Why I said No to Opening a Store Front | Simple Life

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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

Words to My Younger Self | Living With PMDD

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A few months ago I began writing an article to submit to the PMDD Warrior Blog. The website collects guest blog posts from women all over the world suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It took me an entire month to complete the article because I cried every single time I tried to add to it. I finally got to the point where I needed to finish it. The words just keep floating around in my head. I wanted to share this deep part of my past with other women suffering from PMDD. The blog post was shared on the PMDD Warrior Blog a few weeks ago, however I have been hesitant to share it on my own blog. The idea of sharing it here makes me feel exposed. On the PMDD Warrior blog I know who will read it, women like me. On my own blog I am exposed to others who don’t know what it is or may not understand PMDD. I’m sharing a moment of my past where I was in so much pain I wanted to die. I can still feel that hollow space in  my chest when I think about those days.

Another reason I find it so hard to share about my experience with PMDD is that I don’t feel it has anything to do with my business. So when I share about it on social media it seems so out of place. But PMDD consumes my life. It is the reason why I eat what I eat, exercise to ease my anxiety, need constant naps, which I have to schedule around my work. Wether I want to share or not, PMDD is part of every aspect in my life. I hope with sharing that in some way I can help another person understand that they are not alone in this struggle, just like those other woman who shared with me a year ago, helping me begin on my path to healing.

So grab a tissue, my first PMDD blog post is going to be an emotional one. Below is the original blog post written for the PMDD Warrior Blog or you can see it here on their site.

She is You, She is Me

PMDD, another acronym, another diagnosis, another confusing list of symptoms to describe to another doctor who has no clue what’s wrong with you…

“If only I knew what I know now,” isn’t that what we often tell ourselves? Unfortunately, the knowledge I know now can’t help my younger-self, but maybe it can help you. Help you understand that you aren’t alone in the way you feel mentally or physically. Maybe it’ll help me heal from all the pain that still sits hidden inside of me from all my years of struggling with PMDD.

There are so many things I wish I could tell my younger self, but the thing that stands out most in my mind are the memories of me as a young teenager crying in my room every month. I can remember one time looking at a calendar and thinking “This happened to me last month.” I wish I could call out to you. “Yes! You are right!” But I forgot, because that’s what PMDD does to you. Week to week you’re almost a different person. The way your hormones change your brain and your emotions. So much is forgotten and replaced with the most negative and untrue perspective of your surroundings during these “hell weeks.”

If only I could hold you and just tell you you’re not alone. Every month when you sat in the darkness of my room crying with that empty feeling aching in your heart, I’d tell you that it’s normal to feel that way, because your body is different. The sad poems. The feelings of rejection cutting just a little bit deeper on those dark days. The need for isolation. The looming anxiety, feeling like you have multiple personalities. It’s all part of one complex health problem. All exasperated by a birth control dose too high for your body, an ultimatum given to you by your boyfriend’s mother, left undiscussed with your parents. These things are not you, nor are they the life you must continue. You can choose to shed it all and heal your heavy heart.

 

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I would whisper to you that your home, though it looks normal and clean contains chemicals and products that will prevent your endocrine system from functioning properly. Every product you are using on your body will seep in causing more imbalances. Tampons, shampoos, makeup, lotion, hand soap, toothpaste, deodorant, all contain chemicals that we don’t even consider to be harmful. The dairy, sugar, caffeine, water in plastic cups, and other processed foods you are consuming are another huge part of the problem in your body intensifying PMDD symptoms.

Everything you have learned in these umpteen years must be unlearned. You must listen to your body carefully. It is the key that will tell you that something is wrong. Don’t worry if they think you’re crazy because you can only drink coffee two weeks of the month. Fill your life up with nature inside and out because it will heal you.

One thing you taught me in those dark lonely days was to keep pushing forward and never give up. If you, my teenage self, were able to live through the complete heartbreak each month, plus gut-wrenching cramps that knocked me off my feet, then I, as a woman, can do so much more.

Not everything I would say to you would be a warning. I would pick you up in my lap and tell you “Thank you for fighting and never giving into the feelings that swallowed you up. Your strength gave me a beautiful life.” Just to hold you so you could collapse in my arms, take away just one cycle so you could rest your mind, body, and heart. I wish I could hug you and tell you I’m sorry for all the sadness. I’m sorry you’re alone writing sad poems, crying in bed because you feel ugly, inadequate because your memory is erratic and it feels like the world hates you. But one day all this suffering will help others find their way out of the same darkness. You are a light, shine it, and you will find your way out of this darkness too.

 

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Thanks so much for reading my first PMDD blog post. I hope that this will help at least one person understand that YOU ARE NOT ALONE in the way you feel. There are so any people out there that suffer, even if its not from PMDD. Knowing you are not alone can really make a difference, which can give you that hope to keep pushing forward.

Live simply, so you can really live.

Love Sophie & The Fam

– Salt Hippy

Mermaid Dreams | Monthly Wrap Up

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.

amazonite crystal shell dream catcher

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.

Queenie Wahine message in a bottle dreamcatcher

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.

mermaid seashell necklace haolloween costume

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

 

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Messages of Inspiration | Monthly Wrap Up

Each month I come to this place to share my favorite creations with you. When I think back of what I’ve accomplished this month I seem to forget so much. As I scroll through the photos captured of my favorite creations I realize that time has a funny way of erasing so many memories. Memories of late nights, memories of all the lovely beach finds slipped into my sandy pockets, and even the feelings when my soul was hit with a burst of inspiration.

Luckily going through these photos bring them all back. So much has happened this month in a blink of an eye. Like my first class! I was so nervous, and I think everyone else was too. But in the end we all enjoyed ourselves. Plus, it was an amazing feeling to be able to meet some of my Instagram family in person!

sand dollar dream catcher shell dreamcatcher
In my first class, I showed a group of amazing women how to make these beach dreamcatchers.

I experimented a lot this month. It slowed me down when it came to the quantity of dreamcatchers I made, which is ok. Experimentation is good. It feeds the soul and helps it blossom.

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I carved a few selenite palm stones with waves and the moon. This is my favorite one!

I also added new matte postcards to the shop that have the most beautiful earthy eggshell feel to them! One of which I watercolor painted years ago but never got around to doing anything with it until now.

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My glass beaded wind chimes made it to the list again this month. I worked on a few new color combinations that will be added to the shop soon. I can’t decide which is my favorite: the pink, brown, and orange combination or the yellow and aqua. But, I am certain that they look amazing grouped together like this. Can I please string these across every window in my house?!

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The last pieces that have really moved my heart this month are these precious dreamcatchers containing tiny messages in a bottle. I recently asked my Instagram followers to share some of their favorite quotes so that they can be added to these dreamcatchers. You all sure came through with some super inspirational words! I just love these dream catchers! When you scroll through the photos you can glimpse a word in some of the bottles. It’s powerful, like this triangular one below with the word “she”.

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Do you have a quote you’d like to see added to a dream catcher? Tell me below in the comments, I’d love to hear it!

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

 

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