It's Not Me, It's You

I had just shut off my computer and packed it away to take to the studio when a song came on my Pandora that I had never heard before. It was by Kesha and it was called “Praying.” I’ve never been a Kesha fan, and I’m not a huge fan of pop music, but this one felt like it was speaking right to me. If you have ever struggled with deep, dark pain, and felt the riptide of unforgiveness dragging you under the current, I urge you to give it a listen. It may just help you learn to float above the waves.

I have buried these feelings deep down inside me for most of my life, but over the past month, they were abruptly dug up and exposed to the world against my will, so I’m doing what I do best in hopes that my raw pain and openness will help someone else: writing about it. If my story touches just one person and speaks to them, my 26 years of pain will have been worth it.

My biological father doesn’t want me.

That one sentence outlines everything I have done, will do, have felt, will feel, everything I am today. It is harsh and all things negative and while it comes to my mind, daily, hourly, by the minute, haunts my dreams and makes me think irrationally, leaves me in depths of depression and has brought on thoughts of suicide, it has also defined who I am today. I am who I am because of what I’ve been through, and I keep pushing upward.

He knows me and knows who I am. He knows what I’ve done and accomplished. He knows how hard I strive to be the best version of myself at all times, no matter how exhausting it is. He knows how I push to try and live out what I preach: kindness, genuineness, love to all. He still doesn’t want me.

When I was 20 years old, I decided I wanted to meet him. My mother warned me, but I fought against her wishes, and I’m actually glad I did, despite what I feel toward him now. She was right about everything, but I needed to know for myself. Years of not feeling worthy of love, not understanding why someone who is supposed to be my parent, doesn’t want to love me, has shaken me in a way that only this particular circumstance can. But as I grow from this experience, I realize, “It’s not me, it’s you.” My heart is rubbed raw, but it’s beginning to feel again. To heal again. I refuse to let someone who doesn’t want me, to dictate how I live my life. So as I listened to this song by Kesha, and realized I wasn’t even crying, I realized that I just wanted to write it all down. I’m ready to forgive…not for him, but for myself. I’m putting my self first and I’m set on healing my own wounds. Forgiving someone who would never ask for forgiveness is one of the toughest things I have ever done. It makes me sick to my stomach and makes my insides turn, but I will forgive. I am better than harboring heartbreak.

I wrote the following excerpt a few weeks after he cut me from his life for good, when he forced our wedding to be canceled.


To Finally See The Sea

They say the eyes are the window to the soul. While I believe that to be true to some extent, I think even the kindest, calmest eyes can harbor a hurricane of destruction caused by rejection, pain, grief, heartbreak. Sometimes the most genuine people in the world, are exactly who they are, because of the painful lives they’ve led. The best way to make sure no one else goes through what you have experienced, is to educate them and lead by example.

I am a product of the people around me. Each of those who love me have given me a part of themselves in one way or another. Puzzle pieces that make up the larger picture of my life, all given to me by my family and friends. I am who I am, because of who they are.

From a young age I learned what it meant to pursue my dreams, no matter the obstacles. My mother became pregnant with me at the young age of 19. She raised me while also working full time to support the both of us. She didn’t get to go to college right away but graduated with honors when I was 10 years old. She had 2 children by this point, and pushed forward to make the Dean’s List. At age 42, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and won with flying colors while remaining a true rock for our whole family. She had strength I didn’t and courage I never thought I could muster, but she taught me how to stare fear in the eyes and challenge it to a dual with a smile on my face. I got all of that from her, but the only thing I got from you were my eyes.

When I was four years old my mom married a wonderful man. We didn’t see eye to eye most of the time, but as I grew up I learned to see that just because he was a tough man of few words, didn’t mean he didn’t love me as his own. He doesn’t say much but that’s okay; his actions have always spoken- yelled- louder. When I couldn’t afford new tires on my car and they were going flat every time I drove, he saved up and paid for it without my knowing. I tried to thank him and he wouldn’t take credit. That’s the kind of man he is. Sometimes when I’m explaining my family situation to someone new, I refer to him as my “step”father; not because he’s not my real father, but exactly because he is. We may not share blood but we share a bond that cannot be unhinged. He is the man who “step”ped up and he deserves every title of “Daddy.” For a few years, blinded by my desperation to have a connection with you, I thought that you had given me my entrepreneurial spirit. I later learned that wasn’t the case at all. THIS man, who pushed me to save my money and get a full time job at 15 years old, who helped me apply to jobs and who I have seen work 14 hour days at his own business for as many years as I can remember- THIS man gave all of that to me. All I got from you were my eyes.

Time and time again my fiancé has shown me what it means to truly love someone, with every ounce of his being. It was picking me up from our front lawn in a tear-stained heap and carrying me inside when I found out you had shut the door in my face, yet again. It was coming to find me at 2am on a week night because in a rampage of depression and self-loathing, I had snuck out and driven down the road contemplating suicide yet again because of the damage you had caused. It was asking me to marry him despite the baggage he knew I refused to let go of even though my body and mind were too weak to carry them, so he carried them for me, never making me let go, just encouraging me to for my own sanity. It is the way he stays positive and even-headed in every storm, when I allow my boat to be rocked ferociously.  It is the way he makes sure I know he loves me, because I constantly doubt that someone can possibly love me, after knowing that you refuse to. Relentlessly reminding me that I am wanted and loved, though I am sure I exhaust him with my constant questioning. He has shown me in infinite ways how he loves me and how to love others unconditionally despite my pain, but all I got from you were my eyes.

My mother- and father-in-law are relentlessly selfless. Each of them have dropped everything they were doing to help me when I was in need. Whether it was driving 3 hour round trip up to Charleston to tow my car back in the rain, spending 4 hours shopping at a wholesale bead show or working countless hours to help finish the bus, they never expect anything in return. They give and give and give, and just like Matt, remain positive and happy through it all. I have learned so much respect, so many life skills, and how to lend a hand to anyone who needs it without expecting recognition, from them. The only thing I got from you were my eyes.

My best friend has shown me how to unapologetically be myself in a world that pushed me daily to conform. He has shown me how to love all people without limits or expectations. My other best friend has shown me how to be good: a good person, a good friend, a good everything. She has a 100lb. heart of gold and kindness and light that has made me a better person by the truckloads. I learned to stay true to myself and make my own path in this world from my younger sister. Watching her blossom into exactly who she was always meant to be, is a reward within itself. My little brother has shown me how to give until I feel like I can’t give anymore, and then give keep giving anyways. These people all taught me how to be the best version of myself, at every chance I get, but all I got from you were my eyes.

You won’t be taking who I am with you this time. I’m anchored in my own sea, surrounded by my family and friends in lifeboats, just in case I ever feel like I’m going under again.  I grew up always wondering what I got from you and now I finally know the truth: The best parts of me were never found in you, and I’m thankful the only thing I got from you were my eyes.

CEO - Caretaking Essential Officer

Let me start off by saying that I am not a mother, nor do I plan to become one anytime soon. I am just a strong admirer and onlooker of all the mothers in my life. I don't have a first-hand experience in raising a child and being responsible for the entire life of another human, what a high-pressure job that is! I personally believe that mothers should get more than one day a year to be celebrated, dads too. We don't thank them enough for all they do for us in our adult lives, and we sure as hell don't thank them enough for cleaning our dirty diapers, chasing us around the house, rescuing us from drinking bleach, throwing ourselves on the floor crying when we didn't get that toy at Wal-Mart, showing up at ever softball game and yelling out our names for encouragement even though we were busy picking flowers off in right field. (Stolen experience from mine and my sibling's you ma!)

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Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself

In light of the recent social media blowing up craziness (hello, really not crazy at all. More like AWESOMENESS), I thought I'd introduce myself for all of the circaNewbies. Welcome the family! Take off your shoes and stay a little while. Tell me a little about yourself! In the meantime, I'll tell you a little bit about me.

My name is Kayla and I am the 26 year old co-owner of the jewelry company and vintage bus boutique, circa1910. Together with my fiancé, Matt, and our three rescue pups, we are trying to run the world (lol, jk) build a platform to encourage and instill self confidence in women. I am a huge advocate for empowering women and reiterating the fundamental fact: you are MORE than enough.

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Concrete Illness

One of my all-time favorite sights is to see a little flower or puff of grass growing through broken concrete. That small, delicate little flower pushed and pushed its way through a substance that even an 80,000 pound semi can't crack. How did it push through? It kept growing. It persevered. It prevailed. It was smothered by the weight of the world and it didn't stop until it saw the light of day.

I wanted to open up about something that I have kept hidden. I don't announce it on social media, I don't talk about it in regular conversation, and unless someone asks how I'm doing, I avoid the topic altogether.

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Learning to Swim

Today I bought a new camera. A beautiful, vintage-inspired mirrorless Fujifilm that I will have to teach myself to learn. It was very expensive and I had a mini panic attack when clicking the 'confirm purchase' button, but it was necessary, because I have issues with comfort.

I hate change. I hate learning new things that require effort, because I'm afraid of failure. I hesitate on nearly anything and everything and constantly question myself, my motives, my decisions.

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Jordan + Uri's Story - Custom Necklace Design

I was boo-hooing like a baby when I read the message that my sweet friend Jordan sent me a few months ago. My friend Taylor and I were headed out shopping and she looks over in her front seat (because I was being too quiet I presume) to find my face tear-stained and my eyes red and puffy.

"What is wrong with you?!" she asked jokingly, knowing I wasn't sad but more than likely crying over a baby sloth video I stumbled upon on Facebook.

"You have to listen to this's amazing..." I managed to stammer out through blowing my nose. Taylor looked at me like she had a bad taste in her mouth but also with a smirk on her face because she knows how emotional I get over sappy things (and puppies, let's be real.)

I read to her the story in the exact way that Jordan typed it out and that's how I'm going to share it with you all (with Jordan and Uri's permission of course.)

"I love old keys and locks, LOVE them. About 2 months after Uri and I started courting (yes that's the word he used) he gave me this old key on a leather strap. Nothing fancy, but I loved it. Wore it pretty much all the time. Sometimes as a necklace but usually as a bracelet."

"Fast forward to a Sunday in September 2009 and his amazing proposal. My ring was on an old english lock that his dad had given him. The key to get the ring off? It was the key he had given me way before hand, the key I had been carrying around without any clue what he eventually planned."

"It was awesome and special! Here we are about to celebrate 7 years married and the poor key has gotten some rough treatment. I don't wear it nearly as much, if at all. So you being able to transform it into something new will be a dream!"

Jordan had a few requests for the necklace:
•She wanted their birthstones, aquamarine and amethyst, incorporated
•Something copper, the traditional gift of the 7th anniversary
•Shades of blue and green
•The original leather cording (if I could figure out a way to incorporate it...which I did and I'm pretty proud haha!)

I toyed around with the design for a few weeks before I felt I had gotten it just right. I managed to incorporate all of her requests in a way that flowed nicely and all coincided, including using green amethyst instead of the more commonly know purple (That was my aha! moment). The necklace is fully adjustable from a short length to long, thanks to the original leather cording, and there are hints of copper as an accent throughout the cool, coastal colors.

I had a great idea to surprise Jordan by beading the bottom strand of different shaped vintage glass pearls into the morse code for their precious 1 year old daughter's name- Lorelei. Each letter was encased by the small copper beads.

(P.S. How gorgeous is the name Lorelei!?)

And here is the beautiful human being that is sweet Jordan, rocking her new necklace!

Thanks Jordan, for sharing your story and entrusting me with such a special and meaningful project!

A Touch of Whimsy

I love wearing something pleasantly unexpected. It's usually a really kickass piece of jewelry but every once in a great while I like to mix it up and throw on a favorite thrift store find.

Thrift stores are a mecca of under-appreciated awesome clothing. I've scored many great things among my 26 years and this skirt is in the top 10 of my list. It adds just a touch of whimsy and I kept it under the radar with a simple sleeveless sweater, gorgeous jewels and a leather belt. I also paired it with knee-high leather boots. 

Fun fact: most of the outfits circa1910 posts on Instagram include some sort of awesome thrift find!

I don't find things every time I go thrifting, and it usually requires a great amount of digging/searching (and hand sanitizer- just in case), but I live for the thrill nonetheless! A little thrifting tip I always use: if you find something great and don't know how to use/wear it right away, get it anyway and figure that out later. I can't tell you how many times I passed on things that I kicked myself afterwards. It's kind of like buyer's remorse...except the opposite. Of course...that 'trick' is probably the reason our attic is filled with projects and treasures and clothing I haven't found a use for yet 😜

On another note, this week has been quite the adjustment. My fiance, Matt, travels so much for his job during the holidays that I'm usually left to fend for myself. The first few days aren't bad at all. I usually clean the whole house, top to bottom, then revel in my accomplishment by relaxing for a moment on the couch then getting back to work. It always hits me just how much I miss him by day 3 though. Matt and I never, ever fight. Sometimes we disagree on small things but never have a cross word. We get along so well, it's just...easy. I don't think either of us ever feels like we need a break from each other so it's harder on me when he leaves because he's my best friend. I end up sharing the funny jokes I come up with to the dogs and they just don't quite have the same reaction...

Thankfully, these nearly 3 weeks apart from Matt have been made better by staying busy with circa1910 and a photoshoot with Kristen of The 2654 Project at my house on Tuesday. She stayed well past how long she intended to but I was beyond thankful for the human interaction- and with such a great friend! Love love love her! And I mean, just look at these photos she took a few weeks dreamy 😍  

P.S. SURPRISE! We're having a flash sale!! Take 20% off all website orders from now until Sunday at midnight! Use code: MerryChristmas at checkout.
Also use code: FREESHIP for free shipping on all orders over $75!

Outfit Details:

Top- Forever21
Crenoline skirt- Thrift store find for $5
Belt- American Eagle (sold out)
Boots- Born (sold out)
Necklaces- Hypnotized Necklace, Built to Last Necklace, Bold as Love Necklace

Beautiful photos by The 2654 Project, Bluffton, South Carolina

Army Green + Navy

I was too excited to stop by local coffee shop, Pluff Mudd, yesterday and grab a frozen treat before dinner. I threw together this outfit and had it on in about 3 minutes because basic pieces are my go-to and are always easy to dress up or down or mix and match.

The way I see it, clothing fades or goes out of style. You can grow out of it mentally and physically. The key is to spend less on clothing itself and instead, invest in quality accessories that will last you a lifetime. Shoes, belts, jewelry- it's all in the details. I'm not just saying that because I, myself, make jewelry. I have always been a firm believer that outfits are truly made great through the creative and clever use of add-ons.

For example, since my fiancee and myself are pretty big 'car people', say you go to a used car lot. You want a nice looking car but all of the ones there are fairly basic. They are exactly what you know you need but there's just something missing. You can pay more for an expensive looking car at a new dealership and break the bank, or you can buy a less expensive one, same quality, and modify it to make it match your personality. Add tinted windows, nice rims, maybe a paint job and there you have it! 

Same car, different perspective.

Would you believe me if I told you this whole outfit (minus the jewelry) cost less than $30?

Outfit and jewelry details are down below!

Shop the Look:

•Tee is American Eagle from their Soft & Sexy Collection and I got it on a big sale at an outlet mall. (Softest shirt you could ever own)
•Vest is a few years old from Old Navy and I scored this at a second hand store for $6. They don't have anything else similar but I found this one at Macy's that is on serious sale.
•Boyfriend jeans are also by American Eagle but I bought these at TJ Maxx for $16.
•Boots are made by Rocket Dog but I scored these at a thrift store, brand new, on sale for $2!!


Make it Better Necklace - Antique Coin
Middle Necklace Coming Soon to
•Bracelet coming soon to

Emerald Dream with a Hurricane Twist

My oh my, has it been a long week. Last Tuesday we found out we would be evacuating so instead of hitting hours of traffic the next day, we decided to drive through that night to my parents a few hours away from the coast. I threw everything I own (that's an exaggeration) into a suitcase and loaded down my car with every sentimental item I could think of in my time of panic (old family photos, my great-great-grandmother's sewing scissors, antique jewelry given to me by sweet friends, and of course these gorgeous Frye boots and many other pairs). I also brought with me nearly 20 pounds of jewelry!

The hardest part was the waiting. I knew the hurricane would hit early Saturday morning so I was beside myself trying to enjoy our 'hurrication' while also trying to push the thought of what we might come back to into the dusty, cobweb ridden corner of my mind of things I never thought would happen to me. We tried to stay in antique stores as much as possible so my mind would be busy focusing on buying trinkets to make pretty jewelry for you guys. That strategy worked about 50% of the time ;)

Thankfully, our house only managed to take on debris, fallen branches and lost power. Our back yard did flood about 2 feet but we had prepared and anything that may have gotten damaged was put up high on shelves in the garage before we left. 

One of my biggest concerns was losing Melvin the Mini Bus, but I am so happy to say that he weathered the storm and was a champ! No water damage, no fallen trees, no broken windows. What a trooper :)

We traveled back to Beaufort as soon as we were allowed to, exactly a week after we evacuated, and I cried when I pulled into the driveway. We had left our house 95% sure that we'd lose everything based on the predictions of Hurricane Matthew, and much to our surprise we were extremely fortunate to only have to clean up the yard. Many of our neighbors are dealing with massive amounts of damage to their homes and we are working diligently to help as many people as we can. (Sorry for the delay in answering emails/messages and shipping out orders...we have no power and limited internet and our post offices are still closed.) 

I can't help but feel guilty when people ask how our house fared...we didn't experience any damage that we can find. I know it's so terrible to go through a thing like this, but seeing strangers help and donate and feed one another in a time of crisis really puts the 'feel goods' back into my heart. I am so blessed to live in this sweet community that I call home.

I am thankful I got to spend so much time with my family and in my hometown of Augusta, GA. The downtown area there is filled with history and beautiful old buildings. I found this romper for under $30 so that made me a little happier. Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't think rompers are very flattering on anyone but this one fits like a dress and doesn't give me the dreaded 'granny booty' (as I so nicely like to call it.) I paired it with the Frye boots I got on a killer flash sale from, a vintage leather belt that was my grandmother's, and layers of circa1910, of course. Links to all outfit pieces are listed below.

Thanks for reading and following along with my crazy life! We are the only house in our big neighborhood without power (and extremely limited internet) so I'm off to wash my hair with freezing cold water and a flash light! ;) (Gotta find the humor in it- always!)


Shop the Look:


Change of Heart Bracelets in Solid Vintage Chain and Antique Buckle

Alexsis' Story

"Like every one, I struggle with common day anxieties and stresses but, unlike every one, I was chosen to tell my story and to overcome those problems. I was chosen because I was brave and I felt moved to apply to be a part of this beauty campaign; to be a part of something that showcases the light for which all of us have inside."

"My name is Alexsis Gladstone and I have pretty long tresses and big green eyes. These are attributes for which I’ve been given; things that make me pretty in our society. Certainly, I am grateful for what I have been blessed with but I also know that it can leave at any time. I didn’t have to work to be pretty on the outside but I have to work to be pretty on the inside. I don’t take pride in being told silly nothings about my looks but I do when they are about what others see in me; about when people comment on my kindness, gracefulness and caring heart. These make me happy because these are what I work hard to for. I work hard to be a genuine woman in a time of wishy-washy people. I work hard to be proud for standing strong for my God, myself and my family."

"Standing strong and being positive isn’t always easy. I’ve have been through—and overcome—many obstacles in my 21 years that have taught me the value of searching for light in a dark place. Someone that I love, care for and hold dear has been diagnosed with mental illness which has made me feel heartbroken and insufficient; has made me realize the truly important things in life. Within the last couple of years, I have struggled with pain in my abdomen and doctors who don’t wish to help; misdiagnosing me which, in turn, has left me to deal with it on my own. I’ve since lost my medical coverage so it’s been an uphill battle of good days and bad days. In the midst of this, my father was hurt on the job which then made him loose it; we then lost our home and
were technically “homeless” as we lived in a camper for over a year and a half at a local camp ground. During this time, I went to school (during both my Sophomore and Junior year at USCB) with a smile on my face and no one the wiser. I was a member (and a director) of a sorority on campus (and have since left because of the way it made me feel), inducted into a chapter of an English Honor Society at my school and maintained a job at Kate Spade for almost three years."

"This past summer has been a very uplifting time as my family and I finally moved to a home (in Savannah), was accepted as a writing-intern-turned-freelance-writing-position at a communications company and began my senior year. I also started a women’s bible study with a group of ladies at my school for which has given me an outlet to connect with other women who might be struggling, too!

Naturally, as a smiley person, I have come to realize the importance of a smile. I have come to understand that, though someone might seem to be happy on the outside, you never truly know what’s happening on the other side of that smile."

"This inner-beauty campaign has allowed me to take a look at who I am, to write it into words and to spread it out. I’m not pretending that telling my story will heal my wounds nor that my heart isn’t completely rubbed raw and open for all to see. But I am putting one foot forward in the hopes of allowing others to view what I’ve been through and then put their own stories into words so that they can see they are beautiful from their struggles, too; that they have overcome and will continue to without fail because they are strong of heart, mind and will."

Beautiful photos by The 2654 Project, Bluffton SC

Amber's Story

"Growing up in the Marine Corps came with a lot of sacrifices. Nine moves in 17 years.  Bouncing between schools, adjusting to yet another new neighborhood, making new friends and only to have to give it all up in two or three years. Making new friends every time we moved was the hardest for me. I was the typical shy, smart kid. When kids wanted to talk to me it was generally because they needed help with school work. I often ate lunch alone and would draw or read until next period. When we moved to Glenview, IL and I started high school, I decided to graduate a year early. I knew we would likely move in three years and hated the idea of starting over my senior year at a new school." 

"So I studied and worked at the school library during my lunch period for extra credit. I graduated in 2005 and just as I thought, we were due to move. Just a few months after graduation we moved to Beaufort and that was 11 years ago now. I went to USCB and earned my business degree. I barely made it through college. Traveling between the two campuses, long times between classes and I worked. It was incredibly overwhelming. After college I went into retail management and had great success there. I was the department/store flipper. If a department or store was struggling I was pulled in to help turn it around. I received a lot of praise and awards during this time. Even with all of my career success, I really struggled with being happy and confident in who I was and what I brought to the table. Surely all of the nice things being said by my bosses, my customers and all of the positive things I had received were just luck or because they were being nice to me, I had a terrible time accepting that I worked hard for what I had. It wasn't people feeling bad for me. I EARNED those things. It really wasn't until maybe 2 or 3 years ago that I really believed that." 

"Fast forward a few years and I made a transition from retail management to personal training, which was completely by accident. I wasn't an athlete. I had never ran a mile. This had brought on a fresh sense of self doubt. I studied like crazy and was fortunate to have met someone who worked at a community fitness facility that needed extra help. I worked at that club, and several other clubs, learning as much as I could from other personal trainers I admired and the business owners. I learned how to help people move more efficiently, reduce pain levels and improve their quality of life. Though I didn't realize it at the time, my clients helped me as much as I helped them." 

"Over the last four years I've worked so hard to get to the point where I run my own business. This is where it has all come full circle for me and I can see with such clarity. I didn't have a lot of friends growing up but I had my family. Because of them I am unshakable. I had fears and doubts about my worth and what I could contribute to the world. My clients remind me all the time how much better they feel because of our work together. Because of them, I am confident and know what I bring to the table. I wasn't an athlete growing up but because I worked hard at it and now I am strong."

 "I'm 28 and I'm just now getting to the point where I breathe easy. The fears and doubts of inadequacy are so far now. That isn't to say that they don't pop up periodically but now I have all of these wonderful people and experiences to remind me it's just a passing moment. For all of the women in my life, I feverishly hope that you, no matter your age, ethnicity, religion, race or orientation, learn to be unshakable. That you learn to feel confident. Not just in your skin, but in your soul. I hope you know that you bring so much more to the table than just your looks. That strength comes in many forms and you are so strong. I hope that you find a way to put aside your fears and doubts so you can use the fierceness I see in you and use it for whatever you are passionate about. Lastly, I hope that we all lift each other up and pull each other forward. It's because of the people in my life that have lifted me up, pulled and pushed me forward, that I have grown to be the woman I am today. If we all managed to do that for each other, I think the world would be a pretty remarkable place."

Beautiful photos by The 2654 Project, Bluffton, SC

Women vs. Women

This beautiful Sunday morning, I woke up like any other. As the sun peeked through the blinds of my window, I blindly fumbled for my phone over on the window sill. Call me a millennial (I'm not), but I always check my phone for new messages, emails, etc. before I even get out of bed. It's kind of my routine wake-up procedure. Like clockwork, Kayla has to check for messages.

Photo by The 2654 Project

Today was a little different as I began scrolling through Facebook, something I try not to do because I'll easily get sucked into the memes, dog videos, and occasionally, a dark emotional rabbit hole. Today's rabbit hole was a beauty advertisement for a natural skincare company. Doesn't sound so bad, right? It caught my eye because there was a beautifully tan, fit girl frolicking on a beautiful beach with blue waters and my first thought was, "Man I'd like to be at a beach like that!" My second thought was, "Woah she's pretty." No big deal.

I was actually slightly interested in the product so I clicked on the comment section to see if anyone had any insight. What I saw instead brought me to tears and horrified me just minutes after waking up.

"She looks great now but just wait till she is older, wrinkled and has to see a dermatologist"

"Heard of Melanoma ??"

"The product seems ok I guess, I wouldn't use it. But perhaps in the future, you could use a model with a more realistic and natural body type? This is not the representation of an average nor HEALTHY body."

"Wow. Will it also give me that ZERO BMI look as well?"

"She needs to eat"

"Damn she needs to gain some weight!"

And the worst of all, that I just couldn't ignore:

And so on and so forth. My heart broke into a million pieces for this poor girl. The beauty company tried to kindly reply to some comments and explain that she was Maorian, hence her dark skin tone. (I swear I don't understand the idiocracy of skintone shaming- those who do it can't get it into their thick heads that skintones aren't just brown and white, that there's hundreds and hundreds of varying colors in between yet  *gasp* we are all human!)

Next up, her weight. She had abs. She had healthy, strong looking arms. You could see a little of her breastplate but some bodies are naturally designed that way no matter how much the person weighs. So why were people tearing her down? I creeped on some of the nay-sayers. The women were often fuller-figured and some wore a lot of makeup.

Then it hit me, hard. Insecurity. When a woman feels insecure in her own skin, she is so quick to judge others aloud. We've all participated in this seamlessly harmless game. "Look what this girl is wearing!" we whisper to our friends, all the while thinking how you wish you looked like her. Giving a girl at a bar, whom you don't even know, a dirty look because she's smiling and laughing and flirting with some guys, dressed in a cute little mini dress and heels with long flowing hair and tan skin. She's confident and couldn't care less about your judgy eyes and it makes you angrier because you wish you had her confidence. We feel the need to tear others down when we ourselves feel less than good enough.

I started circa1910 because I loved making jewelry and loved the idea of the potential platform it could give me to speak out about self-confidence. I jumped full force into that mission when I saw how my mom's confidence was left crippled after a mastectomy for Stage 2 breast cancer. It broke my heart and allowed me to see the world through a different lens. I saw how plummeting confidence didn't just affect those with obvious physical inconveniences, but rather every single person I had ever known struggled in one way or another. I began picking up on the small comments I had never noticed before. Suddenly, "I need to lose 10 pounds" looked more like:

"I don't like my body." 

"I notice thin women everywhere I go. I wonder if my husband wished I looked like that."
"Maybe I should do a liquid diet for a few days." 
"I'm dreading summer because I don't want to wear a swimsuit."

circa1910 continues to spread love and body positivity because as women, the odds are against us. We buy expensive makeup to cover our skin instead of loving it. The media and clever marketing make us feel like we need this or that to be better. We buy nice clothing and namebrand everything because it makes us feel good, when in reality, you yourself are enough.

A little tough love: If you are not happy with your body, join the club. Most of us aren't. But don't you DARE be one of those people who makes someone feel bad about themselves so that you can feel better. That's not how it works. Be a good person, genuine, kind, intelligent, funny. Be YOU naturally, and confidence is sure to follow.

Inspiration Not Imitation

You are an original. Everything about you is unique. You are one-of-a-kind and created with a purpose in mind. Don't spend your days wandering about, following someone else's path just because you need a direction. Be patient. You will find your way, and you will go somewhere great.

When you choose someone else's path over waiting to find your own, nothing is genuine. You are imitating what someone else does, hoping to make it to your destination on false terms. You can recreate and copy every single move someone makes, but it will never be your own. Even if you do make it to their destiny, your life will be confusing and disorienting. You'll never know of all the great things you, and only you, were meant to do. People will only say, "Oh, that person is a copy, not an original." (There's a reason first edition books are worth so much more than the latter.)

Choose to stay true to yourself. Choose to remain confident in what makes you great and different. Choose to take inspiration from, but never imitate, other's journeys and what they do. We all have a divine destiny here on this earth; you will never be able to follow directly in another's footsteps to try and make it to yours. If someone inspires you, ask them questions. Let them know they inspire you and you would like to be taught. Don't work in the shadows, trying to keep your imitation a secret. Even the shadows will be revealed when the sunlight comes.

They say the grass is always greener, but yours just needs fertilizing. Take care of your own lawn, water it daily, tend to it, grow and develop it and you will go far. Abandoning your grass only means that when you come back to it (and you'll always have to come back to it), it will only be dried up and sparse. Don't let jealousy be the reason you leave your own lawn. Develop yourself, grow yourself.

Be happy for other's whose lawn is beautiful; it doesn't mean yours can't be too. Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. Inspiration, however, is.

Enough is Enough

Enough. The word alone has so many meanings and different variations. There's so many ways to use it, but this is how the dictionary defines it:

determiner & pronoun
  1. 1.
    as much or as many as required.
    synonyms:sufficientplenty, a sufficient amount, an adequate amount, as much as necessary

When we try to please other people, or society, we're trying to be good enough. The definition says 'as much or as many as required." When you read that a few times, you realize that the phrase 'good enough' is actually an insult. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be only what is required.

Why don't we strive to be better than enough? To be greater and stronger and wiser and happier and so much more than just good enough?

Women have this undeniable pressure to be perfect; not only from society but also from our peers and even other women going through the exact same thing. With the risk of sounding cliche, we are held to the standard of airbrushed skin and model-thin looks and are thought that we should always be on our A-game. We should know how to contour but no one cares if we know the periodic table by heart. We can read romance novels but we're 'too smart' if we choose to read an archaeology magazine or Wuthering Heights for fun. If we're married, we're expected to have babies. If we're not married, we should be. The pressure knows no bounds.

We aren't allowed to not wear makeup without the repercussions of "She looks tired" or "She doesn't take care of herself." We aren't supposed to work a full time job without also making sure dinner is cooked and the house is cleaned all the time. When we forget to shave our legs, we cover them and hide them in long pants, no matter how hot it is outside. We put ourselves through (sometimes) painful beauty rituals to appease the audience of the world. We are never good enough nor do we feel it. The most confident woman in the world still has people telling her what she should and shouldn't be. The difference is, she ignores them.

Last week I said something about a popular singer that has beautiful curly hair. It's wild and could easily be tamed if she chose to, but she doesn't. She rocks her curly hair, and rocks it well. My little brother (age 10) overheard and said "She's gross." I asked why he thought that, thinking there was something I didn't know. "Her hair is awful." This little boy is the kindest kid with the biggest heart and he'd truly do anything for anyone...and here he is telling me a woman he doesn't know is 'gross' because of her naturally curly hair. A woman that I have always admired and who inadvertently helped me start wearing my hair naturally curly because we have similar texture. "If she can rock it, why can't I?" I thought. It felt like he was insulting me, something he'd never purposefully do. Without realizing it, my innocent little brother has become a mold of society. A woman doesn't tame her naturally curly hair, so she is disgusting.

ENOUGH. I've had enough.

When someone feels inadequate, they often hurt others to feel better about themselves. I've been hurt by even the closest of family and friends hating on my body because I'm not what society demands. I'll tell you a secret I've learned, no one is perfect, and because of that, society will always nitpick and poke and prod until every woman is broken down and feels defeated. You can be immune to this disease if you look past the outside skin of people, and into their hearts. A beautiful woman can still be the ugliest person if she has an ugly heart.

You are not perfect. You are not enough. You are far greater than that and any other of society's standards. 

Enough is enough.

Birthday Celebration + Melvin the Mini Bus

It's been such a busy year so far that it wasn't until yesterday that I realized circa1910 is turning 3 years this month. Seriously, where has the time gone?! It seems like just yesterday I was working away with bandaged fingers and a passion for making women feel beautiful. Oh wait, that was yesterday.

I remember the days of working a full time job and coming home to go straight to work until 12 or 1 a.m. on jewelry and filling orders. I remember the day I quit my full time job that I loathed, to jump full force into my business. I was 23 and had no money. I lived off of ramen noodles (literally) and frozen taquitos. I remember going into a bead store and spending $30 and crying about it later because I couldn't buy groceries. I remember not being able to afford dog food for my Roscoe and cooking him up the last of my frozen chicken breasts from the freezer. I remember rationing out the gas in my car and hoping and praying I could make it to a store meeting 5 miles away. I remember my roommate picking me up off the floor, again literally, because I was too exhausted and depressed to move.

Roscoe keeping me company as I worked in a tiny hallway in our Charleston home.

I made money, but not enough to keep the business afloat and pay my bills. But I kept going. Bills were paid late, but they were eventually paid. I was stressed, my health took a sharp turn, but I lived. I cried most days, but I had my family and friends for moral support who dried my tears. I kept going. Despite my circumstances, I kept going.

And now, as the 3rd year marker of what is circa1910 approaches, I'm able to look back at how far I've come. When I first began circa1910, I hoped to make sales. I hoped to one day be able to quit my day job and run a business full time. I remember when I was younger, I participated in a beauty pageant (something I am against now, and this is partly why). I was asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I hadn't even thought of my answer before I confidently blurted out, "Successful. I want to be successful." They chuckled and pushed forward. "Yes, but what do you want to do to be successful?" I didn't know! I was 16 years old. How on earth was I supposed to know how I wanted to live out the other 80% of my life?! Why wasn't my answer good enough? Success, no matter what it's in or how you get there, is a great thing to achieve for. Whether you're happy doing book-keeping or washing windows, if you reach your goals, you are successful. And that is good enough.

This year has marked quite a few milestones. Last year, we ended up doing 3 times in revenue of what we did in 2014. This year, we are on track to do 2 times what we did last year! What an incredible feeling it is to know that the efforts you've made and all your hard work is finally showing. Of all the achievements, though, Melvin the Mini Bus makes me smile the biggest. My heart could explode with all the happiness this project is bringing and will continue to bring. All of the plans are being finalized and the designs are coming together better than I could have hoped. The flooring, cabinets, roof, design and layout, furniture, displays, paint colors and countertops have all been chosen and we are just trying to find the time to finish it all up!

I have dreamed of owning some sort of store for as long as I can remember. Although the items I would sell have changed over the last 10 years, the business aspect has not. I love owning a business. I love when people ask what I do because I get to talk about my baby without limits. And people love to listen! Others love to hear about our innovative project of renovating a vintage bus to turn into a mobile store. Matter of fact, UPS and FedEx drivers, neighbors and anyone driving by our house, have all asked to see the inside and eagerly ask what we're doing with it. I recently purchased 2 antique 1870s porch posts for the inside of the bus and the man selling them offered to deliver them to our house for free just so he could see the bus they'd be going in. I love that this project that has been pulling on my heart strings for so long, is pulling on others' too.

The past 3 years have been the hardest, but most rewarding years of my young life. Thank you, circa1910, for giving me a purpose and the ability to pursue my passion.

Thanks for reading and we'll see you on the road soon!


P.S. I'll be updating you all on the progress of Melvin, but in the meantime, follow him on Instagram! 


8 Things People Who Work From Home Wish You Knew

"I work from home." That short little sentence often comes with big backlash and sneering remarks. "Oh, so you don't have a real job." is often a reply and I have to hold in my temper and smile while explaining myself. Working from home has a a lot of great qualities. I love it and couldn't imagine going back to a 'normal' job, but it's not at all as easy as some would assume.  I may stay in a t-shirt and no pants while answering emails, but I also work longer days and my mind can't compartmentalize work from home. These 8 things will help you understand what I mean.

1) I don't just sit around all day. 

I work, just like you. I get up, make coffee, sit down and answer emails then plan all I need to do for the day. Instead of working in a certain position, I do it all. This is a one woman show, folks! On Facebook once I said how nice the weather looks. Someone replied, "Oh it's beautiful here too. Enjoy it for all of us working for the man." Um...I would if I could. I said it looks nice, from behind my computer screen and out the window. Most days, I don't even know the temperature because, surprise! I can't leave the house when I want.

2) I can't just take breaks when I want to. 

If I need to go shopping for supplies, I usually have to plan the trip a day or two ahead of time. Even going to the post office requires planning. I constantly have a long list of things to do and to interrupt that schedule is most times impossible without some repercussions.

3) I have a hard time separating work from personal. 

When my boyfriend gets home from work, I'm usually still working. I keep going like the energizer bunny and I can't control when I do or don't think about work. My brain is 90% business, 5% food and 5% everything else. When you run your own business, especially from your home, finding out how to cut ties with it after hours is daunting. Sometimes I dream of going to a 9-5 job so I can have free nights and weekends! For most, once you leave the office, you leave all work thoughts behind as well. Not us work-from-homers!

4) I can't call in sick. 

Even if I feel like Jesus himself is coming back to take me away and I look like an extra on the set of The Walking Dead, I can't call in sick. I have too much to do and no one to take my place. Becky from accounting can't fill in for my daily duties and have everything run smoothly like a 9-5. I am it. I am Becky from accounting. I'm also the CEO, the janitor and the intern named Tim who just graduated and invited Becky to his house party this weekend. I am everyone in every position.

6) I have no human interaction. 

None whatsoever during the day. I look forward to when my boyfriend comes home from work and I can talk to him in a normal voice, as opposed to the high pitched baby voice I use with our 2 dogs. When he is out of town for work, which is pretty often, I do everything but lose it. Being by yourself all day every day has a way of taking a toll on you and making you feel depressed. I usually put on loud music and open the windows while I work but there's something about small talk that makes you feel human. Believe me, I'd much rather talk to Becky about what fishnets she'll be wearing to Tim's party than to my dogs about taxes.

7) Let's be real. I don't sleep in until noon. 

I don't sleep in at all. I wake up like I would for a normal job and work until the evenings. This does vary for a lot of people though. It's just my thought but I believe successful people don't sleep in. They put in hours like everyone else. Feel free to have your own opinions of this though!

8) I forget to take lunch break. 

Every Single. Day. Even right now as I write this post, my stomach is turning with hunger because oops! I forgot to eat breakfast. When my boyfriend gets home from work, one of the first things he says is, "Did you eat lunch today?? Please tell me you ate lunch today. You can't keep doing this." In all honesty, I get so caught up that I just forget! Sometimes I'll scarf down a granola bar and a banana but I'm usually starving by the time he gets home. I know it's unhealthy but to take a break means I'll be behind on one thing or another. I have tried setting an alarm every day but it does no good. I wish I had a scheduled break!

Even though I'm a (hungry) workaholic and exhausted most days, even though I forget to text back because you texted while I was working, even though I'm underpaid and never invited to Tim's house parties, I am happy. This is what makes me happy and I couldn't imagine a job doing anything else. "Entrepreneurs are the only people willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40."

Rhinestone Ruby

When we participate in local festivals and events, there's always one question that gets asked more than any other.
More than, "What is the story behind the name?" and "Where do you get your inspiration from?" and "Do you really make all this??" is a more daunting question that I struggle to answer.

"Where do you get your vintage pieces from?" Such a simple question but with a very complex answer. Many times I want to say, "If I tell you, I'd have to kill you" but strangers don't always realize I'm joking and it's not fun when I'm laughing and they're looking at me like I fell off the looney wagon. (Please excuse the 'vintage' slang- I was partly raised by my grandmothers.)

So how do I answer that question without giving away my secrets? If everyone knew where to find forgotten and cast-aside jewelry, wouldn't everyone being doing something with it? With vintage truly coming back into style (I mean really though...when did it every go out of style?), vintage jewelry has become a hot commodity. How do I answer hundreds of people who ask and not lie to them? Or avoid giving them a vague and boring answer like "oh, um, just around." With every part of our company being so well-curated and thought-out, how can I keep people interested in my treasure hunts without giving away all of the details to our unique jewelry line?

I have come to realize that it is very simple, I tell them about the people I meet rather than the places I go. This story happened in June of 2015 and it is my very favorite to tell, because no matter how great of a story-teller I am, I simply can't make this up.

I received a phone call from an elderly lady, whom I came to find out was named Ruby, or Ms. Ruby as my Southern heritage would call her. She told me that she had read an article about circa1910 in the local paper and had called one of my retailers to get my phone number. Ms. Ruby was 89 years old and lived in the town over. She explained to me that she had a whole box of old rhinestones (!!!) that she didn't think she could do anything with anymore. I agreed to meet her the very next day and when I asked where she would like to meet, she replied, "What about Cracker Barrel?" Already I knew that this was my kind of lady.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I looked for her tan car, as she had told me to. When I found her Buick LeSabre parked in a spot near the front, I nervously approached, not wanting to scare her. I knocked on the window and she greeted me with a hearty hello and a great big smile. She had driven herself there and was a firecracker of a lady. I couldn't believe this beautiful elderly woman with so much character and spunk was 89 years old! How wonderful! We talked and talked like old friends for nearly an hour as I pulled out each rhinestone piece with wide eyes and a full heart. She told me story after story about some of the pieces and her eyes lit up with each tale.

Some of them belonged to her mother. Some of them she had collected herself. Most of them, however, she bought 20 years prior from a 90 year old lady at the time. My mind swelled with the thought of all the hands and hearts these pieces have touched, and how many they will continue to touch through circa1910. She had been hanging onto these rhinestones and brooches and pins for this long and I was so honored she chose to sell them to me.

So now when I get asked the age old question of "Where do you get your vintage pieces from," I smile and think of the lovely souls like Ms. Ruby that I've met on this journey, who have made my life sweeter and my job better than I could have ever imagined.

Pictured: one of the iridescent rhinestone brooches from Ms. Ruby. It was missing a stone but has been repaired and is awaiting its new owner who will love it as much as I do. Double strand necklace with vintage tan stone beads

1 Year Breast Cancer-Free Cake

I decided to make a cake to celebrate my mom and this awesome milestone!

-Chocolate cake from Food Lion
-Barbie doll from the dollar store, made her dress into a two piece and sewed her a little bra
-Icing pen from Hobby Lobby
-Fondant polka dots turned into little boobies by pairing them up and adding little icing dots

Savannah, GA- The Hauntingly Beautiful Bull St. Mansion

We took a day trip down to Savannah to do some treasure hunting for circa1910. Amongst the many antique stores we visited, Alex Raskin Antiques on Bull Street was, by far, the most memorable.

Imagine being able to walk into the supposedly largest mansion in Savannah. Not only that, but it is also un-restored. Paint peeling and wallpaper revealing layer underneath. Grand chandeliers accompanied by crystal doorknobs and cobwebs. Now imagine that you are pretty much alone in this huge Victorian house (because it truly feels that way, it's so large), with remnants of the past piled high around you, literally. Furniture that dates back to the 1400s is piled on top of each other but doesn't even remotely begin to reach the 20+ foot ceilings. Now imagine that you are able to venture into nearly all aspects of the house, basement to attic. Except there is no attic. Instead, there's a tiny hidden room about 4ft by 4 ft that has a panoramic, decorative window-filled view of nearly all of Savannah. This, is Alex Raskin Antiques. If you're ever in the area, make sure this is a priority on your list. Don't forget your camera! And don't forget that you are probably never truly alone in this house...After all, Savannah is one of the most haunted places in the United States. 

Here's just a few of the hundred or so pictures I took while venturing about this incredible place. 

Have you ever been to this hauntingly beautiful mansion? What did you think? Did you have any ghostly encounters? I'd love to know your experience!

Black, White & Coral

Top: T. J. Maxx
Shorts: Kate Spade 'High Waist Short Shorts'
Shoes: House of Harlow 1960 'Teagan Slingback Sandals' (Regularly $195 and sold out everywhere, I found them at T. J. Maxx for $79!)
Bracelet: Wild Thing Bangle by circa1910; Vintage bangle with elephant silhouettes featuring brass, mother of pearl and horn.
Necklace: Vintage black crystal rosary with real, gold-dipped leaf pendant. Not yet listed on the website; email to purchase. $128 with an additional 30% off through Mother's Day!

Out Takes: