slices of summer into sections of autumn

I'm here, making the most lovely images of my life being broke but not broken and always hunting. My victories are small and my urges are smaller but I'm opening my eyes wide again for the first time in years. Years is such a funny word and an even sillier amount of time, seeing as we all know a year to be 1/28th of us or 1/60th of us or 1/18th of us because we've only experienced THAT much time alive. As we age, the years go quicker im finding. I don't loathe it, I just try to feel it and put my head down and diligently figure it as it should be coming to me.

I've changed my hair, learned some new flowers. Started working on my personal art practice again after 5 years away in retail. I'm making new cases, trying to deal with terrible loan debt and live rather minimally until I manage a strong footing again. I work part time on cases, part time as an artist assistant, part part time catering staff with Brut, part time photographer, part time designer and full time sass master. I'm thinking about moving and where I might want to go, what city needs me? what city do I need?


Let's just call it TREAT WEEK

The great news is that I made it to the city in one piece; excited and ready to take on this weird and fun adventure. I woke up my first day dizzy with (recently rare for me) anxiety about that the heck I was doing in this place.. but within twenty minutes I managed to convinced myself that this is my life and I can do whatever I want with it.. especially experiment in careers, destinations, and donating time to good projects.. which is exactly what this whole thing was about. So I spent the day walking around my neighborhood and becoming friends with my new roommate. Her name is Amelia and I quickly found her to be quite wonderful! During the first 20 minutes of our spending time together she declares "today is the day I bake a loaf of bread" of which she has never attempted. After a few moments googling recipes.. she coos and flips her computer around to show me a little ball of dough in a bowl. "Isn't it cute?" To which I reply with raised eyebrows and a chest full of delightful giggles. She is spectacular and she went forward with her bread making whim and made some magic in the following few hours.

I hope I don't have to tell you all just how much tasty food I delighted in during my trip. I was not only living in NEW freaking YORK with every kind of food I could ever want within 30 minutes of wherever I was when the craving struck.. I was also working with BRUT most days which meant my meals and snacks were thoughtful and so excitingggg! Here are things I helped make, decorate or consume in my first week with Kat.

Needless to say, the week was delicious and I learned a lot of good useful kitchen things. Easy stuff like why it's awesome to blanch veggies and how to keep meals and treats simple. I fell in love with pickled veggies and now know a bit about different kinds of dough. It was hard work but extemely enjoyable and I'm so grateful for such a nice first week in the city.

OH and I cant forget about where I spent my Sunday nights. The HUM! "The Hum pairs musicians who have never worked together before and commissions new work from their collaborative pairing, which is performed live for the first and possibly only time. Throughout the month long series which is presented every 6 months, artists take the stage mixing an eclectic scope of genres, styling, aesthetic, and beyond in these fresh, new "dream bands". The Hum’s mission is to connect a diverse community of women who are musicians through a unique performance platform, which fosters new sounds, musical partnerships, and gives visibility to women making music." I went 3 out of 4 weeks and it was undeniably special. check out videos and photos of past Hum here!

COOOOOOL, i'll be back with weeks 2/3/4 here shortly. writing this and getting myself to focus on my computer after being a month away from spending any real time on it has proven to be extremely challenging today ha ha. I'm going for a walk! thanks for checking out my life! LOVE YOU FREAKS !


An April Away

happy spring, petals!
hoping the slight shift in pollen and sunlight has you happily humming each morning. It's almost April and I have no idea where the time goes! Since we last spoke, I've been traveling around making cases, working on music and taking moments everyday to appreciate small things. After some awkward time of finding my footing since closing the shop doors, I began planning a project I'd like to share with you. I've been pleasantly reminiscing back on the early days of With Lavender & Lace.. thinking of the challenges and experiences I had while figuring out how to manage and run my own small business at a time when I knew little about how it all worked. Experimenting and stretching myself in ways I didn't know I could while learning all I needed to know to get by was exhausting and humbling. I never could have done it without the support from friends and family that also believed in the project. From my first time vending at a flea market to opening my first shop.. photoshoots, events and more photoshoots then again opening another store.. There were people coming to help me in anyway they could at all points in the growth of this business. Offering up their time and energy to help build something bigger than whatever I could have made on my own. Behind every great project there a hundred helping hands and eager hearts hoping to help that idea along and I've been feeling like it's time to give back! SO I'm taking on a self directed project for the entire month of April in which I dedicate myself to someone else's creative projects.

So, I'm in Brooklyn for a month to work with two woman-owned small businesses. Brut is a delectable catering company I'll be dedicating hours to weekly to help with social media, networking, image crafting, cooking, cleaning... anyway I can be of use as Brut is but a year old. I'm VERY excited about this since I also get a chance to learn preparation, cooking and presentation food things from the wonderful Kat (who I met via Instagram). I'm also spending a little bit of time with Days of May florals helping wherever I can and collaborating, hopefully learning some things about arranging living flowers because most of my expertise and experience is with pressed and dried ones. I feel more than lucky to be able to offer up my time to someone's passion project.. especially when it becomes a day job for them. I am equally as excited to learn the inner workings of these businesses, see what the day to day is like and how they deal with problematic situations. There is so much that goes into a business apart from all the things you can see, I've lived this for years and the opportunity to spend some time learning someone else's methods is intriguing. We are all in this together and have got to spend our slow time supporting each other. I urge you all to think about helping your friends and partners in their projects when you've the time. The time together is invaluable and promotes growth in both parties!

In other news, we've started making TEE SHIRTS!!! This is a huge development for WL&L because for longer than I'd like to admit, I've felt extremely intimidated by design and textiles. Well the time has come, we're proud to introduce our first "Hey BABE" sweet tee! Studio days have been good days in 2016, I've spent less time designing new styles and more time working with small boutiques to get them their own cases. It's been a lot of fun knowing the cases are traveling more than I am!

Here are some other pretty things that have been happening in my world lately..

Let's hook you lovely readers/followers up with a coupon code good for the first 7 days of APRIL! Use code "APR1LFOOL5" for 15% off your order.. this includes new tees and totes! Good until April 7th.

A few more things! If you're not on SNAPCHAT, you're missing out on some weird and hilarious behind the scenes With Lavender & Lace + animals + treat ramblings. Find me kelsiemcnairs! Also, looking for some good music lately? I've been working on a few delicious playlists over on Spotify called "let's drive" and "Finally Calm".. both of which are so so so good... stuffed with new names and small musicians who are doing some seriously innovative and wonderful things! My username on there is Kelsie McNair.


month one

Goodddddnessssssss. Im so tired of talking about all these transitions. It's been nearing two YEARS since big things started shifting inside me. Discomfort, understanding, separations, more discomfort, confusion, abandonment, nearly unbearable sadness, questions, obsession, and ultimately moving on from all the work and all the plans to meet my new future which quietly places me in the exact spot I am right now. On this awkward pullout sofa in my sun room in hazy late morning light drinking coffee in a shirt that might actually be a dress. Thinking about who my audience is and how to use this platform as something to better myself in whatever direction I choose to walk from here on out. How can i use it to actually connect with people who find themselves in places I've been or vise versa. Blogging also needs to be something I do for myself so i'd like it to be a practice of sorts.. getting out a few ideas, some memories, some obsessions and connections.. something to put a small pin in time to remind me of what it was I was crazy about for a moment after i've moved along. I'm over setting blog goals, ha I can't even count how many times i've apologized in this space for the lack of ME present. However, I am feeling a bit of settling happening in my chest for the first time in a long time and I'd love to share it. Share it with myself, with my friends and family. I want to document the gift of easiness i've given to myself, of which I ached for for so long. The simple pleasure of taking walks, of sitting on a couch, cleaning a room and being present with people has made it easier to breath and think and connect.

Here's what my studio looks like these days, I work here about 35/45 hours a week.. mostly cleaning up messes. I create and design cases here, listen to massive amounts of audio books, learn about plants and brainstorm trips and tours in this space. I also started a stationary line with flowers, hoping to start working with prints as well soon. What do you think? check out the whole collection here.

In other news, Jake and I are almost done with the Pyrrhic Whim EP. It's a special time to be alive and collaborating with a human like him. I wrote these songs over a two year span, starting around the time we met. He and another good friend encouraged me to work with music and play more often. GUYS this body of songs has been worked on SO hard for SO long and I cant wait to share. You and everyone you know can find out much much more about the project and it's events on my the facebook page or instagram where i'll post really silly videos as often and I can.. i promise.

WELL I guess that's all for now. My list today was to make this, laundry, finish a newsletter (which you should be signed up for HERE ) Make a trip to the studio to finish a batch of cases, make myself lunch. Post photos all over the internet and start to learn a few love songs for an event I am playing next Saturday at a local brewery for Galentine's day!


The end of an era

SOOOOO, after a whirlwind life season and as the last few bits of my fourth year in business come to pass, it is time to let all of my dear dear followers, friends, and family know my intention of closing down the brick and mortar With Lavender & Lace shop at the end of 2015. To most of you who do not know me in person, this may come as a sad surprise.. but rest assured, it has been a year-long decision that has taken extreme thought and deliberation on my part. In this blog post I want to share a bit about what is happening and why. I have all of you to love and thank for helping to make my shop happen in the first place, so it's only fair to stay open about the goings on with my choice and my future for WL&L. Here are some answers to some questions-

Working the shop has been such a marvelous life adventure, it's challenged me in all sorts of interesting ways and helped me find my creative voice in fashion, design, and styling. It was hard work that gave me confidence and pride along with some very serious creative problem solving skills. I projected the woman I wanted to be within the shop and became her by stepping into the role with willingness and excitement that left me mostly smiling and always happily exhausted. So it came as a shock to me earlier this year when I realized it just wasn't making me happy anymore. It hasn't been as fulfilling to me as it used to be. One of the main things I learned while opening and running my shop was that working hard to get what I want is worth all of the exhaustion and uncertainty. Knowing I deserve to do what I want to do and following that with everything I have has made me such a happy person. The shop was my goal, I reached that goal (somehow) and had a successful FOUR YEARS with it! However, now I know I want something else. Under all the pretty layers of vintage and photos and treats beats a rhythm of independence and determination, of self love and the quest to work for what I want. I've always wanted to inspire big dreams as I chase my own. The With Lavender & Lace shop was just my first step in following a big dream. Now I know I can do it and I feel confident that I can make something else lovely if I give myself the room to change and grow. I could not be any more grateful for the opportunity to have explored retail and all the management that comes along with it.

(thanks babevibes for reminding me)

Well, who knows?! I've been making my floral cases for a few years and they have been really rewarding, especially when the shop has been slow. I'll be focusing more on them as I expand the selection beyond just iPhone cases, as well as working with unique boutiques across the globe to carry them. I have big plans for my music project, Pyrrhic Whim, also continuing to travel to new places. I'll be open to more collaborative projects with other artists and I hope to create new things in the spirit of WL&L, eventually leading to a curated online boutique.

With Lavender & Lace isn't going anywhere, it's just shutting it's local shop doors. I will continue making things, photographing everything, selling cases and working with creatives independently without the overhead of a boutique weighing me down. I will occasionally do pop-up shops and craft events as well.

I've been showing the lot/business to a few people the past few months who have been interested and nothing notable has come of it. If you are interested in purchasing my stock/fixtures, email me! kelsiemcnair@gmail.com ! Otherwise, I'll probably liquidate it at the end of the year after having a few big sales.

Good people of this world, I am glad to finally say that YES, I AM okay and I'm headed towards being better everyday! Making this choice was HARD, but telling you is much harder. Today is that day and I stand here firm and calm seeing countless big projects in my future as I proclaim to lay this project to rest. Im grateful for every step made.. even the ones I've freaked myself out over. I am proud of the work I have done and excited to see where I go next. The shop started as a project I was afraid to do but became quickly enamored and worked hard to keep it up. It helped me understand community and communication and branding and so many other countless life lessons I will cherish forever. I am at peace with my choice and look forward to whatever comes next!

This is still developing, there are many ideas being thrown about about 617 Colonial. If you're interested in talking projects, email me and I'll pass your info along. kelsiemcnair@gmail.com


• In the next few weeks, I will be sharing our shop story both here and on the shop website. Im excited to dive in and sift through the countless images and memories and to talk about where it all came from and where I want to go.

• Starting in November, we will be open normal hours again Tues-Sat 12-7 and 12-4 on Sunday. I'm making myself and all our customers a promise that this will be a beautiful last holiday season in the store. I hope you'll come see me/us before it ends and get a last piece of this lovely era to keep for yourself to memorialize the beautiful ideas and events of such a place.

• I'm starting a project in November involving a tape recorder set up every day for the last two months of 2015. I urge everyone to come in and share a memory about the place. Did it inspire you? Did you purchase a magical thing that gave you confidence? what has the shop done for you? I plan on listening to all of the recordings when it is all over and swooning over the memories I will always have. I am so grateful for all of the local loyalty and love from Norfolk these past few years!

I'd like to leave you with this final thought: I've learned over the years how challenging running and owning a small business can be. I worked countless hours for a goal that often seemed just out of reach. It was a special time but also super frightening, and I need to share with you, glorious followers, just how real that struggle was for me and will always be for any small business owner. It is absolutely necessary for you to support us in more ways then watching us over social media. You want to live in an interesting place? Realize that small businesses and small business owners are the backbone. Visiting them once to say you've been there is not enough to support an idea or help with the development of a unique city. Be consistent and show your support whenever you can. Share the small businesses you love with your friends, visit them more than once and be proud of the people that help make small places interesting. Ghent IS the most brilliant place in Hampton Roads because it lacks the big box stores, it blooms new restaurants and shops that are grown from the minds of the determined. Do us all a solid and think of us first when you go shop or eat or develop film. Small business is gold. Support them with all you've got,