The first without my momma

The first without my momma

This year is definitely a little different for me. It’ll be my first Mother’s Day without my momma.

I remember sitting in my car last year on Mother’s Day when I received an email that shared a song, Blank Stares by Jay Allen. I immediately asked my husband to play it, and tears began streaming down my face. This song put every single thought that I’ve had for years into words.

Oh how do I get you back

If I could only seal the cracks you’re slipping through

Wish I didn’t feel so helpless when it comes to helping you

Hold on

So I keep holding on

To every little memory made of you and me

Every little glimpse of who you used to be

I know you’re still in there

Deep down somewhere I swear I still see you

Between the blank stares

Jesus must have known that I needed that song. I needed something or someone to put all my thoughts out there.

It was almost 10 years ago that I sat quietly and heard about the terrible disease that was taking my momma away. I was angry, sad, scared, and down right, a flipping mess. My mom had been fighting Alzheimer’s and then in July of 2019, two months before delivering my twins, it just became too much for her. She was tired, and it pushed her to the edge. She lost her battle with dementia on July 28th, 2019 and if I told you the story about 6:48, you wouldn’t believe me so we’ll save that for another day.

 

This is a picture of my mom and I at NASCAR. She’s the biggest Earnhardt fan you’ll ever meet and never missed watching a Sunday race.

I’ve almost had all my firsts without her – my birthday, her birthday, thanksgiving, christmas, new years, valentine’s day, easter, and now … the last one – Mother’s Day.

This year, it will hurt. It will remind me of what I have lost and what I will never have again. The person that I’ve had the closest relationship with in my life is gone.

I could let my day be consumed by these thoughts and feelings. But I know the way that I can celebrate her on Mama’s Day is to live like her, and good lord, there are no tears.

You get up, you hug your babies, you make memories, and you remind yourself, that you will never walk alone.

I look forward to Mama’s Day every year – and each year it has become better and better. Five years ago, I celebrated my first mother’s day while I was pregnant with my oldest. He has taught me everything that I know about being a mama. I remember asking the discharge nurse in the hospital if he was buckled in right. Yes, total first mom nerves. Each day since, I’ve learned more about myself than I have in my entire life. I have days where I show up my best self for my kids, and then I have other days where I just can’t get it right. One thing never changes though – how my kids look at me.

I was recently asked who my role model is – and seriously this question is hard. I sat there searching for someone else. And then it came to me…  when it comes to who a role model is, it’s me!  It’s who my kids think I am. I truly wake up each day trying to be the person my kids think I am. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am, and even on my worst of days, they just see their momma. They don’t see the laundry or dishes, or tears. They just see me.

I was honest y’all – this is what I will be thinking about on Mother’s Day. Love and hugs to all you moms out there! You are killing it, even on the hard days. To those who have their moms, treasure this time – make some memories. To those who have lost their mom, my heart is with you – cry a little, and then go and do something for you!

For me – it’s a dance party in the kitchen kind of day – grabbing my kids and jammin out to a little Kip Moore is exactly what this mama needs!

5 Ways of Coping with Quarantine

5 Ways of Coping with Quarantine

Many of you have seen our IG stories documenting our new Store Renovation and may be questioning our sanity. While we’ve certainly been tempted to pause and have had many days of doubt, we’re rallying around 5 P’s to get us through these crazy times. 

 

Stay Positive: We’ve closed our shop. Our wedding, workshops, and event calendars are in shambles as brides are forced to move their weddings to later dates to be determined. It feels like a pivotal moment for us where we could throw in the towel and give up on our dreams… or persevere! We’re obviously chasing the latter. While we can’t control our circumstances, we do have control over our response. So we’re refusing to complain and cave to fear. We’re seeing the potential, focusing on the positive, and continuing to push forward.

 

Be Productive: Rather than drowning ourselves in the sea of netflix, we’re viewing these days as a gift of time and using it as an opportunity to prepare and plan, so that on the other side of this pandemic we’re all the stronger. 

So Yes, although it seems crazy to be spending money on renovations while we don’t have any money coming in, we know that in time it will and we want to have our shop ready when you’re ready. 

 

Have Patience: We’re all trying to find our new normal. We don’t have it completely figured out just yet, but we’re slowly and patiently finding ways to balance building a business while also engaging with and teaching our kids who are now home full time. This requires us all having a LOT of patience with one another.

 

Play: Although the days can seem long, we know deep down that they are pretty special and are the good ol’ days. We have a rare and unique opportunity to slow down, just a bit. To play. To create. To eat dinners together. And to get crazy with after dinner dance parties. We’re choosing to embrace these memorable days we have together.  Let’s not waste this opportunity!

 

Have Perspective: Whether you’ve been affected physically, financially, emotionally, or just socially, there’s no denying that this pandemic is overhauling everything and impacting us all at some level . We feel the gravity of what’s happening, and while we don’t like it, our perspective is that EVEN THIS was meant for a reason. 

We have never realized more than now our need for one another. And there has been no better time than now to rally with our community, neighbors, friends & family. We’re all in this together and we love seeing all the creative ways you’re finding to support one another.  

We’re giving a huge virtual hug to our clients for your love and continued support. We miss you and can’t wait to see you shopping at our little boutique or sitting down with our floral design team to plan your wedding or event.

 

Until then, sending you our love. 

 

I don’t know how you do it!

I don’t know how you do it!

OK! So now that we have put it out there that we are crazy mompreneurs going after our dream…how do we do it all?! We get asked this question about 10 times a week.  This is something we both struggle with here on the daily! Honestly, we never have a good answer. We usually just shrug our shoulders and say, “we have no idea! “ And that’s the honest truth… we literally have no idea how we get it all done. So let’s try to break it down.

  What does it really look like to run a new business, have 4 kids each…oh, and also still hold our original jobs? This is a big question to tackle.   It’s a huge balancing act… Every. Single. Day! Just like every mom, we are always questioning ourselves… are we doing enough? Not only for our business… but first and foremost, for our families? The juggling act never ends. There are groceries, and laundry, never ending cleaning, and driving all over God’s green earth to activities!  Then there are wedding inquiries, and inventory… social media, business plans and employees! We are needed ALL THE TIME…and honestly it can get exhausting. But here’s the thing… THIS is what we are passionate about. We are passionate about our kiddos just as much as we are about making our business ridiculously successful! So we embrace the hustle.  We are busy with a purpose and that makes all the difference.  

  Let’s take a quick second to really think about that…busy with a purpose.  For us, that means thinking through the things we say yes too. Is it worth our time?  How will this benefit us/ our families? Is it going to take us away from another commitment?  What is this opportunity going to teach us? Our time is our most precious commodity. It’s truly how we measure success!  And we know first hand that it’s not guaranteed. And so we cherish it!  

  We are hustling to create a life we love!   We know that we are teaching our kids some pretty important lessons along the way.  We aren’t letting fear and self-doubt creep in…because we know that it can be crippling.  We are teaching them that their passions and talents were given to them for a reason and that doing what gives you joy will lead to success.  

  So let’s get real for a minute… what does this look like practically speaking?  Well…it means setting aside your pride and asking for help. That might seem so simple, but it doesn’t always come naturally to us…that’s for sure!   We look at time more objectively and decide…”is this worth my time?” And if it’s not truly how we want to spend our time…we outsource! (Well…not so much the parenting part…although sometimes that sounds like a good idea!). We play to our strengths and don’t spend too much time on things that we know we just don’t enjoy… Like building a website, setting up e-commerce, SEO, Pinterest… just to name a few.  We get babysitters, we ask Gram if she can do the gymnastics pick up… we send the kids to Papa’s for a little bit after school. And guess what… the kids are happy to have all of these extra people in their life who love them just as much as we do!  

  So sometimes this looks like throwing some chicken nuggets in the microwave… or wearing dirty socks… or leaving the dishes until the next day.   In the grand scheme of things, this is OK! For us, this is so much easier said than done. We’re at our best when things are organized around us.  Neat and tidy makes us feel at peace…but we all know this can’t be reality all the time. So we have to give up a bit of control…let the little things go because we just don’t have room for everything.  Our shoulders may be broad…but we honestly just don’t like carrying heavy things 🙂 So this is something that we continue to work on and remind each other of daily. The truth is, our kids could care less if there are dishes in the sink or crumbs on the floor…what they truly care about is that someone they love is there to get them off the bus and tuck them in at night.

  The bottom line here is- give yourself some grace!   The kids WILL be ok if they miss their veggies or wear mismatched socks… and the business wIll be ok if we respond  to that inquiry tomorrow or delegate that project. Our kids already know that life isn’t perfect… but what we want them to mirror, is how we respond to it. Our reaction to the stress, and the hustle, and the grit is what’s most important. We are absolutely not doing it ALL, we are prioritizing what is most important to us while we create a life we love!

  We would love if you left us a comment with YOUR advice to staying sane!  We want to foster a community of support and encouragement here…because nobody is doing it right ALL THE TIME…just better the next time!

 

Welcome to OPD!

Welcome to OPD!

Hi!  Welcome!

We are so excited to have you following along on our crazy journey to create the life we love!  This is OUR story…and we’re super proud of staying true to that. It’s so hard in this world to just stay in your lane…to stay focused on YOU and to not compare yourself to your competition and feel less-than amazing.  We promise to always keep it real here…it’s kind of our thing. We don’t believe in sugar-coating…its not helpful…and it rots your teeth! 

So both Dianne and I have 4 kids each…and they are ALL under 12!  Crazy, right? So we get ALL the time…how do you do it all?! While that is a question for an entirely different post, I will say…we don’t…we can’t…and honestly, we don’t want too.  We set boundaries and priorities for ourselves and we hold each other accountable. Family first, period. We give and we take…even when we don’t want to do either. We are a team…we are family.  

It’s so funny to think back on how this whole business started…Dianne and I weren’t really friends…we truly started as business partners.   When we first met at a mutual friend’s photography class, we immediately had one of those conversations that takes you by surprise and you leave knowing it was something special…something providential.  Dianne randomly started sharing her dreams and visions for this business and her plan on how to get there (let’s remember that I was still a total stranger to her!) While I was in total admiration…I thought, “I already have a career…I’m a nurse.”   I had been a nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital for 15 years and had just had my 4th kiddo, so I wasn’t planning on a career change any time soon. However, I had been fueling my creative juices by decorating the homes of friends…and their friends…and I was loving it!  Honestly, the thought of starting a TRUE business seemed daunting and honestly, just too plain hard to do alone.  

Dianne had started OPD in 2015 and first asked me to help her out with a couple of weddings she was doing.  It made total sense, she took care of the flowers and I could help with the design and decor! We quickly saw that we made a great team and were stronger together.  We share the exact same eye for detail and design…which is pretty particular, so we still think this is exceptionally rare! Somehow, Dianne talked me into renting a little space in a consignment shop so that we could display our vignettes and sell our picks.  Wait, did we mention our crazy LOVE for picking?! OK, so it’s more like “pick’in” and it’s basically digging through barns full of junk (i.e. treasures) and turning them into one-of-a-kind pieces for your home. We’ll be sure to take you along on our next pick too!

Our little booth turned out to be so fun!  We were testing the waters and were getting great feedback.  We were just missing our fresh flowers…we needed a place to design and to meet with our brides.  Dianne was on maternity leave with her 2nd baby…it’s truly amazing how much you can get done when you’re on a countdown back to the corporate world!  So one day in the spring of 2018, Dianne decided that she was just going to pop into this little shop in Norfolk that she ALWAYS had her eye on…just to see what it was like on the inside and just “inquire”.  There was no “for rent” sign mind you…she was just being totally nosy! Well wouldn’t you know that the current tenants were moving out at the end of the month and the space would be available for rent! Seriously?!  I mean…what are the chances?  

So here’s the part where we keep it real.  I said, “no”…repeatedly. I felt overwhelmed, stretched too thin…like going to snap, thin!  I started having chest pain…to the point where I had to wear a holter monitor! I just thought…I CAN’T do this!   And that remains the truth…we can’t do this…alone. Dianne and I are pretty big faith people. We love Jesus and we look for the signs.  After some soul searching, I realized that THIS was a sign! Dianne and I were brought together for a purpose…I know that sounds a bit cheesy… but it’s true.  We opened the doors of Only Prettier Design in May of 2018. I am happy to say that I no longer have chest pain because I am confident that I am exactly where I am meant to be.  Dianne welcomed her 3rd and 4th additions to the family in September. While we still struggle to find balance in the chaos… there is a strange peace when you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be!

Thank you for following along on our journey…it truly means the world to us!  We are grateful to serve our community and excited to have this relationship with our supporters that goes beyond the casual smile and “hello”.