Happy First Father’s Day!

My husband Dan is the best Dad he could be.  He sacrifices by traveling away from the family in order to provide for us, and in turn allowing me to stay home with Parker.  He loves spending time with Parker…whether it’s taking him to a gun show, up to the pawn shop, or just putting him in laundry baskets and tugging him around the house, he always finds time to do fun and interesting things with our little guy in spite of his busy travel schedule.  He’s patient and loves unconditionally.  I love that about him.  Thank you SO much for all that you do!  Happy FIRST Father’s day love! Here are some of your best Dada moments:

Open Up Shop

Dan and I love to talk about our future dreams together.  Raising a family, future traveling, where we’ll live later in life, what our next house will be like, etc.  Another thing we love to talking about is opening up a shop.  The entrepreneur in me has SO many ideas.  How do I channel this into a sound business plan?  Where do I start?  What do I choose?

1. Flower Shop–  This has been my dream for the longest.  I got really inspired when we traveled to Florence, Italy and I saw the cutest little corner flower shops all over the place.  Simple, sweet and full of happiness.  Has anyone ever seen “Bed of Roses“?  Yeah, it’s that old cheesy 90’s movie with Christian Slater who sweeps a woman of her feet with flowers.  You can’t help but want to open up a flower shop after watching this flick.  My flower shop is simple.  It would be a shop in a heavy foot traffic area and have beautiful in season flowers.  The flowers will be individually kept in metal rustic canisters separated by type and color.  There will be a “build your own bouquet” area where you can select the flowers you want for your own bouquet, and they will be wrapped in brown paper and tied at the base with a beautiful raffia ribbon.  That to me my friend, is pure happiness.  Now who wouldn’t want to receive a custom bouquet like THAT?  The shop would also have other gift friendly things such as fresh organic seasonal fruit and a “create your own fruit” basket.  A small local organic wine selection and a spin rack of greeting cards made from recycled paper.  Think of it as the ultimate place to stop on the way to a friends house, or on the way to a date.  The perfect place to go to pick up something for a friend or family member before you head to their house for a fabulous Soiree.  Of course it would be a big hit for holidays and birthdays too.  That goes without saying.

When mentioning this to my husband who is a gun aficionado… he cleverly comes up with the name “Petals and Pistols”.  He says it’s the perfect solution to combine our two loves into one shop.  His logic goes something like this… A husband will go to the gun store to get in touch with his inner masculine side and purchase some kind of beautiful lethal weapon, and then taps into his softer side and gets his wife or girlfriend a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  See, the perfect fit.  Kind of like Guns and Roses.  It just works.  Not exactly what I had in mind, but I love the fact that he’s making his dreams apart of mine.  I love it!

2.Pigtails and Crewcuts- I got this brilliant idea on the way to take my son for his second haircut in three months; open a kids salon!  The one I went to was about twenty minutes away, which means really far when you have a little one like myself.  The area that I live in is pretty affluent and there are not many kids salons at all.  There was one not too far north of us that was always packed, but it closed.  So…I was thinking, what an opportunity!  Owning this franchise would be great.  You pay the franchise fee and you get all the marketing, training, design layouts and equipment selection.  It looks like a piece of cake.  Not to mention that the banks are more likely to give you a loan for a franchise than a “start-up” business.  The only bummer is that, like I mentioned, everything is already picked for you, so I wouldn’t be able to use my creative juices and design the layout or decorate the store. All of that has already been done by their design and marketing team.  Those of you that live here in Alpharetta, don’t you agree?  Wouldn’t you come to my kids salon?  We totally need one!

3. Cupcakes and Tea Cups–  I mentioned this a wee bit here back when I got an array of vintage tea cups from my Aunt.  However, since then my idea has grown and taken a more of a child approach.  As a child I loved to have tea parties. Yes, I was one of those girls who would put her stuffed animals in a little circle and serve them tea, and bug my Mom and brother to come join us (I was a sad lonely child wasn’t I?).  How cool would it be if there was a place where you could have children’s tea parties but also make custom cupcakes?  There would be several “party rooms” where you can have little tea parties.  The girls could get dressed up in their finest “dress up” clothes from the “Let’s play dress-up room” and sip on some teas with their very best little rosy cheeked friends.  Then hit the “Cupcake Creation” area where there will be all different kinds of fresh cupcakes to choose from under a glass case.  They will be able to go over to an area with an array of different icings (every color in the rainbow) and toppings.  With just a pull of a lever they will pick the color of their icing.  Go over to the “Sprinkles” area where just a few sprinkles of their favorite topping will complete the cupcake.  No worries about mess, the metal grate will catch all the sprinkles in a hidden trap door to be cleaned later.  Woah… I’ve put way too much thought into this!  I think I want to be a kid again.  Isn’t this a fabulous idea?!

4.Eco-Friendly Nail Salon-Any woman will agree…when it comes to getting good pedicures, it’s a must.  Who doesn’t love them?  HOWEVER- what is up with all the toxic fumes?  Don’t these places have ventilation? I wouldn’t be surprised if I killed a few hundred brain cells just walking into those places.  I get a headache just thinking about it.  Hey, it’s the price we pay for beauty right?  But what if it didn’t have to be?  What if there was a place that we could go that ZERO VOC’s (volatile organic compounds)?  What if the nail salon we went to ONLY used all natural essential oils and lotions that have natural fragrances?  What if all the products used were eco-friendly?  What if there was great ventilation for goodness sake? I ask questions all the time like: What is that stuff that sizzles in the water?  Is it safe for me to put my feet in?  Is there something other than acetone that can remove polish?  Is there such thing as eco-friendly polish so that when my son goes to bite my finger (or toe for that matter) he’s not going to get a taste of something toxic?  These are all questions I ponder.  I don’t have the slightest clue about nail salons, and to be quite honest, it seems as if its the Asian community that has really taken off with this business, so I’m not even sure if I could compete.  Nonetheless, it’s an idea…and I would love to see this in my community one of these days.  Until then, I guess I’ll continue to get headaches and toxic polish all for the sake of beauty and relaxation.

5. Cafe Intermezzo–  Anyone who’s been to Cafe Intermezzo in Atlanta knows- it’s the absolute best coffee and dessert place around.  We SO need a place like this in the ‘burbs of Alpharetta.  You know, a euro-inspired bakery that serves fabulous coffee and tea and irresistible “bakery style” fresh desserts from the case.  Every time Dan and I go to Cafe Intermezzo it’s always packed to the brim.  Location, great food, public interest is the perfect formula for a great business.  We need a candle lit romantic adult hang out spot with romanesque statues, wrought iron tables and stone water features. Where people from all walks of life fall in love with each other all over again, thoughts and ideas create long conversations and the hankering for sweets and caffeine is fulfilled.  I would love to open a place like this.  It would be just the kind of  place that we would need to make Friday nights sparkle.

I know I’m taking a risk putting out all my business ideas on my blog for all fifteen of you readers to read.    If I can inspire others to open up a shop before I can, then maybe that will teach my scared, non-spontaneous, non-risk taking self a lesson!

Wanna be like Jack

I crave a simple life.  I for one, am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to being caught up in social networking, reality TV, forums and the brainless hoopla that goes along with living in the year 2010.  I would love to just unplug… meditate… relax…breathe easy….loosen up…sit back, and actually enjoy all that life has to offer, but focusing on the simple things, and getting down to the bare bones. You know what kind of person I’m talking about…the easy going type.  The one who wears flip flops, worn jeans and says things like it’s all good and no worries and actually means it.  Without a care in the world, lives and loves life.  Where schedules and planning go out the window and intuition and passion take over.  I want that life. I would LOVE to have that life.

When I think of this, one person that comes to mind is Jack Johnson.  He’s SO chill isn’t he?  I need to tap into his energy.  Anyone that knows me knows how much I love me some Jack Johnson music.  One of my favorite songs is Banana Pancakes.  A song about enjoying a rainy day and pretending that it’s the weekend and just enjoying each other’s company. 

The telephone is singing
Ringing it’s too early
Don’t pick it up
We don’t need to we got everything
We need right here
And everything we need is enough
Just so easy
When the whole world fits inside of your arms
Don’t really need to pay attention to the alarm
Wake up slow, yeah wake up slow

I downloaded his new album To the Sea on iTunes and LOVE it.  It’s a little bluesier (is that even a word?) and my two favorites so far are “At or with Me” and “From the Clouds”, but as I listen to it more, I’m sure my favorites will change.  Parker and I had a good ol’ time playing and listening to some Jack Johnson.  It was so much more refreshing than the typical annoying TV background noise.  He was totally diggin’ the music too. A little boy after his own Mama’s heart!  Maybe we can make “music” time a more regular occurrence.  It beats the heck outta Sesame Street songs.

I’m hoping that this new music will help channel a more carefree, easy going side me; a side of me that will be more laid back, aspiring NOT to sweat the small stuff.

From A to E

Parker’s first road trip!  Woohoo! We packed up our trusty new (relatively speaking) Lexus and hit the road last Thursday for some fun with family and friends.  Gotta love it.  Here was our A-E route:A. to B. We left home Thursday night to visit my grandparents in Lake Hartwell, GA.  When we arrived, my almost 80 year old grandfather was stabbing bales of hay with his tractor, and Grandma was quick to be Suzie homemaker by whipping up chicken and dumplings in the kitchen while we got settled in. Mmmm I love it.  If Dan and I are half the people they are when we’re seniors, we’ll be doin’ pretty well I’d say.  The beautiful farm and my welcoming grandparents was exactly what we needed. The BEST form of medicine from the hussle of metro Atlanta.  Parker settled right in, and slept so well that night.  My Grandparents showed him lots and lots of love.  He didn’t get tired of it one bit.  I think cows were jealous.  I learned a lot about raising cattle and farm living too.  I think one day…I may just have to try that country living, animal raising,  farming thing out.  Ahh…the simple life.

C. From Hartwell we headed over to Charleston where we met Dan’s parents for dinner.  Parker was in SUCH a giddy mood that night, and when it was time for bed, he didn’t want any part in it.  He was ready to be the center of attention and had a good time showing off his Mama and Dada words that he learned only a few short weeks prior.  Nana and Poppy was taking all of what he was giving.

In the morning we met up with my best friend from high school Jess and her fiance` Chad.  It was so nice to see them and hang out.  We spent the entire day together catching up, letting Parker nap, eating, talking, going into downtown to see the huge arts festival, looking at wedding dresses online, chatting some more, eating some more (you get the point). We had a great time, but Parker…apparently did not.  He was a pill and a half the entire day and was on permanent strike from his stroller and being outside in the heat.  Come to find out, he was cutting a tooth, and had every reason to be a pain in the butt, but still was not fun for the rest of us.  Teething aside, we still had a wonderful visit, and I can’t wait until I get to spend another weekend in beautiful Charleston. (I’m already planning a girl’s weekend once Parker is weaned!)

D. Myrtle Beach was the next stop on our trek up the eastern seaboard.  To be honest, there’s not a lot of things I find appealing about Myrtle Beach.  It’s flashy, it’s tacky and there’s not a cute quaint little town anywhere to be found.  BUT  There are a few things about Myrtle Beach that I love; THE BEACH, my best gal pal from college Catie, and my amazing sis in law Jenna, Jon and their six (yes SIX) kids.

We definitely got the most out of our trip.  Parker got to play at the beach and this time he LOVED it.  He loved it so much in fact that he tried to eat it.  He soon realized the beach didn’t taste as good as it looked.  He got a kick out of the waves and we both had a blast playing in the water, dodging waves.  I got up with Catie while I was there and got some much needed girl time relaxing on the beach, soaking in the sun and taking the damp salty air.  Man, do I miss that.  It was SO nice while it lasted and getting to catch up with Catie was well worth it too.

Visiting the Kustafik family is always fun.  I always try to take tips from Jenna as a Mom of six kids, because she always seems so have it together.  Her kids are all full of life and energetic, and she never seems worn out one bit by it.  Her kids and the family are all such a joy to be around.  Never a dull moment!

E. I haven’t been to my old stomping grounds of Wilmington, NC in some time.  I miss that place, and I miss the people there.  People seem way more laid back and easy going than here in Atlanta.  No worries…isn’t that what they say? I love the charming downtown area and I miss the old nastalgia of the draw bridge over the Cape Fear river, Port City Java, Perkins (both working there and eating there in the middle of the night), the tiny streets downtown, City Limits…ahh…let me reminisce on the thought, not to mention the wonderful access to the beach. I also miss the house I grew up in.  We went to visit it while we were there.  It was a beautiful colonial inspired home that my parents had custom built when we moved to Hampstead (north of Wilmington).  It wasn’t too long after my older brother Spencer and I moved out of the home that my parents decided that it was time to downsize and move closer into Wilmington.  They put the house on the market, and there was a family who loved the color red, asphalt, pit bulls and popcorn ceilings (they ADDED popcorn ceiling to the already FLAT ceiling) that shortly there after moved in.  It wasn’t too long until our old colonial inspired home turned into what looked like Santa’s workshop.  They removed the navy shingles and added a red metal roof, and painted all the shutters red.  Can you tell that this bothers me??  That is just wrong on SO many levels.

We had a wonderful visit while staying with my Dad, Rennie and brother Chris and also visiting with my brother Spence, his wife Lisa, and my nephews.  Time certainly flies.  The kids have grown up so fast.  I remember when it was just Spence and I, and that seemed like such a short time ago. We made some great memories during this trip, and I’m so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends to share life with.