Charliemadison Behind the Scenes

A Look Back at May 2024

May rolled in quickly in the Charliemadison studio and we were busy lining up the release of three new military spouse collaborations. Life quickly took a sad turn for our family though and we took a bit of time away from the studio to mourn the loss of our little pup. Despite this tough time in our lives, we have so much to be grateful for and are thankful for the opportunities the month brought our way.

Take a peek at May inside our studio and home.

May Behind the Scenes Highlights: Business

- We shared the story of Selena Conmackie, veteran Army spouse, and serial entrepreneur - at Hauoli-Socially Inspired and Anna + Selena - providing creative digital solutions to help fellow entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses.

- Featured Dr. Karen Thomas, prior military special operations physical therapist, and founder of Venture Out Wellness in the Empowering Entrepreneurs series on our blog.

- I was incredibly grateful to attend the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year luncheon, where they announced the overall 2024 Military Spouse of the Year - Space Force spouse, Dr. Courtney Barber. What an honor to be among some incredible military spouses and get to hug a few familiar faces (Evie King, Corie Weathers, Megan Brown, and Heather Campbell - love you ladies!)

- We are excited about three collaborations we launched the month:

Renewal in Bloom Bracelet in collaboration with author and military spouse, Sarah Dressler, to accompany the publication of her book, Spring Showers.

You Belong Bracelet in collaboration with the Military Special Operations Family Collaborative (MSOFC) and it's mission to support the community of special operations families living life to their full potential during and after service.

The Collective Bracelet in collaboration with The Military Mom Collective - a community built for military families around the world that provides resources and encouragement for all service branches and ranks.

- We celebrated Stacy Bilodeau’s last day of chemo with our collaboration on a breast cancer community bracelet, Side By Side

- This month's Community Favorite Bracelet is the Side By Side Bracelet

- Our Favorite Customer Review of the Month:

"Always have had an excellent experience. Any special request (changing a silver bead out for a gold one) is always done no problem. There is always a card inserted about the meaning of the bracelet. You can tell a lot of care is put into the making and the packaging of these bracelets. They are definitely quality pieces." - Roni G.

May Behind the Scenes: Our Personal Faves

Wendy’s May Favorites:

- My mother-in-law spent a few weeks with us and we’ve had such fun reading and buying new books, trying new recipes, wine-tasting at a local vineyard, watching college baseball, and binge-watching all the season of Vikings (boy is it long!). 

- We ended the month with a lovely getaway with family to my favorite place in the world - the mountains of Virginia - and were thrilled to spend a couple of days with Charlotte and her boyfriend. I spent half the time on the screened-in porch reading among the trees. We cooked delicious recipes, enjoyed pizza and IPAs at a new local pub, went for lots of nature walks, snagged stacks of bargain books at the local library book sale, and watched my husband and my Dad  (both US Navy vets) take our new inflatable skiff out on the lake for its maiden voyage. I’m still dreaming of our next visit!

- Watching: Bridgerton, of course! I love a good period movie/show and this series is so fun. Too bad we have to wait until mid-June for the second half of the season.

Grateful for: We lost our sweet girl Piper this month and we’ve been absolutely devastated. It’s been humbling to experience such grief, as she was part of our family for almost 14 years. I am deeply grateful that she was not alone at the end, that she didn’t suffer, and that I was holding her and talking to her as she took her last breath. While it was a painful moment, it was also a privilege to be with her as she left our world and show her how much she was loved. You will be missed terribly, Pipey!

Books I Loved In May

As I looked back on the books I read in May, I noticed a theme - mystery/thriller was what I reached for the most, but the first three on the list were my May favorites and each was in a different genre. My most-loved character was Vera Wong in Jesse Q. Sutanto’s novel. She had me laughing out loud and quoting Vera until the end.

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderer’s by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

The Push by Ashley Audrain

Sleeping Giants by Rene Denfeld

Everyone is Watching by Heather Gudenkauf

The Castaways by Elin Hiderbrand

Daughter of Mine by Megan Miranda

What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall

The Clinic by Cate Quinn

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

Gull Island by Anna Porter

The New Couple in 5B by Lisa Unger

She’s Not Sorry by Mary Kubica

Madison’s May Favorites:

- Create Your Own Flower Bouquet At The Farmers Market: If I’m visiting my boyfriend in D.C. on the weekends we will typically go to the Sunday Dupont Farmers Market. Recently we went to one of the floral vendors that had buckets of flowers that you could pick from to create your own bouquet. I made one for Wendy for Mother’s Day! Usually I will buy a few small bouquets from the store and create my own arrangement, but this was way more fun and they wrapped it up so nicely! The actual farm is based out in Virginia, check out Wollam Gardens!

- Standout Restaurants: There were a lot of incredible eats for me this month!

1) Anju: My boyfriend and I went to one of our favorite restaurants in Washington D.C. called Anju. It’s a Korean restaurant and the food is spot on every time. There are two new dishes from their spring menu that I have not stopped thinking about the entire month. The shrimp dumplings in this green butter garlic sauce was one of the best things I have eaten in a long time and this black garlic caesar salad, which sounds a little strange but even my boyfriend, who doesn’t like caesar salad, said it was very good.

2) Mama’s Too! In the West Village: My boyfriend and I made a trip up to New York to visit some friends and family. One of the days my boyfriend’s friend took us to a new pizza place called Mama’s Too! and shared several square slices of pizza including vodka sauce, cacio e pepe, poached pear - all around such good pizza. Go here if you are ever in New York City and crave pizza!

3) Republic Cantina: If you are in the mood for some Mexican food, check out this stand out restaurant in Washington D.C. They have lots of good apps (chips, salsa, guac, queso, corn dip…so many good choices) and spicy margs!

4) Swizzler: I personally am a burger girl and this place is arguably my new favorite burger place in Washington D.C. I really hope they expand and open more locations because they are that good!

- Nuuly Rentals: I have been living in this new tennis dress (brand is Year of Ours) that I rented from my Nuuly subscription. No I do not play tennis, I just love this dress! It is always so difficult for me to find comfortable and flattering dresses, but I cannot say enough good things about this dress! I am personally all about renting clothes nowadays rather than buying something and only wearing it once or twice and having it sit in the back of my closet. I've been using Nuuly for about 2 years and I'm obsessed, I cannot recommend it enough to people. If you are ever interested and want to get $30 off your first month you can use my referral link here!

- New Tik Tok Recipe: If you have read our blogs before, you know I have recommended many recipes I have found from Tik Tok. I found this recipe - Creamy Gochujang Udon with Smashed Cucumer - and it was incredible. Definitely make this for your next dinner!

- Beach Trip: Went on a big beach trip to Emerald Isle, North Carolina with all of my close girlfriends and their boyfriends, we had so much fun being all together! Five of us girls got asked to be bridesmaids in my one girlfriend's wedding. We are all so beyond excited to celebrate our best friend next year!

- Grateful For: As many of you already know, we lost our family dog at the beginning of May. I am forever grateful for the 13 years I got to spend with my best friend Piper. Dealing with the loss of my childhood pet has been very difficult, a type of pain and loss I don't wish upon anyone. It's been really hard adjusting to her not being here anymore, something I don't think I will ever get used to. But I do consider us so lucky that we got to have 13 long years with our girl filled with the best memories I could ever ask for! I miss my beautiful girl every day <3

What We're Currently Loving:

- Anticipating an upcoming trip to the Delaware beaches to spend time with family and celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday (Wendy)

- So excited to celebrate Charliemadison’s 9th shop anniversary on June 5th. 

- Can't wait to dive into the stack of books I picked up at the library book sale when we were in the mountains - my favorite way to get books at a fraction of the cost and support a great cause. (Wendy)

- I recently started watching a new series on Netfilx called Bodkin. I have been hooked to this series, you truly will not expect what happens next. (Madison)

“Clarity isn’t about knowing what you want to do with your life, it’s about knowing what you want to do this week. You don’t need to have it all figured out. You just need to know your next step.” – James Clear