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A Dream. A Shop.

I've wanted to own a fashion boutique ever since I was a young girl. To be fair, I also wanted to be an author, an Olympic gymnast and Mariah Carey. All reasonable future career options obviously...
In Grade 6 I got serious about my dreams and decided to set up a mobile shop and sell those fluffy pens that Cher Horowitz and Clueless made popular. I planned to buy feather boas from Michaels and use duct tape to secure sections of these boas on pens. DIY duct tape feather pens... does it get more adorably Canadian than that? Those mobile shop dreams fell apart when I couldn't quite figure out how to be mobile and when I saw that Claire's had a monopoly on the fluffy pen market.
Two years later I joined forces with my best friends to move towards mall domination. I had grand visions of opening three stores, aptly named Earth, Sun and Moon. Earth was obviously going to be full of natural tones and textures, Sun would be cheery and loud and Moon would be my favourite because it was going to be a mecca of shiny stuff. I didn't realize that while I was busy dreaming up my multi-faceted retail dream, my two best friends had decided that I would be in charge of... finances. Because I was good at math. Ousted from design by my two very best friends, I let my mall dreams slide away...
After a degree in fashion design at university, I started to think about owning my own store again. I even looked into a little place near our old house, a place where I could sew custom dresses and carry some accessories as well. Thankfully we weren't in a place financially to start that venture. I say thankfully because I would soon realize that making dresses was neither my biggest skill or desire. Also, my style inspiration at the time was a little too heavily influenced by Jessica Simpson...
And then years go by and though having a store always stayed somewhere in the back of my mind, I was busy with life. I landscaped a ton, made some wedding dresses, went to night school for landscape design, started some blog or something and trained my cats to do synchronized back flips... just stayed busy.

And then, all joking aside, Alzheimer's happened to my dad and in many ways that became what defined the last few years. I wrote about it about a year and a half ago and I remember being so broken hearted about what was happening. And now I look back at that post and think 'sweet girl, you have no idea what lies ahead.'
I thought I could write a bit about the last year and a half here but it turns out I can't yet. I tried and then deleted it because it got too messy and complicated. Much like how our lives were back then.
I will say things are different now. My dad moved into a nursing home last June. We had been waiting for an opening for months, tag teaming between members of the family and the professionals who were involved at that point. Taking it day by day to keep my dad safe and my mom sane until we could get into a good home.
He's in a great home now and I am so thankful for that. I naively thought that when he moved in we could continue, to some degree, the relationship we had. I would still take him out for adventures and he would still light up when he saw me. As we had been warned however, he had a serious regression when he moved into the home. I went from being the daughter who knew how to coax at least a smile out of him every time, to the girl fighting back tears, struggling to figure out the stupid brake on the wheelchair her father was slumped over in.
This summer we started a new reality. I had decreased my work schedule two summers ago to help the family and ideally, to give my dad what small joy he could still have, and now I was the one who didn't know how to take care of my dad as the nurses efficiently bustled around us. I guess I lost my job. But mostly, I lost my dad.

I spent the summer careening through emotions. Deep gratefulness for the people who take care of my dad, because as much as we like to remember the good times, the truth is we were barely keeping it together near the end. I also felt a freedom I hadn't felt before; Matt and I went away a lot, without guilt, because I knew my mom wasn't stuck at home watching the minutes pass by, waiting for help to arrive.
Then there was the deep sadness and anger. I didn't think that would fade, the anger. That it had come to this, my handsome dad in the secure ward of a nursing home at 65. His smiling picture in the display case by the front of his room, a reminder of how it once was. With the patience and dedication of my mom, he is back to walking now and he has come out of his shell a bit. He gave me kiss as greeting a few weeks ago and I was so thankful. As the disease progresses, you celebrate the tiniest of moments because sometimes that's all you have...
I was also shocked at my own sadness... It turns out, you don't run out of tears. My dad and I had spent so much time together and even though it was in many ways so complicated because of Alzheimer's, we still had this special bond. I missed the purpose I had felt in my life by being his trusty sidekick. I just missed my dad.

And then one day I woke up and I knew that I couldn't get stuck in this sadness. I prayed for peace. I had to fill the hole in my life with something positive or I would fill it with something negative. The next week I found a little place with potential and a rent that we could afford to take a chance on. It sounds so simple, and while setting up shop was complicated and tiring, making the decision to finally do this was shockingly straight forward. I was ready and it was about time.

(Sign installation... so official. More shop pics coming later this week...)

We opened The Edit last week. One day less than a month after we signed the lease. I dream of sipping Diet Coke and selling vintage dresses to a steady stream of people who appreciate the story and style of vintage clothes. Reality is that I know it will be a lot of work and frustration. But it still  feels kinda surreal and awesome to unlock the door to my own little shop. It's a bright and cheery shop filled with vintage treasures I would never have learned to appreciate if my parents hadn't dragged their gaggle of children to flea markets and antique stores for 'family adventures' during our youth. It's a bright and cheery shop filled with vintage treasures... and my dad would have just thought it was the coolest.


Sandra Bosscher said...

Wow! I love your story so much and as tears fill my eyes I am even more touched by your heart ! Many blessings to you and the future!

LOVE this!

margreet said...

Lieve Jentine...I share the tears,the grief and the loss. And I am only a good friend. I loveyour Mom and Dad and this disease happening to them is heartbreaking. Yet you are so right about what you are doing and yes your Dad would be so enormously proud about it. That is a very tangible,lovely legacy he has left you: his love of beauty. And one day we will all enjoy it again together: Gods created beauty! Blessings and long live vintage and antiques!

Sweet Laundry said...

There must be so many people who are glad you opened your own shop because it definitely seems like something you were meant to do. And I think in some round about way your dad helped you achieve your dream :) Congratulations!

DressUpNotDown said...

Thanks for sharing. What a reminder to appreciate what we have when we have it.

Do you think the drive would be a bit far from Texas to pop by your shop? :o)

KB said...

Congrats on following your heart and your dreams! I have followed your blog for over a year now and I am inspired by what you have done. I think you really hit the nail on the head when you said that during times of crisis, one should "celebrate the tiniest of moments because sometimes that's all you have..." As cheesy as it is, we must always look for those throughout all of life's trials.
And I agree that when something so unfair happens, you don't run out of tears (and this is very surprising some days), but the fact that you are following your dreams, which is, I am sure the dream your dad always had for you as well, is truly remarkable. I wish I lived closer to come see all of your treasures. Best of luck.

Bethany said...

Congratulations on opening your shop.

I head tears in my eyes as I read your story. My dad suddenly got cancer 3 years ago at the age of 59 and died within only a couple of weeks of finding out. I never felt more pain, watching someone so strong become so weak.

What you have had to to through is heartbreaking. I am so sorry.

Leigh Kramer said...

So glad you took the time to share this with us.

KDot said...

Your story brought tears to eyes. I wish you all the best!

Nadine said...

Ohhhh my sweetie . . What a rough time you've been having! A dear friend of mine has gone through a similar process with his mum and it has been enormously difficult for all the family. I'm so pleased you have been able to find some healing with your new venture. If I ever find myself in Canada, visiting your shop is top of my to-do list!

Mimsie said...

I have followed your blog for a year or so--can't even remember how I stumbled on it. I've loved seeing you modelling vintage and thrifted clothes with such panache. Now reading this post makes me appreciate the heart behind the pretty face. Thank you for sharing this with your blog friends. My heart aches for you and your family, but your dad would be very proud of you--keep hugging him, as in the deep recesses of his soul, he will still know you. If I am ever in Hamilton, I will stop by your shop for sure.

Anonymous said...

Congratulation on your shop and following your dream. I will have to drive in from Toronto!

Unknown said...

I think that this is amazing. The courage to make something good out of the bad times I'm so incredibly pleased for you!!!

Can't wait to see and hear more of your store!!


Anonymous said...

A big hug and a big congrats all the way from Tennessee. I adore your blog, and your style - in clothes and in attitude. The light of the old chapters makes the new chapters very sweet.

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this story, Jen. Your Dad would be so very, very proud of this store and would have loved to lend his expertise. And I am so glad you have opened this little store. Can't wait to drop in! Mrs. H

Tracy from Burlington! said...

I look forward to reading your blog each and every entry,and am so glad you are following your dreams.I too am going thru this with my Dad and feel your sorrow.Good luck with your store and I will be visiting soon!

Natasha Fatah said...

This is really fantastic news. Wishing you a lot of luck.

Natasha Fatah

Susanna said...

Congrats Jentina! This is so exciting and next time I'm in Hamilton, I will be sure to visit your store! P.S. I remember you taught me the tricks of the trade of bartering at a garage sale near your house growing up. Picking up something and, even if it already had a price on it, pretending like you don't know how much it is and asking and than magically, we always seemed to get the items for less than they were marked!;)

amymom24 said...

Congrats, Jentine! So excited for you!

Erica said...

This is beautiful and heartbreaking and honest and sad and that is quite a soup to muster up. Thanks for sharing it. I've always loved your blog despite my general lack of great interest in "fashion blogs" and I think the depth and heart of this post explains why. Congrats on the new store and adventure!

Anonymous said...

Ik ben een Ierse "lurker" met een Nederlandse echtgenoot an je gevoel voor humor en je blik op het leven brengt mij heel vaak naar je blog (the clothes too of course!). Gefeliciteerd met de winkel en deze nieuwe stap.

Sara said...

This is beautiful- I'm so happy for you!

Vanessa said...

God bless you sweetheart. I'm so proud of you for following your dreams and turning your sadness into motivation. You're a fierce woman and I wish you all the best with this new venture.

Karli said...

Wahoo! Congratulations on this accomplishment. Goodluck and I wish you wealthy shoppers to burst in and buy your stock. Thinking of you and your dad.

Amber said...

Yen, I always enjoy your awesome style - but best of all you are such a beautiful writer from your heart. What a way to open up the eyes of those of us who have not walked in your shoes.

Congratulations on your store, I wish I lived near you so I could check it out in person!!! (I LOVE the sign!!!)

Leah said...

Jentine! You have me in tears. Both happy and sad... I am so glad to hear that your dad is walking again and that he is being well taken care of. Your strength and commitment to him are amazing and he would be so proud to walk into your shop and see that you have made your dreams come true. Can't wait to come and visit it soon! I wish you so many blessings in all aspects of your life for the upcoming year.

Linda said...

I am so proud of you for following your dream and opening The Edit. You will be a wonderful shop owner! Now we have to contact some networks and get your TV show greenlit...

On a more serious note I will continue to admire your honest stories about your family, and most importantly, your strength. I hope that your dad continues to improve and feel comfortable in his new home.

Unknown said...

This is so beautiful :) So many emotions were felt as I read this...and although I don't know you at all, I completely admire your desire and ability to chase your dreams!
I'm still hoping that one day I can do the same...but I think my problem was I had too many dreams...right now I'm chasing the whole "get married and have a bunch of kids dream" (although a bunch will likely just stay at two if Brody has his way...haha!)...but hopefully one day down the road I can finally work on the other ones...and when that happens I'll be looking to you for inspiration!

Emily said...

the truth is that I don't care very much about fashion . . . or thrifting . . . and while I love your style it's not something that I could ever pull off . . . but I've continued to follow your blog because I completely admire your strength and your spirit.
I can't imagine how hard what you've been going through with your dad has been, but I'm sure you've been the best possible daughter to him, and he's lucky to have you.
good luck with the store! it's such exciting news, and it's wonderful that you're launching into this next part of your life.

Kastles said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I pray for strength for your family & for little moments with your Dad. I am excited to see more photos & updates about your store!
<3 Kastles

gleeps said...

You are an amazing person, Jen, and a wonderful writer. Shine on!

Lynda D'Souza said...

Jentine you deserve this slice of happiness and while nothing will replace your Dad this will be a piece of 'peace' for you. I wish you so much luck with this venture - at first I was jealous (coz I've always wanted to open my own shop too) but its you and I just cannot be. You are dang good at it gurl - you are going to rock this shop. Love that you named it after the blog - so relatable. Much love.........from a fellow vintage lover starter upper Canadian!

Rebecca Jane said...

This is such a beautiful culmination and triumph for you after an extremely difficult and ongoing journey.

I'm so delighted for you, and excited to hear and see more about this new endeavour. I feel like I have a major reason to check out Hamilton now (where I admit I've thus far never been) so I can come in and buy a fancy vintage frock of my own.

Unknown said...

It's amazing how things come together when the time is right. All my life I've wanted to be a dentist and I tried other jobs I thought I was better suited for, until my Dad passed away unexpectedly. After my Dad died I put life into perspective and realized It's short and I need to pursue my dream even if it seems far-fetched. Now I am in school and everything has literally fallen into place, almost like everyone was waiting for me. Good luck with your store. I wish you lot's of success. I hope you get some good quality time with your Dad too. Just remember to hug him- a lot.

Veronika Novotny said...

What a journey, Yen. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. We've had several challenges with my mom's health this year, she's young and healthy and it came as a terrible shock. My prayers are with you and your dad.

I'm so thrilled you were able to take a leap of faith and pursue your life's dream though. Yay! I can't wait to follow along as you take on this amazing adventure!!

Sending much love from Vancouver!! xo V

By The Shore, a life + style blog

Nastassja said...

Congratulations! I admire your strength, to pursue your dreams - despite the heartache you have about your dad. I pray that he is still able to enjoy life, and that he is able to smile at those small things that make life worth it.

I too dream of opening a shop, also selling vintage dresses - you've inspired me to know that it will happen, one day.

Fee said...

Thank you for sharing both your joy and your heartbreaking sadness. Sending you best wishes and continued strength and unfaulteringly cool stylishness from Australia. X

Alison said...

I read your blog weekly and I don't recall commenting before (although I love it, I am a slacker in the comment area). I just had to say that this bought a tear to my eye. I remember your post a year and a half ago about your Dad and your family situation. I am super happy that you have opened a shop that I am sure will have the most delicious selection of vintage wares. If only I was in the same hemisphere, I am sure I would do some damage! Best of luck with it all and best wishes to you family.

Loulou said...

What has happened to your father and family is so sad. I can only imagine the difficulties you have faced and really feel for you.

Congratulations on your shop. With your awesome style I'm sure it will be a great place.

SincerelyMissJ said...

Aww, congrats to you, when the store opens will def. come and support. I love hearing stories where dreams become reality. Love it.

Greetings from Texas! said...

Ahhh! So happy for you!!!! And you are going to be an author, clearly, have you read this post?? That's next on your list. The Mariah Carey thing? That one you might need to let go! Good for you Jen!

Suzanne said...

What a difficult disease. Both my grandparents had it. Your Dad was so young to get it.

I'm happy that you are taking this chance. The next time I am out Hamilton way I will make a point of getting out to your store.

Best of luck!

Simply Bike said...

I'm so sorry to read about your dad and his Alzheimer's. I can't imagine how difficult that must be for your family and for him. But I am so in awe of how you've turned this difficult time into something positive by focusing on this great project. The store sounds amazing - I can't wait to see more photos! And more posts on how you've opened up a shop, please! I find it so fascinating to read about.

Good luck with this new venture! xoxo


Jennifer said...

I am so excited for you and cannot wait to see more photos!

xo Jennifer

Jilliebeanie said...

so freaking amazing! inspirational. congratulations!!!

Erika123 said...

Congrats Yen. And welcome to the world of retail! If you put as much thought and passion into your store as you do into your writing, I know you will do smashingly. I'll be by soon for you to dress me up!

And thank you for your honest emotion in this post... You are an encouragment to many. Hugs!

jen said...

congrats on the new shop! i can't wait to see more! :D xo

Barbara Pilcher said...

You go, girl! Best of luck. You were made for this.

Unknown said...

may yor dream come true

Unknown said...

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Maria said...

I wish you best of luck! I'd come shop at your store if I lived in Hamilton. Thanks for the wonderful post

Anna said...

My heart goes out to you. I am sure you are a wonderful daughter - and certainly one to be proud of! Good luck with your shop!

Linda said...

I Didn't comment on this, because I didn't know what to say. Be funny? Be thoughtful? Be both? Funny-ful?

Thoughtful: The last time I saw your dad I was over at your house, I think for my wedding dress and your mom and dad "stopped by" to give you those Grafton plates they bought at a yard sale. Then you gave me one cause I appreciated it. I saw it on my shelf the other night and it reminded me.

Your parents passed down their skills and now you have a friggen store...a store, you have a store. You are a shop owner, a store. It's real and it exists and it's so cool... essence...this is your dad's store too. :)

Linda said...

Funny-You are earning what your daddy gave you. So shake whatchyo mamma gave you and WERK.

that sucked, sorry

What Lou Wore 365 said...

This had me in tears Yen after attending the funeral of our close friends rather yesterday who died at 59 after fighting cancer for 4 years. I'm a bit emotional at the moment!

Good to hear that your Dad now has a place in the home and the care isn't falling solely on your Mum and the family's shoulders. It's a terrible disease but those days when he has a smile for you or a kiss must feel like winning the lottery.

The very best of luck with the shop, you have a natural talent for vintage/thrifting as we've been reading on the blog all these years. I think I've only commented once before, on a post about your Dad but I do read every single post.

I'm thrilled for you and your new venture and hope you'll still have a little time to update us all via the blog!

Louise x

Amanda @ Life with A.Co said...

What a touching story about your Dad and following your dreams. I remember reading your post about your Dad, and can only imagine the heartache you go through on a daily basis. So young and when you referred to him as, ' handsome dad..' really put an empathetic spin on it because I imagine going through this with my Dad, who is close to the same age :(

You're amazing and so strong to share this with us. Even though we've never met, can I say I'm proud of you?? Proud almost seems like boastful word when this is all you, but if I can say it on a completely neutral ground, it is what it is. You're SO AWESOME for doing this. BRAVO, Yen, bravo.

PS - love the sign of the boys putting up YOUR sign. Too cool.

Academic Writer (a.k.a. A-Dubs) said...

ohmigods, I'll be in southern Ontario in two weeks time. Cannot wait to swing by and see your sweet new shop! Congratulations.

kate said...

You told a painful story extremely beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. I wish you the best, best, best in the future!

I also hope to also visit your store someday soon (but it's a bit far from NYC)!!

AK said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I'm glad to hear you are feeling some freedom now, although there will undoubtedly be other tough moments ahead. And big congratulations on the store! Know that deep inside somewhere, your dad is very proud.

Tanvi said...

Congratulations!!! It is FANTASTIC!!!

Big Daddy said...

I have been lurking for, I don't know how long, enjoying your posts and finding thrift inspiration. I'm stepping out of the lurking shadows to say congratulations on the shop! And thank you for sharing a bit of your story. Next time I'm in the area I will make a point of finding your store.

MARISA said...

And I am crying at my desk. That was beautifully written. I am sending your dad and your family positive vibes. Kudos to you and your family too for being strong achors by his side. It is a full time job in itself. My dad has serious health complications too so this definitely hit home.

On a happier note, the shop looks amazing and I hope I can swing by and see it in person during the holidays!!


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Anonymous said...

It's a bright and cheery shop filled with vintage treasures I would never have learned to appreciate if my parents hadn't dragged their gaggle of children to flea markets and antique stores for 'family adventures' during our youth. It's a bright and cheery shop filled with vintage treasures... and my dad would have just thought it was the coolest.
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