Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Southern Spotlight: What is Matilda Jane? (April Release Info Inside!)

Logo is property and courtesy of Matilda Jane Clothing

If you haven't heard of Matilda Jane you might be living under a rock. This little company has grown exponentially over the past few years and the product is adorable. The clothes are cute, girly and trendy. When I decided to do a post on about Matilda Jane,  I knew exactly who to talk to: Amy Williams, Matilda Jane Trunk Keeper. She decided to become a trunk keeper not only to share the product with her friends but to earn free merchandise for her own little girl.

If you don't have a little girl, don't worry. There are entire product lines for women, baby, tween, and home decor. According to the company founder, Denise DeMarchis "It's all about keeping a little girl... a little girl. Keeping her youthful. Keeping her spinning and twirling and carefree. And most importantly, bringing her happiness."

The clothes are whimsical and unlike anything I've seen in stores. A few of the adorable products currently available:

Photo is property and courtesy of Matilda Jane. 

Photo is property and courtesy of Matilda Jane. 

Photo is property and courtesy of Matilda Jane. 

As you look through the web page and product line, some of the items may look familiar. Joanna Gaines dresses her girls in a Matilda Jane and even launched her own line with the company a few years ago. 

Photo is property and courtesy of Matilda Jane. 

Photo is property and courtesy of Matilda Jane. 

Photo is property and courtesy of Matilda Jane. 

Photo is property and courtesy of Matilda Jane. 

Shop with Amy Williams, Matilda Jane Trunk Keeper!

Amy's Matilda Jane Web Page
Amy's Facebook Matilda Jane Private Group

If you're within driving distance, contact Amy and set up a merchandise preview!

I hope you are enjoying my blog!  Share this post with 
your friends and family (it's so easy!).

From our home to yours,

Wendy Q
CEO, The House of Qs

Keep in touch!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Azalea Trail Maids- Behind the Scenes with Dressmaker Susan Finizola

Photo is property and courtesy of Susan Finizola. 

Meet Susan Finizola. She is an official dressmaker/seamstress for the Azalea Trail Maids organization in Mobile, Alabama and has been involved with the group for the past 22 years. Starting as an adviser in 1996, Susan has served the trail maids as well as the Mobile community by volunteering her time and many talents.  I see no signs of Susan slowing down!

Photo is property and courtesy of Susan Finizola. 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Susan over the phone and believe me when I say, she is delightful! She is so forth-coming and eager to share her knowledge and experience about the trail maids but also the history of Mobile. Susan has a fun and bubbly personality and has a very creative life and  career. My original schedule of a twenty minute interview quickly went out the window. I think we ended up talking for almost an hour!

If you aren't familiar with the Azalea Trail Maids or how the organization works, click here to read my most recent blog post about the trail maids.  An earlier blog post about the maids can be found here. 

The Dress-Making and the Details

Susan usually has two or three girls per year but has had as many as six. Depending on the details of the dress, it takes up to five weeks to make/fit and finish a dress and the accessories. Each dress is custom for each maid and has specific criteria that must be met regarding the basic design and color according to the organization's standards and policies.  For example, the final/finished dress must be exactly 4 inches off the floor and the ruffles on the sleeves must be 6 inches in width.

Trail maids are required to purchase the dress from a seamstress affiliated with the organization as well as matching accessories which include: gloves, bloomers, cape, hat, parasol and of course, the hoop. The average cost for the dress and accessories is north of $5,500. it goes without saying that a trail maid as well as her family/support system must be dedicated to the process and overall program.

Here is a picture of Susan with two of her girls during the hoop fitting a few weeks ago.

Photo is property and courtesy of Susan Finizola. 

During our conversation, Susan informed me of rules, regulations and procedures for the organization but you could hear the smile on her face when she talked about getting to know "her girls", traveling with them and being a second momma to each during the year. She spends a large portion of her free time volunteering with the organization and helping these young ladies develop character traits such as charm, enthusiasm, leadership and responsibility.

I hope to bring you more behind-the-scenes Azalea Trail Maid info soon! In the meantime, visit the official Azalea Trail Maid Facebook page and get to know the 2018-2019 court. Each week, a different girl is featured including current achievements and future professional goals.

From our home to yours,

Wendy Q
CEO, The House of Qs

Keep in touch!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Southern Spotlight: Good Aura- Sustainable Women's Wear ~ Beaufort, South Carolina

Photo is property and courtesy of Melinda Henrickson. 

Small business owner, Melinda Hendrickson and I met almost a decade ago when we were classmates in Leadership Beaufort. At that time, she and her family were in the process of adopting a sweet baby girl from Ethiopia. Prior to knowing Melinda, I knew that I liked her. She gave off a good "vibe".  How appropriate that Melinda would name her small business "Good Aura". 

When Melinda decided to open a small business, she set out to make an impact not just locally to Beaufort, South Carolina but also on a global scale.  It's not enough to just open a store on main street USA; she wanted to make a huge difference. 

Melinda is offering a unique service via Good Aura: she is providing sustainable goods, at affordable prices all while boosting the local economy and investing in fair trade initiatives worldwide. I told you she was good people. :)  And you thought Good Aura was just "little" boutique. 

Located in historic downtown Beaufort, South Carolina, Good Aura offers sustainable goods from all over the globe. I love the boutique's tagline: Do good. Look good. Feel good.  Not a Beaufort local? Shop Good Aura online at your own convenience. 

Here's a few of my favorite products currently available from Good Aura: 

These gorgeous handcrafted earrings made by young women escaping human trafficking. $24

Courtesy of

Below, the Luxe Wrap Dress is an easy addition to your closet and comes in rock, black, and navy.  Made with organic cotton, low-impact dyes by Fair Trade Artisans.  $79.20

Courtesy of

I'm also loving the Debre Wallet, handcrafted in Ethiopia and large enough to hold an iPhone 6 Plus. $58

Courtesy of

Bring some "good aura" into your life. Stop by the brick and mortar if you can. Follow along on social media and shop online. I have a feeling that huge things will come from this little boutique. 

Facebook: @shopgoodaura
Instagram: @shopgoodaura

Brick and Mortar: 221 West Street Beaufort, South Carolina 29902
Phone- 843-263-8856

From our home to yours, 

CEO- The House of Q’s
Keep in touch!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Short Hiatus

If you have missed my blog posts, thank you. I have missed you as well. If you didn't notice I had taken a little siesta, well that's OK too. 

A very brief explanation... 

Between September and December 2017 diabetes almost killed me (not literally but it did throw my life out of control) as did the devil flu of 2017. Over the period of four months, I was in the ER/hospital six times. I'm tired of doctors. I'm tired of tests. I'm tired of hospitals.  

I have missed blogging and sharing my ideas/life, etc. with you and I hope to be back in the swing of posting next week. I have a calendar of posts planned and hope that you will follow/share the blog with your friends and family. 

From our home to yours,

CEO- The House of Q’s
Keep in touch!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

UPDATE: Azalea Trail Maids 2018-2019 Court Selection

And here they are...
Your Mobile Azalea Trail Court 2018-2019!!

Photo is property and courtesy of Mobile Azalea Trail Maids. 

The Azalea Trail Maids are a right of passage to young adult women in Mobile, Alabama and the group dates back to the 1920's. Over the past several years, I have followed the application and selection process as well as final court choices and each year, I become more intrigued in this special group of young women. 

At the very heart of this program is a desire to serve and bring pride to the great state of Alabama. Southern girls are taught at a very early age that it's both a duty and pleasure to serve our committees and make our world a little better each day. The Azalea Trail Maid program instills this tradition and obligation in a whole new generation of girls. 

The large, initial application pool of 250 is cut to 100 girls by representatives from area high schools. It is then that out-of-town judges decide the 50 who will represent the Azalea Trail. The 50 girls are notified via US Mail (I love that!).

A few nights ago, the Meeting of the 100 was held and the candidates are in full interview mode. The interview process is famously difficult and challenging and can include questions relating to current events, the girl's resume, career goals, national/world issues, social change or Mobile history.

The 2018-2019 Court selection will be announced in mid-December.
 Be sure to check back on this blog for court updates. 

Becoming a Trail Maid is a family affair. Many of the mothers of Trail Maids have a “Trail Room” in their homes. Each girl receives a wooden holder to display the dress along with a hat, parasol, gauntlets, cummerbund, a bow with a sash, pantaloons, a long-line bra, shoes dyed to match the dress and a faux fur-lined cape (for cold weather). As you can imagine, many mothers also served as Trail Maids and want their daughters to carry on the tradition.

As with anything of quality, all of this does come at a cost. The dress alone starts at $3,000 (for a base model) and girls try to get on a seamstress’ dress list four years before even applying or being accepted to be a Trail Maid. Each dress is unique and takes roughly 200 hours to create and weighs 40-50 pounds.

Although the colors of each dress are assigned randomly and are separated into five groups of 10 (blue, green, yellow, peach and lavender), the queen is assigned the lone pink dress of the group.  One of the many benefits of being chosen to wear the pink dress is a full-ride scholarship to Auburn University. 

Enjoy the pictures below which are provided by the Mobile Azalea Trail Maid Program. 

Photo is property and courtesy of Mobile Azalea Trail Maids Organization. 

Photo is property and courtesy of Mobile Azalea Trail Maids Organization. 

Photo is property and courtesy of Mobile Azalea Trail Maids Organization.

Photo is property and courtesy of Mobile Azalea Trail Maids Organization.

From our home to yours,

CEO- The House of Q’s
Keep in touch!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Best Holiday Binder/Organizer- FREE!

The chaos of the holiday season is upon us. I do my best to start planning early for decorations, gifts, pictures and travel during the holidays.

In my ADHD mind, I have to do things in sequential order and also have everything written on paper. Electronic/digital planners and reminders are just fine for some people and I use them as a back up but if I don't write something down, it isn't real in my brain.

Each year, I search high and low on the web for a holiday organizer that fits my needs. This year's organizer has 27 total pages can be printed in black/white or color.

This organizer comes from Laura over at and meets every criteria and need on my list.

This graphic is property and courtesy of

When you click on the link, the organizer will open in PDF version. You can choose which pages you would like to use. Simply print the pages you want to use and add to a binder. Laura even included a binder spine printable! I love attention to detail.

To get the 2017 Holiday Planner from, please click here.

How do you get (and stay) organized during the holidays? I would love to know your tips and tricks so please share! 

From our home to yours,

CEO- The House of Q’s
Keep in touch!

Monday, October 30, 2017

21 Things That I Know for Sure

Tomorrow I turn 41 and this is officially my last post as a 40 year old person. I won't lie; it's been a rough year. There's been ups and downs (a lot of downs it seems) but I'm not complaining. 

Everyday is a gift and I'm glad to be given another day, month, year, etc. 

A few of my high school friends were commenting on a Facebook post yesterday that everything on the body goes down hill at 40 (I can testify that is correct). In my 40th year, I learned I have diabetes and it has effected every part of my body. My body chemistry has changed completely. 

So, this is 40...

Being 40 is liberating and exhausting at the same time. Staying home is a reward not a punishment. Watching TV with my my honey is my idea of a good time. Having three dogs to love is one of the best gifts I've ever received. 

What I know for sure:

1. I am becoming my mother (step by step). 

2. When I'm tired, I take a nap and my perspective on life changes. 

3. I'm no one's fool. 

4. I've learned to always opt for the more comfortable shoes. It's a little gift to myself every         day.

5.  My bladder is getting weaker. That's right; I said it. Gravity is already having her way              with my bladder.... and other girly parts. 

6. I cherish the time I have with my husband and our dogs. We will never have this time              again and my husband is truly my best friend.

7.  My backbone is stronger than steel. I fight for what I love and believe.

8.  Getting up off the floor is harder than it used to be. So is recovering from the flu/a hang         over, etc. 

9.  Kids really do grow up too fast.

10. The waxing lady at the nail salon/beauty shop can be your best friend or worst enemy.           Opt for best friend. 

11. Menopause is a real thing.

12. Diabetes serious business. 

13. When in doubt, I don't dress up. I just don't go. 

       13 a. When making any decision, if there's a pause or a sense of uncertainty/worry,                        always go with your gut. You have to live with the decision. 

14. Don't let anyone pressure you into a decision. They are usually the one who benefits            and you pay for it. 

15. Always give good gifts to others. Don't re-gift and expect the recipient to be elated.                 They know you re-gifted even if you don't think they know. 

16.  Drama is unnecessary and usually caused by a troublemaker/drama queen. Avoid both          as needed. 

17. When older people give me advice, I listen and ask questions. 

18. Parents mean the world. Cherish them. Call them and tell them how much you love              them. 

19. I'm learning to sew. Sewing is really hard and takes an incredible amount of time. 

20. Don't call little girls "divas". It's not a compliment. Tell her she is smart, creative, great at math or an excellent reader.  Remove diva from the American lexicon. (let's start this one today). 

21. Always buy low and sell high. 

Here's to another trip around the sun that is full of fun, great surprises and success!

Oh, and Happy Halloween! 

From our home to yours, 

CEO- The House of Q’s
Keep in touch!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Warm & Toasty is Here Again!

Henry County, Georgia is a special place. My community is full of caring, compassionate and dedicated citizens who truly want the best for the area. These caring citizens spend countless hours volunteering with local agencies and civic groups as well as organizing events such as Warm & Toasty.   Yasna Grainger, the creator of Warm & Toasty is a dedicated citizen of Henry County and one of those people who doesn't turn a blind eye to needs in the community. Yasna was featured on the blog a few months ago and you can see the post about her small business here. 

Yasna started Warm & Toasty seven years ago by placing a red wagon on her porch and asking friends and neighbors for donations of new winter hats, gloves, scarves, undies and socks. The small, red wagon still has a place on Yasna's porch however, dozens of area businesses have participated in the event over the past seven years and additional partners have stepped in and joined forces.

If you are local to the area and would like to donate to this effort, drop-off locations are listed below. If you are not local to Henry County, feel free to contact me and we can make arrangements for your donations. Collection dates for Warm & Toasty 2017 are November 1-24.

Please donate today!

From our home to yours, 

CEO- The House of Q’s
Keep in touch!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Why I'm Watching "The Vietnam War" on PBS (and why your should too!)

My handsome daddy in the late 1960's. Picture taken somewhere in Vietnam. 

By now, I'm sure you have heard of the new PBS documentary series "The Vietnam War". If you haven't, you should Google it now.

Over nine million military-service members served in the Vietnam War. This war touched (and continues to touch) millions of individuals and families who have never physically stepped foot into the country of Vietnam.

My dad served in Vietnam and it's a war that my mother continues to emotionally/psychologically fight to this day. She should get PTSD pay because she was my dad's caregiver, in my opinion. He passed almost 12 years ago due to Liver Cancer and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma caused by his exposure to Agent Orange from his time in Vietnam. You should read more about Agent Orange and learn more about the large numbers of soldiers who were exposed to the chemical as well as the side effects not only to the vet, but to their children/grandchildren.

Image result for vietnam war pbs
This photo is property and courtesy of PBS. I do not own this photo.

The series currently running on PBS, "The Vietnam War" is life-changing, intriguing, thought-provoking and a thousand other adjectives that could never give it the proper and due description. In my career, I've been lucky to work with veterans, young and old, from all different backgrounds and of all ages.

Without fail, I see my dad's face and his eyes in every vet. Every single one. 

When I look into the faces of these men, there's something haunting and dark behind their eyes. They've seen things that no person should ever have to see. They carry the memories with them for the rest of their lives.

We have this incredible opportunity to gain understanding about the Vietnam War, the troops, the enemy and even the men who declared the war, like never before.. We owe it to ourselves, our ancestors who fought, and future generations who may never fully understand the impact of the conflict (or its affects on our society) to watch, learn and try to comprehend this war.

Please take the time to watch this series even if you can only watch one or two episodes. There are several convenient ways to watch which can be found here.

Numerous trailers are available for the series and I have included one below.  Once you have finished watching the series, or even an episode, I would love to know your thoughts and take-aways. What was your perspective before watching and after?

From our home to yours, 

CEO- The House of Q’s
Keep in touch!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Southern Spotlight: Mercantile on Main Hampton, Georgia

In this edition of Southern Spotlight, I bring to you a new business in Hampton, Georgia and the sweetest store owner, Chrissy Adams. I learned about Chrissy and her shop, Mercantile on Main via Facebook and also from a word-of-mouth referral. 

It's an honor to celebrate and help spread the word of new and local businesses. I'm thankful that Chrissy is open for business and is right up the road from my house in McDonough, Georgia. 

Name: Chrissy Gasses Adams, owner of Mercantile on Main, Hampton, Georgia.

Describe yourself in five words. Mother, wife, busy, devoted, and eager. 

Describe your typical day. I wake up early, get my five year old ready for school and my 10-month old ready for the day and head to the Mercantile. My day is consumed with staging/straightening the store, school pick-ups, feeding kids, helping with homework, and spending quality time with my kids and husband. I try to fit some laundry or dishes somewhere in between.

You just opened a small business called "Mercantile on Main". What motivated you to become a business owner? I have always wanted to open a home decor store because I love all things home decor! I saw the building in downtown Hampton, Georgia and it happened to be up for lease. Everything fell into place.

Tell me and (my readers) about your business. My business is about giving customers any and everything they would need to furnish and decor their homes to give it a farmhouse feel without breaking the bank.

Take a look at some of the gorgeous inventory that is currently on hand in the store. I took these pictures a few weeks ago during the Grand Opening for Mercantile on Main. 

I love this chair! Can you imagine two of these on either side of a fireplace or picture window? 

If only I had an actual dining room in our town house... #TheStruggleIsReal

This couch is to die for! 

If you have never smelled a candle from the Park Hill Candle Collection, you don't know what you're missing! Run, don't walk right in to Mercantile on Main and grab a couple of these candles. They make great gifts for the birthdays or for the upcoming holiday season. You will want to grab a few for yourself too! 

I love how the candles are displayed. Not your typical cardboard display shelf for sure!

Chrissy also added the following pictures of new fall decor currently available in the store. I can really see using the majority of these pieces year round. 


 What advice would you give to a woman who is interested in starting her own small business? If you're able to, don't let anything stop you, just go for it. Have a great support system and try not to beat yourself up over small things along the way.

How did you discover your passion (if you have discovered it)? I picked it up along the years, but didn't really consider it a passion. I just knew I enjoyed decorating homes and received a lot of compliments on my own decorating skills. Before long people were asking for my opinions and help with their own homes.

Here's a few more examples of Chrissy's gift for decorating. 



What is your favorite holiday? Why? My kids' birthdays and Christmas, because I love everything being all about them.

For more information: 

Contact Information: Chrissy Gasses Adams

Social Media Handles for Mercantile on Main:
Instagram: MercantileOnMainHamptonGA
Facebook: MercantileOnMainHamptonGA

Physical Address (brick and mortar location):
2 East Main Street
Hampton GA 30228

Store Phone: 678-782-6585 


If you have never visited Hampton, Georgia (or even if you have!) and happen to be in the Atlanta Metro area, it is worth the trip. Hampton is a short 28 mile drive from midtown but feels like a  million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. You would  never know by looking at the charming downtown/main street area, that the Atlanta Motor Speedway sits less than a mile away. The town has done a wonderful job of keeping main street charming and quaint. 

Take a look at a few of the pictures I captured of Hampton, Georgia.

This picture makes me want to "sit a spell" and just people watch. 

If this picture of main street looks familiar, it probably is! The Walking Dead shot several scenes from past seasons on this street.  




From my home to yours, 

CEO- The House of Q’s
Keep in touch!