the beauty of having creative friends (AND A GIVEAWAY!)

Before we get started here’s a link to the Instagram giveaway with Cotton Tree Kids.  Go and enter! 

Here’s a thing I love.

I love how stinking creative my friends are.

this is the most recent pic including these 4 girls I could find. 5 babies have been added to the group since we took this picture.
This is the most recent pic including these girls that I could find. 5 babies have been added to the group since we took this picture.

I have so many long-time friends who have made businesses of their creative passions.  For example, out of the group of six friends from high school and college we call “The Dinner Party Girls,” a handful of them sell their creativity for a living  (Don’t worry, the other friends are equally amazing in their chosen vocations.)

This means that when we visit their homes we’re all inspired by the decor.  It means when we go out for dinner at a restaurant we have the best dressed party in the joint. It even means that their Christmas cards are some of the most gorgeous hanging on my refrigerator!

Most importantly, we inspire one another.

(More on why this post includes a picture of strawberry-blueberry shortcakes later in the post.)
(More on why this post includes a picture of strawberry-blueberry shortcakes later in the post.)

I’m not talking some pithy little “she’s totally such an inspiration!” type of thing.  We legitimately inspire one another with concrete ideas and encouragement.  Do you know what a commodity that is?

Most people are lucky to have one friend who is super creative. But- I’M FILTHY RICH IN CREATIVE FRIENDS!!!

I have so many other friends following their passions and utilizing their creative skill,  I cannot even begin to list them all here.  So, for today, I’m focusing on this one group of gals.  Here’s a little more about each of them and their kick-butt careers.


Photos from @hillarybutlerfineart on Instagram


Hillary Butler Fine Art has become a household name around Memphis and beyond. Hillary always had a way with a paintbrush and could paint gorgeous scenes back in college.  She developed her own style and now paints the most beautiful abstract art.  She has made a name for herself and is more successful doing what she loves than most people could ever dream!

She also gave each of her baby shower hostesses paintings.  PAINTINGS!  I mean, y’all, this is the greatest friend perk ever!


Hillary is also one of the most inspirational people I know.  The last girls gathering we had I brought thos mason jar layered strawberry and blueberry shortcakes.  She MADE me go outside and get some pictures of them before we served them.  She set up a cute little vignette and manned the camera for me.  It was an amazing gift to receive some nudging in a creative direction when I wasn’t feeling the most inspired at the moment!

This wasn’t the first or the last time she’s been this sort of encouragement to me.  She’s fabulous.

(I can’t mention Hill without talking about her husband, David’s, art as well.  His watercolors are just incredible and depict our most favorite Memphis spots!)

Photos from @bellsandbeauxvintage on Instagram.


Well, Melissa is brilliant.  I need to preface this whole thing with the fact that Melissa went to law school and GOT HER J.D.!!! She’s incredible.  She’s not just great at her creative job- but she’s super smart as well.

For the last few years, Melissa has had that most important job title of “Mom” and has stayed at home with her two super cute kiddos.  Melissa and her sister, Jennifer, have always had an eye for fashion that was always a step ahead of the others in the group.  So it made sense that Melissa started an online boutique, called Bells and Beaux Vintage, selling precious vintage kids and baby finds.img_1895

As if my baby fever weren’t at contagiously high levels already, Mel makes me want to have ten more babies to dress! Her shop just has those things that you don’t find these days in baby stores.  Everything is whimsical and beautiful.  I highly recommend checking it out.

Photos from @cottontreekids on Instagram.


Abby is my best friend.  She and I have been ridiculously close since we were in high school.  (Although we like to debate when we actually became legit “friends.”)

Abby’s full-time job is in childcare so that she can be at home with her own two kiddos.  Abby has recently started a new business called Cotton Tree Kids.  The name combines her son’s name (Cotton) with an ode to her daughter’s name (Rowan, which is a type of tree).  Abby couldn’t find cute enough shirts for her children to wear.  She saw a need and started making them herself.  Then the business took off and people have gone bananas for her shirts. She keeps calling me with new ideas for tees and I can’t even handle how happy it makes me to hear from her that she is so passionate about her business.

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Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

She makes cute team shirts that are exponentially cuter than any of the other options on the market.  She has expanded her repertoire to include other amazing designs.  If you saw how well dressed her two kids were, you’d understand that she has high standards and wouldn’t be surprised that she wouldn’t settle for just any old kids tee.


I’ve paired up with Abby to host a giveaway over on Instagram! If you’d like to win a Cotton Tree Kids shirt of your choice, you can enter by following both me (@geraldineandvirginia) and Abby (@cottontreekids), then commenting on the Instagram post by tagging three friends to enter the giveaway.

I’m totally #blessed to have so many creative friends.  I’m constantly inspired by them to up my own creativity factor in my less than creative job each week.  They’re not only inspirations and encouragements, they also embody what it means to be women who make their passions into their careers.


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