May, 2012

gone to the ocean

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i’m taking a little time off this week to go to the beach with my mom and the kids…please pray for us on our drive down.  first road trip with two little ones (can that be right?!).  we’re headed to visit my aunt and uncle who live on st. simon’s.  hopefully beryl will step off and we can get some good beach time in.  and you know what else they have there?

oh yeah – a tibi outlet!!!  can’t wait to tear it up.  i’ll report back.


thursday tidbits

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so, this blog to me is kind of like a newborn baby.  not in that it resembles a real child to me in any way, but in the fact that it needs to be put on a schedule.  since i can’t exactly implement an every 3 hours kind of thing, i bring you a slight sense of structure…


this will be comprised of random things i think about during the week that are not may-jah enough to warrant their own post.  things i like, things that made me laugh and maybe a little bit of paper too.  y’all cool with that?

for starters, PLEASE do yourself a favor and read the whack-a-mole post by glennon over at momastery.  OMG. i am in hysterics still.

that’s a new one.

run, don’t walk, to your nearest trader joe’s and get you some of these.  they are so delicious i can’t help but have close to 20 a night.  ok maybe more like 30.  perfect mix of sweet and salty.

yesterday on my errand day (thank you mom!!), i picked up a harp and finial at lamp arts for a cork lamp in rush’s room that jen picked out at scott’s when she was here.  (shade from pottery barn.)  those lamp arts people are so nice!  confession, i came in and asked for a harp and finial but i sort of had no idea what they were.  they totally walked me through it.  they have this little pedestal that they put my lamp on and tried all different sizes and finishes (for the finial).  it’s really like a 3-way dressing room mirror, but for lamps.  at any rate, i feel very proud of myself for producing a completed, ready to use lamp.

alright, we’ll see if this baby takes to its new sched.  what do you think?  cool (NAP) or lame (SPIT UP)?


motherhood + small business

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as a mother, whether you work outside the home, from the home or not at all…you hear so much about this word balance.  but how does it work?  i am always wondering, am i working too much?  am i not working enough?  who really ever knows.  i love this passage that i found a link to on one my favorite blogs, fifi cheek.  it’s from a design sponge post by meg mateo ilasco, who is releasing the new book, mom, inc.  it provides tips on running a small business from your home and obviously being a mother too.  i think that book needs to make it on my bookshelves asap!

p.s. i love her note about lots of caffeine.  rush woke up at 6:30 this morning and i am working my way through a vat of coffee right now…


I had my first baby over nine years ago — before there were parenting blogs to help me make important decisions (What colors should I make my baby’s bunting flags?), before Toddlers and Tiaras existed to reassure me that I actually am a good parent.
When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I also had another “baby”: my first business, a wedding invitation company. So I understand motherhood about as much as I understand business. Over the years, I’ve taken copious notes and noticed some similarities: they’re both full-time jobs, they make you stay up late, they make you drink lots of caffeine so you can feel more engaging, and they always need to take a crap when you’re at the grocery store checkout. Okay, maybe that applies only to one of them. But I’ve also learned many lessons about being a business owner and mother, and I’d like to share some of them with you:
1. Motherhood doesn’t mean sainthood. There were no mom bloggers and barely any of my friends had children when I was having kids (no, I was not a teen mom); in other words, there was a dearth of real and virtual moms I could compare myself to. As a result, I got in the habit of hardly comparing myself to other moms — and this is a good thing. Comparisons will just lead to feelings of inadequacy. Let those other mothers grow their own vegetables and puree their baby’s food! Let them enroll their two-year-olds in violin class! As a mother and entrepreneur, you’ll have limited quantities of resources, time, and energy. Choose your projects and commitments carefully. If it’s not something you want to do or have time to do, then simply don’t do it. And don’t beat yourself up with comparisons.
2. Yes, children should come first, but . . . sometimes so should your business! The feeling that children should come first all the time will lead to only one thing: guilt, lots of it. You’ll feel guilty when you check your email on your phone in front of your kids; you’ll feel guilty when you have an important business event that makes you miss your son’s dance performance; you’ll feel guilty when the answer to “What’s for dinner?” is take out — again. You don’t need to interact with your child around the clock (it will teach them some independence); sometimes it’s just plain impossible to attend everything your child is involved in (especially if you’ve scheduled them in a ton of activities), and you shouldn’t feel bad that you didn’t cook and clean all day. Putting your business first some of the time doesn’t make you a bad mother!
3. Think less about the word “balance” and think more about “making it work.” If there’s one word you’ll never hear enough of as a mother and entrepreneur, it’s “balance.” How do you balance it all? How do you achieve a work-life balance? The problem with the wordbalance, for me, is that it implies homeostasis — a condition of absolute equilibrium where everything is working perfectly the way it should. Balance suggests that everything important in your life should be satisfied in an equal way. Life for a parent entrepreneur rarely works like this, making balance such an unattainable goal. Indeed, it is hard to reach a feeling of equilibrium when you’re being pulled in five different directions. So instead of thinking of balance, I think about “making it work.” It places importance on flexibility and adaptability, instead of satisfying all parties. And for an entrepreneurial mom, where every day brings a new set of challenges, flexibility is an asset.
4. Don’t forget your friends. When I had my first child, I might as well have been in a witness protection program. I lost touch with my friends as my life revolved around only family life and business. I was always too busy with the baby (“Oh I can’t make it to the party because Lauryn has her bath time.”) or the business (“Not today. I’ve got so many orders to fill!”). You need time away from the kids and business; you need time for yourself. The trick to this: schedule it regularly — like you would your son’s t-ball game (you always make time for that!). It’s also a good idea to meet up with friends who don’t have kids or a business so you can have conversations that don’t involve sleep training or how to make a press kit.
5. Enjoy the process and learn to adapt. Becoming a great designer, blogger, entrepreneur, or mother rarely happens overnight! Don’t be in such a hurry to get to the other side, or you’ll miss the point completely. Mom business owners with younger children, especially two-year-olds, always ask me, “When does it get better?” The answer is: Don’t worry about that, just enjoy your child now. And truthfully, it doesn’t necessarily get “better” — granted you won’t have to change a diaper later on, but you’ll gain other responsibilities and face other challenges as your child gets older, such as homework, fieldtrips, ninja classes, archery classes . . . and the list goes on.
Like I said, motherhood and business operate on similar tenets. It’s not making gobs of money that makes you a business owner; it’s the process of building a business that makes you one. And it’s not producing a kid that can speak three different languages by age four that makes you a mother; it’s the process of understanding your child’s needs and connecting with your child that makes you a mother. At the end of the day, remind yourself of how astonishing your accomplishments are in nurturing and molding multiple entities that will one day go out into the world and make some kind of impact — even if one of them is doing the potty dance in the grocery store aisle.

perfect friday night

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i love friday nights.  i always pick up a pizza at whole foods for dinner and after the kids are tucked in their beds, rbb and i watch our latest netflix selection.  it’s a great end to the week – no cooking (and very little clean up – score) and tuning into a different world for a couple of hours is a great way to forget about your cares.  plus, it keeps me somewhat current…tv shows are lost on me (except the bachelorette.  bring it emily!!) but movies – now, with movies i can hang.

this past friday night went a little differently – we ate pizza and put the kids down, but immediately afterwards i scurried to my drybar appointment at 7:45 p.m.  have you heard about this place?  their slogan is “no cuts.  no color.  just blow outs.”  freakin’ genius.  i swear i can try to replicate my stylist’s exact hand and wrist motions, but your hair just never looks as good as when you leave the salon – fact.  and here’s the thing – i had a groupon that was about to expire so i HAD to go between then and wednesday.  i might as well put on the dog for the weekend, right?  i mean, i did have a 3 year old birthday party and a baby shower to attend on saturday.

and let me just say – wow.  WHAT a concept.  i love it!  i walked in and immediately felt cool.  a hip salon abuzz with people getting pretty, amazing branding with so many neat paper items at the counter, and the best part – the offer of would i like wine, champagne, soda or tea?  this endeared me maybe more than anything to drybar.  i glanced around looking for a menu to see what i should order (figured it was a bar of sorts, hence the name…) but no – it’s all complimentary.  don’t mind if i do…

i mean, i kind of cannot get over how slick and well branded the whole experience is, top to bottom.  take a look at their brand aesthetic; i’m certain you’ll concur…

i don’t think i have ever seen a better gift certificate.

now, wouldn’t this be the perfect place to insert a picture of how wonderful and fabulous my hair looked?!  i regret to say i did not take one picture all weekend.  terrible!  BUT luckily my pal abbey at dylan blue photography came over on sunday morning for a photo shoot…so i will show you soon.  in short, i loved it.  i went for the “mai tai” which is categorized as messy, beachy hair.  
extra cool fact:  the founder, alli, grew up in stone mountain (not far from atlanta, to all you non-georgians).  
drybar – i’ll be back!

guide to san diego

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after college, i packed my little 2-door red acura legend to the gills and drove due west for approximately 30 hours until i hit the coast – san diego, to be exact.  myself and four other girlfriends had an experience (well, one of us is still having it) that will not soon be forgotten…all far away from home, trying to figure out what this real world was all about, and a new landscape, faces and jargon to acclimate to.

i could write a whole post, no make that a series of posts, about what it’s like to be a southerner in southern california.  USC does not mean the gamecocks out there, i’ve never been called a georgia peach more in my life, and the universal question we all got was – “where are your drawls?!”

however – that is not why we’re here today.  what i’ve found out is, people LOVE to visit san diego.  it really is the best town to vacation in – the weather is perpetually 70 degrees and sunny and there’s just so much to DO.  i used to have a little write-up i would send people when they visited san diego, but it’s whereabouts have rendered unknown.

la jolla
you gotta go.  it’s just amazing.  the homes, the coastline, the shops, the beaches, the hills…all mesmerizing.  my favorite house, maybe ever, is there.  i went to visit it
i will never forget on the plane when we went to visit…merrell looked at me and brooke and asked – “now i know where la jolla {hoi-ya} is, but what about this LA JAW-LLA i keep seeing?”  we died.

first of all – no mexico day trips.  i know it’s tempting, it’s right there, you can buy cigars and cheap lobster and all sorts of worry dolls and other tchotkes, but just don’t.

killing it

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smock just continues to outdo themselves in their gift wrap department.  they have four new patterns (actually eight – since they are all double sided) and i OMG’d all over the place when i got the email announcing them the other day.  it doesn’t take much to make me throw out an OMG, but seriously – these were well deserved.  you’ll see.

dying over this…  that pink and yellow side is like a milly dress in a paper. and the pink trellis – gorge.

i actually already have this en route to my house for a baby shower invitation order – HOW awesome is it.  i will show y’all the end result fo sho.

sucker for chevrons…still.

MINT!  how i love thee.

i mean, are you as excited as i am?!?!

surely, yes?

hope you all have fantastic weekends!!



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this week has been a doozie at the calliespondence worldwide hq.  we had a stationery photo shoot for the big, bad website update (yea!!!) on tuesday with kerie cleveland photography, rush’s last day of preschool was thursday (sniff sniff – for many reasons), i juggled a vet visit (1st in maybe….four years for dear old paquito), a huge yard clean up and a pilgramage to the farmer’s market

red and turquoise calligraphy notecards

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i don’t consider myself a “red” person.  i know a lot of red people (and i don’t mean rednecks – well, i know some of those too actually)…and there are definitely people who make me see red…but i just have never really been down with the hue.  i don’t own any red dresses, always shy away from OPI’s russian red and its derivatives, and absolutely loathe our red kitchen (ugh – it was like that when we moved in a year ago and have yet to paint in there. long story.).  don’t know what my beef is with it, but maybe a shrink could tell me.

but then…  you go and put it with turquoise and it’s so lovely.
i fell in love with one of smock’s new patterns, and it just so happened to be red and turquoise…
…and paired it with a name in a calligraphy font on the slant (i can’t get enough, obvi).  and not just anybody’s name – my college roommate’s!  she’s phenomenal.  no, really.
i think maybe i’ve been too hard on ol’ red.  he’s looking good!
in the etsy shop here.

pickin’ berries

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talk about farm to table…we literally accomplished that last week!  there is something so simple and provincial about picking your own berries, and i’ve been wanting to do it for some time now.  my friend shannon and i drove down to southern belle farms last week on a gorgeous may day and stocked up on the ripe little suckers.

this entire basket (don’t let looks deceive you…it is an overflowing gallon!) was $10, and a whopping $1 for the re-useable plastic bucket.  we had a blast filling it up!

although not all of us picked berries to take home…

some just enjoyed the view.

this sweet little strawberry came dressed and ready for the occasion.

we followed amanda @ dixie delight’s good advice on bringing a blanket and a picnic lunch, which we followed up with $3 cups of homemade strawberry ice cream.  it was delish!

they have farm animals too – this is really not a good picture, but there are baby goats in the back.  OMG they were so cute!

we had to depart soon after this because rush broke into the “oinker’s palace” or something like that…surely meant for a PIG and not for a little boy.  i don’t think there was a hog in that corral but i wasn’t about to stick around to find out.

all in all, a great day trip – only a 45 minute drive from the city.  we’re going back for blueberries and blackberries!  but now…i’m off to have strawberries and yogurt for a snack.  again. 


just so you know

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we love to wrap gifts here at calliespondence.  we also really enjoy using plural pronouns to infer that there are several minions in aprons here working behind the scenes…when in actuality it is just me, several thousand envelopes and a whole bunch of patterned paper rolls working away inside the worldwide headquarters on any given day :)  did i ever tell you about when i worked at swoozie’s during a holiday season long ago wrapping gifts and performing other various tasks?  oh, did i get good.  by the time christmas rolled around i had hospital corners on every fold and could tie a bow with one hand.  they had a deal (they might still?) where if you bought the wrapping paper there, you could bring your gifts in and we (minions wearing aprons) would wrap them.  i will never forget this one lady…she came in just a couple of days before christmas and i swear she needed an F150 to haul all of her presents in and out of the place.  i remember we all worked for hours on those gifts.  her kids must have been total brats.

of course we all know that mother’s day is this sunday, yes?!  i’ve been working on a bunch of sweet mother’s day stationery sets.  i love honoring moms!!

oh, and we are happy to include your hand-written message on a cute notecard (mais oui!) and ship directly to the recipient.

we can wrap your gift in something happy and springy…

or keep it simple…

whatever your little heart desires.

oh – did i mention this service is free?  best part!

go forth and give!