I had never been to New England before this trip and it’s long been on my list of travel destinations. When the opportunity popped up to visit Newport, I confess I wasn’t familiar at all with the city. We had an offer of a place to stay and some dates that worked, so the research began! I’m going to share photos and thoughts over a few posts, so today I’m talking history + houses.

Turns out, Newport is a fascinating city with a really rich history, and I’m just the kind of person who really digs that sort of thing. R sweetly gave me a book all about it that I started reading before I got there, so suffice it to say I spent lots of time recounting anecdotes from my book which I’m sure he just loved.

The Vanderbilts, Astors, and many other wealthy families at the turn of the century built opulent “summer cottages” in Newport. It was the place to be during “the season.” In the middle of the century, many of these houses were just too cumbersome for anyone to maintain (think requiring a staff of 40 people or more), so the Newport Preservation Society began trying to save many of them and open to the public. They have a great system now where you can purchase one ticket and visit five of the houses whenever you’d like. It was really nice that it didn’t have a two day limit or anything like that – you can get kind of big-house’ed out after a little while when you do so many in one day.

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Home to Alva Vanderbilt, who was quite the irreverent character. She built an authentic Chinese teahouse on her property because, you know, why not when you have millions to spare?

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Just…opulent. The property is amazing of course. Owned and built by much tamer Vanderbilts than ole Alva (who was a Southerner who married {and divorced} a Vanderbilt, by the way).

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Green Animals

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The gardener at this property spent his whole life training and growing these amazing topiary, and his son picked up the art too. The owner of Green Animals gave the property to the Newport Preservation Society so that her animals would never “leave through the front gate.”

The house is modest by Newport standards – really more of a true old Victorian – but get a load of that property…

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We also toured The Elms and Rosecliff. Except for Green Animals, which you need a car to get to, they are all very walkable and easy to get to from downtown Newport. It is a lovely little city in that respect – the beaches and the water and downtown all right in one area. And obviously, if you’re into history and interior design, it’s the perfect place to visit!

hello friends! I haven’t been much of a blogger lately, I’ll be the first to admit. But I truly do miss sharing what’s going on in our world and seeing what’s going on in yours. So, I’ll ramble a bit, and get to my point eventually, I promise.

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Things are going swimmingly here at dodeline. It has been interesting and fun to get used to being truly a team of three instead of a team of two. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I definitely have moments when I look around and am just so in awe that this bustling little office is my creation. Overall, it’s been great and such a relief to be able to handle curveballs and hectic times with less stress knowing there are more of us around to get things done.

In addition to learning how to manage our team, I’ve also been working a lot on workflow and systems and processes. I don’t think that gets mentioned very often in the discussion of starting a business and it’s something of which I’m becoming much more aware. In reality, it doesn’t matter as much I guess until the business is comprised of more than just the owner, but it’s quite the task to figure out even so.

When I worked for American Eagle during college for example, there was a set process for how everything needed to be done. There was a form or a script or whatever it may be. When you make up a business out of thin air, not one scrap of that exists until you (the owner) remember to make it. And that just isn’t easy.

For me, the most difficult thing to work into my day to day task list is bookkeeping. It is so far from my favorite thing to do. Not once did I say along this journey, “I want to start a business because I think invoicing, expense tracking, and general accounting are a really good time.” Nope, not this girl. But it literally doesn’t matter what kind of business you start – bookkeeping is part of it.

So over the past few months, I’ve been working really hard to establish rituals and systems for the things that never seem to get done when they should. Bookkeeping is one of them. Marketing a little more consistently is another (i.e. our email newsletter). Working on our standalone shopping website was a big one (hey, check it out here if you’re so inclined). Developing our wholesale catalog (done! Thank goodness).

Blogging is another. I used to be a lot better about that when things were not quite so busy and it was just me. But it occurred to me over the weekend that if I just gave myself a more manageable plan – say, a weekly blog post – it’s much more likely to happen. So friends, here’s the first of what I hope will be many weekly blog posts!

xoxo
Sarah

I was so excited when the girls at Hazel Lane reached out to us to include us in their Charleston subscription box.

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If you haven’t seen them before, Hazel Lane is a curated selection of goods from a different city every month. One thing I really love is that they have a bunch of options – a couple different price points of boxes and several lengths of time you can sign up for.

This lovely service was just featured in Travel and Leisure magazine too! We sent out our items a couple weeks ago and you’ll find a sneaky peek on their Instagram of some of what will be included…

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So if you signed up for a box this month, you’ll be getting some goodies from dodeline!

I have to admit, I’m quite fond of this month’s Paper Junkies. A fun script for the names, diagonally set on the shimmery card.

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We mix and matched so there are a few polka dot liners and a few striped.

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The curry yellow envelope was actually what I used for my own wedding suite, so I suppose it makes sense I’d be a big fan, huh?

Psst…find out more about Paper Junkies here!

A few weeks ago, the Charleston Wedding Planners Association put on a great seminar on etiquette. I know, I know – it doesn’t sound like a thrilling topic – but for this crowd, it kind of is. Etiquette questions and guidance are a huge part of our day to day work.

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Coleman Hall – formerly Tidewater Chapel – hosted the event and it was beautiful. We got there in style via Lowcountry Valet’s awesome restored vintage buses.

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Before the seminar, I was so glad to see Brit Croft there photographing. She grabbed a quick shot of Kellie and me – Laurel managed to dodge the camera! We’ll get her next time. She was sweet enough to provide the beautiful photos for this post, so pop over to her blog and say hi if you have a second.

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After mimosas and delicious pastries, Peggy Post from the Emily Post Institute spoke and signed copies of her lovely new book. I loved her spin on things and it’s one I fully endorse – etiquette is about considering other people as much as possible. Thinking before you speak. Considering how your words and actions could be perceived. Loving any idea for 5 minutes before raising opposition.

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The presentation was followed by a fabulous lunch by Cru Catering. And desserts by Christophe Artisan Chocolatiers arrived on a gorgeous stand.

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I could get used to this.

Lovely, lovely day and so much fun to bring the whole Dodeline team (even though I can hardly believe I have a team ;-)). Happy weekend!

Last but not least for our new product week, holiday cards for 2014! I am so pleased with how these have turned out. I mentioned on Instagram awhile back that I ended up with my grandmother’s collection of vintage Reader’s Digest books, which are just so inspiring from a pattern and color perspective. Sure enough, I found myself inspired one day and created a signature Dodeline pattern for the holidays. This year, we are using it as an envelope liner in our four new holiday cards.

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Simple, sweet, and classic designs in a deep evergreen ink color. Flat printed with, again, rounded corners and all on coordinating Crane stationery in Pearl. We added a New Year’s card this year, which we hadn’t done before, and I think that’s such a nice option. I also love the “meet me under the mistletoe” as something special for your sweeheart

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These cards and more holiday cards are all available at shopdodeline.com as well as in our Etsy shop.

Special thanks to Seastar Arts as always for her wonderful photography talents!

These interior design inspired cards are close to my heart. As you might know, my background and first path was in interior design, and we often laugh about my obsession with chairs. I have far too many chairs in my house compared to everything else…wishbone chairs, ghost chairs, vintage school desks, armchairs…etc. If it was up to me, we’d probably only have chairs.

So it’s only fitting that the focus of one of our new collections is on iconic furniture designs of the modern era…

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Not only that, but we really did it up to make these truly fine stationery – gold foil on a Crane cotton 220# (read: super thick) stock with a black painted edge. The matching Crane envelopes have a letterpressed flap with a black and white stripe. I love how that idea turned out….we might have to start doing that more often!

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Not only did we do the cards, but we created a collection of items around the theme of black and gold. So we also have…

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Seastar Arts and I played around with different ways to photograph these beauties last week. I always love white background photos, but it was kind of fun to try out something different with bright colors and a dark background.

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…and hanging out with Jeni means you always end up in a photograph or two..

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…but this time I got her too!

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Hope you love the new modern cards as much as we do! These are available at shopdodeline.com and on Etsy.

This summer, I’ve been really busy working to expand our stationery lines to include new offerings that make more specialty options available to the average buyer. We do so many really beautiful custom items for the wedding world, why not bring some of those items to the average person who loves paper but maybe doesn’t have a special event to buy it for (i.e. people like me!)?

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So this week, get ready, because I’m introducing a whole bunch of fun new items all at once. First up, letterpress recipe cards. Sweet little cards in a neutral, more modern design. Letterpress on the front and back, printed on super heavy weight but easy to write on stock. All capped off with rounded corners because, as Kellie said, “that’s no surprise.” Love me some rounded corners ;-)

Check them out in our Etsy store here or maybe pop over to our main store at shopdodeline.com – we’ve been doing some renovating there as well. Stay tuned, new holiday cards + a few other special items will be unveiled this week too!

Special thanks to Seastar Arts for the fabulous photography. You’ll be seeing her a lot this week too ;-)

What a summer it’s been! It’s already winding down in many parts of the country, although here in Charleston we’ll enjoy the heat for another month at least. Since it’s been a little while since I’ve “talked shop” here on the blog, I thought I’d share a bit about what’s been going on around here.

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Spring wedding season was pretty crazy, with what I think was a record number of wedding program fans leaving our little office in I’on. Kellie and I started to get a little overwhelmed and it was decided the time was right to bring in more help. That way we can get things done more quickly for our clients and everyone can feel a little less pressured.

Laurel started working with us a little over a month ago now, so if you call in or stop by, you just might have the pleasure of meeting her. She is a talented artist and such a great energy to have here in the office. As an entrepreneur who started this whole thing alone in my apartment, I have to admit it’s pretty weird sometimes when all three of us are here and the phone’s ringing and stuff is being made and people are stopping by. Those are sort of pinch-yourself moments – did I really start this whole thing??

At any rate, we are so ready for Fall season now with our little team. Lots and lots of pretty things to be made.

Speaking of upcoming things, I am so excited about the Wedding 101 Workshop we’ve cooked up with Amie from Elizabeth Grace Occasions. Back in January, on a SUPER COLD day when the heat was not cooperating in the office, I met Amie for the first time to network a bit. I mentioned in passing this idea I had about doing a little “general stuff you need to know” workshop for just engaged brides, and Amie was totally into it. I never would have actually gotten around to doing it if it weren’t for her! I guess that’s what makes her such a good event planner, huh? I’m just the designer ;-)

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And even better, we looped in my friend Allison who owns Spacecraft Studios, so we’ll be hosting it there. Have a friend who’s just engaged and wants to pick our brains for advice and work on a vision board? Hopefully, if it’s successful, we’ll do more in the future, but space is limited and right now this is the only one on the calendar! So sign up here if you’re interested.

I also attended the Good Business Summit this week, which was my first sort of “continuing ed” / conference sort of thing I’ve done formally as a business owner. It was hosted by Lowcountry Local First, an organization which we love and support. I’ll do another post about that in the next couple days with all of the amazing vendors speakers we got to meet.

Happy Friday friends!

I am in love with Christina Hewson’s art. I don’t feel I need to say much more than that and show you all of her beautiful images. It was such an honor to work on a clean, crisp website to allow her incredible art to take center stage. Check it out here if you’re interested – she sells prints!

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Happy Friday, friends!