Bag a Bag! "Hope" by Loan Eby

Today we are so excited to launch our partnership with one-of-a-kind handbag designer, Loan Eby! Loan and I actually go way back....We are both from small town Kearney, Nebraska.  We met in seventh grade, attended Kearney Public Schools and church together. We continue to be close friends and recently traveled to Breckenridge, Colorado together.

Loan began creating handbags a couple years ago when memories of her mother sewing spurred to start creating blankets and bags.  She started designing bags that were perfect for her and others started asking about them.  She now makes a variety of bags in different sizes, fabrics....each one is unique.  We are fortunate enough to have her make bags exclusively for us!

She currently only takes limited orders for her work, so I am thrilled to be able to offer you a chance to take home one of her amazing creations!

"Bag a Bag" will be an ongoing partnership here on Graham Girls. Each month we'll feature one of Loan's designs and auction it off to the highest bidder. Our first bag is titled, "Hope."

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This bag was custom made for the Rae of Hope Foundation. It is an all-purpose tote made of heavy-duty waxed canvas with top grain leather accents and straps.

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Inside it features a cotton lining with one large zipper pocket and three open pockets (two small and one large).

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The bag is the perfect size for a laptop, 18" wide, 13" tall and 5" deep. It has a zipper closure, suede handle, leather detail and metal quote plate:

Live in the Sunshine.
Swim in the Sea.
Drink the Wild Air.
-Emerson
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We will be launching this bag on February 1st on our Instagram channel. Click through below to get the details and submit your bid. Hurry, bidding closes at 11:59 p.m. CST on Saturday, February 10th! 

Our Launch Party!

We "launched" our blog and business December 1. 

We waited and waited for the photos from the open house to come and they came TODAY! You know how the term "lost in the mail" is used?  Well the flash drive was literally lost in the mail! The mailman gave it to me today.  Handed it to me and told me $1.53 was due. 

(Side note:  Have you ever taken time to talk to your mailman?  Since it is about 10 degrees in Nebraska today, I invited our mailman inside as I searched for exact change and sent Brian to the bedroom to dump out his change jar. The mailman apologized two or three times for the delay in delivering the thick envelope.  I commented to him that I feel for him delivering mail in this freezing cold weather.  He said the first thirty minutes is rough but after that he is warmed up for the day and it's not so bad if he keeps moving.  I handed him the exact amount of money due and noticed he wasn't wearing gloves.  I suppose it is difficult to sort mail with gloves on.  He thanked us for inviting him in and smiled at Abbie, and after he left we commented to each other that our postman has the BIGGEST smile.)

Okay, side note over! Time to share with you our photos from the Graham Girls Launch Party!

We hosted the event at our family home right here in Kearney, Nebraska, and invited some of our closest girlfriends for a Friday afternoon of makeovers and appetizers. Yumm! 

My son Corbin made the food (which we forgot to photograph, oops!) And some of Abbie's girl friends from UNK helped our guests find their perfect shade of LipSense. We had a blast!

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We also had the incredible privilege to show off my dear friend Loan Eby's one-of-a-kind handbags!

**We'll be auctioning off one of these bags later this month, make sure to check this page to win!**

Loan Eby, Handbag designer
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I am so proud to be able to do this business with my daughters! We have some big things planned for you, and have really enjoyed spending time together 'working on the business.'

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And just like the mailman, we've decided whenever we reach the inevitable tough spots in our business, we'll remember to warm up, keep moving and smile BIG.

XOXO
-Amy

Stress Less

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Lately I feel like my life is a constant whirl wind of running around from place to place, trying to fit in eating and sleeping somewhere, and always feeling like I’m in a hurry or running late. I’m always thinking about what’s next on my schedule and how the heck am I going to manage to get there on time?! Being a full time student, captain of a collegiate dance team, member of a sorority, and also trying to balance a job and a social life has really been feeling like a lot to handle lately. 

Yesterday I was one of two waitresses at the place I work (The Cellar Bar and Grill) during a VERY busy lunch hour. I’m talking -people were waiting in line to be seated and the restaurant was completely full- kind of busy.  I was literally running around like a chicken with my head cut off the whole afternoon, until I went up to this older couple to ask what they wanted to drink.  As they told me they both wanted coffee with honey, I also somehow found out that their names were Charles and Diane, where they were from, and why they happened to be in Kearney on that particular day. 

Each time I came back to their table, the man, Charles, somehow managed to strike up various conversations with me.  In the midst of the conversations I felt myself getting very stressed!!  I had a million other things to do, I certainly did not have time to be standing there carrying on a five minute conversation with him.  As the restaurant finally started to die down and people started to leave, Charles and Diane were still sitting there eating their lunch.  I went over to ask how their food was and yet again, he started to have a conversation with me. 

This conversation started out with him telling me he had once lived in Europe.  Then I come to find out that we had visited the same small town in Scotland.  As Charles was asking me questions and wanting to get to know me more he said something that really stuck with me.  He told me how he thought it really was sad that people don’t take the time out of their day to say hello to the person next to them or to get to know people around them.  He told me the “6 rule” and that was you are never more than 6 people away from having a connection to one of those people. He looked at me and said:

“If you just open up your eyes, every day can be a great day." 

I felt tears coming to my eyes as this statement settled in.  Some of my days lately have been far from great because I feel so stressed about everything.  Before they left the restaurant, he looked at me and told me that he hopes I have a happy life.  This was a moment for me.  Like one of those moments where you realize how you’ve been doing things so, so wrong.  I get so caught up in trying to be perfect and being so busy I can’t even breathe that I don’t make time for the people/things around me. 

After my fateful encounter with Charles and Diane I made a promise to myself.  No matter how busy or crazy life can get, I will never get so preoccupied that I can’t take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate things around me.  This is a big goal, I know, but I also thought of little things that will help me with this goal like getting up just a little bit earlier so I have time to breathe before the business of my day starts. 

I also always want to say hello and be kind to the people around me, no matter where I am or who they may be.  I truly truly don’t know how I got so lucky to run into those two beautiful people during my lunch shift, but I am so grateful that I did. 

The Little Old House

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Growing up in Kearney, Nebraska and living here my entire life has had its ups and downs.  One thing that living your entire life in your hometown gives you is constant reminders of the past.  The huge Ginko tree in Harmon Park where my two sisters and I all had senior pictures taken.  The changing landscape of the old high school as it is being transformed into a church.  The parents of high school friends who I see often, notice the toll the years have taken on them, then realize I am also being changed by the years coming and going as I live my days, weeks.....years, DECADES here. 

One of the most interesting and happiest reminders I experience daily is when I pass by 411 W. 29th Street on my way home from work or wherever I have been.   I could take 31st Street.  I could take 35th Street. But 29th Street is my chosen route home from anywhere.  On 411 W. 29th Street is a little old house.  It's a white house and has always been white.  It is the house my dad grew up in.  It's the house with the narrow sidewalk that lead me to the park, holding my grandmas wrinkled, crippled but gentle, soft hand.  It's the house my grandma lived in until we had to help her make that transition to assisted living.  It's the house where I stayed when I had an ear ache, or chicken pox... where my cousins and I played in the yard and where I would visit my grandma when I was in college.  I drove by her house often when I was in college but didn't stop as often as I should have.  My heart aches when that reminder surfaces.  What I wouldn't give to go back and have the opportunity to stop once again!  But the memories of my grandma's pink rose-shaped Avon soaps or her Amish sugar cookies warm my heart and fill my eyes with happy tears.  How is it that simply driving by a little old house on a busy street every day can bring memories back that are bright and familiar and beautiful?

I love seeing old pictures of my dad and my Aunt Linda or my grandparents in front of the Little Old House  Some things have stood the test of time and are the same today as they were 70 years ago.    A cement column that used to be on the front of the house now rests in the garden at my home just around the corner.  I have seen the change of ownership and tenants of the Little Old House through the years.  I have wondered about those who cared for it and the ones who simply occupied it for a short time.  A couple months ago the house sold again.  My son Corbin sent me a picture of a sweet looking young couple standing in front of the Little Old House.  He said some of his acquaintances from Columbus bought the house.  It's their first house.  They're getting married.  Maybe they will raise babies there like my grandma and grandpa did.  I have seen the Little Old House come alive again.  The landscaping is spruced up, the yard is cared for and now it is beautifully decorated for Christmas.  And every day I am blessed to drive by it and be taken back once again.....

When I am gone I wonder what my grandchildren will remember when they drive by my little old house.....

This Blessed Life

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Life is busy.  But isn't everyone's?  YES!  It's not holding me back from trying something new.  I have always liked being challenged and learning new things.  Why not just jump into something like starting a blog and business with my two daughters?  I started on the SeneGence journey as a customer who wanted a discount to get more makeup for less money.  Within two weeks I began to have friends join my "team"....what?  I have a team?  I'm not a "team leader" or "coach" type.  I mostly like to just do my thing.  Now that team has grown to 130 some women all over the United States.  I have had to learn to lead in a way that was natural to me.  This has evolved into THIS.  This blog. 

Graham Girls includes my daughters with their own perspectives, talents and gifts to offer.  We all love makeup and fashion. We all have things we enjoy sharing with others.  And we all have passions unique to us as individuals.  But Graham Girls is more than that.  We have friends and acquaintances who are amazing yet not many people have heard their story.  We have thoughts to share without a platform to share them on.  This begins the first day of this journey!  I'm going to have to learn social media, how to link things, how to pay attention closely to things I know little to nothing about.  But I am excited to jump in and start!  My own personal goal is not only to share my side gig (amazing makeup!) but collaborate with artists, businesses, friends and family who we identify as having something interesting to share with the world!

 

 

Please join us on this journey and cheer us on!  Like and share our posts on Facebook and Instagram.  Read our blog, support our monthly collaborations  (because we have some AMAZING PEOPLE TO SHOWCASE!!!) And contact us if you have something you would like to share on our blog!  Or just to say hi or give us a comment....Thanks for reading!