Category Archives: Kids

Career Day!

Career Day 2016 with Mrs. Glenn’s 4th grade class . . .

Hey guys! Yesterday I spent the day at Wisdom Elementary in South Central LA, participating in Career Day. One of my oldest and bestests teaches there and invited me to come and speak to a few of the classrooms, about what I do, as a way to introduce the children to different career opportunities that are available to them. It’s so important for children to know they have options. It’s even more important to expose them to different opportunities, ideas and paths, so that they can truly discover what makes them happy and where their skills and passions lie. Typically, I am definitely one to shy away from public speaking, but I just loved talking to the children. They had so many great questions and so much enthusiasm. It was truly an experience that blessed me. This is the second time I’ve participated in career day and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.

Keep moving forward, you never know who you are inspiring!

Designer, Artist & Fashion Entrepreneur Spotlight:: Sonia Smith-Kang of Mixed Up Clothing

Meet the first childrenswear designer in our DA+FE Spotlight Series: Colorful, playful prints @ the Mixed Up Clothing Headquarters . . . Creative Director of Mixed Up Clothing, Sonia Smith-Kang Mixed Up Clothing has collaborated w/ Taye Diggs and received his Chocolate Star Award . . . Mixed Up Clothing’s collaboration w/ Garcelle Beauvais + Sebastian Jones for their book, I am Mixed . . .

A few fun prints from this season’s collection . . .

1. Peasant Top  2.  Pink Sugar Skulls Bloomers by Mixed Up Clothing

Senorita Dress by Mixed Up Clothing

15 Questions w/ Sonia Smith-Kang of Mixed Up Clothing

1. What Inspired you to create Mixed Up Clothing?

Growing up I was always asked “What are you?” I have always been answering that question and in turn, teaching others about what it is to be multicultural. As a multicultural adult, I married someone of a different culture and had kids. So I basically just blended my love of teaching about different cultures with my love of sewing and created Mixed Up Clothing.

2. Did you go to school for design? If so, where?

I went to school to become a registered nurse. I was a registered nurse for 15 years. While I was a nurse, I became a teacher, teaching others about how different cultures react to being in a hospital setting. Mixed Up Clothing is just another step in that teaching process. I use clothing as my vehicle to teach.

3. Tell us about your ideal customer . . .

My ideal customer is a mom who loves to teach her children about different cultures; it’s anybody who has an interest in exploring the world, and teaching our little mini global citizens about someone else, in hopes of accepting and learning about others.

4. What advice would you give someone wanting to start a clothing line?

Don’t be afraid. Find your passion and don’t chase after the trends. Find a message and what you want your clothes to be about, and don’t veer from that.

5. What inspires you? What inspires your designs?

My inspiration always comes down to teaching and educating others. The inspiration for my designs comes from finding a fun print or fabric that has a cultural feel to it, and then I will learn about the culture. That’s what inspires me; finding out about someone else, and learning about a different ethnicity or culture.

6. What has been your biggest challenge starting/running your business? 

Definitely money and time. As a mother of 4 and a wife first, I find that trying to be an entrepreneur and make it all happen is very difficult . . . . and finding the money. There’s money out there. It’s just taking the time to find out where the money is and how you can get that, and use it in your business. If not, you just move a little slower, and that’s where the time comes in.

7. What would you consider to be one of your greatest moments or achievements related to your line/ business?

The smart thing to say is that it has to do with publicity . . . being on the TODAY Show or being in a big magazine, but I would say that the happiest I was, was when I saw somebody in a mall wearing my clothes. To me that is somebody who gets what you are doing, digs it and wants it for their kids.

8. How would you describe your style in 3 words?

Relaxed. Vibrant. Effortless.

9. How often do you add new pieces to your line?

I create 2 seasons/year. Spring and Summer.

10. Describe a typical day in your life:

A typical day starts at 6am for me. Monday-Friday it’s about getting the kids up and off to school. Then I come back and shower, do emails, check social media and prioritize my day. I then drive to my office in downtown LA. Once there, I start on my To Do list. My day consists of getting orders out, sourcing, putting out production fires, accounting and working on display and marketing. By 2:30 I am picking up the kids and doing their activities until about 6pm, then it’s dinner, bath, and bed for them. After they go down I go back to work from 9pm-12 midnite.

11. Looking 3-5 years out, what changes would you like to see, or can you forsee any big changes in your industry?

I would like to see retailers giving indie designers more of a chance. I think the public really loves the underdog, and roots for them, so I would like to see big retailers respond to that. As for big changes I see in the industry, I definitely see a trend to where the person who did not go to school for design can now create something and navigate their way through the industry and make it. You just have to have a plan. You don’t necessarily have to have the educational background to make it.

12. Where do you manufacture your line? Do you manufacture domestically or abroad?

I work with 4 different manufacturers. They are all domestic. I like to be able to see, feel and touch what they are doing.

13. What can we expect to see from Mixed Up Clothing in the future?

I’ve been asked to do a mommy and me line. I may entertain that. But for me, it might just be branching out and doing clothes for bigger girls. Right now I do sizes 0-7, I’m considering expanding to include 9-11 in the future.

14. Where can we purchase Mixed Up Clothing?

You can find us online at We are also in boutiques across the US as well as, and Vault Marketplace.

15. Because I am a handbag designer I have to ask: Shoes or Bags, pick one;  and tell us what you look for in a shoe/bag . . . ☺

I would definitely say handbags. They must be versatile, I need to be able to access things easily, like pull out a business card and carry a capri-sun at the same time. Basically it needs to be durable and fashionable.

Thanks Sonia!!! Had such a fun time hanging with you, and sharing our mompreneur stories!! Love the line, and what you stand for! xx

You can keep up with Sonia and Mixed Up Clothing here: web :: :: twitter :: @mixedupclothing :: facebook :: :: pinterest ::

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Life in Pictures: May Days . . .


Hola Amigas!!! So much going on this month! We’ve been everywhere, from the mountains to the ocean. Part of the reason I love California is that you can experience those two extremes in the same day. Over the course of this month we have been blessed to spend time with lots of friends and family. The weekend before last we went to Legoland with some good friends of ours. It was our first trip with another family with kids. Such a blast!!! It’s great to have another family you can travel with without any drama!!! Kids had a ball, and Nadiya even experienced her first roller coaster ride!!! Thank God for Dads. Coasters are NOT my thing. Rob gets major points for that one!  Speaking of Rob, he started off the holiday weekend with a fab performance @ The Gate in Encino. It really was an amazing show. He brought the house down and left us wanting more!!! For Memorial Day we spent time with my bro and his fam @ the beach. Good food, ocean breezes and loved ones. A combination that can’t be beat. I hope your holiday weekend was amazing. I’ve got great things brewing on the business homefront!! I’m so excited, can’t wait to share! #itsgettingcloser

Have a wonderful Tonday!!

(Feels like Monday but it’s actually Tuesday!!! YAY!!!!)

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Caught on Tape . . . . er, well . . . Film to be exact . . !


Reston + Nadiya, Summer 2012 | All images by Earthtone Photography


Hello friends + Happy Monday! Today happens to be my dear friend Loreta’s birthday. In honor of her, I am doing this post to share some of her blessed talent with you. These beautiful images were taken by Loreta of Earthtone Photography. I did an interview with her back when the blog was a newbie. God brought Loreta into my life on my son’s first day of Kindergarten. Her amazing daughter Olivia was in the same class as Reston. After dropping off our kiddies we struck up a conversation and ended up standing outside the school talking for 3 hours straight!!! Needless to say, we quickly formed a sibling-like bond. I could go on and on about the similarities we share, and the differences that make her an inspiration to me. But that is for another post. I just wanted you guys to see how utterly talented she is. We did this photo shoot last summer. It was so much fun working with her. I have so much respect for people who photograph children + babies. It takes A LOT of patience and a great personality. Loreta has both, and she worked her magic on our shoot. It really was a joy to watch her in action. I’m super excited to be working with her again as we gear up to shoot the new handbag line in the next few weeks. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on that project. I can’t wait!!!! I also can’t wait to get these fab photos up on my walls!!! Happy Birthday Lo. You never cease to amaze me!!!!

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With Childlike Abandon . . .

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Venice Beach | 4.9.13

Spring break is off to an amazing start for the kiddies. They haven’t been home much and they are loving it! Yesterday they spent the day with their cousin and had a spur of the moment sleep over. Uncle Jamahl took them to the beach late in the evening (I opted out of this adventure because it was soooo windy and cold. The thought of getting sand in the fro was extremely unappealing). He texted me back this picture and I just fell in love. I love kids. I love how cold, sleet, sandstorms, hail or thunder doesn’t mean a thing to them. They wanted to get in the water and ran straight for it. It didn’t matter that they did not have a change of clothes, that their shoes and socks would be wet, that they would be cold upon exiting the water and have to spend the rest of the evening in their underwear! I love that about children. It’s something I have to remind myself that I used to have, and can have again if I choose to let go. So that was my lesson learned yesterday.

Maybe a fro full of sand isn’t so bad after all. ☺

Enjoy this day!

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For Love and Friends . . .


Okay, so its ridiculously ridiculous that my last post was on saying goodbye to October, and we are now 3 days away from Christmas!!!

Instead of boring you with apologies (I really am sorry, I can’t help but to apologize). I will cut to the chase. Life has been a little hectic!! I’m not complaining, it’s just the way it is right now! The biscuits started Winter Break on Thursday. My nephew had a baby, well, He didn’t have a baby, but you know what I mean…(shout out to Amaya Anali, 1 week old!!! Yay!) I’d post pics but you gotta get permission for these types of things or you might get the proverbial boot to the… ) anyway, take my word for it, she’s adorable. This month Nadiya joined Girl Scouts and we’ve already had 2 meetings and are in the process of making some great friends and memories. -Actually, this will be good for mom too. And by mom I mean me. Yes folks, you are reading the words of a Girl Scout Drop Out. Uh huh. Don’t even remember my troop number. Didn’t even last a full summer. I think I got one badge. It was yellow and had a horse on it. Don’t know what it was for because I never rode a horse, fed a horse or did anything with a horse. I’m allergic to horses so I don’t even know how I earned that badge. I was also horrified to have to sell those cookies. And now look… some 30 odd years later, we meet again. Now I have to take my very own daughter to peddle cookies in front of some unassuming grocery store. Trying not to bother people while bothering them as they leave the store with their purchases. I know I’ll secretly be keeping tabs on how many people exit from the opposite door in order to avoid the cookie pitch. It’s okay. I don’t blame them. Sometimes you just want to go to the store and not be accosted by little girls with badges and boxes of sweets you know you don’t need, or nice people ringing bells. But I digress, last week Reston started @ a new karate studio (same Sensei, different dojo… long story). Meanwhile, I’ve been knee deep in leather swatches and cost sheets for the past 2 weeks and I’ve begun the process of getting the hardware moulds made for my handbags –Hip Hip HOORAYSKI!!!! All good stuff.  And seeing as today was supposed to be the end of the world as we know it (according to the Mayan calendar) and I am still here typing on my trusty macbook, I’d say, at the moment, life is good.

Have you made any special plans for the holidays?

Life in Pictures: Gone til’ November . . .


 Looking back, November was a lot of fun. We didn’t get to do my annual birthday trip to ‘Frisco this year, but we did get back up to Santa Barbara to hang with my brother & his family. Definitely a good time. I’m happy to say that it’s always a good time for me when I am with my fam. (I realize this is not always the case for errbody.) So I am thankful. ☺

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Back in the Swing . . .

Hello friends, I have to apologize for my AWOL status! The whole fam got sick one by one, and this particularly crazy flu bug affected each of us differently (fevers, sore throats, sharp shoulder & neck pain! Aaargh!). Thank God that is behind us. I am finally out of pain and so are the biscuits. God is good, to say the least! ☺ Meanwhile, life has been swiftly moving on. The first round of parent/teacher conferences has come and gone and we are in the full swing of daily homework and studying for weekly spelling tests. On my end, I have been communicating back and forth with my overseas manufacturers. Its a very exciting time, and God is really working with me on my patience!!! We are gearing up for the new samples, but in the interim, I am clearing space and mindset by selling off the last of the old season stock. I will post images of our sale items later today. All orders will be processed via PayPal, and will ship via UPS Ground. This is your last chance to own styles from the original Ayanna Listenbee Handbag line. The prices are unlike any we’ve ever offered before, so take a look and act fast. There are limited quantities of all items.

In the meantime and in between time, I love yall. Keep those dreams and goals before you, and grab onto them with all your might. They are yours for the taking!!!!!


Goodbye Summer Vacay . . . We’ll Miss You!!!

Leo Carillo State Beach, August 2012

Well, tomorrow the kiddies are back in school. I can hardly believe it is that time of year again! This summer was a lot of fun, and although we didn’t take any trips this summer, we spent a lot of time together and it was good for my soul . . .  and now, it’s back to work & school!!! I welcome the change in schedule. Not so much the drop offs and pick ups, but the routine of it all seems to have a stabilizing effect on the kiddies . . . (and the husband for that matter). Now all I need is for the weather to do a drastic 180 and drop about 40 degrees!!! Then, I will be in heaven!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Beaches . . .

Happy Friday yall!!! Today I am meeting with my web designer to begin work on my new website! This has been a long time coming. I’m so excited! It’s so great to be taking those little steps toward the bigger picture.  Have a fantastic Friday, and a wonderful weekend! xo

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