Four years ago I left the Navy when my eldest’s father suddenly died. I lived on the Island of Guam, at my highest paying position ever. When he died I had to make a lot of decisions that I wasn’t ready for. Especially choosing someone for my daughter to live with while I went out to sea, or I had to choose to leave the island. None of my family lived on Guam nor did I know anyone I trusted enough to take my child. So, I chose the latter of the two and was quickly forced to move off island and back to the United States.
I was sent back home to San Diego, and my pay was cut to 2/3 of what I was making. My fiancé was left back on the Island of Guam until his orders were up five months later. It was all very sudden and traumatic. So many life changes all at once, that were completely our of my control. When I got back to the states I was given the opportunity to leave the Navy or stay in. I again chose the latter. The idea of being separated from my daughter at this time was unbearable.
I aspired to opening a store front in San Diego carrying handmade items created by local mothers. After months of research and the return of my finance we decided it wasn’t the right time, or the right place for our family. We planned to marry and have another child, so online seemed like the better option for our family.
The summer of 2017 I rebranded, and officially became Salt Hippy. At the same time we moved to the Outer Banks in hopes of living a simpler and more fulfilling life. It was the best decision we’ve ever made for our family. Our life has slowed, and our hearts have filled with so much love as we try and embraced each moment with our beautiful daughters. We wanted our children to have both parents at home as much as possible. We wanted them to be able to ask us for last minute cupcakes for school, or enjoy extra curricular activities with us being present in their lives. We want to say “yes, I will be there for you” in all of the important moment as they grow up.
But when I was recently was asked to open a store front I was blind side with excitement. Literally for 24 hours I thought I was going to explode! I could picture the store; my driftwood dreamcatchers floating at the entrance window and the light dancing on the walls gleaming off shimmering crystals. I saw the happy customers participating in art classes, the smiles as customers reached for they’re new bag of Salt Hippy treasures. In that instant I totally forgot why I had moved to the Outer Banks in the first place.
I day dreamed about the magical store that would be Salt Hippy. There was even a moment where I thought a store front wasn’t going to work. Then, I opened an email that said, “Are you ready to give up? Everything you’ve done so far is the foundation for where you are going next Sophie.” REALLY??!! Ok, that was totally a sign!
As the day went on all the daily chores seemed more daunting. Who’s going to do my laundry and keep my house clean when I am not home? Who’s going to take my kids to school, their extra curricular activities, and doctors appointments? Sure, my husband will be there to help, but he works too with an unpredictable schedule.
I started to get sentimental as we baked cupcakes for the school, a goal that I had planned earlier in the school year. I’m definitely not the baking type, but I wanted to at least make the effort this year. I wondered, “Am I going to have time for this again?” Of course the next nine months getting the store ready would be pure chaos. But after the first initial year things would settle down and I would have my own shop. But at what price?
As I started to lean towards the idea of refusing the offer I was a little sad. Opening a store was something that has always been in the back of my mind. But the moments that surrounded my children seem so much more precious with the idea that this time may become less frequent. Instead our time would be filled with so much rushing around, jam packed schedules, completely the opposite of what we truly wanted. A store front isn’t a one in a life time deal, but the moments with my girls are. They are sacred and I want to be here for them, fully present.
I am not a fancy girl. I enjoy simple things, and sometimes going back to the city can be overwhelming now. But this is the life we chose. A life with our girls, a simple life by the sea that every day we can be surrounded with each other with less distractions.
Thanks so much for reading along.
Live simply, so you can really live.
Love Sophie & The Fam
– Salt Hippy
Photo Credit: all photos taken of my family are by Amanda Hedgepeth Photography
Last month was crazy to say the least! Between the kids getting sick, school starting, broken ac, unexpected auto repairs, and all the normal life stuff that seems to inconveniently pop up when you least expect it, I’m not sure how I managed to get anything accomplished. I’m excited to get rolling into the next month. Maybe this one will be less chaotic, probably not, but one can dream, right?
As I scrolled through my photos of the month I realized creating was minimal but there were a couple beauties that I have to share! Like this ammonite crystal heart dream catcher! Crystal hearts are my favorite to add in the center of cup shell dreamcatchers. The cup shells used for this style dreamcatcher were purchased from a shell shop in California before I knew the truth about how shells were commercially acquired, (inhumanly collected and dried under heat lamps). So, unfortunately, I will no longer be carrying this specific shell (fortunate for the other sea creatures living in the shell). I will try my hand at using local cockle shells that wash up on our coast next month as an alternative and see how they turn out.
Last month I also designed a new style dreamcatcher with a message in a bottle. They featured a tiny glass bottle holding quotes of inspiration suggested by my Salt Hippy Instagram family. The timing was quite perfect because at the same time I was lucky enough to meet the two sisters of Tribe of Daughters.
I had the chance to collaborate with them for this super cute “Sweet Dreams Surfer Girl Giveaway”. One lucky winner received their own copy of the book Queenie Wahine and a message in a bottle dream catcher featuring this quote from the book: “She walks to the water and sticks in her toes, she pauses and thinks “You can do this. Let’s go!” The sweet girls that won were ecstatic! Shoot, I was ecstatic watching them open their prizes on their shared video!
Lastly, I want to share a unique custom piece created this month. I will be the first one to admit I’m no jewelry artist, but when a client wants to do a custom with shells I’m all in! This magical necklace was requested for a mermaid costume, and I was totally delighted to oblige!
Over 60 shells, local and repurposed from a large personal collection recently gifted to my family, were drilled and hand tied onto white bamboo cording. Turquoise African recycled glass beads were added for a touch of color.
These glass beads from Ghana, Africa are my favorite to work with. To me they represent everything that I believe in: repurpose and reusing materials to create something new and beautiful with minimal impact to the environment. The beads are created in Africa by hand crushing old glass bottles to a fine powder. The powder is then poured into ceramic molds and heated at high temperatures until melted. Once melted they are left for hours to slowly cool. Lastly, each one is removed from the mold, then hand smooth in sand. The texture and feel is so much like sea glass and the colors are vibrant just like the story of how they are created. I can not express my love for these precious gems enough, I can only continue to share them with the world through my art.
Thanks so much for reading along for this month’s creative wrap up. I hope you enjoyed seeing all my favorites and learning a little about them.
Live simply, so you can really live.
Love Sophie & The Fam
– Salt Hippy