It's hard to believe, but the end of summer is upon us. It's been a hot, fun couple of months, but it's time to start thinking about going back to school--and everything that goes along with that. For many, this time of year brings the excitement of moving into a new apartment or house of their very own. There's nothing like that first humble college abode, and there's no better way to show off a new-found feeling of independence than by sending out notes to your favorite people, complete with your new address.

Custom Stamps
Don't even think about penning your house number onto the corner of that envelope though. We have a much better (and of course more fabulous) idea, and it's in the form of a fun little stamp. With a variety of great ink colors and designs, Bella Vita bring you a unique and memorable way to make your mark on every piece of mail you send. Plus, you'll get close to 30,000 impressions out of just one of these about bang for your buck! We love a classic chocolate brown stamp, and even use one ourselves.

Sorority Stamps
Custom Sorority Stamps
Ready the notecards sister, because you're about to look forward to finishing all of those graduation thank you's!

-The Girls at Bella Vita

Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink

Jul 26 2011

Hello, My Name Is...

Well, 10 years in now and quite frankly, it’s high time you get to know us beyond our names.

Not simply as the Girls at Bella Vita, although it’s a fabulous gig, we must admit. Rather, who we are outside of work—our families, our hobbies, our reads and our homes, among other fun facts about ourselves. We think that what we do outside the store says a lot about what we do when we’re here.

So we’re opening up and letting you in—our Bella Vita friends. Perhaps we’ll find a few common threads along the way.

In the next few blogs, we’ll profile the ladies who make our stores so spectacular. Each one is so talented and capable.


Without further ado, let’s get acquainted.

A Bella Vita girl through and through, Cari Hale has been with us for two years. She definitely wears two hats, traveling between Bella Vita and Itty Bitty Bella, helping manage daily operations and our advertising and marketing.

Cari Hale
(Photography courtesy of Allison Rodgers Photography)

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Hobbies: Trying my hand at sewing right now. So far so good, although I’m certainly not a pro. I love to read; if I have a good book, that’s all I want to do. And any day I can attend an NHL hockey game is a good day. It’s in my Canadian blood.

Go-to clothing/must-have jewelry:
Right now, I’m loving my boyfriend jean capris. They are so comfy. But it really depends on the day, how I feel. My “apparel mood” changes with the wind. My jewelry? Pearl earrings. I wear them almost every day!

Last book read: Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Jodi Picoult’s latest, Sing You Home. She is my favorite author. I’ve read every one of her books and I not so patiently await a new one every year or so.

Favorite TV: I don’t spend a lot of time watching TV. But I do enjoy Grey’s Anatomy and Glee when I can catch them. I will admit that I watch Good Morning America—never the Today show—every morning while getting ready for work, and I always catch the first 15-20 minutes of LIVE! with Regis and Kelly before I have to leave.

What’s unique about me: Around the stores word is I talk funny and I’ll admit my accent changes all the time. Sometimes it’s Canadian, sometimes it’s just “Western U.S.” (I went to school in Idaho for four years and got a bachelor’s degree in interior design and architecture.) My husband dies when I come home from work talking Southern. But when I’m mad or really serious, it’s always Canadian!

What I love about Bella Vita & Itty Bitty Bella: The friendships and relationships, both with the girls and with our clients. I like to know more about our customers than simply their names—we all do. Oh, and I love to see new product when it comes into the store too. It’s like Christmas every day. Maybe Valentine’s Day is more appropriate—all the new items we carry are sweet eye candy!


And now, Miss Itty Bitty Bella herself, Kat Forrester. Kat is our real-life, in-house mom. She takes care of Itty Bitty Bella’s daily happenings and our baby registries. She also deftly handles all the appointments and record-keeping.

Kat Forrester
(Photography courtesy of Allison Rodgers Photography)

Hometown: Collierville. My parents still live in the same house in which I grew up, which I absolutely love.

Hobbies: First and foremost, my two wonderful children, Ethan (3) and Vivien (1). When I do get a moment alone, you’ll find me at Sheffield Antiques in Collierville looking for a piece of pottery or vintage cards. I also try to scrapbook whenever I can. In fact, I have an addiction to stationery. Yes, I admit it. Paper, stickers, good pens, Sharpies. It’s getting out of hand, which is why I have several books that are completed. They are time-consuming, however, which is why I have yet to complete Ethan’s second-year book. Each page takes about 30 minutes for me to complete.

Go-to clothing/must-have jewelry: Sundresses. So cool and comfy and perfect for covering a post-baby bod. Jewelry: My pearl earrings—a must almost every day. (Cari and I have great taste that way.) I also love turquoise jewelry.

Last book read: Elin Hilderbrand’s The Love Season. Also, love stories that take place in Nantucket. Just picked up Sharon Lathan’s Pride and Prejudice series to read—again.

Favorite TV: I’m really a movie kind of girl. If I do watch TV, it’s usually House Hunters on HGTV, any investigative reporting or my guilty pleasure, The Young and the Restless.

What’s unique about me: Justin, my husband, and I produced two of the sweetest, most well-behaved babies. Justin and I have made such a big point to teach our children manners. Last year at Ethan’s preschool, his teacher asked him where got such good manners. He replied, “From my Mommy.” (Smile of satisfaction from said mommy!) Justin will tell you that not hearing a “please,” “thank you” or “bless you” from the kids gets under my skin!

What I love about Bella Vita: The girls I work with! We have the best group of gals, including our customers. That’s one reason we have such a loyal following among our customers. We get to know everyone. It sounds cliché but we are one big family. I also have to say the products. (I end up buying a lot of what we sell for me and my kids. We love all the fun, new products.)

Stay tuned for part two of our Bella Vita girl stories. Next time you’re in the store, strike up a conversation with one of us. Let us know your favorite books, hobbies and what you love about our store. Sharing information and ideas is what the Girls at Bella Vita are all about.

Until next time, enjoy many days of la bella vita, a beautiful life!

- Stephanie

Related Posts:
Part 2: Megan, Brittany & Cheryl

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Summer is all about entertaining. Perhaps that is one of the things that makes it so much fun...but at times, stressful. As the month of July winds down, you're probably at your wit's end when it comes to creative ideas for unique patio parties. Once again, Bella Vita is here to save the day (and your sanity). There's no better way to celebrate summer than with a great cookout, and no cookout is complete without fabulous serving pieces and original recipes.

Fortunata dinnerware brings us a line of exceptional and colorful pieces, perfect for your outdoor dinner get-together. Whether you're looking to brighten things up with fun colored plates or simply want to serve an after dinner coffee in a classic cream mug, these are the perfect items to take you from outdoor to indoor, all year long. Why not use a salad plate and serving tray as a great chip and dip server? We love to mix and match the almost beachy looking colors of the line. Plus, the sturdy stoneware is sure to withstand the heat, as well as your roughest party guest.

Fortunata Serving Pieces
A simple place setting of Fortunata dinnerware can brighten your entire patio table. Don't need the whole set? Just grab your favorite piece or two and spoon on a few appetizers.

With great serving pieces, you'll clearly need a few fantastic recipes to boast. The Gathering of Friends cookbooks, now available in three volumes, offer unique and easy creations that will have your guests' mouths watering. With a slight Italian flair, you're sure to win the championship trophy for entertaining as you tickle the taste buds of your friends and family. Looking for something a little more traditional? Grab a Sunday in the South cookbook and before long you'll have a classic dish geared for all of the down home cookin' lovers in your life. Either way, you'll be the talk of the neighborhood for weeks--we're sure of it.
Fortunata Serving Pieces and Cookbook

Sunday in the South Cookbook
Ginny McCormick brings a collection of good old Southern favorites in her Sunday in the South cookbook. From ice cold beverages to the perfect dessert for your sweet tooth, any of these concoctions are sure to please.

Alright! Now it's time to throw on your favorite sundress and sandals and join your guests on the back patio, you fabulous hostess!

-The Girls at Bella Vita

Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink


Hi, my name is Stephanie. Like you, I love all things beautiful. The word. The life. The way it makes your soul feel warm and cozy. So curl up with the Girls at Bella Vita as we share our lives with you- our families and friends, our inspirations and ideas, our homes and nests- quite simply, our take on creating a beautiful life.
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