Fay goes POP

“I always notice flowers” -Andy Warhol

Me too Andy, me too.

He was the bees knees.His art, his quotes, his music, his movies, his life. Most people know him for the banana or the infamous Campbell’s soup can but Warhol created art in various mediums.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, he studied commercial art. Which makes sense seeing as how most of us know him for his portrayal of consumerism.

Through a lengthy process, Fayetteville’s Methodist University was able to secure the opportunity to host Warhol’s art in the GalleryGoes POP Exhibit which opens February 7th at 6:30 pm.That’s right! Can you believe it? His bold and bright works of art are hanging at the David McCune International Art Gallery at Methodist. It’s not everyday we bring world renowned art to Fay!The prints showcase a variety of his series from his Cowboys and Indians series to his Ads Series and even include his Icon Portraits. It was truly an incredible experience to see these in person.

The vibe that Warhol’s art brings to the gallery is this bold, fun, whimsical, pop of inspiration.The display of art is enhanced by music and the playing of commercial advertisements.

You don’t have to be an art enthusiast to enjoy this experience.

The show will be open to the public February 7th at the David McCune International art Gallery at 5400 Ramsey Street, Fayetteville NC 28311.

Ivey Artistry Microblading

Eyebrows…the one thing you can get in shape without exercising.

My eyebrows are naturally just thin. Thanks mom.

I have been filling them in since I was 18. First it was a little bit of dark eye shadow then I graduated to a pencil and then got all fancy with all the new eyebrow products out there but regardless of whats out there, I STILL had to fill them in and that gets old.

Are they even?

Is this a good color?

When I hug someone I hope it doesn’t mess up my hard work. LOL Okay you all know you’ve thought this.

When I heard about Microblading I was instantly interested. Microblading creates hair like strokes in your skin using a small blade that deposits ink. It is a method that is done by hand by a professional and typically lasts 12-18 months.

Having a ton of tattoos, the thought of doing something more permanent doesn’t really scare me. It was just a matter of finding someone who is very skilled since it’s going front and center on my face. I mean, I don’t want to end up looking angry all the time…or like a clown…now that I really consider it, eyebrows make a HUGE difference in your expression. I mean, look at emojis.

Back to the story:

After researching the best Microblading artists in North Carolina I landed on Jeanette Ivey of Ivey Artistry Brow & Beauty and I am so darn glad I did.

Have you ever met someone and their energy is just like, YES!

Well, that’s Jeanette.I walked into her studio and was greeted by this tiny ball of artistic energy. The vibe of the place was cool, modern, creative. It was one of those places that inspires you.

I wore my regular makeup to my appointment so I could show her how I typically do my eyebrows and what I like. Honestly though, I don’t know what I’m doing when I fill in my brows and I knew that she would know what to do with them.

First she cleaned off my makeup and then began to make some measurements and marks so everything would be even and the right angle. I could tell she was in her zone and knew exactly what to do to frame my face. We discussed the color too which she already had in mind and it was exactly what I wanted. The process was very reassuring.Then it was time to make the cuts. EEEEP. She uses what looks like a calligraphy pen that dispenses ink into your skin. It’s like a tiny blade that she  makes small cuts with.

I’m not gonna lie-I was SO NERVOUS for the first cut because I had no idea what to expect.

It was not bad. It doesn’t go as deep as I had imagined and it just feels like someone is being super annoying and scratching you. She did the first pass on both of my eyebrows and then put numbing stuff on me and let me relax. After about ten minutes she went back over them and added to them and that was pretty easy peasy since I wasn’t feeling  much.I was surprised how quick and simple the process is. Just a short appointment of Microblading saves me time in the morning doing my makeup and my eyebrows actually look natural. I love that she really fit them to my face and basically just enhanced what I already had. I think it takes a true artist to be able to make something look like it’s supposed to be there.

After the procedure I was a little bit swollen but nothing crazy. She gave me special wipes to use, an ointment, and a card showing what to expect through the healing process.

Top: Makeup Bottom: Microblading

The next morning when I woke up, I magically had the eyebrows of my dreams with no effort whatsoever. I wiped them down, put my ointment on, covered my “mom dark circles” with some concealer, did my eyeliner, and out the door I went! It was awesome.

So in 4-6 weeks I will go back for a touch-up appointment where she can add to them if I want since they will be healed by then and we will see the full result. The first session shapes your brows and the second session is called the “perfection” session. I already love them so, I can only imagine how epic they will be after the perfection session!

For anyone who has thin eyebrows or just wants to enhance watcha got, I definitely recommend doing this. It was SO worth it and Jeanette makes it such a fun experience. I went into it feeling nervous but I came out feeling like it was such an indulgence and a great time. Microblading gives you such a natural look versus the filled in look and it’s there regardless of whether you just woke up, washed your face, or sweating from dancing around your kitchen to We Didn’t Start the Fire. Whoever thought of this concept gets a gold star in my book.Thank you so much to Jeanette Ivey who graciously performed this service for the sake of me being able to share the experience with all of you.

Check her out on Instagram: @ivey_artistry and on her website www.iveyartistry.com

Yeah, I ate that.

Placenta encapsulation.

What the heck?

I know, bear with me guys.

I’m just a hippie by nature. I’ll just throw that out there. I’ve always leaned towards a more natural lifestyle and dug into alternative remedies.

When I got pregnant it was like research on steroids.Cloth diapers, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc I rubbed coconut oil on my belly and tried to eat the right things….but what about me?

What about the aftermath of birth…postpartum care and recovery?

I started digging into what the heck to do about my hormones going crazy and my body healing while simultaneously going into breastfeeding mode. This just sounded like a lot of stuff to me.

So, I landed in placenta ingestion. Now, some people flat out eat it. That’s not the life for me guys.

So, I opted to have it encapsulated. This means that a Doula dehydrated it into powder and put it in pill form. She also made me a tincture so when I go through menopause and lose my mind, I can try that out too.

So that being said, ingesting your placenta is supposed to benefit your milk supply, healing from a ton of blood loss, and also support your hormones since they go crazy when you have the baby.I was a good test subject because I did this with my first baby but I couldn’t with my second (she was high risk and the placenta couldn’t be saved). So, I got to see both sides of it.

Yes, my doctor thought I was crazy when I asked him to set the placenta aside instead of disposing it. He said I was his first patient in all of his career to do it-there’s a first time for everything!

The truth is, placenta ingestion has been practiced for centuries. Scientifically there’s no super solid evidence you should do this BUT it’s one of the many things in motherhood you just have to decide for yourself. I figured it couldn’t hurt.It is a nutrient rich organ and if it has the potential to ease my transition into becoming an exhausted, healing, breastfeeding mother then I was totally down.

The process was fairly straightforward. We called the Doula when I was going into labor so she would be on standby. Once I had my baby, the placenta was placed into a medical bag and into a cooler. The Doula came to pick it up from the hospital and then a couple days later she delivered the placenta pills and tincture to my home. She also checked up on me to see how I was doing mentally and physically-Doula’s are cool like that. So long story short-I took my placenta pills twice a day. My milk supply was great with Noelle and I honestly do think that it eased my transition into motherhood and healing. I noticed a big difference emotionally and in my energy levels when I took them versus when I forgot to.

I wasn’t able to do this with Orchid and I had a harder time with postpartum recovery and breastfeeding so, I personally think it was worth it when I did it. I enjoyed the experience and it was a personal preference. 

The moral of the story is-if you’re someone who is interested in alternative remedies and a more natural lifestyle I encourage you to do some research because there are options and you do not have to stick with one certain path! 

And yes, I still have my tincture for menopause so we’ll see!

Dunny Acres Farm & Apothecary

That smell of lavender and sage gets me.I’ve been using handmade soap since I was a teenager. My sister used to make it for me. Even when I lived in Korea she would make it and ship it to me because she rocks.

I’ve always been an advocate of natural, handmade products so when I saw what Dunnyacres was cookin’ up, I was down to try it out!

First off-what she’s making is different. She’s putting things together I would’ve never thought of and it works.I told her she’s a mad scientist-mixing things and making it happen!

It turns out, she does have a background in science, she was a nurse! This impressive entrepreneur set her nursing career aside when her two beautiful children entered the world and one became ill.

She began to implement natural alternatives and it worked.

There’s a lot to be said about what comes from the earth guys.And wait for it… SHE’S HER OWN SUPPLIER!

That’s right. This rockstar mama grows herbs, makes them into essential oils and then turns around and makes all kinds of high quality products.

This business is a family effort. Her nephew helps her with business tasks and she lives on the farm with her family. Meeting the face behind the business definitely brings a new level of appreciation.I just love that the herbs and products are locally sourced and I know where my apothecary goods are coming from. How neat is that? She even grows her own loofah sponges and tea. What a freakin’ rockstar!I got to try out her bath soak, elderberry syrup, Roselle syrup, face mask, locally grown loofah sponge, lip balm, and white sage spray (yes smudging in a spray bottle-I know… I was totally Christmas morning excited over this!) She also makes headache balm and smudge candles which I find to be so innovative and cool! I’m ridiculously impressed with the variety and quality she offers. She’s a hard workin’ lady and I’m super proud of how she goes about her business.I was introduced to her products on the shelves of Leclair’s General Store. You can also find her doing pop-ups! Honestly, the education I got from talking to her was equally as impressive as her products and I feel much more confident about what I’m putting into my body so if you get a chance, pick her brain!

Holly Day Fair-It’s a thing

This was my very first year attending the 52nd Holly Day Fair at the Crown.

I was like WHOA.

In the parking lot.

Cause dude, it was madness! I didn’t know this was such a thing. But it really was.

Snagged a parking spot and skipped in the building to find the crown turned into a holiday shopping wonderland.

Vendors lined the entire place. I’m talking everything from woodworking to wine to Christmas ornaments. It was cool.

Honestly, I had so fun much hanging out with my friends and listening to the vendors stories about their businesses and products. It was such a social experience and I have a great appreciation for that.

I love love love supporting small businesses during the holidays.

Not only are you supporting someone’s dream and their family-but typically what you find at a small business is a lot cooler and more personable than a chain. I love finding unique gifts with a story to tell. Nobody wants another pair of socks, guys. Unless they’re cool like Proven by Ruben style. #letsbereal

Proven by Ruben

While this Holly Day Fair wrapped up on Sunday, it’ll be back next year and I definitely think everyone should go check it out. It got me in the holiday spirit and I got to check out some businesses that I didn’t know about!The place was hoppin’ and I’m glad I tried something new this holiday season!

The Essence of Your Business

Experience facilitates sales. 

If you’re going to have a brick and mortar in a time of online shopping, it’s time to modify the way business has traditionally been done and evolve to meet the needs.

What’s the character of your business? I’m talking, you walk in the door-what do you feel? What’s the vibe? If you don’t know, and I mean know exactly, then you need to go back to square one. 

Square one.

The vibe. Now think about it, online sales are BOOMING. The future of retail is online. No need to get dressed, get in the car, fight crowds, stand in line. Nope. Now people can order whatever they want, whenever they want from the comfort of their own home. In fact, thanks to loads of data being utilized, websites now save your personal information so making a purchasing is literally as easy as clicking a button. No fuss. Who can compete with that? You can’t. 

So now what?

You differentiate.

People love the path of least resistance so eCommerce is perfect for impulse shopping and streamlining the process. However, people also love a good experience. Think social.

Social media is practically a necessity now. Facebook has become its own Google. We jump on this platform to search for products, people, businesses, and even the latest news. Social media has the power to influence consumers. Social media in itself is now in the eCommerce category because you can buy products and services but social media also displays what’s cool and happening cause, ya know-it’s social.

If your business is cool and happening, I’m sure it’s on a social media platform generating a buzz.

If you want to get people in your door and make the most out of the overhead you are paying for-you need that buzz. The experience is key. People may not visit your brick and mortar to purchase a specific product or service, but they will visit to see what’s new, experience what the buzz is about, and socialize.

You have to create an atmosphere that aligns with your brand. 

Think about how your space makes people feel. Do they feel cool? calm? excited? hungry?

What’s going on?

Lighting? Music? Smell? Temperature? Paint color? Is there seating to hang out? No seating so people keep moving along? Employees on the floor to answer questions? Self-service? Signage?

Your brand begins when people have a need. What’s the first thing consumers do when a need arises? More than likely they turn to Google or a friend for a suggestion.

Example: I need new tires. Google: Tires in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Several options pop up. Or, ask a friend, where should I get new tires? Friend more than likely has a suggestion they’ve used before and a personal testimony of why. Now, what makes the consumer follow through with that choice?

Typically, it comes down to:

  • Convenience
  • Experience

If it’s local, fulfills a need, the location and contact information are easy to find, pricing is easy to understand and reasonable, etc. The consumer will feel it’s a convenient option.

Experience comes with brand recognition. Even if the consumer hasn’t been to this place before, if they’ve seen the brand around and recognize it-they are more likely to choose it because they feel that its familiar and legitimate.

Now that the consumer has made a choice, your brand continues on through the product or service you offer. This includes what their EXPERIENCE is like when they walk through the door, what the employee is like that they interact with (and how they represent the business), the actual product or service itself, and even how the transaction is wrapped up (receipt, packaging, follow up). So when the consumer leaves your business, their experience encompasses your brand-from the time they considered you to after you hand them the receipt and even follow up with them to make sure they were satisfied.

Speaking of follow up, following up a sale with a question is a great way to remain relevant in a customer’s mind. Consider a question or conversation starter that’s relevant to what you’re offering. Example: I just got new tires-they may ask me, “Are you in need of an oil change soon?” and add on “If so, we’ve attached a coupon for you when you’re ready.” This follow up question and offer planted a seed in my mind so that when the need arises, I’ll think of them again and I may not turn to Google because I already have that experience in mind.

Repeat customers are crucial. Not just for profits sake but for expanding your customer base. If you have a repeat customer, they are more than likely spreading the word to their friends and family. Word of mouth is so important. After all, think about platforms like Facebook and Instagram…if you consider it, all of the information being spread on social media is word of mouth. “I like your shirt where did you get it?” “Looking for a good place to eat, any suggestions?” “I need new tires, where should I go?” …there are ample opportunities for businesses to receive marketing via word of mouth for free on these platforms.

Nowadays, everything is documented in the form of photos, videos, and status updates. Ensuring your customers are having a great experience interacting with your business is crucial.

As business owners, you train your customers to associate your brand with a certain feeling or idea. 

For example, Target. Now, the symbol of a Target has absolutely nothing to do with wicker storage baskets, DVDs, baby clothes, and trendy furniture. However, Target has trained the public to associate that symbol with retail. So now, when I see that red Target logo, I think of a one-stop shop for trendy, affordable items rather than something to aim at.

Target maintains a whimsical approach. Their ads are fun, family friendly, and they focus on solving everyday problems with products which shows convenience. They also utilize color as a way of brand recognition. If I see a red shopping cart I just flat out assume I’ve landed at Target. I know I’m not alone in that. 

Target has trained me to think positively about their brand. I’ve never had a bad experience at Target. They always accept anything I want to return and hand me my cash back. They just make my life easier. Target gets me. That right there is how they get you-the experience. Could I buy any of the things I buy at Target online? Yes. Do I want to avoid the physical location of Target? No. Why? Because I have fun at Target. They’ve created an environment where I’m not embarrassed if my kids have a tantrum, everything I need is there, and I’m entertained by their turnover of products. None of these factors is on accident, I can assure you of that.

So training your customers to associate your brand with a certain feeling or concept is important. You don’t want them to think “long lines” or “bad quality” when they see your logo. You want them to associate their GOOD experience with your logo, color scheme, and business name. People should be happy to go to your actual location. Think about what gets people in the door. What would get you in the door? 

I have much more to say on this topic but I’ll save my book for another time!  I could honestly talk ALL day about customer experience, branding, marketing, etc. I love watching the retail world evolve. It’s pretty awesome.

Chill in Chilote

Chilote House Shoes

Made fair in Patagonia.These positive impact, sheep wool slippers are created to empower women. How awesome is that? Gosh I love a product with a good cause. This company gives women in Patagonia an opportunity to do what they know how to do (and love to do) to make a living.

So they’re made out of sheeps wool and get this-the bottoms are made of salmon leather. Salmon. Leather. How neat is that?Chilote sent me some House Shoes to try out and I have to say-they live up to the hype! They are soft, cozy, and warm. I love them! They’re also super cute and go with everything so I feel extra cool rockin’ around the house to Billy Joel.Each and every pair of slippers is made by artisan women that live in remote, rural areas of Patagonia. So, when you receive your slippers in the mail just know they were carefully handmade. I love that my slippers have such a story behind them.To add to the coolness. Each pair has a QR code on the tag that links to the specific artisan group that made them. It’s so interesting how personable this company is. You can even see photos of some of the women on their website based on the location in Patagonia they come from.Overall, a product that is made with pride, empowers women to be independent while doing what they love, and is super comfy, high quality, and cute scores an A+ in my book.

Check out Chilote House Slippers and their story at www.chiloteshoes.com

These would make an excellent gift for the holidays!