Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An Inspiring Teenage Girl Battling A Rare Respiratory Disorder

"Life is like a cup of hot chocolate, sometimes you get burned but it always tastes good."

~Emily Hanna

When you read the quote from 18 year old Emily Hanna, you imagine she might be referring to the "ins and outs" of an average teenager in America. Average is far from the life that Emily shares with the world on her blog, "Up for Air". Emily, a not so typical senior high school student, was born with a rare disorder called Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome. She is only 1 of about 800 people in the world dealing with this condition. It is a very complicated problem that has stumped many of her own doctors over the years. She, unfortunately, has been in and out of hospitals her entire life but she has not let this stop her from being as normal as possible and doing things that many with her disease won't even try.

Normal people breath without even thinking about it. This is called autonomic control of breathing. Our body knows when to breath more or less depending on what is going on inside our body. With Emily's condition, the autonomic control of breathing does not exist. This can be most dangerous while people with this condition sleep as they can actually stop breathing. In severe cases this can also happen while awake.

The amazing thing about Emily is that she has not let her condition limit her activities. In fact, she is a great athlete. She is a Nevada State Champion in track and she plays on a traveling soccer team.

Emily credits one of her pediatric pulmonologists, Dr. Karen Hardy of Children's Hospital Oakland, for helping her through many of her trials. If you talk to Emily, she will tell you that Dr. Hardy has saved her life on numerous occasions. In addition to saving Emily's life, Dr. Karen Hardy works tirelessly to improve the lives of thousands of children who suffer from various respiratory diseases. She specializes in the management and treatment of cystic fibrosis. She often provides pro bono care to some of these patients and has found ways to find funding to pay for others as she serves a large underprivileged community. In talking about Dr. Hardy, Emily says, "You just don't find doctors like her anymore; she is a silent champion for the sick, the poor and the homeless."

Dr. Karen Hardy

Paying for services for children's families that can't afford health care themselves has become more difficult with our recent economic situation. Why does this all matter to Emily?? It matters because Emily has chosen to do something to help Dr. Karen Hardy. She has committed to helping make people aware of an endowment fund that will support Dr. Hardy's fellowship program. She is not just making people aware either but has set a goal for herself to help raise one million dollars for this fund. We thought we would, in turn, help her by letting all of you know about this great endowment fund in hopes that you might want to donate too! To find out more information about this, please visit Emily's website at the link below:

A family friend of Emily's bought two Annie & Isabel Hospital gowns for Emily and here is what she had to say about having her own hospital gowns:

"I can't remember a time when my year didn't include a hospital stay. Sometimes I only have to stay for a couple of days and other times for a week. The doctors and nurses are wonderful to me and always try to make me feel a little bit normal during my visits. One of the worst things about the hospital are the horrible hospital gowns that I have to wear sometimes. They never cover enough, they are usually old and somewhat see through. Our friend, Carrie Johnson, got me two Annie & Isabel gowns before a planned surgery and I wore them everyday.

I love my Annie & Isabel hospital gowns. I have been in the hospital three times this year alone and because of all the tubes it has been difficult to wear regular P.J.'s. My Annie & Isabel gowns don't look like regular hospital gowns because of the cute fabric but they function really well with IV's and different tubes and they tie so well that I feel covered when walking around. They wear so comfortable that they gave me a little piece of home while trying to recover. One of my favorite things about your gowns is the fabric. There are several different patterns to choose from and each of my gowns have a lady bug on the sleeve. My favorite color is the pink with black polka dots. I would recommend these gowns to anyone but especially teenagers because they are comfortable and cute!"

Emily...your story has really touched us. We hope your Annie & Isabel gowns will stay tucked away in your closet, but when you do have to visit the hospital..we are so happy you are tackling those admissions with style and comfort and of course your amazing attitude in life. Try not to burn your mouth too many times on the "hot chocolate" of life! Your story is sure to inspire many as it certainly has inspired us!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Great Grandma Annie!

"Annie & Isabel" was named after our maternal great-grandmother Annie and our maternal grandmother Isabel. We were so blessed to have them both in our lives and had childish dreams of naming our future daughters after these amazing and influential women. Six boys later, between the two of us, we have honored them by naming our business after them.

Today would have been our Great Grandmother Annie's 111th birthday! Born February 10th, 1900, Annie Maciel was born so prematurely that her mother had all her handkerchiefs washed in order to be ready to grieve for the expected loss of their little Annie. We can't imagine what this world would have been like without her! She made an indelible mark on many peoples lives and hearts in her long life of hard work and dedication to her family. Annie lived a vivacious and full life for almost a century leaving us just before her 98th birthday. We were so lucky to have a great-grandmother who played an active role in our lives.

Grandma Annie & Anna baking a birthday cake... she always saved a little in the bowl:)

Because Grandma Annie's birthday was always before Valentines Day, we often decorated for her birthday parties with pink Valentine decor. It is for this reason that we thought it fitting to name our pink designer hospital gown with black polka dots after her. We had no idea it would become our most popular hospital gown. We are sure she has something to do with this as we know she is smiling and giggling about it from up above.

Annie was born to immigrant parents and lived at a time when nothing came easy. Life was never taken for granted and with hard work came reward. Annie's whole focus in life was to love and serve her family. She gave us the values of the past. She was spunky, selfless, and fun!

We have so many great memories of her and we thought it would be fun to share some in the pictures below.

Grandma Annie was often found in the kitchen preparing meals for the family.

Grandma Annie & Anna picking tomatoes in the field.

Anna and Grandma Annie washing our family dog Jingle.

Grandma Annie & Selena ~ She always had LOTS of love to give!

Taking a rare break from the "work that needs to be done" with Selena.

Only Grandma Annie would be out weeding the yard in her Sunday best!

3 amazing namesakes to our designer hospital gowns...
from L to R ~ Grandma Isabel, our mother Susan, and Grandma Annie

Holidays were always spent together with Grandma Annie in the kitchen...
Grandma Isabel, Grandma Annie, and Aunt Anita

Now you can see why Grandma Annie was such an influential part of our lives and why we honor her today and always through our business. We think it has been amazing to have customers actually pick our "Annie" hospital gown because of how our Grandma Annie led her long life.

On our website you can read the "Stories Behind the Gowns" to read more about our Grandma Annie and all the other beautiful and amazing women our gowns are named after.

Happy Birthday Grandma Annie!
We will always remember and love you...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Two Fellow Mom Entrepreneurs Share Love For Annie & Isabel Designer Hospital Gowns

We received a sweet testimonial from new mom Noelle. Noelle was given our Annie designer hospital gown, for the birth of her daughter, by her good friend Jessica. We discovered that Jessica & Noelle are both inspirational mompreneurs! Please read about their fun businesses at the end of this testimonial and support them by following along their journey!

Noelle with baby girl and friend Jessica

Noelle looks stunning in her Annie hospital gown with best friend Jessica.
Here is what Noelle had to say about her experience in an
Annie & Isabel designer hospital gown,

"When visitors started coming to the hospital to see our new baby, I wasn't quite ready for regular clothes, but wanted to look cute. The Annie gown was stylish and comfortable and made me feel "dressed" for the occasion. Thank you!"

Jessica is about to launch an adorable children's clothing line called Pee Wee Patch Kids. She will be needing one of our gowns soon too as she just announced her pregnancy with twins!!!

Noelle owns a wonderful company in San Francisco called An Organized Nest. Read more about Noelle and her company to make "life simplified"!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Prayers For The Duffy Family

Help us in praying for the Duffy family who lost their beloved Pietra yesterday to non-smoker lung cancer. Brenda Bisharat photographed the Duffy family after Pietra's diagnosis last year and helped with a fundraiser for the Duffy family. You may have heard us talk about Pietra because her best friend is Ruby of Ruby Roxanne Designs. Ruby and Pietra were life long best girlfriends and Ruby designed "Peetie Love Cuffs" in honor of their friendship. We delivered an "Annie" hospital gown to the hospital 2 weeks ago for Ruby to give Pietra. When Ruby called to thank us, we loved hearing Pietra's giggle in the background. Let us all wrap our hearts and prayers around the Duffy family today. Here is Brenda's slideshow of Pietra and her family...We know you will be just as touched by the love this family shares as we are...

Pietra & Ruby

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Emmitt & Pat Smith Celebrate the Birth of Their Son with an Annie & Isabel Hospital Gown!!

We have an exciting testimonial to share with you. As some of you may remember, Annie & Isabel was featured on Dallas' #1 morning radio show, The Gene and Julie Show by Kimberly Schlegel Whitman back in August. You can listen to this broadcast here:

About a month later, we received an email from Kimberly Whitman as she wanted to gift a gown to Pat Smith. Kimberly told us that Pat Smith was her good friend and was married to football Hall of Fame member, Emmitt Smith!! How exciting is that??!! Pat Smith is famous all on her own too. She was the first African American woman to win the title of Miss Virginia in 1993 and was the 1st runner up in the Miss USA pageant in 1994. You can see why, too, as she is beautiful!!

Pat Smith has many talents as well. She is the CEO and founder of an organization called "Treasure You". In Pat's own words, "Treasure You is all about building a community that supports, inspires and celebrates women in their journey to discover their self worth." You can find out more about this organization here: TREASURE YOU

Pat and Emmitt Smith also run their own charity, the "Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities" which works to create educational experiences and enrichment opportunities for underserved children.

In talking with Kimberly Whitman, we were trying to figure out which hospital gown Pat would like. She would obviously look beautiful in any of our hospital gowns but we knew there was one in particular that just seemed to be perfect for her....The Susan.

Fortunately, she LOVED it too. She wore it during the delivery of her son, Elijah Alexander James, born September 22, 1010. He weighed in at 6lbs and 6oz and was 19 inches long.

Here is what Pat Smith had to say about her experience in her very own Annie & Isabel hospital gown:

"I received a wonderful gift of an Annie & Isabel Susan hospital gown from my dear friend Kimberly before the birth of my second son, Elijah. What a difference the stylish black and pink zebra pattern gown made during my hospital stay! Many of us can feel uncomfortable and self-conscious in front of visitors in a standard gown, but these designer gowns offer a fabulous alternative. I never felt more comfortable and beautiful in the hospital before. Annie & Isabel gowns are a perfect gift and an awesome way for new moms to feel "treasured" during their hospital stay."

Congratulations Pat & Emmitt on your beautiful family!!