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Monday, December 26, 2011

Resolutions vs. Themes: Where they came from…

Part of our goal at Sweet Spot Skirts, is to make daily life just a little bit more fun!  I have always hated New Years Resolutions… maybe because everybody else does it, but I am usually quite conforming.  Maybe it is a fear or failure… if I start something on a certain day the idea that I have to follow through with it daily for 364 days…may prove to be just too much for a perfectionistic almost OCD, over achiever.  Life is too good to just monotonously walk through, same day different time, same stuff going on.  Many of us get caught up with husbands, partners, dogs, cats, kids, work, JOBs, housecleaning and forget to take care of ourselves.  Life happens! 

In 2005, I had a divorce.  Good or bad it happened and I was devastated.  It took hours of counseling, lots of tears, and whole bunch of self analysis before I recouped.  In this process, I began to theme my years.  I would pick something to focus on for the entire year.  If it was a bad day … I focused on my theme.  That way failure was not an option, as it would be with a resolution that you “can’t break” vs. a theme that was just always there.  Besides coffee, sometimes the thought of my theme was the only thing to help me get out of bed and face the day.  If you want to understand how themes can make life fun and help you out of a difficult situation, please read the following! 

2006:  Pray Hard. Sometime when you are at life’s bottom barrel, praying is the only thing that makes you feel close to God and accepted.  I stumbled upon a ring in the Christian Book Store that was $12.95 and had the words PRAY HARD stamped in Black on a silver band.  I bought it and every time I looked at those words it made me remember I wasn’t alone and I was loved. 

2007:  Truth.  I had a year of counseling under my belt and I was on my soap box preaching the truth to anyone who would listen.  Truth about men, divorce, marriage, lies, addiction, life, ect.  I felt that when you knew the truth it would set  you free.  Looking back, knowing the truth was one thing but dealing with the truth would be another 4 year process.  Truth was defined like this:  “When you know what you know.”  I went back to that same Christian Bookstore and sure enough they had another ring with the letters TRUTH stamped in black on a sliver band…so I bought it, wore it everyday….I guess you could say the truth did set me free.  When I looked at those words it reminded me I have a voice, I have a brain and I can see through to the truth in life…it was very freeing.

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2008:  Simplify. With a few years of counseling completed, I felt it was time to take the focus off of my divorce and look at my life.  Cluttered and scattered and bulging at every seam, would be an accurate description.  I decided my life was about to get a bunch simpler.  23 bags to goodwill, 4 to dress for success and I moved into a one of my rentals that was too small to command enough rent to cash flow…  1100 sq. ft.  Perfect for a year of simplify. To commemorate my year, I decided to take all of my diamonds that I had collected over the 40 some years of life.  They were being stored in a shoe box in my garage.  My moms wedding ring, my dad’s wedding ring, the blue sapphires from my grandmother, the Yogo sapphire from my very first real boyfriend.  We removed all the stones and made one “life” ring using all the diamonds.  When you look at the picture, you can’t notice it, but every single diamond was a different size.  My jeweler Rand, is incredible.  I simplified 41 pieces of jewelry that I never wore… into one wonderful ring that I wear every day!  When I look at that ring I it reminds me that I am loved and that a simple life is a good life!

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2009:  Minimal.  Following the year of simplify I wanted to make sure and not re-clutter my wonderful simplified life.  I didn’t buy a thing.  I had 24 hour rules, no shopping at Nordstrom, borrow if you can and I really developed a sense of diligence about my spending life.  Each year, I like to have the next theme chosen before the Holidays.  That way it isn’t rushed.  December 20, 2008 my father died in his sleep in Arizona, the neighbor hadn’t seen him in days, the police broke in and “that” phone call came.  Trauma abound.  We were in the middle of  repairing a broken childhood relationship and I had purchased him a home so he could live out his last years of life (at the time I figured another 15 or 20 years) in peace and happiness. The shock and horror that followed were debilitating.  Long story short, he had $500 dollars in his pocket when he died.  I fished the money from his pants pocket and after much thought went to Tiffany’s.  I bought the least expensive ring from Tiffany’s and gave kudo’s to my father, who I am sure was thinking of doing the same thing for his precious little daughter.  Yes a bit fairytale ‘ish’ but healing and meaningful at the same time.  So, there you have it a ring that is minimal by Tiffany’s standards and made me feel like a princess.  All year I wore that ring and it reminded me I was loved by my father and oh that is right…. DON’T buy it if you don’t need it!!!!

tiffany ring

2010:  Sweet Spot.  This was the year of the Sweet Spot!  I created the idea of a Sweet Spot Skirt in September of 2009 and by the beginning of 2010 we had product.  March 1, 2010 we formed an LLC and never looked back!  Remaining true to the symbol of my themes, I contacted my jeweler to see what could happen for this year’s theme of Sweet Spot.  We had a bunch of stones left over from my year of simplify and he put them together in a matching ring and necklace to commemorate my first entrepreneurial adventure:  Sweet Spot Skirts.  The year went great and everybody still to this day comments on the set.  It is a great conversation starter and has actually sold some skirts! 

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2011:  Surrender.  This year was the best.  I completely let go of most control.  Which for an old narcissistic, control freak baby boomer was not easy.    I have tried all year to let people be people.  To take great pride in hiring good people and let them be their best.  Don’t get me wrong I still work very very hard and I still guide people through things when needed.  I just really don’t care about what I can’t control.  If you want to be mean… then be mean.  If you want to be rude…. be rude.  People can only be who they are not who you want them to be.  Including men.  ha ha  I can’t tell you if it was a huge success, but sometime when you try and control everything it is exhausting and….I have not felt exhausted this year… so progress has been made!  Are you wondering what jewelry commemorates this year?  I have been hanging on to a ring that my ex-husband gave me twice.  Yes, twice.  He wasn’t a very good giver and made me feel so bad about the expenditure we took it back.  Then I complained about it so much, he went and bought it again.  Needless to say,  while it was a super beautiful ring, it had a very negative and forced feeling when I wore it.  I gave this ring to my jeweler and said, ”Rand I trust your ability and will let you make what ever you want with these diamonds.”  I gave complete control and surrendered the outcome.  You can see what he made and I wear it every day.  It reminds me to let go and let God… to stop controlling those around you and see how awesome life can get!

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2012:  Release your Inner Warrior!  This is a double theme… we themed Sweet Spot Skirts and my personal life with this wonderful statement.  I look forward to input from women around the world as we meet and talk to them during our events and sales.  For me personally, I am doing the Warrior Dash on September 8.  I will have a fabulous warrior skirt that will be available later this year.  Meanwhile, I  am busy writing the thoughts I have for the Year 2012:  Release Your Inner Warrior!  So far my reminder token has always been a ring or a taken apart ring…. not sure how to commemorate this year! 

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Happy New Year to all!  I hope whether themed or not that “twenty-twelve” is a great year for you and your family!

Stephanie

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy “twenty-twelve”

The stocking are hung by the fireplace, the dogs are napping, the lights are twinkling…the TV is airing the most beautiful Mass….our tummy’s are full and our mind’s are drenched in the happiness that this day brings. 

We have so much to be thankful for here at Sweet Spot Skirts!  Below is a picture from our Christmas party…. we had a delightful lunch and great “girl” time.  It is because of those standing side by side with me, that the company has grown.  Each so special and so talented, I am amazed by them weekly. 

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Dianna, Stephanie, Mary, Samara, Louise, Tanna, Kaye

Taking a moment to reflect and remember the fun times that have gone into this company….. and we are only 21 month old.  Our goals for next year have been written down and the theme has been chosen.  Twenty Twelve brings Kilts, new designs, kids skirts, themed skirts, charity skirts, team skirts and we might just have time to kick off our second fashion line…. Beyond D! 

Merry Christmas to your families!

Love to all…. Stephanie

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Malibu Sale Starts at 8:00 p.m.!!!!

Leaving Huntington beach was difficult… the bike path, running path literally right across the street from our Huntington at the Sea!  We had a bunch of things to accomplish, and with the hopes of meeting up with some great biking ladies we stayed four days.  The park was ok….similar to a large parking lot with hookups for the Airstream… but the spot was amazing.  $45.00 a night.

Arriving in Malibu at the very RV park that Matthew McConaughey stayed prior to hooking up and having children (story to follow at the end of this blog.)   Set up went great… time after time we unhook, level, chuck, plug cable, water, electricity, stabilize and finally we are a well oiled machine.  It was dark and we could hear the lapping of the waves and the outline of LA from our spot… it seemed great!  The local Ralphs grocery store is known for famous people spotting so of course it was our first stop (and we were out of salad makings!)

When we got back from our store the neighbor came over and with the best German accent and offered us her extra food.   They were leaving in the morning to fly to Colorado to go skiing.  She was adorable and so of course I handed her our marketing card!  She said thank you and went back to their RV.  About five minutes later, while I was in mechanical heaven fixing the constantly broken fan on the refrigerator (aaaaargh airstream) our neighbor came back over asking to see the skirts.  She was adorable as I put one around her…. and told her it was ok to go show her husband in their trailer….she was so adorable… she counted the skirts in german…and told us how many she was taking….Samara and I can only count to three in German….LOL. 

Long story short she bought two a Black Beauty and a Quill (2012) we have a new customer and friend Birget from Germany.  Does this mean we have gone international again?  Our place in Malibu is great as we continue to market ourselves and wait for our Run in Venice Beach this Saturday.  Here is photos from our work place, out my airstream window, and our camp spot!

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life is so good!

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P.S.  The matthew story:  When staying here he stayed in an airstream….people like lance armstrong, the guy from cheers, Pink and other celebs hung out here.  How awesome would that be to see them in a natural state doing what non-famous people do!  Now if I could just find Sandra Bullock and put her in my skirt!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sweet Spot Scrappy Quilts

You never know when a good idea is going to hit you!  During our first year of business, I couldn’t bear to see the scraps of material from the skirts go to waste.  So we saved them.  I thought if we sewed them all together we could make bright colored purses and fun items to go with the skirts.  However, that was way too labor intensive to even come close to making a profit, plus my Seamers were far too busy making skirts. 
Last Summer on my Montana/Idaho Sweet Spot Skirt tour, I reconnected with a favorite Cousin Jean who just happens to live in Deaver WY!  Let me tell you about that side of the family!  They are sooooo talented, creative, over the top with energy and super fun to be around.  Since I was a little girl they would get together as a family and do some of the most awesome and crazy creative things.  
Jean used to be a school teacher and in her retirement has taken up quilting.  She proclaims to be a novice and not a professional but the people who have received her quilts seem to LOVE LOVE LOVE them.  Jean and I think it is cool that she is the “green arm” of the company.  Wasting not one drop of this precious cotton!  We are also cousins and as the story goes I believe “double cousins.”  I am not certain to the genealogy rules, but somewhere in the family line up brothers married sisters…. which leads to Double Cousins.  Anyway Jean is a great addition to the Sweet Spot Team and her works of art are appreciated so much.  
Here are our quilts and where they have gone!
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Meet Cousin Jean!  She delivered this quilt to me in Red Lodge MT.  It is called Sweet Spots Around the world!  Each quilt is named and signed.
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The next quilt is called Steph’s Sweet Cabin!  This quilt was given to my long time biking  friend David.  He endures my crazy ideas every day and was there the very moment that I said… I am going to make a biking skirt and call it “Sweet Spot Skirts.”  He is an avid biker and keeps me on my wheels even in the face of crazy busy times!
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We put the next quilt in a silent auction and it went second highest in the bidding!  The charity that we chose to give our proceeds to is the local (Deaver WY) Crisis Center.  It's non-profit and really needs help.  They are a home for (mostly) women and children who have to escape a dangerous home situation.  Great Job Sweet Spot Skirts Scraps and Cousin Jean!  Below is the recipient Julie, who was so excited to get her quilt!  This quilt is called Sweet Spot Strings!
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Even though Jean proclaims to be a novice… that quilt looks pretty top-notch!  Thank you Julie for supporting our Scrappy Skirt Quilt Project! 
We have a few more quilts that are coming out of the “hopper”  some are gifts for those who have been so helpful to Sweet Spot Skirts and some are used to make money for local charities.  Thank you for reading this…. it is so important for us as a small business to STAY in the USA and to continue to “give back” as opportunities present themselves!
Cousin Jean….. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!
“Changing the world one Skirt at a time”
Stephanie