Van Gogh, I Feel You…

Posted on Apr 26, 2016 in The Buzz | 0 comments

From the desk of co-founder Mitzi Rivas:

You know that feeling when you are unexpectedly touched by something? Well last week I was standing in a gallery at the Art Institute of Chicago gazing at Van Gogh’s paintings of his bedrooms, and to my surprise, I was profoundly moved. I had known a few things about Van Gogh – that he was eccentric and suffered from mental illness – but this exhibition, Van Gogh’s Bedrooms, gave me insight into his lifelong search for “home” and how he expressed that in his paintings. He moved over 30 times trying to satisfy his longing and then finally, in 1888, he found it: his beloved Yellow House in Arles, France.

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For the first five years of Livie & Luca, I designed from my own home and I understand that human desire to have one’s own space of comfort and also the possibility of nurturing creativity within that space.  What I felt from the painting of his yellow chair was not only the peace this place brought him but the importance of celebrating the things of daily life.

I happen to love the art of people sleeping in beds, quiet celebrations of every day living.  How Van Gogh drew attention to the basic components of our daily life  - a bed, a chair, a pair of worn shoes – made me think about where Livie & Luca started.

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We are known for our whimsy and bright color but really we began with the idea of making a shoe that is as functional as possible. We thought and still think about where a shoe will be worn and how it would best suit the playground, the sidewalk, or climbing structure, how it would best serve the day-to-day movements of a child. These paintings touched me because real life is the place from which I design. Of course, like Van Gogh’s paintings, we want to make a shoe colorful and beautiful and to decorate what is at its core, a design of function.

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Being with this work made me feel like I had stepped into Van Gogh’s bedroom- into his psyche and that was both an honor and an inspiration.

Thank you dear Van Gogh,
XO, Mitzi

 

 

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Livie & Luca Joyful Foot Philosophy

Posted on Mar 31, 2016 in The Buzz |

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From the desk of co-founder Amie Garcia:

One thing you should know about me is that I never would have imagined I’d be in the retail or fashion business. I used to pride myself on thrift store finds, hand-me-down Levi’s and re-corking my Birkenstocks rather than buying a new pair. In fact, the supremely comfortable Birkenstocks have been ever present in my life because they helped me get through years of painful plantar fasciitis. And for this reason, I knew that Livie & Luca shoe designs had to be not only heart-tuggingly adorable but perfect for the healthy foot development of a child.

So, because it’s an integral part of our philosophy, I wanted to take some time to talk about how we keep your children’s feet healthy and happy.

One of the main reasons kids choose to wear Livie & Luca shoes is because they feel so good. The shoes feel good because our designs ensure that your little one’s feet are being cared for properly.

We believe that the foot should be allowed to develop naturally and that the best way to do that is with shoes that are lightweight, flexible and roomy. This allows the foot to bend, move and grow without restriction.

TOES NEED ROOM TO WIGGLE
We know that the first few years of a child’s life are a time of tremendous growth and a critical stage in foot development. Babies’ toes need room to wiggle and explore – this is why Livie & Luca shoes have a roomy toe box.

LIGHTWEIGHT FLEXIBLE SOLES
Not only is it vital to give those toes room to move around, it’s key to have a sole that’s both flexible and lightweight. Our shoes are known for these two wonderful qualities and we work hard to choose the right density soles that will best provide this. Those little feet need to be able to flex to their heart’s desire!

GENUINE LEATHER IS BEST FOR FEET
Our baby shoes are made of soft supple leather and serve to provide basic protection while allowing the foot to move and grow.  Shoes shouldn’t need to be “broken in”. They should be comfortable from the moment your child puts them on. We love leather because it’s flexible, durable and breathable too! Knowing how active kids can be, we want to provide an environment for the foot to breathe and the humidity to escape. Natural materials, such as leather, are best for this.

It’s a tall order – we need our shoes to be seriously cute, comfortable and healthy – and I think we’ve managed to pull it off.  Knowing that we’re making a product that is good for our children (and knowing our shoes are durable enough to be passed along to others!) reminds that Birkenstock and used-Levi-wearing gal, who’s still a part of me, that we’re doing the right thing.

Xo
Amie

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Happy Holidays, Solemates!

Posted on Dec 25, 2015 in The Buzz |

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Dear Solemates,

As we wrap up this year, we’ve been doing much thinking about Livie & Luca’s roots. After ten years of growth and evolution, we feel that the essence of Livie & Luca is still very much the same as when we were selling our first shoes out of the trunks of our cars. When we began, most important to us was giving, whimsy, random acts of kindness, celebrating the little things….We wanted to make a wonderfully flexible shoe that was bold and colorful, a shoe that told a story, a shoe that celebrated the beauty of detail. None of that has changed.

Over the past few weeks we’ve had the chance to talk with a few loyal customers from around the nation to find out what they love about Livie & Luca.  What we heard over and over again was they appreciate how we aren’t scared to go against the grain a little and that we design from the heart, as real people and for real people.

As we move into the New Year we continue to make it our priority to connect and know you. We want to know what makes you tick, what stories you hold, what your hopes are. We want the heart we put into our shoes to be felt by each one of you, for our shoes to become woven into the quilt of your lives.  We cherish being a part of your memories and your children’s.

So, dear Solemates, know that we will not forget our roots and what made our very first pair of shoes so magical. We will always be that local brand, have that personal touch, and honor the little things that bring us and our community joy.

Here’s to sweet packages of delight and joyful surprises in the new year—

Happy Holidays!

Mitzi & Amie

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A beautiful weekend to #spreadjoy!

Posted on Nov 10, 2015 in The Buzz |

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A few weeks ago, Livie & Luca participated in our third playground build! Over the past three years, we have dedicated our time, and 10% of your purchases at livieandluca.com, to helping rebuild parks in Richmond, CA. This year we were involved in a major renovation of John F. Kennedy Park. Our team led a beautiful paint project that turned unused asphalt into a colorful mural of leaves, streams, and flowers. Community members and volunteers came out to help paint and add their own personal touches to the revived play area.

Paint Project Before

Paint Project Before

 

Paint Project After

Paint Project After

Your purchases also allowed us to give two really special gifts to the park: 28 much needed trees to provide shade in the seven acre park AND a highly requested bike pump track for people of all ages!

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It was wonderful to spend time with the John F. Kennedy Park neighbors and we couldn’t have been happier to have the annual playground build tradition continue. Seeing the community come together and proudly contribute to such an uplifting project for their community was truly inspirational. Bonus: When our team stopped by the park this week the bike pump track was filled with kids!

Thanks for helping us make a difference, Solemates!

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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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