Many of you know, small business has my heart...we didn't just fall into this by accident. My roots are in small business, my parents had one for over 30 years. I didn't just live it, I literally grew up above it and breathed it in every single day, in every kind of season, and every kind of climate.
We have several small businesses under our brick and mortar shop and even more that I work with and love to support across the country. These people are my tribe and I cannot wait to share five of my favorites with you! Please consider supporting one or all of these this Christmas season. You can rest assured that unlike the cashier standing at a big box store delivering small talk as quickly as possible, each one of these amazing and talented business owners does a happy dance each time an order comes through. I don't know about you, but I personally feel like 2020 could use more happy dances!
Kim approaches business with her whole heart and helps make items that feel like you belong to a sisterhood so strong you can feel the connection miles apart. I have given her items as gifts and received so many of these beauties from her...literally the perfect gift for gal pals that are five minutes or five hundred miles away!
PS...my earrings above are created by her!
Becky delivers the cutest tiered tray decor
and hand-sewn goods, adorable signs,
ornaments, and table decor. All of her items make great stocking stuffers and will help you make
this season a little bit merrier...
especially if you order for yourself
and your bestie!
Cottage Farmhouse 1872
Jana is super creative and not only sews up the most adorable decor and ornaments, but is an incredible artist as well. She hand-draws directly on her pillows
and can be seen on
social media making these amazing
pieces one by one!
The Crows Nest Sign Co
Tina has such an art of personalization
with her beautiful pieces. We have one of her
crosses and it is a treasured piece in our home.
She also offers ornaments that can be personalized
and faith centered items
that make the most lovely home accents
and gifts this time of year!
Square One Soapworks, LLC
Barb is one of my favorite locals,
and if you have had a soap conversation with me
in the shop, her soap is literally the only soap
that is always in my shower. The ingredient profile is clean, she works hard to develop each bar,
and we always end up ordering several at a time!
Spreading cheer is so easy when shopping with these small businesses. I hope that you were able to find some beautiful gifts for your favorite people on your list, and maybe one or two for yourself as well!
Stay...In The Moment,
In a shocking turn of events, much like the rest of 2020, November is looking oh-so-much different than anticipated. In the shop, we are typically elated to see our favorite customers politely excusing themselves through packed aisles and around crowded displays throughout the month, and especially at our holiday events, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday.
Having your best interests at heart and because Wisconsin is like a south pole elf right now, gatherings, crowds, mosh pits, and the basic ol' bumping into one another, is not recommended and something we would like to avoid. In other words, we are super excited to share with you our November Small Business Saturday running from Thursday, November 19th to Monday, November 30th, 2020!
To thank all of you for all the support since reopening, the online shop and everything inside the brick & mortar will be 30% off...and the icing on the cake is that we also have gift with purchase goodies we will pack into every bag! Shop small, support your favorite makers, and stuff those stockings! We can't wait to make things a little bit merrier for you!
Beginning tomorrow the online shop pop-up will contain a 30% off code as well as our social media pages. You can shop online for complimentary local delivery (every Friday), in-store pick up, or shipping. If you head to the brick and mortar we will automatically put the discount in for you!
And as always, we appreciate you and your choice to shop small...whether that is with us or your neighbor down the street. The impact is immeasurable in joy and oftentimes unequivocally matched at supporting local community; both things we can totally and wholeheartedly stand behind.
Stay...In The Moment,
Some days it is easier to look on the bright side, find the joy, and create it when it cannot be found. Other days, a quick "Thank you, next' and beverage seem to do the trick. And when you combine both, its just plain magic. So basically I am saying, try this Autumn Mule, you won't be disappointed. And before you say you don't like mules, there are a LOT of options with this one, mule or no mule, spiked or not spiked, hot or cold, and we may have tried it all of these ways on a few different occasions. (I am calling that research.)
You'll need to make the cider first. Note that this is meant to be more of a concentrated cider, and you can drink it hot, make it into a toddy, or serve over ice. For this you'll need the following...
Assembly time! We personally enjoy an Irish mule, so we used traditional ingredients like our favorite ginger beer and bourbon whiskey...but, you can omit the bourbon, substitute your favorites, or just use sparkling water to make a non-alcoholic version.
Easy, oh-so-yummy, and super versatile! It's like apple pie in a drink, a little dangerous because its just that good, and a bonus...your house will smell like you have been baking all day long. Let me know if you try this one (or how many you enjoyed once you do!).
Stay, In The Moment...
Inconsistency...waiting for the other shoe to drop...perching on the edge of our seats...describes pretty much how I am operating on the daily this year. Running a small business amid this chaos is akin to jumping in the deep end of the pool where a shark is circling. Add in homeschooling 3 kids who just want to experience normal which is like herding cats through a minefield of catnip and caged mice. Ok, ok, that may be exaggerating a little, but it also mildly covers the everyday activities of a Monday in our house.
And if you have noticed this little piece of the 'interweb' that holds my blog, that too has been inconsistent at best as those posts and writings get juggled from list to list and put off to the very bottom of what seems like a never ending log of things yet to be accomplished. Between all the conversations I have had with friends near and far, most all of you are feeling that crunch, that uncertainty, and the pressures that are somehow different and more numerous than ever before. How did we get to a slowdown that made us so unbelievably busy?
Like many of you, I have taken on so much extra while simultaneously letting go of so much excess. And we are still sitting on the edge of our seats, wondering what will be next, and making small and big changes that make sense for this new, and hopefully short-lived season of life. So you may be seeing a few changes here...so we need to know, what are you sitting on the edge of your seat for? What makes you click that 'read' button? What do you want to see in the future?
Tell us more...
Do you want an online paint class that is at your own pace? Do you want weekly emails with fun printables? Do you want a quarterly bundle of goods you can purchase from the online shop?
Until next time, I'll be sitting on the edge of my seat and trying to
Stay...In The Moment,
Let's be honest...2020 has shifted how all of us do things, both in big and small ways. And if I am honest with myself, some of those shifts and changes have been positive pulling out more and more gratitude and each and every creative fiber of my being to make it all work. Like some of you, we had big plans for our home this year and some of that had to shift to accommodate other things...our master bath was one of the first things to get nixed from the list. But instead of crossing it off completely, I just revamped how I approached it and pulled off a $15 refresh instead. If you are struggling with an area of your home and 2020 has put the cancelled in all of your plans, revisit the how...anything is possible with a little creativity and paint.
On a side note...I get a little messy in this post. The real-life, ugly, before pic is proof that everyone has a hidden eyesore somewhere in their home whether it be a junk drawer, closet, or bathroom like this one. I hope seeing this gives all of you a little extra encouragement to pick up a paintbrush, refresh that space that doesn't give you all the good feels, and transform it into a space that fits the season of life you are in.
A few notes about the refresh...
-$15 total, yup...$15. We used all the leftover supplies we had from other projects. Which, I will say, was not as easy as it sounds. Our original 3 plans were scrapped once we took measurements and allotted for the supplies we actually had...cue some designer frustration in there! Our $15 was spent on drywall mud, drywall tape, and liquid nails.
-Yes, you can totally paint cabinetry! I get this question all the time...what matters is the type of paint and finishing product you use to make it as water resistant as possible. Our painted kitchen cabinets have very little wear on them and have survived 3 kids, 3 dogs, and 3 cats for five years and counting! Since this isn't a 'How to Paint Cabinets Tutorial' comment below, DM with any questions, or if you are local, pop in the shop and I would be happy to talk you through it!
-We inherited this beauty of a room and as you may have noticed this bathroom is the size of a port-o-potty. This created a lot of logistical issues, but ultimately saved the budget so I guess you could say I have a love/hate relationship with it.
Not bad for $15 and a week of fitting in 15-30 minutes here and there! It may not be the original plans we had, but a fresh new look that fit our budget, our schedule, and our ability to source all the things in our current climate. I'll call that a win and hope that it gives you a boost to tackle that soon-to-be-hidden-gem of a project that 2020 officially put on hold for you!
Stay...In The Moment,
Well, if you have been around here for any length of time...big thank yous! You may remember that we missed our Birthday Bash, our Annual Destash (clearance) event, and our community's Krazy Daze...all fun things we get to celebrate with you and use to transition our little shop through the seasons. It started out in March as pushing it off, rescheduling, and planning to do all these things at a later date...well its already a later date, the landscape still looks the same, and waiting no more we will do.
Bring on the BINGO...yup, birthday BINGO. Its our way of letting you know of all the sales so you can follow along and pick up all the things you need, want, and never knew you couldn't live without. Plus, it's a little more fun than me telling you from behind a mask what is on special, all the goodies, the gift with purchase, the BOGOS, and so on...because let's face it, its a long list and I will likely forget to tell you some of them.
So, come celebrate with us...in a different way than usual throughout the rest of the month of August! Because once August is up, we have big things to share with you again...a new schedule, new plans, and some transitions as we continue to grow through 2020!
Stay...In The Moment,
It's been quiet over here, but we have been oh-so-busy with all the things. In additional to owning this small shop, taking custom work and offering personal design services, we have 3 kiddos, 1 cat and 5 chickens. And let me tell you, the chickens may be the easiest part.
Changes in schooling are being announced all over the country and with the realization that I may be at home more than usual through next spring, we are crossing off all the projects on the list. This week, I am sharing one of my favorite paints by The Chippy Barn, giving you a sneak peek at painting, and showing off our new master bedroom refresh. Behind the scenes, we are finishing up our master bathroom refresh (disclaimer: its the size of a closet) and if the weather cooperates, the greenhouse I started more than a month ago...so stay tuned for those. Right now, you can hit my IG stories for all the painting goodness (check highlights for yesterday's first coat) and read on for all the answers to my master bedroom refresh...
First, let me say hand-painted wallpaper is not for the faint of heart. Second, there are a few steps to make it a bit easier, so I'll start from the beginning...
There are so many patterns you can mimic or come up with, but bottom line is this fern pattern was easy to duplicate, although time consuming, and felt like the much needed zen I needed in the middle of spring of 2020's chaos. Plus, I really liked that it was not completely cookie cutter.
There are a few tips that do make this process a little easier. Remember the Frog Tape and fill in with the wall color first. I have seen others cut sponges as well for a lighter look...just keep in mind that you may have to play around with your paint and the type of foam sponge you use to get a consistent print. I also hand-mixed my paint, both the actual formulation and the color. This allowed me to get the perfect shade and more importantly the right consistency to use with detail brushes on a vertical surface. I used a combination of clay paint (from Country Chic Paint), ceramic paint (from The Chippy Barn) and latex wall paint in satin finish. It not only gave one coat coverage, but allowed for an almost completely matte finish that is wipeable.
I will warn you that because of this wall, I subsequently also had to paint my headboard and make modifications to its style. The project also took many more hours than anticipated. But I had all the supplies already, and if you didn't, it would really only cost you paint, tape, and a brush. This was what I kept reminding myself while painting (it took nearly 15 hours) because the wallpaper alternative would have been over $400 for the pattern I had chosen. Ultimately, it was the perfect win and I am so glad I pushed through and finally finished it.
And now we can focus on all the other things on that to do list while we
Stay...In The Moment
We certainly are not alone in saying we missed so much this year. But on the contrary, we are also not alone in saying we gained quite a bit too. And with this little shop, it is no different...we are choosing to view the cup as half full rather than half empty, making sure to leave a little room for hope, goodness, and the expectation of better things. It is certainly not easy, but it is much easier to get through the day focusing on that rather that on the opposite.
This year, our shop missed its Birthday Celebration, Annual Destash Event, Christmas in July gathering, and what was supposed to be our community's Krazy Daze event this weekend. But right along with that, we have expanded online, offered complimentary local delivery, and kept in touch with so many of you, really learning who is committed to our tribe of local and far-away friends who have a love of old and new goodies and a passion for making their lives a little more rich in all the ways that matter.
With that vision in mind, that half-full cup completely runs over, feelings of gratitude replace concern, and the reasons behind the whys become that much more apparent.
To continue that, share our gratitude with you, and rather than think about all the sweet faces and connections we will miss this weekend, we have taken our Krazy Daze sales online (we will continue to update as the week goes on), and included lots of gift with purchase on a bigger scale than ever before. It's our way of putting the smiles in each package, sharing our half-full cup with you, and continuing to move forward through whatever kind of new normal 2020 shares with us.
Stay...In The Moment,
It seems as though we just started June...meaning I had to look at the calendar twice to make sure the 4th of July was really this Saturday. Summers in Wisconsin go FAST around here...on a side note, the winters do not. And there is nothing better than a little patriotic decor to make me feel all those fleeting summer feels.
But, if you have been reading along for a bit, you know that I am all about all-things-simple this year...enter in my 5 minute centerpiece and this year's attempt to reuse, change up, and make the 4th festive. I grabbed multiple packs of this little flags last year at the dollar store, and dip-dyed them in coffee to age them a bit. It's a bit difficult to tell from the photo, but they were bright white and starched to a stiffness only June Cleaver would accept (yes, that is a dated reference...I am still in my thirties, but I am a Nick-at-Nite baby thanks to my mama with an affection for retro television). Thanks to this easy dye process, they now give an off-white hue and more relaxed look. Add in greenery, and checklist done! Easiest decor ever, leaving lots of room to enjoy the holiday.
For me this holiday is usually a lot like Thanksgiving...a whole lot of food and a whole lot of gratefulness. The only difference? The weather, and maybe the addition of a sprinkler.
This year, like everything else in 2020, our celebration will look a little bit different. But, it will still include all of those things...all the goodness of the ideals of independence, the responsibilities that come with that, and the unshakable knowledge that better things are coming.
And in case you a little something extra to carry with you into the weekend, next week, and maybe even into next year, I'll leave you with this quote reminding you to be unshakable...focus on the gratitude, rise with a clear mind, and leave the door open for the happiness that will follow.
Stay...In The Moment,
Check that title again...It's Thursday all day and to be quite honest, that's about all I've got. And peonies. My peonies finally, and I mean finally, decided to open up...and it truly was all in their own time. Sometimes, alright...most of the time, things can't be rushed, they have their own timeline. And if 2020 has taught me anything, it is that we must be in the here and now, get real comfortable with being in the moment amid uncertainty and ever-changing circumstances that despite how much we hope and wish and pray, have their own timeline that they are operating under.
Some of this is just nature, a course of action playing out and other times it is our inability to shut it down...both the internal and external reactions we have to situations. The biggest thing I have noted this year is the volume of opinions blasting freely on social media, in person, and in print. And by volume I mean the expression of, amount of, level at which they are announced and carried out, and sometimes the lunacy of that all wrapped together in a not so neat package.
We may not have control over the length of time something takes, the ability of others and ourselves to change and transform, or the speed at which peonies bloom, but we do have control over our reactions and how deeply we allow ourselves to feel them. Take in this full quote by Marcus Aurelius, but read this line carefully...'There is never a need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control.'
Peonies won't bloom any faster accompanied by my opinion that they should. Nor will anyone be any more kind, approach a problem with any more intelligence, or the world hasten the effect of the certain circumstances we are in all while experiencing a rainstorm of my opinions. So instead of feeling the weight of that storm, I am going to focus on the things I know, those things I can control. I'll continue to practice kindness, pretend I have lots of patience waiting for peonies to bloom, and rest in the knowledge that all day today is Thursday... at least until midnight.
Stay...In The Moment
Many of you know we have offered Intro to Furniture Painting classes plus a variety of specialty classes and studio time over the last few years. It is so amazing to see all your work, the things you have accomplished, and the projects you have tackled! If social distancing weren't a thing right now, we would be high five-ing each and every one of you! But because of this time we are living in, we have instead been fielding oh-so-many questions via social media over the last few months while we have been unable to host these classes and events.
After all, you still have projects, and some of you more time now to complete them. We hear you, we are here for you...and we will continue to guide you along in your painting journey whenever you start, wherever you want to land, and however you want to finish.
With that said, let us know...WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN A FACEBOOK LIVE Q&A SESSION ON ALL THINGS PAINT, ALL THINGS FURNITURE, ALL (or hopefully most) OF YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED?
We know this isn't our typical blog post of all things lovely, all things that are going on, and maybe a sprinkle of encouragement...but this is a way we can support and challenge many of you to finish up those items you just got stuck on, don't know how to begin, or maybe need a little bit of a confidence boost to dive on into. So head to Facebook, our Instagram account, or heck, even send us a little email and let us know!
We'll decide on the time and date later, so no need to worry about that. We'll also decide on who will hold the camera as well...any takers for that thankless job? Must be willing to keep me from laughing, distract me from saying 'UMMM' every other word, and help me stay on track. Cue me asking my hubs to take on this assignment! So chime in, share your thoughts, or better yet, all your questions!
Stay...In The Moment,
In case you were popping by for some encouragement...I'll be sprinkling these words with a lot of new favorite quotes based on all the doors that have closed, the windows that have opened, and the new normal that continues to present itself on a daily basis. Know that you are valued, there is a place for you, and that while things may continue to shift you will land, and hopefully it will be in the place you were always intended to be.
I learned a lot about myself while at home with my people, and was quickly reminded that I need to get back to the things that matter, not just in the interim, but to stay from now on. I have a tendency to be a YES person...a person that struggles with the consequences of saying no. letting someone down, or the inability to help.
But the truth is, when we say yes to one thing, we say no to another...its just that simple. We are all given the same amount of hours in the day, no more and no less, and only so many things will fit inside a twenty-four hour period of time.
This means that I had to take a careful look at the the places in which I am not valued, the things I sign up for that do not serve to elevate me or others around me. Some of these things surround how I operate my business and some on how I conduct myself in personal relationships. Others focused on my stubborn attitude to release things I had invested in.
After all is said and done,
I learned that I am worth more,
that choosing for me can affect
those around me in a positive way,
and that being in the moment can
include stillness and connection
rather than constant hustle.
Maybe you found that too, or maybe
you need to read these. I was not able to
slow down while we were stuck inside;
I do have three kiddos and a business to run after all.
But, I was able to stop chasing those things
that have little pay-off, things that connect me to anxiety,
commitments I fulfill based on guilt and not joy,
people and places that hold on tightly
to my work ethic and not necessarily
place value on my contribution.
So if you are feeling less than,
uncentered, wobbly and unbalanced..
hear me when I say this, YOU ARE VALUED.
It is okay to close some doors, let go,
and accept yourself...and when you do that,
you will be in a better place to accept
all the good things. The joy will be easier to find,
and those around you will naturally benefit
from the value you place on yourself.
Never in a million years, or at least those that I have been blessed enough to grace this earth, would I have thought that my topic of conversation would be what I am doing as a small business owner to follow guidelines set forth to do my part to keep everyone safe and healthy during a viral pandemic. Now that’s a run-on sentence for the record books. But, here we are….here I am…and that is what I am writing about. So, if you are local and you plan on popping by the brick & mortar to visit the shop, below is a list of what you can expect. And, if you still plan on shopping online or continue to let us know you saw something in our Instagram stories and cannot live without it, you can either plan to pick it up or request complimentary local delivery. We will meet you where you are in the current climate and your current comfort zone. If you are heading to us, here are some changes…
These may change over time, and I sure hope they will because like many of you, I miss normal. I have seen many boat and storm analogies running rampant in memes and on social media rants. We truly believe that all boats look different, and therefore how we proceed through the same storm, the trajectory of our path, and the way in which we dock may be different. This current boat that we are in as a small business is oddly shaped, its sails look wonky, and its rudder is a little off. But we are determined to keep afloat, be lifted when the water is high, and allow you to climb aboard when you choose to do so. For those of you that have messaged, commented, ordered, and supported, our gratitude cannot be measured…thank you, we look forward to seeing you in the shop.
Stay well...and In The Moment,
We are all not so great at some things…my thing…waiting. I would rather start something with half the supplies needed than wait to start, procrastinate in any way, or miss out on an opportunity. Sometimes you just have to jump right in before testing the water, submerse yourself fully, give yourself a little bit of extra grace to falter while doing so, and feel the entire experience. This doesn’t mean that some things aren’t worth waiting for…they are…and that’s where my current skill set fails me.
Each year on March 31st, our little shop turns another year older. And I look forward to celebrating that milestone with each and every client, friend, customer, and neighbor that walk through the door. In an effort to preserve that, I have rescheduled this event a total of FIVE times…yes, F.I.V.E. In reality, the shop is crowded, the socializing is fierce and wonderful, and the lines are long with people standing end to end. The only thing that’s wrong with that is the current time in which we are living and recognizing that all of that will be impossible to do right now.
So, I have decided to kick the wait to the curb, because I am not great at that anyway, and still celebrate. The birthday bash is going virtual, and I promise it will be better than one of your kids’ classroom zoom calls. We’ll be posting specials and sales, BOGOs and Free w/Purchase, all the wonderful things you expect from year to year. The only thing you’ll miss is the in-person vibe and the snacks and refreshments. But, just know that with every order, comment, like and encouraging word from all of you celebrating with me that I am holding my coffee cup high, sending you a caffeinated cheers from afar, and reminding myself of this quote, “It’s not about going to a party. It’s life as a party.’ -DIANE VON FURSTENBERG
The party starts today with our signature tote, complimentary with a $40 purchase, while supplies last. We’ll pack your order right inside for shipping or complimentary local delivery. And as always, if you are missing something online, reach out…if it’s in stock, we’ll invoice you and get it out with the next delivery/ship date!
Stay well and…Stay…In The Moment,
Let me begin by saying we couldn’t be more thankful for all of our wonderful clients, friends, and tribe of small business supporters…your orders, messages, and check-ins have brightened our days, given us a sense of community, and brought joy during uncertain times. YOU are living the true embodiment of ‘We Rise By Lifting Others’ and we sincerely hope that the packages arriving at your doorsteps and porches have brought you just as much joy as we have had delivering them.
If you know me personally, you also know that in addition to being a full-time, small business owner, I am also a mama to 3 littles, wife, daughter and friend…all occupations that I hold dear and priorities that are so very important to me and those people I am blessed to call my own. Regardless of what is happening in the outside world, these amazing folks who continue to let me show up and be myself will always take priority. With childcare, job requirements, and the lack of a cohesive plan to reopen across the state, our family is taking careful measures to assess how re-opening will look while also being cautious and care-minded about your safety and well-being. YOU truly fall into the priority list alongside all the others.
The brick and mortar shop has been closed since March 14th, 2020, but the online shop has remained open and expanded beyond anything I had ever dreamed possible. Behind the scenes we continue to create, design, expand and process brand new inventory, and dream up new shop spaces. Over the next two weeks we plan to change up the interior of the shop, continue to add new items, and make sure our kiddos complete the rest of what is surprisingly a successful school year for each of them. This brings us to hopefully opening after Memorial Day to new shop views, windows, and merchandise. The process may look a little different for how you shop, but you’ll still be greeted with the same joy and beautiful local goods as always.
Until then, we will continue to offer complimentary delivery, new specials aimed at those of you who continue to support small business rather than rush to big box stores, and add new items to the online shop and social media weekly. From us and all of our small business vendors inside the shop, we cannot wait to move forward and thank you in person. In the meantime, keep checking social media, the blog, and the online shop for all the goodies for yourself and the besties you continue to miss…and we’ll continue to be right by your side, packing them up, and happily sending them to you and yours.
Stay well and In The Moment...
On some levels it feels like snow was just on the ground and we were scurrying through winter. Alternately, it feels like 2020 is a slow moving sloth destroying everything in its path. I think wherever you land in the middle of that, we can all agree that 2020 has been some form of colossal joke, a never ending game of Jumanji or like your mother never told you that your real name was Katniss and you have now entered the Hunger Games.
Weeks have flashed and simultaneously crawled by and now we have arrived at the month of May and entered level 5 in whatever game 2020 is playing with us; Mother’s Day is nearly here. I can tell you that although I will miss celebrating with my mama and mother-n-law, I will not miss the expectations, usually hurried day, and the added pressure. Instead, it’s kind of like 2020 forced a socially acceptable messy bun, braless, yoga inspired pajama outfit on all of us and that is one thing I will be thanking 2020 for over and over again.
And because many of us are trapped, I mean snuggled, at home with our little people, these printable All About My Mom and Dad...Sheets always give me a laugh. I have been 29 and 65 years old on the same day, worked as a cook and full-time mom (although I feel like those are one in the same anyway), and they've told me I weighed 80 pounds and 200 pounds (neither of which are close). There is something so magical about getting an inside view as to how your kiddos see you through their perception of the world; it is heartwarming and hilarious at the same time. So print these out and have your kiddos take the best survey of their lives…and then save it until next year when you can ask them again…trust me, it’s totally worth it. And in 2021 when we look back at our victory over 2020 and celebrate Mother’s Day again (preferably out to brunch with mimosas and bloody marys and someone else doing the dishes), their answers will never look so sweet as when they viewed us as mothers, teachers, yoga instructors, pajama-uniform wearing, zoom call professionals, restaurant owners, housekeepers, and possibly day-drinking mamas that stuck it all out, poured all their love in, and celebrated Mother’s Day in a survival-of-the-fittest style only 2020 could provide.
Stay in the Moment...
Yesterday I read a Forbes article on how many retail businesses will fail by 2025 as a result of our current situation. The numbers, my friends, are staggering. And it is not because they aren’t trying; it is because the landscape has changed so dramatically and so swiftly forcing consumers into online-everything.
It’s not realistic to tell you not to shop on Amazon, peruse the aisles of Target, or long for the goods at Hobby Lobby. I too shop in all of those places and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a Starbucks in my hand while I did it. But, if there is one thing this last month has taught me is that I can probably live without all of those…except Amazon, because toilet paper.
To top it all off, another article indicated that the landscape of shopping would be mainly changed by values. Values both with what retailers offer and what consumers put value in, specifically what those retailers stand for and exemplify. It quickly made me realize that we, RIGHT NOW, have the option to choose that.
These are the questions that ran through my head…
Do we choose convenience over quality?
Do we support our neighbor over a CEO?
Do we value the hard work of others over the underpaid work of many?
Do we support businesses that support our community?
Do we cheer each other on or tear each other down?
Do we take a bit longer to drive to a small shop or rush through a big box store?
Do we support creativity or expect it to be provided for free?
I don’t need to tell you what I am currently doing differently or what I plan to do when the new normal hits because while our values may be similar, they are not identical. We each are individuals, with preferences of our own, and that’s a good thing. What I would like to do is to challenge you to envision the landscape you want to see the new normal be. Mine includes a walkable downtown lined with little shops, quaint coffee spaces with local roasters, and owners that recognize me and maybe even know my name. Does it feel a little Hallmark movie? Yes! And I am totally ok with that, and even more ok with supporting that vision in the here and now so that later I can live it. Keep choosing for those values today my friends, tomorrow depends on it.
Stay…In The Moment,
What we are all experiencing is similar, how we all process that may be different. I can tell you that the one word I keep coming back to is choice, the ability to CHOOSE. Much of that has been taken away over the last 30 days whether that be by Stay-At-Home orders, your employment status, or even fear. But the flip side to that is we still get to CHOOSE, and by all accounts, that is an incredible blessing.
We get to choose happy, choose our reactions, choose how we spend our time, no matter how limited that may be right now. And whether you decide to use this time with limited options to Netflix and chill or dive head first into a new learning opportunity, it is still the same. This entire pandemic event and process that continues to follow it is a minor equalizer in that way.
With that in mind, we are making choices every day on spending, activities, and how to function that may change the way we do things once some semblance of normalcy returns. And that is where I want to stand on my soap box and offer everyone a cautious pause to focus on what they will CHOOSE.
You get to decide how busy you become, how you nurture your relationships, where you spend your dollars, who you will be, how you will impact the earth, and what you support in your community. Because for the first time in your lifetime, you were granted a long pause to examine all of this and forced to make different choices on how you do things without the busy chaos of life camouflaging all of that.
As a family, we do a relatively good job at supporting small business, most often choosing to eat at a locally owned establishment, purchasing from other small business for goods, and being careful with things we can reuse and recycle…but could it be better? Yes, and it most certainly is worth the extra time and dollar because in the end, I get more back on both of those and a community in which I want to thrive.
For each of us this may look differently; we all have different likes and dislikes, favorites and pet peeves, but inherently it’s still there. Do you care about the earth, but do nothing to reduce your footprint because you are too busy? Do you love seeing a thriving downtown, but purchase at big box vendors because it can save you a dollar? Do you cherish your family, but don’t take the time to reconnect? I’ll let you in a secret…you will never be less busy, you will never have enough money, you will never have enough time…but if you never follow through on these you will also never run out of excuses. And that, my friends, is a choice.
We get to choose how we exit this pandemic, choose how we react to daily challenges, choose where we allocate all those resources we never have enough of anyway. And this, in effect, will shape what are lives look like after we seek normal. This great pause has given me a lot of introspection on my choices, why I choose certain things over others, and how I can do better based on my values and what I care about. Looking at this with the realization that I have choices makes my lack of control over this situation a little bit easier to swallow, helps me rest in hope for a brighter future, and forces me to pause in all the right places. It may not look pretty at all times, quite frankly it’s like an unmanned circus, but in choosing these things, joy comes more easily even in the midst of all the chaos and will continue long after we move forward individually and as a community.
Stay...In The Moment,
By now I am sure many of you have been inundated with the rules of quarantine. And by that I mean a slow and steady trickle from experts you’ve never heard of before, internet gurus, and self-proclaimed blue ribbon business owners, life coaches, and social media marketers wanting you to listen in and give their methods a try.
Here’s what they have to say…
Be productive, now is the time to grow.
Be mindful, don’t put pressure on yourself.
Learn a new skill, don’t take this slow-down for granted.
Self-care, plan activities to rejuvenate yourself and your mind.
Be realistic, but don’t allow that to stifle your dreams.
Eat healthy, stress affects your immune system.
Treat yourself, eat what you want, but with moderation and care.
Help your kids learn, complete the virtual learning from instructors bogging your inbox.
Don’t worry about your kids missing out, they need you right now to grow through this.
Keep your kids on track with school; these are good life lessons.
Finish those projects, now is a time to get ahead while you are inside.
Leave the projects, now is a time to focus on you, on wellness, and keeping stress in check.
Realize the world will never be the same, don’t let that affect you.
Plan for when things go back to normal, now is the time to forge a new path.
So, in summary…do this, but not too much…its ok, but not ok…try that, but don’t dive in…it matters, but it doesn’t.
This noise is enough to make any person dealing with the outside world in a positive and healthy way go off the deep end. In the end, this ‘help’ isn’t helpful at all. It leaves people to question their sanity and their way of doing things, compare their lives to that of others, and feel like they come up short in every aspect.
That brings me to this…pandemic or no pandemic…I stand by my original…YOU DO YOU. Whether that means you are productive or not. And I’m not talking about just making feel-good decisions so you can pacify the time or ignore the world around you. But rather do what you need to do right now to be ok. Fall back on extra grace, give that to those around you, and by all means make sure you give that to yourself first.
If you want to learn something new, go for it! If you need to chill, do it! If your kids need a day off from virtual school, take it! If you need chocolate, eat it! If you want to work out, lift it! If you need to know all the things, research it! If you have to or need to or want to work, clock it! If social media is driving you mad, hibernate! If you need to feel heard, reach out!
I’ll be over here doing just that. And, in the middle of it having good and bad days, difficult and easy moments, sad and happy times, and practicing a lot, and I mean A LOT, of grace.
I am giving myself more grace than ever and working on things ever so slowly. Which means while juggling kiddos, projects are taking more than a hot minute to complete.
One project I finished was this mini-book wall. If you have wanted to try one, you can head to my Instagram page, and click BOOK WALL on the highlight reel. It will give you a mini-tutorial so that you can do your own. This would also be super adorable in a playroom or child’s room using colorful books too…if any of my local friends want help with one when this is over, I’m your gal! And, if you just want to pacify the time by watching it, or skip by entirely, that’s ok too. Because, the whole point is to just have YOU DO YOU.
Stay well and Stay…In The Moment,
I am under the full assumption that it is safe to say….UGH. I have posted this to all my social media accounts @inthemomentrestorations on IG and inthemomentrestorations on FB, rolled around in that feeling for awhile, and oftentimes still return to that angst accompanied by a variety of anxiety induced symptoms that unfortunately no amount of coffee or wine will cure. But, that is quickly followed by the realization that we, in fact, are not alone. And choosing a we-are-in-this-together mentality fostered through a deep gratitude for all the little blessings during that day is a much better way to navigate through this; even if it takes more effort.
There are many things we cannot do right now. The flip side to that is there are many more things that we can continue to do and start to do this very moment. And the beauty of that is, inarguably, they all…each and every one of them…begin with kindness, an attitude of encouragement and support, and foster a greater sense of community. Look at that list again, because those are the things that matter, are the important tenants of humanity, and I am grateful to give them just a little bit more focus over the next weeks until they become so deeply engrained in my daily practice that I come out of this situation a much better human than in which I entered it.
DISCLAIMER: That does not mean that anxiety will disappear, that I won’t (or haven’t) lost my marbles with my 3 kiddos, or that my days will be so very Mary Poppins that PBS will be knocking on my door with a contract for a 10am kids programming time slot. It does mean that I am looking for ways to help, make an impact in the lives of others, sustain the economy of small business, and be a productive human being. We can all start small, think big, and lend a hand…and if we do it together, the benefits can be huge.
Because I am small business, I gravitate to those articles, news reels, and discussions that surround how these events we are experiencing impact small business particularly. They all focus on how we can help…planning to purchase once places reopen, transitioning to online goods and orders, spending dollars on gift cards now to increase cash flow. And by all accounts, I agree that these are amazing ideas. But what if our income is already greatly impacted by the closings, social distancing, and rescheduling of events? What if financial support is not something you can offer? You can still make a big impact for these businesses and places now, as in today and tomorrow, so that when they reopen, consumerism reaches them first, arrives more quickly, and generates more clientele…all things they are depending on.
So together, let’s get to work! Choose to work on one of your favorite businesses a day, pick your top 5 and go, begin on one platform or another…just start! Imagine the ripple of one small act magnified, because that is truly what this will do and it costs you a few moments of your time…something we have a little bit more of this week.
Click the link to your guide…5 Ways to Support Your Favorite Small Business…free and completely virtual .
Stay...In The Moment
So….I am not sure when it started, but choosing a Word Of The Year is a big thing. I don’t necessarily stick with one word for a full twelve months, but rather a general idea of how I would like to approach the year. In any case, I still jump on the WOTY bandwagon because starting anything on a positive note, in particular an entire new year, is always as Martha would say, a good thing.
For 2020, my word is neither glamorous, nor does it invoke anything worthy of fuzzy feelings, but to me it resonates deeply across many different areas of my life. It’s totally unsexy and although I am drawn to it, also want to run away from it because it pushes me to be uncomfortable in all the ways possible. But I guess any kind of new year’s resolution or word of the year is supposed to challenge your boundaries and push your limits so that you arrive at the next year a better version of you, right?
My word of the year…CLEAN. Yes, you read that right…CLEAN. And while I do have visions of clean toilets and bathrooms because my boys are 8 and 6 years old (boy moms everywhere, I know you can relate), it is really more about cleaning up. Cleaning up all…of…the…things. The visible and invisible messes. Getting back to basics, finding joy in the simple things, and prioritizing the actual important things versus the things that are immediate fires needing attention that won’t even matter in the long run.
To take things down a dark road, we have attended more funerals than weddings over the last six months. And none of those were for 96 year olds that lived a full life, with beautiful memories, going peacefully with family members by their side. They were for middle aged or less than middle aged folks with kids and dogs and Saturday night dinner plans. And that made me realize two things…ONE, I have it really good, I mean really good…our kids are healthy; we live in the richest country in the world with more opportunities than most can imagine. And TWO, no one is immune to death, to surprise, to a world of uncertainty and the journey through loss. So, what do I do with that? I can either let fear choose the path I will lead, or I can clean up the things that don’t really matter and focus all my energy on the people that do…notice how I didn’t say things.
So my word of the year is CLEAN…keeping it clean, cleaning up my thoughts, energies, and actions to direct them at the people that matter, the opportunities I want to fight for, the journey I want to walk. Because we are all on borrowed time, and if last year taught me anything, I would rather exit this world knowing that I lived each day as though I had a clean slate; no skeletons in the closet, I didn’t sweep things under the rug…but rather lived unapologetically me…in a clean way in every aspect possible.
Stay...In The Moment,
The last time I announced our holiday plans, both the 2019 VIP Holiday Event and 2019 Holiday Event that immediately follows it, both on Friday, November 8th, we had tons of heat and lots of rain. Now as we arrive on the last day in October…snow. Wisconsin seems to be seriously confused about the seasons and clearly didn’t miss a golden opportunity to dress up as winter for Halloween this year. This seems fitting as we move forward and dress up the entire shop for the Christmas season…beginning this Sunday!
If you are new, or in case you missed it last year…we close the shop for a full week, beginning Sunday, November 3rd, to roll out all the holiday goodies. Then we re-open on Friday, November 8thwith a huge celebration sharing with all of you the new goodies and joy of the season. So, we’ll run down what you can expect, because things got amped up this year!
We invited our vendors to take a larger part in the holiday season…which means you’ll see new displays, a quaint village vibe, and get lots of new ideas for gift giving this season! There are two opportunities to join us on the big night…the ticketed VIP Holiday Open House from 4-6pm and the Holiday Open House from 6-8pm. The entire evening is always full of magic, but we pull out all the stops for our VIPs. Tickets are on sale now for $44 (click the shop section), and you receive so much more than just early entrance including a swag bag valued at $90, extra tickets for our raffle, refreshments and treats, plus first dibs at all the holiday stock! This is one of the best days of the year to enjoy the season without the rush, to support amazing small businesses, relax with your besties, and get your season’s greetings on!
Grab a buddy and join us; we can’t wait to see you!
And until then…Stay…In The Moment,
I recently came across this article…
The condensed message is the reminder that you are worth more than to sit at a table of women that would inadvertently make you the topic of conversation once you leave. It briefly touched upon the excuses that it’s just what women do and what we put up with to belong. But let me remind you that those are just that; excuses.
And then came my questions…Why do we think its ok? Why do we continue to go back, to sit there and not seek out better? What makes us see this as the only option or the right one for that matter? Why do we not think we are worth more? We are the only ones that get to determine that, have to find sincerity in that, and wholeheartedly hold onto the undeniable truth that we in fact, are worth more. We are the only ones that hold the power in the here and now and in the future as well.
And what I have learned in my human experience is that if we are not in that place, it’s hard to give that to others…which is what we should be doing. The girl next door winning has no bearing on my ability to succeed…because we are not even in the same race. So, while I might give you a harsh dose of reality if you ask my opinion about something, I am still going to high-five you and tell you that you can do it, whatever it is that you are dreaming about. The reason is that you are the only person that can determine your success and I have no ability to reasonably ascertain your commitment and no measurable superiority to be in charge of judging you. And that goes for everyone.
After going down that reasoning rabbit hole, what resonated with me most was this quote from Brene Brown…
“Our worth cannot be determined nor negotiated by other people.”
And if we break it down it is really just that simple. Your worth is determined by you, no one else. There are people who inherently know this and are willing to sit with you; you just have to find them. Or better yet, be one of them, start your own table where everyone wants to sit because they feel valued even if they don’t yet believe it themselves.
I have basically won every pet argument my hubs and I have ever had…including the birds that call our backyard home. But, why chickens? Because this lady here is generally allergic to everything living, including the 3 dogs and 3 cats we had at the time the chicken idea was born. So it made complete sense; we couldn’t get any more dogs or cats, but I wasn’t, by some miracle, allergic to chickens or eggs. So rationale would have it that it just made sense that our next set of pets would be so awesome that they literally make breakfast.
As of this year, we have raised three sets of chicks on our own, built two brooders, converted one shed into a coop, and built one run and an expansion off of that. And let me tell you, if we lived one toe out of the city you better believe we would have a few more chickens and a lot more projects. I am totally not here to convince you to jump on the backyard chicken bandwagon…we did it before it was trendy. But, I will tell you that I have convinced more people to have them than not because when you are passionate about something that kind of feeling and excitement is just plain contagious.
We live in Wisconsin, so we do research before getting any new breed so that they can weather the winter well, carefully monitor their coop and everything that goes in there, including treats, and try to hand raise each batch of chicks so they are more like golden retrievers than descendants of dinosaurs. Our last batch was our group of white silkies. These ladies probably get the most attention on social media because they are the fluffiest, most awkward and easy-going batch we’ve had. They run funny with their feathery feet, fight between themselves because that’s what siblings do, and take way too many dirt baths to keep their pristine white fluff in primo condition.
I could go on and on…but I am going to do a quick Q & A for the most frequently asked questions below…for all of you that just wonder and for those of you that will read this and start planning out the perfect plot for chickens to erect once spring arrives.
Q. Are you in the city?
A. Yup! Each city has ordinances regarding livestock and fowl; and if not, you can petition to write them. Just check your local government for the rules.
Q. Do you heat the coop?
A. Nope…chickens do all their own heating and cooling through their feathers.
Q. What do they eat?
A. We buy ours the organic chicken feed. Some of their favorite treats are dried mealworms and dandelion leaves. But their absolute favorites are cilantro stems and strawberry tops!
Q. How many eggs do you get?
A. Chickens lay really well up to 3 years and slow down after that. They also slow down in winter when they use energy to keep warm and during their first big molt around 18 months. Other than that, the breed will define how large an egg and how frequent they lay. Think an average of 1 egg a day per chicken at the peak of their performance.
Q. How did you plan your coop?
A. GOOGLE. And we had a shed on our property in the perfect spot already. So we modified that…insulated, ventilated, added a chicken door and windows and built a run off the front and the side. We modified old cabinetry that we mounted to the inside for storage and nesting boxes as well. Trust me when I say there are a million different ways to set up a coop and more than enough free plans online to get you started building your own chicken Taj Mahal.
Q. What happens after they stop laying eggs?
A. Nothing. No, we are not going to eat them or send them to pasture. They still serve a purpose and there is a chicken hierarchy…its literally called THE PECKING ORDER. Because our coop runs well and they are our pets. They will just continue to live in the coop and help keep the peace between the new ones…the silkies are still like puppies and need a little extra help knowing how to act.
Believe me when I say we get that last question A LOT. I guess it is just human nature to wonder whether or not we will end up eating our pets. Short and long answer to that is NO. It’s not our thing, we just never really had an interest in raising meat birds…although I wouldn’t say no to you inviting me to Buffalo Wild Wings. And when asked if we would do it all over again, I would say YES. If you ever meet my hubs in person, he will tell you no…but just search his browser history and you’ll find chicken swings, backyard run, coop expansion, and can I feed my chicken XYZ. So secretly he loves each and every one of our feathery friends, including these fluffy ladies with the awkward swagger.
If you are thinking about chickens, keep going! If I missed a question, let me know. If you made it this far through all the chicken fodder, bless you! And, if you just want to live vicariously through us and our backyard pets, thats great too...
Stay...In The Moment
There are very few things I run screaming from, but our kitchen before the remodel was a close one. Everything needed a cosmetic lift; from the plexiglass mounted over the heavy weight wallpaper to the apartment-size sink which was more shallow than a baby pool. Not to mention the sizing was off; there was no triangle of space to prep food and clean up and the tile under our feet had a settling crack that ran the distance of the room. And with three small children this is where we literally spend half our time…because kids, especially boys, have hollow legs and they swallow everything whole and in mass quantities.
But this kitchen taught me a few hard lessons about perseverance and patience and reaffirmed what I already knew, I am stronger than I look. It may not be a love of design, home repair, or décor that drives us, but in us we all have those characteristics. It just sometimes takes a really big challenge to bring it all out. And if we aren’t careful, it’s easy for us to compare and forget how far we have come. It truly is about the journey, for in that we find out who we are and who we still want to be…and those challenges are often times the vehicle to get us there, whether we like it or not. Case in point…I did not like this kitchen.
What I do like now about the kitchen most isn’t the after photo either. It’s remembering how I ended up having to remove the tile when my hubs threw his back out in the middle of demo, the way I learned to tile with heavy, oversized porcelain, how I taught myself how to skim coat to cover all the damage from the wallpaper, and the process where my hubs and I learned to trust each other, flex with our opinions, and rally together to get it all done.
It’s never a great idea to live in the past, but sometimes it’s nice to visit to see how far we’ve come. And when I need to do that, be reminded of all the amazing possibilities that are sometimes hard to see, all I have to do is look at the before photos of this kitchen. Because if this space can do anything, it can remind me that it’s never about where you start…but rather the journey to where you will end up that makes all the difference.
Stay...In The Moment,
Jennifer Kalista is the face behind In The Moment Restorations offering everything from the likes of design services and paint color recommendations, to custom furniture restoration and handpicked home decor, lifestyle goods, apparel and more.