Happy Small Business...Every Day!

Happy Small Business...Every Day!

It’s true - you can support small businesses and also still love to mindlessly roam the aisles at Target or Home Goods. This is a judgement-free zone. But when you shop at small business, you’re helping support someone’s dream, and that’s what makes it super important to me.

My family owned a gift shop growing up and I am all-too familiar with the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. Thanksgiving break, for instance, we spent every day at the store and stayed late into the night, transforming every square inch of that store into a winter wonderland. (Think: Buddy in Elf when he spends the night decorating Gimbel's.) Around 8 a.m., the employees would arrive and we'd still be there, glitter in our hair, bits of fake snow stuck to our sweatpants, and Diet Coke cans littered about.

For a small businesses, it's nearly impossible to see where your life ends and the business life begins. Each day is Small Business Saturday.

In honor of shopping small, here are a few of my favorite gifts to grab this season:

The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Markets, Pop-Ups and Open Houses in Memphis 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Markets, Pop-Ups and Open Houses in Memphis 2018

I’m conflicted about this time of year. On one hand, the minute the temperature drops below 40 degrees I want to start humming “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…” while baking in the kitchen. On the other hand, I have a VERY strict, “no-Christmas-before-Thanksgiving” rule. However, I don’t think as a professional gift giver, I can abide by that anymore. There are just too many wonderful holiday things popping up all over the city to not mention them and get a head start on gift shopping! I’ve highlighted the markets, pop-ups and gift shop holiday open houses I know about around town from now until the New Year.

What's the One Thing That You Need to Do?

What's the One Thing That You Need to Do?

I returned from Santiago, Chile yesterday afternoon overwhelmed. I just spent the last week juggling two phones, four time zones, and a multitude of agendas for my day job. I was doing fantastic in that area of my life but felt like I was letting every other part of me fall by the wayside - F&F, school, our home reno, family, friends, and my health. By the time I got to the last connection from DFW to MEM I collapsed in the seat not from physical exhaustion, but from the mental pressure mounting of all the things I had to do, even though I was working nonstop.

Somewhere over Arkansas I shook myself awake with guilt of slipping into a deep sleep. “What are you doing? You wasted an hour that you could’ve been working!” As I reached down to pull out my laptop, I thought, “This is crazy.”

I was reading Brene Brown’s, Dare to Lead, before dozing off and realized I wasn’t living by the principles that I’d just highlighted and underlined a few hours before. I was letting shame dictate how I behaved and not speaking to myself the way I would another person in my life. I would never turn to my husband, wake him up after a long work trip, and say “Omg you’re wasting an hour on the plane sleeping!” No. I would let him sleep because sleep is probably one of the most important things one can do to mentally recharge.

The mounting pressure of our to-do lists can be polarizing to the point of exhaustion. So, how do you move past it and actually get things done, while being kind to yourself?

Why You Need a Funeral Principle | An Interview with Emily Callahan

Why You Need a Funeral Principle | An Interview with Emily Callahan

When I call Emily Callahan, the first thing she does is apologize for rescheduling.  

The Chief Marketing & Experience Officer of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has done more than most people have by 8 a.m.  Yet, she’s concerned about my schedule and flexibility. When I assure her I understand and know that she has a lot going on, she genuinely responds that everyone is busy and that I’m busy too.

This is a testament to the type of person Emily is and why she’s skyrocketed to success at just 40 years old, while maintaining an authenticity that I aspire to. She also has achieved an apparent balance in her life that a person with half her plate would find challenging. Case in point, when I recently saw Emily at Memphis in May BBQ fest she wasn’t in a suit or on a schedule. She was in denim shorts, surrounded by friends, and even in the mud bath that is Memphis in May, she had on fabulous shoes.

We talked about being nervous, her funeral principle, the need for therapy, her advice for women and, yes of course, we talked about the shoes.  

The Power of Quitting Your Job in Pursuit of Your Passion | An Interview with Dr. Sarah Petschonek

 The Power of Quitting Your Job in Pursuit of Your Passion | An Interview with Dr. Sarah Petschonek

If there’s one thing you need to know about Dr. Sarah Petschonek it’s that she would make an excellent reporter. I went to four years of journalism school (MIZ!) to learn the ability to interview and actively listen that she naturally possesses. When you’re chatting with Sarah, she has this ability to make you feel like the most interesting person in the room in a way that is ordinarily reserved for the likes of Beyonce. Yep, Sarah makes you feel like Beyonce. Pretty awesome, right? What’s even better than her ability to get you to tell your story, is hearing hers.

I sat down with Sarah at her home in downtown Memphis to learn how she did what all of us at some point have wanted to do - she quit her job with no game plan and then started something she was passionate about. It was bold, risky, scary, and completely worth it.

11 Last Minute Gifts Under $50 to Grab

11 Last Minute Gifts Under $50 to Grab

How many times have you been this person?

"Oh, it's so-and-so's birthday party this Friday. I'm going to get her something really awesome." 

Friday on your way to the party, "Shit...what am I going to get her? Maybe I'll find something in Walgreens?"

Yeah, I've been that person too. Wayyyyy too often. That's why I've started keeping awesome gifts on hand for last-minute events (or events that FEEL last minute even though I've been "going" to them on Facebook for nearly a month...) This week, I've picked some of my favorite finds under $50 from Saks Fifth Avenue because they are having an awesome deal (and because it's New York Fashion Week!)

5 Wood Gift Ideas for a 5th Wedding Anniversary

5 Wood Gift Ideas for a 5th Wedding Anniversary

The traditional gift is wood for the 5th anniversary. Sturdy and long-lasting, the medium is a salient symbol of the life you two have built over half a decade of marriage! So, it's only fitting that I share some of my favorite wood anniversary gift ideas for your spouse on your anniversary, or to gift the happy couple on their 5th wedding anniversary.

The Most Unique Little Gift Shop On 30A in Florida

The Most Unique Little Gift Shop On 30A in Florida

Dotted along Highway 30A are some of the best little gift shops you will find anywhere. It's a fabulous rainy day at the beach activity and when your life revolves around gift-giving, it's a pretty magical place to spend an afternoon. After strolling through many shops, my absolute favorite was Adaro Art in Watersound, FL. 

Introducing The F&F Gift Exchange

Introducing The F&F Gift Exchange

Here are some actual thoughts I had this week: 

  • "I bet I could squeeze in a blog post on my lunch break."

  • "Should I shower or respond to these emails before work?"

  • "I had six hours of sleep. Why am I tired? Maybe I have mono."

  • "Oh look, Target. I remember going there."

  • "I should be doing something more productive than straightening my hair. I wonder if I can do a podcast interview WHILE straightening my hair."

Seriously. 

And the thing is, I didn’t think any of these were outlandish as they ran through my head. In fact, they seemed perfectly reasonable.

OH don’t you start to feel sorry for me. I know you’ve had equally crazy thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I'm a pretty busy person. But we're all busy. We have jobs and families and as women, we often have unrealistic expectations of ourselves or put on us by others to achieve all of these things without faltering.

5 Best Gift Shops in Minneapolis

5 Best Gift Shops in Minneapolis

Recently I hopped on a plane for a quick trip to Minneapolis. I feel like every time I go I wish I had more time in this beautiful city. (read: every time I go in the SUMMER. I’m not about those winters)  After a day of meetings, I naturally set out to explore the best of the best Minneapolis gift shops and Minneapolis shopping. Here are my favorites:

The F&F Father's Day Gift Guide

The F&F Father's Day Gift Guide

Whether it's the trip of a lifetime (sorry, not quite there this year, Dad) or just a fantastic shirt, there is something so satisfying about watching a loved one open a gift that says "I understand you and I love you." 

Here are some gift ideas to help you give that kind of gift to your Father this year. If you read through this and still don't think any of these are quite right or if you love them but need a gift for another occasion, I'm happy to help!

The F&F Mother's Day Gift Guide

The F&F Mother's Day Gift Guide

I'm currently in Dublin enjoying the unusually warm weather and outrageously friendly people. Plus, my mom and I both received our 23&me results this week and surprise, surprise - these redheads are close to 60% Irish! So, in honor of my (Irish) mom and Mother's Day next Sunday, here is a gift guide for the occasion.

Gift Twins: What It Means and Why You Need One

Gift Twins: What It Means and Why You Need One

What? You've never heard of "gift twins?" Well, that's definitely NOT because I made it up just now...👯

Anyway, when you find your gift twin you will know because you will have an unbelievable moment of "no...you couldn't have!!" after you discover you gifted each other the same thing. My friend Amy and I did this for our birthday this year (in addition to being gift twins, we're also born only one day apart.) 

The New Cards Against Humanity

The New Cards Against Humanity

f you're like me, that little black box is your go-to game for parties, long weekends, and holiday gatherings. It has all the makings of a classic - ease of use, creativity (but not too much to make the wallflowers nervous), freedom, and of course, you can make it into a drinking game. But lately, with each expansion pack, I feel like the cards are getting less and less funny (same goes for how I feel about new episodes of Big Bang Theory...and any comedy sequel ever made.) So I went on a hunt for a new, equally crowd-pleasing game for any occasion.

Gifts for Your Valentine You Can Buy on the 14th

Gifts for Your Valentine You Can Buy on the 14th

For me, the definition of last-minute is when Amazon Prime still won't make it in time. And if you're reading this, you've definitely missed that cut-off because it's 11 p.m. on 2/13.  Luckily, there are these awesome things called "local businesses" that have exactly what you need. They will even help you wrap things up and throw in a card. Crisis averted! 

Gifts for the Host with the Most

Gifts for the Host with the Most

You're standing in front of a wall of wine and realize you have no idea what your host prefers, or if they even drink. Sound familiar? If you're looking for a little something different to give your gracious host this holiday season, try one of these ideas. Not one requires a frantic google search for a "wine everyone likes," in the aisles of your local liquor store. All under $50, they are sure to please everyone - including that one person who has EVERYTHING (who doesn't need a champagne-scented candle?)