5.17.2017

Life Lately.


This meme is my favorite, whenever I'm feeling just overwhelmed with life I look at this and laugh. It embodies exactly how I'm feeling. 

Still showing the house, almost daily. I've only gotten feedback like 'love the house, love the decor' but only one low offer so far. Sigh. I do feel better now that I know we can push back our closing date if needed, we may not make the 6/7 deadline. 

I'm living on bare minimums as far as food goes - chicken, salmon, and tuna. Add chips, rice, veggies and I've got a meal, usually on a paper plate.


Oliver loved this combo last night {I used low fat butter} and you can bake at 425 for about 15 minutes if you don't have the Instant Pot. I made jasmine rice and asparagus on the side. Plus you can get a huge salmon at Costco for like 25 bucks and it will make 3-4 meals for us! 


A while ago I had bluebonnet pictures of the kids made, we do it every year, Katie happened to be with me so we did a corny one for my Mom. Then we had a canvas made for Mother's day.


She has the cutest wall hangings all over her house!


Baby Aiden is finishing up preschool for the year, last week is the last week already! We are planning a low key summer, no camps, no family vacation. We do plan to spend a lot of time swimming and hopefully that means a lot of time napping for them. We will continue with Madison's soccer and math tutoring which is why we decided to forgo the Y camp this year. I highly recommend YMCA camp if you're looking for one, they are affordable and keep the kids busy all day. I just think our summer funds are better spent on math tutoring for her, she'll be STAR testing next year and I want her to be as caught up as possible. Mathnasium has a slightly different summer program, so they will do things to make it fun for the kids, but she enjoys going anyways so I'm not too worried about burnout. 

I'm not sure if I mentioned on here that we switched from Kumon to Mathnasium, but I'm SO GLAD we did. Her grades have shot up since we've made the move, I think the difference is that they cover ALL the things she's struggling with not just a part of it like at Kumon. If you're curious we were paying 100/month at Kumon and Mathnasium is 260/month. I don't love the fact that you pay for 6 days a week even if you can't go that often, I wish they had a cheaper 3 day a week option. I think even 5 days is a lot of extra work for an 8 year old and I don't want her to start to hate math. 


5.09.2017

Running a Boutique - Updates!

This post has been forever in getting done, I'm sorry! You can watch my video from last year here on how I got started. I'll attempt to cover all the same bases with update now that I'm nearing the 2 year anniversary of Ollie Marie Boutique!



Website: I am still using Shopify, the middle plan from above. I haven't been able to make the commitment to the bigger plan because that's a huge price jump and really the benefits are in things like running reports and having someone assigned to your account to help you if you need it. I've had to call Shopify a few times for emergencies - once when my domain didn't renew on a freaking Saturday while I was headed to Great Wolf Lodge with my family. Talk about stressful, but I was able to get someone on the phone and get it fixed so I have to say I've been pretty happy with the level of customer service I've been getting with my plan. 

Reporting does suck with this plan though, for example it's impossible for me to pull a report on items I've refunded as damaged. I did come across an app called Deep Mine that should solve this problem for me and it's a very small fee to install.

I've said this before, but Shopify does have some great features and some areas that are hard to use. For example updating a collection - you can't choose multiple items at once, you have to take each one out one by freaking one. 


Last year Instagram changed their feed to a fancy algorithm just like Facebook - you can literally see the drop in my sales the month it happened. Killer. So what's a girl to do? Start giving them money so people who like my pages can see them. I am in no way a Facebook ad pro and I found a nifty little app that does the ads for me - Kit. 


Kit is $25 bucks a month and worth every penny! I connect with Kit on messenger and can easily create a FB ad from my phone in less than 2 minutes. Kit also will do Instagram ads, but I have noticed the return in sales on there is much smaller so I've been putting my money into FB. I went from spending maybe $50/month last year on FB ads to about $900/month.

My issue with this is that am I really finding new customers or am I just targeting people who would probably shop with my anyways? Hard to tell if I'm getting my money's worth. 


MailChimp has updated and I'm LOVING all the new features. I can easily make email to send out - now that it connects to my Shopify store I can search a product name and it will populate a price and link into my emailer - I used to spend way too much time manually putting everything in myself. MailChimp also will do FB ads, but I haven't tried that feature yet. They also such cool automation stuff that I have to learn about still. 


I've branched out and found some new models, I really like to have a variety of body types and sizes to show the clothing in, my average customer is between a M - XL. Pretty soon I'm going to have to find a new curvy model because Amber is killing it with macros and Crossfit and shrinking daily! I put an ad out on FB looking for someone which turned out really great for me. I said this in my first video, but pictures are very important and I think money is well spent on hiring someone to come take them for you so they are all uniform on your website. We will be moving locations soon and I can't take that plank wall with me so be on the lookout for a rebranding from us! New wall, new logo,  and updated website! I just happen to have a friend who is a BA at marketing and she's come up with a great new look for us :) It pays to have talented friends!

I'm still very happy with my Shipping Easy and I still order my bags and supplies from either Amazon or Upaknship.com I still offer free shipping, but spent over 50K in shipping costs last year alone! 

My goal this year was to do a few shows, my first was was less than stellar and I was left over with a ton of inventory, but I applied for a few more locally this year. I have faith that next time with go better! Once my house sells I plan on doing a Sip and Shop and since I'm moving it's open to all the people, if you'd like to come send me a FB message!

Working for yourself is a lot more stressful than anticipated - sales can be up and down. The business does not run itself, you have to work it daily and it's hard to take time off and not feel super guilty. Don't get me wrong there I love being home with my kids more, being able to take them where they need to go each day, but when we count on my income I definitely don't sleep as well at night. The Fall months were pretty slow for me, Spring has picked up thankfully. 



The longer I do this the easier it is to pick clothing, I've learned what my customers will and won't buy so it's less of a guessing game. I do add in the occasional risky item just to test it out, I didn't do any swimwear this year but I think I'll try it for next summer. 

Overall for last year I did well, the boutique covered what I was making at my HR job and allowed me to do something I loved and be home more with my family which was really my main goal. 

Let me know if you have questions, I'm sure I missed some in this post! skinnymeg@outlook.com or on Facebook.

5.04.2017

Must Try $15 Beauty Item!



This oil has done AMAZING things for my skin, when I went out of town for 3 days I left it at home and could tell a huge difference in the way my makeup sat on my skin. Plus it's LESS than $15 bucks.  Rosehip Oil helps to improve skin tone, texture and pigmentation. I tend to have slightly oily skin and usually shy away from oil {also because I wear lash extensions} but I've been unsung this for months now and I'm obsessed! I use it morning and nights after washing. Linked here - Rosehip Oil for Face, Nails, Hair and Skin.


While we are talking about beauty let me just update you on my microblading. I waited about 2 months before going back to have my second session, mostly just because I kept forgetting to make an appointment and my girl Jewels Artistry who is booked cause she's freaking amazing.  You guysssssss - I'm so glad I did it! They are fuller and fit my face better, I had a regrettable scar from an eyebrow ring that hair never grew over and now you can't even tell. I spend less time doing makeup, with the lashes and brows I don't feel like I even need eyeshadow or eyeliner.



Most days I throw on foundation {BECCA Ultimate Coverage }, blush {NARS Orgasm}, and my favorite lipsense color Dark Pink!


Ok, this is another favorite things of mine - a menstrual cup. I was all ewww that's gross, they have to be messy, and other such nonsense. I bought 2 different ones to try, the Diva Cup and the Blossom Menstrual Cup. I originally bought them to give support for my lady parts during heavy lifting at the gym {works really well for that!} but honestly once I gave them a go during my cycle I will never ever go back to tampons. They are easier in and out, less messy, and I don't have to carry tampons around with me anymore. I legit can leave the cup in for most of the day and never have to check on it.

At first it seemed difficult to insert, but if I get them wet first and fold it the way the instruction say it's easy. They do sell disposable ones at the grocery store too, but I like the 2 brands I am using now.

What are some of your favorite beauty items? I try most of my stuff from recommendation so please leave me a comment on FB if you're obsessed with something I should try!

5.02.2017

Struggle Bus


I've been on the STRUGGLE BUS so hard the last week or so. Too much adulting, trying too hard to do all the things every day. Last weekend with the OMB super stressful show, then Sunday we had a big scare with one of the kids and it literally took everything out of me. You know when you have a close call it's like every emotion comes to the surface and afterward I could barely function. Then we had the house staged and put on the market.


Having your house staged is a GREAT idea, but damn they came in like a whirlwind and it was like all of the sudden the house wasn't ours anymore. Pulling all the baby pictures off the walls was sad. Keeping my house spotless is a daily struggle, no toys allowed inside! We ended up with 5 showings over the weekend, no offers yet, but we have 2 more showings tomorrow. Fingers crossed!


We had family fly into town for the weekend, which is fun but exhausting. We spent Saturday at the Speedway and got up close and personal with the race cars. Aiden of course loved it, but not getting home until 10 was rough.


Then Sunday we drove back out to Grapevine for the vintage railroad ride to the Fort Worth Stockyards. The kids loved it, if you've never gone I highly recommend trying it.


We are a month out from moving, I can do 30 days, or so I keep repeating to myself. I'm ready for school to be done, soccer to be done, and moving to be done. I'm very much looking forward to settling in our new home and spending time with the kids by the pool!  

I'm headed back to the doctor today to schedule more knee surgery, praying this will get me back on track. I have good and bad days with this stupid knee. I KNOW I said I wouldn't sign up for any more races until I could run again, BUT the Disney Princess Half for next year came out today and a few friends are running it so I GOT IN! I'm super excited, even if I have to walk-jog the thing!

4.25.2017

Taking Ollie Marie on the Road!


I did my first show last weekend, it's a local one about 20 minutes from my house. Being this was my first time I had a ton of expenses - fixtures, canopies, signs {thanks to my friend GirlHobbs! She designed it for me!}, bins, pricing guns and tags, cash box, and a million kettle bells. Yes, kettle bells.  See Friday is was hot and sunny and we had a huge storm roll through overnight which led to a COLD AND WINDY Saturday. No one was in the mood to buy summer clothes, hats, and accessories when they are walking around with parkas on. 


Let me tell you - I owe Oliver 'hugs' whenever he wants for the next year! He got up at 4am with me {after barely any sleep from the hail coming down at 2am!} helped me set up in the wind, the person who had the spot next to me never showed so we took the brunt of the gusts and he had lots of times where he had to stand and hold it up. He stayed all day without complaint and I'm so grateful because it was really stressful and bitching would probably have sent me over the edge. I had to run to walmart to buy 200 bucks in kettle bells to tie the canopy down, actually worked really well. 


I'm so glad I got up early to curl my hair to stand out in the wind. You can find my denim joggers here, my top here, and my sunnies here. Overall I only did about half of what I expected, but it wasn't a total waste because I learned all kinds of things I would do differently!

Like:
1. To speed up checkout just put prices on everything and do a quick sale - searching for specific inventory was taking WAY too long and no one likes to stand in line when it's windy and cold. I used the Shopify POS system and LOVED it. The only problem I ran into was that the iPhone 7 has no headphone jack to plug in a credit swiper so I had to buy a bluetooth reader for about 80 bucks. 

2. I would have more signage! I only had a big one out front stating who we were and that we sold curvy sizes also, which I think was a great idea because a lot of boutiques only carry up to a large. I would do signs for deals - like $10 flip flips or sunglasses. 

3. I did take my LipSense and only kept out my testers - people will walk up and open colors which I would have to damage out so I kept live product under the table. 

4. I had people asking to try items on, but in the wind no way I could set up a dressing room, but if it's possible I sure would. 

I do plan to do more shows so I feel like I'll be more prepared next time, hopefully! Indoors would def be a lot easier!


All was right in the world when I found out my favorite restaurant now has FROZEN Moscow Mules!! Well that and 11 hours of deep sleep. 

4.20.2017

Sipping on Sugar. Diet Bet. Recipes.


I made it through the election (with my parents and very opinionated FB friends), so who knew that a Unicorn drink would be the thing that was the line in the sand for me. 

I knew the risk of posting this picture online.


OMG, it's has 76g of sugar and you gave it to your kids?! 

Yup. Cause we know how to treat ourselves in moderation. We got talls - we shared - we had our fill and threw the rest away. It was a fun little way to spend a Wednesday afternoon. {don't worry we shared with Aiden too} We made up songs and cheers in the car about being unicorns and had a grand ole time sipping on that sugar. BTW I guess some places made it differently, but ours were pretty dang good.

But, seriously, the judgy people are too much for me. I hope they know that a can of coke, a gatorade, and a MILLION OTHER DRINKS have lots of sugar too. Sheesh. Killing my happy unicorn vibes. Honestly if there is one thing I can't tolerate in other people it's negativity - even if it's not directed to me. 

Now let's talk about food.


I know I mostly eat my chicken, but with the addition of the Instant Pot to my life I've been branching out and trying Salmon. It cooks in 10 minutes, is super yummy, and full of protein. I put mine over Cous Cous {get the fast cooking kind!} for an easy lunch. I bought this one from Walmart and I rarely shop there for meat, but it was preseasoned and quite tasty.


I made this Honey Garlic Brussel recipe the other night - it has soy sauce in it - Oliver flipped over how good it was, must try! Also if you haven't cooked a spaghetti squash in the IP you are missing out, it legit peeled like an egg.


Cardio dieting vs Weightlifting dieting. To be honest I'd take either one over my 'before' photo, but I'm pretty proud of those muscle cause I've worked really hard to build them.

I'm currently reverse dieting- I was in a 'fat loss' plan at around 1650ish calories. I've been adding 200 every few weeks and I'm at about 2000ish right now. I will keep that up through the summer, but checking in on my weight/measurements so I don't go overboard and start adding a bunch of fat. That's the problem when I move my calories up - I get lazy and start not being consistent with my numbers. To hold myself accountable I'm doing an after Labor Day Diet Bet - starts May 3.


We will have a month long accountability group on FB to share workouts, recipes, daily food logs, etc. The link to the FB group will be posted on the activity page of the Diet Bet a few days before the game begins! Keeping others acceptable helps me keep myself that way too!

4.18.2017

Easter Weekend


This cracked me up because it's like a look into Oliver's soul {deep childhood love for Rottweilers} and trying to do the math from his never ending Easter celebration Sunday. 


To be fair we both ate a good meal, every time I have a single bite of dessert my Mom whips out her camera and asks 'does that fit your macros' Yes, it does Mom ;)


I can't be too mad at her, she whipped up some pretty awesome baskets for the children. She knows me too well, I don't want anymore candy or toys in the house, I'm all about DECLUTTERING right now. She even bought them each stuffed animals, ughhhhhhh THE WORST. I swear she does it to see my reactions LOL Deep down I'm probably just jealous I no longer get a basket.



The confetti filled eggs were a big hit, Aiden was so sweaty his stuck to his head for most of the day. Oliver refuses to let me cut his hair, I've trimmed the bottom, but he wants his curls to stay for as long as possible.


This is Oliver around the same age - I mean could they BE any more similar!? Hands in pockets, same hair, same smile. 

We are closing on the new house 6/7 which is like, so soon! I'm working on packing up rooms to show the house, it's exhausting for sure. I'm also gearing up for my first booth at a show for Ollie Marie this weekend. I've had to buy tents, fixtures, signs, bags, etc. Hopefully the weather is perfect and it's worth it. I'm kinda testing the waters with this to branch out a bit - if you're local I'd love to see you. It's in Rockwall - click here for info

I know I'm long overdue for a boutique update, but I just finished out my taxes and I'll do a post updating things that worked and didn't work for me thus far. If you have specific questions please let me know and I'll be happy to cover it in my post.

4.12.2017

My Internet Friends.

Never Not Hungry Top

This is Sara and Amanda, my internet friends. Sara lives in Houston and Amanda is in North Carolina and we decided we were ready to become in real life friends, so we planned a girls weekend in NC {cause Amanda is super pregnant and doesn't like to fly}. Actually I was planning to go run the Rock N Roll half there, but ya know I can't run anymore so I just went for fun. 

The problem with this plan is how do you explain your relationship to your friends, your parents, your grandmother?! Awkward. It was much easier to explain when we were going to run race, it gave it purpose, now we had to beat around the bush. 



So to make it less weird I inited other internet friends from around town to come and hang out with us. Makes total sense, right?!

Saturday Sara and I wanted to try out a local Crossfit, Amanda {who BTW lives in a small town that she has lived in her entire life which means she know everyone} gave me strict instructions - do not name drop so I don't have to explain who you are later.



So we hit up this Crossfit, in a basement, I'm trying to figure out how they do pull ups and stuff and we see the rig outside. I'd die if I had to wall ball or do bar work in the cold/wet/snow. Anyways so we get on the rower to warmup and the lady next to me starts asking me where I'm from, why I'm here, etc.

Next thing you know I have word vomit - I'm like 'oh I met this girl online and we wanted to meet in real life' then she gets quiet and I guess I sounded like this was some type of dating hookup site so I start telling her about my blog and it just spirals. OMG> I have to be supervised when I'm on pre workout y'all. Thankfully she didn't know Amanda!


We stayed at the cutes little hotel, it really felt like a bed and breakfast! Highly recommend if you're going to the Winston Salem area.


Oliver doesn't think it's weird when I go me internet friends anymore, hahaha. He just said if she turned out to be normal would she cook him dinner while he's in town for work. Always thinking of his dinner! 


I was appalled to learn that Amanda did not plan to take maternity photos and this is her last baby! I tried to guilt her, but no go, the best I could do was snap one myself. Isn't this bridge just gorgeous!!??


Sunday {Jen} who happens to live and teach in the area offered a private Hot Barre Class for a few of us! I've never done Barre much less hot Barre, let me tell you if was really hard! I'm like, swear I workout y'all, but you wouldn't know it cause all those tiny muscle were killing me. 


The Hot Yoga Therapy studio also has a really cool Salt Room which is cool air and himalayan salt, you stay in for 45 minutes and let it heal and rejuvenate you. 


They also have a float room, have you heard of this? You lay in this hot tub like thing and float for an hour in dead silence, she swears you won't drown and it's like a 3 hour massage, your muscles turn to jelly you are so relaxed. I'm totally finding one in Dallas to try!



My next trip will be in August to Madison, WI for the Crossfit games where I plan to meet more internet friends! 

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