What gets you out of bed in the morning? 

I’m not talking about alarm clocks—the electric kind, the kid kind or the furry kind. I’m talking about the aspirations that stir your gut, awaken your senses and push you to take it all on like a modern-day Rosie the Riveter. 

I’ve been the Girl in Charge (or so that’s what my business cards tell me) at Bella Vita for 10 years. In that time, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds. Some days it seems like we’ve bungled more than bounded, but this business has always been my passion, at the heart of my heart. 

However, whether you own a business, run a family or have committed to some other personally held endeavor, sometimes don’t you feel like you need to reach out and talk to others, seek out new ideas and learn new things to keep growing even stronger? 

Needing Inspiration

I’ll admit, I was feeling that way—the need for searching and wondering, but knowing that above all, we had to keep it real at Bella Vita, at the core of who we are and what we do.
 
So husband Brent and I decided to go for it and find it out by signing up for Dave Ramsey’s intensive seven-day EntreLeadership class. (Brent’s a fan of Dave’s financial wisdom.) Touted as “20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom From the Trenches,” this was a week of hard-hitting talks and topics, like time management, creating a productive team culture and vendor contract negotiations. Yikes—seven days of this?  

We decided to take the plunge, pack up the car and head to Nashville with a suitcase full of clothes and hope. 

EntreLeadership With Dave Ramsey

EntreLeadership with Dave Ramsey
A day of class at EntreLeadership


We returned feeling like we could run the world. 

Although we still have many goals to achieve—and lots of hard work ahead of us—we’ve come so far building our own Bella Vita, the Beautiful Life. 

From the days when my accountant sat me down and said “this business will never work” to today, when we run two bustling stores and a thriving online business, well, all I can say is, we’ve come a long way, baby. 

Never Quit

Honestly, when I look back, I don’t know how we got through those first few years. I was closing our first store in Cordova and opening this one in Collierville. But through it all, I’ve come out on the other side to find the blessing: to be able to look back and see how far we’ve come.  

EntreLeadership 2013
Celebrating at the County Music Hall of Fame

I say this to anyone in the trenches of building their dreams—their own beautiful life. Keep your head up, stock up on determination and perseverance and keep dreaming big.  Always look forward—and never wallow in the should’ve, could’ve, if-you-only-would’ve. Because you often still can and you will. 

Stephanie  & Brent With The Ramseys
With Mr. & Mrs. Ramsey

That’s only a slice of the bigger picture of what Dave taught us during our seven-day intensive seminar. But you know, in my heart, I always knew we had these qualities—just had to be reminded and refreshed. 

Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink

Tomorrow, May 25, is my fifth wedding anniversary. 
 
To get ideas on gift-giving, I looked up the traditional wedding gift for five years, and it’s wood. (Modern says silverware, but I’ve already got enough of that.) After my initial disappointment at both gift options, I decided that wood might be the best present of all.

Like love, wood is solid, sturdy, built to hold up against time. And if you take care of it, both love and wood will last forever. 

Brent and I met on a blind date. Mutual friends thought we should meet, and we did, to a cool reception on both our parts. Neither one of us was sure the other was interested. But one lunch led to dinner, and over a year’s time we fell in love. Eight months later, we were married. 

The Memphis Botanic Gardens was our wedding and reception site. Rain dampened our hopes for an outdoor reception, but nevermind that because the day was sunny in my memory with lots of love, friends and family. (On a funny note, I do remember feeling so embarrassed and even shaking a little because so many people were looking at me. To this day, I don’t like it when the focus is on me. I’d rather it be someone else.) 

Brent in his Germantown studio.
Brent in our studio/office in the heart of Germantown, which is used for photos for the website, as well as a quiet place for him to get away from all the girls at Bella Vita.

While all this was going on, we were also building Bella Vita. Brent was by my side every step of the way. From opening in Collierville in 2007 to closing in Cordova in 2008. He’s been with me as first, an innocent bystander, then as a source of support and, starting late last year, as part of the Bella Vita team, leading our online efforts and becoming our resident photographer/ videographer and general jack of most trades. 

Brent and Stephanie
Allison Rodgers takes our photo, every year. It's a family tradition!

How did we grow, in love and in business? Perhaps for Brent, the answer might be slightly different, but here’s what I believe to be the secret to success. 

You’ve got to have a strong foundation. 

While the first flush of excitement—in love and in business—starts out as dreams, you’ve got to get down to work, yep, work, spending time talking and planning about what you both want out of life. 

Brent and Stephanie Mariners Game
Brent & I at Seattle Mariners game - Summer 2012

You’ve got to be on the same team.

Building a business and a marriage takes teamwork. Brent and I have evolved into partners in every sense. At home, he cooks and I clean—most of the time. At work, he’s behind the scenes and I’m on the floor—most days. It’s a give and take and at the end of the day, hopefully, you see some of the love out of it that you put into it. 

Brent, Stephanie & Brinkley
The Family

So here we are five years later, and off to Charleston soon—to celebrate and take a little breather. Another tip I've found that makes love and business grow? Take some time to enjoy it all too. 

Framed Wedding Vows
Verses from our wedding vows that reside in our bedroom

Happy anniversary, sweetheart, and here’s to many more happy anniversaries. (P.S. Did you get me a present?)  

Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink

Regional Medical Center - Med


Just 18 short months ago, my family and I became intimately familiar with The MED and the work they do every day to save lives in the Mid-South region.

Join us for our second annual Show of Support as we give back to this incredible foundation. Featuring works by five of Bella Vita’s talented artists, we will have over 50 new paintings on display and twenty percent of all purchases will be donated to The MED.

Each of our featured artists have also donated a painting for our drawing. With every $10 donation you make to The MED, you'll receive a ticket to enter to win the painting of your choice.

Support The MED today. Someone’s life is counting on it. More about The Med Foundation.

My Story

This is our story. These are the amazing nurses who stood by our side. This is why I am forever grateful.



I look forward to seeing you all Thursday night.
- Stephanie

Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink


Stephanie

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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