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Today is an extra special day, because I’m finally sharing this insanely gorgeous flamingo pineapple Summer styled shoot! This collaboration was a true labor of love between a few of my favorite women-owned businesses: Le Zu Photography, Hopi Tepees, and Festivities TX.

The women behind these local brands put their hearts into this project, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about how it turned out. Every single detail was ON POINT, and if you’re planning on throwing a flamingo party or pineapple party, this flamingo pineapple Summer styled shoot will be serious inspo for your soul!

Hopi Tepees is a local company that offers upscale slumber parties in the Greater Houston Area for up to 12 kids. You give them a theme, and they make the magic happen! They had the cutest props and decor for this flamingo pineapple Summer theme, and totally made me want to crawl in myself. Can you imagine being a little kid and showing up to a party like this?! 10-year-old me would have passed out from excitement!

Festivities TX brought the insanely creative balloon decor. Everything from that balloon garland on the wall, to the beautiful XL balloons with tassels shown above… she does it all. Margaret has lended her creative services to another shoot I worked on last year: the HYPE Freedom School shoot. Remember that balloon Christmas tree? ALL HER.

And of course, my girl Layla from Le Zu Photography. She is the creative genius behind all of my brand shoots, and I can’t even count how many times we’ve teamed up. She really outdid herself this time. It also helps that now she has her very own studio — congrats girl! — which was the perfect setting for this memorable shoot.

One of my favorite parts about this shoot was that my daughters and Michelle from Hopi Tepees’ daughter Lily were the models! My daughter Naomi and Lily have been friends for years (and Tova is always in the mix), so they really felt like they were on a giant play date with extra-fun decor and delicious snacks from Dessert Gallery.

The girls totally crushed it. It was a long shoot, and they managed to keep it together the entire time. I was so proud of them.

We designed the Fay flamingo dress and the Penelope pineapple dress just for this shoot and launched them last week. They’re both already almost sold out! I had to keep a couple for my kids, because how cute are they?! If my kids ever need a flamingo party dress or a pineapple party dress, we will be totally set. And the Addison gold polka dot dress is a new addition to the shop as well; it would make the perfect tulle flower girl dress!

Hope you enjoyed the pics from this gorgeous flamingo pineapple Summer styled shoot! Can’t wait to show you the other themes we shot that day. xo

The post Flamingo Pineapple Summer Styled Shoot appeared first on The Cuteness.

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Hard to believe that we’re already looking the Fourth of July in the the face! Summer is well underway, and I’m excited to highlight the best Summer dresses for girls today. I don’t know where you live, but in Texas, it is HOT. Like REALLY, REALLY HOT. So my girls are constantly asking for comfortable breathable dresses that are cute and twirly. It’s pretty much both of their Summer uniforms.

We usually launch Spring/Summer, Fall/Winter and Holiday  collections (with a few surprises sprinkled in along the way!), but this year we decided to add a Summer ’19 capsule collection filled with incredible boho dresses for girls and boho rompers for babies. These pieces are ideal for special occasions, like birthday parties, cake smashes, weddings and even back to school.

You guys are constantly asking or more vintage inspired dresses for girls, so why not give the people what they want, right?!

The Posie dress is probably my favorite dress from this collection. Not just because the fabric is to die for, but it is made of double gauze cotton and feels like a swaddle blanket! It’s one of the best Summer dresses for girls we’ve ever made. I know I shouldn’t be choosing favorites, but I’m obsessed.

The beautiful lace details on the Lennon dress are a boho dream! This dress is the cutest flower girl dress for a boho or vintage inspired wedding, a birthday party, or just a regular ol’ Tuesday.

Seriously. How dang cute is this dress?! I love this pinafore silhouette — we’ve done this silhouette before and it’s always a big hit — and extra-love it in this floral wreath cotton print. Floral wreaths are all the rage at weddings and boho parties… why not wear them on your dress?! The Evangeline dress is beautiful in every way.

The gorgeous Adora swan lace dress is ideal for your little boho swan, and perfect if you’re having a swan themed party. This blush pink dress is as soft as can be, and I love how twirly it is. If you’re got a boho themed party coming up, this will be your go to dress!

These are just a few of my favorite Summer dresses for girls currently available at cuteheads.com. Go see what else we’ve been working on, and shop all of our limited edition dresses and rompers while they last!

The post The Best Summer Dresses for Girls appeared first on The Cuteness.

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A few years ago, when I was deep in the thick of blogging (those were the days!), I was invited to join my friend Lauren’s blogger networking group she named the Boxwoods Breakfast Club. I knew many of the girls in it already, and I was excited to get to know more of the incredible ladies in this group.

Cut to now: I have more kids, less time, I’m laser-focused on growing my clothing brand, and less focused on my blog. But it’s still something I care about, and the women I’ve met through this group have become real friends that I love seeing (at least) once a month.

I’ve alluded to this in my VIP Facebook group, but the first quarter of the year was nothing short of unmanageable. My stress levels have been through the roof, and I’d been feeling it both physically and mentally. I can always tell when I’m doing way too much because little things start to get to me, I’m more forgetful, I have trouble sleeping, and I worry more about things out of my control. NOT a great way to go through life, especially when two little kids need you to be on your A game.

So.

I’ve made a conscious decision to cut back. Cut back on my commitments, cut back on my stress level, cut back on anything that adds to my stress level. I’m only about two weeks into my commitment to destressing, and I’m already feeling the effects. Sleep is better, I’m managing both family and business life better, and I’m much, much happier.

Cheese for breakfast! Why not?!

Last week was another meeting of the Boxwood Breakfast Club, and for the first time ever, cuteheads was the sponsor! I loved hosting everyone and gifting everyone with a beautiful cuteheads dress or romper and lots of other goodies.

But even more, I loved catching up with these incredible women, learning from them, and feeling inspired by them. They’re all working so incredibly hard, and each one has something so beautiful and unique to offer. I left breakfast feeling completely inspired, and it got me thinking about all the ways I’m working on staying inspired, motivated and destressed these days.

I thought I’d share six of them with you now, in case you too are struggling with unmanageable stress, anxiety, or just a case of the blues. Here are six ways to feel inspired right now:

1. Change your environment. Sometimes after a long day of sitting alone, in silence, behind a computer screen in an office in which I forgot to turn the light on, I feel sluggish and down. And it’s no wonder why. If I start to feel this way, sometimes I grab a kid or two and we take a stroll around the block. Or I run a quick errand. Or I sometimes just walk outside for a few minutes for some fresh air. Even something as small as that can have a profound effect on my mood, so I’ve been practicing getting up from my desk more often, moving around, and BREATHING when I start to feel blah.
2. Change your routine. Sometimes our routines can actually turn into ruts without us even knowing it. It’s easy to get trapped in a pattern that can leave us uninspired. Go to a different coffee shop for your morning latte. Something that simple can break you out of your mind cage. I find that going through my closet and actually getting dressed for the day in something I haven’t worn in awhile, or eating something different for lunch can help my mood too.
3. Get together with a friend. When I’m feeling anxiety or stress, usually the last thing I want to do is interact with other humans. I’ve learned over the years that I’m much more of an introvert than I ever knew (according to the personality test I took, it’s about 50/50), so being around people can be draining for me. On the other hand, I spend a lot of my time alone replying to emails, updating the website and creating new products, and it’s very easy for me to go days without seeing or talking to friends. Connecting with someone face to face or even on the phone — even and especially when I don’t want to — always gets me out of my head and gives me a mood boost.
4. STOP HUSTLING SO HARD. There’s been a lot of chatter lately about how detrimental this hustle culture is to people’s well-being. Not only is it not that safe to work so hard you want to pass out, but it also can lead to guilt (am I working hard enough?), comparison (are other people working harder than me?) and eventual burnout (I can’t work anymore!). Stop worrying about your hustle, and start focusing on how to get good work done without burning yourself down.

5. Get out from behind the screen. I think we can all agree that social media, while a necessary evil, is still kind of evil, right? Is there literally anyone out there who isn’t negatively affected by social media in some way? The very first thing to go from my life when I’m feeling less-than is social media. Yes, I need it for work, so I’ll usually focus on my work-related social media tasks, but as far as the personal stuff, I stay away. It’s not selfish… it’s self-preservation.

6. Clean your workspace. A cluttered desk = a cluttered mind. If you’re feeling stifled or blah, just tidy up your space. Maybe your closet needs a refresh; Marie Kondo the whole thing! Or maybe your kids’ playroom is looking like a disaster zone. Head in there for a few minutes and straighten some things up. It really can have a magical effect on your mood.

Lastly, I have to add that this whole “good vibes only” thing is kind of a crock, isn’t it? Why must we ONLY have good vibes?

No one thinks positively all the time, and sometimes it’s impossible to always have happy thoughts or meditate the bad feelings away. I’ve been reading about toxic positivity and positivity culture lately, and just like negativity can be toxic, positivity can be too. Something I’ve learned is that if I’m having negative thoughts, sometimes that’s okay. I feel peace in knowing that the thoughts will eventually pass, but I also know that it’s fine to feel crappy if that’s how I’m feeling.

In the moment, lemme just be negative for a sec, k?

I’ll end on that note. Take care of yourself, and take care of those around you. Find the things and people that inspire you and change your attitude if it’s bringing you down.

But don’t beat yourself up if you can’t.

xo

A few more of my favorite pics from Friday morning…

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Greetings, friends!

Somehow we basically skipped over January, because it was over before it began. Anyone else feel that way? It was a complete whirlwind, and somehow I made it out with my sanity… I hope you did too!

One of the items that has been very near the top of my to do list is sharing a recap of the final shoot of 2018: the collab between cuteheads, Joy Sewing of the Houston Chronicle, and HYPE Freedom School. This is a cuteheads collab I’ve been dying to share with you!

Joy is well known in Houston for doing wonderful charitable work through her newly-minted foundation Year of Joy, and we actually have a very popular dress called the Joy, so I called her up to see if there was some way for us to partner on a project that would give back but also be fun and different.

She proposed teaming up with the HYPE Freedom School, an organization I hadn’t heard of but one that Joy spoke very highly of. They provide parents and their children with access to educational enrichment activities outside normal school hours. They specifically target children from Houston’s most disadvantaged communities by providing Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools® programs.

This sounded exactly like the type of organization I’d be proud to be associated with. It was exactly in line with the work we’re doing with Brave, Strong Girls, giving girls the opportunity to participate in a photoshoot just for them that makes them feel beautiful, strong and confident.

So we enlisted the help of local creatives and small businesses to create a day that four little girls will never forget.

Each girl was given her own Joy dress and new shoes to match. From there, they were treated to a photoshoot, both individual and group shots, by the talented Layla-Yasmin Hillail. They were gifted gorgeous baskets from Bering’s, full of fun toys and games. They snacked on delicious treats from Violette’s Delights. And who could forget the gorgeous event styling and decor by Crowning Details and the incredible balloons (that tree!) by Festivities TX? HEB provided the floral, and they definitely added the wow factor!

Seeing the smiles on the girls’ (and their parents!) faces made it all worth it. It will go down as one of my favorite days ever as a business owner. I always say that a dress can be so much more than a dress; what we wear is an expression of our individuality and can help us shine. Our clothing can have an actual psychological effect on our mood and attitude, so it gave me a lot of joy to give this gift to these girls.

Many thanks to the wonderful Joy Sewing of the Houston Chronicle, who brought us together with the HYPE Freedom school and actually ran the photos alongside a full page article in the Houston Chronicle! That was definitely the icing on the cake. Thank you to the HYPE Freedom School for introducing us to these four very special girls, and for assisting us in bringing this to life. And thank you to our amazing vendors, who gave their time, resources and creativity to make this happen.

Excited for more community work in 2019. If you have any ideas for a cuteheads collab, or are interested in teaming up with us for a unique and creative project, don’t hesitate to reach out. xo

The post RECAP: cuteheads collab with HYPE Freedom School x Joy Sewing from Year of Joy appeared first on The Cuteness.

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Hard to believe that 2018 is coming to a close, and yet here we are. It’s been QUITE a year. So many incredible things happened, and some not-so-good. At the end of each year, I like to take stock, see where I started and where I am now. Taking a step back is always good; it can give us clarity and help us understand what changes we need to make moving forward as well as be grateful for all we’ve accomplish.

Photo by Katlin Shuherk, Arabella dress 

I’m not one for new years resolutions. Let’s be honest, no one ever keeps them. And there’s no day like today to start or change something you want to start or change. But I am big on goal-setting, and I’d like to share with you the goals I set for myself this year as well as whether I was able to keep (or not keep) them.

One of my main goals for last year was to figure out my “why.” Why were people buying cuteheads? What did this brand mean to them? We zeroed in on why people shop here when they have literally thousands of other options, and we were able to solidify who we are in just a few words: cute, girly and one of a kind.

Photo by Lourdes Camarillo, Happy Everything Collection

The next step was to actually implement them and live them. I knew we weren’t Amazon. We would never be Amazon. We weren’t going to wow people with free overnight delivery and free returns. We weren’t going to get the product to them at the speed of light. But what we could do was create a beautiful, special, locally-made, sustainable product that both kids and parents would love as well as trust.

So we doubled down on that mission, and made gorgeous clothing for girls within our age demographic and we grew from there. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone — and yes, we made some missteps in some of our styles — we stayed in our lane and became even more “cute, girly, and one of a kind.” People started to know and understand who we are just by looking at our dresses. They understood that when they needed something extra-special for a birthday, holiday, school picture or event, we were the place to go. No one else was going to have what they found in our shop. And that’s what kept people coming back.

Photo by Le Zu Photography of blogger Alice Kerley from Lonestar Looking Glass, Freya romper sold out

Of course, we’ve had some growing pains. Orders shipped late due to high volume, wrong sizes delivered due to shipping too fast, and more. But overall, we focused on making our customers happy by offering great customer service and a product they would love. We definitely didn’t get it right every time, but we will continue to improve and look for new ways to do things better and more seamlessly in 2019.

We also raised thousands of dollars through our Brave, Strong Girls project. Earlier in the year, I was feeling helpless, like the hate and bigotry in our country was growing like a weed you couldn’t kill, getting life and sustenance from all the misinformation that’s available to us. So I created Brave, Strong Girls to combat these feelings and take some ownership in the fight against hate. Are we changing everyone’s minds? No. But we’re changing some. We’re spreading awareness. We’re building girls up and giving them confidence. And I’m very proud of the work we’re doing and will continue to do into next year.

Brave, Strong Girl Hailey

Brave, Strong Girl Ellis

Brave, Strong Girl Maya

We ended the year by partnering for #yearofjoy with Joy Sewing, the fashion and beauty editor of the Houston Chronicle, to create a beautiful styled shoot for 4 deserving girls from the HYPE Freedom School. We gave each of them a Joy dress and gave them beautiful gifts, sweet treats and both pictures and a short film that they can keep forever. The images from that shoot will be on the blog in the next couple of days, and they ran in last week’s edition of the Houston Chronicle! What a way to end the year.

Photos by Le Zu Photography, Joy dresses shown here

My oldest daughter Naomi is old enough to understand what I do now, and she came with me to multiple shoots and pop-ups, including our shoot with HYPE. I marveled at watching her want to pitch in and help, carry props, welcome the girls and of course, eat cookies. It was fulfilling to see the pride it brought her to see her mom doing something so meaningful. My #tinyintern isn’t so tiny anymore.

On top of all of this, we sold thousands of dresses this year and far exceeded last year. It has been a true joy to see people embrace cuteheads, and seeing how much people love it reminds me of what I always say: a dress is more than just a dress. We worked with tons of new, incredible photographers, we made a conscious effort to focus on representation and inclusion, and we turned many customers into friends.

Personally, this year had its up’s and down’s. Most people know that my mom died of breast cancer when I was 18, but they don’t know that two years ago, I was diagnosed as BRCA2+, meaning I am at a much higher risk for breast cancer. Like 90% chance. So while I figure out how to handle this, I am undergoing high-risk monitoring.

Back in May, during a routine mammogram, my radiologist found something. A biopsy revealed that it was not cancerous, but those two weeks were the scariest of my life. I was sick with worry, wondering whether I would be facing what my own mom faced when I was a kid, wondering if my girls were going to have to see my go through what she went through. I am so lucky that I have access to good healthcare and great doctors, and THANK GOODNESS for early detection. My commitment to free mammograms is strong, and I can’t wait to do a project to raise awareness for organizations like The Rose, where women can get free breast cancer screenings, in 2019.

I also made a commitment at the beginning of this year to try to unclench, to be more patient with my kids, my husband and myself. I wasn’t perfect, but I did make major strides in this arena, and I feel much more inner peace a result. I am definitely not what you would call a “chill mom,” and I have to fight my nature to learn how to relax and go with the flow. I’ll continue to work on that in 2019. Definitely a work in progress.

I am so honored to have been a small part of your life this year, whether your daughter wore a cuteheads dress for a special occasion, or you’ve just been following this journey for awhile. I look forward to what tomorrow brings for cuteheads, for me and mine, and for you and yours. Cheers.

xo,

Esther

The post cuteheads Year in Review appeared first on The Cuteness.

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Brave, Strong Girls is a series from cuteheads that aims to shine the spotlight on special girls who have faced challenges in their young lives and continue to be examples to their friends and strangers alike. Through this series, we hope to show that different is beautiful and that the things that make us unique make us special.

Each girl will have a special dress designed and named for her and a photoshoot just for her. Dresses will be sold at cuteheads.com and all the profits from the sales of these dresses will be donated to the charity of the mother’s choice. 

To her friends and family, Maya is just a normal girl, who loves dresses, twirling and gymnastics. She is friendly, funny and a great sister to her twin brother, Max.

But unlike many girls, Maya was born Josh. Maya is transgender, and at 8 years old, she has already faced more challenges than most little girls. She is navigating a new normal, learning how to cope with everyday situations that arise from the life she is living, and doing it with bravery and strength.

Today, thanks to her incredible parents, Maya has transitioned to living life as a girl, the way she feels she was meant to be. Her parents, Lisa and Jeff, have been on an unbelievable journey through raising a transgender child, and they sat down with me to discuss what that journey has been like, not only for them but for Josh at the time, now Maya.

Even as I edit their story, I have tears in my eyes. Not from sadness, but from the overwhelming love and strength that it takes for parents to provide such unconditional love that their child feels safe and supported to make such a brave and difficult decision.

The shoot itself was emotional; we all had tears in our eyes, including Maya, who faces the same challenges all girls face. Am I pretty? Am I enough? Eight years old is a difficult age on its own without the added emotional and physical things Maya is tackling. Working on this has opened my eyes, and I’m grateful to be able to tell their story.

You will read the story of a family who did not choose this path, the path of raising a transgender child, but have navigated it with grace, open minds, and love. You will read the words of a young girl who is choosing to be who she is, and has felt called to share her story not only for herself but for others. With that, meet Lisa and Maya.

The proceeds from the sales of the Maya dress will be donated to Equality Texas. The Maya dress is now available at cuteheads.com.

FROM LISA:

cuteheads:  I think it would be extremely informative to the readers if you could explain
Maya’s story and your family’s process helping Maya to transition.

Lisa: We found out we were expecting twin boys 8 Years ago and began planning for there
arrival and imagining their futures. Little did we know that the gender revealed at our 15
week check up might not true. Our kids Josh and Max at the time began preschool at 15
months. Every single morning he would arrive at school and head straight to the dress up
clothes and put on a “princess dress”. He would cry at the end of the day when he had to
take it off. We also noticed for the first time Joshua was excited around toys and yet he
was only gravitating towards the dolls or toys that mostly girls love. We began to joke
that he was gay or as my husband used to say “we have a flamer”. We didn’t care, and I
even joked to my girlfriends that if he was gay at least he would never leave me! You see,
you can wrap your mind around having a gay child, but it never occurs to you that I
might have a Transgender one. To be honest, I didn’t really know any
trans people.

At about 2.5 the questions began:
• When is my penis going to fall off?
• Why can’t I wear a nightgown to sleep?
• Can a fairy g-d mother make me in to a girl?
• When is my hair going to be long like Rapunzel’s?
• When will I get my boobies?
• Why did g-d make a mistake and put me ink the wrong body?
• Can I cut my penis off?

We knew then that this was more than gay… we knew we needed to see a psychologist
and fast because we had no clue how to respond to these questions! So we asked Max’s
neurologist for a referral for Joshua and we began to see Dr. Axelrad, who, at our first
appointment, taught us some new terminology we weren’t familiar with. She explained
that gender is a spectrum, not a binary. That gender was different from sexuality and that
Joshua was Gender Non-Conforming.

I no clue what that meant, but she explained that this diagnosis was just a catch-all term for kids who were displaying characteristics that didn’t match the societal constraints for their assigned gender. In other other words, kids who acted or had displayed traits that didn’t match their biological gender. She explained further that some kids in this category grow up to be gay, some grow up heteronormative, and some are transgender. She told us that only time would tell which Joshua would end up being.

At about 5 years old, the kids were in different classes. Every day, Josh wanted to
dress in the dress up clothes and had begun asking at home if he could wear girls clothes
everyday. Dr. Axelrad informed us that we needed to allow Joshua the freedom to dress in
girls clothes and that we should go to Target that very day after we leave the appointment
and pick out some new clothing. In that moment, I honestly felt as thought my heart was
breaking because I knew the direction things were heading and I knew it meant all the
dreams and ideas I had about raising twin boys were going to be destroyed. Nevertheless,
I took Josh straight to target, my heart pounded as we entered the girls clothing section.
Joshua squealed with delight immediately picking the prettiest party dresses instead of
the every day play clothes I had expected to buy. I indulged him and purchased the dress
and a matching headband, anxious to get out of the store.

The very next morning, Joshua insisted on wearing his new outfit. I had a knot in my
stomach and was worried about not having had time to warn the teachers in advance, but
given the doctor’s advice to allow Josh the freedom to dress without any judgement we let
him.

He was thrilled at breakfast that morning, twirling around the kitchen in the blue
dress. The car ride there he was brimming with joy. When we arrived at school, I was
nervous. As I went to open the car door, I felt my cheeks flush and turn bright red with
embarrassment. I immediately thought, “everyone must be looking at us.” We approached
the front of the building when a classmate approached saw us and giggled to her father
“oh daddy look, Josh is dressed like a girl, isn’t that silly!” The little girl who only
commented innocently about Josh triggered a panic in Josh that I had never seen before.

He literally crawled under my shirt and froze, he wouldn’t move an inch and wouldn’t
come out from his hiding spot. We headed to the school office where we met with the
counselor who helped to calm Josh down and Josh was able to express his fear of what
kids might say. I had brought a change of clothes and offered Josh the option to change,
but he insisted on staying in the dress. Finally we told him he had to join the rest of the
class and we walked to the library where the whole grade was. There was an audible
reaction with lots of kids pointing and giggling and commenting on Josh wearing a dress.
Josh ran straight to his teachers lap and hid his face with his hands. Max stood up and
shouted to the rest of the group to “be quiet, don’t be mean to my brother, be nice.” He
then went to his brother and grabbed his hands and kissed them, trying to comfort him.

This was the major turning point for our family, as Josh discovered it meant more to be
able to be herself, even if it meant having a negative reaction from others. We saw how
much she needed this. Shortly after, she requested we change her name and pronouns.
We then gave her a list of girl names that her dad and I both liked with the same initials.
She insisted on reversing the initials from her first and middle name and selected the
name Maya Juliana.

cuteheads: What an incredible story, especially Max’s reaction at school. How is Max dealing with your family’s new normal, now that Maya has transitioned?

Lisa: When we explained to Max that we were going to start calling Josh a new name and she was going to be his sister now, he reacted as if it was no big deal. He informed us that he always new Josh was going to be a girl when he grew up. He is very supportive of her
and has stood up for her when she has been bullied by other kids. I don’t think the
dynamic changed in their relationship they still have the same twin bond they always had.

cuteheads: You touched on speaking with the counselors and teachers. How did you address Maya’s transition at her school, with her friends and their families?

Lisa: We were open with the school from the time Maya was diagnosed as Gender Non-
conforming and they were very supportive from the start. Once Maya began her transition, we made an effort to provide resources to the school and made sure they were in
communication with our doctor and knew how to best support her. With regards to her classmates and their parents we, tried to communicate openly and honestly about what was going on. I let the other parents know they could ask us any questions and tried to provide some suggested language about how to explain her transition to their kiddos at home.

cuteheads: What are some of the struggles Maya faces?

Lisa: In addition to facing adversity and bullying from society and her peers, Maya also
struggles daily with Gender Dysphoria and has a strong aversion to her genitals. She
struggles with anxiety and has told us that she thinks about why g-d made her this way
every day.

cuteheads: Has Maya experienced bullying since coming forward as a transgender individual?

Lisa: The sad reality is that Maya has and will continue to experience bullying for being trans. She knows that not everyone understands or accepts gender diversity and she knows that sometimes people who don’t understand something might be mean or intolerant.

cuteheads: What has been the reaction from friends, family and even strangers toward you
and your husband?

Lisa: For the most part, our community has been wonderfully supportive of our family’s
journey and have shown Maya unconditional love. Unfortunately, there are always some
people with small minds, and we have had negative reactions from some family members
and strangers. We have learned that life is too short to care what others think. It was
particularly painful to have to cut ties with some family members, but we decided early on
that we could not have anyone in our lives who weren’t 100% on board with Maya’s
transition. We had to transition along with Maya and this was all part of the process for us
as parents.

We choose now to focus on all of our amazing family and friends who have stood by us
and we just ignore the ones who haven’t.

cuteheads: What have been some of her greatest triumphs and wins?

Lisa: Everyday that she goes out in to the world as her true self is a win! But I would say one of the pivotal moments was the day she first came out at school. She saw that kids would be cruel and chose to live her truth regardless. How many adults are that brave that they expose their biggest insecurities about themselves to the world every day and take the rejection in stride?

cuteheads: Hormonal therapy and gender reassignment surgery are potentially in Maya’s
future. Have you and your husband talked about those options, and has Maya mentioned or hinted at potentially wanting that in the future?

Lisa: We have done a lot of research on this issue and continue to learn more all the time.
Puberty is no picnic, even in the best of circumstances. Once the sex hormones estrogen
or testosterone kick in, there’s no turning back: Here come breasts and periods, Adam’s
apples and acne. It’s a tough time for most kids, but for some — transgender youth whose
bodies don’t match their gender identity — puberty can be unbearable.

Maya has an endocrinologist and we have discussed a plan of care for her future which
will likely involve a puberty blocking implant. This implant will stop the progression of male puberty and allow Maya some more time to mature before making any permanent
decisions. This implant simply halts the progress of puberty, so that the body does not
develop secondary sex characteristics.

This has been done safely for decades to suppress sex hormones in children who develop too early, a condition known as precocious puberty and these same drugs are also used to treat various other medical conditions. Maya has consistently stated she wants to develop as a female. During a recent visit to the endocrinologist, Maya learned that surgical intervention would be required to fully transition physically. She has asked lots of questions and has expressed that she wants gender confirmation surgery when she grows up.

If and when Maya decides she wants to continue her transition, we will approach it with the guidance of our medical team to take the next step and introduce cross hormone therapy. At this point, we feel she needs to wait for gender confirmation surgery until she is 18 years old.

cuteheads: What do you hope for Maya’s future?

Lisa: Like all parents we just want a happy healthy child. We hope that the world will continue to evolve in to a more tolerant and just place, where she can be accepted just the way she is. We hope she finds a community of..

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Greetings, holiday friends! Anyone else literally clawing their way to the end of the month? It has been an absolutely bonkers December… crazier than any I can remember. That said, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t thank you enough for all the orders this holiday season. Every time you buy from a small business, a small business owner (me!) does a happy dance. It isn’t lost on me how many choices people have when it comes to where they shop for the holidays, so it really does mean the world to me. Also, I cannot wait to see your beautiful little ladies in their holiday finest. If these images of Michelle Hemeon’s little girl in her Willow green and silver special occasion dress are any indication of what you guys are bringing this holiday season, then BRING IT.

Michelle is a mama, a talented photographer and a big supporter of small businesses, so I was thrilled to get a look at the images she shot of her daughter wearing my very favorite dress from this year’s holiday collection. It’s got everything: shimmer, comfort and a peekaboo silver skirt! Kids go crazy for these little surprises (I mean pockets… HELLOOOO), and it always gives me joy to create pieces that are going to give them joy.

The colors… can we talk about the colors? That hunter green is perfect for this time of year, and silver is always on point for the holiday season. I know everyone loves gold, me included, but lately I’ve been giving silver a little more attention in my own closet. We actually didn’t do any gold for Holiday ’18, and based on what you guys bought, it doesn’t seem like you missed it! I’m pretty obsessed with this green and silver special occasion dress, and I’m so glad you loved it too.

My family and I are taking a much-needed vacation at the end of the month, so I’ll be a little MIA. I know you won’t mind, since you’ll be spending that time with your own family. Just wanted to say THANKS for making this year our best yet. Was it easy? Nah. But when did “easy” ever help you change?

Happy holidays, merry Christmas, and wishing you and yours all the best. xo

The post Green and Silver Special Occasion Dress appeared first on The Cuteness.

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Happy November! This year has disappeared before my very eyes, and we’re definitely in the thick of holiday season around here already. My family already took holiday photos (will post those soon!), but I couldn’t wait to share photos from my customer Brittany’s shoot.

She totally nailed the outfits, didn’t she?

I love these Christmas photo outfits, how she mixed chambray (see our Beatrice dress on the right?)  and blue with traditional red. It’s a really fun and unique color scheme for the holidays when we’re all so used to seeing red and green. The tartan trapper hat totally brings everything together… I am a sucker for tartan after all, and based on how much you guys have been loving the Angelica dress and the Mabel dress, I know you are too.

Mostly I just love these pictures because they’re joyful, sweet and they feel like family, which is what the holidays are all about. The best part of this job is getting to be a very small part of your special moments, and I love that your little ones make memories in what we create.

Have holiday photos of your kiddos in cuteheads? Send them our way, you might get featured right here on our blog! xo

Photos by Sarah Vanderford Photography

The post Christmas Photo Outfits appeared first on The Cuteness.

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Happy Tuesday! We’re gearing up for Yom Kippur in our house and closing early today to head to synagogue tonight and tomorrow. This is the holiest day of the year, where we ask G-d and everyone we know and love for forgiveness for the wrongs we’ve committed knowingly and unknowingly.

If I’ve hurt you over the last year, please accept my apology!

Now that that’s out of the way, I’m excited to share with you the gorgeous snaps from Archer Dean Photography‘s mother daughter photoshoot, featuring our Beatrice romper. Paired with mama’s boho white dress, these make for the perfect mother daughter photoshoot outfits.

I love the rich hues, the casual, carefree vibe and how you can feel the love radiating from these photos. There’s really nothing like the bond between mother and child, and Archer Dean captured each moment and each smile perfectly.

We’ve got some adorable pieces in the works for late Fall, so stay tuned. And of course… HOLIDAY! Make sure you’re a member of our VIP Facebook group to be the first to know when Holiday ’18 drops.

The post Mother Daughter Photoshoot Outfits appeared first on The Cuteness.

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Brave, Strong Girls is a series from cuteheads that aims to shine the spotlight on special girls who have faced challenges in their young lives and continue to be examples to their friends and strangers alike. Through this series, we hope to show that different is beautiful and that the things that make us unique make us special.

Each girl will have a special dress designed and named for her and a photoshoot just for her. Dresses will be sold at cuteheads.com and all the profits from the sales of these dresses will be donated to the charity of the mother’s choice. Photography generously donated by Le Zu Photography and photoshoot space donated by The West Studios

Ellis is an exuberant four-year-old in Houston, Texas. She loves music and twirling, and her infectious energy lights up the room. I’ve known Ellis’ mom Ashley for years, working with her on various cuteheads projects (remember this shoot?), so when we launched Brave, Girls, her daughter Ellis came to mind as a perfect person to feature.

Ashley is mom to three young girls, all four and under, and with Ellis, faces the unique challenge and gift of parenting a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The way Autism can manifest is so different in each person that I thought it would be worthy to sit down and chat with Ashley about how Ellis’ Autism is unique, how it makes her special, and how they work together to create a happy, loving environment for their daughter.

All who were present at this incredible shoot were really blown away, not just by Ellis’ positive attitude and spirit, but by how patient, loving and kind Ashley was with her. They speak their own language, communicating through songs and things that mean something to Ellis. You can tell this family has a special bond (dad was there too!).

I’m so excited to introduce you to the Cardoza family today, to share their unique perspective. All the profits from the sales of the Ellis Dress will benefit The Arc of Houston, an organization that promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetime.

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cuteheads: Excited to chat with you today. Tell me a little about where Ellis is on the spectrum and what her condition is.

Ashley: Ellis is 4 years old and on the Autism Spectrum. With the Autism spectrum, it’s not necessarily linear. For Ellis, while she doesn’t struggle with sensory issues, large crowds or a few other typical behaviors of kiddos on the spectrum- she struggles with communication and playing with her peers. She’s currently working on communication with us, and learning how to relate to her peers through play.

We went the route of a pediatric neurologist and through the chromosome microarray we were told that she has a deleted gene that is so incredibly rare. Her deletion is 3p26.3. Ellis, being one of the few with this particular Chromosomal Disorder, answered some questions and simultaneously created a bunch more. She is considered non-verbal, and we are working hard to help her learn to communicate her wants and needs with us.

cuteheads: How did you come to the decision to seek professional help to understand what was happening with your daughter?

Ashley: When Ellis started losing skills and words around 18 months we started using our state’s Early Intervention services. Around the age of 2 we noticed she still wasn’t expanding her vocabulary, she wasn’t responding to her name, and she never played or sought out her peers. We were already in early intervention for speech by then, so we knew there were other red flags to look for. We knew some of her behaviors weren’t typical of her peers by then.

cuteheads: What is your relationship like with your daughter?

Ashley: We are extremely close. Since ellis struggles with communication, a lot of her needs and wants are expressed differently than you’d expect. I have had to learn how to read her and the situation to understand what she is wanting or frustrated about. It’s still a learning process, and I’m not perfect.

cuteheads: How do you connect with her, and how does it differ from how you connect with your other children?

Ashley: Honestly, how we connect with her is no different than how we uniquely connect with each of our kiddos. Each of our 3 girls have different tastes and strengths, and we meet them where they’re at. While Ellis enjoys us cuddling or dancing with us, her sister also does too.

cuteheads: What are some of the challenges your family faces when parenting Ellis?

Ashley: For us, going out to public places is often more of a challenge. Ellis is a runner, so safety is a big deal. Birthday parties require us to shadow her to make sure she is safe and not getting into mischief. While Ellis looks like your typical 4 year old, she isn’t developmentally 4 for some things (but way advanced on others). So expectations are a challenge. People expect her to act like a 4 year old.

Sisters shown here wearing the cuteheads Mika dress and custom design

cuteheads: How have your other children reacted and adjusted to Ellis’ condition?

Ashley: When Ellis is really excited, she’s jumping and can’t self regulate how loud she is. A lot of time kids are curious as to why she’s not playing with them, or that she is ignoring them, or doesn’t talk. When we run into those instances, we always say “Ellis is working on those things!”

cuteheads: Within her special ed classroom, how does Ellis interact with others? What are her friendships like?

Ashley: One of our goals for Ellis is that she seek out friendships and interaction with her peers. She prefers to play independently or parallel to her peers in the classroom. She’s still learning how to play with others.

cuteheads: What are some of the common misconceptions about ASD and more specifically, about Ellis?

Ashley: One of the common misconceptions is that Ellis is so happy and joyful, so how could she be autistic? Or that she’s only a “little bit” autistic. Ellis is happy, and social, and does love being around others. She just shows her interest in a different way.

cuteheads: How has Ellis’ personality shone through despite her lack of verbal skills?

Ashley: Ellis loves music. So one thing we’ve seen is just how much she lights up for music! She is so good with patterns, recognizing letters and numbers, and she repeats her favorite songs.

cuteheads: What do you hope for Ellis as she grows up and reaches new milestones?

Ashley: We hope for her to have loving friendships and all the opportunities our other girls have.

cuteheads: How do you think Ellis can be a role model to other girls?

Ashley: Ellis has a great sense of empathy. If we are watching movies and she senses a “bad guy”, she will get upset for the underdog. I think her sense of empathy is a great skill every girl should have.

cuteheads: What makes Ellis brave and strong?

Ashley: Ellis works harder on things than her peers likely will have to. She will have to meet countless new adults and therapists and learn to live in a neurodiverse world. What makes her brace and strong is the fact we see in her spirit a girl who determined to work hard and figure things out. She is a problem solver, and she shows such creative ingenuity when given the chance.

From Ellis :

cuteheads: What is your favorite activities?

Ellis: Swimming or Dancing and watching Super Simple Songs.

cuteheads: What is your favorite food?

Ellis: Cereal and Popcorn!

cuteheads: What is your favorite treat?

Ellis: Popsicles!

cuteheads: Favorite movie?

Ellis: Alice in Wonderland.

All profits from the sales of the

The post Brave, Strong Girls: Ellis appeared first on The Cuteness.

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