Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Get To Know Me | an interview

 
A few months ago the sweet Natalie of Chic Boston Mama interviewed me for her "Mamas That Rock" series. It was such an honor that she even wanted me to be a part of this series and her questions were so great. I feel like it really helped me open up in a way I haven't done in a while on this blog or social media in general.
 
So today, I'm sharing that interview so all of you can get to know me a little better and understand why I started JoyBound Apparel and what drives me. I hope you enjoy it!
 
{Mamas that Rock: Mia Eliza of JoyBound Apparel}
 
I have been thinking, talking and sharing a lot about being a working stay at home mom lately. Deciding to keeping-up with my consulting business while caring for Z full-time at home was something I fell into. It all started when Z was just a month old when a longtime client reached out to work together on a couple positions. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, balancing between all that is new about motherhood and managing a client. 
 
 
Recruiting is my bread and butter, has been for the past 12 years but what I truly enjoy (and is just as hard) is working on this blog and doing personal shopping for some new mama clients (which I just started doing). I made a conscious decision that whatever took time away from my little mini had to be something I was passionate about and brought me joy, but also kept a little bit of the old me, while contributing to our family. Which brings me to September's "Mamas that Rock", a regular series that will give you the low down on some pretty amazing women that are doing it all on top of being mamas. They inspire me and I hope that by sharing their stories, they inspire you to follow that dream and have it all.
 
Mia Eliza of JoyBound Apparel, mama of to two (gorgeous) boys, who found herself choosing joy in her everyday life and wanting to share that way of life. She is talented, charming and a beauty. 
This mama's Instagram is truly an inspiration on how to be the contributor of joy into your own everyday life. And her cute designs are a sweet reminder to look at the brighter side.  Check out what I learned from her when I picked her brain...
 
 
{Me} How was Joy Bound Apparel born? When? 
 
{Mia} When I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my youngest son, I remember sitting in my little office at the computer thinking about how our lives were about to change. How going from one child to two while staying on the same income would strain us. I knew I needed to find a way to help my husband with the finances while still staying home with my two boys.
 
There were some ideas that would have worked just fine but they all left me with the same feeling. Emptiness. I had zero passion for these jobs. The only way they would add to my life would be to help out with a bill or two. But I wanted more. I wanted to do something that I was excited about. Something that I always dreamed of doing but never felt like I had it in me.
 
I wanted to start a clothing brand. But not just a clothing brand. I wanted to start a clothing brand with heart. Something that went beyond vanity. I knew that if I was going to start something that I felt good about, it needed to give back in more ways than one. Clothing with a message, something that encouraged its wearers to live a fuller, more joyful life. You see, this world we live in can be scary sometimes. It’s stressful to watch the news and see the sadness that fills the air. But we each hold the power over our own attitude.
 
Will we be positive and encourage a spirit of optimism in those around us or will be allow ourselves to be consumed by the worlds spirit? The choice is ours for the taking.
 
And that’s how the idea of JoyBound Apparel was born. Do good, feel good, look good. That is the thought behind my brand. When you buy a shirt from JoyBound Apparel, $1 goes to charity. Who doesn’t feel good when they can give to those in need? And when you feel good on the inside, it shows. It’s a beautiful little cycle that I hope all those involved can benefit from.
 
{Me} Where are you located?
 
 {Mia} JoyBound Apparel is an online based company that I run from the tiny office in my home here in South West Florida. However, I am outgrowing this space very quickly. I don’t know how long I will last running this from my home office but I’m excited to find out! You can also find us online at: www.joyboundapparel.com
 
{Me} How did you come up with the name? 
 
{Mia} I have/had a blog titled BabyBound. When I started it, my husband and I were living in Bolivia as volunteers and I was desperately wanting to become a mother and start a family. It felt so close yet so far away. So I started a blog to deal with those feelings. Shortly after, we learned we were pregnant with our first son. Over the next year I realized that my life wasn’t really Baby Bound. Yes, that was a big dream of mine but it went far beyond that. Now we had a family, but it didn’t end there. I realized that my biggest goal was to live a JoyBound life. To create memories with my loved ones of laughter and bliss. At this point, I decided to change the name of my blog to JoyBound. That name meant so much to me. When I made it a point to look at all of the little things that added to my joy, I was just a happier person. I felt strong in knowing that the choice of living a fulfilled life was mine and I wanted to share my mission with others. I wanted other people to realize what I realized. Being JoyBound is a choice that each and every one of us can make. And it’s contagious!
 
 
{Me} I know you must have a full plate but what do you like to do in your free time? 
 
{Mia} You said it right! My plate is SO full. But I think it’s so important, especially when running a company that focuses on encouraging a JoyBound attitude, to do things to refuel yourself. To refill the well, so to speak. Spending quality time with my husband is so important. He really is my best friend.  So just sitting down after the babies are asleep and talking on the couch for hours is one of the most therapeutic things I can do. We also spend tons of time as a family walking through outdoor malls, going to the children’s museum and eating out more often than we should.
 
{Me} Tell me about your experience on being a mama? Everything you imagined? 
 
{Mia} Hmmm. I’m trying to think of a way to sum this up without writing a novel. The one word that comes to mind is ‘more’. In every single way, motherhood is more. The good times are better than I could have ever imagined. The hard times are more challenging than I could have ever imagined. And at the end of the day, the gratitude in my heart is so much greater than I could have ever imagined. Motherhood is just more.
 
{Me} Best & Worse advice you got as a new mama? 
 
{Mia} I think the best “advice” I ever received about being a mom came in the form of an example. Watching my mom and aunt as I was growing up, it has shaped the kind of mother I am or at least, strive to be. They didn’t always have it easy (to say the least!) but they always made it a point to have fun with us. To take us places for us to experience and enjoy life. They had a very go-with-the-flow attitude and I think in many ways, it helped them maintain their sanity. The worst advice? I’m having trouble thinking of that. I know I have been told some absurd things along the way but I guess it’s good that I can’t remember it because, I never used it!  
 
{Me} What do you wish someone had told you about being a mom? 
 
{Mia} I think something every mama-to-be should know is that, sometimes you will feel like you’re not doing things right. You may feel like a total failure and that everyone else is doing it better. But that’s okay! All that means is, you want to give your children the best of you. And you are, even if you don’t feel like it. So cut yourself some slack and just live every day as fully as you can and love on your kids with all your heart. In the end, that’s all that really matters.
 
{Me} Favorite place to shop for your two boys? 
 
{Mia} This one is easy. Janie and Jack for dress clothes and the Gap for play clothes.
 
{Me} How would you describe your style? 
 
{Mia} I asked a few family members to help out with this question. Everyone said the same thing. Classic. And according to my sister in law ‘sleek, modern, but still classy’. I wear a lot of darker colors and simple pieces like, pencil skirts, white button downs, jeans and simple tops. But I like to throw in trendier items like a heavy neckalace, funky heels or a fun hair accessory.
 
{Me} Go-to outfit for an important meeting? 
 
{Mia} Do pajamas count? No? lol I work from home and my meetings are done over the phone. But I would have to say that when I do have to meet someone face to face, you will most likely find me in a black, high-waisted pencil skirt, pumps with a pointed toe, and for me, my white logo tee works since it’s what I do for work. A statement necklace and coordinating bracelet finishes off the look.
 
{Me} Favorite date night? 
 
{Mia} This is the part where I might put you all to sleep. When it comes to date night, I’m pretty low key. My favorite date night would have to be, going to the bookstore in my favorite outdoor mall and looking through magazines and books while chatting with my husband about life – where we are now and where we see ourselves in the future. All while sipping on a white mocha and splitting a giant chocolate chip cookie (70/30 of course!) Then we finish it up by walking through the shops hand in hand. It’s simple but it gives us to catch up in a way that’s hard to do in other settings.  
 
{Me} Advice for the mama that has an idea and wants to go for it?
 
{Mia} I have two completely different ways of looking at this. Part of me wants to say ‘go for it! Give it all you’ve got and don’t look back.’. But realistically I have to say that it’s so important to calculate the risks.
 
Being a mom means you have other tiny people whose interest and needs come before your own. After you figure out the startup costs, ask yourself ‘if this doesn’t work, can I afford to lose the money I’ve put into it?’. Put all of your thoughts on paper, the costs, your mission statement if you can think of one to start off with, your goals. Think about it for a day and then reread what you wrote down. Still seems like a good idea? Then go for it! But hey, I’m no expert. I’m just learning through the process right now. Ask me again this time next year ;)
 
{Me} Tell me the big secret, how do you balance it all? 
 
{Mia} When it comes to most people’s idea of balance my thinking is this; the secret is, there is no secret. I’ve had to learn that there is no set of rules or enough tips in the world to teach someone how to balance everything. I think the important thing is to remember that some days will be great and other days will be hard. Super hard. But as long as your priorities are in order, you can come out a winner. In other words ‘make sure of the more important things’. For me this means, God, family, friends and even myself. Work should have its place.
 
Especially when you work for yourself and “live” in your office, you need to learn when it’s time to turn it off and focus on what’s really important in life. Each of us gets to choose what takes priority in our lives. When I take care of what’s most important and then fill in the rest of my time with the less important things, my body and mind reflect that. It’s a good feeling.
 
So daily I ask myself, have I made time for the more important things today? Where did I put my heart? Since children learn from example, can I be proud of what I taught my son today by my actions, attitude and where I put my attention? If the answer is no, then I know that I will just have to try a little harder the next day.
_____________________________________________________________________
Pretty incredible, huh? I think so.
 
 
And there you have it. I really appreciate the opportunity to share my passion with others and can't thank Natalie enough for including me in this awesome series! Go check her other interviews out. She even has one with the AMAZING Susan Peterson of Freshly Picked Moccs.
 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Style | Cropped Sweatshirt Two Ways

 
One of my favorite pieces to wear these days is this CLASSIC cropped sweatshirt. For me, I prefer to wear mine either layered or with bottoms that are high waisted. Because modest is hottest. Am I right? And there's no way I would do the whole crop top thing while also showing my belly. Here is a little look at two ways it can be styled.
 
Cropped Sweatshirt With A Pencil Skirt | Such an easy way to dress it up and a perfect look for a date night in my opinion.
 
cropped sweatshirt with pencil skirt outfit

cropped classic sweatshirt outfit

black crop top outfit with skirt
 
Cropped Sweatshirt With An Undershirt and Black Skinny Jeans | Easy peasy, cozy and chic. I absolutely love wearing my cropped sweater this way. It's a great layering piece! In addition to wearing this around town, to the park with my boys and for errands, I would totally wear this out with my husband to the movies.



cropped top with black skinny jeans

cropped sweatshirt with undershirt outfit

cropped top outfit with black skinny jeans

 
 
black cropped sweater with black skinny jeans and booties outfit
JoyBound The Blog









cropped top outfit



 
Have you tried the cropped top trend? How do you wear it??
 
 
 
 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Around Town | A Day At The Naples Zoo



We finally did it. After talking about getting an annual pass to the zoo for far too long, we did it. Cruze is SO into animals right now. It's all he can talk about some days. It's so sweet. So one Saturday afternoon we packed the kids in the car and headed to the zoo. He slept on our way there and had no idea where we were going until we got there. And I wish you could've all seen his little face light up. He was in heaven. So naturally, so were we.


^^ Snakes.... Totally not my thing. Moving on!
 

 ^^ Since this day he carries around with three giraffes. Two of them are Caleb's but I won't tell him if you won't! ^^




 ^^ His little hands pressed against that fence. He was just SO excited for every single animal. ^^


 
 
^^ Cruze was in complete awe with the lions. This is his sad little face after waiting several minutes for one to reappear. ^^

 ^^ Trying to get a photo with everyone in it is nearly impossible these days ^^

 ^^ The weather was soooo good. And Caleb was pretty content being walked around in his stroller. ^^

 
 
 It was such a good day and I think we all can't wait to go back. <3
 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Everyday Look


So I figured since my blog is supposed to be about Life + Style + Babies, I should maybe start adding in some actual style posts. What do you think? I've always wanted to do outfit posts but normally talk myself out of it because I don't like the pictures, I feel silly posing by myself (but selfies in the mirror are totally ok. Weird right?) and well, I don't have a photographer following me around. But enough with the excuses. This blog is a place to (sporadically) post about my life. And that includes what I wear.

My style over the years hasn't changed all that much. I mean, my budget has so I guess that effects what I put on but overall, I think I've been doing the minimalist thing before it was considered the thing to do. If you look in my closet you will notice a theme. Lots of shades. Lots of neutrals. With a few pops of color. And I like it that way. It makes it easy to get dressed and things mix and match well without much effort. Plus, black. It's slimming. And I like slimming.

I will say though that, now that I'm a mom, comfort and ease are a much more important part of the equation than they used to be. I need to be able to run after a super energetic toddler with a 20-something pound infant on my hip. Seriously, I'm living my dream. And I don't even mean that sarcastically. But nonetheless, I am busy and moving all. day. long. My clothes need to be compatible with that kind of lifestyle. These pictures were taken at the end of a looong day with sick babies and I had literally been wearing it for about 10 hours straight.

*please excuse the picture quality! There just wasn't enough light out and I'm still trying to figure this camera out.

graphic sweatshirt with skinny jeans and loose waves


This JoyBound Apparel Pullover was the very first piece of my clothing brand to come to life. And I LOVE it. It's ridiculously soft, can be dressed up or down and sends out a good message - to others and myself. Gotta love that! As I continue to shed those pregnancy pounds, it's getting to be on the baggy side but I don't plan on going down a size until I reach my prebaby weight. Or until I can keep some in stock. Whichever comes first I guess haha.

Grey Pullover with black skinny jeans


The bag I'm holding is sooooo old. I think I've had it for 8 years and I still love it. I knew when I bought it that it was sturdy and would stand the test of time. It sure has. 


red lips, loose waves, grey black



I honestly don't wear a ton of accessories. Not everyday at least. Most of the time, I just don't think it's necessary. I would like to invest in a cute pair of studs for my ears and a classic and versatile necklace one of these days (or years) but for now, you will most often see me wearing my wedding rings and my crown. The JoyBound crown that is ;)


So that's my super simple, every day look for ya. I seriously wear this or a similar version of this outfit almost everyday. From errands to park dates with my boys to going out to eat as a family. Just change the shoes out, switch up the lip color and it can work for whatever I'm doing. Plus, it takes the guess work out of getting ready which is great for a mom on the go!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Around Here | A Peek Into The Master Bedroom

 
 
After five years of nonstop moving my hubby and I finally picked a town and home to settle down in. It was a dream come true, honestly. I just so desperately needed to have a place to be still in. To know that I could hang up pictures without having to take them down 10 months later. So naturally, before moving we had many (many) chats about how we wanted to make this place our home. We made promises to ourselves to focus on our bedroom, to only buy things we loved, to actually hang pictures and so on. I just knew that I would take tons of pics of our new space and its progress and blog away. This was almost a year and a half ago. And this is officially my first update post. Haha. What can I say? Life. It moves fast, ya know?
 
My home is far from finished but I wanted to give you all a little glimpse of what we have going on so far. This is pretty much the closest to being "done" that our bedroom has ever been.
 

A layered gallery wall above our bed of some of my favorite photos. The one all the way to the left was taken in our friends "living room" in Bolivia during our six months there. It was really a huge terrace which every room was off of. The view was seriously breathtaking. We could even see our apartment from that spot even though it was clear across the city.

Then there's a photo from our wedding and us with our baby boys. <3


My DIY headboard. I wish my camera skills were better because I really love how this bed came out. Instead of just doing a covered piece of plywood for a headboard, I bought an inexpensive platform bed and covered the headboard. This way I felt like the bed was complete and it was probably cheaper than buying a metal frame for the mattress and then wood for the rest of the project.


Caleb is still in our room (and I love that!) so here is a little peak at his crib/bedding. I love his little lamb linens.

The blanket on the end of our bed was part of an anniversary gift from my husbands siblings. I wanted that SAME exact blanket from target but didn't buy it. To my surprise, they gifted us with a date night in gift full of goodies for a... date night in. How'd you know! ;) And the blanket was part of that. I was pretty excited about that. Oh, and it's organic. Do they know me or what??


 And of course, the best place to be in mommy and daddy's room is our bed. :) What would a bedroom update be without the two most natural props ever?



So what do you think? Or maybe I shouldn't ask? It's not finished but I'm just happy to know that it's ours and that we can make changes along the way. And that we actually have pictures up! 
 
Something I clearly still need are nightstands. I definitely don't want something that matches the rest of our set too closely since our room is small and I think that'll close it in more. A bunch of matchy matchy furniture all crammed together? Meh. I would love to get these...
 
Metal Cube Side Table – Brushed Nickel
 
Or perhaps...
 
Metal Drum Side Table
 
Sculpted Drum Side Table
 
all from West Elm
 
I also Have a big bland wall (opposite our bed) that I would like to add to. I don't want to hang anything on the wall because like I mentioned, our room is on the smaller side and I want to stay away from creating a cluttered space. I'm thinking some wall molding painted in the same dark grey as the walls would look amazing. Kind of like this...
 
Adding a dark gray accent wall and board and batten to the master bedroom creates something amazing. #DIY #accentwall
via
 
 
That's all for now. But now that I've given a bit of an update I'm hoping to repost as progress is made. Not just in our room but around the house. I hope you enjoyed! 
 

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