeding disorder community purchased pants in bulk (at a significant discount) so they could then give them to families for free. I love this model and would love to be able to do this more around the country and the world. 


Amazing things are happening for Bruz Wear these days!  Recently Kathryn was selected by Scout Masterson and Bill Horn as their first MOMpreneur to be featured on the Daily Guncle!  Visit the Guncles Online to see more! 

Visit Bruz Wear at http://www.bruzwear.com/
follow on Twitter @BruzWear



Wednesday, September 1, 2010

{NEW} Stephen Joseph Go-Go Purses!

I am a self-professed shopaholic! And when I come across something, anything I think my Gianna would love, I just have to get it.  When I first moved to Louisiana and saw EVERYONE with Stephen Joseph embroidered backpacks, I knew I had to find out where I could get one!  I Googled and searched until I found The Crazy Dazy!   Well, shorty thereafter Gianna was seen sporting her new ladybug quilted backpack!

 Well, the other day I found and fell in love with the new Stephen Joseph Go-Go purses!  These fun shaped purses are the perfect sizes for every little girl!  With so many cute shapes it was hard to choose, but the Ladybug purse won out and of course I HAD to get it for Gianna!!
Some other shapes that were in the running for G were the Owl and the Monkey!  Just might have to get those for Christmas!


So make sure you visit The Crazy Dazy and check out all the Go-Go purses that are available!  I am sure there is one that will make your little girl smile!

EXTRA!  To make your purchase even sweeter, be sure to use the coupon code "SHOPPINGMAMA" at checkout to receive 10% off your entire order!



Saturday, August 21, 2010

{feature} meet lisa leonard!

"hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul" 
- emily dickinson

Lisa Leonard
a few months ago I found lisa leonard's jewelry online.  i LOVE all things jewelry, especially silver necklaces. i was tickled pink by her creations! what makes them even more special is that she makes them all herself! being a mompreneur is hard work and balancing life, motherhood and a business is tricky. but Lisa Leonard seems to balance it all without breaking a sweat!  but wait, there's more... have you had a chance to visit her blog yet?  W-O-W!  she is an amazing photographer and her posts really reach out to you.  she finds the beauty in just about everything! 

i popped over to her site to to share with you some of my favorite jewelry designs!  she just introduced this new piece and I am hoping to acquire one by christmas! lol!

have you seen anything so beautiful?  this is my new FAVE!  want one? find it here!
(but please make sure there is one left for me to get!)

here are a few more favorites of ours: 



and someday when i have completed my family 
i will be acquiring this one! 
the Family Tree necklace...  

I was so grateful when Lisa even agreed to do a little interview 
with me to share a bit about herself, her inspirations and her motivations!  

1.) at what point in your life did you realize this is what you wanted to do, making handmade jewelry? 
i really wanted to start a business so i could be home with my boys and have more flexibility. i debated between wedding favors (i used to be a wedding coordinator) and jewelry. i jumped into jewelry and i'm so glad i did! 

2.) your pieces are so unique and refreshing.  With the many handmade jewelry designers out there - what makes Lisa Leonard Design different?
i really try to be unique and different. i make what i want to wear. if i look at other jeweler's sites it because i want to see what's out there, so i can make something else! i spend a lot of time brainstorming and nurturing creativity so i can be unique. then all of a sudden an idea will hit me out of nowhere! 

3.) do you have an all time favorite piece? 
i love the family tree and the family crest. i also love the banner necklace. it's so sweet and fun. 

4) if you could only wear one piece of jewelry for the rest of your life which would it be?
either my wedding ring or my grandmother's ring. i wear both every single day. 

5) as a momPreneur - how do you balance your boys and work? What challenges do you face? 
balance is sooo difficult. there are no easy answers. i work a lot but my boys are my first priority. we like to go on adventures away from the house, that way i can leave my computer behind. i want to cherish these days, the boys are growing so quickly.  

6) do you have any advice for other moms just starting out their biz and trying to manage it all? 
as soon as you are able, hire someone to do the things you don't like and also the things you can let go of. help is crucial for growing a  business. also, do something you love. be unique. be genuine and build real friendships. 

7) what's up next for you? 
i'm speaking at some conferences in the next few months. we have some super fun new designs coming out. more blogging of course!

 i cannot thank lisa enough for granting me the greatest pleasure of 
having her as my first {feature} on my new blog!  
it was such a pleasure getting to know her!
(i can now cross that off my bucket list!)

and to commemorate being my first {feature} lisa has
graciously agreed to give away a $25 gift certificate!
one lucky winner will receive a $25 to spend at lisa leonard designs!   

To enter, simply visit lisa's site and come back and leave a comment
telling me your favorite piece!

for extra entries tweet it (@lehlashop), blog it and facebook it!
**be sure to leave a comment for each extra entry!

winner will be randomly selected on friday august 27th!


Monday, August 16, 2010

What Brings You JOY?

Have you ever wondered what it is in life that brings you joy? Is it the amazing man you may have married? The child/children you have brought into this world? Your work? Or maybe you have a pet project you have been diligently working on that you know will eventually bring joy to you someday.

For me it's all of the above!  Recently, I realized that I needed to stop and take a look around me.   To see what I had right in front of me.  I married my soulmate and my hero.  I gave birth to the most amazing little girl, born 7-7-07, (the luckiest day there could ever be).  I work at a church where I can proudly say I have made some very good friends, whom, I can also admit, I consider to be family.  My work in progress...well that would be my home-based, online company I started, Lehla Shop.  Everyday, I challenge myself to try new things, perfect items and strive to make good products I know will put a smile on a child's face.  All of these things were staring right at me. I just needed to realize it.

I can reflect back on times when my life wasn't exactly "joyous".  My first marriage didn't quite work.  I didn't have too many people I could honestly call "friends".  And I worked a full time job, clocking in at least 9 hours a day.  Everything was so faced paced (that's NJ for ya!).

So, I got a divorce, met my new husband, had my daughter, quite my job and moved to Louisiana!  Whew! 

Now I work part-time at the church and at home for my shop.  I am constantly online trying to publicize Lehla Shop as much as possible.  My goal is to one day have my products on the shelves of other stores.  And who knows...maybe even own my own "brick and mortar" shop and have my products on my OWN shelves!  That would be ULTIMATE joy!

then make it happen

I want my daughter to grow up and know that dreams can come true, if you work hard enough to make them happen.  More joy.

"Your dreams are never silly; depend on them to guide you" chinese fortune

So with that said, I can tell you that I am blessed for the joy that already surrounds me.  Am I lucky?  Maybe...but I wouldn't trade anything!

Have you stopped to take a look at your life?  Have you started thinking what it is that brings you joy?

Life + Love + Happiness = Joy


Friday, August 13, 2010

Viva La Cupcake!

What is it about a cupcake that seems to draw out our inner child?  Is it their small size?  Their portability?  Or maybe it’s the seemingly endless flavor options that are now available to us!  We all grew up with cupcakes, but in recent years the cupcakes from our youth have been transformed into edible works of art.  The “Cupcake Craze” has created standalone bakeries that specialize in gourmet cupcakes. 

I recently had the great pleasure to meet with three entrepreneurs and find out more about the local “Cupcakeries” that have been popping up all around us. 

It begins with Buttercups, owned and operated by Kim Wood.  She had been creating her cupcakes for locals for over three years and even gained national notoriety when Katie Holmes purchased them through a local store. But in November of 2009, she decided to truly make a name for herself and opened Buttercups at the Villagio in Bossier City.   

She described to me how seeing the ingredients come together to develop such edible creations is what ignites her passion for baking.  All of the cupcakes are made with her own original recipes.  Small batches of cakes are made throughout the day, so you know that you are getting a fresh cupcake at time of purchase.  Her most popular flavors are Red Velvet and Wedding Cake.  Yum!  She even takes it one step further and uses only recycled products for her boxes and wax paper.   

Something else that caught my eye was the first impression you get when you walk through the doors.  From the lavender walls to the cafĂ© tables…even the fresh flowers she puts out daily.  She explained that she wanted a contemporary/industrial look and if you ask me, I would say everything she did works!  I was even excited to see that she started selling Buttercup t-shirts!   

In addition to her Villagio location, Shreveport locals will soon be graced when her second store opens up at the Shoppes at Bellemeade in August 2010!  Buttercups is open 6 days a week and offers 16 different flavors (check her menu for daily flavor options).  You can learn more about Buttercups by joining their Facebook Fan page!   

Next I visited Cupcake Gallery on Youree Dr. in Shreveport.  I had the great pleasure of speaking with Amanda.  Cupcake Gallery is family owned with a few extra employees.  Their story began when her mom had been making cupcakes out of her home.  Soon, word of her cupcakes had gotten around and the opportunity of a shop fell into their hands.  

All of their cupcakes are made fresh daily and offer 16 different flavors (check their menu for daily flavor options).  Their most popular flavors are Lime in Coconut, 24 Karat Cake and German Chocolate, which is an age old family recipe!  I was very curious as to what happened to any daily leftovers and was nicely surprised to learn that they donate them to local hospitals and prisons.   

As you come up on the store, you are greeted with an amazing outdoor patio with wrought iron tables and chairs.  They even have seating for the little ones!   The interior has a more modern look with Red and Black.  They even have an enormous chalkboard wall for the kids to draw on!  In addition to the array of cupcakes they have a coffee/espresso bar. 

When I asked what the future held for them, Amanda told me they were going to begin offering Birthday Party packages hosted at the store where the children can decorate their own cupcakes, from the icing to the sprinkles! 

Cupcake Gallery is open 6 days a week.  You can learn more about them by visiting their Website at www.cupcakegallery.org and by joining their Facebook Fan Page. 
Third on my list was Diva Delights, LLC.  While the other shops already have a storefront, Diva Delights is still in the beginning stages of establishing their footprint.  I was delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with Judith Sammons.  Her story truly touched my heart.  When I asked her where her inspiration came from, the words and her story just rolled off her tongue.  Seventeen months ago, Judith gave birth to her second daughter, Lexi, who was born 5 months early.  I learned that Lexi is a special needs child.  That meant that Judith needed to stay at home to provide support for Lexi and her family.   

While Judith has always been artistic, baking was a definite passion of hers.  Quite often her family advised her that she needed to turn that passion into a living.  She had an extreme love of cupcakes so that was where she began.   She started a Facebook Fan page and automatically received a great response.   Then as fate would have it, she was approached by a longtime friend who made boutique bows.  The idea was that they would combine their talents into a one stop shop.  That was when they created Diva Delights, LLC. 

Diva Delights not only offers custom cupcakes and cakes, it also offers a complete line of couture clothing, bows and jewelry.   As I mentioned earlier, they are still in the beginning stages of creating a store front, so as of right now, the business is based out of their homes.  At one point the opportunity for a store front had been presented, but as Judith explained, the timing just wasn’t right.   

While I felt the other bakeries concentrated more on their flavors, Diva Delights was more about the artistic presentation of their cupcakes.  I was able to view some of her photos and was amazed at how detailed the designs of her cupcakes were.   From little piggies to rosettes,  everything you see on her cakes and cupcakes is edible.  In addition to the detail on the cakes themselves, she feels that an order isn’t complete without her personally delivering and setting up.  A nice gesture to help out any parent who is stressing over their child's party!   

Judith told me she has been blessed by all of the events that have happened in her life.  She is a great supporter of The March of Dimes and quite often donates her proceeds right back to needing charities.  You can follow Diva Delights by joining their Facebook Fan Page and by visiting their Website at www.divadelightsbakeryandboutique.com.  All orders can be placed by contacting Diva Delights directly. 

I have to say that I think I enjoyed this assignment the most!  There was no doubt that I had to walk away from each interview with samples!  And you will even be able to spot me around town sporting my own Buttercups t-shirt!