ONE little MOMMA

Nickel and Suede Store BEFORE

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This is really an exciting time for Nickel & Suede. I find myself pinching myself left and right at all of the blessings that we are experiencing in the growth of our business. It's not without growing pains and chaos, but it's still amazing to see God's plan unfold for us. I try not to blog about our business too much over here, but it really is a huge part of our family's life so sometimes the I just have to share.

This Spring we are moving all of our business operations out of our home and into a bigger and dedicated space. We are also opening a small storefront. Its been in the works for months, but we have finally nailed down plans and things are moving off paper and into real life. The store will be on the historic square in my hometown, only five minutes from our house. It couldn't be a better location commute wise, not to mention being in a place that is near and dear to my heart. I grew up walking past this building on the way home from Junior High , drawing chalk art on its sidewalk in high school for Spring Festival on the Square, and was even in the Homecoming parade that passes right past these doors. To say the Square has been a part of my life for years would be an understatement!

I wanted some photos of the space before all of the renovations start and I'm sharing those with you today.


This walkway is our front entrance. These doors are actually all being replaced, but where you see the first set of doors will be our store and the next two sets of doors will be our shipping and manufacturing offices. (Picture big awnings, exposed brick and N&S signage everywhere!)


This is a view into what will be our store. It won't go as far back as you see. And we will be keeping the exposed beams overhead.


The store will connect to this space which will be for shipping and product assembly.


And this space is what you can see through the doorway above. This will be our manufacturing area will all of our tools, leather and other materials.




We've been fortunate enough to work with the best people on this project. We can't say enough good things about the talented team we've had working with us.




Upstairs we are also remodeling part of the building for offices. I'm really excited about this area! Soren will have his own office which he desperately needs! We're putting in a small nursery and the whole area near the windows will be a great big photography studio/meeting room for us. We're putting in two more huge windows than you see here and as you can tell, we'll have amazing lighting!



This is where Soren's office will be. I wish we could keep the mint, but we will be keeping all of the exposed brick.


It's such an amazing thing to see plans come to life. I can't think of better bones for our new space and I'm on pins and needles waiting to see more of the project shape up. Thanks for all of the love and support and for bearing with me as I share something that is so dear to us. I'm sure I'll be sharing more updates here on the blog, but if you want to follow along on the journey I've started a dedicated Instagram account just for the store- @nickelandsuedekc.

Wednesday Happenings

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SWEATER- H&M // JEANS- Target // BOOTS- Nordstrom (similar, cheaper option) // CLUTCH- Sole Society // SUNNIES- Ray Ban // EARRINGS- N&S Antique Brass large




Our days, much like yours I'm guessing, are typically the same everyday. Our schedule doesn't vary too much because there are so many parts of owning a business and running a house that are just maintenance. Orders have to ship everyday, product has to be prepared and made, and emails need to be answered. Laundry has to be done, kids need to be fed and the house needs to be picked up. I don't love the monotony of a schedule and I do really love any opportunity to mix things up. So when we do have a chance to leave the house, I try to make the most of it!

When we go run errands I make it a point to get dressed and wear real clothes and shoes. I make the kids get dressed and I might even make them gel their hair. It just feels good to get ready and get out! 

Today we had a meeting with our design firm for our Nickel & Suede store and offices and the whole family basically went along for the ride. Soren, Kesler, Knox, Baker and I all headed downtown and we kind of made a morning of it. Our meeting went well and we approved materials and design elements for the cash wrap and display shelving for our store. It's really fun to see things coming together and every little step in the process makes it feel a little more real. The kids did a great job coloring, watching shows on my phone and checking out the tools in the workshop while we met with the designers. After we had our meeting we stopped at a nearby park that looked ideal and the kids played with Soren while I nursed in the car. If you can tell from the photo, it wasn't a fun park at all. ;)

Unfortunately Kesler did have a painful face plant on the slide and that ended our time at the park. It also earned him lunch and ice cream from Wendy's on the way home. And I wasn't mad about it because I can't refuse a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. Who can?





Tips for Traveling with Kiddos

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Last month our family made a last minute decision to take a family vacation to Disney World. Because of Nickel & Suede, over the holidays we didn't get any down time, nor did we get much family time. By the time January rolled around we were all exhausted and burned out, so a getaway was definitely what we needed. We spur of the moment hopped in on our friend's vacation plans and bought tickets to Orlando. I like to think of myself as a planner, but this trip was kind of an impulse decision and that didn't leave a whole lot of time for preparing.

But with four kids in tow, we had to be smart about our travel preparations. I think we did a few things right and learned a few things too. I thought I'd share our travel tips and what worked for us as far as flying, lodging and dining. (I'll also share about our trip and our Disney tips too in another post!) Keep in mind I was flying with my spouse, with four kids plus my 13 year old brother, and we were gone for six days total. Every trip has different factors and strategies required, but these all worked well for this trip for our family.








Flying:

I have flown with kids many times, but I have never flown with four kids and only once have I flown with three. It's a rare sight to see a family of six flying together and its no wonder! It's a lot of people and luggage to keep track of! But we managed and despite all of the stares we got as our little flock moved through the airport, I think we were successful. No one cried or got lost or had a tantrum. I daresay everyone was well behaved! Below I've listed many of the things we considered and did to make flying with four kids under seven a little easier.

- Have the kids wear slip on shoes if you can. Wear slip-on's yourself as well. I wore Birkenstocks both ways because of the ease of getting through security.
- Have everyone carry their own backpack/carry on items.
- Pack each child's bag full of a few new surprises and snacks. Ideas include a new coloring book, headphones, new markers, stickers, notepad, candy, new-to-them snacks. The Target dollar section really helped with this.
- Take your stroller through the airport and check it at the gate. Use that stroller to carry kids and bags as far as you can take it. We always gate check our stroller and we never regret it.
- Check all of the bags that you can. With so many kids with tickets we were allowed quite a few checked bags and I think we ended up using all of them. Don't carry more weight through the airport than you have too.
- Check all of your car seats. We actually put all of our car seats in a giant, thick trash bag and checked them all together. It was enormous, but it worked!
- Download movies onto your iPads before you leave your wifi signal. Get a splicer for the ipad connector so that two headphones can plug into one iPad at a time.
- Pack yourself the diaper bag of all diapers bags- preferably in a backpack style bag. Put extra snacks, paperwork, tickets, diapers, wipes, medicine, extra binkies and all that in your own bag.
- Pack an extra portable phone charger for you. You'll want the extra battery power if if comes down to it!
- Do family boarding if you fly Southwest or check in as early as possible to make sure you get seats together.
- Bring empty water bottles through security so that you can fill them up once you get to your gate.



Lodging:

We ended up booking a reservation at the same resort as our friends and it turned out to be a rental house. No one was excited about it when we pulled up at 11 pm at night to a rental house, but it turned out to be the best thing ever. The house was big enough for everyone to spread out and have their own room. We wished we were closer to the Disney parks (we were about a 15 minute drive), but it was worth it to have the luxuries of a rental house. I only have a few tips for lodging and you can find them below.

-Stay somewhere with multiple rooms. This is huge for everyone being able to get sleep at night after such long and busy days. Look for a hotel with multiple rooms or consider a condo or a house. 
-Rent a house or condo with a washer and dryer. Being able to wash clothes was a huge deal for us. It meant less clothes we needed to pack and less dirty laundry to bring home. 
- Pick lodging with a kitchenette or kitchen of some kind. Having a fridge for food and a way to eat some meals in your room rather than dining out was a great way to save money.






Meals:

Meals are something that can cost a ton of money on vacation and the cost really adds up when you have four kids. We tried to be careful about how we spent money on food during our trip, but also to have fun and enjoy the good food we found while on vacation. Our tips for meals while traveling with kids are below.

- Like I said, find lodging with a kitchen of some kind. Our lodging allowed us to eat cereal, fruit or eggs every morning for breakfast. We also made a Target run for peanut butter and bread and jelly and other snacks so that we could pack lunches everyday. Having a fridge allowed us to keep all of that good for the whole week we were there.
- Pack food to take with you on your daily outings. Lunch and snacks came with us in backpacks everyday and then we bought other treats and dinner while we were out. We tried to make it a point to try foods at Disney and to get some treats, but bringing some of our own food meant we weren't constantly starving and spending way too much on the extra food.
- Look for kids eat free options for dinner. On Monday night we ate at Joe's Crab Shack which had kids eat free and then on Tuesday we found a Japanese steakhouse that offered free kids meals. We saved money and were also able to try restaurants that were out of our norm. It turns out our kids loved the Japanese steakhouse- the food and the little show. It was a great memory for us all!

I'm sure I'm leaving out all kinds of great tips and tricks, but you'll just have to remind me of more of them in the comments. I'd love to hear your best advice for traveling with young kids. It's hard, but its so worth it! Stay tuned for more posts about our trip and more advice on Orlando and Disney World with little kids!


Everyday Style February

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JACKET- Thrifted (similar) // TEE- Nordstrom // JEANS- Articles of Society // SHOES- Old Navy // EARRINGS- N&S London Tan Cut-Out large

SWEATER- Stitch Fix // JEANS- Articles of Society // SHOES- Nordstrom // CLUTCH- Thrifted // EARRINGS- N&S Signature Silver large


LEGGINGS- Zella // BOOTS- Sorel

SHOES- Adidas

COAT- Chicwish // CLUTCH- Sole Society // JEANS- Nordstrom // RING- Amazon

SWEATER- H&M // JEANS- Articles of Society // BOOTS- Nordstrom // EARRINGS- N&S Nude Cut-Outs large

SWEATER- Chicwish // LEGGINGS- Zella // TANK- Target // BOOTS- Sorel // EARRINGS- N&S London Tan Cut-Outs

If you follow many fashion bloggers on Instagram, then you have definitely seen the Liketoknowit tags and hashtags that they and I use. Maybe you already understand it and have formed your opinion, but if you are like I was, you haven't quite figured it out. 

If you don't like LiketoKnowit, these Everyday Style posts are for you. You can find direct links to what I wore under each photo and that works.  

If you do like it, then you are probably already signed up and getting info in real time as outfits are posted on IG. Perfect.

If you don't know what LiketoKnowit is, here you go.

LiketoKnowit is an easy way to get direct shopping links to something in a photo on Instagram. It could be a pair of shoes or a table, whatever it is, you can shop it. I constantly have people asking me where I got this or that or what brand something is in my pictures. With LiketoKnowit, I can link to each item and when someone who has signed up with LiketoKnowit 'likes' my photo on Instagram, they automatically get an email containing those links. It is so much easier to just have someone get the email with exactly what they want to know, than it is to answer 20 of the same question in the comments. Not all bloggers do, but I also tag all of my clothing in the photo so followers can get a general idea of what brand the items are.  

It's super easy to sign up. As easy as going here and entering your Instagram info. Once you have signed up, just 'like' a photo that has #liketkit in the caption and you'll have an email with shoppable links on its way to you.

I know some people have decided they don't like LiketoKnowit because they feel like bloggers are always trying to sell something or because they don't want their inbox filled with emails. I do get a commission on anything that is purchased through the email links, and that does help support the blog and the time it takes to blog and provide clothing and outfit recommendations. But, I also know that this application is the best way to answer someone's questions about an outfit or a pair of shoes or something that I'm wearing. It's just quickly sending out the same links that I have listed in this blog post in real time rather than waiting for the outfit to hit the blog. (Which we all know is rarely happening- right now especially! #failingblogger)

And as far as tons of emails, LiketoKnowit consolidates info from different bloggers' photos that you have liked so you don't get 10 emails with outfit details, you get one or two with everyone's info in them. It's really simple and convenient. 

I've signed up and loved getting quick info and I think you'll find you like it too. What do you think of it? I'd love to hear your questions or feedback in the comments below?

Three Questions for Tough Days

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TEE- Nordstrom // PONCHO- Stitch Fix (similar 40% off now) // JEANS- Nordstrom // BOOTS- Rockport // CUFF- N&S // EARRINGS- N&S Black Woven large // SUNNIES- Ray Ban
Well in between busting out dinner and helping the kids after school, I have a few minutes today. I opted to hop on the computer and do my "one thing that can't get undone". And look at that, it's a blog post again!
Today I thought I'd share three topics that I have found are in a way therapeutic for me to think or write about. On days that I'm in a funk or stressed or down about life its really a great exercise to consider things that I'm looking forward to, things I'm struggling with and things that I'm genuinely grateful for. It helps me see to the positive things that I have going for me today and in the future and it helps me to work through some of the tough things. I'd suggest you do it too! Try to think of three for each category and I think you'll feel a load lifted and have a better outlook to face the day with. 
Here's how I'm answering these three today:
Things I'm looking forward too: 
- Girl's night tonight watching The Bachelor. I haven't ever had a consistent watch party with friends, but I've started watching this season of the Bachelor with friends and wow is it more fun! I can't believe the jabs and jokes and hilarious things that are said as we watch together. I'm laugh my head off and enjoy every minute of it. 
- Kesler starting preschool next week. He has been waiting a long time for it to start back up again and I'm so excited for him to have something to go to each week. We aren't big on paying for preschool at this house, but one of the local high schools offers a basically free preschool as part of their child development class. We love it. Kesler went last year and I'm sure he'll enjoy it again this year. 
- A sneak peek at progress on our store this weekend. We'll be photographing the demo/build on Saturday. It's hard to believe we'll be opening in just a few short months, but being there in person and seeing it in the works really makes it feel more real. 
Things I'm struggling with:
- Comparing myself to others. Since having Baker I've had a lot more time to spend on my phone browsing IG or Facebook or blogs. I spend a lot of time nursing ya know? But I have really noticed it taking a toll on my self esteem. I usually have pretty high self confidence, but lately I've been pretty down on myself for everything I do. I could go into it more, but I'm sure you get the gist of it. I'm trying to step back from it a bit and shift my perspective before it becomes any more damaging. I know social media is a trap, but boy, is it easy to fall into!
- Time. There is never enough time. I sure love my baby, but he is such a time sucker. I'm having a hard time keeping up with just about anything and that just feels crappy. I know this too shall pass and that things will keep getting better, but this week has been off to a rough start.
- Difficult work decisions. I don't have a degree is business or marketing or anything like that. My degree is in Nutrition and those health and chemistry classes aren't doing anything to help me with my current job description. I'm doing my best and thankfully Soren has a wealth of business school knowledge, but it's hard when I have to ask him questions about everything. Especially hard if you are as prideful as I am! :)
Things I'm genuinely thankful for:
- Our family vacation last week. It was so nice to get away and have such a fun trip together. It was busy and exhausting and expensive, but totally worth it in every way. I'm planning a post where I collect all of our tips and ideas for anyone making a similar trip in the future!
- Soren going to Sams Club for me today. It's a little thing, but man am I glad to have a minute to sit and blog rather than deal with kids and a giant cart full of groceries. 
- My kids, especially the baby. Baker may be my biggest challenge as far as winning at life right now, but he sure makes me feel like a winner. His little smile or Knox telling me he loves me SO much totally turns me to mush. I'm so thankful for sweet boys that I am able to let run my life for right now. They are certainly are top priority and the best things I have going for me. :) 
So take a stab at it? I'd love to hear if these three help you too!