Tuesday, January 9, 2024

New Store Front Location - Bellisima

I can't believe a year has passed since I opened up my first show room! We quickly out grew the space, but were so lucky we got the opportunity on College Hill in Easton PA. 

In July, we knew we had to start looking for a new space, and knew we wanted to move downtown more. My friend saw a local news article about a store front that was closing due to her business going strictly online. I reached out and found out that the space was a little more then double what we had and the rent was so good to pass up.  We put the movements in motion and were even able to start work in the new space at the end of August!

Fast forward to September and we were ready for our Grand Opening!

Things we did in the store..

  • We put all new lighting!
    • The lighting was florescent lighting and just wasn't working for our aesthetic. 
  • Painted!
    • I went with the same pink that was at the College Hill location since I loved that pink color.
  • Built a wall!
    • I wanted there to be a little bit of privacy between the retail floor and the back area and bathroom. So, I came up with the idea to build a four foot by 8ft wall behind what would be the register and check out counter. I wanted it to be a focal point, so I used a peel and stick basket weave wall paper and added some bohemian touches of decor baskets and an acrylic sign with our logo.
  • Added fixtures to walls and shelving.
    • We had a mishap the first weekend open, and didn't realized the walls couldn't hold the weight of the racks and clothing, so we had to come up with a way and built all new fixtures for hanging the clothes.
  • Ordered new sign for storefront

I'm so excited to take you on this new journey with me!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Mom Look Monday- Apple Picking

 We are back with out Mom Look Monday series with the Macaroni Kid Bethlehem  All looks come from Bellisima by Ashley Maria and you can purchase online or in store!
This week we are featuring outfits you would wear apple picking. We curated a collection that you can wear each item again and with items you may already have in your closet! Cozy sweaters, warm shackets and finishing touches of accessory like a fedora!

Denim, Cardigan, Top 

Denim, Sneakers, Sweater, Shacket

Leggings, Sneakers, Sweater, Scarf

Denim, Sneakers, Shirt, Button Down, Fedora

Monday, October 16, 2023

1 in 4.

Only my closest friends and family know this but... I am 1 in 4. 

Let's rewind back to September 2022. I made the decision to get my IUD removed and hopes to start trying for another child. My doctor.. who delivered Vinny and had been my regular gynecologist for two years following did warn me that it could take months even years to conceive. Well surprise.. less then two weeks later I was pregnant. I remember messaging her through the chart notes that I was so surprised and excited how quickly it happened. We got the 8 week appointment scheduled and then I would just wait. I was soooo hungry. Like worse then I was with either of the boys and I joked that I hoped it wasn't twins. October rolled around and I had my appointment. The baby was so active already and even you could see what looked like a little arm or hand 'waving'. She confirmed it was only one baby (thank goodness) and I left so happy that everything was good and baby was healthy. The next few weeks were rough between opening the new store front, the boys getting excited for all the upcoming holiday's on top of all the pregnancy feels. This time around I wasn't really getting sick- but definitely felt the nauseas feelings. 

Halloween went by quickly. I had to hide the pregnancy at my cousin's wedding with lots of shirley temples and ginger ales and then came Thanksgiving. I was so busy with the store, that the weeks flew by.  I was planning our annual cousins cookie exchange and was so excited to tell everyone since I would be having my 13 weeks scans the next day. We were all so excited and everyone was hoping it would be a girl. 

December 5.. 

I woke up so annoyed. Even though my mom had taken the boys to bring them to school I still had to get up so early for the doctor's appointment. It was suppose to be at our local hospital that was only 5 minutes, if that away.. instead I had to travel on the worst highway that was always backup up at rush hour. I got to the medical center and Joe met me. I had to park in the parking garage so far away and again- was just so annoyed. The doctor was late taking us and I just wanted to be done with it. 

We got called back and the sonographer began. Joe and I joked because it looked like the baby was hiding and I said they were being so stubborn already! There was silence. I thought the audio wasn't on...

I will never forget the look I got. The sadness this women had for me when she looked into my eyes. Simply saying ' I'm gonna get the doctor to review, but I don't wanna surprise you. I don't hear a heartbeat.' My eyes teared up. I thought there must be something wrong with the equipment. I think I might have been in shock. The doctor came in and I just knew. He didn't even really look, instead started apologizing and talking about the next steps..

They told us to take as much time as we needed. But I didn't need any time. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. My first thought is what I was gonna tell my mom? My best friend was waiting for me to deliver her the gender envelope for the reveal. What am I suppose to tell them? What am I suppose to tell everyone I've shared this with? I'm not an overly emotional person. But I felt myself go dark. Like sometime changed in me that day. And I don't know if I'll ever get it back. 

We left.. Joe told me to go home. But I couldn't- the cleaning lady was there. I didn't wanna go to my mom's, because that would make it worst. I went to my car and cried. I knew I had to call them.. I called my mom first. She cried. I cried. She wanted to me come there or meet her for coffee. But I stopped crying and said I had to go to work. I hung up and called my best friend Amy. But what does someone say to you when you tell them your baby is dead. I didn't know what to do, so like I said I was gonna do, I went to my office. I called my friend Patti and asked her to give the others a heads up. AKA I knew it was gonna be a big deal, but I didn't want people asking me how it went and getting all excited. It was rough. I never cry and here I am like a blubbering asshole crying every time someone said how sorry they were. I stuck it out. I stayed until around 4 and decided it was time to go home and face the boys.

My amazon packages were on the counter when I got there. 3 pairs of new maternity leggings and the baby 'elf on the shelves' for our gender reveal. I didn't even open them. I went to the app and hit return. I honestly don't even know if I sent them back or threw them out. I poured the remaining wine from the party the day before into a glass. I just kept saying it was for the best. Everything happens for a reason. The doctor briefly mentioned it looked like the baby's spine was really curved which could be a sign of downs.. maybe this was for the best. Not like I wouldn't love and do everything for the baby, but I couldn't imagine going full term and then loosing them. 

The next week day I decided to take the day off. I had doctors appointments to schedule and my girlfiend thought a trip to the mall for some christmas shopping would help. It did.. We went to lunch and shopping and didn't really talk about it. It kept my mind off of it for at least a little. The week dragged on. Friday I had an event at Joey's school and had to tell the other mom's I was close with what happened. Again, they all felt sorry for me. I had a follow up with my regular OB and to sign all the waivers for my D&C that would be on Monday. 

That weekend was a blur. I know Joe tried to keep my mind busy. We had Santa deliver presents to the house in the morning on the firetruck and then we went to Main Street in Bethlehem during the day and on a carriage ride through town. Sunday we brought the boys to my parents and went to a nicer dinner. 

Monday morning we had to check in early. Every nurse was so empathetic towards me. When I was in the OR, my doctor told me I was apologizing to everyone for having to be there for me. Typical me fashion! We were there only a few hours from check in until recovery. I don't remember driving home. When we did get home, I went to bed for what felt like 5 minutes and my mom came over. I had to pee so bad but it burned so I didn't wanna do it. I was also starving and even though they told me not to, I ate rice. I of course through it up. My cramps were so bad, it was like I was having contractions. They ordered my medicine for it, but it was sold out at every local pharmacy. Like whattt? so I dealt with it. I got through the day with lots of OTC pain meds and heating pads. The cramps weren't as bad the next day, but still was so achy. I didn't want anyone to stay with me that day and I wanted to pick Joey up form school to keep as usual as normal. 

I only cry alone, mostly in the shower. The more people I tell about it, the more common I find it is. 

I worked from home the rest of that week, since I was still bleeding so much and didn't wanna have to deal with that at the office. I was going stir crazy not being around people though. I went back to work the following week. Test results came through and nothing was out of the normal. So there was no closure. No one knows why my baby died. A few weeks went by and I had a follow up with my doctor. I told her that if she knew the gender to only tell me if she thinks I wanted to know aka if it was a boy.. she said she didn't find out, so unclear if she was lying and didn't want me to know or if she really didn't find out at that appointment. 

I was semi back to normal- I mean as normal as you can be after going through that. Christmas came fast and trying to get all the things done really took my mind off it. On Christmas eve, I ran out to an antique store to pick up something. When I was walking around, there sitting on a shelf was the most perfect angel baby statue. It was like a sign. I had to get it. It had a little blue sash on it, so I thought that was god's way of telling me it was a boy.  

Right after the holiday's is Vinny's birthday, so I still was busy. About a month after the procedure I had a message in my chart come through. I opened it without even thinking, because I thought everything was already processed. I opened up the message and in the first line it said TEST RESULTS: normal FEMALE chromosomes found. It was a girl.. and this is how I found out. All those emotions I put behind me came flooding back. 

Honestly, this is a very raw post for me. I've started writing and deleted numerous times. But, this time of year the memories of the excitement of being pregnant come flooding back. I joke all the time that I truly hate being pregnant. Being sick, giving up some things which make 9 months seem like an eternity, and then the pain you go through. But I would go through it all again, just to have the benefits of bringing your little one home. 

I don't share my story for sympathy. Actually the complete opposite. I want to share that if you are going through this- you are NOT ALONE! It still amazes me how common this is and you prolly know more people then you think that have been through this too. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Vinny's 3rd Race Car Party

Vinny turned three January 7th, but due to the holiday's we pushed his party back a weekend in order to give family and friends a little break and to get the house back in order!

When Joey turned three, he wanted a race car party, so I had purchased a bunch of stuff for it! Well, then the world got shut down, and we weren't able to actually have his party. When we needed to decide on a theme for Vinny I had mentioned race car, and Vinny was on board and excited- so it was a win-win!

We opted to have the party at our house, with hopes we would have a milder day and we could enjoy the outside too. Of course it was so cold, but lucky the kiddo's played in the basement most of the day! 

Most if not all the decorations were ordered from Amazon.
Balloon Garland: Baby Got Balloons 
Cake: Sunnies Bake Shop
Cakesicles : The Farmhouse Bakery

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Halloween 2022 & Trunk or Treat

 This year's theme was so fun. For costumes I always leave it up to the boys and then do the theme for Trunk or Treat based on that. This year the boys (well really Joey and Vinny just goes along with whatever Joey says) picked ninja turtles. Immediately a pizza parlor came to my head for the Trunk or Treats at both their schools. I know my years are limited because Joey's school only does trunk or treat in K and again in 8th grade. 

Turtle Costumes | Etsy
Shirts | Amazon

The 'sewer' was a large tray that I taped the graphics onto. The 'Toxic Ooze' I printed and put on a paper towel roll. Taped the little ninja turtle to the tray 

Pizza boxes came from my cousins pizza shop that I used for the treats and the decorations in the trunk

Plaid sheet is a Christmas table cloth. and most of the decorations I had from Vinny's first meatball theme birthday party..

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Long Beach Island 2022

 We took our annual long weekend trip to Long Beach Island this year the last weekend in July. 
On Thursday Joe and I both worked half a day. I picked up Vinny from school and then went to grab Joey from my parents house. We loaded up the car and headed down for our weekend adventure.

Like years past- we stopped at one of our favorite Italian places- Frankie Fed's on the way down. Once finished we checked into our old faithful motel we love the Seahorse Motel. I unpacked and hung with Vinny while Joe took Joey to grab some ice cream since it was pretty late. We sat outside on our balcony with the ice cream and the boys played with their new coloring pages and stamps I brought for them!

Friday morning we of ocurse got up early (because who actually sleeps on vacation with little kids) and headed to a favorite- The Local  for breakfast and coffee. They always have the best grab and go options and if you go early there will be no lines!

We did a little shopping in and out of some of the stores that were down towards that part of the island before heading back to the motel.  It was a bit over cast, but we suited up and headed to the beach. Since it wasn't that pretty out- there wasn't that many people on the beach. there were a few quick rain showers but then the sun came out and it was beautiful. There was a cold front in the ocean, so unfortunately we didn't get to really go into the water. The boys still had a great time playing in the sand and having snacks, that they didn't mind. We left the beach in early afternoon to go to the pool. The boys had baths and then some nap/rest time before we headed out to dinner and the amusement park. 

For dinner we went to somewhere we haven't been since we were living the newlywed life! We had dinner at The Arlington. I had the crab cakes and it was so good. I was craving them! 

After dinner we went to Fantasy Island which is the local amusement park. The boys were at a good age that they could go on the rides together and play games. They had so much fun and I think they did every ride that they could.

On Saturday, we went to breakfast at Scojo's in Surf City. The boys were excited to sit outside and for the mini confetti pancakes!

After breakfast we did a little shopping. We hit up our usual places and got to pop into I think my new favorite on the island called The Dune Market. It has a little book shop inside, which the boys loved, but also has a wide selection of gifts for home, candles, dining wear, and even some cute clothing. We definitely will be back.
Once we finished shopping, we stopped back at the motel to grab our suits for the boys and some snacks, and we headed to my father in laws house. The boys loved going out on the jet ski with him and for a ride on the boat. They even got to crab in the lagoon!

We  went to dinner at the local place- Caffrey's & then for ice cream before heading back to the motel for the night. The boys were so exhausted. We had to leave pretty early the next day, since I had my cousins bridal shower. It was a fun trip like always. We look forward to it every year!

Years Past:

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Bellisima by Ashley Maria SHOWROOM

 Soooo... at the end of Summer I had the opportunity to jump on a space that was available. I literally could not pass it up, because the signs were all there. It was like calling my name and what better time then the present to move my boutique in the right direction. 

I opened up my first ever show room in Easton, PA!

Before a much needed power wash!

First up, PAINT! it was a blue previously, so to go with our brand I went with a light pink.  

I removed the old light/fan and went with this simple yet statement pendant 
Pendant | Lowes 

Next was the fixtures. I measured out all the fixtures precisely, yet always leave room for changes. Like the wood.. Well the walls could not hold the weight of the rods, let alone once we put the clothing on there. So, thankfully with the help of my guys from work, we came up with creating our own studs. I was going to paint to match the paint, but like the raw wood as an extra texture in the room. 
Fixtures | Amazon
Mirror | Home Goods

I wanted to stick with the brand, so I accented the store with gold. 
Gold Racks | Amazon
Glass & Gold Shelf | Home Goods

Once all the bones of the show room were done, we started bring in the product and that's when it really came to life!

Gold Shelf | Amazon

Wallpaper |  Amazon
Picture | Target

I'm so proud of this little show room of mine! It's amazing how different it looks already just from these pictures once we started bringing new stuff in!

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