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Perfecting the FINGERPRINT

Perfecting the FINGERPRINT

The custom FINGERPRINT necklaces are quickly becoming a fan favorite.  Each one is so sweet and shows the personality of each child... I mean, no two are alike.  How cool and special are they.  I wanted to capture a couple of cuties in the process so I reached out to two people I knew wanted to get their little nuggets' fingerprints captured. 

First I contacted my friend Gray Benko.  I knew she wanted a slightly more delicate version of the traditional fingerprints I had done before.  Although, she deferred to me in the end for the perfect size, I decided to try to modify hers some to make them as thin and little as possible without losing any of the special quality.  I am BURSTING to see what Gray thinks of them.  They are so cute and her precious kiddos, Farris and Charlie are such characters and Gray incredibly lovely and an awesome mom.

The second person I wanted to send a test kit to was Marina Squerciati from Chicago PD. She had contacted us about a fingerprint necklace for her little girl.  Marina is such a beauty and so kind and her daughter is little, so we thought it was a perfect test client.  Her fingerprints turned out so cute and Marina sent some precious videos and pics of them capturing it with out kit.

Each kit comes with easy instructions for capturing each child's fingerprint.  The imprints don't have to be perfect.  That is often what makes them so special.  A couple of times one has looked nothing like the other it is paired with, and I have asked the parents if they want me to alter them to make the necklace more uniform.  It is typically indicative of the child's personality and they want to leave it just as it is... which I love.   These necklaces are so much fun, and getting them to clients makes me super happy.

Hope you all had a Happy Mother's Day!

xx Jane

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MAKING STRIDES

MAKING STRIDES

I am super excited to show you our new and improved shipping boxes.  I never thought I would be so excited about cardboard, but this cardboard makes my heart sing.  I am not sure I have gotten into it much here, but I am a big fan of the earth.  Crazy, I know, but I love her and all that she does for us.  I recycle and compost at home. I make my children use recyclable containers, even though they say that it embarrasses them at times that I re-use jars.  Ha!!  I felt like I was making the appropriate steps at home, but I wanted to make some changes at work as well.  We started using a casting company this year that uses all recycled gold, which was huge.  I also want to do my part with the shipping materials that go out of my studio each day.  As I began to research eco-friendly shipping materials, I found EcoEnclose.  They are a compostable, biodegradable, sustainable packaging  business.  Jackpot!  I went with my simple circle logo for the outside of the package.  I love the way it looks and love the shape and size of the box.  We have quite a bit of packaging, notecards and business cards that we will work on once our current stock runs out.  Baby steps?   Living close to the ocean has reaffirmed my desire to  do my little part to reduce waste, reuse, recycle, compost, and remain conscious of our impact on the earth.

 

 xx Jane


     

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    This is HOME - ART + ENTERTAINING

    This is HOME - ART + ENTERTAINING

    The Hubby and I love to entertain small groups, and our home is perfect for entertaining.  While our home is small, we have a great wrap around porch for an alfresco dinner and have enjoyed many dinners under the stars.  Our house was built in the 80's, but was built around these amazing doors from the 40's.  Most of the year, we can dine with the doors wide open.

    Celadon has some great tabletop items for entertaining.  I love how these vases, candles, and runner look with our teak table.

    I am definitely an art lover.  My mom, who is an attorney, always collected art in her office and home by Southern women artists, so I have been around beautiful art my whole life.  Living in Charleston, I know so many talented artists, including the four whom I share SLATE STUDIOS with -  Teil HenleyBlakely Little, Raven Roxanne, and Lulie Wallace.

    I have collected art over the years, buying it even when I didn't have the space for it. Hoarding paper works, and not framing them to save space while we lived in a little NYC apartment and our little DC brownstone.  Last year just before we moved I worked with Simply Framed to have more than 20 pieces framed.  They were such a help, as choosing frames on that many works at once was daunting.

    Entryway artwork consists of a few faves.  This Steve Keen piece was a gift from my dear cousin Hunter when I was in the hospital.  I thought it was such a kind and thoughtful gift.  Sally King Benedict's face is perfect beside it.

    This woman above the bench in our living room was a gift from my Uncle Robert, who is an artist and architect.  It was a special gift for my 30th birthday.  I love this grouping of inks - two of Sally King Benedict and one from my family's trip to Malaga, Spain a couple of years ago.  This little basket from Celadon is the perfect compliment to the color palette.

    When Tyler and I first started dating we took a trip to Amsterdam.  We rode bikes everywhere and had such a magical time in that incredible city.  Upon our return, I commissioned our friend Kate Long Stevenson to paint a city scene for him.  Beautiful flowers by Lily at Flowershop Charleston.

    I pick up pieces of art when I travel, as opposed to other trinkets.  The three abstracts here are by Rebecca Hawkins, the buyer at Celadon.  I picked up this little hippo under water scene on the street in SOHO when I was pregnant with my son.  This little manhattan map is a letter pressed piece that I bought just before we moved, since he was born in NYC.  I bought these little mixed media pieces in Lisbon on one of the best four day getaways the hubby and I have been on. These ladies from Cuba are among my favorite works from travel.

      

    These Sarah Boyts Yoder popsicles are perfect in my daughter's room, along with this letter P that I found at Scotts Antique Market.

    My son drew the animal pic on the top left and my hubby the bottom left.  Same age.  How cute is that??  When my mom and I lived in Coral Gables, Florida for 4 months when I was in 3rd grade, I took an art class at the Biltmore Hotel and this is my interpretation of it.

    Wade's room is also home to a Japanese flag that my dad got when he traveled there after Vietnam.  His Japanese friend later came to visit and told him that it was hung upside down and backward, but I still think it's incredibly special.  We have a framed letter pressed map from 42Pressed that the kiddos love in their little playroom.

    Celadon works with many local and regional artists to feature their work at special events. I have picked up several small pieces from their shows.

    Thank you again to Lindsey Shorter for the beautiful photos!!

    xo Jane

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    This Is Home - The Bedroom

    This Is Home - The Bedroom

    Our bedroom has never been a place that I have focused on in our home, but recently I have been craving a comfy bedroom set up. I heard that Celadon had these new linen and quilted bedding lines.  When I went to check them out, I fell in love with the linen duvet and shams.  They just make the bed so lush and comfy.  The linen is 100% stonewashed linen and is not only washable, but they get better and better with each wash.  I decided to mix the two lines, and do a Celadon signature quilt. I chose a hand stitched cotton for the spread. It's the perfect medium weight.  Since hubby and I prefer different sleeping temps, I can pull up the linen duvet to protect me from his arctic temps. I am so happy we mixed the collections and look forward to jumping in bed these days.

    I recently bought this incredible painting by Raven Roxanne.  Although I really had no place to hang it in my home or my studio, I knew I had to have it.  I brought it home, knowing that I didn't have the perfect space for it on my walls.  I loved looking at it so I had it in my bedroom to enjoy while I found a spot for it.  One day, I propped it up on my bedside table and BOOM!  Despite the fact that it was a tight fit in the small space with the slanted ceiling, I loved it, so there it went.

     To create a bit of balance on the other side of the bed, I hung my two Britt VanDeussen watercolor portraits of Wade and Pope.  I could not be happier with the way these two pieces turned out.  Britt is insanely talented, and has an incredibly unique style.  One of my favorites of her work is this painting of her daughter with a black eye.  She does amazing things with pattern and color.

    While I am talking about my favorite things, I cannot get enough of this MIRTH dress... and really anything and everything they do.  They are such cute girls, making beautiful dresses, caftans, etc.  Check them out!

    Bedside art + books make the perfect combo.  This little watercolor by WAY WAY ALLEN is one of my faves. She sells her work at Celadon special events from time to time as well.

    The room has a funky slanted roof and skylights, a step up and some other slightly odd details, that I have grown to love, but originally made getting a vision about how to make the space work a little more of a challenge. These rattan chairs, rug and pillows from Celadon updated this awkward space between our closet and our bedroom, creating a lovely little sitting area.

    xx Jane

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    This Is Home - Living

    This Is Home - Living

    We have finally gotten our little Sullivans Island spot in a place that I wanted to share it with you all in a short blog series.  My house is always a work in progress, so it's not perfect, but I love it so.  While some people like to decorate their homes top to bottom at once, I like to gather things over time.  I collect pieces that I love, so that the space looks like me, is functional and comfortable for my family.

    Lately, I have been overcome with a desire to simplify my life.  This last move was a bear!  The process made it clear to me that we had accumulated too much junk in our home before.  It was startling to see how much we had that we didn't need or want, and we simply didn't have space for it in our new island spot. In our new little home on Sullivans, I wanted to be more deliberate in making some decisions and transforming our house into a home.

    Our Celadon sectional from several years back had seen better days.  Lots of spills and little kiddos with sticky fingers on the sofa had left it looking a little worn.  Not only that, but the sofa never fit our space properly.  We bought it eyeballing the space and without consulting anyone, which is typically how we roll.   

     

    When it came time to find the sofa for our new home, I wanted it to be just right.  I wanted it to hold our whole family comfortably, to be beautiful AND to have some seriously stain resistant fabric for the aforementioned sticky fingers. Why do my children use their shirts, sofa, anything other than the napkin in front of them to wipe their hands??

    I love Celadon Home in Mount Pleasant, so that was the first place I thought of for my search.  I was matched with a design consultant, Sue Harris who was such a help in the process.   She came in our home, took pics of the space and we discussed what I had in mind as well as our family needs.  I showed her some sofas that I liked and together we were able to pick the perfect sectional for our family for our little living room.  After settling on this Robin Bruce sectional, we discussed fabrics.  I wanted something light and bright and STAIN RESISTANT.  I was thrilled to hear about CRYPTON to keep my little sticky people from turning our new centerpiece into a mess.  When the sofa arrived, I immediately noticed the difference between the scale of it and our previous sectional and I recognized how off we had been.  We added some beautiful pillows and voila. Hallelujah!  At long last, we have the perfect sofa for our space.  THANK YOU CELADON&SUE!!!!

    Celadon has an Upholstery Sale twice a year and it just so happen that it starts tomorrow for the month of September!!  It is the only time of year that they offer 20% off both in-stock & special order upholstered furniture.  The Special Order part is what really sweetens this deal.  Happy Shopping!

    These rattan chairs made even better with these new Celadon pillows. Love our Sarah Boyts Yoder works hanging in acrylic frames by Simply Framed in the kitchen.

    We added a few new items to our Celadon shelf from more than 10 years ago, throws on our ladder, and plants in baskets from Indonesia.  New pillows add a hint of color and texture to the neutral sofa.

       

    I had these open shelves built to make this wall more functional.  I mixed in some of my old faves with some new kitchen items from Celadon.  I also love all of Celadon's greenery and planting options - baskets, pots, vases, etc.

    These chairs I bought at the 72nd street flea market in NYC when we were living in a 5th floor walk up with zero space for any extra chairs.  My hubby really questioned my judgement when I insisted that we had to have them and then made him help me schlep them to the apt only to find 4 little spots around to leave them until we go to a home where we had a dining room table.  11 years later, they are our every day dinner chairs and I am so happy that I went with my gut and got them.  Paired with my grandparents old heart pine table, they are perfect and make me super happy.

     

    xx Jane

     

    Thank you for capturing our home in its best light, Lindsey Shorter!

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    Jane's Guide to Charleston

    Jane's Guide to Charleston

    I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am to be back in Charleston.  As we are coming upon a year, I am reflecting back on how awesome it is living here. Riding bikes with my kiddos to school every day, working in my amazing studio with young, talented creatives all around me, discovering new spots and revisiting old favorites.  This guide is long overdue. I love Charleston and feel lucky to be back in a spot with so many cool things going on.  I also get asked a ton for recommendations when people come to town, and I thought this would be a good place to shout out to my faves.

    | EAT |

    BREAKFAST

    THE DAILY – This is the perfect spot to grab a yummy breakfast taco and matcha latte or a kale salad for lunch.

    HARBINGER – Great for coffee and a pastry or quiche.  It is also salad heaven at lunchtime. This tiny little spot on upper king street has a selection of pre made salads.  I typically get the salad sampler.  They also have quiches, breads, and grab n go section of goodness.

    LUNCH

    167 RAW – This is a great spot to meet for a lunch date or to meet a friend who is in town.  It’s pretty tiny, and there is nowhere to wait except outside (in the heat if it’s summer, so be prepared).  I like to get there around 11:45 to snag a spot before the line builds up outside.  Your entire party has to be there to be seated as well.  I get the special salad every time.  It features whatever fresh seafood they have on top of a variety of fresh veggies and a yummy dressing du jour. The ceviche and crudo options are always fab, and the hubby love the "pastramied" fish sandwich.

    BASIC KITCHEN – Super yummy and healthy lunches.  It has a very California feel, and cuisine to match.

    BUTCHER & BEE- I love B&B for lunch, but supper is great too.  I had the most fun ladies dinner there recently.  So many good options in the mezze section to share (or not)– the grilled radishes with harissa honey and tahini are divine as are the roasted carrots with yogurt and salsa verde.  I also love the beet burger and kale salad. The pan seared fish with pea & fennel puree, snap peas, herb pistou, crispy leeks for dinner.  They have delish cocktails as well.

    GOAT SHEEP COW NORTH – I finally made my way to this cute little spot that I have been dying to try for a ladies lunch recently. It was Bastille Day and super festive in there.  The rose was flowing and the food was delish!  I want to go back again soon.

    HURIYALI – This uber healthy little nook on Huger street is a fave because my kiddos love their smoothies. We sit in the back patio and get something really healthy and they can play outside.   They have THE most amazing Coconut water that they have not had in forever.  I am really hoping they bring it back, because it was the best thing I have ever tasted.

    LEWIS’ – If you are up for a fairly fast, and deliciously heavier lunch, this is your spot.  The brisket is to die for!!  I get the lean cut + collards (not greasy and pork flavored like many bbq joints) + coleslaw which is vinegar based and light + a pile of pickles.  The Turkey is also yum, and my hubs likes the country fried chicken with gravy, for those of you wanting to REALLY overdo it.

    PARK CAFE – This great neighborhood spot is super cozy tucked into our old neighborhood, Hampton Park.

    XIAO BAO BISCUIT – This cool spot is in an old gas station turned hip “Asian soul food” spot.  The cabbage pancake is ridonkulously delish.  It’s a great place to share a few little dishes. 

    | DINNER |

    This summer the hubby and I have been doing a standing date night once a week which has been a fun way to jump back into the Charleston Restaurant scene.

    CHEZ NOUS – This spot is so so good.  You may want to check their Instagram to find out if what is on the daily menu is up your alley, but it is rare that it’s not.

    CHUBBY FISH – I had heard of this brand new spot from a friend and hubby and I hit it up within the first week of opening.  We sat at the bar and ordered several dishes and got to watch the chefs prepare each one.  The Octopus was delish with a yummy parsley, fennel, hot pepper salad.  The Barbequed Shrimp over rice was spicy and super flavorful.  Even the simple Squash Salad with sunflower seeds and parmesan was simple and delish.  It’s on the corner of Coming  and Bogard streets which host other cute spots like MINI BAR and Tratorria Lucca.

    FIG – The bar is definitely tops for date night.  Their recent renovation has made the bar area so cozy and the food cannot be beat.

    INDACO – This rustic Italian spot is great for bigger groups.  They have plates that can be shared as well as wood fired pizzas.

    KWEI FEI – I love this Szechuan pop up restaurant inside The Daily, open Friday and Saturday nights.  You will find David Schuttenberg cooking up a storm and his lovely wife Tina greeting you at the counter to order.  We love to sit at the bar and watch Dave work his magic.  Learn more about Dave and how he got where he is now on his episode of EFFINBRADIO

    LEON’S – This is an all time fave spot for groups or a date.  Siam Salad and the Clam lettuce wraps are at the top of my list, but you can't go wrong with the fried chicken sandwich if you are looking for a more robust meal.

    ORDINARY – I love Mike Lata’s latest seafood spot.  The fish specials have been amazing, as well as the crudo and the oyster sliders.  If you are with a group, the seafood tower is also a good way to go.

    PURLIEU – This new spot opened by the Cru Catering group is fun for smaller groups or a date.  I recently had the best dinner with a group of dear friends.  The food was delicious and the spot was super cozy.

    STELLA’S – This is a great family owned Greek restaurant.  Be ready to be immersed in Greek culture – the music, the décor and the FOOD!  So yummy and the menu is extensive.

    TU – This is the new spot by the owners of XBB.  It is very unusual combinations of foods that work really well together.  Grab an adventurous eater friend and have fun!

    | STILL WANTING TO TRY |

    BIN 152 – This wine bar that has been open for years, but I have yet to make it in there.

    COCKTAILS

    BELMONT – Hand crafted cocktails made by dapper looking guys. I love the big blocks of ice.

    GRAFT – Amazing wines + the team of Femi and Miles

    PANCITO y LEFTYS – Great tequila drinks on tap and a nice big bar to order an app

    | STAY |

    ZERO GEORGE – This boutique hotel gem is  nestled in several old Charleston houses/buildings.  It is a great location steps from great shopping, many historic sites and restaurants.  They have bikes you can borrow to get around the city, which is a great way to check out the peninsula without dealing with parking and car traffic.  The rooms are beautiful and they have a lovely patio for wine + cheese board at happy hour.  This is a great spot for a weekend getaway with your love or even a girls weekend.

    THE DEWBERRY – This spot is located in the old federal building on Meeting Street.  I love the vintage modern feel.  The rooms are amazing as is the customer service and bar area.  This is a great place to stay with a group of couples, because they have plenty of rooms, and the lobby offers a great space to hang.  The spa is also ridiculous, whether you are staying at the Dewberry or a local.  Ask for Kaleigh!

    | DYING TO TRY |

    86 CANNON STREET- This is a cute newer, boutique hotel in the Cannonborough Street shopping district.

    SPECTATOR – I love the bar at this hotel.  Can’t wait to stay there sometime.

    | SHOP |

    AILLEA – New shop for all of your non-toxic beauty needs.  Halleluija!

    FLOWERSHOP CHARLESTON – Whether you need a bundle, a vase of flowers, or a flower crown, this little spot packs quite a punch. So many gorgeous flowers by Lily and her crew.

    HAMPDEN CLOTHING – So many great designers in one spot.  Not to be missed +  its shoe counterpart, James is just next door.

    INDIGO AND COTTON – Great menswear shop in Cannonborough

    INDIGO MARKET – This is a great home furnishings and gifts store on upper East Bay Street.  Lots of rattan and refurbished vintage pieces.

    MAC & MURPHY – Great stationery and gift shop to find the perfect card for a friend or your sweetie.

    MONARCH WINES – This cute wine shop is located beside the Harbinger on upper king street.  Justin is there to help you pick the perfect bottle of wine!  More from Justin on this episode of EFFINBRADIO

    SUGAR BAKESHOP – You do not want to miss these sweet treats if you are out and about.  As you wander around Cannonborough, stop in for a ginger molasses cookie or an almond cupcake with a sugared blueberry on top.

    | MUSIC |

    The GAILLARD – Recently renovated, this iconic Charleston spot hosts many types of events including dance, music, and comedy.

    MUSIC FARM  - This standing room only intimate venue hosts all genres of music from up and coming artists to old favorites.

    CHARLESTON MUSIC HALL - This is a seated venue that hosts comedians (Second City Tour coming in September), film series, concerts and more.

    | EXTRAS |

    FAVE LOCAL PODCAST – EffinBradio

    | KIDDOS |

    BEACH

    CHARLESTON AQUARIUM

    CHILDRENS MUSEUM

    THE ALLEY – This is a family friendly bowling alley and restaurant…. Until the evening when it cranks up more as a bar.

    HOMETEAM – Great, casual  food for adults and kiddos and room for them to roam around

    WATERFRONT + HAZEL PARKER PARKS

    A post about areas surrounding the Peninsula coming soon.

    xx Jane

     

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    Sullivans Island Al Fresco Entertaining

    Sullivans Island Al Fresco Entertaining

    I am so incredibly thankful for all of the amazing women I have come in contact with in life and in business.  As I was talking with my friends, Lauren Lail and Way Way Allen about how many incredible ladies we have worked with over the years, we decided that it would be fun to host a dinner party to say thank you for the support over the years.

    Lauren is a dear friend of mine and Way Way and I are cousins.  We have worked together on many projects and parties and in different spaces over the years.  Lauren and I had three pop-up-shops on King Street in Charleston, where Way Way’s art was featured.  We’ve also shared studio spaces.

    We, all three, love to entertain, so this dinner was a great excuse for us to work together and have some fun planning.  We were discussing ladies who have helped guide and support us over the years and decided host a dinner at my family’s house on Sullivans Island to give thanks to some of the talented people who have helped us get where we are today.  Having the dinner outside under the trees was the perfect back drop for a low key, al fresco dinner.

     

    We invited photographers, graphic designers, PR professionals, store owners and other creative partners that we have collaborated with over the years.

    I always like to start with a signature cocktail.  We went with a custom cocktail of Hat Trick Gin by local High Wire Distillery, a local botanical gin with fresh grapefruit juice and soda, garnished with rosemary and grapefruit slice.  Dinner was paired with some of our favorite wines and Prosecco with dessert.

    We wanted a cool, casual coastal set up for the al fresco dinner under the trees.  We worked with OOH Events and pulled farm tables, dishes in gray/blue hues, and antiqued flatware.

    We dressed the table with a little treat from the three of us. Way Way and Lauren worked together on a sarong/beach wrap/throw/shawl.  The sarong was screen printed and served as a bit of color on the table.  Each was hand embroidered with the first initial of each guest’s name to note their seat. I gifted each guest a pair of JPJ Mini Sapphire Baguette Studs, in color with the blues on the table.

    Way Way is a master with flowers.  She pulled greenery and hydrangeas from her yard and mixed them with ranunculus, white roses, and eucalyptus.

    The space lent itself to the party perfectly.  We wanted to be under the trees to create an indoor space outdoors.  Hanging lights in the trees coupled with moon light made for the perfect backdrop.

    We love cooking but preparing dinner for 20 people was admittedly a bit daunting. We had heard great things about Salthouse Catering and wanted to try them out.  The recommendation proved spot on.  They were great to work with and their menu featured local sourcing when possible. It felt more like us to not only be involved in planning the family style menu, but to also prep and serve in our own dishes.  The dinner being in the yard of the beach house gave it a casual, cool feel that fit the family style serving.

     We started with local farmer's market boards with local seasonal vegetables and fruit.  We kept the dinner menu simple with some of our favorites, like Mustard Roasted Cauliflower, Local Bean Salad, Sorghum Glazed Chicken, and fresh Garlic Shrimp. Toasted Coconut was sprinkled on Chocolate Sorbet for dessert, and we toasted and thanked our guests again with Prosecco.  The food was delicious!

    We were sure to include our spring/summer dinner party essentials:  Perfect cocktail, delicious food, and amazing company.  All boxes were checked.

    It only took about a month to plan and execute.  We worked with OOH Events on all of the rentals.  They have an incredible warehouse in North Charleston with everything imaginable.  We chose tables, rugs, chairs, glasses, flatware, plates, and table cloths that suited the scene. Once we had a clear vision of the setup and the menu, we got the invites in the mail.  We made a call to land the famous, Calvin Taylor and we were good to go until the day of the dinner.

     There had been a 3 day downpour and we debated rescheduling, but hours before the dinner the cloud parted and it was the perfect evening.  Besides waiting on the mess of a storm the days leading up to the dinner, everything felt quite easy.

    We went with live music for the dinner.  Calvin Taylor is a local musician, who is an absolute character and talent.  He began with some sitting Otis Redding  and ended with Journey.

    Thank you for being in our lives, you group of kick arse ladies!

    Special thank you's to

    OOH EVENTS

    SALTHOUSE CATERING

    LINDSAY HARRIS SHORTER PHOTOGRAPHY

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    This is 40 - Getting Real

    This is 40 - Getting Real

    Well, here we are at the end of this little journey.  I thought I should wrap up this series up by saying, THANK YOU x 1000 for reading, for your sweet comments, and for your kind words.  I am in no way a beauty or health or fitness or any kind of blogger, but it has been fun to share my little successes and finds with you. I hope that I have made this milestone feel a little less "over the hill" and more climbing to the top.  ha!

    In summary:  I feel great.  I am truly happy.  I am beyond thankful for where I stand today.

    Because I think it's important to hear truth with all of the beautiful images and hyper positive attitudes we see on social media, I would feel unreal if I weren't honest.  Of course everything isn't always perfect.  Midway through this blog series I had an MRI which showed that my brain cavity, which is already enlarged and has a lot more fluid than normal, showed increase fluid.  Since I am not having extreme headaches, my surgeon suggested that we continue to monitor it closely. If I were to have bad headaches or any other symptoms of the pressure, he would suggest having surgery to have a permanent shunt put in my brain to drain the fluid and relieve pressure.  The fluid has been increasing gradually over time, which is not good, but without symptoms there is not much to do but watch and wait.  I always think, when I go into an appointment, that with all of my exercising and eating well and not using toxins, that they will let me know that it has not increased or even better that it has decreased.  This was not the case.  It was the first time my overly cool as a cucumber doctor has ever seemed concerned.

    Of course this was a gut buster when I am in the middle of talking about how amazing I feel.  I wanted to quit writing the series, feeling a little bit fake for claiming all was so great,  when in reality I was terrified of having another brain surgery.  It's not a terrible surgery.   But, any surgery into your brain has risks, or they would be doing it right now as a precaution.

    As the days went on, the anxiety about it subsided and I realized that the scan cannot determine how I feel.  Only I know how I feel and I can't live in a state of fear and anxiety.  I do feel great!!  Besides letting Tyler know if I have headaches, so he can monitor them, all is as well as it ever could be.  I am hoping the fluid in the cavity doesn't continue to increase... or that it goes down.  The do-er in me wants to eat better and workout harder and do whatever I can to make the fluid decrease, but this is a situation that I cannot control.  There is nothing I can do to fix it, so I will ride this out and do my darndest to let go.

    I am one lucky lady to have an amazing, super handsome, husband by my side; two precious, strong willed children; supportive parents and extended family; to have had my own business for 17 years; to be back in a city that I adore and gives me life.  I have no complaints.  All days are not without worries, but they are fewer and farther between.  I can't ask more than that considering where I was 5 years ago.

    xx jane

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    This is 39

    This is 39

    Although I have been advised by several ladies not to let my age be known, I am here to tell you that I don't feel so awful about it.  Do I wish that my skin was tighter and that I didn't have a few (ha!) gray hairs? Heck, YES!  Do I wish that I didn't have to watch what I eat? of Course. But the truth is that I feel pretty amazing.  This may sound incredibly vain, but I actually think I look ok as well.  I FEEL 27 on most days.  Considering where I was a  4.5 years ago, this is pretty amazing.

    I feel like I graduated from college not too long ago, and in general I might even feel better than I did at that point in my life.  On top of being moderately insecure and not even realizing how good I probably looked, I didn't treat myself well.  I ate processed foods, I stayed up way too late (which I do still love to do on occasion), drank too much, and was generally clueless as to what I put on and inside my body.   And why would I have been more aware?  I was footloose and fancy free.  Not a care in the world.

    After my health issues, and realizing that they were a result of outside factors and not hereditary, I knew I wanted to make some major changes.  At first I was a little obsessive, which led to a very uptight me.  I have since relaxed a bit, and my stress has lowered, which is great for anyone.

    All of this blabbing is to say that I have decided to start a mini blog series on some of my favorite tips to looking and feeling young.  So, stay tuned... I'll be spreading my very limited knowledge, and hopefully connecting you with some people and products that might make you look, or at least feel life your best self!

     

    xx jane

     

    ps.  I loved finding out what celebs share my birth year.   There we are.  That's (almost) 40.

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    One Year Ago Today

    One Year Ago Today

    One year ago today was a beautiful crisp, sunny day.  I packed up the car to head to a show at one of my favorite boutiques, Van Jean, to meet up with the Novel girls for a joint trunk show.  I had my 5 month old daughter in tow.  My mom was meeting me at the show to keep my daughter. We were staying in a hotel near Van Jean that night and headed to Charleston the following day for another show at Novel.

    As I left town, I kept pulling over and emailing Look Linger Love who was having a Sally Benedict Read sale on her website.   I am a HUGE fan of Sally’s work, but didn’t want to email and drive with my baby girl in the car, so I must have looked insane pulling over every 2 seconds trying to make sure I got a painting!  I was laughing and wishing Chassity and Sally could see my dedication.

    Anyway, I arrived at Van Jean and dropped my sweet girl with my mom, met up with the Novel girls, and set up for the trunk show.  Like I said, it was a BEAUTIFUL day and we were having a great time catching up with all the cute ladies at Van Jean and Jackie from Leap Frog.  I got a coffee for a little extra afternoon jolt, found a new pair of jeans to wear that day, and lots of cute fun people started coming to the show.

    After a while I started getting a headache.  This was not unfamiliar, as I had gotten lots of headaches over the past 5 months, most of which I attributed to being dehydrated from breast feeding.  However, this headache did not subside.  Within an hour, it was unbearable.  I was lying on the floor in Melissa’s office to avoid having to talk to anyone.  I had never felt pain like this.  Finally after enough suffering, I had to leave the show to go to the hotel.  When I arrived there, my mom didn’t know what to do. She is not very good with illness, and until that day didn’t believe in headaches.  She is one of the lucky ones who only gets sick once in a blue moon, eats candy bars for lunch a few days a week, and is skinny, gorgeous and healthy!  She called my dad to drive up from Newberry (1hour away) to take me to the emergency room.  I spoke with my husband in the meantime who was adamant that I got to the ER.  I brushed it off, since he is a bit more of a hypochondriac than I am (obviously I inherited some of my mom’s adversity to medicine).  When I spoke with my assistant to tell her she would need to go to Charleston the next day to do the show for me, that’s when I realized how bad I sounded.  She seemed alarmed by the way I was talking and insisted that I go to the ER.

    I was not fighting it, but had never been to the ER before and didn’t know what kind of pain warranted going. I was sure I would feel better as soon as I arrived and would have wasted my parents’ time and energy for nothing.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  I got to the ER with my dad.  They took my vitals and it’s lights out after that.  Let’s just say that it was a rough night.  I cannot imagine what my dad was thinking and feeling.  I have yet to ask him any details, as I don’t want to make him relive it.  All I know is that I ended up having cardiac failure (called a cardio myopathy) and a mass in my brain.  The heart condition was likely caused by the stress on my body from the tumor, but I will be on heart meds for the rest of my life as it stands now.

    I spent 4 days at the hospital in Columbia (where my sister in law happened to work, so we were cared for and treated very well by all of the staff there). I was intubated for the first 3 days, which is an awful breathing tube down my throat and a frame around my head to keep me from moving. I remember waking up and HATING that!  It hurt and I couldn’t move.  I had no idea what had happened or what was going on.  I was able to scribble a note to ask my husband what the hell was going on and to tell him that I did not want my children to see me like I was.  I just found out from my cousins that I went from looking like a healthy 35 year old (well, maybe a little younger J) to looking like a 95 year old in a matter of a couple of days.  I am glad no one let my babies in to see me.  Although they wouldn’t have been aware since they were 2 years old and 6 months, I am glad to know they didn’t have to see their mom that way.

    On the 5th day, I was stable enough and was then airlifted to MUSC.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am terrified of flying.  I do it all the time, but the thought of flying on that dinky helicopter would have given me a heart attack had I not been heavily medicated.  I wasn’t even scared.  I looked out the window and enjoyed the ride.  Maybe it was the first time my body wasn’t struggling, but it was actually quite relaxing.

    I arrive at MUSC and was immediately in amazing hands.  I just knew it.  I had the most wonderful nurses (two of which were old friends) and doctors. I still didn’t know what was going on exactly.  From what people told me, I was stable enough to have an MRI and find that I had a pineal region tumor.  Surgery was scheduled for December 20th… just one day after my 35th birthday.  Not exactly the celebration I imagined.

    I didn’t understand that I had a brain tumor until a couple of days after surgery.  (In fact my memory is just now getting back to normal.)  My husband said that after the surgery they rolled me out on the gurney.  I had a serious look on my face.  When he asked me what was wrong, I said, “I am just nervous about the surgery.”

    The next 6 days I spent getting some strength back. I had to meet certain goals to get moved out of the ICU and then to get to go home.  I was waken up every hour on the hour for two weeks and asked questions like, Who is the president? What year is it?

    Many times I got them wrong and they kept asking questions until I was able to answer an appropriate number of them correctly.  I also had to be able to walk down the hall and back, which doesn’t sound like much for someone who was had been doing bootcamp 3 days a week at 5:15am until the day I went to the hospital, but it was a challenge.  It was difficult and exhausting and maddening.  To top it off, my right eye had gone completely off the radar during the trauma, so my vision was no bueno and thus my balance thrown off.

    In the meantime, my cousin, Way Way and her amazing husband Robertson decorated a tree and bought presents for our children and tried to keep the Christmas spirit alive at my parent’s beach house on Sullivan’s Island.  I spent Christmas in the hospital, but was so thankful to see my babies, who seemed completely clueless as to where they were or why I was there with the tubes and needles and bruised arms from IV’s.  on December 26th, I was released from the hospital.  I spent another week at Sullivan’s Island recuperating and getting my strength back.  Rang in the New Year with family and close friends.  Actually I went to bed at 9:30, because I was beyond exhausted.

    We returned home the following week and I spent about 2 weeks in bed full time and then slowly began going back to work and life.  I was left with double vision from nerve damage, a half shaved head from emergency surgery to put a shunt in my head the night I got to the hospital, and very little energy.  I would say considering where I had been less than a month before, things were looking pretty good.

    My mom moved in to a friend’s garage apartment around the corner for a month, to drive me and help with the children since I wasn’t allowed to pick them up until I got clearance from my cardiologist.  After a month of dinners being delivered by the unbelievable people in Spartanburg, and mom helping me I felt like I was slowly but surely getting back to normal.

    Every day this year I have felt a little better than the one before it.  Every day this year I have tried to focus on being thankful for every little smile from my children, every goal accomplished, every hug from my saint of a husband gives me.  I am not sure if they removed a part of my brain that worries or focuses on silly things, or if I have such a grand perspective now, but I am thankful for it. I am thankful to be here today and to have had the AMAZING support of all of my friends, and my incredible family, and some strangers.  I would not have made it through this year without each of you. I know I owe lots of people thank you notes, and I will get to them one day.    Sometimes it is difficult to put into words that people collectively saved my life and got me back to normal (or at least the new normal).

    My hair has grown out enough that it blends in (somewhat), and my energy is building up.  The double vision did not repair on its own, as doctors expected.  And thus my sweet mom has been driving an hour every day to pick up the kiddos from school and me from work and to help me with the end of the day/nighttime routine.  Like she says, “If you had asked me if I wanted to drive my daughter and her two children around every day for the next year, I would have said, no way.  But, it has been such an amazing time, and I don’t think I would have known my grandchildren this well had I not.”  I will be able to have surgery to fix that early in 2014.  Wish me luck. I haven’t been driving for a year!!!!   My hubby thinks I am going to pick up an all night delivery or trucker job when I get my vision back.  Ha! I doubt it, but I will be excited to drive myself to the store, or run errands, or hit the black top to visit friends!

    This year has been very special in an odd way.  Our little family riding to work/school together each day; my hubby stepping up in a major way to make our new life manageable; and my mom spending every week day with us.  These are things I will miss and think of fondly.

    But, I am ready!  BRING ON THE NEXT CHAPTER!  This one is closing.

    Please note there is so much more to the hospital story and my family and freinds rallying around me!  I appreciate every moment that my family spent with me at the hospital and I will never find the words to express thanks!  Love you all beyond words Will and Erin Pope, Mom and Dad, Margaret and John Wanning, Molly and Gretchen and Frances Wanning, Way Way and Roberston Allen, Aunt Jane and Mike Eubanks, Dele and Scott Latell, The Kennedys, The Popes, Carter Johnston, Meredith Corby, all of my dear friends … and TYLER COOPER!!!  I would not be around if it weren’t for every single one of you!

    XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO JPC

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