Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spotlight Boulevard :: Tiny Giraffe Shop

Happy day! It's Thursday which is quickly becoming one of my favorite days of the week! The day I put the spotlight on another woman owned business! Have I mentioned before that one of the things I enjoy most about having my own business are the connections I have made with other women in business? If not, then I'll tell you now, because it's true, one of the things I love the most about having my own business is the connection I have made with other women business owners! It continually amazes me the immense talent I come across on a daily basis. Not to mention the great enthusiasm these women have for their businesses. Their passion is contagious. It affirms that no matter what walk of life you come from, anything is possible. If you put your mind to it, you can be marvelous.

Speaking of marvelous... I think you'll agree that this week's spotlight is simply, pretty darn marvelous! It's Amy McGrath from the super cute Tiny Giraffe Shop!! This is a MUST SEE shop that sells classic wooden blocks for baby. I just adore the chic and modern, yet vintage, look to them! A sweet addition to baby's nursery, Tiny Giraffe wooden blocks would be perfect on a decorative shelf. I also love that the blocks are eco-friendly and non-toxic so when baby is old enough they have a great toy to play and grow with. You can also purchase a drawstring bag hand stamped with the child's first name. An excellent gift for a mom-to-be!


I'm right... right?? Simply, pretty darn marvelous! Amy happily shared a little about the inspiration behind Tiny Giraffe Shop and life as a MOMpreneur. Amy has also offered a sweet deal... save 10% on orders through March 3, 2011 when you use the checkout code UPTOWN10. Thank you so much for that offer Amy!

Tiny Giraffe Shop contact information:

The FIVE... with Amy McGrath from Tiny Giraffe Shop

Q: What was the inspiration for starting your business?
Tiny giraffe is the perfect balance between my passion for creating and love of business. After graduating with a degree in economics, I worked in the music industry and loved every minute of it. I was fascinated and excited by the music biz because it’s where the arts and business come together in a remarkable way. With the birth of my first daughter, I made the decision to give up working in music to start my most exciting job yet: raising my children. I created tiny giraffe as an outlet for my creative and entrepreneurial energy.

Q: What were some of the challenges that you have faced?
The biggest challange for me has been the very same challange all of us moms face: taking care of our family, ourselves, and a business is one big juggling act. Finding balance and maintaining that balance is something I'm always trying to improve upon.

Q: How do you find balance between “real life” and being a super female entrepreneur and/or MOMpreneur?
I try to schedule in time where I know I can get a few hours of work in. I do bits and pieces throughout the day when I can, but the bulk of creating is done at night or on the weekends. As long as I am able to plan ahead and schedule time to work, I find that I better able to balance family life and tiny giraffe.

Q: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just starting out?
When I first started out, I didn't realize the impact that social media would have on my business. tiny giraffe has been active on facebook and twitter for only the past eight months, and I am astonished by how many opportunities and actual sales are generated from it!

Q: What is up & coming for your business?
I'm working on developing the Paper Doll blocks line, as well as a new alphabet set concept for this coming fall. There's some exciting press coming out this spring, so tiny giraffe should be super busy in the coming months!

The TEN... with Amy McGrath from Tiny Giraffe Shop

1. I play the violin
2. I'm an only child
3. I wish I knew how to sew
4. Nutella is my favorite food
5. I played softball in college
6. I'm addicted to the Real Housewives shows (NY, NJ, BH)
7. I have two little girls who I love to put in the same outfit, but in different colors
8. Once went on the road with They Might Be Giants
9. I hate raisins
10. Favorite item to buy on Etsy: holiday & birthday tees for my little girls!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

phone photo :: an {i heart faces} weekly challenge

Enchanted by the falling snow, may daughter sat in the window and I knew I had to capture the sweet moment. The perfect way the light is surrounding her, enhancing the little bun on the top of her head. I just love everything about this moment.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spotlight Boulevard: Twirlie Whirlies

Hello & happy day to you! For those of you that know one of my favorite things to do is post about my favorite things, namely highlighting those who I think are super cool and amazing women entrepreneurs. I have been calling these features "my favorite things". BUT really these super cool and amazing women are not "things". That and the little fact that there's this other super cool and amazing woman who already has made a name for my favorite things. So, that said, I'm thrilled to announce today will begin Spotlight Boulevard! I want to put the spotlight on super cool and amazing women and the road they have traveled to get where they are today, and also see the journey they are hopeful for in the future.

Today on Spotlight Boulevard is the seriously super cool, crafty, and a girl of my own heart being a confessed chocoholic, Shannon Torossi from Twirlies Whirlies! Let me just start with the name of her company, is it not just perfect?? If it wasn't clearly as obvious as it was to me when I first came upon it, Twirlie Whirlies are handmade paper party accessories! Ya know... Pinwheels!! Yet, these are not your typical plastic pinwheels meant to fan the garden gnomes in your backyards. Twirlie Whirlies are handcrafted using gorgeous, high quality scrapbook paper! And, you know me and paper. SWOON!

Twirlie Whirlies are fun, chic and classy! A perfect favor or decoration for a kids party! Twirlie Whirlies has even caught on as a 'Buzz Trend' in the February 2011 issue of Brides Magazine!! They can be custom made to jazz up any event you are planning!



Twirlie Whirlies also offers more darling handmade goods such as banners, flags, party hats, and favor boxes just to name a few of the party delights! You can check out all the fun at or shop at either Etsy, Etsy2 or Artfire. You can also follow Shannon on Twitter or the blog. Keep reading as I ask The FIVE and find out The TEN from the girl behind the whirl!

The FIVE... with Shannon Torossi from Twirlie Whirlies

What was the inspiration for starting your business?

My sweet little man Sebastian is my inspiration. It all began while I was searching around for some fun decorations for his "big boy bedroom". He will never know a life without a pinwheel.

What were some of the challenges that you have faced?

There have been a lot of challenges but I think the main one has, and will always be, time. There will never be enough hours in the day to do everything I want or need to do.

How do you find balance between “real life” and being a super female entrepreneur and/or MOMpreneur?

lol - who says I'm balanced? I am the most off-centred person you will ever meet! But, I do try to involve my family with my work whenever I can. My husband gets the title of "Quality Control Manager" and has the job of looking over the orders before they are mailed (and he is a tough critic - he DOES make me redo stuff). I can't wait until Sebastian is old enough to take on a few more duties for me but for now, he makes sure that all the pinwheels twirl!

What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just starting out?

My best advice would be "don't try to rush it - everything will come in time". You may have a million great ideas but just start off with one or you will get overwhelmed.

What is up & coming for your business?

Right now I can't think past today. This time of year is busy scheduling in all of the upcoming wedding orders so that has been top priority. This year I got a bit of a boost by having one of my pinwheels featured in the "Buzz Trend" section of the February 2011 issue of BRIDES Magazine. Definitely a thrill. I think my main business goal, though, will be to stay ahead of the holidays and get my themed items up early!

The TEN... with Shannon Torossi from Twirlie Whirlies

1. I have a degree in Architectural Technology.

2. My nickname as a child was "Buckwheat". I have no idea why.

3. I started snowboarding when I was 30.

4. I've been pierced 9 times but only 2 are still in existence (piercings and children don't get along).

5. Everybody thinks I should have a tattoo. I don't.

6. I have to wear a teeth grinding night guard to bed (really attractive).

7. Music is my passion, yet I don't dance. EVER!

8. I'm registered as a potential donor on the Canadian Blood Services OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network

9. I am a confessed chocoholic - currently in rehab

10. I love horror movies.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

{Lala's Cookie Jar}

Greetings all!! I have a super sweet addition to my favorite things this week... {Lala's Cookie Jar}! I met the owner, Andrea Festa, through the power of Twitter just a few months ago. I love meeting new people, but meeting a super MOMpreneur is even more delightful! I was immediately floored by her cookie creations - they are some of the most beautiful cookies I have ever seen! Grandma's old fashioned chocolate chip cookies ain't got nothing on {Lala's Cookie Jar}. Nothing against lovable, dear grandma or chocolate chip cookies for that matter, but if you're looking for a sweet treat with style then these haute couture cookies are IT!

I mean really... a Chanel cookie?? LOVE!

How PERFECT are these purple bustier cookies for the next bridal shower you throw?
I'm WILD for these hot pink, zebra cupcake shaped cookies!
These firetruck cookies will be a HOT hit as favors at your little's birthday party this year!

Can we say DARLING?! I might just throw a baby shower for the next pregnant person I meet just so I can get these adorable owl cookies!

I love that when talking with Andrea she said, "There is nothing we can't do! We love testing and stretching our boundaries!". Spoken by a true super female entrepreneur! Another thing I LOVE about {Lala's Cookie Jar} is that all of the cookies can be color customized and they arrive to you in clear bags tied with a ribbon. They for sure will add a special and sassy touch to your next party or event!

To contact Andrea visit or email her at Click
here to "like" on Facebook and here to follow on Twitter.

Mention this blog to get FREE SHIPPING on your next order with {Lala's Cookie Jar}!

The FIVE... with Andrea Festa from Lala's Cookie Jar!

Q: What was the inspiration for starting your business?

The inspiration for starting my business was my love of party planning . I love all those little details that go into a party to make it so special and personal. I named it Lala's Cookie Jar after my 2 year old daughter, Lauren. Her nickname is Lala.

Q: What were some of the challenges that you have faced?

Some of the challenges that I have faced as a business owner are your typical growing pains. It can be difficult to go through but yet very rewarding!

Q: How do you find balance between “real life” and being a super female entrepreneur and/or MOMpreneur?

Balancing “real life” and super female entrepreneur can be very challenging but I welcome it. I chose the business that I have created so I can incorporate my family and friends into it. Everybody loves cookies so the ideas present themselves all the time!

Q: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just starting out?

What I would tell other female entrepreneurs is be patient with yourself. Trust your instincts and by all means have fun!

Q: What is up & coming for your business?

Oh my goodness what’s coming up in my business?! Exciting things happen everyday! New clients and well known clients! Its amazing how word of mouth spreads! I get new ideas all the time and its just so fun to watch it all come to life!

The TEN... little known facts about Andrea Festa from Lala's Cookie Jar!

1. My favorite color is pink
2. I am obsessed with online shopping

3. I buy every celebrity gossip magazine I can find, even though I know they are lies

4. I love all candy

5. I am always hot, even on the coldest days

6. I have a 2 year old daughter

7. I have a degree in fiance

8. I work full time for a Hedge Fund

9. I am involved in many charities and love to give back

10. All my friends say I am their "therapist" I am that kind of friend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

{On The Spot Studio}

Comment #8 wins!! AMY PAMLEA!!

Congrats Amy! Please email me with your contact info so I can pass your info to Tiffany!

Happy day all! Why so happy you may ask? Because MY FAVORITE THINGS is featuring the uber talented MOMprenuer, designer Tiffany Willett from {On the Spot Studio}!! I happily stumbled upon Tiffany almost a year ago and was instantly smitten with her logo designs! They were so fresh and pretty and I knew I HAD to have her design something for me when I was ready. I fell in love with the fact that even though she had this very specific style, everything has a very unique look to it. That one-of-a-kind look is completely enhanced with her use of hand-written or hand-drawn elements to most of her designs! I flip over her stuff!

But, {On The Spot Studio} isn't just logo design... but a full branding business! She has this amazing tag line... "Bringing your visions to life"... how perfect is that?? If you need a new identity then this is THE place to check out! I adore the marketing kits offered... full of amazing goodies like business cards, letterhead, sticker design, blog headers, social media icons and even matching iPhone case designs! Tiffany offers packages at great prices or you can even build your very own to suit your needs. Pictured below are some samples.

AND, she doesn't stop there... Tiffany is also an amazing photographer and sells Photographer Tools like very cool Photoshop actions! She truly has her plate full as you can see so I was even more happy (is that possible?) when she let me interview her about life as an MOMprenuer and some other fun facts about the girl behind the {On The Spot Studio} designs!

The FIVE questions... with Tiffany Willett from {On The Spot Studio}

Q: What was the inspiration for starting your business?

"It was a luck of the draw shot. I was designing websites, ebay templates, banners, etc and had a photographer contact me about a logo. At the time, I was totally clueless but offered to do it for her for $15. Lets just say, by 10am the next morning, I had over 65 emails from other photographers. I kind of took that as a sign."

Q: What were some of the challenges that you have faced?

"Keeping my ideas fresh! So many people have such similar 'loves' and to evaluate their questionnaire and put it all on to "paper" without it being too similar to other businesses can get stressful, but so far, I've done a pretty decent job of keeping track of what I've done for who without having to worry about similarities. Sometimes, if you want a certain font, and certain elements (such as initials) it gets tricky because some of my other clients may have gotten the same "idea"."

Q: How do you find balance between “real life” and being a super MOMpreneur?

"What's that? Before the start of the new year, I would work during school hours only so that I could have 5-6 hours of straight work and then could spend the afternoon with my daughter, however, I am a little behind these days, so I have ended up working as long as 7-8pm each night. I'm fortunate my daughter is a little older now and understands what I am doing and why. It still bugs me that I haven't had as much time with her as I should be able to. I'm working on that "balance" but I vote they just put more hours in the day!"

Q: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just starting out?

"One step at a time. Find something you love. Find something you're passionate about. Then, learn everything you can about it and really drop the hammer. Jump with both feet in once you feel ready. Don't doubt yourself and you will succeed."

Q: What is up & coming for your business?

"Well......lots of stuff I hope! I am currently working on expanding my services to custom blogsite design but that's a ways off. I have 2 in progress now and hopefully by the time they are complete, I will have learned enough extra to actually jump in myself! I do know for a fact, tho, there will be a sale in March on everything in store. Got to celebrate my birth month in style!"

The TEN little known fun facts about.... Tiffany Willett from {On The Spot Studio}

1. I am 4'11" tall and my 7 year old is over half my size.
2. I wear glasses (and contacts but I don't like them!)
3. I listen to music while I am designing, no matter what.
4. My eyes are green.
5. I'm still in my 20's (well, for the next few weeks anyway!)
6. My iPhone wallpaper says: I draw pictures all day. ( and its totally true!)
7. I keep a full Diet Mt. Dew by my workspace all day long.
8. My favorite color is ORANGE
9. I hate socks. Hate shoes that require them. Therefore, I love flip flops.
10. I just learned how to knit and I love it!

Wait!! That's not it! If at all possible things are about to go beyond happy... more like ecstatic! You can have a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to {On The Spot Studio}!!! (read below for entry details)

To enter to win a $100 gift certificate from On The Spot Studio:
(1) FIRST head over to On The Spot Studio to see all the fabulousness they offer and then come back here and leave a comment on what you would use the gift certificate for!

(2) For a SECOND entry, become a fan of Uptown Girl Designs on Facebook and then come back here and leave a separate comment letting us know if you "like" Uptown Girl Designs on Facebook!

(3) Earn a THIRD chance to win this gift certificate by tweeting: "I entered to win a $50 gift certificate on @missuptowngirl" and be sure to leave a separate comment below if you tweet!

** contest ends Wednesday, February 9, 2001 at 12:00 EST **