Petals for a Playground

Posted on Jun 16, 2014 in The Buzz |

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At Livie & Luca we are strong believers in the importance of play.  We feel it should be a basic right for children to have access to safe and stimulating play spaces no matter where they live.  The biggest way we can make an impact is by focusing in on communities where the investment of our time, money, and ourselves will make a difference.

Last year we built a playground near the Iron Triangle in a struggling neighborhood of Richmond, California.  You’ll now see members of this community sitting on park benches under the new trees watching their children climbing, swinging, playing soccer, and skateboarding.  A recent neighborhood report has shown crimes rates in the surrounding buildings have fallen by 20%.  It was such an honor to work alongside the City of Richmond, and the community, in this revitalization effort.

We realize our work in Richmond is not done and we would like to continue our mission to foster play by building another playground in the area.  The City of Richmond partnered with us to locate the community of Parchester Village, just outside the city of Richmond, because it was a place we felt could be most impacted by our efforts.

Parchester is a predominantly African American community that was built in 1949 as the first residential development in Richmond after WWII temporary housing was torn down.  At first glance, Parchester feels like a place that’s been forgotten, with its high crime rate, potholed streets, and barred windows, but underneath there is a richness of spirit and memory in the long-time residents.

We’ve gotten to know a few of the locals who talk with great pride about the vibrant and safe town Parchester used to be, and their efforts to keep its heart beating.  A local minister speaks of how they used to fish and swim at Breuner Marsh with the feeling of safety and freedom.  A woman who currently runs the only community garden in Parchester also drives around the neighborhood with her husband to offer free lawn mowing services to its residents.  They, and others, believe that a beautiful park and playground can bring people out of their houses again and encourage the rebuilding of that energized and happy community they once knew.

As with the last playground, we’ll have a Design Day where the entire community can give input on what they would most like to see at their park.  So far, a pleasant area to picnic, tether ball courts (tether ball used to be a big deal in this community!), and dugouts for the current baseball field are on the list.  We also plan on making the park a place for people of all ages, equipped with many types of sensory experiences.

When you buy a pair of these early release, multicolored Petals, you will help to bring hope and joy to the residents of Parchester.  100% of the proceeds will be used to fund this playground build.  Let’s build another playground!

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Inspired Solemates!

Posted on May 27, 2014 in The Buzz |

 

On our Facebook page we asked our Solemates to tell us about an inspiring woman in their life. We picked three stories to share with you.

 

Chrystal Patrick about her mom, Debra Silva.

 

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My mom! I don’t even know where to begin. I know a lot of people think their mom is the best but my mom is special! She’s more than just an amazing mother, nana, wife, sister, mother-in-law. She’s the most caring, generous, selfless person I know. She represents what beautiful is from the inside out. My mom, Debra Silva, is 55 and looks 25. She’s a small town girl who met my dad in 10th grade, married him at 20 and was pregnant with me 3 months later. My Dad traveled for his job (for 30 years) so he was gone every week and sometimes for more than one week in row. Which left my mom to take care of my brother and me (who she had at 27, with a miscarriage in between).

I have so many wonderful memories of mom. She was always so much fun and full of energy. She never turned us down to play. We were always outside, going to the park, going to museums, jumping on the trampoline or playing a game. In all of my 34 years my mom and have never been in a fight. She has always listened with comfort and understanding and always taken the time to explain why we could or couldn’t do something. I have always had so much respect for her.

She was always there to take us and pick us up from school and at every school party and every school event. She was always watching whether my brother and I were in gymnastics, basketball, cheer, soccer, or whatever it was we decided we wanted to participate in. She was supportive and let us know how proud she was of us. She made us every meal and always made sure we were eating healthy. She ate healthy and exercised, which she still does.  She taught us to respect our bodies and treat them well.

But the greatest gift of love my mom has given us is faith. She has always been and amazing example of a Christian. Showing us how to give by volunteering, which she continues to do, and helping others and teaching us to rely on God when things aren’t going our way. My faith has gotten me through many tough times throughout my life and I’m so blessed my mom taught us about God’s wonderful grace and love.

I feel like I could write a book about my mom. I am so blessed to have her as my mom and so blessed to have her as my daughter’s and upcoming baby’s nana! She is truly a caring, wonderful person full of light and love!

 

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Ashley Harris about her mom, Marcia White

 

Marcia and her granddaughter, Macie

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My mom is a very positive upbeat Christian woman. She strives to live her life to the fullest and puts everyone’s worries and cares in front of hers. She is a registered nurse so by nature she is a caring, warm, loving, nurturing woman. She has raised my brother and I with good morals, excellent work habits, and to treat others how you’d like to be treated. She isn’t just my mother she is my role model and best friend.

3 words to describe her: nurturing, amazing, classy.

I admire everything about her. My parents divorced when I was a small child and she raised both of us in a positive upbeat atmosphere – always encouraging and our biggest cheerleader when it came to sports and academics. Sadly, my father passed away in 2007 and we have all 3 grown closer and rely on each other. She tells me constantly how she has to love my daughter, Macie, double because her papa is in heaven. She is smitten over my daughter. She bought her a scripture artwork and constantly reminds her of it.

My mother grew up poor and wanted to prove that she was able to be the first in her generation to graduate high school and college! She did it- she is an RN with a reputable hospital and does such an amazing job. She has always instilled that we need to focus on our higher education and become college graduates. My baby brother age 23 just graduated with his bachelor’s in criminal justice and I am set to graduate fall 2014 with my bachelor’s in organizational leadership. She is beyond happy and proud of us. What an accomplishing feeling for her that both children have completed the one task she always asked us to complete.

 

Ashley and Macie

 

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 Ryan Pickett about his wife, Theresa

 

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How is Theresa inspiring to you?

Theresa is very hard working and puts her family ahead of her desires. She inspires me to be a better person and to pursue my dreams and to be a good father.

What qualities does she possess that you admire?

Theresa has a never ending quest for education and learning. She is a very creative writer. She’s a very wonderful wife and mother.

What are three words to describe her?

Smart. Passionate. Creative.

Tell us a little about Theresa

Theresa is a mother and a teacher who enjoys spending time with her family as well as going to work and teaching children. She is always working to better herself and her family. As a writer who owns Theresa’s Reviews (theresasreviews.com) and freelances for numerous publications, she rarely has time to relax. She loves to go outside in our backyard and take in nature, but usually has her laptop so she can keep writing and creating as an author. She embraces many cultures and loves to travel as well as enjoy many different cuisines from around the world. She is currently teaching her children several languages. She also stresses the importance of mathematics and science with her little girls and makes it fun for them to learn. When she wants to let loose, she sings and dances with her eldest daughter, Samantha.

Can you share a story about her life?

Theresa finished undergraduate school at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida because my father passed away and I wanted to move closer to my mom to help out regularly. Even though we weren’t dating that long, Theresa was such a caring person and so in love that she moved across the country, dropped out of the school she was attending, and enrolled in a new school for me. I couldn’t have made it through that time without her.

How did the two of you meet?

We met while I was attending film school and she was auditioning for a role in a film. We went on to work on numerous projects together, including the award winning short film Look (2009), in which Theresa was the lead actress and producer, and the movie won numerous awards. We spent a lot of the first few months together just creating and imagining what the movie would look like. Countless hours of working together led to many date nights, travels, and eventually a wedding near the beach. Since we met making a movie together, movies will always be a shared passion in our lives.

Theresa, Ryan and their girls

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Thank you, Solemates, for sharing the inspiring women in your lives!

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Our New Logo

Posted on May 23, 2014 in The Buzz |

 

Dear Solemates,

We want you to know of an exciting new change at Livie & Luca: we have updated our logo!  The caterpillar on our logo, as we well know, is a symbol of change. When we first designed our logo we were drawn to this wonderful curious creature because of its slow and purposeful metamorphosis – and because of how darn cute it is! As a company we’ve grown slowly, purposefully and transformed since our beginnings in 2005. We felt that our logo needed a small update so that it is more in tune with who we are as a business today.

Don’t worry, the caterpillar stays, she just looks more organic (think patched-together thumbprints) and has a friend. And instead of that perfect circle in the middle, we’ve used an imperfect circle, which we believe is more true to who we are. Because we, just like our caterpillar friends, are a little wacky on the edges, always evolving, and striving for something beautiful.

Love,
Mitzi & Amie

 

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Pro Tempore May 2014

Posted on May 15, 2014 in The Buzz |

Pro Tempore is a special collection of limited edition Livie & Luca shoes ready just in time for summer! This Pro Tempore collection comes in three colors of Ruche: Orchid Shimmer, Cornflower Shimmer and Rose Shimmer.

 

 

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The collection is offered only at 70 hand- picked stores throughout the nation and will be coming soon to livieandluca.com. Here is a list of stores:

ALABAMA:

Bananas Parties & Boutique

If The Shoe Fits

Kicks Shoes For Kids

Lily Pads

Sikes

Wagners Shoes

 

ARKANSAS:

Katiebugs Kids

Shoe Choo Train Conway

Toggery

 

CALIFORNIA:

Bows or Knot

Bunnies Picnic

Divine Decor

Hopscotch Shoes

Puddles

Swanky Little Baby

Wear to Buy

 

FLORIDA:

Little Red

Stephens Chiropractic Center

 

GEORGIA:

Lollipops Childrens Boutique

Rockin Robin Waycross

Toads Teacups Childrens Shop

 

INDIANA:

O Child Childrens Boutique

Piper Boutiques Valparaiso

Smiths Shoe Center

 

KENTUCKY:

Polka Dot Door

 

LOUISIANA:

Bundle of Joy

Cutie Patootie

 

MICHIGAN:

Minime Baby Gear

Snapdragon Boutique

 

MISSISSIPPI:

Giggles

Rileys

 

MONTANA:

Little Angels Childrens Boutique

 

NORTH CAROLINA:

Dragonflies Inc.

Hansel & Gretel

Polliwogs Childrens Boutique

The Posh Closet

 

OKLAHOMA:

Lustella Childrens Boutique

 

SOUTH CAROLINA:

Precious Little Shoes

Lindas Stride Rite

Honey Child

The Pink Trunk

Shoe Lala

 

TENNESSEE:

Coco Lily

Cotton Tails Inc.

Hadley and Finn

Lonnie Youngs Shoes

The Sandbox

The Uniform Shop

Zoe and Friends

 

TEXAS:

The Posh Petunia

Sunshine Square

 

WASHINGTON:

Twig & Sprout

 

ONLINE RETAILERS:

Addy’s Closet

Beaner and Boo

Bella Studio

Berry Styles Kids Shoes

Dizzy Desi

Everything But The Princess

Lil Lamb Shop

Lille Butik

Little Abbey Boutique

Little Fox Fashions

Little Monkey Toes

My Little Jules

Posh and Prissy

Ready Set Grow

Shoes For Little Feet

Sister Closet Boutique

Smockingbird LLC

Snapdragons Baby

 

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Our friend, Olivia

Posted on May 9, 2014 in The Buzz |

 

May is National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month and we wanted to honor one of our photo shoot models, Olivia Dean, who was diagnosed with the disease at birth. Below you’ll see photos of adorable Olivia and read about her through the words of her parents, Natalie and Luke.

You’ll also see links to the CF foundation’s website and Olivia’s sponsorship page.

Thanks for sharing your story, Natalie and Luke. We are thrilled to have Olivia as part of the L&L family.

 

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My name is Natalie Dean. My husband Luke and I have a two year old daughter, Olivia who has Cystic Fibrosis.

When we first found out I was pregnant with our first child, Luke and I were both in a state of shock. We weren’t trying to start a family at that time, but after the initial shock wore off we both were ecstatic about becoming new parents and growing our family from two to three. During my pregnancy I was tested positive as a CF carrier and we decided to go ahead and have Luke tested as well. He tested negative and as a result we thought we were in the clear.

Olivia was born without complications and seemed like a normal, healthy baby. Soon after, however, Olivia wasn’t gaining enough weight and didn’t have a bowel movement within the first few days. Our pediatrician was concerned and sent us over to Kaiser in San Carlos where specialists examined Olivia and tried to diagnose the problem. They did a quick fix that got her back on track, but what we thought was just a small hiccup was just the beginning. After a few weeks, Olivia still wasn’t gaining weight and had dropped a full pound since birth. At that point, her doctors diagnosed Olivia with “failure to thrive.” Our pediatrician sent us to see a pulmonology specialist where a sweat test was done on Olivia and she was immediately put on enzymes.  Olivia began gaining weight immediately and the results of the sweat test and newborn screening confirmed that our daughter had Cystic Fibrosis. One of the most devastating things you can hear as a parent is that your child has a life-threatening disorder. It’s not normal to think that you might outlive your child and there is nothing you can do to change that. What we soon realized though, was that if our daughter was going to have CF, this was the generation to have it with all the new up and coming drug research being done.

Since then, Olivia has been gaining weight and growing strong. It is a blessing that she has contracted only a handful of bacteria’s including Pseudomonas and has yet to be hospitalized. Like most two-year -olds, she is a mix of curiosity, energy, and an independent spirit all her own. Her lively personality is such that anyone who knows her or is around her is captured by her sweetness and joy. Luke and I are not naive to the fact that this healthy stretch in her life can quickly change, which is why we need people like you to help raise awareness and funds to find a cure for our children and friends with Cystic Fibrosis.

Thank You!

Here’s my sponsorship page:

 

And here is the foundations direct website:
www.cff.org

 

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An Interview with Oilily

Posted on Apr 9, 2014 in The Buzz |

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Welcome to the blog and thank you for answering our questions!

How did you get where you are today? ‬‬‬

Dutch fashion house Oilily has been a hallmark of creativity in the cupboard of women and children since 1963.  Virtuoso use of color, cultural influences, playful details and a certified high quality has brought Oilily a large number of fans and faithful customers around the globe.‬‬

What are a few words you would use to describe your brand?

Creativity, beauty and joy‬‬‬‬.‬

What are the core values of your company?

Our brand values are:
Creativity: We like to play with classic design by merging elements of seemingly opposing conventions in order to create a new convention: Modern beauty.  An Oilily Product – In essence – is best described as the result of ‘clashing conventions’.
Vibrancy: We have changed the rules of the industry by creating bold color combinations such as red, pink and orange.  What sets us apart from other brands is that we like to combine colors that do not mix easily.  It is our way to create a virtuoso and compelling color palette.
Craftsmanship: Everything we create represents a high level of workmanship and exudes prestige by a handmade look and feel.  Dots are not perfectly round and stripes are not as straight as an arrow.  It takes a great eye for detail to work this way.  That is why we like to call it ‘The Perfect Imperfection’.
Eclectic: We like to mix and match high quality materials from different corners of the world.  We try to use these materials in new ways.  This notion captures the dynamic core of our collections and it fuels the premium feel of our product.
Playfulness: We think life is worth celebrating everyday.  That is why we add a humorous touch or an unconventional detail in everything we create.  We hope it puts a smile on your face.

Tell me about the origin of the company’s name?

Olly’s used to be the name of company.  It was the nickname of founder Willem Olsthoorn.  By the time Olly’s became more popular, a Swiss company of children’s clothing named Molly’s filed a lawsuit and forced Olly’s to change its name.  Two ‘i’s were added and the name OILILY was born.‬‬‬

Can you tell me about one of your biggest challenges as a CEO/Founder/CBO?‬‬‬‬

Our biggest challenge is to find dedicated employee’s that share our beliefs and instinctively feel what is necessary to reach the level workmanship we want to achieve.  Consistency is very important in our business.

How do you see the company moving forward in the next five or ten years?‬‬‬

Oilily likes to play with classic design conventions.  We turn and twist them a little bit just so we create our own design convention.  An Oilily product – in essence – is the result of ‘clashing conventions’.  The next five or ten years we will develop more and more into a brand that stands out because of this design philosophy.  Our playfulness will make difference.

What are your hopes for the company?‬‬

We hope that our customers continue to appreciate the uniqueness and creativity our designs exude.

How do you think one of your employees would describe what it’s like to work for the company?‬‬‬‬‬

It takes hard work and dedication, but it is fun to be part of a brand that was built on creativity.

At Livie & Luca we put a lot of emphasis on Sustainability in the largest sense. What does the word mean to you and your company?‬‬ ‬‬‬

Oilily strives for sustainable growth in product categories that are a natural fit to our brand and in markets that are familiar with our heritage.  We try to create products with respect for mankind and nature.

Thank you, Oilily!

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Flotsam Flotilla!

Posted on Mar 26, 2014 in The Buzz |

 

REI, The Watershed Project and the Coastal Commission recently invited Livie & Luca on a tour of the San Francisco Bay by kayak, aka the Flotsom Flotilla!  Earlier this month our intrepid group set out to experience the beauty of the South Richmond Shoreline and more specifically to learn about the impact of pollution on its ecosystem.

The city of Richmond, which has a special place in our hearts because of our playground build, has one of the loveliest shorelines along the bay. The purpose of the project is to draw corporate awareness not only to its beauty and history, but also to the plight of its flora and fauna due to pollution and trash.

The Watershed Project works to restore and preserve the SF Bay’s unique ecosystems and brings a watershed perspective to the urban environment, promoting green design and supporting natural cycles. Martha and Juliana of the Watershed Project educated us on the history of the Richmond shore as well as the effects of pollution.  During our journey we made a pit stop at a beach to collect trash, mostly single serving wrappers – the biggest pollutant of the bay.

With their many years of kayaking experience and expertise, Karl and Robyn of REI  gave us a kayak lesson and led our group’s journey. REI encourages the active conservation of nature and inspires the responsible use and enjoyment of the outdoors and also donates millions of dollars a year to conservation efforts nation-wide, such as this one.

We are inspired by the work of these two organizations and Livie & Luca is honored to have participated in this exercise of stewardship of our local environment.

 

Livie & Luca ready for a challenge!
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Training session!

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Mark is right at home with the paddle!

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Erica and Amie run aground

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Excitement from Allison and Brittany

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Pretty Beach – time to collect some trash

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Erica and Mitzi rockin’ their gear

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