Let’s see it “Once Again”

Continuing with our Featured Vendor Series this week, I’d like to introduce you to Carolyn Snell, Owner of “Once Again” and our very own LTD 7 distributor for Paint Couture products.  Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 3.27.12 PM ~ Aug-14
What I love most about Carolyn and her story is her hard working spirit, her faith and her great love of family. Take a look at how circumstances-being in the right place at the right time- played a role in her digging deeper into her passion. (Pictured below is Carolyn volunteering her time on a mission trip this year)

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Moreover, just like Mic of Mugshots Squared, last week’s featured artist, the funny thing about a passion and a dream, and the common thread, is that sometimes (most times) our passions and dreams follow us pretty much all of our lives. Conditions might not be ideal for a full time pursuit of our dream, but Carolyn is another wonderful example of the power of our passions and how the light inside us never dims, but instead compels us to be true to our heart’s passion and “live the dream.”

Let’s find out more. Below is Carolyn, in her own words. Enjoy her story!

Living the Dream,
Lynne

 1. Even though you express yourself through your work, our readers would love to know more about you. Tell us where you are from, if you are married, any children, grandchildren.

I am from the Lyndhurst area. I am married and have two wonderful boys and two grandbabies, Jackson and Madelyn. My youngest son will be married next year and then I will have two more grandchildren, Chloe and Ayden.

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  1. What is your special dream business and how did you get started in it? What’s your “story?”

Ever since I took a class in high school, I have enjoyed “refurbishing” furniture in one way or another. I was introduced to painting furniture when I took a class entitled “Paint Your Own Piece.” Then, about two years ago, I met Lynne when my son and his girlfriend took a class with her, using Paint Couture.

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  1. This is not a full time job for you. Do you think some day it will be? Why or why not?

I hope that someday my business will be at a level where it would be my only job. I have just taken a BIG leap of faith and will be switching to part-time in my 30 year career as a licensed optician to care for my mother more and allow me more time to chase my dream make it a full time reality. 

  1. You are the distributor for Paint Couture. What makes this paint special to you? Won’t just any furniture paint do? Why or why not?

 I love Paint Couture because of the diverse finishes that can be achieved. It is a very beautiful paint that, once dry, is extremely durable. I like the fact that it is a “system of products” designed to work together to achieve the finish you desire. You can go “primitive,” “elegant,” or “shabby chic.” I also like the fact that you don’t have to strip off the previous finish. All you have to do is clean it well and then you can begin!

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  1. What would you most like to get your hands on for renovation/painting?

I think right now I would love to transform an entire kitchen-cabinets and walls!

  1. What is the biggest obstacle/hurdle you have to pursuing this special dream of yours full time?

Money and Time!

 

  1. Where does your inspiration come from?

Paint Couture has a Distributor Page and I get a lot of ideas and inspiration from there. I also get ideas and inspiration from my favorite magazine, Southern Living.

 

  1. What advice would you like to share with dreamers like you? What one piece of wisdom or lesson that you learned would you say pushed you the furthest in this dream?

 I would say: Never Give Up! I am still not there yet, but I am closer than when I started. There has been so much to learn, but in two years, I feel I have come a long way.

What has pushed me the furthest is my belief that God gave me the dream and He opened the door for me when I met Lynne at LTD 7. My faith assures me that God will be alongside me to guide and direst my path. With Him, all things are possible!

 

 

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A Person of Interest – Mugshots Squared

Today, I want to feature a man we have all come to know and love. As a local to Staunton, he can be found, around town, sometimes on a Harley. He’s a landscaper by profession. And a wonderful human being by design.

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Many of you may remember him from Lee High class of 1981 or with his Bride and high school Sweetheart, Angie.

This man has a heart of gold, his family is his pride and joy,  his God is his guiding light. and he has an eye for our amazing landscape too. Not just any landscape, mind you, but the kind that captures your attention in the way that he sees it. His name is Mic Whitesell, and he is known and loved by all of us here at LTD 7 as the eye behind the camera of Mugshots Squared and the only male member of The Dream Team. Mic not only takes wonderful photos, but he has a way of with photo names as well. He captures our world in such a beautiful, fun, lighthearted way!  You can find many pictures framed and for sale in our downtown location of LTD 7 but please take the time to join his Instagram, his photos are amazing and far to many to feature at LTD 7. Any item you find can be framed or purchased. Contact LTD 7, Downtown.  Mic’s Instagram:

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Mic’s First baby Shower FullSizeRender

December is his busy time of year! 10539183_889233974444250_8121803981696963175_o

His beautiful Daughter6723_562111873898577_6668879911979023366_n

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Enjoy my interview with Mic.

Living the Dream,

Lynne

 

  1. How did you get started? “What’s your story?”

I have always taken pictures. I probably started shooting around the age of ten.  My brother and I had a bathroom that was turned into a darkroom when we were young. I used a 35mm camera until the camera phone evolved.

I have worked outside all of my life. I think my relationship with nature influenced my “like” of subject matter. Some of you may or may not know that my real occupation is a landscape gardener. I have been self-employed for many years, but now work for a major healthcare organization doing pretty much the same.

A few years back, I was persuaded to join and use social media as an outlet for my hobby. I was reluctant at first, but soon, I was hooked. By popular demand, and with the encouragement of LTD 7, I started Mugshots2. All of my pictures are taken with my camera phone.

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“Downtown Drops”

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  1. Is this a full time gig? Do you think some day it will be?

Yes and no. I take photos all the time. Some days the totals for photos shot can reach in the hundreds. Maybe I will go full time, someday… anything is possible.

  1. You use an iPhone? Are you telling people that you support Apple phones for this kind of endeavor? Will any camera phone work?

 My first camera phone was a Samsung Galaxy. I was satisfied with the results, but due to a mishap (H2O) it had to be replaced. My new phone just happened to be an iPhone 4. I became comfortable with it. Since then, I have upgraded to an iPhone 6s. Is it any better? I don’t know; they all have advantages and disadvantages. I feel you should use whatever you have and make the most out of it.

  1. Where would you most like to shoot?

I take pictures of anything-anywhere. In January, my family and I visited Hawaii for a couple of weeks. The abundance of subject matter there was unbelievable. I took over 6,500 photos!

Mostly, I enjoy exploring our area right here at home, photographing what I term “overlooked subject matter.”

“Around downtown”

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5. What is the biggest obstacle to pursuing this dream of yours?

 In one word: Money.

6. Do you ever encounter resistance from the public?

Not really. I just use common sense. And I always ask permission.

  1. What is the most unusual thing that has ever happened to you while shooting? G Rated, of course.

I stopped to take photographs of some rusty cars on my way home from work one evening, only to find a couple months later I was a “Person of Interest” in a robbery case on the same property. I was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.( Thus the name of his company)

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Wherever he travels, he takes LTD 7 with him 🙂

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  1. What would you like to share with dreamers like you? What one piece of advice would you say pushed you the furthest in this dream?

 I would say, just “Do It!” If what you want makes you happy…then be happy. Don’t procrastinate. Even if your dream doesn’t turn in your favor, at least you tried. You can learn from your mistakes and be better.

The name, “LTD 7” says it all. “Living the Dream”

Thank you Mic!

Mic Whitesell iphone Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fool me once…

 

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A couple of months ago, you may have seen an ad on Facebook for Ray Ban sunglasses for $19.99! Now we all know that Ray Bans are never marked down to $19.99. That is 88% off retail cost. What was even better was that you could have your choice of styles and they had a lot of styles to pick from. The site looked legit, using images and logos from Ray Ban and even better, shipping was free! All you had to do was pay $19.99 and you would have a brand new pair of expensive sunglasses for a song!

So you decide to order…….Three weeks later, still no Ray Bans.  You go back to your order and investigate,  hoping to find a telephone number to call, or a website to contact. That’s when you discover that you ordered from a company a very long way from home, across oceans and continents. You also find out that there is no way to contact the place you had ordered from. All you can do, at this point, is wait, hoping to get your sunglasses.

A week or so later, you get your new sunglasses! They come in a Ray Ban box from China. The packaging is tattered and torn. The box is smashed in sections. Still, you are hopeful as you open your box.

What you found inside was a pair of supposed Ray Bans, but not the style you ordered. The logo is missing and the glasses are obviously poor knockoffs.…. Disappointment reigns.

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Do you send them back? Noooooo. Shipping to China is more than the glasses cost. Trying to deal with a company overseas, that had no contact information, would mean that you had no recourse should you not get your money back. The time and trouble so far is not worth it!  So you chalk up your losses to falling for a “too good to be true” ad and throw the glasses in the trash bin.

Sound Familiar? Facebook is littered with too good to be true ads for clothing and accessories that somehow, through some algorithm and “cookies,” follows your likes and interests and teases you with unbelievably great prices and goods.   Usually you know in your heart of hearts nothing could ever be sold that cheaply here in the good ole USA.

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These foreign countries borrow images from Instagram and magazines, like Harper’s Bazar. Appearances and good photography draw us in. If we then see that a few of our Facebook friends have “liked” the page, we click on it and the social media net is thrown. These companies have the money to pay huge advertising costs. Their outreach on Social media is huge! But some questions remain that must be asked when contemplating a purchase form a foreign entity:

How is their customer service? Is it nonexistent?

Is the company reachable in the case of a return or an issue with a purchase?

Do they offer you an incentive to repurchase from them?

How many complaints against them have been filed with the Better Business Bureau?

Personally, I don’t want to go to these extremes when I am shopping.

Shoppers are faced with so many options these days. At LTD 7 and Grandma’s Bait we pride ourselves on great customer service and quality goods. Not so true with the overseas vendors. We have integrity and we want you back as a repeat customer. We know that you may not give us a second chance, with so many options, so we bend over backwards to please you the first time, and every time thereafter. We do not pay for wide reaching ads on Social Media. We depend on you, and word of mouth to widen our customer base.

Your opinions and needs and your experience with us is our number one priority. We are a reputable group of women and men who understand that your repeat business is paramount to our success. We have integrity, which is something that many fly-by-night overseas companies do not have.

We know that quality goods and great service will keep you loyal. That is exactly what you will get at our stores: quality goods, reasonable prices and human customer service, from the moment you step into one of our stores.

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Stop in this week to any of our stores, LTD 7, LTD 7.2 or Grandma’s Bait to experience our pride of ownership and our devotion to you, the customer. You won’t be disappointed.

Living the Dream,
Lynne

 

The Second Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

LaborDay%203Labor Day: A last-ditch opportunity to drink lemonade and eat burgers and watermelon in the backyard, or the perfect occasion for shopping end-of-summer blowout and back to school sales?

How about both?

If you plan accordingly, you can have your Labor Day cake and eat it too. Shoppers are really lucky this time of year. The Labor Day retail “moment” is historically when you can find sales to liquidate summer merchandise and enjoy seeing new fall inventory, all at the same time! Usually there are huge sales, and LTD 7 and Grandma’s Bait are no exception to this rule. Retailers know we have to go big at this time of year.

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Nothing really compares to the winter holiday season when it comes to retail sales, but back-to-school and back-to-college shopping is a significant spending event, with total spending expected to reach $75.8 billion this year!

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Each year, the NRF (National Retail Foundation) works with Prosper Insights & Analytics to find out when, where and how American families will shop for school and college. Here are just a few insights from this year’s consumer survey:

 

  • More families have kids in school — thanks to the large generation of Millennials who are parents of school-age children — which is boosting total back-to-school spending to near-record levels.

 

  • Plans to shop at big discount stores are down slightly, and consumers are looking slightly more towards smaller businesses with brands we know and love.

 

  • The largest portion of back-to-school shopping budgets goes toward apparel and electronics. Not only are new clothes and devices a necessity, but these items are also a way for students to express their personalities.

 

  • Shoppers are already in stores and online. Last year’s shoppers procrastinated, but 2016 is a different story. Nearly three-quarters of back-to-school families are starting their shopping one to two months before school begins.

 

Who can ever forget that memorable Staples commercial from the 1990s of that father dancing around the store and joyously placing back-to-school items — like staplers, backpacks and pencil sharpeners — in his cart, while his two young children looked on in horror as the classic holiday song “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” played?

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You may be basking in the last few weeks of summer and counting down to Labor Day getaways, but for retailers like us, it was time to go back to school almost a month ago.

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LTD 7 and Grandma’s Bait started promotions for one of the biggest shopping periods of the year — and one that’s also become the most prolonged shopping period of the year, weeks ago. We know that families buy seasonal items and clothing, from practically the fourth of July until after classes start. Deloitte’s annual back-to-school shopping survey out last month also found that more than a quarter of parents plan to finish their shopping after the start of the school year.

We are seeing sales expanded out throughout the season. Customers are shopping more frequently and making smaller basket purchases over a longer period of time rather than doing one huge buy.  We hope you have had a chance to visit us to enjoy our sales. If not, there is still plenty of time. You will find seasonal items to put away for next year and new fall items you can’t resist! You will see plenty of outfits that can take you right into fall at special savings. Don’t be shy about coming in looking for good sales at LTD 7 and Grandma’s Bait, even though it is only July. Currently, Grandma’s Bait is offering 50% off all summer clothing!

LTD 7 will begin featuring their summer sale items on our weekly Facebook Sale. Every Monday and Thursday evening at 8:30 pm.

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Now back to that part about chilling in the backyard. If you get a head start on the Labor Day sales and back to school shopping, you will be in a great position to relax with that burger or bratwurst and cool refreshments as summer comes to a close.

Come see us soon!

Living the Dream,

Lynne

 

The Giving Keys

 

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If you are/or were an American Idol fan, or have an inkling to occasionally catch the tabloid shows after the news, like Entertainment Tonight (ET), then you have probably seen the likes of this:

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La’Porsha Renae, and Taylor Swift are probably some of the most electrifying performers that have come along in a very long time. From the moment of her audition, American Idol fans were captivated by La’Porsha’s spirit, her magnificent hair (affectionately nicknamed Kokomo), her bone-chillingly beautiful voice, and also a beguiling, mysterious key she wore all the time.

Taylor Swift has never ceased to amaze us, as well and interestingly enough, she has been photographed frequently wearing…yes, KEYS. The guys on the big screen are getting in on the trend as well!

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 It’s big, people. These keys!

So, what’s the deal behind this off-beat accessory? It turns out that the key has way more significance than just as a piece of quirky styling. So, what is this key?

It turns out that it is actually a Giving Key. The Giving Keys is a company started by Caitlin Crosby that makes and sells jewelry out of keys, engraved with inspirational words. The keys are intended to be inspirational, and a source of strength and encouragement to and from the giver and the receiver. The company partners with nonprofit organizations to help combat the pervasive problem of homelessness in America.

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The story of The Giving Keys begins, inauspiciously enough, in a New York City motel. In an essay on Huffington Post, actress and singer/songwriter Caitlin Crosby explains that she fell in love with the look of the old, rusted key to her motel room, so she “permanently borrowed” it and began wearing it on a chain around her neck as a piece of jewelry.

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Once she was back home in Los Angeles, she engraved the word “Love” on it, inspired by the many compliments she received. She began to sell various used and discarded keys engraved with uplifting messages on the merchandise tables at her shows. She told the fans, as it says on the company website, that we are all like these keys, “unique, flawed, scarred, and sometimes discarded by others.” Now, these old, otherwise worthless objects have a renewed purpose.

Crosby knew that she wanted the keys to have some sort of bigger social purpose than simply a message of paying it forward. According to the company’s “story” on their website, the inspiration came from a chance encounter with a homeless couple bearing a sign that read, “Ugly, hungry, and homeless.” She took the couple, Rob and Cera, to dinner that night, and by the end of the evening they had become her business partners (after discovering that Cera made jewelry). Today, the company’s mission is to help those affected by homelessness. It partners with organizations such as Chrysalis and The Downtown Women’s Center, which work to provide jobs and housing to those people. The Giving Keys employs 28 people who have struggled with homelessness, and has helped 22 move into permanent housing.

Messages on The Giving Keys are things like FEARLESS, HOPE, CREATE and STRENGTH. They also sell LOVE, BEST FRIEND, PARTNER and DREAM, along with many more. When the key-wearer encounters someone in need of the message they wear, they are encouraged to give the key away and share their own story.

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La’Porsha Renae has shared small snippets of her own extraordinary struggles on the national stage, including her ongoing divorce and history with abuse, and has emerged as a powerful, awe-inspiring force. The Giving Key, which she has attached to the hoop earring herself, is a beautiful symbol of her own journey, and a piece of encouragement to us all.

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Now you can own one of these keys! LTD 7 has The Giving Keys in stock!

We have partnered with New Creations in Harrisonburgto sell these keys in our stores. What a wonderful way to “double” pay it forward!

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Of course you know the one that is sometimes around my neck. I will give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

(Hint: it begins with a D…and ends in REAM.)

I love, love, love, love…(did I say love?) these giving keys! #spreadlove

Get one today! Or better yet, get more than one. Just think of the possibilities! Let’s all pay it forward, every chance we get!

Living the Dream,

Lynne

Lemons & Watermelons

The person who most needs a vacation is the one who has just come back from one.

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Summer is well under way and the pervasive feeling is one of relaxation and lazy summer days. The same feelings exist in the workplace, too, where workers are longing for their vacations, or thinking about the one they just came back from. They look out the window or receive a call from the kids at home, and their mind wanders a bit. It’s a natural part of our summer rhythms.

In retail we like to begin our summer sales at just about this time. It gives everyone a chance to stock up on the things they have admired early on in the season, and the items they would most like to have for the remaining days before Labor Day, and the arrival of Fall.

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LTD 7, both locations, and our sister store, Grandma’s Bait, have some wonderful specials and sales going on now! I would like to encourage you to drop by and see for yourself just what we are featuring, most at our incredible prices and then some marked off.  

In the retail world, clothes are becoming ever more casual in the workplace. The reasons are many, but the main one is that everyone is feeling slightly more relaxed this time of year. Most of us who work are not interested in “suiting up” when the temperatures are topping out in the 90’s. Putting on a fresh light skirt and a light top feels much more comfortable. We have so many wonderful pieces still available at LTD 7 that will work for casual days at the office, evenings pool or lake side and all those moments in between, like a trip to the market, a walk in the neighborhood, or a drive in the country.

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In the home, things can still be placed to give you a sense of summer. A well placed plaque, with a favorite summery quote…a picture that is lighter and summery, placed on the same nail as the family portrait. Everything can go right back to normal after labor Day, but for now, think about enjoying the summer even in your home.

Watermelon and Lemon Are Hot Summer Colors!

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The colors, watermelon and lemon, are huge right now! For those of us-um…yes, me-who love to change up the look of our interior spaces each season, just a tweak of the bedding, displays or a furnishing gives everything a fresh new feel…like lemonade, and watermelons does for our palettes.

All this is really easy to do when you look to your favorite things about summer. You can make a fresh fruit bowl a decoration and just that one thing alone gives your home fresh new zip.

There is nothing like biting into a fresh ripe watermelon, with its drippy, down your hand feel, and it is so easy to pull that feeling inside. It could be an accent pillow on your patio furniture, or new table lines, or fun seasonal dishes. Even the idea of a new bedspread in a new summery color brings watermelon magic to mind. Neck rolls are also a great addition to a bed that you want to freshen up.

Lemons: Exciting and Zesty!

If your home is done in blues, one of the easiest additions for summer is lemon yellow! Don’t be afraid to use a “squeeze” of a color you are not accustomed to trying. Navy blue and lemon yellow look wonderful together! You can cloth cover a few books to give a room color! You can change the shower curtain. What about a vase of flowers? How about a fabric craft day where you “frame” new looks for the house?

 

It doesn’t have to be yellow! Think lime green…and blue, or any other summery combination that comes to your mind.

The sky is the limit to your imagination! Get your summer dream on and come see us soon!

 

Living the Dream,

 

Lynne

 

 

Don’t Rain on My Parade

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We hear stories all of the time about inspirational people who defy the odds and succeed. We see commercials on TV that remind us to keep the dream alive. We know of one or two beautiful brides that plan outdoor weddings, despite the odds and chance of rain. We hear the daily forecast that calls for rain and we go ahead and have an outdoor fashion show! And we know that there is an 80% chance of rain tomorrow and we still plan to march in our own 4th of July parade! Of course we do! Like all good retailers, we do not let a little rain scare us away.

Years ago, my sister wrote a book about a woman who dared to keep her dream alive; a charming coming of age story about a lady who faced incredible odds, when a cancer diagnosis hit her out of nowhere. It’s a fantastic book to have on hand, and one that reminds me, all of the time, not to let life rain on my parade. The book is available at LTD 7 and it is entitled, “Dancing In the Rain.” Pick up a copy if you haven’t read it.

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Given the forecast tomorrow,  …. “Just dance in the rain”, everyone and smile through the raindrops”

Retail is not a whole lot different than life, folks. When it rains, we put our rain boots on sale. When it pours buckets just before a major outdoor event, we add a few pop up covers and cover up with rain slickers and keep on truckin’!

The. Show. Must. Go. On!

And you see what happens? It turns out to be a great day for activities in the park! Yes, indeed it did!

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Mr. and Mrs. Photogenic, Aubree & Richard modeled today and will be featured in their patriotic clothing, compliments of Grandma’s Bait in tomorrow’s a parade. They, as well as all the models, looked absolutely adorable as they walked the runway showcasing fashions available to our customers! No amount of rain in the forecast keeps LTD 7 and Grandma’s Bait away! We hope you were able to attend, but if not, here are a few of the great looks we featured.

 

Tomorrow, the 4th of July parade will be held at Gypsy Hill Park and we hope the forecast of rain will cooperate with us.  We sure hope you will come out and join us!

The show must go on!

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Living the Dream… in rain boots,

Lynne

Lynne