Cocoa & Hearts News

Hey everyone! Hope this Monday is going good for you! -  I thought I'd pop in & update you on this NEW Kids t-shirt line we are putting together!!  We are actually re-doing our entire Cocoa & Hearts website + re-branding it.  The Cocoa & Hearts site will no longer be paintings, but you can go to Made By Girl if you're looking to have me paint an original painting for you. Sound good?

The new Cocoa & Hearts logo will look like this (below) & we will be seeking out a few K-I-D-S brand ambassadors. That means.... we will send them a few t-shirts in exchange for some cool pics on social media, tagging us & letting others know where to find the line!  The kids will be carefully selected based on your social media account, follower count etc.  Excited to introduce this to all of you! I know this is a different route and I may have many people un-follow me or stop reading the blog all together...because you you preferred to see home decor....& that's ok. When I first started Made By Girl, I had only 7 followers, so I understand what it's like to be at ZERO pretty much (if I have to be).  BUT, I really hope to have your support through this in any way, especially all YOU moms!

As I mentioned before - we'll be launching about 8-10 t-shirt designs to start with. Can't wait to see which is your favorite.  Sizes will range from 18 Months old - 4 years of age. Please don't forget, if you'd like be notified of the launch date - SIGN UP to our mailer at Cocoa & Hearts.  XO

-post by jen ramos

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Revealed: What's Next

Hey guys! I am finally REVEALING the main reason why I haven't been on my blog much.
For those of you who've been with me since the beginning in 2006 - and remember my first post may seem odd that I've been taking such a BIG break from blogging!  But like everything else in life, this too gets a bit boring.  Sometimes we just need a break, a refresher.... to re-think what else we'd like to try & hopefully accomplish in our lives.  So, here's a small look into what I've been working on lately.

Ever since Noah popped into the mix - I've been thinking more & more about clothing for KIDS.  I LOVE TO CREATE.  I love painting, drawing, designing & coming up with new ideas & concepts. In fact, both of my businesses were about ART that I created for people's homes.  So, after contemplating this for quite some time,  I decided to try my hand at a market that is completely saturated & competitive.  I'm talking about kids apparel. 

Trust me, I realize I am taking a BIG risk in jumping into an industry that is already full of wonderful talent. Even with the same hesitation & fear many of you felt at first... I am ready & here I come!

As I said, this is a NEW market for me.  My head keeps going back & forth between fear & excitement.  I had forgotten what this fear felt like after running my previous business, Made By Girl for over 10 years.  Throughout that time, I remember many women emailing me & asking how they could start their own businesses. They always wondered if they would be able to put aside their own fears & introduce their business ideas to the world.  I often wonder what many of those women ended up doing.  Well, here I am, back at the 'starting line' with another adventure ready to be introduced. 

For me, this is yet another medium to express my art.  I am super EXCITED about these hand-drawn designs for kids tees I created.  I really think other moms will love them too!  The t-shirts are all screen-printed & we will be launching ONLY 8-10 designs to start! We will ACTUALLY be RE-branding the Cocoa & Hearts website & launching it into this new brand. Hope it doesn't cause too much confusion! If you want to know the launch date + news updates -  feel free to sign up to the newsletter here.

I hope you will welcome this NEW & fun kids brand we are launching SOON - from one MAMA to another, THANK YOU in advance!!!!

-images & post by jen ramos

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Hey guys! It's been awhile but I have been mostly on SNAPCHAT as (CocoaAndHearts) these days as well as my instagram

But I've also been hitting the gym a bit more to try & work out and get my tone back. 
You see, after Noah came I really slacked off going to the gym. It really feels horrible to look at myself in the mirror and not see my abs as toned anymore...or even feel as tight all over. Going to gym really helped my bloating issues, I could eat & not feel BLOATED.

So in order to motivate myself & get back to the gym.... I decided to buy some new work-out leggings! Anyone else EVER get motivated when they buy a new outfit??! I do!  I also thought I'd make it easy for you to shop some cute leggings by rounding up 5 of my favorites.  Enjoy your work-out!

Which is your favorite?

1. adidas by stella mccartney 2. adidas by stella mccartney  (I have this one)
3.  Gray adidas by Stella Mccartney  4. norma kamali stretch leggings  5. lucas hugh leggings 

-post by jen ramos

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Hey everyone!

It's been awhile since we've done a painting sale......I've been busy working on quite a few things. Being a mom, working a few collaborations with other companies, paintings commissions & possibly even starting another company, so stay tuned to hear more!! - Woo Hoo!  But today, I'd like to introduce you to 5 NEW (5"X7") MINI Colors paintings! Although one of the pieces is not pictured below, it is available in the online gallery!

P.S. please keep in mind, these are vertical mini 5 x7 paintings at $65 each.

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Dagne Dover + Made By Girl

If you didn't know,  I recently collaborated with Dagne Dover. A handbag company that focuses on sophisticated organized handbags for the modern woman. Their bags are the most functional bags I've owned. In fact, I can't say enough of how functional they are on he inside, while still looking beautiful on the outside. I own their black 15 inch tote and if you're a business owner like myself, this bag is great! This design is very well thought out and even allows a protective slot for my laptop! With that said... when they approached me about a collaboration - I was on-board! 

We collaborated on around 45 items (card cases + handbags) which I hand-painted myself with my signature style. There are limited quantities available & they're almost all sold out. You can view the entire collection here.  It includes brushstrokes, lipstick kisses & flamingos!  

If interested in collaborating with me on something, shoot me an email! I'd love to hear about it!

-post by jen ramos

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FASHION: 6 Dresses for warm weather

Hey everyone! Happy Friday!! 

New York City weather has been unpredictable - but last week we got a taste of warmer weather & I got excited at the prospect of wearing dresses again! I actually went shopping yesterday and purchased a few styles. But, if you're like me, you know there are styles online that you just won't find in stores. So, I ended up buying a couple more for the warmer weather....

I also decided to make your shopping experience a but more fuss-free & choose 6 styles that I'm sure you'll love.  I'm a size 4 - so these would suit my figure.  My husband was nice enough to get me this one by James Perse for early Mother's Day I just have to make sure I can keep working on my abs! Ha. 

Hope these will suit you too! 

1. Asos jersey dress
2. boohoo stripe shirt dress
3. House of Sunny tie front dress
4. Asos ruffle low back dress
5. james perse twisted sleeve dress
6. Asos off-shoulder mini dress

-post by jen ramos

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Will you be in NYC tomorrow May 7th? 

If so, I'd like to invite you to a wonderful Mother's Day DIY event that I'll be hosting at Fossil on 5th avenue.  There will be breakfast bites, mimosas & more! Plus you'll get a chance to paint your own tin & plant a succulent to bring home to mom! 

Or you can just treat yourself! All info below! Come by & say hello! Please RSVP here.

-post by jen ramos
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12 Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Hello everyone!!!

It's almost the end of April & guess what? Mother's day next month! I know some of you may be wondering....what in the world do I get mom??? Or the wife?   - Often times even my husband will be at a loss what to get his own mom or me on Mom's day!  So, if you're like my husband and not so good at figuring those things out, I'm here to give you a few ideas.

So, this Mother's Day I partnered with Fossil to make that shopping decision a little easier.  Below is my list of 12 Gift Ideas for mom...but I wanted to highlight 9 & 10 and mention these two in particular.  They're from Fossil's newest collection in partnership with Me to We.  It’s a social enterprise which empowers women who are artisans from around the world in order to end poverty in their communities.  The Fossil x ME to WE collection celebrates African Mamas with a beautiful beaded collection handcrafted by artisan mamas in Kenya.

9.  Live Color Fully perfume via Kate Spade

-post by jen ramos
-Sponsored by Fossil Group, Ind. All thoughts and opinion expresses are my own.

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Hey everyone! How are you? It's been raining in New York City today. On rainy days I feel like I could use a bit of color inspiration! I'm sure you could do too... whether it's rainy where you are or not!  I'd like to introduce Sasha Bikoff, she's a young designer whose edgy style is really impressive in today's design scene.  She's known for her bright colors & playful style.

Her unique take on design reminds me of a Barbie's playhouse - with bright colored objects and often times touches of hot pink!  She's only 26 years old & has already been featured on countless blogs... most recently a great spread in Lonny Mag you must see here! These pics will get you started, but def head over to Lonny for more inspiration by this designer.

 -images via sasha bikoff
-post by jen ramos

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FASHION: 5 Off-The Shoulder Ruffle Tops

Hey guys! Hope you're week is going well so far!

I know I have been MIA, but I will be popping in & out when I can. I apologize for disappearing once again, but I have a lot of projects on my plate these days. One of those includes an event I will be hosting with Fossil here in New York City! Can't wait to share. On that note, I need to go shopping!  I have been seeing ruffle, off-the shoulder tops everywhere right now!!

I LOVE this trend, especially for the upcoming warmer weather. This season you're going to have a lot of styles to choose from with many designers jumping in & creating their version of the ruffle off the shoulder top. From high to low prices, you will definitely find one for this Spring/Summer! Here are 5 of my favorites to help you get started!

L to R:

Ramy Brook Sadie top 
Bella Dahl off shoulder top 
Mara Hoffman ruffle off the shoulder top
Rachel Pally esmeralda top 
One Teaspoon off-shoulder top

-post by jen ramos

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Thred-UP: Like-New Affordable Clothes

Hey everyone! Great news for moms today...keep reading!

I have a new favorite shopping site called Thred-Up.  It's a company that offers "like-new" clothing from popular name brands we all love!  I discovered this site when Noah was around 7 months and it has been heaven-sent!  The reason I say this is because....every mom out there knows how pricey kids clothing can be.  Especially when they grow out of it SO QUICKLY!  & you have to buy again.

Thred-Up works for us because we can buy gently used clothing that no longer fit other children or were "never even worn" and buy them at a fraction of the cost! For example like the Toddler Polo by Ralph Lauren gray sweater highlighted below.... retails new for around $55, but at Thred-Up you'll be able to purchase a gently used version for only $13.99. Insanity no?  

Anyway, I can say from firsthand experience that I am HAPPY with the quality of the items I ordered for my son. Everything looked pretty new, no complaints!  For every item you are looking at, Thred-Up offers a description, measurements, material it's made from, along with the condition it is in. They also offer free returns for store credit + they're very generous and love offering their customers incentives to come back with discount codes!  If you're a mom & you're wondering what to do with the clothing you already bought your little one that doesn't fit, Thred-up actually allows you to sell your (gently used) clothing on their site. Not just kids clothing, but adults too!

Here's pretty much how it works:

You order a free Clean Out Kit. pack it full of styles you love & return it to Thred-Up for free. Keep in mind the clothing you send should be in excellent condition. No stains, holes, piling, or signs of wear will be accepted. Styles you send should be on-Trend and in season.  You'll find a variety of brands like J-Crew, DVF, Mini Boden , Theory, Ralph Lauren & more for women, men & children! For the entire list of brands they carry go here.

I love this company!  Thred-up is ideal for moms who are looking for nice, affordable baby clothes! So moms, take notes. Watch the video above & see for yourself how cool this is.

-post by jen ramos
-office images via Thred-Up

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Real Life: A bit about Noah

Hey everyone! Sorry I've been MIA. Being a mom & dealing with things like finding a nanny, working, marriage, & clients it can get pretty busy. Since being a mother has taken a lot of the space on my plate, I may as well write about it. Where do I begin? I thought I'd write about Noah & what I am discovering being his mom. Noah is now 13 months old, a toddler!  He is a very curious & active boy...As a mom it's nice to discover our children's personalities. Here are a few things about him I wanted to share:

He smiles 80% of the time
He is very friendly, even with strangers.
If you aren't looking at him, he will call out to you.
He loves bananas & watermelon.
He is very social.
He is courageous.
When we are in his music class he floats around the room smiling at everyone.
He loves to knock down a tower of blocks.
Loves to go outside in his stroller.
He doesn't mind when I put on his shoes.
He's not a messy eater.
He enjoys helping with laundry & folding it. (Well he doesn't know how to fold quite yet but he  is entertained by trying).

He likes music & art.
He's never really used a pacifier.
He likes feeling a loose blanket underneath him before he sleeps.
He falls asleep pretty quickly.
He doesn't mind if people are talking, when he's tired he will clonk out.
He's pretty well-behaved when we take him to public places.
He seems to adapt pretty well to new situations.
He is not a big giggler.
He laughs when I tickle his neck.
He doesn't mind being scared.
He doesn't like vacuums that much.
He's a good eater.
He cooperates well when I am cutting his nails.
He enjoys going out in his baby carrier.
He's on a schedule.
He falls asleep around 7:20pm every evening. 

I have to say I am looking forward to the next phase, where I get to hear him speak & try to put words together! Have a great weekend!

-images by jen ramos

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Hey everyone!  

Just popping in to wish you a great weekend!!  I have been in the process of (once again) hiring a new nanny & it's been a bit time consuming.  However, looks like we are making headway this week finally!!  I have also been BUSY painting pieces for clients, like this one below. A large lipstick dots painting similar to the first one I ever did!  

Please don't forget - I am on instagram, to keep up with me on a daily basis.

-image by jen ramos

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Schumacher Wallcovering

Schumacher is one of my favorite brands. If you're a designer it's a must-place to shop for your client's home. They offer some of the chicest fabrics, furniture, wall coverings & trim in the market. I always love checking out what new arrivals, they're always on top of the newest trends. Below are a few of my favorite wallcoverings from their online collection. Hope they inspire you!

-post by jen ramos

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Noah's Nursery

For the longest time I always imagined what a nursery would look like.... if I ever had a child. I even wrote about it here after we started the adoption process back in 2014.

When we adopted Noah - I was looking forward to creating a space where he could play, learn & and enjoy. A few days ago we celebrated his Birthday & we also surprised him with his own little space. To be honest, it's a large space that is half my office & half his room. Some people may wonder how this could work....well, since he's on a schedule, I always know what comes next & it's easier to plan my days around his day.  Ok, so let me show you around Noah's room!  I have always loved the idea of neon lights, so I shopped around & quickly realized that neon vendors are very pricey!

So, we found another alternative from a company called Cool Neon. We got the one called High Bright Hella Phat. They actually offer EL Wires that glow when electricity is sent through, but not quite in the same way as neon. Meaning, you won't see it as much in the daylight, but as the sun goes down you'll start to see the neon-look! If you purchase this exact light, you would need the light... plus a driver which can also be bought on the Cool Neon site here. The most important thing to remember when creating your own sign is to measure how much you'd need. The wire doesn't bend easily so write whatever the letters are going to be on some paper. We decided to have it say "you are loved" - and our sign took about 20 feet of neon.

Another reason we chose Cool Neon is because it was very affordable, both battery & electrically operated, can be programmed to blink in patterns & doesn't take training to make the signage. The photos are of the sign in the afternoon - but this photo was brightened to show the neon-look a lot brighter. It isn't as bright as this during daytime. That is the only downfall. Eventually, I'd love to get this in actual neon so I can see it brightly during daylight!

Here is an awesome DIY on How-to-Make a Neon sign using the same El Wire we purchased. We are also happy that we got to collaborate with The Land of Nod for Noah's room. They sent some amazing items our way.  One of the items we wanted for his room were bookshelves... so we could place his collection of kids books. We opted for this straight & narrow book ledge in white from The Land of Nod.  It displays book covers so you can find them easily + you can also use it to display kids art or any wall hangings you may have!  We love how it looks on the wall!

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to have a son. Not sure why......I guess it was just my preference.  So, when I saw this 'Boys Rule' print, I wanted it for Noah's space. You can get one from Mini Learners. Thanks to my friend Sarah for gifting it to him. And how about these wooden bow Tie blocks? Adorable right? They're also from the Land of Nod. Noah loves biting on them.

Of course, a baby room must have an area rug that is comfy.  I first bought a wool rug...BIG mistake. It shed way too much, so I returned it.  This one is a soft trellis shag rug from Rugs USA & we love it! It's pretty thick already but we still went for the thickest rug pad from Rug Pads USA.

Here's Noah (above) inspecting the new space from his Babyletto crib. Below you'll see a similar name print to the ABC kids ones I used to sell in my shop. Well, this one was made by my cousin, it incorporates Noah's name throughout the Jeremiah 29:11 scripture. It's perfect. You'll also spot the blue Wobbly Stacker a popular little piece from The Land of Nod along with one of my mini-zebra prints! 

The silver vinyl star decals are such a HUGE part of his space. These removable stars are from Urban Walls and designed by Danielle Hardy. Thanks to Danielle, these are now part of his room. They were easy to put up, all you need is a soft, clean surface! The gray "pull up a pouf" is from Land of Nod & it mixes in with the space quite nicely. It's soft to the touch, but firm and comfy to sit on.

Toy storage is a big deal to us. I can't stand having baby toys all around the house. So, in order to contain them, we decided on the 3 bin palozza from The Land of Nod. As of right now, all his toys are stored away and he can easily access them.

The cutest Zebra Throw pillow sits nicely in his crib. 

This little wooden robot has parts that come off and are placed back on by magnets. Find him and BoConcept.

Below: Here he is when we surprised him on his birthday with his new space! So grateful for moments like these.

 I hope Noah's new space will INSPIRE you to create something beautiful for your baby!

-post & photos by jen ramos

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