Local Business Spotlight: Zoë & Hadlee

I have been writing this blog for the past year and it  has been so much fun. I started it because I just wanted to improve my writing skills and as a creative outlet, but I’ve really grown to love doing this! Lately I have been thinking about what direction I wanted to take with it in this upcoming year. (Spoiler: there is a lot I want to do!) One thing I would love to do is to promote a local business every month! A sort of highlight of an individual and their shop.

You could definitely say I have a soft spot for local businesses. My first ever “real” job, I mean like more than pulling the neighbor’s weeds and babysitting, was at a local business, Sparkling Tiara. Then I moved on to Billy Goat Coffee Cafe, a locally owned and operated coffee shop. If you know me or have been following for some time, you know that was a little over a five year affair! Overlapping that time I also worked for a few other assorted local businesses. I think the fact that (besides six hours a week for two months when my second job was at Justice) I have worked exclusively at local businesses gives me a unique perspective. I have seen the hardships and challenges, I have felt the family ties of small shops, and I have experienced the behind the scenes of these businesses. I know how much each purchase is valued.

I want to help foster support for these hardworking individuals. I am a proud small business supporter and I want to help others to embrace it as well! So stick with me as I feel out the details, but for now I am so excited to introduce my new, monthly segment- my Local Business Spotlight. Today I am starting with a new find, a precious store called Zoë & Hadlee. A sweet acquaintance, Ali, is the owner and creator of this locally run shop. I asked her a few questions about her store and the realities of running a small business. Here is what she had to say.

For someone who has never experienced your shop before, how would you describe your product? “In our family when you buy someone a gift we call it a happy. I wanted to create a line of gifts of some of our favorite “Happies” in hopes that others would be blessed by it as much as we are. We offer home decor and customized products such as Shirts and coffee mugs. We love to take old vintage items and fix them up. For example, old pictures frames that we paint and distress to give them a new look.”

What makes your products/services stick out from other providers in your area? “We try to make many of our items unique so that that each time you shop with us you find something custom or new.”

What was your inspiration to start your own business? Why did you specifically choose to do what you do? “Zoë & Hadlee are the names of my two beautiful girls who were my inspiration for the business. They are so fun and full of life- and I wanted that to reflect in our business. It all started really as just a hobby, but grew to more pretty quickly. I had been praying for a while to have something that I could do on the side and things just kind of fell into place.”

What was our number one, greatest challenge to getting started? “The greatest challenge for me was just getting started and getting all the equipment I needed. But God is so good and He provided it all. When people got wind of what I wanted to do all the sudden I had people giving me the tools and materials I needed to get started or selling what they had for little to nothing. Before I knew it I had all the equipment needed to get my feet off the ground.”

What gave you the courage to take the leap and start this shop? “The encouragement and support of my family and my faith is truly what gave me the courage to get started. ”

Why is it important for people to support local business? “When you support a local business you are supporting a dream. It is so important to support each other and help other small businesses! ”

What do you think is a misconception people have when it comes to shopping local vs. shopping corporate?  “I think people tend to go more corporate just because of convenience, but in my opinion you tend to find better quality and experiences when you shop small business.”

If you could accomplish one major goal in 2018, what would it be? “My goal would be to have business steady enough that I could stay home more and have Zoë & Hadlee as my main business instead of my secondary business. ”

What is your top piece of advice for someone with a dream of owning a local business? “My top piece of advice would be not to give up. Building a business has its up and downs, but if you love it and you work hard at it you will see the fruit of your labors. Just have the faith!”

Here are a few samples of the precious items that you can purchase from Zoë & Hadlee! I hope you enjoy. The coffee mugs are my favorite- and a great holiday gift. 

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DIY Mailbox Upgrade

One thing that I didn’t love about the house we bought was the mailbox. It was a light blue mailbox with painted flowers that was poorly and crookedly mounted on a white plastic base. There was almost no support, except a pipe they had shoved into the ground and placed the plastic post over. I know plenty of people who would love that painted mailbox, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. To each his (or in this case, her) own right? I like a more classic look. So the weekend we bought the house I immediately grabbed a new mailbox! First of all, I was unprepared to see how many options there were. The shape, size, and color of the mailbox itself created dozens of choices. Then there is the type and color of the stand. Plus, you can’t forget the house numbers- stickers, brushed metal, modern black, and more. After having a hunger induced mini breakdown I finally chose what I wanted to go with. Michael helped me pick out everything we would need to complete the project. Here is what we chose from Lowes (though I was at Home Depot the same day and they had basically the exact same thing for the exact same prices).

Shopping List: 


This is how we went about installing it all! First, we tore out the old one.  That wasn’t hard to do at all – like I said before, the previous owners had “installed it” by stabbing an old pipe into the ground and then sticking the cheap mailbox stand over it. For such a gorgeous house, I don’t understand such a tacky mailbox.

Second, we used our handy new post digger to dig our hole.  You’re going to want it to be as deep as 1/3 the total length of your post.  When we dug down it measured 26 inches, which was a tiny bit over 1/3, but better for me because the mailbox is the length I want for my height.  At first I was confused, maybe even skeptical about why we needed to buy a post digger when we already have a shovel.  However, I’ll have to admit that it made the job so easy and quick! I’m glad we didn’t skip that.


Next, ((but really on a different day because we have a baby so apparently that means projects take triple the amount of time expected)) I painted the mailbox post. I had bought a high quality paint made for outdoor use and it worked great.  The only thing I would change is we bought a cherry wood post.  I wouldn’t do that! I do not understand the science of it at all, but where the wood was naturally darker, it’s almost like the color seeped up over the white paint.  I can’t explain it! All I know is it took a second coat of white paint.  I wish we had gotten just the plain post- it was even a few dollars cheaper.  Anyways, one good thing is this dried fairly quickly.


After that, we brought the post out and stuck it into the hole.  I used a level to make sure it was completely straight! This is important.  Then we started the concrete mixture.  The instructions called for us to fill the hole 1/3 of the way up with water.  Then we dumped the entire bag of Sakrete into the hole.  You don’t have to mix or anything! We just added a little water to the top and triple checked the level as it hardened.  After about thirty minutes it had set! I was so impressed.  I would definitely recommend this product.

Then Michael attached the board to the mailbox base, allowing room for all of the ridges of he mailbox.  (Lay the board on top of the post where the mailbox will sit and screw directly down!) Then following the pre-drilled holes, he attached the mailbox to the screwed in wood panel. It finally looked like a real mailbox!!

Lastly, we attached the numbers.  I chose the ones we did because I found them to be sleek and attractive.  They were surprisingly harder to attach than expected. That said, I officially have a nice mailbox! I am so thrilled.  Thank you to my handsome husband who helped ((read: did most of)) this project.  I love you- and our new mailbox!

I hope y’all enjoyed this little DIY tutorial. Let me know if there is anything I should clear up! And stay tuned for more projects! We’re updating bathrooms, the kitchen, hallways, the yard, and more!

More Family Photos (From Our First Time Homeowners Photoshoot)!

Last week I blogged about our First Home Photoshoot with SwakPhotography. I am so obsessed with her photos and I only shared a handful of the DOZENS of golden images she gave us… So it’s not surprising that I am posting a follow up with more images!! In particular, of my sweet sweet baby girl & our little family in her new nursery. My only regret is not pulling the cats in!
Nolie was so funny during our session. Carrie arrived for our shoot around three, seconds after little Miss woke up from her nap… so her facial expressions range from wildly surprised to extremely confused then on to giggling then bored. She also looked SO concerned in a few outdoor photos when several loud trucks went by. She was so distracted! Even though I had envisioned her just laughing non stop for our entire shoot (yeah I know, totally realistic expectations of a five and a half month old), I am actually so much happier that we caught so many of her adorable expressions. She is such a curious and intelligent baby. I love watching her explore the world and try to understand everything around her. It’s really humbling in a way. Her genuine astonishment makes me appreciate everything so much more.
Anyways, I hope y’all enjoy these precious images. Also, Carrie is so much fun to work with and one of my favorite photographers! I love her style- it’s unique and elegant. Definitely check out her Instagram to see what I’m talking about !(: Also stay tuned, one of my other favorite photographers (Soph) has offered to do a little lifestyle shoot of the fam bam! It’s going to be so sentimental to look back on after we have done some of the more serious house renovations we have planned!
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Clothing Details:

Me- Shirt: Banana Republic // Jeans: Lucky // Boots: Lucky // Cardigan: The Limited // Ring: Tiffany & Co

Michael- Shirt: J.Crew // Jeans: Lucky // Shoes: Sperry // Watch: Fossil // Belt: Fossil

Nolie- Shirt: Janie & Jack // Jeans: Old Navy // Shoes: Baby Gap // Bow: Janie & Jack

Rug: Target

Hair by Aly Thayer 

A couple weeks ago I was feeling adventurous. So when Michael had a weekday off he took the baby for a few hours and I headed over to my girlfriend, Aly’s hair salon. I wanted to try something new – which if you know me is big because I have had the same haircut since I was eleven.
Aly cut off about four inches, balayage my hair, and to top it off- I got bangs. Let me just tell you, I LOVE it!! Aly is so talented. She was super honest about the limits of my hair as far as color went. Her priority was setting realistic expectations and keeping my hair healthy. She told me sometimes she gets clients in who want drastic color changes and she isn’t afraid to say no. In my opinion, that is so important! I have a relative who’s hairdresser just wanted to get paid. She didn’t look out for the hair’s best interest (okay that felt weird typing, but it’s real) and this relative’s hair started falling out!! They literally fried it after years of excessive dye jobs.
The salon, Salon West, was also precious. It had a totally Nashville feel. There was hardwood and exposed beams, which is such a trendy look right now. The “dry bar” was super hip and industrial looking. Overall it made me feel cool, but still totally welcomed. If you need your hair done, do yourself a favor and contact Aly! Check out her Instagram to see some of her latest hair wins (and cute belly bump pictures)! Or you can click here to drop by her website. She has a killer portfolio and some helpful hair tips on her blog! Let her know I sent you over too. I want her to know I’m bragging on her, she deserves it!

DIY Christmas Wreath

Yesterday Sophie and I were hanging out when she mentioned that Christmas was about to explode in her house. Less than an hour later we found ourselves trying to balance car seats and handfuls of Christmas decor on the tiny carts provided by Hobby Lobby. (Seriously, why are they so small?) I won’t lie, it was by far the most stressful joint shopping trip we have ever been on! Nolie’s allergies from the dust and glitter in the air were killing her, both girls refused to sit in their seats, and I dropped at least a dozen items. Don’t worry nothing broke. Then when we went to check out things got even crazier. Sophie was finished checking out first so she asked if I would keep Mia next to me while I checked out and she would go grab the car. Great plan right? Except I accidentally handed her my wallet to take with her and so I had to chase after her, both babies screaming at me. I ran back, covered in sweat and judgment from the long line behind us. It was delightful. However, when we got home we had everything we needed to make the perfect Christmas wreaths!

Originally we were just going to buy pre made wreaths, but when we finally found the wreath aisle we changed our mind! A preassembled wreath was averaging $129! That is insane. So I suggested we make our own. Sophie loved the idea, Christmas products were 50% off today, and I am all about craft days. It was a complete win!  Here is what I bought, the price per item, and the total cost. The only thing not listed are three or four ornament hooks Sophie gave me. (I don’t have Sophie’s receipt. However, I assume she spent about the same. Her wreath is smaller, but she overall has more expensive ornaments on hers). 

 

Supplies: 

  • Christmas Wreath ($12.99 // 50% off) $12.50
  • Squirrel Ornaments ($6.99 // 50% off) $3.49
  • Wooden Letter ($11.99 // 50% off) $5.99
  • Santa Ornament ($5.99 // 50% off) $2.99
  • Branches ($1.59 // 50% off x 3) $4.77
  • Gold Acorns ($0.99 // 50% off x 4) $1.96
  • Porcupine Ornament ($2.99 // 50% off) $1.49

Total wreath cost: $33.19

 

We started by weaving in the branches with berries. Sophie chose a more realistic red berry while I went with gold. Next we placed our last name initials since they would be a focal point. Sophie fastened hers with metals hooks. I used the malleable wire branches to secure mine. Then we used the wire hooks to secure our ornaments to the wreath bases. It took less than an hour! It was beyond simple and I saved a tiny bit under $100! Plus, it was exactly what I wanted.

It was such an affordable wreath option and a new bestie holiday tradition! als, the   ornaments are not permanently placed so next year I can just replace what I want! I could even decorate per holiday if I wanted to. I hope you give it a try and then tag me (@wifetalk) so I can see what you’ve created! Have fun!






First Time Homeowners

October 27, 2017 Michael and I bought our very first house together! It is beyond adorable. I feel so blessed! We now own 1800 sq ft of blank canvas to build our lives on. (Plus Michael’s workshop. He’s very very excited about that). I love the backyard, the location, and the giant windows! It is such an amazing house. We have had a roller coaster of a ride. We started casually looking several months ago, but every time we thought we found the perfect house we either got outbid or inspections revealed massive issues. One house needed easily $30,000 in basic repairs before we even touched aesthetic remodeling! It started to become very disheartening. However, two of my girlfriends, Sophie & Brittany, kept saying the same thing. “God has the perfect house for you”. Even though I knew it was true, it was still frustrating spending hours and hours looking up and visiting houses.

However, now looking back I can definitely say it was worth the wait. In today’s market buying house is tough! We were so lucky to have the experience we had. The sellers of our house chose our bid because of a letter we attached talking about who we are. They actually asked to meet us at one of our inspections. We had a great time walking around the property as they explained how to care for the pear & fig trees, where their boys liked to play, and other personal details. The wife even knitted our baby girl a pink blanket! It was such a relief to have people so friendly. They even supplied us with boxes to move in! As we were getting to know them I couldn’t help but think about how right my friends were! It felt like this house was meant to be. Especially when we got a call from our real-estate agent, my momma. The mortgage company had called to ask her if we wanted to go down to their office in Hendersonville, or if we wanted to meet in Mount Juliet. The agent said that he usually went to a local cafe. He asked my mom if we thought we would be able to find a Billy Goat Cafe… He was totally unaware that Michael and I had met there when I was 15 years old. What a perfect place to sign our names on this new stage in life! I thought that was unbelievably cool.
After we got our new keys we picked up seven gallons of paint (I can’t wait to do before and after pictures) and headed to the new house. That afternoon our friend Carrie, of SwakPhotography , (you may remember her from our style shoot) came over to document our first afternoon in our first home. We had so much fun taking pictures and laughing at Nolie’s many expressions.
I am so grateful for everyone who helped us make this happen! We had a great team and I would totally recommend using them. We used Josh from US Bank (Mount Juliet branch) and Heidi Nanto, my mom, as a real-estate agent. I would love to connect you if you would like! Enjoy some of these precious photos of our family and new home!
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Clothing Details:
Me- Shirt: Banana Republic // Jeans: Lucky // Boots: Lucky // Cardigan: The Limited // Ring: Tiffany & Co
Michael- Shirt: J.Crew // Jeans: Lucky // Shoes: Sperry // Watch: Fossil // Belt: Fossil
Nolie- Shirt: Janie & Jack // Jeans: Old Navy // Shoes: Baby Gap // Bow: Janie & Jack
Rug: Target

Trunk or Treat 2017 

Last night we went to Nolie’s first trunk or treat at the Hermitage Church of the Nazarene (the new church we’ve been attending the past few months). It was a serious blast!! We met up with Sophie and walked around with our… wait for it… matching “bestie bees”. Cuteness overload! Thank you Target for supplying these precious costumes. 
It’s beyond crazy to me that next year they will be waddling around with their baskets, collecting candy. I’m so excited for that season of life, and yet so terrified by how fast everything is going. When I was pregnant every day felt extra long while I was waiting to meet my girl. Now I feel like I blink and a month has screamed by! What’s happening!? 
Anyways, I’m loving this fall weather and also having Sophie and our Mia girl back in town! Enjoy some beyond precious photos below & comment with your favorite baby costumes.  

// overalls: American Eagle // sweater: Ensemble Nashville // boots: Lucky // watch: Fossil 

// Nolie’s bee costume: Target