ever/after

ever/after keeps the little things special

Posted in Simply Living by christy winston on May 25, 2010

My Mom always says, “To make a house a home, all you need is good music and a dimmer switch.”  This was my mantra as I was unpacking moving boxes, looking around our new 1 bedroom apartment (you can see the whole thing from the front door!).  When Gary first suggested this down size I refused and looked at him like he was completely crazy to even consider it.  We were taking the plunge, head-first into ever/after and discussing ways we could cut back. We knew we had to make some serious changes.  One day Gary says, “Okay…so I’ve been thinking….I have a really good idea, but it’s…….scrappy.”  Oh boy…  It took me a good week to actually take him seriously, another week to forgive him for even suggesting it, and finally another two weeks before I finally agreed.  We purged.  We condensed.  We had a modern garage sale (ie: Craigs List).  And much to my surprise…We’ve barely noticed!  Sure there are days when we can go insane with the concentrated clutter per square foot, but overall it hasn’t really felt like a sacrifice.  Maybe that’ll be a different story after another 6 months, but it’s been worth it for now at least.  We have our tiny office for storage too which helps–it’s filled to the brim with baby vnecks and cool kids’ clothes!

I often think about the advice a woman once gave me about parenting, “Make sure you make the little things special.”  That’s exactly what we’re trying to do.  A weeknight dinner at Chick-fil-A used to be for convenience, but now it’s a special treat we look forward to.  It’s wonderful!  The service and hospitality is better there than most fine dining restaurants in the area where you walk out with a $75 bill and adjada!  If you haven’t tasted the goodness of Chick-fil-A for yourself yet, go and I’m certain they’ll will make a raving fan out of you too!  Then when you think couldn’t possibly love them more, examine their company values and charitable vision…you’ll advance from fan to devotee.  Check out the ways Chick-fil-a is shaping individuals to be winners, leaders empowered to change the storyhttp://www.winshape.org/

ever/after purchase for purpose

Posted in Favorite Brands, Simply Living by christy winston on May 21, 2010

ever after

ever/after loves a purchase with a purpose.  A refreshing trend is sweeping over retail, inspiring people to be about more than just the bottom line.  We were inspired, and created a casually cool kids clothing line using premium fabrics that gives 25% of the profit from each garment you buy to the children’s charity of your choice.  We believe helping others can extend to all areas of our lives, even the clothing we buy.  We’ve made some lifestyle changes as we begin this new adventure.  We want each purchase to be meaningful.  How awesome is it that you can dress your kids in clothes you’d actually where yourself and change the story of a child in need all at once!?  You can reverse the effects of neglect for an abandoned baby, empower an at risk child to overcome academic challenges, or provide a place of refuge for a whole village–all from one totally rad baby vneck t-shirt!  We’ve discovered incredibly cool people creating their own products with a purpose.  I think it’s so cool that we can accessorize Ever’s ever/after baby vneck t-shirt and boyfriend fleece shorts with a beanie that provides income for women in Uganda, a bracelet that supports the indigenous Sami People of northern Scandinavia, and shoes that provide an equal pair for a child in need!!  Now that’s consumerism at its best!  Check out some of our favorite brands and the amazing things they’re doing in the world:

Krochet Kids Int. – http://www.krochetkids.org/home.php

SwedArt – http://swedart.com/

31Bits – http://31bits.com/

Toms Shoes – http://www.toms.com/

live simply ever/after

Posted in Simply Living by christy winston on May 20, 2010

ever after

There came a point, last December, when we came to the realization it was time for a change.  We’d been conceptualizing ever/after for two years and working on it whenever we had time leftover after our day jobs, Gary at PacSun and me at James Perse and mother of a toddler.  Gary would leave for work before Ever would wake up, and be home after she’d gone to bed…it wasn’t unusual for him to go 3 days without seeing her.  I was blessed to have a position with James Perse where I could work from home and I’d get most of my work done in the late night while Ever was in bed.  Life was “good” aka we had lots of stuff.  But, when you have stuff you usually want more stuff.  Looking back on our lifestyle then, it seems so anemic even though most would think we had everything.  I would have little epiphanies during the day and think, “Why are we doing all of this again?? So we can drive a BMW?  Have a big apartment?  Spend money almost as quickly as we brought it in?”  I think everyone wants to know that life is about more than that.

ever/after came to be thanks to our God-given passions and a combination of life experiences.  It wasn’t diligence, intelligence, or coincidence…it was providence.  We are so thankful for this opportunity and for fresh perspective.  We’re finding such joy in the little things like eating burritos on the beach as a family at 5 o’clock, pretending our little 1-bedroom apartment is part of a hotel,  $1 taco Tuesdays, packing pb&j and hiking the cliff trails…I could go on and on!  Actually I will…ever/after has a new category called “Simply Living” that we’ll be updating this week so we hope you’ll tune in often.

ever/after Rojo Gomez May Update

Posted in Change the Story by christy winston on May 17, 2010

ever/after in Rojo Gomez (May)

It’s a very sobering experience driving across the border from San Diego to Mexico.  It’s not that I haven’t traveled to Mexico before, I practically lived at the factories there at the beginning of my career.  It’s just that most of my visits have been by air.  In a strange way I suppose that when you’re transported by airline to get there, it just makes the poverty seem more distant and extreme contrast of life in our two worlds somehow easier to understand.

As I cross that invisible line marked by guards with semi-automatic guns put in place to keep the two worlds separate, I start to wrestle with questions like, “Who am I to deserve all of the things that are mostly taken for granted each day?  A comfortable bed, food for my daughter whenever she’s the least bit hungry, a home, gas for my car, 2 cars…How can I live just 2 hours from here and go about my day all business-as-usual?  What if I were born to parents on this side of the border?”

From Southern California, usually defined by privilege, beauty, wealth and safety into Tijuana Mexico which was recently named one of the most dangerous cities in the world (due to the conflict of competing drug cartels).   It takes about 30 minutes to arrive in a little town called Rojo Gomez.  The town is so small it feels as if it’s almost forgotten.  No street signs, and for the last 5 miles…no paved roads.  A minimum of an SUV is required to traverse the terrain.  As you near the town you pass through clouds of black smoke from burning trash.  Graffiti covers almost everything and the trash that isn’t burned carpets the ground.  The start of the dry season welcomes you with clouds of dust blowing in all directions with very few trees to offer cover or reprieve from the intense summer heat.

Most homes are constructed of old rotting wood garage doors pieced together to make 4 sides and a roof.  Lacking running water, the people of Rojo Gomez are required find theirs from a nearby town.

Among the poverty and difficult living conditions there’s light in the center of the town.  We pass by the patch of land purchased for the community center that ever/after will be supporting and are excited to see that the beginning stages of grading have begun.  As I navigate our truck up the steep hill to the school, about a hundred kids run out to the chain link fence to welcome us.  In a wave, they approach our caravan eager & proud to help us unload.  In minutes the vans are emptied of food, cases of bottled water, medical & dental supplies, and child sponsor gifts.

Pastor Daniel of Lo Mejor Del Trigo (the Finest Wheat) church is there to greet us by name.  He’s an incredible man whose dream is to bring hope and true change not only to Rojo Gomez, but 49 other impoverished communities throughout Mexico.  He is a true model of what it means to live a life of a servant giving people the love and hope of Jesus.

The day is spent in community with the village’s families.  Life for these parents is mostly spent just surviving, so it’s not often that they can enjoy a meal cooked by someone else and have such kindness shown to their children.  From a very young age these kids have no other choice but to learn to be independent.  As a father to my 2 year old daughter, Ever, it always amazes me how much older the kids appear in Mexico.  The things that I carefully teach Ever by holding her hand and being close by if she should stumble are the same things that these kids learn independently by necessity at a much younger age.

Although I don’t speak their language, it surprisingly doesn’t seem to matter to them.  They are just so happy to spend time with us.  Whether it’s kicking a soccer ball, playing a game, sharing a picture, or being there to pick them up and brush them off after a fall, it’s all just about an expression of love and showing them that we care.  It’s not just food, money, or humanitarian aid that will solve all of this…these problems are much too big for that.  Powerful and sustaining change will only be made through lives transformed by the love and truth of Jesus.

As I sit here with a cup of coffee and write this on my porch in Newport Beach I’m overwhelmed.  I want to do more with the blessings I’ve been given.  I think a lot of us have had a similar experience or can at least relate to this.   I’ve had this experience too many times, having traveled and seen this kind of poverty in places like Brazil, China, Vietnam, Turkey, Guatemala, and all over Mexico.  Too many times we’ve said that THIS was the experience that would really change us…change the way we act, the things we value, the way we spend our time, our money.  And it would change us…for a few days.  But then, Monday comes and we begin to fall back in line with this world’s parade, consumed with our worries, our problems, our ambitions, the stress of our jobs and the anxiety that comes from a life that is focused on ourselves.

Two years ago, Christy and I made a decision to step outside of this world’s parade.  Away from our comfortable & mediocre lives into a purpose-filled life that is walked by faith.  We’ve surrendered our lives and trust that God changed our story for a purpose and is now using us to change the story of others.

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Bob stroller for ever/after

Posted in Lifestyle by christy winston on May 14, 2010

On a day as gorgeous as today, I love nothing more than getting outside and going for a run with Ever.  I slather on the spf so she doesn’t get a baby vneck tan line and we’re off!  There’s an endless supply of inspiring routes around here, but we always-always-always find our selves near the water.  Today, we explored a funky little town named Laguna Beach and discovered lots of cool finds.  We saw Hillary Boutique on Cliff (very cool little store where I hope to offer ever/after) and Heisler Park/Beaches (think Beaches movie).  Laguna is filled with steep hills and meandering tourists so it makes for a very exciting course.  If you ever see a beautiful little girl catching air, holding on to her black baby raybans for dear life, in a bright green bugaboo, that just took a corner on two wheels…that’s probably us.  Our poor bugaboo.  It’s seen way more miles than any bugaboo should’ve ever seen.  I didn’t become an avid runner until Ever was about 3 months old and I’d obviously already chosen my stroller.  If I could do it over again I would absolutely, 100% go with a BOB.  I’ve had BOB-envy for a while now, but I’m trying to hold out until I need a two-seater (my Mom-in-law is giddy right now).  Anyhow, have you ever seen these strollers?  They’re like little hummers for babies!!  I was so excited BOB donated their 12’AW Revolution stroller to ever/after for the silent auction at our launch party.  I kept trying to justify how it would be okay for me to place bid on it because I want one so badly–no, I didn’t.  But our good friend did and now she and Jackson will be truckin around in this sweet ride:

donated to ever after change the story

Cue….”awwww”

Posted in Product by christy winston on May 13, 2010

Ever after clothing Ever after clothing

I couldn’t help posting these pictures from two of ever/after‘s first fans sporting our best selling style, the Twistback Romper.  This is probably our favorite style and I’ve been begging Gary to have it made in my size!  It would be a very cool addition to our new adults section at www.everafterclothing.com that was added just this week.  We should probably work on expanding the Women’s Vneck and Men’s Crew T-shirt before we go adding rompers, but I can still hope.  It’s difficult to describe how cool it is to finally see ever/after styles on someone other than Ever.  When we did dress Ever in ever/after pre-launch, Gary wouldn’t let us leave the house!  I usually rolled my eyes at the strict level of secrecy he held me to, but it was probably a good thing. We also didn’t want to buy any other clothes for her seeing as she would soon have the raddest wardrobe a kid could have.  So, we stretched her 12-18m leftovers as long as we could…she’s 2.  Needless to say until we launched ever/after,  her “look” was crop tops, bicycle shorts, dresses turned into tunics, and pjs with the feet cut out.  I finally convinced Gary to get 1 or 2 things that actually fit and were remotely cool kids clothes…I was afraid people were imagining the worst when we told them we were starting a really cool kids’ clothing brand and they look at Ever and she’s all belly button and flood pants.  Either they thought we were crazy or reallllllly fashion-forward!

New ever/after adult tees!

Posted in Product by christy winston on May 12, 2010

Feedback on ever/after‘s baby vneck t-shirts has been so positively overwhelming that adults have been begging us to make them in their size.  Well here you go!  Our new ever/after men’s crew and women’s vneck are now available at www.everafterclothing.com.  Both styles are made with the same 100% pima premium cotton we use to make our extremely soft kid’s clothes and the fit is perfect!  Not just saying that…they seriously are the perfect t-shirts.  We have a limited supply of ever/after adult tees so get yours today!

Browser Woes

Posted in Uncategorized by christy winston on May 10, 2010

If you have internet explorer, you probably noticed some odd things on www.everafterclothing.com.  Well, we are finally all de-bugged!  We’ll probably always be in a perpetual state of enhancement here at ever/after, but the necessities have all been addressed so go ahead and place those orders!

This is one nice piece of flair…

Posted in Favorite Brands by christy winston on May 4, 2010

Boon Flair High ChairBoon Flair High ChairBoon Flair High Chair

Feast  your eyes on this little beauty that Boon Inc. so generously donated for the ever/after launch silent auction!  It’s probably the coolest highchair we’ve ever seen and our new favorite must-have.  The Flair High Chair will catch your eye everywhere from posh little baby-only eateries (yes, they do exist!) to pretty much every family’s kitchen in southern California.  We no longer have to sacrifice good style or settle for the “choo-choo train print” because it was more neutral than the “abc, 123” pattern!  Boon doesn’t just offer a totally rad product–they have a heart for kids in need.  They are committed to donating 10% of profits to charities specifically benefiting children in need.  Thank you to Boon for being about more than the bottom line and inspiring others in the industry to do the same.  Buy Boon and change lives of children in need!