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    Lifestyle

    SFT Year in Review for 2017

    Can you believe that 2018 is almost here? This year just flew by.  I’m sharing some of our favorite designs and accomplishments over the last year with you with our SFT Moments of the year!

    SFT 2018 Year In Review

    Not sure really where to dive in but I’ll to start with the planned launch of Mardi Gras 2017 scheduled for January 6th. Right after Christmas, we had everything designed and laid out for social media with our launch of our biggest collection to date. Sarah and I worked really hard to create the best Mardi Gras collection. We wanted to create a full collection instead of just a few Mardi Gras tees.  You guys rocked it in 2016 helping us shift direction back to all things Louisiana and what better way than to make a huge splash with our Mardi Gras collection. We launched all brand new designs plus one being a Mardi Gras best seller from our January Lagniappe Box the 'LA Mardi Gras Stripe.' We put a spin on the traditional Mardi Gras rugby shirt!  Showing off our Louisiana state pride for all Carnival season long with the iconic purple, green and yellow stripe. Let me back up; I’m getting ahead of myself. So on January 6th way early in the morning, I get a call from my daughter telling me she was in active labor. Let me share with you; she was five weeks early. I hurried and got ready to head straight to her home. When I got there, she was all packed up so we all headed to the hospital. So stop and picture this: it was freezing, raining & one of the coldest days we had in 2017. Can you imagine being the driver?!? I was so nervous but I knew this MAMA had to come through. Kelsey and her husband were in the back seat of my car and she was having back to back contractions! That 20-minute drive felt like an hour. Fast forward and my daughter had a healthy baby girl Marguerite. I had the gift of being in the delivery room with my daughter, and that moment will forever be in my heart and mind. The reason these two stories are together is because on this day we launched Mardi Gras and it was the second time in SFT history that we had another post goes viral with our 'King Cake Calories Don’t Count'. Thanks to an awesome team, I was able to be there for my daughter while back in the office we were having our first BIG moment in 2017. From that point forward, the team and I were working overtime to get orders out from our online store & to our SFT retailers quickly. This pattern stayed consistent working many hours till February. Something else we did in 2017 that was a lot of fun was our #KingCakeChallenge for the Mardi Gras season. We asked our favorite local bloggers to take the challenge and share their favorite King Cakes in #SweetBatonRouge! Between the 'King Cake Calories Don’t Count' and our 'LA Mardi Gras Stripes Tee,' we are putting these two designs on our Best Sellers list for 2017 and was incredible SFT moment. If you want to see the best king cakes in all Sweet Baton Rouge, check out the #KingCakeChallenge on Instagram.

    Kingcake Challenge

    With Mardi Gras coming to an end and spring vibes and azaleas blooming, one of my personal favorite tees that we introduced in March 2017 was the Louisiana State song, 'You Are My Sunshine.' This was a lot of fun to create. We have shipped this tee to so many women who have also shared with us their stories why this shirt is so important to them. It may not fall under our Best Sellers list, but it's certainly one of my personal favorites. In April we launched our SFT 1812 Tee, fun history fact for you, On this date in 1812, we became the 18th state. What makes this design so fun is that it was actually found in our 'Pelican State Tee' as small icon and when we were launching our Festival Collection earlier that month, that small icon just spoke to us and that was the conception of the 'SFT 1812 Tee' and also putting it on our Best Sellers List. We have sold hundreds of these tees since April and look forward to seeing this design grow in 2018.

    You Are My Sunshine SFT Tee

    SFT 1812 Tee

     

    In May we launched our brand new website and updated box design for lagniappebox.com. This was a huge accomplishment for the team. When you’re a small business making that kind of investment is scary, but this one was so worth it! I look at the boxes each month when they go out with such pride. Every little detail on the box is sharing our message behind our goal for Lagniappe Box. We are not only creating a tee every month for this box, but we are re-investing in our community to find and curate Louisiana makers that you may not have noticed. It’s such joy to work with businesses who are creating local Louisiana made goods. It’s been incredible to watch lagniappe box grow; we are currently serving 200 box subscribers a month. This is a two-part mention here too, and we also launched during the holiday season our year-round gifting. Our vision for Lagniappe Box is to be your place to go when thinking of Louisiana products to send as a gift, they are still themed, but you can see what you're buying ahead of time. Each of these giftables are ready to ship upon purchase. 2017 was huge for Lagniappe Box making it on our best sellers list because ALL of you are subscribing or buying them each month. We thank you so much for trusting us each month boxing them up for you!

    http://lagniappebox.com

    http://lagniappebox.com

    June was all about being organized and focused for the year. Last year my word for the year was ‘Balance,’ I can’t honestly say that I found that balance but I can say that I learned a lot this year about working smarter and batch working that I do think helped me with having better balance. It’s hard just to shut off you know -- especially when you love what you do! We did our first ever survey to win tickets to see Garth Brooks with our Sweet Baton Rouge giveaway. This was huge for SFT. We were able to listen to our customers with the most tangible feedback that was poured into us. We had over 500 people sign up for our survey. From a personal level, it was so incredible to see all of the encouraging comments like, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, love everything” or “Continue making more adorable shirts” that seemed to be the theme of the survey. It’s one thing for people to buy from you but when you read their words on paper, and the majority is the same thing, it makes you want to stop and smile for a second. This is why we work so hard each day to serve you with all the things you love! It’s also why Sweet Baton Rouge is on our Best Sellers list. This saying is honestly the flagship and makeup behind all things SFT. With that, the team and I are so excited about what’s coming in 2018 for Sweet Baton Rouge, that in January, we’ll be launching Sweet Baton Rouge Insider - a SFT affiliate blog that will be something new and exciting for us. We will be an all-encompassing blog, covering everything you need to know about what’s happening in Baton Rouge, with insider pieces from locals!

    http://sweetbatonrouge.com

    Also in June, Sarah and I went to Ocean Springs, MS for a weekend trip to disconnect from the office and to focus and strategize on fall 2017. I’m thankful for this time we had together. We were honestly able to strategize and concept for fall gameday + through the end of the year. That was a huge accomplishment on our end. If you’re a designer or a maker, you’ll know how awesome this was for us. When you’re a small business every little bit of time means everything.

     

    The summer for SFT was all about making plans for recovery. Not really sure if you even knew, but I had to undergo surgery on my ankle. I wanted to be prepared since I was going to be non-weight bearing for a few months. Thankful for the planning and strategy made earlier in the summer with Sarah, the team was able to really knock out all of our goals, and one of those was to make the showroom even better for you. We took over two spaces to spread out the showroom and office space. Another fun IKEA trip was made, and lots of new pieces put together to give you the space you’ve been seeing. We also committed this year to be consistent with our showroom hours. In 2016 we had about 200 in-store purchases, and it was by appointment only and 2017, we made the decision to be open Monday thru Friday Because of that we ended up with nearly 800 purchases in store! These purchases have been mostly organic or by word of mouth thanks to our awesome customers. While I’m on the subject, we also launched our first Girls’ Night Out shopping event in August.

    This might be our favorite SFT moment: our SFT Tiger licensed by LSU. It’s something we’ve been working on, this tiger was designed a few years ago and has been in the vault waiting for approval to sell. Having those shirts printed and ready for our Fall gameday photoshoot was an exciting and proud moment for us all. Geaux Tigers!

    SFT LSU Tiger

    SFT LSU Tiger

    One of the biggest issues that 225 Magazine puts out each year is their annual game day issue and we were asked to be included! This was a huge personal accomplishment for SFT and to be so honored to share our story about SFT. The title, “How Sweet It Is,” if they only knew...It was the sweetest moment in my adult professional career, Thank you 225 Magazine for making this small town girl feel so special and making this the SFT moment of the year!

    https://www.225batonrouge.com/style-home/heres-southern-football-t-shirts-now-raising-50000-food-bank-cajun-navy-shirts
    https://www.225batonrouge.com/style-home/heres-southern-football-t-shirts-now-raising-50000-food-bank-cajun-navy-shirts

    The end of August wasn’t pretty for most of South Texas, but having the opportunity to fundraise with our Cajun Navy tee to help our neighbors in Texas was a big SFT moment. We have such an AMAZING community, and because of all of you who purchased tees, we were able to help raise $24,000  for the Houston Food Bank. 

    Cajun Navy SFT Tees Help Raise For The Houston Food Bank

    https://www.shopsft.com/blogs/lifestyle/texas-flood-2017-how-we-can-help


    There have been so many SFT moments this year that I wish I could list them all. I can tell you that we are hard at work and really excited to see what 2018 will have in store for us. I know personally, we have some cool goals in mind. I look forward to seeing what happens in the New Year. We can’t thank you enough for being on this journey with us.

     

    We also thought it would be fun to share with you our TOP 9 Instagram post for 2017! 

    https://www.instagram.com/shopsft/

     

    xoxo -- Meredith and SFT Team! 

     

    Girls' Trip to Waco Texas

    If my life were a movie quote, it’d be: “ I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” - Shelby, Steel Magnolias.


    This quote is my mantra in life. I try to love and be loved. With that said, I wanted to share my girls’ weekend with y’all. I grew up in a small town: Athens, Louisiana and throughout High School, all I wanted to do is get out of that small town! Now that I’m approaching my 40’s, I can honestly say it was the best childhood, and I developed lifelong friendships. I look around and see how hard it can be as an adult making new friends, and it makes me that much more thankful that I had the opportunity to make friends at such a young age. Through everything, we still carry on and can’t wait to have just that “30 minutes of wonderful”. So let me introduce you to my two friends that came on my trip with me.



    Elisha, this girl right here has been my sidekick for almost 30 years. It’s hard to believe when I write that number out. Am I that old? Can I have friendships for that long? Really?? Not even to mention that my 20-year reunion is right around the corner! That seems so foreign to me. Pressing on: We have been friends for a long time, college roommates, and we even transferred to different colleges together. She has always been there for me. I’d like to say she’s the better half of our friendship for sure, but we have always been there for each other anytime and anyplace. She is my sister and soulmate for life. I look forward to growing old with her. It’s nice, she knows me from the inside out. She is my person through in and throughout. Sorry, I’m rambling which I’m great at. You get the point; I LOVE THIS GIRL!


    Tina, I met her through Elisha, and she has a heart of gold. Let’s talk about the drive to succeed at a young age. She is incredibly smart (like I wish I had her smarts). Tina doesn’t shy away from that at all. She is the kindest person and works extremely hard. This girl put herself through Pharmacy school and is damn good at her job. What I love about Tina is and what she has shown me over the years is the incredible spirit of love and preservation.


    Ok, so now you know a little about my friends Elisha and Tina, on to our girls’ trip to Texas! Let me start off by saying, I really love Texas. Dallas feels like second home. It may be a long drive, but it's always worth it. This year we decided to head to Waco to visit the Magnolia Market at the Silo. Owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper it is a fun destination filled with shopping, food trucks, and even lawn games! I began the road trip packing up my car and waving goodby to Baton Rouge as I headed north to pick up Elisha. This is a drive I’ve made a lot! Moving to Baton Rouge when I was 19 years old, I find myself making this drive often to visit family and friends in North LA.




    On my four hour drive, I  filled the drive with podcast and 90s tunes.  Do you remember the song “This One’s For The Girls” by Martina Mcbride,  “ This one's for the girls, Who've ever had a broken heart, Who've wished upon a shooting star, You're beautiful the way you are”. This became my girls trip song of the weekend! Love how a song can bring you back in time like this one.  With our Sweet & Southern Fall Collection release coming up the next week, I couldn't help but to download the Steel Magnolia’s soundtrack for the drive. Around three hours into my drive, I pass through Natchitoches, Louisiana.  It always brings me back to 1999 when I went to school there, rushed Phi Mu and was the RA for my dorm. Remember, I told you Elisha even transferred colleges with me; We transferred from Louisiana Tech to Northwestern together. We couldn’t imagine going to college apart!


    Elisha and I are in the car en route to Longview, Texas to pick up Tina. The drive was only an hour and went quickly! Helps to have a friend in the car to chat and eat snacks with!  We make it to Longview, and now we are all three together with only three hours to go!


    Hopping over the boring details, we made it to Waco around midnight and checked into our hotel. Friday morning we woke up and got ready to head to our much-anticipated visit to Magnolia Market.  We started off with a great local breakfast at Cafe Cappuccino, the cutest local spot with a few locations around Waco. I think it's important to prepare you: our trip was mostly about shopping and food! After breakfast, we drove down the street in downtown Waco to head to our first stop at the Silos. So, let’s be real. We took a lot of photos, like A LOT. I was surprised to see the silos were in the downtown area. You never would guess from pictures! It’s so cute and quaint. We had the best day ever hanging out and shopping at the one of a kind marketplace, Magnolia Market. After a day of fun, we loaded up the car and headed up to Frisco, Texas.



    Not far into our drive, we spotted beautiful fields of cotton. So beautiful, we had to pull over and guess what, take more pictures! I had seen a quote that read, “Don’t Count The Days, Make The Days Count” so we did just that. After a day of Magnolia Market and selfies on the side of the road, made it to Frisco and we dressed up and made it out for a nice dinner and wine. We stayed at the brand new Omni in Frisco, and it’s a must-see hotel. The service was 100% only been open for two months! We will be back! Over the next day, we ate and shopped and had the best time just being together. These girls mean the world to me!


    This road trip reminded me of the importance of friendship, which is what our Sweet & Southern Fall Collection is all about. So many of my friends from North Louisiana help inspire the collection. Making friendships that have lasted nearly 30 years and a lifetime of giggles and memories is what it’s all about. Thanks for letting me share a little bit about these wonderful ladies and our trip. They are my 2017 Steel Magnolias, my Louisiana Squad.


    I hope you have a chance to visit Magnolia Market in Waco with your squad soon too! I’m working on a list of tips and recommendations for when you visit the Silos! Post coming soon!

     

    xoxo,

    Meredith 

    DRESSING FOR GAME DAY

    Louisiana 1812 Graphic Tee by SFT

     

    It’s the middle of August here in South Louisiana, and I wouldn’t dare go outside to bear the heat right now - although my kids refuse to nap these days, so the hundred-degree heat index doesn’t seem as intimidating. Sitting comfortably in the air conditioning enjoying a sweet tea from my mason jar (with a handle of course because I’m #classy), I hear a school bus down the street making stops to return elementary children home. With a fresh year ahead, high schoolers are dreaming of the promise of freedom and the excitement that lies ahead. College students are perfecting their schedules, hoping to get into that waitlisted class or carve out enough time for an afternoon nap before work. Mothers welcome home their children and tackle those sometimes monotonous, usually challenging, but always rewarding tasks of motherhood. So with the leaf-changing season ahead, first time drivers, sorority sisters, and mamas alike begin scouting out the latest fall trends and prepare to break out her beloved fall wardrobe. Among the booties, denim cutoffs, and monogramed vests, you can bet that every Louisiana girl has plenty of PURPLE and GOLD ready for game day! 

     

    The thought of LSU Game Day provokes plenty of excitement around here and brings back many great memories. Memories of scorching afternoons on the parade grounds with friends, joining the crowd at Walk Ons for a yummy bite, walking through the Student Union to cool off, patiently waiting my turn to enter Death Valley, and of course a celebratory night out to Tigerland (amiright?!). Even if only joining family and friends for a home viewing of the game, there is no better reason to get dressed up than to support your T-I-G-E-R-S! SFT is usually first string when it comes to my game day style. I actually throw on an SFT t-shirt almost every day… well who am I kidding? I probably wore my tee to bed the night before, so I may change into another classic SFT or keep rocking the same shirt for a couple of days (as long as the baby doesn’t spit up on it, OKAY). 

     

    So here are a few reasons why you should rock SFT on game day in case you need any more convincing (because I’m sure the thought of me wearing the same shirt for days has you running to www.shopsft.com):

     

    1. COMFORT

    Let’s state the obvious here: Southern Football Tees makes... t-shirts! And T-SHIRTS ARE COMFY. These cotton blend shirts are top of the line. They are lightweight and so soft, so you’ll want to wear them all day and night ;). Whether you spend game day hauling a keg, your specialty appetizer, or your stubborn - I mean precious- child around, these shirts won’t get in the way. No falling straps or uncomfortable under garments to worry about here. It’s one of those tops you won’t regret wearing an hour into tailgating.

    2. ONE-OF-A-KIND DESIGNS

    These tees highlight the history, culture, and pride of LSU Football and the state of Louisiana.  Although our opposing fans are probably tired of hearing “Tiger Bait”, we know they wish they were Callin Baton Rouge, and we aren’t afraid to rub it in! You can choose from some of my favorite designs like the licensed tiger (which just came back! Yay!), “Louisiana Saturday Night!”, Cajun Navy, or even the Tailgate Checklist tee so you don’t forget anything. There is a tee for everyone to show off your Tiger pride.

    3. VERSITILITY

    We’re talking about t-shirts here, and cute ones at that! Feel free to keep it simple and let your shirt do the talking, so you can save your voice for chanting “GEAUX TIGERS” at the game! When I’m more focused on getting the kids ready or coordinating game day plans than my #ootd, I’ll just sport jeans, white denim shorts, or even running shorts (you know you’ve done it!). When I have the time, I really enjoy styling my outfits for game day, and I appreciate the challenge of making a t-shirt feel fashion forward. I find that pairing a skirt to beat the heat or trendy flare crops creates a great foundation. Then I have fun adding statement accessories! I’m a sucker for adding cute earrings and a cool pair of shoes to my ensemble, which is super simple and will look put together– NO FAIL! No matter how you style your SFT game day apparel, you’ll feel and look great!

    4. UNISEX & CHILDREN OPTIONS

    My husband wears SFT more than I do! He’s been stealing my shirts for years, but lucky for him, SFT just launched some seriously cool designs for men. Get the kids involved too with SFT’s BRAND NEW children’s options. Get game day tees for the whole family because we do live in the south, and everyone likes to coordinate the whole family (ooor is that just me?). Either way, nothing is cuter than a mini tiger fan in a “Sweet Baton Rouge” tee enjoying frozen lemonade on a Saturday night. 

    5. SPIN TO WIN

    Visit www.shopsft.com for your chance to score a discount on your choice of game day apparel or anything else super cute from the site! Good luck!

     

    I hope this chat has you just as pumped up for football season as I am! TEN MORE DAYS! GEAUX TIGERS!

     

    XOXO,

    Kelsey Romano

    SFT 21-Day Booty Challenge

    Hey there -- so I’m excited to announce to you that each month I will list out my favorite workouts for you in a way that you can do them anytime throughout your everyday life.


    This month, I wanted to focus on your glutes and provide you with some of my favorite glute workouts that you can do anytime. Working your glutes is my personal favorite -- actually glutes and legs. You know we all want to have Carrie Underwoods legs, am I right? So for May, I introduce you to our SFT 21 Day Booty Challenge!


    Exercise 1: Basic Squat

    For our first exercise, I wanted to demonstrate a basic squat. I actually will run through many sets of 10 throughout the day in my work out clothes or everyday clothing. As long as I can bend down and up in a comfortable way.

    To do a correct squat, stand tall with your feet spread apart and shoulder distance apart. You will lower your body down, pushing your hips and glutes back by bending your knees. You can hold this position and then slowly push yourself back and squeezing your glutes back to the standing position.

    Exercise 2: Plie’ Squat

    Our second exercise is a plie' squat. I also love a good plie' squat, why you ask?? Well, I’ve always wanted to be a ballerina but that was never in my card as I was more of a basketball player and avid runner.

    And speaking of running, I’ve had to take a break for a little while for an injured foot. I’m hoping I can get back into my running shoes again soon. Until then... I plie'!

    What I love about this squat position is that it strengthens your legs, glutes, and calves along with increasing your hips. You are also toning your inner thighs.

    In this position you will bring your feet much wider than a regular squat position. You will also want to turn your toes out. Start with bending your knees. Lower your body down keeping your back straight, and pull your abs in for a little core bonus work. This also supports your lower back. Squeeze your glutes and come back to a standing position.

    Exercise 3: Donkey Kick

    Our third exercise is a donkey kick. Donkey kicks are fabulous for really targeting your glutes. For this exercise you will actually come down on the the floor (or mat if you’re using one) and get on all fours with your hands under the shoulder and your knees under the hips.

    Let’s start with our right leg by bending the knee to 90 degrees, flexing the foot and lifting the foot flexed up to hip level. You will return the knee back and repeat. After you finish the right, you will repeat on the left.