November Over Everything


I love November. Like, a lot. It’s a time to enjoy all the Halloween candy and fall foliage, good food and family, and the calm before the gift-buying, tree-erecting December frenzy.

This year, my anniversary falls on Thanksgiving. We did not plan for this to happen every several years. We did not plan anything, really! We got married at the Justice of the Peace during my husband’s lunch break. Our “lunch break” marriage is what we call it, and that marriage has lasted 12 years so far (16 all together)! So it feels super-special to celebrate our love, longevity and family of 5 on our “Thanksiversary.” Hehe 🙂

Also, the Baltimore Writer’s Conference is always in November. I went last year and loved the little fire it lit under my write-loving butt. Looking forward to attending again next weekend, perhaps with a few of my writer’s group friends.

Today I plan on taking a little hike in my backyard (which is literally a state park) to breathe in all the dank woodsy smells and hear the squirrels and other wildlife—including myself and my son—crunching the dry leaves beneath our feet. I love you, November.

Happy November, y’all!

Which month is your favorite and why?

Love On Your Neck

imageNecks are so sexy. They protect important things like our upper vertebrae, thyroid, jugular vein, larynx, etc.; hold up our head; and protect nerves that carry info from our brain to the rest of our body. Despite how important they are for the normal function of our bodies, can we just appreciate their aesthetic b for a moment?  I mean, how lucky are those damn giraffes with their gargantuan yet slender necks and long, pretty eyelashes?

Necks can be a real pain too. The wrong pillow, bad posture or an unfortunate case of whiplash can cause us inordinate neck suffering. It’s important we appreciate and take good care of them as not to take them for granted.

Why not give our necks some extra lovin’ by adorning them with all the pretty things? With the comeback of chokers a la 1990s, this is the perfect time to do just that!

I mean, that gives us humans one up against those neck-y giraffes. Ha!

What was your favorite 90s fashion trend?

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Ritual Love


I am a very ritualistic person. I don’t know if it’s my Catholic upbringing that followed me well into adulthood or what, but there are certain things I do that require certain rituals. Thankfully, none of them dictate that I sit through a boring homily or confess my bawdy sins to a flesh and blood man anymore. Nowadays it’s more of a ‘I need tea to do this’ variety.

I’ve discovered something. People like to shop online in the middle of the night. Do you? Is it like a secret society or something? Cause I had no idea people do this! I wake up in the morning and I have two or three sales notifications from Etsy that came through at like 4am EST. It’s like midnight snacking or sleepwalking, isn’t it? Keep up that twilight shopping, folks! I’m not complaining.

So when I get up in the morning, make my older kids’ lunches and see them out the door, I put on my tea and get started with my orders while my toddler continues his sleep. I cannot, cannot do it without my tea. Join the club! You might be saying. We all need our morning caffeine fix! 

…except I use decaf. ::hangs head in shame::

I’m Jesse Spano on caffeine, y’all. Even just a little bit. This summer when my parents visited us from Texas (home), my daughters and I took my mom out to a fancy afternoon tea to celebrate her birthday. I got a little carried away and drank two whole kettles of tea over the course of our tea time, and guess what? I completely forgot to order decaf. When all that caffeine hit me an hour or so later I was THE hottest mess. My heart was beating out of my chest. I was anxious. I thought I was going to die.

So, no. It’s not about the caffeine for me. It’s about the joy of a ritual. It’s about the warmth and the mug of the day, and the memories of all the teas I’ve ever shared with my girls and my mom and friends.

Do you have a ritual associated with blogging or business? And what is your favorite tea or coffee?

Sunday Funday at Winterthur Estates

This Sunday I took my kiddos to the Winterthur Museum and Garden in Delaware. Winterthur is a 1000+ acre estate which houses a 600 acre garden (including an ‘enchanted woods’ for children), du Pont Family and American antiques museum, research library and more.

It was such a wondrous place I decided to get the family membership so we can enjoy the estate all year long! Returning visitors were sure to let us know that while the estate is gorgeous in the fall we had to return for Christmastime for Yuletide at Winterthur, as well as springtime when the entire garden is in bloom.


The house-turned-museum has a striking 175 rooms covering 9 floors. It was so big I had trouble getting a picture of the entire house.


Just a portion of one of the grand staircases.


My little stud muffin. He enjoyed playing with the fall leaves and chasing squirrels!

When fall is your fave 🍂🍂🍂.

A video posted by (Va)Shelle ❤ (@itsvashelle) on Oct 23, 2016 at 1:20pm PDT



I have a kinship with trees. Wood is my spirit element, I am sure of it.


My beautiful and goofy girls.


Enjoying the sun peeking through the trees.

The grounds were so gorgeous and photo-shoot worthy, I imagined a woman or child wearing one of my headbands, posing in the Enchanted Woods or any part of the garden during springtime. I only have 2 headbands left in stock, as they sold like crazy with Day of the Dead coming up. I’ve also completely sold out of my skull earrings. Next year I will be sure to have more inventory prepared! Love the learning curve 🙂

What is something you’ve recently learned in your business or blog niche?

Hello & Welcome!


Hello, friends! You may or may not (probably not) remember me from my former blog, Shelly’s Cabaret. If so, hello again! If not, let’s get aquatinted!

So much has changed since I last wrote a blog post six months ago, and obviously I have reverted all my old posts to drafts as to start anew. I struggled to find a niche for Shelly’s Cabaret. Most of the time I wrote was in my heart, sometimes I shared a DIY, sometimes I dumped a bunch of photos on here, and all the time I asked myself what the freak is your niche, girl? I struggled to find a purpose for it other than loving to write; but as you know, a lot of work goes into blogging and why would I be doing all this work if I could simply write for myself on some actual paper?

Well now I have a purpose that I am so excited about and committed to. This January I started my own Etsy shop selling handmade jewelry and accessories. I went into it not having any expectations. Hell, I didn’t even really have a plan! I just knew that I enjoyed making stuff—seriously, I could make stuff all day. Every now and then I would make a pair of earrings, a bracelet or necklace for myself, and loved when people (strangers especially) complimented whatever it was I was wearing. So I thought, Okay, Shelly. You always wish you could do something creative and enjoyable and make a little somethin’-somethin’ from it. You wish you could feel productive outside of doing laundry and potty-training and cooking dinner while you stay at home with your adorable baby boy. WHY WISH? You can! 

So here I am, ten months into the journey and having more fun than I’d ever imagined! And I’ve done a zillion times better than I’d ever anticipated. Seriously, when I say I had zero expectations what I really mean is I had sub-zero expectations. Anything that has come since has been bonus.

Making the jewelry and accessories makes me happy.

Hearing the “Chaching!” notification from my Etsy app is music to my ears.

Conversing with and getting to know customers fills my cup.

The organized, methodical act of packing and mailing packages is right up my alley.

I am enjoying this SO MUCH. And I can’t wait to share the process with you all. I promise it will be good and worthwhile.

With love,

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