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There's a Christina Aguilera album that came out while I was in high school titled "Stripped."  It was literally my favorite cd, my girlfriends and I would drive up to Somerset Mall and car dance the entire way there singing the songs on the album at the top of our lungs.  The lyrics to my favorite song from the cd go like this:

"Sorry if I ain't perfect, sorry I don't give a what

Sorry I ain't a diva, sorry just know what I want

Sorry I'm not a virgin, sorry I'm not a slut

I won't let you break me, think what you want

To all my dreamers out there - I'm with you 

All my under dogs - I feel you

Lift your head high and stay strong, keep pushin' on...."

That's it, that's the entire song.  What a powerful message.  

I had a boss at one of my college internships say to me "Randee, you're going to be really good at something someday but it better be something you really love to do."  At the time I rolled my eyes and went on with my day.  But for some reason that stuck with me throughout the years because I always felt like it was something I was supposed to be ashamed of, like it was a bad thing.  Now that I'm 10 years out of college, I think to myself doesn't that seem obvious?  Like, hell yes I better love to do whatever it is I end up doing in my career.  Why would anyone want to spend their life in a job they don't love?  

As I sit here, in bed, drinking a cup of stress relief tea typing out my first "blog" post on my website since 2015 I realize what a HUGE step I am making in my grown up professional life tomorrow as an entrepreneur.  Tomorrow I am putting in my two weeks notice at my full time job to pursue my dream, to take a (terrifying yet exciting) leap of faith.  I'm quitting a job that used to be a dream job. I say used to be because I never knew I actually had the guts to start my own business.  I don't come from a family of business owners.  I had no idea what I was doing when I decided to start my business.  Now my business is my dream job.  It's the ultimate dream job.  

Over the last 3 years I have gotten to know myself on a level that I hope everyone gets to experience.  I've seen parts of me I didn't even know existed.  I have literally missed almost every social gathering, family function, birthday party, baby shower, wedding shower, grad party, you name it and I've probably missed it.  I've spent less time with my head on a pillow than I did when I was partying my ass off at Michigan State.  It's so blatantly obvious to me that my boss at that internship was spot on with what she said.  But what I've learned is that as soon as you figure out what it is that you really love to do, it stops feeling like work - and that is the most beautiful thing.  It starts to feel more like a passion, a calling, a drive within you that you can't even contain.  

I've been told that anytime I talk about my business my face lights up and I'm beaming.  I can promise you, that's not something you can fake.  And the thing is, it's not even about selling the clothes.  It's about sharing in the small business community a piece of what makes me who I am.  I've always loved fashion, and I love sharing that passion with each of you.  Each interaction is always so personal and different.  When I launched the website in 2015 I had no idea what the future would hold.  I've met so many amazing people along this journey, some of you have become friends, some of you have even brought me to tears this year with the most sincere compliments and kind words.  And let me just tell you, I remember each and every one of them especially this year in what has felt like the most insanely trying & testing year of my entire life.  I truly don't know how I have managed to keep everything straight without skipping a beat, but that's a story for another time or maybe another "blog" post.

Most recently my mom and I helped this wonderful couple at Eastern Market pick out one of our shawl vests.  We chatted for a while and then they left to go check out the rest of the vendors at the event.  Later that afternoon, the husband stopped back by to tell us that we had absolutely made his and his wife's day by helping her pick out the vest, they'd found out just days prior that she has cancer and she purchased the shawl vest to take with her to her treatments because she knew she would be cold during them.  He left both my mom and I in tears, and at that moment I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.  It's not about the shawl vest, it's about the fact that in such a horribly scary time in that couple's lives we managed to put a smile on their faces and brighten their day. 

You all inspire me so much, and I truly thank you for that.  You make this crazy hustle life worth it!  It has been a wild ride the last 3 years working full time alongside running my little shop.  I'm SO ready to devote 100% of my effort and energy into this dream and to see where the journey leads me next.  I hope to always make shopping with Avabelle Boutique a really great experience, and if you have any ideas or suggestions please always send them my way.  I am hugely looking forward to having the time to wrap my head around being a full time entrepreneur.  I'm looking forward to having the time to brainstorm ways to make things better, where to take it next, and continuing to take on new challenges.

I hope if you've made it this far that I've inspired you in some way, and if so I hope you'll send me some positive and encouraging vibes as I could really use some extra.  All of my responsibilities tied in with my emotions have been weighing me down for quite some time now, and I am really looking forward to breathing some lighter air.  

So, here I am - this is me - stripped.  Maybe I'll make this into a regular thing and blog about the journey, about how it's not always perfect, it's mostly really hard work.  But it's the best reward I've known thus far and I'm so freaking excited to see what the future holds.  Two weeks from now I'll be channeling my inner Christina Aguilera and ready to get my hands dirrrtayy as a full time GIRLBOSS. 






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