I’m Ok With Being White

Is it me, or is it TORTURE to get back to work after a three day weekend? I seriously feel like I have been slammed by a truck this morning. Not good. Ugh.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great time with family and friends this weekend…and I hope you took time to remember those who have fought for our freedom that we so enjoy here in the US. I always think it’s so funny on Memorial day weekend… it’s supposed to be a time when we can remember, but instead we usually fill it will a bunch of activities and family time. I suppose that is the point though, right? Cherishing our lives and living it to the fullest? And that we are able to do that thanks to those who fight to keep us safe?

Thank you to all the brave souls who gave their lives for our happiness and freedom. We remember, love, and appreciate you.

And we did live it up this weekend. Our cousins came to visit us.

Jake’s face! Dear Lord. ha.

If you have been following Evy’s Tree for a while, you’ll remember Sarah. She was my assistant for over a year and was so amazing…she’s the one who helped us during our big move nearly two years ago. She is such a wonderful person…and we love Brian, of course, who is Brandon’s cousin. It was so great to see them this weekend, as we haven’t seen them in a while.

We took them to Sonoma on Saturday. If you ever come to the wine country and are looking for something to do, you must visit Historic Sonoma for a day. It’s so much fun. The downtown square boasts Mission San Francisco de Solona, the last California mission planted by the Franciscans in 1823.

There are twenty one missions in California, and Sonoma’s mission is the last one built…every mission is spanned one days walk from each other and they were built with a purpose to help colonize California. Really, the missions have an amazing history and if you ever have the opportunity to visit one, you will surely treasure your experience.

The kids had a blast, and loved every minute of it. They are a great age…at a time where everything is so real and exciting!

In the back courtyard of the barracks, the place where General Vallejo’s soldiers lived.

We walked around the square and visited a few stores, then let the kids play in the park. I love this photo that Sarah captured of me and Jake, while we were resting in the Basque, the wonderful little boulangerie that I have been visiting since I was a teen.

You are never too big for cuddles with your mamma. And yes, he’s only six. He just looks like an 8 year old. :(

So to explain the rather random title of this post…Sarah and I started talking about skin care issues while we were at the park watching the kids play. There was a beautiful family there, not sure what nationality they were {perhaps Jamaican?} but they had this GORGEOUS GLOWING dark skin. We commented on how beautiful they were, and then I started to tell Sarah how bummed for Evy I was when she came out and I realized she has my “wonderful” white skin. Like see through skin. And this see through skin turns all burned and freckly in the sun, instead of tanning nicely like most of my friends did when I was a kid.

Yes, I’m confessing. I hated my skin when I was younger. {I thought} It was one of my most embarrassing features.

I was a cutie kiddo, I know. But had lots and lots of freckles. My mom kept sunscreen on me when I was swimming, but no one wore sunscreen daily because the sunscreen back in the late seventies and eighties was thick, white and greasy. Eventually I looked like this, sometime in jr high…

Can we say FRECKLE CITY?!?! I was so embarrassed of my freckles, and I really hated to be outside because of them, but I was an active kid…loved to swim and explore, which only gave me more freckles, of course. And I saw dark skin as beautiful, and white skin as not so much. ugh

And no, you’re not seeing things, you’ve seen these before. I discussed them HERE.

Anyway, sometime soon after the above photo, someone introduced me to foundation with SPF. WHAT?!?! Where’d that come from? I seriously could kiss whoever came up with it, because for once I had a daily sunscreen that didn’t leave my face white and milky looking, or greasy and yucky. You can see how much of a difference it made in this photo, one year later from the one above….

Today, I wear this 40 SPF daily. Even during the winter.

And I am ok with being white. I was telling Sarah that I don’t even think about it any more. Yes, I glow. But that’s ok. Yes, my legs are see through, but who cares. As I hear people compliment Evy on her “milky” skin, I proudly puff up my chest and think, “Yes, that’s my feature, thank you very much”.

I think becoming satisfied and comfortable with yourself is one of the keys to happiness in life. Accepting the things you cannot change and building on what you have is essential to health, I think. I hope I can teach Evy, that despite the gorgeous olive skin her dad and brother have, that white is IN. It’s cool. And it’s coveted. Take care of it, and it will take you far. Because skin that sees less sun lasts longer, and gets less wrinkles. And because you can’t tan, you never have to spend hours in the sun trying to. So you gain more time in life. Bonus!

So here’s to white skin. I’m ok with you. Thanks for serving me well. And remember friends. Wear sunscreen. Daily. It will save your life.

Are you a “whitey”? How do you feel about it?

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Big hugs! xoxo

He Sees You When You’re Sleeping…

Oh friends, after tragedies like Oklahoma, your heart just hurts, you know. Especially when kids are involved. I know the entire tornado damage is horrible, but I just can’t stop thinking about how terrifying it must have been for those parents to converge upon those two schools and frantically look for their children. Just absolutely heartbreaking!

In light of this situation, I wanted to share something that happened to me yesterday, in hopes it would encourage some of you who feel like God has completely forgotten you. I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but I feel that way sometimes. Like God can’t see me. Or maybe He’s ignoring me. Have you felt that way?

I’ve mentioned before that the last couple months have been rather stressful for me and my family. Just seems like there is a lot going on, and to be honest, it can keep me up at night sometimes. Monday morning around 3 AM I woke up with a giant to do list twirling through my mind. I hate these nights….you want to go back to sleep so badly, but the panic of things needed to be tackled is a list mile high and it makes your heart pound. Not sure if I’m the only person who has these episodes? Anyway, at 3 AM I started feeling the overwhelming dread of “I can’t do it all” or “I really screwed this up, I didn’t do everything I needed to do” or “Oh great, I need to pay for this, where am I going to get the money?!”. Whenever I have nights like this, I usually lay there praying, or read my Bible, hoping that eventually I fall back asleep. Begging God to give me peace. Usually I am up until the kids wake up, which can make such a long day.

But on Monday morning, I feel asleep pretty quickly. I remember looking at the clock around 4:30 AM and nodding off soon after that. Thankfully, I slept pretty good regardless of the little break in my sleep. Then late Monday afternoon, I received this text from a good friend:

Hi Amy! I just wanted to see how you were doing. I had a dream about you last night and in my dream you were feeling as if you couldn’t handle the pressures of life mentally; you were on overload. I just wanted to remind you that the Lord is with you always; and it’s ok if we can’t be Wonder Woman 24/7. Prayed for you! Love you!”

Whoa! Instant tears! I’ve had so many of these nights lately that I was beginning to think that God wasn’t watching me, didn’t notice my stress, or much less even care. But HE DOES. He cared enough to give my friend a dream about me, the same time I was stressing out, and impress her to pray for me.

I think it’s pretty clear: He sees you when you’re sleeping!

He really does know exactly where you are and what you are going through and He hears every cry that you make. He loves you enough to impress others to pray for you, and He most definitely doesn’t let you walk through life alone, even if you think He is.

I just want to encourage someone out there…you may be looking at your life and thinking, “Hello God, are you there?!?!”. You may be wondering if He’s forgotten you, or ignoring you. But just remember that He’s watching you, looking out for you, and cares for you. He hasn’t forgotten you. And is up at all hours of the night, just for you.

Praying for all involved with the tornado in Oklahoma. And praying for you all who read this. Love you! xoxo

What’s Going On?!?!

Today the shop is closing until mid to late summer. Thought I should fill you in on what’s happening so you’re not too confused. :)

Why are you closing? We are closing to give us time to adequately market our manufactured items that are arriving mid-late July. We are looking forward to placing our focus solely on getting those items here and then ultimately in your hands.

Why are you discontinuing the handmade goods, indefinitely? It has always been our goal to have a small, boutique handmade line. We still hope to do that. However, we have been spending so much time {and money} in our effort to get you handmade items, that we haven’t been able to focus on properly marketing our new manufactured items that are arriving soon. Handmade items take a lot of time, as I am sure you all know, so we felt it would be best to use that time over the next couple months to focus on our huge investment that we have made on our manufactured items. Again, we hope to reintroduce handmade in the future, but for now our manufactured goods are first and foremost. When we feel we have gotten a footing with those goods, and if it seems profitable and reasonable for us to do, we will bring handmade back.

What about the inventory you currently have? We currently have a handful of already made items in our inventory. After the shop closes tonight, we’ll reassess our inventory and probably do a couple pop up sales on FB to help liquidate the inventory, so stay tuned!

Can you tell us more about the manufactured items? Yes! We will have four styles for adults and two styles for kids in an amazing high end fabric blend: cotton, modal and spandex blend. The sizes will be 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 for kids and XS-2XL for adults. The fit of the hoodies will be more true to size, with the adult breakdown looking like this:

XS {fits sizes 0-2}, Small {fits sizes 4-6}, Medium {fits sizes 6-8}, Large {fits sizes 10-12}, XL {fits sizes 14-16}, 2XL {fits sizes 18-20}

The weight of the fabric is medium weight, with a longer torso than our American Apparel counterparts, longer arms with cuffs that can either go over your hands or fold up for normal fit. The idea with this season is perfect our hoodie’s fit by creating a comfortable, but classy hoodie, one that can either be worn out to dinner or to lounge around the house. We are striving to make the hoodie more versatile for you. Because of our use of the coveted modal weave, the hoodie for adults will run around $80, $60 for kids.

Why did it take so long to get the manufactured goods? We have never manufactured before. Ever. When I signed a contract with my manufacturer, we both were under the impression that what I had to reproduce had already been through the development stage. Unfortunately, what I had was a concept, that had not been developed into patterns, fabric weave, color and size breakdowns, etc. This is what the “development” stage entails. Immediately following the development stage is the “production” stage. Production stage is when the fabric is milled, the items cut and sewn, and then finally, shipped. The production stage is when most people join up with manufacturers and it takes roughly 3 months {which is the turnaround I initially expected}.  A normal development process takes anywhere from 3-6 months and it is what most designers work on for the next season during the current season’s production time period of their products. I was unfamiliar of this process and did not realize what development of a product entailed, so I entered into this agreement, unbeknownst to the manufacturer, with no proper development to hand over to them. Thankfully, Ana and Kelly are amazing, and have held my hand through the entire process. Our development stage finished late March, after 6 months of intense, daily work. I am happy to say we are now in production! Whoohoo! We are almost there, but this is why this process has been so drawn out.

Will I be able to use my 50% off coupon when the shop reopens? YES, YES, DOUBLE YES!!! Finally we will be able to use those coupons you received last summer during the Save Evy’s Tree campaign. Here’s how it will work: those coupons will be good for a three day period when we reopen in late July. The shop will be open EXCLUSIVELY for the Save Evy’s Tree people ONLY, and you will be able to buy whatever you want, using the 50% off coupon code, for those three days. Again, to thank you for your patience, the store will only be open to you coupon holders ONLY. Everything that you purchase will be preorder, with a couple week turnaround time, but to thank you for your patience, you will get first pick of everything that comes out. This is crucial, as we have a limited amount of items coming this first order, for example, I believe we only have about 45 XL coming in one style.

 I think I may have lost my 50% off coupon, what should I do? At this point, nothing. We will send the coupon code out via email to all the people who purchased during the save Evy’s Tree campaign. If you don’t receive it then, we will have you contact us directly so we can get you the code.

What if I don’t have a 50% off coupon? You most likely don’t have a 50% off coupon code because you didn’t purchase a hoodie during the Save Evy’s Tree campaign we ran last summer. But don’t worry!!! After the 3 day exclusive event for the Save Evy’s Tree people, we will have a preorder sale with a hefty discount code for you to use at that time.

When will we be able to see pictures of the manufactured goods? We are in the process of ordering samples to photograph mid June, so hopefully the end of June.

Where will the manufactured goods be sold?  The manufactured goods will be sold on our website and boutiques throughout America and even internationally. Have a boutique near you that you would like to see carry Evy’s Tree? Email us their contact, we’ll send them some info in beginning July. wholesale@evystree.com

What’s next for Evy’s Tree? Only God knows! :) I am following His lead daily. At this point, we will see how well these Fall items sell, and if they do good, we will manufacture a spring 2014 line! WOW, so exciting! :)

I hope this clears up some questions? I want to personally thank everyone of you who have helped me stay afloat over the last year. This has been some ride, for sure!!! I am blown away daily by your love and support of Evy’s Tree. It’s so crazy that me, a person who really isn’t a super stylish person, is in the fashion business. Thank you for making this little thing that God dropped into my lap four years ago, a big thing that has become a great job. I love you all.

Approving size samples a week ago. These are just embellishment and size samples, NOT actually colors or details :)

xoxo

37

I can’t believe I am typing those numbers. But I am. It is true. I am 37. Which means I am inching very, very closely, to the dreaded 4-0.

Why does this not bother me?!?!

I think because I feel I am so so young still. I look at myself in the mirror and I see 16 year old Amy staring back at me. Well, ok, maybe not 16. But definitely 26. You know what’s crazy? The only time I think, “Oh yeah, I’m 37!” is when I look at my hands. Hands tell all you know. And mine are definitely 37. ha.

Anyhoo….

I am ok with 37. I am so thankful for all the good and the bad that the Lord has given me over my lifetime. I am so blessed, and I am thankful for the life lessons that pop up and remind me of that.

I am also thankful for learning. Learning more about myself. About my husband. About my kids. About the Lord. Especially about the Lord. I am so thankful for knowing HE LOVES ME JUST AS I AM. That’s kinda amazing you know? That kind of love? My husband loves me like that. That’s why I married him. Not because he was perfect, or had the perfect job and made a lot of money, or was super good looking {oh wait, he is! ha}, but because he loves me. He really, really does. And you can’t pass that up.

But back to the Lord and His love…I am so thankful for the year 2010. Because in January of that year God allowed something to happen to me that made me really, really examine my life. And I realized how little I did in this life that could make Him love me. I realized, He loved me just the way I was. A failure. A mistake maker. A sinner.

He really, really loved me. Just like that.

And He kept showing me He did. Even though others around me said I wasn’t perfect. Or I made mistakes. I felt HIM…all around me. While I cleaned the kitchen during the day, or folded the laundry at night, I would feel Him. Everywhere. And it started me on a journey of understanding who He REALLY, REALLY was. I am so thankful for that journey.

Because here I stand, 37 years young….and I am teaching my children about His love. That you can’t work to get it. It’s just there because that’s who He is. God is love. And I hope I am leading them down a journey of understanding it. I still don’t really know exactly what that looks like, but I know it is my ultimate job to help them get it. To help them understand. So I will do it. I will teach them.

I know I super rambling but today as I looked back at the last 37 years, I see God holding my hand the whole time. And I see me, working, spinning, trying to make Him love me. But silly me….He already did.

So I hope to spend the next 37 years, if God wills, showing people HIS LOVE…and what that really means. Because I can tell you, it most certainly is not what I thought it meant. Nope. It’s very, very different. And I am so excited about tell everyone I know about it…but especially telling these little ones:

Above photo taken at Moms and Muffins at Evy’s school Friday morning… and below photo taken at Jake’s classroom spa day Friday afternoon.

I must tell them how much Jesus loves them. And how much they will love having Him in their life!

So happy birthday to me! ;) And thank you to all of you… who love me, and encourage me, and support me. I am especially thankful for so many of you who have poured into me over the years. I love you all so much. May you be blessed in all you do!

And Brandon, thank you, for loving me. You show Christ through your love. Love you Babe.

xoxo

My Bangs Were Possessed….

So the other night Brandon and I tackled a job we have been procrastinating on for a long, long time: going through about a dozen banker boxes full of odds and ends that we have been carrying around with us for over 10 years. These boxes have gone through four moves, and have yet to be touched…can you believe that? Over the years we just shoved them in the attic, or the closet, or any out of the way place that we could pretend they didn’t exist.

I guess the reason why we didn’t want to deal with them is that the boxes are full of childhood things that we really had no idea what we were supposed to do with. Boxes full of notes, kindergarten pictures, trinkets and mementoes…. these were definitely not an easy sort!

One of the first boxes I opened up was my high school box. For some reason I kept my high school history book…and it was littered with notes my friends and I wrote to each other during class. I wondered if I even paid attention to the teacher! ha! And then, tucked under the history book, was this gem:

Good grief!!! WHAT in the WORLD was going on with my poor bangs?!? Seriously possessed bangs there, they could reach out and grab you…while the rest of my hair was stick straight! huh?!? Was that the style then? I’m pretty sure that was around 1990….. Thankfully, I improve *slightly*  the next year:

…although my bangs still need some improvement. And how about that bit of bran muffin that is on my front tooth? Yes, I remember distinctly that it was a bran muffin I was eating while waiting in line for pictures, and apparently the lady taking the photo missed that I had a chunk on my tooth.

So awesome.

You can bet I never passed those puppies out. I found the entire picture package, still in the photographer’s wrapping paper, in that high school box. Oh yes. Great history right there.

We also stumbled upon my childhood box…and I guess I have to say I was pretty cute as a 6 year old, but even had teeth problems then….

Note the black tooth? Right…that was from falling in the bathtub and whacking my mouth on the shower door. I proudly lived with that puppy for a couple years until it fell out. I still remember the day I lost it, super excited to be rid of it! ha.

Oh, and how about this one?

That’s my sweet brother and I, practicing our flag waving intended for the Queen of England when she visited San Francisco during her 1983 California visit. We were chosen, because my mom is a British citizen, to be part of a group of school children who were to greet her as she entered San Francisco. We practiced bowing and curtsy-ing for hours, and the newspaper wrote a big write up on us. Unfortunately, at the last minute it was decided the school children were not to attend the ceremony as there were no bathrooms to facilitate a gaggle of antsy kiddos. But no matter…Brad and I got our moment of fame thanks to the San Mateo times. Ha.

Brandon and I found a bunch of other really amazing stuff in those boxes…like my Nannie and Gramps passports {they visited SUCH WONDERFUL places!} and old pictures from their wedding. We also found all our honeymoon pictures, that have been waiting for me to place them neatly in the scrapbook I bought for them oh….9 years ago. So awesome, right?

Here’s my favorite photo.

Us at Animal Kingdom in Disneyworld. We had SUCH a blast on our honeymoon. And we were twigs. Wow.

We finally finished going through the boxes very late at night. I can’t believe we waited as long as we did to do it. All the important things are safely packed away in labeled bins and all the junk that never mattered is now in the trash. An era gone for us.

Want to know the truth? I was near tears at some points. Going through my family’s history like that. Remembering times in my life that were both good and bad. And it made me really, really think: I hope I create a good history for my kids. I hope we do amazing things, and that we document it along the way. Part of the reason for the blog…I hope to create history for those kiddos.

And I hope someday, when they are married and have kids of their own…that they go through old boxes and remember. And feel the joy that I felt when I looked through those boxes; the good and the bad.

Live life to fullest friends!! xoxo

Happy 4th Birthday, Evelyn!

Can it really be true?!? Can my little girl really be FOUR??

Four years ago today, my baby girl pushed her way into the world in a short two hour period, six days early. When the doctor handed over my blonde haired, blue eyed girl, her wide eyes were staring right back at me…filled with intensity and curiosity. This little girl was bound and determined to get her way in life. Never one to take no for an answer, she takes life on with a vengeance and will fight for what she thinks is right. I love that about her. I also love how much she loves me. She is definitely a Momma’s girl, and I am thankful about that.

And now she is four, which of course we had to celebrate. And celebrate we did! On Friday night we invited a few good friends over to enjoy dinner and cake. I decided to not invite the entire class this year, as our family and close friends make things large anyway, and I threw this party together kinda last minute. I know shame on me. {story of my life, ha}

Anyway, we served lasagna and salad for the adults, PB&J and grapes for the kids {Evy’s favorite}…

And lots of water, since it was HOT HOT. Good grief what is up with this hot weather this early in May?!?!

My precious girl. Ummm… this was a princess party. But this is what she insisted on wearing. This is her “rockstar princess” look. Mind of her own, remember?!?! oh boy. Playing with the Lee children…

Posing for me by the cakes I made. We did Barefoot Contessa’s chocolate cake and our annual coconut cake. Roses courtesy of my blooming rose garden. One positive thing about the early heat. ;)

And we had an outfit change. Apparently “rockstar princesses” only wear tops with one sleeve. So awesome right?!?! ugh.

Hanging out with her buddy Addy.

Blowing out the candles…

Cutting the cake

Present time!

Her gift from Mumsy and Gramps…a Barbie Scooter.

Oh my word…when did she grow up!?!?!

Happy birthday sweet Evy! I love you so much! Put Jesus first in all you do, and you will succeed in life! Love you baby girl…

xoxo

Last Chance Sale!

Well, it’s almost time, and we are so excited! Our manufactured goods are coming mid summer and we are MORE than ready to step into this new phase of our lives.

In order to properly market and promote our new items, we are going to be closing the handmade line of our business indefinitely. As we’ve always said, it is our hope to have a very small boutique handmade line, but we need to get our footing with our new manufactured goods first. So…..

Our shop will go into sale mode on Friday, May 3…all our handmade items will be discounted and most of the Spring items will be available via preorder {a 2-3 week turnaround}. Our shop will close on May 15 and will remain closed until our mass produced goods arrive this summer.

This is such an exciting time for Evy’s Tree and we are so thankful for all your love and support. We look forward to sharing more info with you regarding all our new items very soon.

Big hugs and happy shopping! :)

xoxo

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