Traveling Magpie Boutique is an ever-evolving conceptual project in which a lifestyle store interacts and responds to the world in which it is situated. It is born from the belief that our inner worlds and our surroundings reflect one another, and the desire to spread joy through beautiful everyday objects. From the clothes on your back to the quilt on your bed to the books you read, form does not have to be sacrificed for function. It is also born of the belief that to whom much is given, much is expected, and it is a joy to be able to share our abundance.
Traveling Magpie Boutique, and the desire to surround myself and others with beauty came about during a time when my life circumstances were frightening and precarious. It felt anything but beautiful.
During the summer of 2014, I became sick with a mystery illness that impacted my daily life severely, but I continued on with my work as a freelance writer to the best of my abilities, limiting it to less than half my normal workload. By November, I was diagnosed with mast cell activation disease, which was debilitating all on its own, but in late March of 2015 a secondary diagnosis of severe idiopathic peripheral neuropathy was added to the mix.
And then I couldn’t work at all. I was so sick that my wife could no longer leave me to go to work, and after using up all of her FMLA time, she resigned from her university job in order to take care of me. Blessedly, my wife is one hell of a writer, networker, and entrepreneur, and she quickly established herself as a one-of-a-kind writing group facilitator, a job she could do from our bedroom or the hospital, and has been keeping our family afloat as the sole provider.
For months I was too sick to even think about working. I was so sick that people who love me were afraid I was dying. After much praying, meditating, and more than a few tears, I started to gain back the 35+ pounds I had lost. With the right pain medications, I stopped spending my days curled up in a ball breathing along with meditation cds. I started to feel hopeful again.
Because I love to work, and my work has always been such a huge part of my identity, it was one of the first things I started to think about as I started to feel more like me.
You may wonder why I’m telling you about my health on a website that is dedicated to fashion, design, and other lifestyle topics, and will soon be home to an online boutique as well. I’m telling you because it’s part of my story, and it is important for us to go deeper than the newest shade of lipstick or kitchen decor. These things matter, but they don’t matter in a vacuum.
From the time I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to do two things. I wanted to write, and I wanted to own a store. I pursued writing, but more often than not, it was writing for other people’s needs that paid my bills. I never pursued opening a store, because I believed that it was impractical, and that other people would find my deep love of fashion and home decor superficial.
It took getting terribly sick to make me pursue my dreams. But I received the message loud and clear. We are here to share our gifts with the world, and the best way to do that is by giving our all to what we love.
I’ve stopped writing other people’s stories. I’m writing the novel that has been begging me to finish it for years.
And I am opening TMB, the boutique I’ve always wanted. I’m still in the process of getting well. I don’t qualify for a business loan. This means that I may have to go slowly at first, and I’m definitely going to have to get creative.
TMB will start as an online boutique, and I’ll only be able to feature a handful of products at first. As it grows, my dream is to expand to the point where I can purchase the TMB RV and the Traveling Magpie Boutique will hit the road, doing pop-up shops across the country. And someday, maybe we’ll even have a traditional brick and mortar store front. But it’s the traveling part that is key.
It is also my dream to buy at least some of my merchandise from independent artists of all stripes, and to eventually reach the point where everything TMB carries is purchased directly from the artists who made it.
If you’d like to help me make my dreams come true, please click the Paypal donation button on this page and contribute whatever amount you feel called to give. Nothing is too small.
Follow along as I write about the boutique’s growth and evolution on the blog! I’ll be updating it frequently throughout the process.