Saturday, 4 June 2016

To Love and Be Loved

Headwrap - Be Loved
There is only one happiness in life, to love and Be Loved. 
- George Sand

Have you ever heard a story of small beginnings that stays with you and sparks excitement or a flicker of unrest in your own life? That makes you think, "What DO I want to be when I grow up?" even though the current leader of the country is basically your age? Just saying, Justin.  

"You're 21, right Mom?" (Bandana bib and headwrap - Be Loved)
The above quote on a small plaque in Jenn's kitchen was the flame that caught fire and resulted in her shop, Be Loved.  If you've been part of the Grumbling Grace community for a while, you might remember Jenn, the brains and the boss babe behind Handmade Oh Baby. Not only did she create this cool Canadian venue to showcase makers and small businesses related to kids and babies, she had some pretty amazing plans for her own shop!
When I "met" Jenn through Instagram late last year, I was blown away by her passion for people. She's deeply engaged in social justice through supporting local charities, facilitating and promoting fair trade and handmade goods and she just cares about everybody. I couldn't wait to see what she would come up in her own shop. Her quote spoke to me too in a slightly different way. It takes a certain kind of courage to step out as grownups. To love.

As kids we're told that we can be whatever we want but the stuffing gets knocked out of us as we age. We begin to fear mistakes. I know. I'm a high school English teacher and the most common phrase I hear from kids is "I'm not good at _____ (writing, English, reading, spelling)." Wrapped up in that statement is fear, dread and hurt. Fear of spelling things wrong, dread of paragraphs and grammar and vocabulary words and hurt from past negative experiences--- red pen scrawled over personal expression until it's thoroughly defaced. The final product is so daunting that we forget that most of learning is lived and experienced as a rough draft

We lose the "love" of creativity or daring.

PEEK! (Blanket - Be Loved)

The huge learning curve of blogging I've navigated since October has cemented my belief that anything can be learned with enough time, attention, hard work (targeted Google searches) and love for what you're doing. Having a front row seat as others step out in first draft mode, whether as business owners, artists, writers or creators, has been one of the coolest side effects of social media for me this year.  

Jenn recently launched Be Loved to enormous success and I feel like I am standing holding a giant banner and cheering her on... and I think you should too. 

Gabs approves!
Be Loved Full Bloom Headwrap and Bibdana
Jenn's passion for handmade, fair trade and natural products has come to life in soft and cozy blankets, adorable kids apparel and accessories and fair trade loveys and bags. Her eye for pattern and organic fabrics that are both beautiful and practical means that everything she carries is AWESOME and I basically want to buy everything on her site (but Nathan keeps yelling things about the mortgage and feeding our children or some such thing).

"Dooooo it, Mom!"
My girls have been (copiously) wearing their handmade headwraps and bibdanas from the Be Loved collection and the unique colours and patterns have drawn comments wherever we go. 

I love the vintage feel of the Full Bloom pattern and the fabric is soft, light and adjustable. 

Full Bloom - Be Loved
Gabrielle has been living in the Firefly Dusk set since it goes with just about everything. I love pattern mixing and the black and white is such a fun contrast with so many outfits. 

Bandana bib and Headwrap - Be Loved
While the bibdanas may be more specifically for the baby crowd, I love that the headwraps will work for my girls for a few more years. Because they're so soft, both Emily and Gabrielle leave them on (MIRACLE!) and any adorable accessory that doesn't immediately get violently ripped off a head is a win in my book.

Even though I'm (obviously) obsessed with the cuteness factor of the accessories, my favourite item from Be Loved is actually not clothing related at all.

Blankie - Be Loved
 Jenn sent Gabrielle the most beautiful light-weight blankie from her organic collection and it's become a staple in our day. It's so soft, light and cozy and I love the colour and print. It's our go-to for the carseat or stroller and Gabrielle has recently started dragging it along with her everywhere she goes.

Waiting for Dad to come home.
Side note: If you aren't sure which blankie is your baby's favourite, it's the one your toddler keeps stealing to screams of indignation.
Hee hee hee. #sisters

If you love high quality, unique and fair trade pieces, I highly encourage you to follow along with Jenn on Be Loved's website, Facebook page and Instagram feed! Jenn's offering the Grumbling Grace community a 15% discount on items in her shop with the code GRACE15!

Not only that, but the response to Jenn's gorgeous patterns and accessories has been so incredible that to celebrate, she is offering an amazing giveaway! 

Jen's offering one lucky winner their choice of either a bibdana & headwrap, a bibdana and slouchy beanie, or a $35 shop credit toward a blankie or super cute new apparel!!

Enter the giveaway for an exclusive Be Loved handmade set or $35 store credit by:

1. Following myself @grumblinggrace and @shopbe.loved on Instagram.
2. Commenting on my Instagram contest post with your favourite item (outside of this adorable set) from Jenn's shop.
3. You can tag as many friends on the IG post as you'd like to receive additional entries!

As always, my email friends receive one automatic entry into the draw and if you don't have Instagram, you can share this blog post and comment with your answer below so I am sure to enter you into the draw!   

The contest ends Monday at 9am CST and is open to residents of Canada and the U.S. Good luck and happy weekend!

This post was in collaboration with Be Loved but as always, all opinions are 100% my own.

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