My Most Commonly Asked Questions…
Good morning! Happy Tuesday! We are back from Spring Break and I am officially back to the grind! House projects GALORE and cabin decorating now in full force! It has all been painted and is ready to go which I am SOOOO EXCITED about! I will be blogging more about our Spring Break trip to the Exumas later this week AND giving y’all a full paint tour of the cabin but in the meantime, I wanted to finish up and post a blog post I started before we left. Answering questions I am asked most…
NOPE! Our soon-to-be four (with the addition of two step sons this Summer) is plenty for us! I actually had an endometrial ablation in the Fall of 2018 which I chatted about in detail IN THIS BLOG POST. That procedure makes it much more difficult to get pregnant and nearly impossible to carry a baby. So unless God has other plans for us, that is a hard NO! 😉
I get TONS of questions about my fiancé 😉 and his boys so here you go… John just turned 42 and is from New York. He is currently a builder (a senior super-intendent) for a large company in the Forsyth County Georgia area. He went to school for architecture in New Jersey and we have big plans to one day SOON (eeeekkkkkkk!) merge our skills and interests to pursue our dreams together. He is incredibly artistic and creative which I of course LOVE! He moved to Georgia about ten years ago and all of his family still lives in New York. Because of Covid, I haven’t been able to meet any of them yet! He has two absolutely PRECIOUS boys… Austin who is 15 and Zachary who is 13. Zach is one month older than Addie and they have the absolute cutest connection/friendship EVER. To the point that we’ve had to say numerous times… you do realize y’all are going to be siblings one day and cannot date each other RIGHT?!? Zach is much like Winnie… super affectionate and fun loving. He loves sports and has started to want to work out a lot and be big and buff like his Dad 😉 He is always asking John for pointers and it is so dang cute. Austin is absolutely hilarious and is pretty much one joke after another. He loves to fish and play lacrosse. He also has the funniest “sibling” banter ever with Abigail. He loves to give her a hard time about EVERYTHING! I truly hit the step kids jackpot. I ADORE them!
Our Custody Arrangements…
Something I am asked all the time! I have primary custody of my girlies and they are with their Dad every other weekend (from after school every other Friday until Sunday at 6pm) and then every other Wednesday night overnight. As I mentioned in THIS BLOG POST about my schedule and juggling everything, I did also ask him to keep them every other Tuesday night as well for a few months (until they are out of school in May) so I could do two cabin renovation days in a row every other week. For Summer custody, I have the first 6-7 weeks of the Summer for our annual “Summer Adventures” and then he chooses two sets of two weeks for his time with them. I then have all remaining time between those weeks. Confusing I know! As far as Holidays, we do every other major Holiday and long school breaks on an even/odd schedule with the exception of Christmas. I have the girls from the let out of school for Christmas break until Christmas Day at 1pm and then get them back January 2nd for the rest of their Christmas break. I am HUGE into Christmas and really wanted my girls every Christmas morning. Feeling as though I had not necessarily “chosen” divorce, it was something that was really important to me. Whew lots of details!
As far as John, he has a 50/50 custody schedule with his boys so he has them every other week from pickup at school on Monday to dropping them off at school the following Monday morning. About four months into our relationship, John worked it out his with ex who was very very sweet about it to switch their weeks so him and I could have the same “non-kid” weekends. He is an AMAZING Dad and is super involved in his boy’s lives.
Have Y’all Met the Exes?
So funny, this was one of the top questions on IG stories… and yes, we both have! Honestly, this was one of the things I fell in love with about John on both sides very early on. As far as his ex wife, she is wonderful and for that I know that I am very blessed. We don’t see our exes often now because of Covid but early on we would actually sit with her and her boyfriend at the boy’s basketball and lacrosse games sometimes. I remember when we first met he would tell me about how they still did birthday dinners with the boys and even Christmas tree farm “shopping” together for a tree at her home every year. For years! They’ve been divorced since the boys were little but have remained an amazing constant in the boy’s lives and I respect that so very much. My parents were much the same.
I will never forget the day that John met my ex. It’s always been the “little” things for me that have shown me what a stand up guy he is and this day was definitely one of those moments. Things are a little different on my side of things. They will never be what I mentioned above but things have gotten better. So the very first time they met, it was right when Covid started and my ex was coming by to get something out of my basement. I saw him pull up, John was in my bedroom changing and he told me to go grab that out of the basement while he put his shoes on. So I went downstairs to grab it, came back up and John was sitting on the steps of my walkway outside putting on his shoes chatting with my ex. I later asked him why he didn’t wait for me and he said that he didn’t want me to have to worry about the “awkward” and the introduction and such and just wanted to get that over with for me. It’s the little ways he always takes care of my heart.
Lots of questions about my rings! As I mentioned on stories last week, I am going to do a Q & A SOON with John so I will have him share more then but to answer the most commonly asked question… I don’t think I will add an additional wedding band. There isn’t room on my finger! LOL. He was going to leave that part up to me and I think what I have is perfect 🙂
How Do You Do It All?
I actually blogged all about my schedule and juggling work life and mommy hood in THIS BLOG POST!
Lots of questions about this as well! Looooong story short… Camp Wonderland is absolutely still a thing. If there’s anything I have learned in life, it is that nothing is easy and nothing goes exactly as planned. We thought we had it all figured out… twice now… and then between land zoning and logistics, things haven’t worked out but it is still near the top of the AW list. And when John and I merge careers, it’ll be even higher on the list!
I was asked this question a hundred and one different ways and I am happy to share what I can! This is actually something I will be sharing lots more on the blog from here on out as well with everything from house projects to cabin renovations and flip homes. I plan to detail all of that out in future blog posts for all of my future projects. I also did share a good bit IN THIS POST as well. I think all in all I will say that for one, I am a saver and an investor. I have very much learned this about myself over the last two years. If it doesn’t grow my business or enrich our family in some big way, I don’t want it. And if I cannot pay cash for it, I don’t buy it! Yes, that took me a loooooong time to be able to do. A long time. As I’ve chatted about in quite a few posts over the years, I have worked my booty off since I was 14, forgoing all of my fun college years to grow a business. Head down and focused for the last 20+ years. I tell Addie often that you should work hard when you’re younger and then “party later”. Not really but you know what I mean ;-).
On the personal finance side, I am completely debt free. I paid off my home, my car and I do not owe anyone anything. Well, once my cabin sells next month! Although some say that it’s better, particularly with low interest rates, to hold onto money and not pay off your home, there is truly no better feeling in my opinion than being debt free. I feel the mental freedom to do so much more given that it isn’t as risky. I also have a good amount in savings that I am able to shift around for large down payments on cabins or flip homes. I try and put down at least 40% on investment properties and then pay cash for renovations. One huge piece of advice that I have business wise is to always be flexible! I think that is where you can really get ahead. For example, I had zero intentions on ever selling my cabin but with the market as high as it is right now I decided to go for it and will see a huge return in that sale which I will now hold onto until another good investment comes around.
On the business finance side, I hold onto everything I make. I draw out only what I absolutely NEED personally and keep the rest in my account to build up and invest in either inventory for my store, store improvements or just anything big I decide to do in the future business-wise. It’s definitely tempting at times to go buy a brand new this or that but at the end of the day, will this or that REALLY make me happier???
How Did You Get Into Design?… How Did You Get Into Blogging?
Answering all of those types of questions IN THIS BLOG POST!
How Did You & John Meet?
Answered that IN THIS BLOG POST!
How Do You Find Properties?
John can attest that I literally stalk Zillow and MLS almost daily. I have a legit OBSESSION with real estate and trying to find things whether it is for Camp Wonderland or another rental property or a potential flip. Of course the market is so high right now that I am afraid to jump on anything but let’s just say that “John’s cabin” was on the market for 11 hours when I put in an offer sight unseen!
Do You Offer Design Services?
Yes, in person and virtually! DETAILS HERE!
My 5 Favorite IG Accounts…
Gosh that is a hard one! I will say I get the most design inspiration from…
My Diet/Workout Routine
I think I can hear Abigail laughing as I type this out… I am terrible with both of these. Terrible. I can get on a really good work out routine for a very short bit and then I am off for months. I will say that once John and I start our “work thing” we have already decided that we are going to sip coffee and chat every morning followed by a workout. He is obviously crazy consistent with working out but I just stay so busy! No excuse but that is mine so I am sticking to it 😉
As far as diet, I will say that I do eat fairly well overall and I don’t usually eat a lot. I was overweight years ago and I think somewhere in the back of my mind I remember how hard it was to lose so I subconsciously try and do decent. You can read more about that IN THIS BLOG POST!
My Career Trajectory
I can honestly say that I do now know and I am okay with that. My goal has always been to do what I love and I do that every single day so from here, I will let the cards fall where they may. I have always said that I would love to have “the next Anthropologie” that also offers design services so that is always in the back of my mind. I also LOVE to travel so John and I have big goals to have several homes that we renovate and Airbnb that we can bop around to when we retire. And to enjoy now of course too. At the risk of sounding crazy, I think my biggest “out there dream” has always been to live in the South of France for maybe 1/3 to eventually 1/2 of the year so anything that can get me closer to that goal is always a thing too. I am a dreamer so I think my goals change about every twenty minutes ;-).
Have You Set A Wedding Date?
We have! Ish. LOL. We had one set and had it allllll planned out (which I will blog in full next week) but with Covid restrictions still heavy in places, we decided last week to go with Plan B. So long story short that I will share in full later… we are getting married mid-June AND in late October. We are doing a destination ceremony with us, our kids and a few people in June to make it official and then we are having a huge, casual and FUN wedding/reception in late October. Sharing ALL THE DETAILS NEXT WEEK!
Tips on Merging Families…
Another topic I plan to blog more on soon… but in the meantime, I think I would say slow and steady while also taking cues from the little ones. Obviously every situation is SOOO different and every adult/kid is SOOO different but I think for us, really knowing our place (not as each other’s kids parents) and loving/respecting that has been huge. Knowing that I am not and never will be the boy’s mom so therefore I get to be the “fun one” to an extent while also being a steady, adult figure in their lives that loves them and wants the best for them is always both of our goals. John has done an exceptional job in loving hard on the girls but always knowing his place and respecting that he isn’t and never will be Dad to the fullest. To them, he is fun and funny but also protective and caring. Not sure any of that made great sense but I just think diving in slow and cautious but also loving and caring is key.
Why and What Are You Redoing in Your Home?
I shared a good bit on stories last week but I will say in summary that when we decided recently to stay here in this home and in this town, I immediately wanted it to feel like home for US. ALL OF US. I wanted John and the boys to feel at home and not like they were stepping into someone else’s lives. I wanted it to feel new and fresh for the girls as well in their “new lives”. I also of course saw it as an opportunity to freshen things up and make some fun changes. I am a designer you know! 😉 John has some things I want to incorporate in the house as well and I also want to make it more functional for our family of six.
As far as what I am redoing, it will be a LOT! Everything from completely renovating/decorating the boy’s garage apartment to adding a pool (EEEKKKK!), finishing out both back decks/porches, a basement overhaul, completely redesigning the living room and some of the girl’s spaces. It’ll be a TON to share!
Will You Be Selling Your Extra Stuff?
YES! I have decided to just have one big sale at my Addison’s Wonderland Event Space here locally within the next month so stay tuned for details!
Where Did You Get This or That in Your Home?
It is all detailed HERE IN MY FULL HOUSE TOUR!
What Paint Color is This or That in Your Home?
It is all detailed HERE IN MY FULL HOUSE TOUR!
What is the Kid Phone You Promote?
Linked IN THIS BLOG POST!
Cabinet Doors You Use in Your Cabins…
Where Do You Get Your Sectionals?
Jonathan Louis Furniture! They are THE BEST!
Where Do You Get Your Wallpaper?
We sell most of my FAVES HERE!
XOXO, Brittany Hayes