May
28

shop tour: taim boutique, laguna beach

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Ahhhh Laguna Beach – how I love thee! Laid-back, seaside living with a touch of Santa Barbara chic (not to mention oodles and oodles of the most adorable, charming cottages EVER). Among all that goodness, a blue-shingled shop along S. Coast Highway and Cress Street - Taim Boutique. Two years ago I met Kendra Pearce, shop owner and stylist, at a CCOC event in Irvine (this one). During introductions, I’m pretty sure I grabbed her arm and gasped (HUUUUUUUUUUUH!) when she told me she was in the process of opening the store (being a shop owner has always been a huge dream…. so inspiration hit hard). We hit it off right away, and when store-time came around, we had a blast putting our heads together on decor ideas and just watching everything come to life. Two years later, Taim is bursting at the seams with gorgeous goods and I was much overdue for a visit. Read on for a Q&A with Kendra, and don’t forget to stop by and say hello!!

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Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Southern California girl, through and through, and it has definitely shaped my personal style. As a little girl, I would pour over my mom’s copies of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. When I was 15, I was signed as a model and got to see for myself how the fashion industry worked. After graduating from Chapman University with a degree in Business, I started working in retail. I worked my way up from the bottom and gained as much experience as possible knowing one day I would have my own store. It took a lot of time and hard work, but my dream finally came true in 2012 when I opened the doors of Taim Boutique.

Q: How did the idea for Taim come about? What is the meaning behind it’s name?

I have always loved fashion and creativity, but I’ve also loved helping and inspiring others. Working in retail I saw the potential for a different kind of store. Not radically different, but one with different values. True beauty comes from being comfortable in your skin (and clothes) and radiating confidence. Rather than just selling clothes, our mission is helping women feel beautiful and confident through clothing. That’s actually where the name came from, it’s based on the Irish Gaelic word for “I am.” I want women to say “I am beautiful” and really, truly believe it.

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Q: What do you think best prepared you for opening your own boutique? 

A friend once told me, “If you want to own a restaurant, start by washing dishes in the kitchen.” As funny as that may sound, I completely agree. The best way to learn any business is to start at the bottom and work your way up. Not only that, but working for different companies both big and small. Understanding every aspect of your industry is vital to success. I worked every position in retail from stock assistant, sales associate, visual merchandiser, inventory control, manager, and even assisted the owner at a few boutiques. Had I not gained all of that experience, I wouldn’t have been as prepared as I was. About a year before I opened my store I felt as though I had hit a wall. I knew at that point I had grown as much as I was going to in the retail world and that the only way I could continue to grow and learn was to open my own store.

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Q: What have been some of the best moments?

Is it corny to say everything? :) Every morning I wake up, remember how far I’ve come, and feel lucky that I get to do what I love every day. I don’t take a second of this for granted and I think that’s a great way to live your life.

Q: Some of the more challenging?

There are a lot of challenges to owning your own business. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so every day I come into the store prepared to fight. I’m always thinking about how I could make the store better, how I could gain new customers, and what do I need to let go of. Always learn and grow, never be satisfied with what you know.

Q: What are some of your secrets to standing out during tourist season? With the locals?

We try to focus on how real women wear clothes, and I think our inventory reflects that. My hope is that women see our mannequins and think ” that’s cute, I’d like to wear that” not “that would look cute on my daughter.” We carry the clothes you want to wear every day. The best compliment we have received is when our clients tell us that they wear the pieces they bought at Taim all the time.

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Q: Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

Maybe we’ll have a second location or a webstore, but I really do love working with people and the more we expand, the more thinly I would have to spread myself. Honestly, I really just want the store to be successful and to continue to inspire women. And to be able to travel more. I love traveling so personally that’s my goal for the future!

Q: Any words of advice to those thinking of starting their own brick-and-mortar?

I have two pieces of advice. First, work in as many positions at as many different kinds of businesses as possible. Work for the big guys and the little guys. Understand what every employee does and why their role is important. And second, focus on one thing at a time. Too many small stores try to expand or open webstores too soon after opening their first brick and mortar. Focus on making the first shop successful and profitable.

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Thanks to Kendra for letting us drop in!

Check out the Taim website and see the CCOC event at Taim here!

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May

18

new beginnings

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If there’s one good thing that comes from budgeting, it’s creativity. And as much as I love to support local nurseries, I just can’t support them EVERY DAY with my wallet to grow a jungle in my backyard  (although trust me, I desperately, DESPERATELY, want to). Every now and then on my walks, I stumble across the craziest stuff. This morning, a sizable branch of light green jade which I was able to make into three stalks, and a few weeks ago, a waist-high purple aeonium that was pulled from the community planter and left leaning against the wall like a lonely preschooler who just had their lunch money stolen (don’t worry, I saved it). Some might call it thievery, but I call it being resourceful where otherwise neglected and broken plants would be tossed into a gardening bag during maintenance day every Tuesday. And I won’t let that happen.

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So, I turned to propagating (great post on this here at Needles + Leaves… I’m warning you, you will not leave this site for at least half an hour). Essentially, it’s the practice of growing plants, nominally succulents, by using their cuttings and taking parts of the plant to grow somewhere else! In three words, geeeeeeenius and cheap. Today is the first day I’ve begun the process for some new leaves, so I hope to show you their progress along the way. After snapping off a few fleshy leaves (note: they must make a clean break and be healthy), I set them over a shallow tray of soil and let them hang out in our kitchen bay-window that gets ample sunlight (but no direct sunlight, the heat is too much for young plants). As you may be able to tell from the photo above, there’s a few that are already well into the sprouting process, while the others are just starting out. In about a week, we should notice tiny, transparent pink roots forming at their tips – and that’s the start of something good! Once the plants grow further, the main leaf will eventually shrivel and die off, and new babies will be born! (Spritz them with water every few days to stay slightly hydrated). Burro’s Tail (the pebble-like leaves in the center of the photo above) do especially well with propagating, because it’s leaves fall off so easily – I’ve come across many fallen leaves in the pot that have already sprouted!

succulents-jars-vases-water-cuttings-stalks-propogating-growing-gardening-jadeWith the jade, I’ve let the thick stalks sit in water, which works to establish new growth. Once the roots begin to become more noticeable and likely to withstand being covered in soil, you can plant them. I’ve broken this one stalk into three because I’m greedy. (PS – the Mason jar you see in this photo is actually a Trader Joe’s marinara sauce container - they were hiding this two-fer in plain sight! Just take the label off, and you’ve got yourself a fancy vase)!

Have you ever tried propagating? Have a fab week!

xoxo

 

 

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Apr

27

weekend wishing

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Happy Weekend!

With all this abundant sunshine and the best of beach breezes, there’s a few goodies I’m daydreaming about today… Forever 21′s Perfect Peony dress {ice cream run to the harbor, anyone?}, this nautical blue and white striped shower curtain from West Elm, Anthro’s super-sleek Mermaid No. 1 candle, and these sweet love bar necklaces from TL Made.

Who says one can’t shop poolside?

xoxo

3 Comments

Apr
26

succulent care 101

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Someone once told me that succulents are easy to take care of because you basically leave them alone and they can never die. I don’t know who that someone was, but they were lying. While we all wish the saying was true, the real truth comes from careful monitoring of your plant’s health and following some pretty easy steps. After a few years of watching mine go through the flourish (this plant looks AMAZING!) to death cycle (why is it shriveled and nasty?) I’ve come up with some fundamental tips to help your succulent friends live a long and happy life.

What tools do I need to care for a succulent?

Stick to the basics here and you’ll be fine – Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm, and Citrus potting mix works great and is nice and fluffy to the touch (less than $5 per bag at Home Depot). Most gardening pros recommend pots with drainage holes, but I’ve found mine thrive in either setting. You may also want a squirt bottle or watering can with multiple holes for dispensing (like this one from Target).

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What type of light and watering schedule do they require?

This is where most people start to face frustrations with succulent care. While these water-retaining desert plants do love the sun, they should hardly ever be placed in hot, direct sunlight for long periods of time. Such drastic exposure to heat and light can cause the leaves to “burn” and produce spots, or even change the color of your entire plant (for example: from vibrant green to a dark sandy purple). Ours especially love the front porch (where we only get indirect sunlight), and even do great in the shade! As far as watering goes, pay careful attention to the leaves and soil to determine how much to water it. If you’ve replanted your succulent into another container, gently lift the entire thing out of the pot and analyze the “body” of soil – if it’s completely dry and dusty, offer your plant a good watering by pouring water in (some experts advise only spritzing succulents, however this doesn’t allow water to soak all the way to the roots). If you have plants with thick, fleshy leaves and they appear wrinkly, this is also a sign of under-watering. Give your plant a hefty drink and wait a day or two – it should plump up in no time. If it does not, do the “soil check” again and continue watering in intervals until the wrinkles in the leaves have disappeared – try not to over-water as wet soil is hard for the plant to escape and can lead to icky diseases.

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Powdery Mildew (The Icky Disease)

From time to time, especially in the winter, succulents are prone to powdery, white mildew at the base of their leaves. This is actually a talcum-looking fungus that can be caused by damp conditions and not enough time in warm, dry weather. As this mold is contagious to other plants, set it apart from the rest of your garden and spray it with a fungicide containing Neem Oil (I use Bayer’s Natria Neem Oil, $8.97 at Home Depot). It’s a little stinky and should not be sprayed near pets or indoors, but it does the trick. Spray it every few days and allow the plant to get some good time in the sun. After a few weeks, the problem should disappear, especially if the plant is given some good time outdoors. It’s also ok to spray neighboring plants if you believe they could be / become infected. The oil is naturally-derived and will not do damage to them. More info on this ickyness here.

How can I tell if my succulent is growing?

Succulents tend to be pretty stunted in the winter months, but come warmer weather, growth can be observed by the shedding of dry leaves towards the base of the plant (old growth that turns crispy and can be picked off easily). Sometimes this includes the leaves on the outer edges (like that of an Echeveria). As long as the body of the plant is plump and without major blemishes or obvious dryness or stretchy leaves, you’re in good shape!

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What to do with Cuttings, Broken Leaves, and Stalks

My faaaaaavorite thing about succulents is their ability to regrow. With the arrival of spring, many of our plants have sprouted new growth in between mature leaves, along the stem (where other leaves have fallen off), and up through the soil. This arrangement (above) was completely made from cuttings I found - bits from neighbors, stalks that I soaked in water to revive, and even a few from public planters that had been damaged by passerby’s and nasty weather (that’s totally cool right)? : ) If you notice any fallen leaves from your plants, keep them placed on top of the soil (like the image below) and they will eventually sprout roots and tiny leaves of their own; the beginning of a new plant. Don’t try to plant them into soil right away; they are too young and will die a horrible death in a few days (trust me, I’ve done it enough times to know). If you have full stalks that have broken off a larger plant (say from and Aeonium), place the stalk in a small jar with water and it will thrive! (Seems kind of contrary to the whole don’t-ever-water-succulents thing, but trust me, it works every time)! You can replant the stalks once they establish roots, but they can also last in a vase for quite a long time without the need for soil. Bottom line – don’t throw away healthy leaves or cuttings – with a little time, they will become new succulent babies for your home!

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So what have we learned? Keep your succulents in a dry area with enough water to sustain them for a week or two. If you have a few plants indoors, switch them outside every few weeks to regulate moisture levels (soggy soil = bad, but bone-dry soil for a long time isn’t great either) and be sure to keep them out of intense heat, especially during the summer. They love dry shady areas with a consistent dose of daylight and can be planted in almost any type of container (which makes decorating a breeze)!!!

How about you? Any succulent tips you’ve learned along the way? Would love to hear!

Have a fabulous weekend!

xoxo

4 Comments

Apr

24

a welcome back

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So… how does one begin a blog post a freaking year after some pretty consistent writing, crafting, exploring, adventuring, eventing and general awesomeness? I feel a bit like Brittany Spears attempting to make a comeback after dating Justin Timberlake, touring the world in pigtails and crop tops, then going through the whole shaving-the-head phase and falling off the face of the earth. Let’s just hope it’s not that bad.

Being an adult is crazy, people. Jobs get super busy, and literally, you eat lunch at your desk and don’t see the sun for 7+ months. But in the end, it’s all worth it. The tail-end of 2013 was the worst of the busy-season, but after a 16-day vacation to the Florida Keys (yes – the mother of all breaks) I’ve finally broken the pattern with the lightest of loads and happiest of hearts. Question is… will you have me back? : )

This is the start of a new season, a fresh wave. I promise to sit still and listen. I promise to discover, try things that are new and scary, and wipe the 1-inch layer of dust off my Cannon {which, I still really need to learn how to use}. I promise to dig my toes into the sand {maybe even jump into the water}, and make my anchor tattoo proud to be a part of me.

I won’t let you, or myself, down.

Nook & Sea is back in business.

xoxo

 

 

6 Comments

Oct

06

hello + hi

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It’s officially fall! The days are crisp, the skies wonderfully clear, and I love the aroma of pumpkin around every corner. E and I are traveling up to the family cabin this month, and I’m looking forward to some welcoming R&R. The last few weeks have been a tough bunch; friends and family going through some scary medical situations, increased busyness in our workplaces, tossing around some big decisions for this next year and facilitating a Rooted group with our church have proven this to be a very busy, but blessed season. In some of our down time, we’ve enjoyed roaming through the local farmer’s market and soaking up the toasty SoCal sun – can’t complain about this beautiful autumn weather!

With life crazy busy, I am missing the blogosphere terribly and hope to post more frequently in the coming months (so bear with me)!

How have you been? What has been on your mind these days? Have a great weekend!

photo magnets: Kenneth Leishman Photography

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Jun

29

peekaboo!

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Hey all! First things first – it’s. been. ages. It’s been about 8 weeks since I started my new job at the video agency, and I’ve been loving this crazy season of learning, growing and development. God has really shown me how to trust Him as He leads me through new challenges every day. And though life at the new office had been a little nuts, He’s also displaying his rich blessings. About 3 weeks into the position, I was promoted into my supervisor’s role and now operate as Project Manager. Balancing deadlines with downtime has been a little tricky, but I’m enjoying this path and can’t wait to see the future!

With blogging taking the backseat for awhile, I’m recharged and hope to steadily pick up the pace again. Summer is here (record temps in parts of CA this weekend) and I’ve been sprucing up the house here and there. Some of my recent projects and finds:

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This glass “oil can” soap dispenser (Threshold, Target, $9.99)

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Newly-replanted succulents – the perfect solution for all those little babies! – in their mini garden

And perhaps the biggest project in the last couple weeks (after scheduling and rescheduling a few times) …..we finally made a pallet headboard! (So Pinterest of us, ya)? 3 1/2 hours, a small box of 1.5 inch course drywall screws, an electric drill and one metal saw later – this beauty was born! Surprisingly not as intimidating as you would think (it also helps to have friends who get pallet wood for free and break it down for you) :) Big thanks to C for guiding our way through Headboard Making 101 with an A++ :)

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Some other tasks on my to-do list for this summer: give our patio furniture a facelift (a fresh sanding and a coat of varnish, or maybe changing the look completely with dark brown paint… haven’t decided yet), score a new cream-colored patio umbrella and up-the-ante in the planter arena (9:00pm gardening sessions are not unusual in this house).

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Alongside decor whims, I’ve had the chance to enjoy some really nice time away from the office. A long weekend trip to Napa with good friends, date night picnics overlooking the jetty, late nights out and beautiful afternoons with our family (this whole “having the weekends off” thing, is kinda awesome by the way).

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How have you been? Any fun plans for the upcoming Fourth (can you believe it’s JULY already)?! I feel like I need to watch The Sandlot and eat a hot dog. Mmmm. Summer.

See you soon!

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