It’s my favorite weekend of the year in Charlottesville! Or one of them. In my top 5 - definitely. And my sartorial moment of film festival street style. I love The Virginia Film Festival, and have attended every year since I was a 4th year student at UVa – that's 10 years in a row! It's been an incredible decade of celebrating film - local and international. Here's my list of film picks for this year's festival!Read More
The Darling Blog
Welcome to The Darling Blog, a life and style blog by the owner of Darling Boutique, Linnea White. Darling is passionate about empowering women and inspiring strength through fashion to restore dignity and true beauty. Enjoy outfit inspiration and style tips, featured #darlingfinds, local collaborations, and so much more. Live the Darling lifestyle - an altogether beautiful life.
Filtering by Category: Lady Boss Life
The great thing about Boss Babe Style is that it's 100% unique to each boss babe - from industry and brand, to personality and expression. But it's even more beautiful and boss-babey when in community. And that's exactly what this shoot and recent style collab for Boss Babes Cville represents!
We had so much fun last Friday collaborating with the uber sweet and talented Maren Thomas Photography for Boss Babes Cville, a Facebook group dedicated to building community for female entrepreneurs, creatives, and self-employed boss babes in Charlottesville, VA. For the collaboration, we styled the co-leaders of the group, Jessica Dang Norby, the social media strategist behind Jessica Norby LLC, and Darling's owner, Linnea, in some amazing #darlingfinds. Check out some of OUR favorites from the shoot below, and shop some of the pieces from the looks at the boutique!
And be sure to check out Maren Thomas Photography for beautiful portraits of your own!
AND shout out to fellow boss babe Sarah Hatch for coloring and styling Linnea's hair to perfection for this shoot!
#darlingfinds on Jess | Consignment Finds: French Connection dress, size 0, $58 // Locally-made Finds: Little Paper Crane earrings, $26 | #darlingfinds on Linnea | Consignment Finds: J.O.A. dress, size medium, $38 (SOLD) / ASOS leather jacket (old find, SOLD) // Locally-made Finds: Emily Warden Designs geo studs in sterling silver, $80 (custom orders available) / Liberatus sterling silver circle studs, $30 / Lisa Christine Jewelry sterling wave ring, $32 / Made by Bees stacking rings, various, $12-$18 / Dinosaur Toes sterling geo rings, SOLD
#darlingfinds on Jess | Consignment Finds: Eileen Fisher jacket, size small, $34 // Locally-made Finds: Pan & Tea tassel earrings, $30 | #darlingfinds on Linnea | Consignment Finds: Steven Alan blazer, size 6, $88 (SOLD) / Rebecca Minkoff slides (old finds, SOLD) // Locally-made Finds: Emily Warden Designs geo studs in sterling silver, $80 (custom orders available) / Liberatus sterling silver circle studs, $30 / Lisa Christine Jewelry sterling wave ring, $32 / Made by Bees stacking rings, various, $12-$18 / Dinosaur Toes sterling geo rings, SOLD // "Making it up as I go" tee via Chipper Things
Today marks THREE YEARS since I started my journey at Darling Boutique, and a year and a half as the sole owner. And today, reflecting on this boss babe life, all I can think about is how this is exactly what I was created for. I'm living out my purpose every day. (And I still can't believe it most days.) And while I may not know what the next three years will look like, I do know this: align yourself with your purpose, and the path will become clear.
Remembering Why I Started
Last year, on this very same anniversary, I wrote about my "why" - why I started this journey, and how God prepared me for it from birth (I went back to toddler pictures, you should probably check it out if you missed it.) In re-reading that post, and reflecting on this past year, I am struck by the growth from where I started - and where I find myself now - 3 years later.
In my post last year, my phrase for 2017 was "Stay Anchored."
"Stay anchored in Hope. Stay anchored in Community. Stay anchored in Love. Stay anchored in Truth. Feel the weight. Dive deeper. Though waves crash overhead, and the stormy winds rage, in the depths you will find true Rest, Safety, Love. Courage is founded in the depths, and tested in the waves." - Me, from my post on March 1, 2017
For 2018, my phrase is this: Stay Aligned.
Keep Listening, Dreaming, Growing. Last year, it was about staying anchored as I took on the shop as sole owner - SO different than being co-owner, as I quickly learned. This year, it's about alignment... with the vision, purpose, dreams, goals, and hopes.
Alignment > Hustle
"When you find your purpose, your gift, the reason you’ve come into this human existence. When you are in alignment with your calling. When you have something incredible to give and you step into the truth of who you are… it’s no longer about the hustle. The ones who need your message will show up, and no matter how nervous I am, I know that my gift is needed.” – @hayleymichelleandrews
When I saw these words a few weeks back on Instagram, I was like "YES, AMEN, PREACH." At the start of 2018, I felt off my game with the whole #bossbabe thing, consumed by big picture business decisions and goals, and micro mess-ups in the day-to-day to-do’s. But there’s also been a deep realignment happening, God-driven reminders of my purpose, and Darling's purpose, of where to place my trust and hope, and where to cast my fears. I realized that "doing your best" doesn't mean working yourself to exhaustion.
Part of that alignment has been stepping out with Boss Babes Cville - a group I founded Summer of 2017 in hopes of building community among the boss babes of Charlottesville - and to combat my own isolation in the solo business owner life.
I recently partnered up with an amazing boss babe, Jessica Dang Norby, to run the group, and the momentum has been exhilarating. And the aligning has been deeply enriching, affirming my place not just as a boss babe, but as a community-builder and supporter of WOMEN.
It's still crazy weird to think that I'm any sort of leader at all. But when you start having interviews describe you as a leader of a female business community, you start to let that sink in, to believe that it's part of your purpose, and start aligning yourself with it. Surround yourself with the people who align with your purpose - like the many amazing boss babes in your community. You aren't meant to do it alone. We're co-leading one another. That's the beauty of community!
So here’s to admitting when the small business owner thing is just plain hard and you need gratuitous amounts of dance breaks to shake it off, to recognizing when you’re off our game and discerning why, and to constantly realigning ourself with your purpose.
Stop the hustle. Align. Then live in your purpose. Your gift is unique. And needed.
Wisdom for What's Next
Three years ago, when I was making the decision to quit my full time job with Albemarle County Schools as Web Curator and pursue Darling full time, equally terrified and excited about this huge leap of faith, I remember having this transformational conversation with my dad on the phone. It went something like this:
Dad: "How are you feeling about the decision?"
Me: “In my head, everything is spinning and there are so many unknowns and dots I haven’t connected yet or things I need to figure out... (ramble on for five minutes straight)... but in my heart, when I really think and sit about Darling, I’m filled with peace and joy about this step.”
Dad: “If your head was totally clear during a huge decision/life change like this, if you had no doubts or questions and everything was a-okay in your head but your heart was a mess, filled with doubts, I’d be concerned. Listen to your heart closely. The things of the head will be sorted out with time.”
I think about this conversation and his wisdom every time I'm making decisions now - especially with the business. I sit, I pray, I quiet my head, and I listen closely to my heart.
There are still so many unknowns, doubts, endless to-do's that swarm inside my head, sometimes keeping me up at night or pulling me away from being present during the day. But that's why they call it "a leap of a faith," I think - because sometimes you have to just jump off the cliff, or across the ocean, in trust - and in peace, knowing you've been equipped with what you will need for the leap - and the landing.
This I know: my heart is still at peace. When I think about the shop, clearing my head of the noise and stopping the spinning thoughts, when I listen closely to my heart, I am consumed by Peace and Joy and a deep worth, value, and vision that comes solely from God. Oh, how I pray to linger in that peace and joy all day, every day.
Every day, I sit beside this scripture behind the counter at Darling:
"The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything." Philippians 4:5-6
Knowing His hand is on the past, the now, and the future of my life and this shop gives me an unspeakable Peace. It quiets everything else. It aligns me. And it drives me forward.
So here's to staying aligned in 2018 - in YEAR 4 of this Darling adventure.
Just a few weeks ago - the first week of January - I went on my second annual #girlbossgoesonvacay week of rest and renewal to reset for the New Year. And it was magical. Here’s a recap of my favs + lessons learned + girl boss thoughts from my trip to Asheville.
An Incomplete List in No Particular Order of a Few of My Favs from Asheville
When I was planning our trip to Asheville, I posted on Facebook requesting recommendations - and, wowza, did I get a lot of recommendations. This is just the places we made it to on our trip, but for the full list of recommendations, check it out here.
- Cúrate | Came highly recommended by friends, and lived up to the hype, for sure. Best dishes: blood sausage with goat cheese and the mountain honey + rosemary + fried eggplant (which we ordered as dessert!).
- Limones | Another highly recommended restaurant, and it was fabulous. Incredible atmosphere, and unique dishes. Get the ceviche!
- Gan Shan West | The best last supper there ever was. Came recommended by our waiter at Limones, who told us to go hang out with the "people our age" in West Asheville, and try out this newly opened restaurant. The best ramen I've had in a long time.
- Breakfast/Lunch/Everything in between
- Tupelo Honey | EVERYONE told us to go here. It's an Asheville staple. And it was SO GOOD. They bring you biscuits and jam/honey to start your meal, and I ordered the sweet potato pancakes + fried chicken, and couldn't move the rest of the afternoon.
- Biscuit Head | We went to the location in West Asheville, and it reminded me SO much of Richmond. From the decor, the concept + food, to the PEOPLE, we could've been somewhere in The Fan. Two words: GRAVY FLIGHT.
- Forage/Flora | I died and went to heaven when we found this florist/plant heaven adjoined to a coffee shop space. It was heavenly. And the perfect retreat to rest in between adventures in West Asheville.
- High Five Coffee - LEGIT bagels the size of my whole head.
- French Broad Chocolates | I LOVED this place, and we sat here to thaw out after walking around Downtown Asheville in the bitter cold. Chocolate and coffee is for thawing out.
- Vortex Donuts | I can't travel and not eat a donut.
- Double D's | A double decker London, UK bus slinging coffee and treats? Yes, please.
- Shops and Stops
- River Arts District
- The Grove Arcade (right next to the Basilica and Pinball Museum)
- Malaprop's Bookstore
- Lots of small gift-type shops in Downtown Asheville we stopped in every two minutes, because it was 0 degrees and we needed to thaw out while exploring on foot.
- Sadly, we didn't find the gems of local boutique shopping like I'd hoped (I found out AFTER the trip where we should have gone off Wall Street), but I did stumble into a secondhand resale shop right across the street from Biscuit Head in West Asheville that was fun, and we popped in a vintage store where I tried on many ridiculous things, the space heaters kept blowing the fuse, and I found an incredible Blues Brothers vintage tee for the win.
It's hard to explore a new city when it's a bomb cyclone outside, but, in a way, it was a blessing. The cold forced us into every other doorway for momentary reprieves, to warm up, forcing us to slow down, to linger. Thankful for that.
I realized I took very few pictures on this trip, and even fewer pictures of food or spots we visited. Probably because I was too busy being present, eating, seeing, exploring, resting. So that's something I'm grateful for. But, I did capture a lot, and there's a gallery below for your viewing pleasure, captioned with the locations.
What I learned about REST
The Rhythms of Rest
I entered this girl boss vacay going 100mph. From the holiday season at the shop and a non-stop 6 months. And the whole point of this trip was to REST and RESET for the New Year. And here I was with a long to-do list for VACATION, and all the places I wanted to eat, see, explore. And by the hand of a mighty God, I got smacked into rest (basically). On the very first day of travel and our first night in Asheville, I had a horrible contact dermatitis rash breakout on my face - the miserable kind. So, the first full day in Asheville, I spent indoors, by the fire, reading and resting and taking care of myself. We made it out for a very casual dinner that night, and by the 2nd day, I was able to get outside and explore. But it was as if God was telling me to slow down - taking me from 100mph to 0mph in a day, because otherwise, I probably wouldn't have done that.
We have to find the rhythm of rest, and sync up with its gentleness, its reverence. I admit I don't live every day that way, and thus the need to RESET to the rhythms of rest, to carry that rhythm back into this busy small business owner life.
The rhythms of rest will look different for everyone - just like self-care looks different for everyone - but I encourage you to rediscover that rhythm in your life. And not just on vacation. In your daily life.
Play Every Day
Rest doesn't always mean sleeping or going 0mph - at least not for this ENFP. For me, I'm rejuvenated by adventure, by play, by exploring. As much as I need to be still - and be comfortable being still - I need to run wild & free. And that's what this trip reminded me of --- Un-agenda-ed Adventure. Unencumbered Time. Uninhibited PLAY.
It wasn't easy for me to let go of the constant trip itinerary or the endless must-see's (cue face rash to reset my perspective on all of that). But in letting go, I found freedom - freedom to adventure, to play, to rest, to connect, to imagine, to be surprised, to be present.
I reclaimed my time. (intentionality)
I reordered by days. (flexibility)
I left space. (freedom)
And that's a reminder this girl boss is holding onto for 2018.
"The first demand any work of art makes upon us is surrender. Look. Listen. Receive. Get yourself out of the way. (There is no good asking first whether the work before you deserves such a surrender, for until you have surrendered you cannot possibly find out.)" - C.S. Lewis
I read this quote next to a painting in a gallery in the River Arts District on our last day in Asheville. It's a quote by C.S. Lewis, a beloved author and thinker, that I wasn't familiar with. And it struck me. Not in regards to the work of art in front of me, but of the work that lie ahead of me when I returned to Charlottesville - of this business and this boss babe life.
Last year I posted a lot about surrender, because I was constantly surrendering control of this business, surrendering expectations, and surrendering dreams. Why? So that I could get myself out of the way. I still have to do this - constantly. Because running a shop, owning a business, and, most importantly, investing in a community (love you, Charlottesville) requires a lot of self sacrifice. And not just of time, money, a social life, but a sacrifice of my own dreams and desires, and an aligning of my purpose, dreams, desires with His. I can't explain it better than this:
"When you find your purpose, your gift, the reason you've come into this human existence. When you are in alignment with your calling. When you have something incredible to give and you step into the truth of who you are... it's no longer about the hustle. The ones who need your message will show up, and no matter how nervous I am, I know that my gift is needed." - @hayleymichelleandrews
So here's to alignment in 2018, darlings. Lay the hustle down. Align.
If you have any questions about Asheville, let me know! Happy to chat more about this trip and all the things!
 A year of stewarding a vision well (or trying to). A year of learning balance. A year of tremendous triumphs and trip-up trials. My first full year of sole ownership at this little shop. My year of white hair. As I sit here, just days away from 2018, I reflect and share a little bit of this shop girl life.Read More