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Saturday, October 30, 2010

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS...

I just read this story about Gigi's cupcakes and had to share!!

What a GREAT life lesson in following your dreams.

I copied this off of Gigi's website. Y'all enjoy!!!

XOXO

KJ



I was born in Oklahoma and raised in California in a small desert town on a farm. I was blessed to come from a strong, hard working and balanced family who believed in me and supported me in all my endeavors.

At 15 years old I started a cleaning company because I didn’t want to work for anyone else. I was determined to have something of my own, but at that age, I didn’t have many resources. So I bought some mops and buckets and walked a mile to an assisted living community where I knocked on doors for clients. That’s where Gigi’s Cleaning Company was born.

My real dream was to become a singer/songwriter. I started vocal lessons, put a band together and began doing Gigi Butler Gigi's Cupcakesmy own shows and making demo tapes. I’d clean during the day and at night I’d sing -- anywhere. We performed anywhere from biker bars to senior citizen homes.

In 1994, I sold my little cleaning business, and with all my bills paid and $500 cash in my hand, I moved to Nashville. No job, no apartment and no friends were waiting for me in Nashville, but I knew in my heart that God would take care of me. I found a job at Red Lobster as a waitress and began building up a few cleaning clients. I would clean during the day, wait tables and sing at night. I performed at some of Nashville’s top tourist night spots like Tootsie’s and The Stage on Broadway in downtown Nashville and also did some touring for several years.

When I turned 30, singing until 3:00am and working for tips wasn’t too appealing for me. While it was very hard and it felt like a loss of a dream, I decided to retire from the music industry. At that time, I felt like a failure for a while, and it’s amazing how God can heal all wounds. I decided to then expand my cleaning business and hired several employees to help serve my clients. I was really happy and at peace finally in my life.

Then, in September 2007, my brother Steve went to New York City and stood in line for two hours at the famous Magnolia Bakery. He called me while eating the Red Velvet Cupcakes. “These aren’t as good as yours and mom’s. You should open a cupcake shop in Nashville!” Steve told me.

Nashville is a very progressive city but it also supports local businesses, so I thought, Why not? It’s not like I haven’t stepped out on faith before and God has always taken care of me. I come from a long line of bakers, from my mother, grandma and great-grandmother to my great aunts who had bakeries in Oklahoma where I was born.

I made my decision. I would do it. Now it was time to get my business going and I needed a loan. Even though I had excellent credit, no debt and some savings, I approached four different banks that all laughed in my face and said, “A cupcake shop, are you kidding?” But I persisted and found a wonderful banker who helped me get cash advance loans on my credit cards with lower interest rates and I took a $100,000 cash advance loan to get my business started. Wow, I was scared!

Some of my friends were pharmaceutical sales reps and I told them I was going to open a cupcake shop. I began baking in my home first and taking a few orders from my friends for their medical staff visits. I would clean during the day and bake 12 dozen cupcakes at night in my little kitchen. That’s where I came up with most of my creations.

The day before I opened Gigi’s, I was struggling. I had to clean three houses just to pay the plumber for the shop. Then, while my mother was cleaning and my dad was putting the chairs together in the shop, my contractor came in with a bill he forgot to give me. It was a $15,000 dry wall bill! I had a melt down! How was I going to do this? My parents dropped everything, hugged me and told me that all would be well. God would take care of me.

When all was said and done, I had $33 left in my checking account and no money for advertising the day we opened our doors on February 21, 2008. People started trickling in and soon a line formed at the door. By March 1st, I had to pay $4,000 in rent, my food bill and my employees in that first week. I paid it all and had $300 left.

Shortly after we opened, my landlord, Alan Thompson, whose background is in franchising, kept saying, “You should franchise your concept.” So, together with him, my dad helping with the store build outs, my mom creating the recipes with me, and my brother Randall coming on board to direct operations, we were set to start franchising the Gigi’s Cupcakes brand. It was more than I could have ever imagined doing when I started the business. Today, two years later, we have built 18 Gigi’s Cupcakes locations all over the south, Texas, Las Vegas and Colorado, and we are continuing to expand. We expect to have 30 – 35 stores open by the end of 2010. My dream for this business is to one day have 100 stores across the country – owned by hard working Americans with a small business mind-set.

If I can convey just one idea to someone reading my story, it would be to believe in yourself, walk with integrity, work hard and trust in God. And maybe your life won’t turn out exactly how you were expecting or hoping it to be; but maybe, just maybe, it will be so much better than you could have ever imagined!

With God, all things are possible!

Blessings,

Friday, October 29, 2010

A MERMAID AND A SUPERHERO


Paisley and Griffin had their class parties today. Paisley is already busy counting her loot.
Someone today said that you were to grab 2 handfuls of candy from your kid's bag and tell them you are taking out taxes. That way, they are prepared. Hilarious, but sadly true!


Is this not the cutest Superman you have ever seen? And daddy ain't bad, either! :)

I bought this costume off of E-bay for $2.00 back in July! Score!!!




Paisley's costume was NOT $2.00. HA! But it is sooo cute, and she can wear it to Disney and to place dress up in. She also has matching heels that light up.



These are pictures from her preschool. She loves school and teachers who I am so thankful for. Many of these children have been here since birth, so they are like brothers and sisters. It is fun to watch them grow from babies to toddlers...

And this precious gem of a teacher is Nagwya. She is from Egypt and moved her in 2006. My children LOVE her. I mean, L.O.V.E...I remember crying when I left Paisley and she held her all day long. She went to Egypt for 6 months last year to get married, and I made her pinky swear she would be back in time to keep Griffin. I love her like family. She is a sweetheart. Thank you Lord for the sweet people like Nagwya!



I hope you all had a great week. I didn't post pictures of my Guest Room because it needs work. It is BORR-ING.
Love you all and Be safe Trick Or Treating!
XOXO
KJ

Thursday, October 28, 2010

GRIFFIN IS WAY COOL....



Check out those Nike's....XOXO
KJ

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MY SWEET BABIES GETTIN' READY FOR SCHOOL....





XOXO-
KJ

SPOOKTACULAR BUNKO!



Monday night, we had spooktacular bunko at my house. It was so much fun!
We had a bunch of witches, an orange crayon, Snooki, a skanky cat, and I was Lady Gaga. SO FUN!
Below is a picture of my spread....I love Halloween decor. Let's get real...I love all decor.


One of my favorite pieces are these BOO bowls I got from Cracker Barrel f0r $2.00.


Have you all played Bunko? So fun. It is a game of rolling dice. You roll for 3 of a kind. If you get all 3 of whatever round you are on (ie, you roll three 1s and you are on round 1) you get a BUNKO. Bunko's are hard to get, so you just roll until someone reaches 21. So fun. We play for money. 10 bucks apiece. Winner takes all but 20 bucks. Are you totally confused? You should be.



My glittered pumkins...





Skeleton bunko...





All my girls....we missed some of you!








My BFF Amy as a crayon...







Sweet girls Amy HH, Alexis, and Lacey...








Snooki....awesome!!



XOXO-
KJ

CHEESE BALL GOBLIN...


How cute is this goblin? I am making this for our Halloween soiree this weekend.
Ingredients
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature, plus 2 (8-ounce) packages whipped cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups shredded mixed cheeses, such as cheeses for tacos
Green food coloring
2 large tortilla chips (for ears)
1 whole peppercini pepper (for nose)
2 pimiento-stuffed olives (for eyes)
1 bell pepper, cut 2 thin strips and 6 small triangles
6 pitted green olives
20 small carrot sticks
3 cups shredded red cabbage
Toothpicks
Assorted crackers
Assorted vegetables

Directions
Place 2 packages of cream cheese, butter, and milk in a mixing bowl, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and combined. Add the shredded cheese and mix until well combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Remove the chilled cheese mixture from the refrigerator. Place the mixture on a piece of waxed paper and form the cheese ball into a head-like shape. Place 3 pieces of waxed paper around the edges of a serving plate, leaving open space in the center. Place the cheese in the center of the platter so some of it is right on the platter, but the edges are on the waxed paper. This will ensure that the platter does not get dirty while you make your goblin.
In a medium bowl, stir the remaining softened cream cheese until totally smooth. With a spatula, spread the whipped creaam cheese over the head. It's O.K. if it's not totally smooth - this will give your goblin spooky skin.
Place a few drops of green food coloring in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix well. With a pastry brush, paint the tortilla chips with the food coloring until they are the desired color. Set aside to dry for a few minutes.
Once the chips are dry, press them into the sides of the cheese ball to form ears. Skewer the pepperoncini with a toothpick and then attach it to the center of the head to make a nose. Press the pimiento-stuffed olives into the head to form eyes. Use the 2 red bell pepper strips to make eyebrows. Take the pepper triangles and insert them into the holes in the pitted green olives. The green olives will serve as toes, and the red pepper strips will be scary toenails. Once the olives are assembled, press them into the bottom of the head to form the toes.
Press the carrot sticks into the head to form teeth. Leave them sticking out a bit to make scary teeth. It's O.K. if your carrot sticks are different lengths and thicknesses. Hold the head onto the platter with a spatula and gently pull away the waxed paper. Finally, press the cabbage into the top of the head to make hair.
Serve with crackers and assorted vegetables.
Courtesy of Paula Deen

BEST MEATLOAF EVER...


Ingredients
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup skim milk
1 medium onion, peeled
2 pounds ground turkey breast
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons Worcestersire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together the oats and milk. Thinly slice 1/4 of the onion and set aside. Finely chop the remaining onion. In a large bowl combine the turkey, oat mixture, chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix just until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a meatloaf pan and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions.


Bake for about 1 hour

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to15 minutes before slicing.


Serve with instant potatoes and green beans


I actually mix the mashed potatoes and meatloaf together for Paisley. I tell her it is "pig slop." She thinks it is funny to be a piggy. I am all about her eating meat!


Enjoy!!


XOXO-

KJ

Monday, October 25, 2010

HAPPY MONDAY!

-I kept my job! Thank you Lord.

-My favorite dermatologist (Dr. Dawn Vincent at Belle Meade Dermatology) parent's house caught fire last night due to lightning. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

-We had a good weekend! Stephen had a meeting in Florida and didn't get home until late Saturday. We met some friends at their Halloween carnival and then went to dinner at The Christian Chicken (aka Chik-Fil-A.) For all of you that don't have Chik-Fil-A, I am so sorry. It is so good!

Saturday morning we met Grammy and Pappy for breakfast at the IHOP. Afterwards, we went to the pumpkin patch at Walden Farms in Symrna,Tennessee. It is BY FAR the best pumpkin patch in middle Tennessee, especially for 2-3 year olds. They have so many cute activities, live music, food, crafts, animals, all of it! So fun! Afterwards, Grammy and Pappy babysat so we could have a date night and get caught up on laundry and chores.

I got all primped and then we went to Taco Mamacitas and afterwards to Sweet CeCe's for frozen yogurt....both delicious!!!

Sunday was filled with more chores, the grocery, and getting ready for Bunko!

Love you all! Have a great weekend!!!

XOXO-
KJ

Thursday, October 21, 2010

SHOW US YOUR LIFE....NURSERIES AND KIDS ROOMS....

This week on Kelly's Korner is Show Us Your Life Nurseries and Kids Rooms...


Griffin's nursery is way cuter than this now. I have added a few things and the bedskirt is not on the bed in this exact picture, but I am too lazy to get up and take another one. HA! Plus, he is asleep in there right now.

I promised my husband that I would use the same linens that I used with my daughter. They were a solid creme set of Bella Notte linens and I still have them (Send me an e-mail and I will make you a great deal on them and PS I paid a WHOLE lot for them.) Well, I was NOT feeling the blue with my baby boy. I don't know why, but I just didn't like it.

One day I was at USA Baby and found this entire set on sale for $180 bucks. It was originally $1400 or something crazy. It included all the bedding, blankets, pillows, drapes, lamps, hamper, wall art and mobile. I was so pumped! I called my mama and she bought it for my Christmas present! That way, Stephen wouldn't kill me!

I found the rug at Trees and Trends and the letters and other decor came from Hobby Lobby. I love Hobby Lobby. I could spend a fortune in that store. HA!




I would love to have longer drapes in here, but I just haven't gotten there yet!



This is the same room when it belonged to Paisley. She and all her decor are now upstairs in her big girl room. I will eventually have it looking the way I like. But for now, it is full of toys! We need to clean out and organize!
This is looking straight on. I purchased these drapes from Wal-Mart. Yes, you read that correctly. I thought they matched so well and looked so cute!
The furniture (baby bed, dresser, and chair) was all purchased from Plaid Rabbit and is The Chelsea collection from Bratt Decor. You can purchase this online from Posh Tots. I LOVE my baby furniture. It was expensive, but it is beautiful! I changed the knobs on Paisley's drawers to pink glass knobs I found at Restoration Hardware. And all the kids furniture (table, kitchen, and stove) came from a floor sale at Pottery Barn Kids.


I also purchsed the bunny rabbit prints from Plaid Rabbit, along with the beautiful frames. My hostesses of my baby shower gave me one lamb basket, my floral lamp (which was sooooo generous), and my big pink ribbon frame. Plaid Rabbit has some of the most beautiful baby things. If you live in Nashville, definitely check it out. The Cool Springs store closed, but the one on Bandywood is still open.





The pink and brown ribbon rug came from Plaid Rabbit, also.





I bought all the kitchen accessories in a lot off of E-bay for $40 dollars. Great deal!




I love the picture above! Mauri Hart in Jackson, MS took it. She is a great friend of our family.
And Alan Griggs took the three framed panel below. He is one of the most gifted photographers ever. It just takes a mortgage payment to afford him. Ha! Seriously, he is fabulous!!





These letters came from Hobby Lobby and my daddy helped me paint them.













XOXO-
KJ

LUCKY LADD FARMS...

Paisley's class took a field trip to Lucky Ladd Farms in Eagleville, Tennessee (between Murfreesboro and Franklin) and had such a great time!

We all packed lunches and picnicked....


Paisley and her friends Kaitlyn and Kayla feeding the animals....



So much fun! I liked this part as much as Paisley!



My sweet girl posing with the pumpkins!


The weather was perfect and we had such a nice time!



I think we had as many parents as we did kids! They have a great place for learning time. The kids got to pet a chicken and learn about "farm life."


This is Henny Penny...


Paisley petting her...





Paisley asked lots of questions...imagine that....




Picking out a pumpkin to take home...




Trying to get a picture seemed impossible....
We had a great day! Love the pumpkin patch!!
XOXO-
KJ