fashion

Choosing Happiness

You know how they say that LOVE is a choice... That you have to wake up everyday and CHOOSE to love!?  Well, I think the same goes for HAPPINESS!  And that you have to purposefully choose to be happy!!  

I promise I am preaching to the chior when I say ALL of this, because I seriously struggle with it more than any one person should, but I'm understanding more and more with every passing week that happiness is a choice, that I can choose to be happy, no matter my circumstances!!  

The take home message here is that YOU too can wake up every morning and CHOOSE to be happy... What an incredible way to stat any day!!!

And when I say I struggle with it, I mean, I really struggle with it...

I have the heart of an entrepreneur... I want to be my own boss with every fiber of my being... And that deep desire of my heart is pushing its way closer to the surface of my life more and more everyday!  Because of that, I STRUGGLE deep within my soul to work for someone else...  It is so hard for me to get up every morning at 6:00 (ok, 6:30 when my feet actually touch the ground) and drive to a job in which I am dedicating a VERY large portion of my time to making someone else's dreams come true... If you follow me on Instagram, I shared a couple of weeks ago about feeling like I am someone else for 9 hours a day until I get to come home and be the boutique owner/fashion blogger that I feel like I am meant to be...  And its just really hard living a life that *feels* like that!! 

But, on the other hand, Blake and I have longterm financial goals, and current lifestyle requirements that require 2 salaries, just plain and simple... So, I'm stuck in this mental/emotional battle where it can be so stinking easy to just be... Unhappy!!  I have a 40-hour-a-week job, and then I come home and do another 20-hour-a-week job; the latter of which is so fulfilling, but at the same time is still very hard work... So, I've let myself become tired and pretty drained, which allows so much space for The Enemy to take root in my life and breed unhappiness...

It's awful, and could easily put me into a downward cycle... I've suffered from depression before, and desperately don't want to let myself get back there... So, I've started to pray for CONTENTMENT!!  I've been asking God to help me to be happy where I am!  Happy where He's got me, because He knows best after all!!  CONTENT, but not COMPLACENCE... I don't want to settle for something that isn't the best it could be, because God doesn't want us to just sit around and wait for Him to make things happen.... He wants us to work hard and be CONTENT!!  

And like I've said, I am NO GOOD at this...  I've had to have Blake's help with this almost DAILY!!  He points me to the Lord, which is where I should go with all feelings of discontent anyway... Try telling the Master of the Universe that you aren't happy with what He's given you, LOL!  It kind of makes you sit and think before you open your mouth, and reconsider that you're just being selfish or greedy...  It reminds you of your place in this world and allows you to be more grateful!!  Praying for contentment has given me the ability to be more grateful for the job I do have...  At least I have a job, that pays the bills, allows me to have extra spending money to support all of my shopping habits (HAHAHAAA), and helps us to invest in our futures!!  Who am I to not be grateful for that!!?

So, when a local small business owner approached me about collaborating with her; with the offer of designing a custom t-shirt, I knew exactly what I wanted it to say!!!  I jumped on it without any hesitation!!  I had been thinking I needed a shirt to serve as a reminder to be grateful for how far I'd come, instead of constantly critiquing where I thought I should be, for a while!!  And #blessed just seemed so appropriate since I spend a good chunk of my day on social media LOL!  And look how amazing it turned out!!! 

Rachel is a graphic design student at USC (my alma mater), that decided to start a small business while still in school!!  Its called Old College Try Press, and she is so talented!!  She designs the fonts she uses HERSELF and then also prints the t-shirts HERSELF!!!  And, from the eyes of a business owner myself, since she cuts out all the middle-men, her prices are REALLY INCREDIBLE!!!  You can get this exact t-shirt HERE for just $15!!  Plus, Rachel has been generous enough to offer my followers a 20% off discount code so that you can design your own custom t-shirt with her as well!!!  CUSTOM t-shirts (a.k.a anything you want) are only $20 originally!  And if you use code: ADEMURELIFE at checkout, they will only be $16 HERE!  A custom shirt for that price is pretty unheard of!!  For size reference, I'm wearing the small. 

Furthermore, I know a few of you are getting married pretty soon... And I think Rachel could hook you up with some pretty rad monogrammed t-shirts for bridesmaids' gifts or bachelorette parties!!  Just go to her Etsy shop, select the "Your Design Here" option, select your font, font color, and t-shirt size, add to cart, type in the girls' initials in there, and then type in the coupon code during the checkout process!!  Sixteen dollar, custom shirts for the win!!!

"Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.  After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can't take anything with us when we leave it.  So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be CONTENT." - 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Have a wonderful rest of your holiday weekend!!

XOXO

- Rachel

This t-shirt was gifted to me, but all thoughts are my own!

My Baby is THREE

Y'all, Demure is THREE YEARS OLD TODAY!!!  

That boutique of mine has been quite a work in progress!!  Owning a boutique is like laundry... Nothing's ever really quite done!!

Ever since starting this blog, and having another platform from which to tell people about Demure, I've actually gotten more questions about how to open a boutique than I have about how to start a blog LOL!!  I'm not sure why that is, because really, in its infancy, A Demure Life would be considered more successful than Demure was at the same amount of time...  But that's ok, I've learned a whole lot in the past 3 years {which is mostly why A Demure Life has found quicker success} and I'm totally willing to share the facts of "how to start a business" with you!!

IMG_3404-1.jpg

First things first - I will assume you have already thought out your plan, consulted someone older and wiser {and maybe even an expert in the field}, and have researched the particulars of your business so that the general how-to's here will makes since!  And just so you know, I didn't write a formal business plan until I had already been in business for 2 years, because my business was constantly evolving into what it was going to become, and I just didn't know for sure yet what EXACTLY I wanted it to be...  So, here's were to begin:

1.  Claim Your Name:  I did this by forming an LLC... A Limited Liability Corporation... Which protects you and your personal finances from being entangled in any potential lawsuit or bankruptcy!  This is done at your state's Secretary of State's office, and costs $110 {at least that's what it costs in SC}.  Before driving down to do it though, you should check their website and make sure that the name you want your company to have has not already been taken!!

2.  Once you officially have a company created, you will then need to apply for an EIN number!  This is basically your company's social security number, and its used for banking and tax purposes!  It also goes along with protecting yourself and personal finances!!  Plus, its done all online at irs.gov {P.S. I tried to do this too soon after having changed my name after Blake and I got married, and it was a TOTALY NIGHTMARE, but for you it should only take 24 hours MAX}.

3.  You will then use your new EIN number to go file for your business license!  This is done at your state's Department of Revenue and it costs $50 {at least that's what it costs in SC}  While you are already there, go ahead and sign up for a "paying your sales tax" class and get a couple copies of the "sales tax exemption" forms {because some wholesalers request to keep one on file, so you'll want to have multiple}.

4.  Next, go start your company checking account!  I went the traditional bank route first and got charged fees far too often for not being able to keep the minimum balance in my account and it ended up ending badly... So, please learn form my mistake and start your business checking account with a Credit Union!  I'm talking the difference between starting up your checking account with $200 and $25, respectively!!  There my be other banks out there that do things a little differently, but at my bank, business accounts are treated very differently than personal accounts, and $200 was just not something I could keep in my account at all times to avoid a fee (and still can't)!!  Please remember to start your bank account using your EIN number instead of your own personal Social Security Number - PROTECT YOURSELF!

5.  So now, this is where the majority of my questions start, but you have to go through all of those steps before this one is even possible, but most people don't even know 1-4 even exist!  The number 1 question I am asked: "Where do you get your merchandise?"  And the answer is: "I buy my merchandise from various wholesalers!"  But the reason all those other steps are necessary first is because you can not buy from a wholesaler without the Retail (business) License!  That would be illegal because wholesalers don't charge tax {the reason for the tax exemption form} so you have to be buying it with the purpose of reselling it {and charging sales tax at the point of sale} in order for it all to be legal!!

6.  Then, the follow-up question usually is: "Well, which wholesalers do you purchase from?"  And my answer to that is very simple:  I have 2 favorites, though I have purchased from many others!  I buy mostly from The Lookbook Wholesale based out of L.A. and Miss B, a small wholesaler based out of Atlanta, GA in America's Mart, to which I will be going in person in August and I am SO EXCITED!!  You can google search wholesalers and hundreds will pop up!  You will then just have to choose your favorites!!  Make sure to check where their warehouse vs. their headquarters is because I get charged a $4.99 fee every time I order from one particular wholesaler... They have a warehouse in New Jersey, so you get your merchandise pretty quickly!  However, they are based out of France, so the charge is an international one, and most banks/credit unions charge a fee for international purchases!

7.  Next, you need a platform on which to sell these products you have now purchased!  A website of any kind will do if you market it correctly!  Etsy works for some (though I didn't like selling through them much), and I know of one VERY SUCCESSFUL boutique that sells via Instagram exclusively!!  As long as you have a way of getting your merchandise in front of the eyes of your target market, you can succeed!!  I personally use Squarespace for both ADL and Demure!  I love how user friendly it is, how great the customer service/tech support is, and honestly, they are just really pretty sites {very stream-lined, which is something I value}!!

8. Advertise and Market yourself like CRAZY!!!  Social Media is truly, very important to this!  And I would like to say that all you blogger babes reading this already have an advantage that I didn't have!!  3 years ago Instagram was JUST taking off as such a valuable resource for marketing!!  But I was so slow to the game... I didn't even start an Instagram for Demure until I was 8 months in!!  And then, after that it took me SOOO long to catch on to how it worked, how to make it work for me, and honestly, I would sometimes go a whole month without posting!!  I only had 400 followers on Demure's Instagram page until November 2016... I've tripled that number since then - in just 6 months I've tripled the number of followers that I had gotten in the previous 2 years combined!!  It makes me so sad really, when I think back on it...  I don't even know how much farther I would have gotten had I truly understood the importance of the social media influence when I first started... But I was also probably too young to have started a business then, so God has me right where He wants me right now!!!

Ok ladies, this post is already too long as it is!  I will stop here for now, but PLEASE leave your questions below!!  There is really an infinite amount of stuff I could tell you, but it would be so much easier for me to continue this in a series if I have exact questions to answer, so I could condense my thought into what is relevant to y'all, specifically!!

I hope you've enjoyed reading what I've had to say so far!  And I look forward to reading and answering your questions!!!

XOXO - Rachel

P.S. To celebrate being in business for 3 years, I am holding an Anniversary Sale - 40% off your entire purchase!!  Use code: HAPPY3RD at checkout to receive it at http://www.mydemure.com 

Shopping #secondhandfirst with ThredUP

I have to admit, I don't usually shop for used clothes now that I'm done growing and I can still fit into the same clothes that I've had for years!!  However, when I was asked to check their company out, I did.  And what as the first thing I found!?

IMG_3018-1.jpg

A J Crew skirt that I had wanted so badly 2 years back, but had sold out in my size before I could purchase it!  This beautiful skirt was given the second chance to find a loving home, and I was given the second chance to add it to my wardrobe!!  So, even though I don't typically shop #secondhandfirst, my experience with ThredUP was a fantastic one!!

IMG_3067-1.jpg

I also got this classy little black dress!! 

Y'all may not know this, because I try my best to wear color on the blog, but my favorite color is actually black {how Gothic and depressing does that sound?}  I have no less than 6 LBDs in my closet, but the truth is that any dress-loving girl could never have too many!!  Plus, I found this gem for only $6.99!!  And just look at how flattering that silhouette is!?  Even with the cost of some cute black wedges, a dress for only $7 from ThredUP could fashionably dress you for under $40!!

IMG_6231.jpg

And last, but not least, I found this top!! {though, I did buy it thinking it was a dress}  I wouldn't normally wear a top this long, because I am so tall for a girl (5'7"), and I feel like this length of top messes with my proportions even more {which is why you will RARELY see me in a tunic style top with leggings, just FYI}, but honestly, when I added the thin gold belt, it made it look OK again, especially since that also had a slimming effect LOL + I always add heels!!

But really, we aren't talking about the individual pieces themselves... I'm trying to tell you what ThredUP has to offer!!

Take Home Points:

1. ThredUP is even good for those of you that don't usually shop second hand!  Because, guess what!?  I found a skirt I had actually really wanted 2 years prior, in my size, and for only $11!! Plus, they have a bunch of goodies with the original tags still on, if you're patient enough to hunt for those!! {which I'm not}

2.  I got 3 items, plus tax and $5.99 shipping, for a whopping $28!!  And since the skirt and shirt could technically be worn together, I got 2 outfits for $28 **Holy Moly that's a steal**

3. How did I accomplish that you may ask!?  Well, they CONSTANTLY do 30 or 40% off!!  So my advice would be to NOT buying anything from them unless they have one of those promotions going on, because, like Loft, they will do it at least once a month! 

4.  They also have a "closet cleanout" program where they send you a prepaid bag, for free, that will hold a laundry basket full of clothes!  And they pay you for the clothes they want!!  Gently used, name-brand stuff {just like everyone else, but this is better because you don't have to wait in line like at Plato's Closet, for instance}!  I just shipped mine 2 days ago, and will update you through my Instagram story {@ademurelife} on how it works out!!!

Y'all have a fantastic rest of your week!!

XOXO - Rachel

These clothes were given to me free of charge by ThredUP, but all thoughts are my own!

Casual Romper for the WIN

Hey Ladies!  I have a great one for you this week!!  A fabulous romper from LOFT that I bought on my birthday shopping trip to Charlotte 2 weekends ago :)

Y'all this romper speaks for itself!!

Its so comfy that almost nothing else matters LOL!!

But, of course, more things do matter, so here are my thoughts:

1. Have I mentioned that IT IS SO COMFORTABLE!!?  Literally like wearing pajamas people!! 

2. The back is incredibly cute!  I mean, who doesn't love a good back detail!?  It adds character without trying too hard :)

IMG_2814-1.jpg

3. I was able to go down a size! **Way to make a girl feel good LOFT** I bought an Extra Small instead of the Small that I usually wear at LOFT!

4. And honestly, the way its designed (mostly because of the back) it could be worn with flip-flops (obviously) but you could also put on a statement necklace and some wedges and wear it out to a nicer restaurant!!

IMG_2805-1.jpg

But now-a-days, the world just loves to put in as little effort looks-wise as possible - they just throw something on and go... And this romper is the perfect compromise to that!!  Its cute AND takes very little effort to be so!!

I do need to note that this romper is Lou & Grey (the more expensive side of Loft) and that even though Loft constantly does 40% off sales, this romper will rarely, if ever, be included  **I'm frowning as I type this**

BUT ITS SO WORTH PAYING FULL PRICE!!! (I did)  Its $69.50 and you can get it HERE

Wedges - HERE ($29.99)

Necklace - HERE ($21)

Have a great Sunday Funday Ladies!!