Making lemonade has been on my mind these past few days. For several reasons.
It's summer on the other side of the world - weather made for celebrating outdoors. Lemonade and ice cream are abundant in the creative parties I have spotted recently. So sweet and refreshing. So uncomplicated.
Soon my Ava will turn 4. She adores Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Meringue (the characters, not the treats - they are for me to adore :). And as you know cartoon character birthdays are not our style. So I'm thinking of twisting up the theme into a little `Strawberry Lemonade' soiree.
And perhaps not least, because over the weekend we were handed a couple of lemons. Only small ones, in the scheme of lemons. But a lemon is a lemon is a lemon and this one tasted, well, sour.
On Saturday as I was preparing our scheduled Hooray(s) for Saturday post, I digressed to check in on our site traffic and discovered a new referral. As a store owner, this is usually exciting. But the name made me curious. Very curious. And my stomach flipped over as I waited to see where the link might connect me to.
And I found this. . . .
Did you click already? Wow, the launch of a pretty new blog, created by some BIG names in the US paper and party industry. Admired for their creativity, revered for their originality. They are our idols. And, yes, they still will be. We don't do grudges.
But for now the taste lingers. They know we exist. We follow their other businesses on twitter. Within days of their launch, they have linked to our store in a post (and for that we say thanks!). We have even (very shyly, I may add) emailed them directly with submissions for parties featured on our blog.
Now, beside them and their accolades, we feel LITTLE.
And this is how LITTLE works. Vanessa works full time to help make ends meet for her family and helps in the business late at night and on weekends. I work from home running our little dream store, and sometimes our ends don't meet. I pack orders on our dining room table, drag my kids reluctantly to the post office in the afternoon for our customers who are in a hurry, and somewhere between nappy changing, school pick up, and goodnight kisses we dream BIG.
When it comes to parties, we forget to take the butter out of the fridge in time and so have to stay up late whipping the buttercream for the birthday cake we made. We have hubbies who roll their eyes at the mention of a party - goodness, they may have to mow the lawn! And we are lucky to have generous parents who help us clear dishes, make dinners, entertain kids while we do the cutting, sticking, pasting of invitations and goodie bags. We take photos of our kids, of our parties, with an outdated digital camera. We have Photoshop on our PC - but get overwhelmed by its options. We love Pretty but are not so good at Perfect.
And so we might be LITTLE. But we have BIG hearts. And we play fair. If it simply didn't share our name, we too would be shouting Hip Hip Hooray - one more gorgeous party blog to follow. But Hip Hooray is our LITTLE piece of BIG. Here we have shared, laughed, connected in ways we once would never have imagined possible. To us, it is more than just the name of a blog - we dreamed it might become a brand and stand proudly in its field. I guess we were just not ready to have to share that.
We do know that there is, of course, room for all of us. That is the wonderful thing about blogs - no need to return one to the shelf in order to take another home, no need to donate the other to charity when you get the upgraded model, right?
And in case you're wondering, that's why we are introducing you through this post. Because we know that you will find this blog. And love it. That's OK. We do too. But we have manners and think it is the right thing to do. We wanted you to know that we know they have arrived to the party (way after it got started over here!). We wanted you to meet them and avoid any confusion over the nametag pinned to their lapel. To welcome them and to make sure you benefit from the wealth of experience, amazing creativity and resources they will share.
Hip Hooray is our happy place. We hope it is your happy place too. And in that spirit we have pondered whether to share with you even a taste of how this made us feel. We hope you did not mind that we chose to.
Besides after all this, let me tell you, this week has had some sweet lemonade moments -
- my Dad celebrated his birthday and the kids and I took him cupcakes and toasted marshmallows together in my parents open fireplace - just as we did when we were kids;
- school holidays meant my six year old was a constant companion - I took her to her first play, Tashi, and was reminded of how much I love - and miss - going to the theatre;
- I planned, prepped, created a mini photo shoot for a national magazine feature we have coming up - such fun;
- the big girls went for a sleepover to Nannas and I delighted in using the time when I would normally lie with them, tell them stories of when I was a `little dirl', and tickle their backs (with three kids this is 2 hours most nights!!) to eat spicy thai takeout with my hubby and curl up with Dear John on the DVD;
- Vanessa and her beautiful boys arrived home from the US yesterday lugging a little `extra' in their suitcase - stay tuned for some new pretties in the store and a couple of fun giveaways;
- And together with 9 generous, creative souls, the light of a very special little angel and the big heart of her inspiring family, we have started the journey to launch a `beauty-full' project - we can't wait to share.
On Saturday night when I crept into bed, a little sad, my hubby woke and immediately thought of the ultimate lemonade moment - their traffic might inadvertently become our traffic! Hopefully they will stay a while and enjoy the read.
So without question we are going to `Make Lemonade'. And still dream that one day LITTLE will grow up to be BIG too. Hey we might even get a gig as a `Contributing Editor'! xo
P.S. If you feel like making lemonade too, there's a recipe over here
P.P.S sorry Hooray(s) for Saturday went missing. I got writer's block after I clicked that link :) Back this weekend.