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9.29.2011

The House of Smiths Vinyl Designs Shop

*** Sit down and grab a drink... this might take a while***
Alright, so I've started the first sentence of this post about 20 times. If you know me, then you KNOW that I'm never at a loss for words, but this post has me really going in circles! I think it's because I feel so connected to what I'm about to write, that anything that I start with... just sounds so minimal or "played-down" compared to everything that we've been through in the past few years.


Let's make a ridiculously long story just a little shorter by first off saying...
Blogging is freaking amazing. Blogging is hard. Blogging is my passion, hobby, and now... my job.
Recently I've taken insane amounts of time making sure that this "job" is legit. Crossing my "t's" and dotting my "i's" with tax forms, business registrations, new bank accounts, lawyers and more.
I'm tired.
Creative people are NOT meant to deal with the "running businesses" part of life.
(well, at least not THIS creative person)
I felt like my brain had been pumping some serious iron lately and I was ready for some rest.
Oh wait... I'm a blogger/Mom!... No time to rest! Must post, must finish projects, must answer emails, must attend blogging conferences, raise kids, then take pictures of said kids... volunteer at preschool, pay attention to my husband, plan a party, sew something, bake something, then go to the gym to work-off that "baked something"... 
You get the idea.

Am I complaining?... HECK NO, I love this life!
(and I'm not just saying that, to make this post sound fluffy or pretty)
Does it make me cry, stress out like a crazy person, eat bad things, give me heartburn and cause sleep deprivation?... You better believe it!

So on top of this crazy blogging life I was living, I was also running a full fledged vinyl decal business.
*siiiigh*
I love selling vinyl. Wait... scratch that. I love DESIGNING vinyl. I could sit in front of my computer all day just dreaming up ways to plot a favorite new saying, or cover a naked wall with some-kind of fabulous graphic decal. But alas, I couldn't do both the blog AND the vinyl business because they were each now their own full time jobs, and well... throw "being a Mom" in there, and I'm workin' a 120 hour week. And believe ME, nobody likes THIS Momma after a few weeks in a row like that! 
Ask my poor husband...

One night I crawled into bed at 3am, barely had a chance to get under the covers when I felt a loving rub on my back, and out of nowhere whipped around and yelled,
"NO WAY! Don't even THINK about it!" ...and with a shocked look on my unassuming guys face he whispered, "I just wanted to make sure you locked the front door."   ... My response?... "No! I didn't! If someone wanted to rob us tonight they would have done it by now! It's 3AM! It's WAY past robbing time! But YOU wouldn't know that, because you've been SLEEPING for the past 5 hours!"

Yes. It's true. Kinda funny now that I write it out...and maybe a bit of an over-share, but true. I was spiraling out of control, and my family was starting to take the grunt of it, so...I decided that I needed to focus on a few core things (aka: my family) and I took the Summer off from vinyl...
with the intentions of never looking back.

At first it was awesome. So much freedom all at once! No more 2am sessions of filling orders or "date's" with Cason and I siting on the couch surrounded by mountains of picked vinyl residue. I was loving it, but I knew I'd have to answer to my customers sooner or later, and I got nervous. The emails never stopped pouring in, and I just simply told everyone who wanted to know... the honest truth.
"I wasn't able to sell vinyl anymore, I just didn't have the time".

It was there that I was completely inspired, motivated, moved and reignited by Kim, Becki, Gussy, Tara, Becky, Susan and so many others. All amazingly successful bloggers AND business owners. Through a completely indirect (and some VERY direct) methods, these women quickly became my much needed business mentors, whether they knew it or not.
As Becki so eloquently put it..."Shelley! You are in the Vortex of DEATH! You can't be the production crew, shipping and receiving, PR team, and customer service person to a business that you ONLY want to DESIGN for! And you CAN'T quit 'cause NOBODY quits a business because it's TOO successful. So put on your big girl undies and figure it out!"
...
PS: That was verbatim. lol (oh my gosh, I adore her)

She was right! I loved bringing a piece of OUR home and design into OTHER peoples homes, too much to just "let this go" without a fight. So I did one of the hardest things that I've ever done.
I asked for help.

I rallied myself around people who knew the answers to questions that I did not. People who had the knowledge to take my business to the next level, and to the point where I didn't want to shoot myself every time a new order came in, but rejoice in the fact that people LOVED my products and wanted them in their homes too!
I was slowly doing something that has been one of my biggest challenges in life.
I was letting go of control.
Something that I knew I had to do in order for my business to succeed and run the way that I wanted it to. I was having to let someone ELSE build up my new website. Someone ELSE learn how to cut, pick, transfer and ship my products exactly like I wanted, and teach someone ELSE how to answer emails and make business related decisions without ME there, every step of the way. Not only was I giving up control, but I was having to trust people with something that had my name written ALL over it.
LITERALLY.

After TONS of hours of blood, sweat and tears (Okay... no blood, minimal sweat but LOTS of tears) I am finally SO incredibly nervous thrilled to introduce to you our brand NEW shop...

It's a happier, cleaner, prettier, easier and more convenient way to shop for all of the fun designs that you see in our home! The products that you know and love are still in our shop, along with some new items and upcoming awesome-ness that we have yet to post about :)
So just for the sake of having an end purpose for those of you who have made it to this point thus far, (ha!) head on over to check out our new shop and take a look around! Right now we're offering FREE shipping on any orders over $100.00! (just enter FREESHIP100 at checkout)

Again, we've tried to streamline our vinyl buying process by eliminating custom orders and any guess work or multiple emails on your part. Although we know that custom labels, sizes and designs are things that our customers may need from time to time, we also have realized our limits and know that for NOW, we are going to stick to selling only our pre-designed items that we've listed, so far.
But we've also taken note of a few things that our customers requested from us!
Better ease of site browsing, Paypal checkout capabilities and shipped package tracking. ALL things that you'll find we've done!...not to mention the upgrade in cute packaging. Wouldn't be a complete revamp without some House of Smiths colors thrown in, right?
:)

Now before I sign off, I have to give a huge... and I mean H.U.G.E shout out to the main man, now turned business partner that has made 99.9% of this new business venture possible...
My big brother, Mike.
Our best photo session ever?... Definitely Not.
Exactly how we act in real life?... Yes.

Mike has taught me more things about business, HTML, and accounting... well, then I ever wanted to know. But along with all of that, Mike has taught me how to (cautiously) take risks. One of my favorite Mike quotes has been: "Shelley! Nobody successful got that way by playing it safe, and nobody STAYED successful by doing all the work or making all the decisions themselves!"

SO TRUE! I guess it just took a big brother to point it out.

And the last thing that I want to end with (yes, this means I'm almost done) is a snip-it from a question I answered for a friend a few days back.

"If you think you have the potential to grow your blog or business to a point where it will take away from family time, then make sure that your spouse and even close extended family are on board, first! Know that it WILL require sacrifice from ALL parties, whether directly involved with the actual blogging/business process or not."

This has proved to be true for me over and over again, and I know that through the support and love of my family, readers and especially my sweet husband, that NONE of this blogging or business nonsense that I've gotten us into (ha!) would have been possible without all of them and YOU... cheering me on along the way.

Thank you SO much, I love every one of you and am SO excited to see what the future brings.

Happy Thursday!

65 comments:

  1. I'm headed over to the shop right now! I'm excited to see all the new projects that will be added all throughout your blog due to having more time to do what you do best! As a photographer and blogger relatively 'just starting' I relate to sooooo many things in your post (maybe part of that is evident by the fact that it's 3am and I'm here awake and commenting on your blog) I really admire all the things that you do, stand for, express and share! Keep up the great work Shelley!

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  2. Oh Girl! Good for you!!!!!
    xo,
    Shannon

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  3. OMG what a fabulous, wonderful, ridiculously funny post!!!! I love it :) I almost spit my coffee out as I read the back rub paragraph so thank you! You go girl with your business & just run with it!!! Live it & love it :)

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  4. Just checked out your shot site! Wow you have such cool stuff over there & the site is awesome! Very easy on the eye & nicely organized....good job brother (he created it right?) :)

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  5. What a great story! Glad to hear things are going well! Letting go is the hardest part.

    Will it throw everything off if I ask if you ship to Canada (Toronto)?

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  6. Congrats on reopening the store! Can't wait to check it out!!

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  7. Love love love your blog!!! Love how straight forward you are and how fun you make it. You inspire me :)

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  8. OMG! You ARE a human being!! Congratulations on your "new" venture! And on surviving asking for help and letting go of control....2 of the hardest things ever! I'll be heading over to check out the new store!

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  9. Congratulations on making such a huge decision and letting go of the control! I know this is sooooo hard, I struggle with this everyday. I love your blog and thank you for all of your hard work!!

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  10. Well congrats on all your hard work, it always pays off but it just takes time!

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  11. OK that made me laugh out loud - thankfully I'm alone at home. I get where you are coming from and good for you for pushing past the fear and getting help! I love your blog and your style - glad you are here.

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  12. Congrats on the new site! I wish you the best of luck. Family always comes first, you made the right decision.

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  13. Sometimes it's so hard to give up control, but you did and you will hopefully feel much free-er, happier and so will your sweet family. Be encouraged!!

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  14. I'm excited Shelley! And thanks for all of that honest advice! Love it!

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  15. GOOD FOR YOU!!! I love what I ordered from you in the beginning of the summer... I still need to send you a picture, but I'm happy you aren't gone forever with your awesome designs. Congrats on your new found sense of freedom!!

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  16. Great post! Love your blog and your projects. Happy that you are branching out and getting the help you need to make everything work. Here's to more adventure.

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  17. Congratulations! The shop looks beautiful & it's so easy to navigate!!

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  18. Yay!! So happy for you :) I love your little snap at your husband, we are all guilty of doing something similar at some point. Can't wait to see what other vinyl creations you come up with.

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  19. Best of luck to you on this adventure!

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  20. The shop looks AMAZING!
    I just hope you continue to have a fully working export department. :D

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  21. For some reason this brought tears to my eyes--happy, joyful tears. I am SO very excited for you! This sounds like the perfect answer to yours (and your customers') vinyl-related prayers. You are going to ROCK this thing!

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  22. I'm so proud of you, Shelley! I know you can figure it out and make it happen! Loved our midnight chat...

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  23. Congrats on the new shop! I just looked at it and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. You design such great stuff and I love your blog (and house). Get ready for mega-sales....I'm thinking "what a great place to start Christmas shopping" Good luck!

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  24. Wow, Shelley, those are amazing designs! I didn't even realize this was something you had been doing {I started reading your blog around the start of the summer...} I can see why it was taking so much of your time - but all your effort shows! You're a huge inspiration to me :)

    Have a lovely, relaxing day!!

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  25. I love all your posts and the way you write and describe everything! Your personality comes through so well! Good luck with all your new...ish things coming your way :)

    a dedicated houseofsmith blog reader :)

    -Ashley

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  26. Completely, Totally and Undeniably AWESOME!!! You go Shelley! :)

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  27. I just checked out your vinyl shop---so awesome---really. I love like everything in it.

    You are brave to do everything. How lucky for you to have such a great family.
    Best Wishes.
    liZ

    PS: I HATE the legal part of blogging and business as well--which reminds me my business license just expired and I have to renew it.

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  28. Seriously...a beautiful post about doing it all (I still don't know how you do it) and what a BEAUTIFUL new shop!!! I will have to have an allowance to shop there!!! Love all that you do!
    Amanda

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  29. CONGRATULATIONS! All so exciting! Headed over to take a look at the new shop now!

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  30. Awwww...You're AWESOME! Good for you! Family is important and the BEST all wrapped into one! I've only been blogging since March and it is hard "behind the scenes" work. You are AMAZING!
    I'm off to check out your shop.
    Have a great day!
    Kirsten

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  31. Congratulations on your HUGE decision! I wish you the best. It is SO hard to give up control, but I KNOW you will be happier and your family will be, too. :) Thank you for blogging and sharing your amazing ideas, talents, and life with us!

    Love you TONS!!!
    Lisa
    wilson6ohana.blogspot.com

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  32. Yay! Congrats!! I need to follow your lead and let go of a little to be able to keep doing what I love without going crazy. Although crazy with you could be really fun!!
    ♥ april

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  33. Shelley, I have never met you, but I feel like I know you! I love reading your blog and how open, honest and hilarious you are!

    I am in kind of the same boat you are. My husband and I both work full time and own a metal home decor business that we sell through boutiques and Swiss Days. It is CRAZY trying to keep up with life, orders, shows, work, and being a good mother and wife on top of that.

    I think it's fantastic that you are getting help! I defiantly know that feeling of dread when orders come in, when it should be an exciting thing!

    Good luck with everything!!

    Amy Bishop

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  34. Great post, Shelley! Exactly what I needed to hear. I'm constantly feeling like I've taken on two full time jobs. One, the furniture refinishing and one, the blog and there's not enough time in the day for it all, but it's so hard to find compromise. Good luck :)

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  35. Shelley,
    Can I just tell you that I cannot stop laughing right now. I can relate to you in so many ways. You are so amazing. I love all that you do. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I cannot wait to meet you in person! xoxo!

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  36. Congratulations! I am so excited for you (and your brother) :)!!!!

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  37. Congrats! That is one hot shop you have. Your post was wonderful and you are just too cute. If ever we met, I know I would adore you! Grats again and may you have great success!

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  38. K....now I need you to put all your wisdoms together and give me a 3AM chat. :) I am totally dealing with this EXACT sitch right now. You inspire me Shelley Smith. And I love you to pieces. And I KNOW you will be wildly successful....because....let's face it....you're YOU!

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  39. You're just amazing, Shelley! I don't know how you do it all - I'm single with no kids and just go to work every day and barely keep myself together! I've been wondering for weeks about the vinyl business part of H of S (because it's just super and the holidays are coming and I need to get busy already) but not wanting to ask because you said you were taking the summer off. The new site is great! Congratulations and good luck on the venture!

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  40. Good for you!!! :) I love the shop! Those mixer decals are brilliant!!! :)

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  41. soooo glad to hear this Shelley! We want you to be happy, healthy and with some sanity in your family and life but... darn.... we want your vinyl too! This sounds like an awesome approach to having it all, and I just placed my first order from the new site :-)

    Thanks so much

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  42. Wow! Great for you. The shop looks great. Congrats and lots of luck!

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  43. Congratulations on your newest revelation, learning to let go and on the re-opening of your shop! It is gorgeous and everyone can use some "House of Smiths" in their home!! Cheers to my idol of DIY!!

    xoxo
    Aileen

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  44. Hey, Shelly, I totally understand your post and am so glad that you've now been able to get to a new "happy place". Asking for help and letting go of control are two things that are also very hard for me to do. But I recently was diagnosed with an auto immune disease (since the Creative Estates conf in April when we chatted at the Mexican place & I was trying to figure out how to juggle things myself etc) and am having to do those very things ie "ask for help & let go of control" so I can get healthier. A phrase that has been sticking in my head for awhile now when I feel like I just can't get it all done is "The days are long but the years are short" esp when it comes to the time we spend with our kids and family. It puts it all in perspective for me when I remind myself of that and what my priorities really are. Thanks for the laugh out loud quote from Becki I can so hear her saying those very words. I wish I could have made it to the conference, maybe next time. oh and I finally found a color for my daughters room and its painted--but well, that's as far as I've gotten --oh well, at least she's only 7 so hopefully she's not moving out anytime soon, right? LOL Take care, I know everything is going to work out great! Trish (Atlanta, GA)

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  45. Congrats! You enlightened my eyes to a few things, and I feel I'll be a better shop owner/blogger because of it! Thank you. We really can't do it all, and what is it about the "handmade" world that has us mommies thinking it must come from OUR hands every single time! I've done the 3am bed crawl, and the 6am crawl, and the never make it to the bed at all haze of the next day! I've had support, but for some reason, I always end up standing over anyone who helps me package, because I'm not sure they'll do it exactly as I would...Hummmm! Thanks for the encouragement to let go! You, my amazing chicka, are an inspiration! Now....I'm off to SHOP!

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  46. all i have to say is family comes first and do what you love and don't be afraid to ask for help!
    i love the part about don't even think about it, when you see everyone doing it all you don't think they have real moments like that!! :)

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  47. I LOVE you! I'm ROOTING for you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help your business grow!
    -Love
    Kristine

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  48. I feel like your words are my words. I even read this back to my hubs and he said the same thing, that it sounded like something I would write. I have been in your very shoes, I am feeling like I am to the point where something has to give... I wish you could be my mentor now!! :)

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  49. So glad to have found you, I was looking for inspiration as I have just finished my first 2 blog posts. You give lots of hope for a fun/scary/rewarding/emotional journey ahead.

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  50. Congratulations!! You are such an inspiration!!! O am going to check out your shop now!! YAY!!!!!

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  51. Congratulation! Awesome post, love the photos of you and your brother! Heading over to the shop:)

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  52. I just looked at EVERYTHING in your shop and I've made a list! LOL

    Good luck with everything!

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  53. I love the new shop and wish you all the best of luck. You are so amazingly creative and awesome that everything you touch turns out good :)

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  54. Girl, I know we don't know each other, but you are so real! I love it! I feel like I have known u forever! Heck, I even have a big brother Mike too who inspires me daily! I was excited, sad, laughing outloud, inspired & motivated by your post today! Thanks for sharing the good bad & ugly of blogging and being a woman in business. As my blog has not developed as I would have liked in year one I am setting my goals high for year two! I had a rough year with my health now I'm better thank god onwards & upwards! It was you who gave lil old me some advice in my blog beginning to open a shop, sell what I make and love. I'm not there just yet but it will happen soon! Thanks for your inspiration! Let go of control (a little) and enjoy the ride! Carrie

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  55. congrats shelley!!! the new shop is DARLING! question, can i ask why you decided not to go through etsy?
    best of luck and WAY TO BE AMAZING! just when i wonder what more you can possibly do to your home, you pull something INCREDIBLE!
    YOU GO GIRL!!!

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  56. Thanks for keeping it real. It's good to know that big time bloggers, like yourself, go through some of the same struggles. Wish you much success on your new/old venture. You deserve it. Your work is great.

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  57. Shelley (and fam!)- Your work is awesome and your example is even more incredible!

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  58. The shop looks great. I love your awesome designs. I think it is great you are selling vinyl again.

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  59. Shelley,
    I am so excited for your new shop! Your dreams are becoming reality and I am so proud of you and the hard work you and Mike are doing. I love you and hope soon we can spend some time together and brainstorm about some new stuff! Love, Mom

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  60. You rock! Congrats on the new site! It looks very organized and professional :

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  61. I cannot believe I hadn't come by in so long that this came as a surprise!! I am so excited for you and your family to be so blessed with the opportunity and ability to handle this the way you get to now! You get to keep up what you love (that includes lovin on your family) and keep spreading your kick booty designs?! Sounds perfect! :) One of these days I'll hunker down and order something- goodness knows I'd love it! It's so exciting for me to read about your business/blog ventures and your crazy amount of support as my humble little blog slowly crawls it's way up to 100 followers! One day at a time :) You, rockstar, are quite the inspiration!! When I finally own a house, your blog will be my how-to lol
    Congrats again!!
    *Krystina
    www.cupahotchocolate.blogspot.com

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  62. Your shop is GORGEOUS!!!! So excited for you!

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