Friday, August 30, 2013

Work, Work, Work!

Tully and I survived our first week back at the boutique. I must admit, I was super nervous about being there all day by myself with him. However, I am pleasantly surprised at how well he adjusted. And I'm proud to say we even made it there on time!

This week we managed to work on new inventory....that process consists of unpacking, tagging, steaming, adding to the point of sale, and uploading to the website. Oh, and a photo shoot somewhere in there too. I also had to tell a couple of people that, no, they couldn't hold my baby. I told them in the nicest way possible....Tully doesn't do well with strangers....all while he's giving them the cutest gummy smile ever and giggling at them. Oh well, maybe they bought it. Either way, I'm. Not. Okay. With complete strangers holding my baby.

Now that we've made it through our first week of work, we're going to relax and enjoy the beach for the last time this summer. The weather is supposed to be nice and Tully has a super cute bathing suit he needs to wear before summer is over and he outgrows it. I'm pretty sure he is going to LOVE the beach this time. He could have cared less about the beach during our last few trips, but now that he loves anything outside, it should be fun.

Hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Tully from this week!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Renovating and Rebranding

Finally! There are some big and exciting changes coming to Downtown Diva. After over 3 years in our current space, we finally got the approval for a new floor. Can. Not. Wait. for that to week. The boutique will be closed for a few days while the new floor is being put in. We are also making some minor changes....painting projects and hanging new lights. It's a good thing my hubby is on vacation next week. His honey-do list keeps growing and growing.

Along with the renovations, I'm rebranding everything. I designed a new logo and I'm working on new marketing items. I love the way it pops and it carries the same them as the store with the yellow stripes. Now to reorder new labels and bags to make it official! ;)

Thank goodness for an extended weekend at the beach before all the work that awaits me next week with moving EVERYTHING out of the store and my baby boy getting his shots. I'm dreading that more than anything. He was so pitiful last time and I have a feeling it's going to be worse this go-round be cause he is more aware of his surroundings. Poor baby. Here's one of my favorite pictures from his 3 month shoot. He's growing way to fast!
Love that boy!
Don't forget to check back to see pictures of the newly renovated DD! Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

It WIll Change Your Life

I came across this essay online and just wanted to share. It pretty much says it all! Be sure to grab a tissue.

"We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "no more in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.

That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her
baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming
children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.

I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child.

I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.

I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.
Please share this with a Mom that you know or all of your girlfriends who may someday be Moms. May you always have in your arms the one who is in your heart."
Author unknown

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Year.....

**Please note, this was written a while back and I realized I never published it...

As Tully's due date approaches, only a little over 3 weeks away, I'm thinking and reflecting on the past year. My, how things are so different and so much better than I ever imagined. I think about other's dear friends and people whom I've met along this journey and how their life has changed and the struggles with life. Whether it's coping with the loss of a loved one, starting a new job, moving into a new home, or struggling with IF like I was a year ago.

A year ago, I was just getting ready to begin my first IVF cycle. Excited and terrified at the same time. I wasn't sure I would be able to overcome my fear of needles. I wouldn't say I overcame that fear, because even after the hundredth or so injection combined with the frequent blood draws, my fear and anticipation of that 'prick' or 'stick' never went away. Thank goodness for Troy. He was so calm through it all and always found a way to calm me down when the anxiety and anticipation of those injections got the best of me.

When our first IVF cycle brought us so much joy with our first pregnancy and then ended too quickly, I wasn't sure where life would take us. Maybe we just weren't meant to be parents. Maybe God had a different plan for us. We became bitter. We lost 'friends' along the way who weren't able to understand the distance and space we needed in order to accept and cope with our loss and the this new path we were headed down. We built better, stronger relationships with friends who were able to show their compassion and give us 'space' when we needed it.

Thankfully, we decided to give IVF one more try a couple of months later. Little did we know, this would bring us the answer to our prayers....our little Tully.

I'm Going To Miss This

I have never been a morning person....ever. I love 'sleeping in' and I get my best sleep from about 5-8. Luckily, Tully enjoys sleeping late, too. He usually gets up between 8 and 8:30. For someone who used to linger in bed every morning just trying to get '5 more minutes', waking up and waiting and wishing my babe would hurry and wake up seems strange. I love my mornings with Tully. He's the happiest first thing in the morning and we get in a lot of smiles, giggles, and serious conversations. When I head back to work full time (Im there part time now) in a couple if weeks, I'm going to miss these easy, laid back mornings. We are going to have to trade back porch swinging in our pj's, for getting ready in a hurry and making it to the coffee shop before its time for work. With all of this being said, I am very thankful I have a job and even more thankful that I don't have to be there until 10am and Tully can be there with me. The summer is coming to an end and everyone is going to be adjusting to new routines. Here's to new beginnings and savoring every sweet moment of summer we have left!

Here's a sweet pic of my boy in his favorite spot. And yes, he's in his diaper because that's just how we roll.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Baby's First Trip

We left last Thursday evening for our first big/long trip with Tully. I was super nervous about the long ride because in the past, Tully has proven to HATE his car seat. I knew if we could get through the ride, the rest of the trip would be a breeze. We left in the evening when Troy got off work. After stopping to drop Lexie off with my mom and to grab something to eat, we were off. Tully fell right to sleep as soon as we got going. I was even able to ride up front with Troy for a while! :) Tully slept for a few hours, woke up to eat and be changed, and then went right back to sleep. Is this really my baby?! Then I started thinking we were going to be in for a long night when we finally stopped for the night. Nope! We stopped around 12:30am just a couple of hours outside of Atlanta. Tully ate again and went right back to sleep and slept until 9am! I knew he was an angel before the trip, but he was just trying to prove what I already knew!
We arrived in Atlanta just before noon, got settled into our room and then headed off to market. I had appointments to tend to while Troy played daddy daycare. Troy got to see what all he misses out on while he's at work, including being pooped on! Tully went through 5 outfits that afternoon. I'd say he broke daddy in good!
My first appointment was with some of my favorite reps. The Spring 2014 collection is AMAZING! I loved it so much, I pushed up the delivery dates so it will begin arriving in December. I was also happy to learn that some of the companies I order from are changing their policies. With so many online/Facebook 'boutiques' popping up all around, policies need to be in place to protect those of us with storefronts. Customers look at the prices of items at these online only boutiques and then see the prices in-stores and think we are price gouging. That couldn't be any further from the truth. With an actual physical location comes a lot of overhead, AKA bills.....including but not limited to RENT, utilities, payroll for employees, and much more! I met a sweet girl from the western part of NC who has a cute boutique and was all to familiar with the drama that comes with retail. It was nice to network with her and other ladies who all see eye-to-eye. Anyway, my favorite line is enacting a policy that states only brick and mortar boutiques can sell their clothes. Hallelujah! That means anybody and everybody can't buy their line and sell their items from their Facebook page, where they have NO overhead. That's enough about that. Here's a picture of some of their 2014 collection and I am IN LOVE!
Cute shorts, rompers, tops, dresses, and tunics in these cute, cute prints are scheduled to begin arriving at DD in December! I.Can't.Wait.
I also ordered a ton of fall inventory that will begin arriving this week and I came back with a big load of accessories. I think this was one of my most successful market trips ever. And in the shortest amount of time!
Thankfully, we were also able to fit in a little family time while we were there. We went for an evening walk around Centennial Park and took Tully to his first Braves game. He loved the city. There was so much noise and so much for him to look at. He stayed occupied with the sights and sounds the entire time.

Tully also loved all of the lights, music, and announcers at the game. We've learned, the louder it is, the happier he is. As soon as we arrived at the game, it started pouring down rain. Luckily, we had not walked out to our seats yet, so we escaped being soaked. One of the nice attendants told us about a certificate we could get at guest services to commemorate Tully's first trip to Braves Country. So neat! The rain finally stopped after about an hour and it was time to watch so ball. We left during the 8th inning hoping to beat the traffic and the score was still 0-0. The Marlins scored during the 9th inning, to win the game 1-0. We are excited to have started this tradition for Tully and can't wait to take him to more games. Daddy is hoping Tully is going to love baseball as much as he does.
That pretty much sums up Tully's first trip (he was good OTW home, too :) ). It was a fun time but we are happy to be home and settling back into our routine.....which now includes WORK. That's right, maternity leave is officially over. Sigh.
Thanks for reading. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

When I Grow Up....

When I grow up.....I want to be an interior designer! Ok, not really but I think it would be so much fun to be able to shop for home décor and spend someone else's money while doing it. Since being home on maternity leave, I've wanted to redecorate my whole house. I have made some (non drastic) changes. I finally added window treatments to our family room, repurposed some old furniture, and I'm still working on an Ikea Hack for the guest bedroom.I'll post pictures of those projects sometime later. I also completely redecorated the shop. I L.O.V.E the way it turned out. I am so obsessed with the settee. I really wanted to keep it and use it at home but I really have no place it really 'fits'.....unless I were to change everything and I think Troy would have a fit. So, I'll just keep it at the shop (for now). I am using it as a prop in Tully's 3 month pictures in a couple of weeks. Can't wait to see how they turn out. Anyway, here's a picture of my design board I used for redecorating Downtown Diva and a picture of two of my employees....Kate and Natalie!

I found the settee at and everything else is from! These are two of my favorite go-to sites for home décor.
I'm also working on helping my mom redesign her formal living room. She was wanting to go a little more modern than what she currently has but also keeping a traditional feel. I created a design board for her also. She loves everything but the couch. As soon as she finds a couch she loves, hopefully we will see this room come to life! Here's a peek at her new room....
Have a great night!!