Time Won’t Stop

1From the time I get up—which is early, because I don’t require much sleep—until the time my head hits the pillow at night, my life is a frantic, non-stop race. That’s just how I’m wired! I have a ton of energy and I USE it! I give thanks to God for that, because I love to go, go, go.

The other day, I took a moment for reflection. It got me wondering, how often do you notice, with the everyday hustle and trying to keep up with whoever down the street, that hours pass, days pass, months pass and BAM!—you realize you haven’t been smelling the roses along the way?

My grandmother (my Dad’s mom) has Alzheimer’s—her body is still here, but her mind is gone. I think about her every day. I wish so badly that I could call her, go see her and talk to her.  It crushes me to know that one of the most important women in my life no longer knows who I am, or even who she is. I’m so mad at myself for not taking more time, when we first learned she was sick, to visit her, to let my kids know her more…now it’s too late, and my heart is broken.

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This last summer, Jaylee took up sewing. So, of course, we now have a sewing machine and all the fun stuff to go with it. Grandma Graham taught me how to sew, and again, I found myself fervently wishing she could’ve taught Jaylee, too. She taught me so much in life. Two of the greatest things she taught me were to never give up and to just keep working. She would be so proud of me today—I took her words to heart, and I marvel at how far they’ve taken me.

As I write this blog about her, tears fill my eyes because I’ve been remembering all the wonderful memories she gave me.  I have asked myself, “What I was so busy with back then? Does all of that really matter now?” If I had taken a little more time with her, would the pain be so bad now? Would it have made it harder?

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I have one grandmother left, Nana, my Mom’s mom. She is pretty amazing, too. So kind and loving. She lives in Alaska and visits my parents in California a few months out of each year. My girls love her and miss her every day. I love when they bring her up in stories and ask when are they going to see her! I am so lucky to have had so many amazingly strong great-grandmothers and grandmothers in my life.

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With the sadness of not being able to talk to Grandma Graham, I have made it a point to call and check in with Nana often. I truly love visiting with her and she makes me laugh and smile just to hear her voice! I’m planning a trip to Alaska this summer to take the girls. They’ve never been. I don’t want to look back again and feel I made the same mistake twice. While time is free, it’s also priceless—spend it wisely.

–Lorinda

Horse Power

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There’ve been so many times in my life when I’ve been accused of being pushy or aggressive or loud or wild —I prefer the term “ambitious” or “fearless.” I guess it’s hard to see yourself the way others do, but I definitely know a lot of women who are like me in this way. Some are born that way, some are made. Don’t know which I am, maybe a little of both.

But in the times I’ve reflected on this phenomenon, I think about my upbringing and I’ve come to a conclusion about why I’m the way I am. Yes, my parents, of course! But, aside from that, one of the largest guiding influences as a kid was my horses. I know that sounds weird, but hear me out because I discussed this with a friend of mine who also grew up around horses—and she’s the type you NEVER have to ask her opinion, she’ll just tell you.

Anyway, I’ve always been horse crazy. Lucky for me I grew up where I did. I think horses are romanticized a lot, and people who’ve never spent loads of time around them tend to think they’re these sweet, timid creatures, but also gorgeous and powerful and mysterious. Well, they can be that. They can also be holy terrors! And since I spent so much time around every variety of horse—paint, bay, palomino, roan, ugly, pretty, barn sour, temperamental, well-behaved—I learned quickly every horse is different. They can be loveable, or, when your back is turned, kick you or push you against a fence with their big butts. They’ll crow-hop, shy from the slightest sound, try to roll in a river with you on their back (ask Lorinda about that one), try to race to the barn, balk…you have to be ready for any possibility and adventure!

Oops got off subject there…back to my point about how I came to be who I am. When you spend decades around equine, you become confident and cautious at the same time —both mentally and physically. You have to be fearless and forceful to push around an animal that weighs 1,100 or 1,200 pounds, but be mindful of how you push. You have to be quick, think on your feet, be ready for anything. But the effect that had on me was that I’ve never held anything back, if I want something, I go for it. They taught me confidence.

A couple of the first horses I ever rode, oh my gosh, such memories. Sugar Foot—a dun—and Rocky—a bay—two old plugs who really took care of my sister and me—more than we ever could’ve taken care of them at such a young age! They were so gentle, so quiet. They taught me patience.

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Then there was my sorrel Ten, who was the first horse I rode with any power. He was a little wild and hyper. He really honed my riding skills, challenged me, scared me, exhilarated me. He taught me fearlessness.

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Then there’s Tex, a line-back dun. He’s been my main man for 20 years. He was even in my wedding! We’re two of a kind: both stubborn and strong-willed. I ride him like no other. He’s a free spirit, like me. He soothes my soul, brushes away my anxiety like nobody and nothing else can. When I’m bareback on him, tearing across the pasture at 90 miles an hour, wind in my hair, I don’t have a care in the world. He taught me about love and about peace and freedom. He is my heart.

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So, when I’m accused of being loud and proud, I smile. I walk proud because it’s a reminder of who I am, where I’ve been, and that long line of horses who made me the woman I am. Being any other way would mean turning my back on my upbringing, my deep love of horses and ranch life and my family.

And those who know me know I could never do that!  I have always been proud of the lifestyle I was fortunate to be born into!

–Amy

Good Scents

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Did y’all know that the sense of smell is one of the most powerful memory triggers there is? It has something to do with where the scent receptors are in our brains—it’s tied in with memory.

OK, whatever with all the scientific mumbo-jumbo, but that explains why certain smells can actually make us emotional: happy, sad and even angry! If you think about it, most new smells are encountered when we’re kids. So, whatever was happening when you experienced a certain smell, that memory stays with you for life. And that explains also why not everyone likes the same smells; we all have different memories for different scents!

Amy and I are in the process of launching three new perfumes (starting Nov. 1!) for Gypsy Soule: Freedom®, Rebel® and Wild Child®. Freedom® is fruity and as bold as the American Buffalo roaming the open range. Rebel® is as courageous as a soaring bird. Wild Child® is a mixture of sweet and dangerous, expressed by the scent’s gentle floral nature and wicked sugar skull bottle.

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Because we’ve spent so much time talking about the new fragrance line, Amy and I have also talked a ton about certain scents and the memories they evoke for us. We thought it would be fun to share them with y’all!

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Smells I love, let’s see…I love the smell of a clean house! Who doesn’t love a tidy house?

The barn, wow. That smell represents so much to me: growing up on a ranch, my love of horses and their salty scent, saddles, hay and feed, all rolled into one, that’s of my favorite smells. I bet my heart rate drops 10 points when I encounter that smell. Sadly, I’ve never found a candle called “Barn.” LOL!

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Something about the smell of Irish Spring soap, mmmmmm. I also like the smell of gardenias, fresh ones are fantastic, but it’s a hard smell to get right in perfumes and candles.

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Also, pear scented candles, that’s kind of a happy, peaceful thing for me. I really like fresh smells!

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Ummmm, let’s see…One of the first and strongest scent memories I think about is my Granny’s perfume. I swear, when I am stressed or sad, I get a whiff of it like she’s right there. It seems crazy, I know, but her memory and that scent are so powerful. She was my favorite and y’all might remember her because I wrote a blog on her once. She was kind, gentle and funny and most of all, she understood me better than anybody. An amazing lady!

Even though we haven’t had enough in Texas for the past few years, I’ll always love the smell of rain. It takes me back to being a little girl on the ranch where I grew up—watching smoke-grey clouds darken on the horizon, the wind swept a rush of the scent of the approaching rain: love! That’s a smell no candle can capture.

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The ocean is one of my happy places, that smell always sets my heart at ease.

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The smell of a steak sizzling on the grill, total comfort!

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Oh! Bread baking, yum! Though I think it always smells better than it tastes.

Something else that’s a big memory/scent trigger for me is the perfume I wore in high school “RED.” I would never wear it again, but reminds me of fun, innocent times.

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So, that’s that for our favorite smells. Go see if you can “smell” any memories of your own!

Let It Go

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The Disney movie “Frozen” was an iceberg-sized hit last year. I loved Olaf the snowman, but I also love the theme song “Let It Go!” I don’t listen to it in the shower or in my car or anything like that, but I like the lyrics because it speaks to a belief I’ve long held, and that’s about letting GO.

There are seasons for everything. Why do we feel compelled to hold onto some relationships or traditions out of obligation or guilt? I guess maybe it’s just how us girls are brought up. We’re expected to always be polite and sweet, but sometimes, man, ya just gotta admit when something is over.

“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know”
Lyrics to “Let it Go”

Ahhh, I’m not good at holding things in—nobody should be. It’s not healthy. Because, sometimes, in relationships or life situations, we stay too long. You know that old saying: Always leave a party when you’re having a good time? Well, there’s some truth to that! I’m not advocating ditching solid old friendships or things you love to do, I’m just saying, it’s a good thing to clean out your psyche of stuff that’s broken or no longer serves a purpose—the trash in our minds.

That fractured friendship that you’ve had since you were 16? Going places with people you aren’t comfortable with, doing things you don’t really like, because you just don’t want to or can’t say no? That client who’s a pain in the butt, that job that’s stealing your soul. I’m talking about that thing that no longer fits—it’s like that pair of old boots that pinches and rubs blisters, but you’re still holding onto for no good reason: they’ve gotta go.

Sometimes the person we need to please is ourselves. And often, it’s less about pleasing ourselves than it is about maintaining a healthy mental outlook on life.

I’m in the same boat as everyone else. I often ask myself, “Is letting go OK?”

The answer is often, “Yes!”  There’s a time for all things, and nothing lasts forever…nothing. And once you’ve “taken out the trash,” and you forgive yourself for doing what needed to be done, you’ll experience such peace. Because even though I’m referring to the lyrics of a Disney song, the words are powerful and a great reminder that it is ok to LET IT GO!

“It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all…
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past!”
Lyrics to “Let it Go”

–Lorinda

Fall Y’all

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The first official day of fall this year is September 23. But, once the calendar says “September,” it feels like it’s already fall. And, we’ve had an early September Texas-style cold snap—the highs around here have been in the upper 80s. Ha! But that’s considered cool weather for just about anywhere in the south. I am such a summer girl: the fun trips, the light clothing, the never-ending sunshine. How can you not love flip flop weather?!

But, on to fall, which is a gentle way to usher out the summer season. The weather is so mild and gorgeous. I like the temperature drop, because there are still lots of warm afternoons and early evenings, so it’s like I’m getting weaned off of summer. My dogs are happier and are more energetic when the weather cools, and that, in turn, makes me happy!

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I love the changing out of the wardrobe. Fall trends are always plentiful and fresh, more so than any other season. I love the thick fall catalogs full of the rich yellows and reds that come with the season—you know I’m crazy about bright colors! I love that my plants and flowers make one more final surge and bloom. They’re green and happy up until…well, until they freeze their sweet little butts off in the winter.

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I like that I wear jeans more. I still love to wear flip-flops with my jeans, but you’ll also see me in boots more. I’m still a ranch girl at heart—love my boots!

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Fall, for Lorinda and I, means more travel, and that’s one of the toughest parts of our job. But, it also provides us with inspiration for designing new Gypsy Soule items. I do like that it means fireplace season is around the corner. Those bitter cold winter nights when it gets dark so early, when you rush home and look forward to building a big ol’ fire where you can snuggle under a fluffy blanket in leggings and a roomy t-shirt.

The leaves on the trees put on a show, and, as much as I love the green of summer, seeing blazing orange and fiery red leaves is somehow refreshing. It’s their last hurrah before they’re gone for months—they really do go down in a blaze of glory. I’m watching summer fade into fall—then comes the festivity of Halloween, the celebration of Thanksgiving and the anticipation of the Christmas season. Last of all, fall means it’s time for more hot drinks: hot coffee, hot tea and hot toddies.