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Darling is a curated boutique offering women’s consignment and handmade local artisan goods, with new arrivals every week.

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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: Shop Girl Thoughts

This Boss Babe Life: Three Year Anniversary

Linnea White

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.

This Boss Babe Life | Photo by Tristan Williams

This Boss Babe Life 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!

(On that note, go watch this super fun interview with a local University publication, The Pioneer, about being a female business owner!)

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.

This Boss Babe Life | Photo by Hannah Malloy Photography

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.

This Boss Babe Life | Photo by Tristan Williams

 

Girl Boss Moment: Vote for Darling

Linnea White

This is my Girl Boss Moment. It's the final week of voting for the Best of C-VILLE, and Darling is up for THREE categories this year - Consignment Store, Female-owned Business, and Place for a Dress. And, call it wearing-your-confidence-until-your-feel-it, I decided to own my boss-ness by wearing it in this Shop Girl Style shoot.

Even saying that - "own my boss-ness" - has such an odd sound to me. Some days, I still can't believe I actually am a Girl Boss, that I own my own shop, that I am living this life (somebody pinch me). And some days, I still doubt that I belong among the ranks of Boss Babes in Cville and beyond. Doubt can be crippling... if you let it.

"Don't compare your hustle to their highlight reel." This is a quote from the Girl Boss herself, Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal and author of the book #Girlboss. And it's something every female entrepreneur out there needs to remember - doubt and comparison are traps; don't fall for them. Affirmations, encouragement, selflessness, humility, vulnerability, women-empowering-women - that's where your focus should be. Change your perspective, darlings. It may seem like a silly thing, but I've started a collection of "boss" shirts to wear the confidence in a weird and wonderful way when I need to push the doubt away.

What does it mean to be a 'Girl Boss'?

"A Girl Boss is someone who has big dreams and is willing to work hard for them. So being a Girl Boss is really about being the boss of your own life. You don't have to be the boss of anyone else to be a Girl Boss." - Sophia Amoruso interview via Elle

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

To me, being a Girl Boss has been a journey of taking risks, trusting in God in BIG ways, stewarding the vision well, taking baby steps (going low and slow), failing graciously and learning from it, and being okay with being vulnerable about this #ladybosslife. Sharing the journey, sharing the dream, sharing the real talk with those who are cheering you on in the sidelines, with those who get it - that part keeps you grounded.

For a moment, I laughed sitting in that throne, and said to Tristan, "I am so far outside of my comfort zone, and I love it." I meant for the shoot, for owning my boss-ness in such a blatant way. But really, what I realized I meant was this entire lady boss life has be out of my comfort zone, that I've been pushed and stretched in ways I never imagined I could be - and I've been made better by the challenge. Being a Girl Boss really means having the ability to motivate yourself, to not give up when it gets tough (cuz that's every day), and to keep doing the work. Because it is worth it. 100%.

I'm grateful to say that this has been a season of affirmation for me, for the shop. I've been the sole owner of Darling for almost a year now, and being recognized on the Best of C-VILLE ballot for "Female-owned Business" is still surreal. I am honored. I've also seen the business grow in big and exciting ways this year so far, and the affirmations of friends, fellow boss babes, and customers has been the wind in my sails. So a big, heartfelt THANK YOU goes out to all of my cheerleaders, near and far. You keep me going when my t-shirts aren't enough. 

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

How to Vote:

I would love your vote, friends near and far! Let's make this the biggest year yet for#darlingcville! #bestofcville2017 Only one week left to vote! Voting ends June 23rd. Visit www.c-ville.com/vote/ >>> Shopping Category: 1. Consignment Store 3. Female-owned Business 2. Place for a Dress xoxoxo

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Girl Boss Moment | Photo by Tristan Williams

Styled & Modeled by Linnea White, Shop Owner // Photography by Tristan Williams

On Linnea | Darling Finds: Betsey Johnson kiss kiss sneakers // Linnea’s own: Mango "boss" tshirt / Anthropologie pants / Urban Outfitters sunglasses / J. Crew strawberry earrings

Thanks for making me feel like a total badass, Tristan.

Shop Girl Thoughts: Remember Why You Started

Linnea White

Today marks two years since I entered into this shop owner journey. What an incredible two years it has been! I recently had a Mufasa moment (it's a thing) with that booming voice calling out to me from the heavens, "Remember... Remember why you started."

Remember Why You Started

I guess it's safe to say it all started when I was a little girl who loved her "puh-rse." I have been told I would have a fit if we left the house and I didn't have my bag with me, thus being dubbed the "bag lady" from a very young age. Couple that with growing up in the ballet world (costume rooms are heart eyes for me) and with a big sister that I enjoyed stealing clothes and makeup from at a very young age, and you have the makings of a fashionista.

Skip ahead to my post-college years (because, Lord knows, besides being the Fashion Editor for V Magazine for a while, my personal style wasn't much back then) and you will find a Linnea who began to understand 'style personality' and embraced a confident expression of self through fashion. My fashion journey runs alongside my heart journey, and how the Lord has restored me from the inside-out. I firmly believe style is an expression of your heart, and how you carry yourself, speak about yourself, and treat yourself is innate to your spiritual health.

In the past few years, I started to explore and refine my inner stylist through blogging, first with a Dressing Up series on Cville Niche and then to Darling two years ago when I became the co-owner. And I grew to love styling outfits, not just for me, but for other gals (and guys) as well. I remember making the decision to buy the shop with Megan, terrified and excited at the same time, and one bit of advise my dad had for me as I prayed and moved forward in this life-changing step of faith:

"How does your heart feel?" - Dad

"My heart is filled with peace - peace that I can't comprehend. Peace that I know this is what I'm supposed to do. It's my head that's spinning thinking about it all." - Me

"Good. I would be worried if it was the other way around. That peace in your heart is from the Lord, and when you're making a decision, listen for that peace. He'll quiet the noise in your head, He'll take care of all those details." - Dad

Listen for the peace. That's what I did. And that's what I remind myself of again and again in this shop owner life - especially when making decisions. And I remember...

I remember the words of affirmation, the prophetic words of this calling on my life, the words of wisdom and advise. I remember the excitement, the adventure, the childlike joy, the hope. I remember the fear, the doubts, the unknowns, the mistakes, the anxiety. But most of all, I remember why I started, why I bought the store two years ago with Megan, why I bought the store from Megan to become the sole owner last August, why I am doing what I am doing: Because it is what God created me to do. Because it is my calling. Because I am here to steward this little shop, to love on women of all ages, to shine a Light, to spread kindness, to create beauty, to style sweet outfits, to build community, to encourage and inspire true beauty, strength, and dignity through fashion.

This two year anniversary is bittersweet, knowing I'm celebrating it as the sole owner this year, but also knowing I'm partnering with the God Almighty, who has brought me to this very place, this very moment.Remember Why You Started Graphic

Thank You

Most importantly, on this anniversary, I want to emphasize how THANKFUL I am for everyone who has supported me throughout this journey. I owe infinite thanks to my parents (Hi, Mom and Dad!), who endlessly pray, encourage, advise, and give from after (VA Beach ain't that far). That goes to all my family - thank you. My mom has even played shop girl with me several times this past year as I transitioned into sole ownership. I also owe many thanks to my boyfriend for being a constant sounding board for my many venting sessions, cranky attitude and many mood swings, and putting food on the table when I work ridiculously long days (every day). And, of course, to the gal who walked into this adventure with me two years ago, Megan Tiernan, for her grace and drive to see the shop succeed, thank you. (Megan is now killing it in nursing school full time since last August, y'all!)

To all the dear friends, Darling customers and consignors, and complete strangers who have encouraged me these past two years - THANK YOU. I am reminded daily of this gift - the gift of running of shop. It's not a vocation I take lightly, and it is certainly something I am deeply humbled to call myself - Shop Owner.

And I certainly can't forget to shout out the amazingly talented photographer behind the images you see on the blog and social media these days, Mr. Tristan Williams. I love working with you! #blessed

Stay Anchored

All I can say about 2017 so far is this: Stay Anchored.

This year so far has been trying, challenging, and foundational. From sewage explosions and Winter sale woes to sickness (stupid Noro virus) and anxiety, being the sole owner of a small business can be incredibly isolating and indescribably exhausting. What keeps me going? What gives me hope and energy each day? What anchors me in the storms?

Christ. When the words inside my head and the words of the world spin around me, I read His Word. When my heart cries out in frustration, anger, sadness, I praise Him. When my weary spirit is depleted and I'm riddled with anxiety, I rest in Him.

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.

And remember. Remember the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. Remember it all. Cherish it all. It's all a part of the journey, and He takes brokenness aside and turns it into something beautiful.

So, here's to two years, and many more! Whatever comes, whatever is next this year and onward, I give thanks for this shop, for this blog, for this journey.

Photo by Sam Kempf

Shop Girl Year in Review: 2016

Linnea White

2016. The year of huge change, of immense growth, of humbling trials, of life-defining moments. Here I sit on the last day of 2016, in my little shop, writing this Shop Girl Year in Review, reflecting on the year past, and the year to come.

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