Thursday, April 25, 2013


While playing beach bum for a couple weeks last month 
and enjoying this view every single day.....

I also met a celebrity.

A sweet celebrity.

Have you heard of Melinda Graham

She owns a charming shop on the island where I was vacationing.

"Melinda first opened Surroundings on Sanibel as an Interior Design consulting firm in 1994 shortly after graduating from West Virginia University. The business quickly evolved into a retail shop featuring the “marketable version” of her every day life. The shop is filled with all of the lovely things that Melinda has cultivated into her own signature style…casual opulence."   
-Sanibel/Captiva Daily

I first heard about Melinda in Romantic Homes sometime last year.
She is an extremely talented interior designer and lifestyle expert who has starred
on The Today Show, shared a series with Willard Scott, been on the Discovery Channel and HGTV, featured in numerous newspapers and magazines like Woman's Day, Budget Decorating Ideas, and Where Women Create, is a contributor to Romantic Homes magazine, 
met and worked with Fifi O'Neill, created a wedding gown made from seashells that was featured in multiple media venues, and continues to consult with her interior design business as well as keeping up her blog and online shop.

I vowed that this spring I would make the effort to locate her shop while we were on vacation
to see the beautiful treasures she had there,
and hoping to possibly meet her.

I was beyond excited as we drove into the driveway one afternoon, wondering how receptive she would be....being so famous and all.  :)

My husband and I walked up to her charming shop located on the first floor of her home.

Is this not the neatest island beach house?

The entrance to her shop is on the right where the yellow French doors are on the first landing.

We walked through the doors into Melinda's world of glittery seashells, soft, handmade tee-shirt dresses, found and repurposed treasures, paper parasols, and easy elegance.
Dulcimer music played softly in the background.

She was standing at the counter tagging some items and when I introduced myself saying, 
"Hi, Melinda?  I'm Laurie....."
She said, "....from Heaven's Walk, right?"

I just about fainted.

"You know me?"
Smiling, she said, "Well, I don't have a whole lot of followers on my blog yet,
but I do know each and every one of them!"

I loved her personality from the get-go.

Melinda is the daughter of a Presbyterian minister,
a man who still voluntarily pastors a tiny church in the foothills of West Virginia
where Melinda spent her childhood.
He is Melinda's webmaster.
Her mother loves helping her with her design business.

Experiencing a scare with possible breast cancer
which turned out to be non-cancerous invasive stromal cell tumors ~
she is a true warrior through and through.
The Susan B. Komen Foundation was with her every step of the way.

Between sharing our life stories, beliefs, and loves, 
she waited on various customers while I wandered around taking photos
while the husbands chatted in the garden.

This is what you see upon entering Melinda's shop.

I loved the paper parasols hanging from the ceiling.

These little clam coin purses were only $6, I think.

Charming hand made hat pedestals were created by an elderly friend of Melinda's.
He rescues the wood from rivers and streams.

Lacy paper lanterns were tucked under hydrangea blooms.

Starfish snuggled with balls of angora yarn.

We chatted and chatted and chatted like we had known each other for years.

I am humbled to consider her a new friend,
blessed to call her a sister-in-Christ,
and can hardly wait to see her again next spring.

Take a few moments to visit her beautiful blog and online shop.
You'll find them places of serene grace and eloquent design.
And be sure to like her on Facebooktoo.
She would love to hear from you!

~  Blessings  ~

Linking to the linky parties on the lower right of my sidebar.


  1. Hi Laurie... oooh, what a wonderful shop and precious lady... I am always so happy to hear about breast cancer survivors (I lost my sweet sister Jo to breast cancer several years back)... she looks like such a darling lady and I want one of everything in her shop!... love that hat on the driftwood stand... and YOU look just gorgeous!... that sea glass is calling to me... oooh... and those shells... okay... I am off to visit her blog... thanks so much for sharing... sigh... xoxo... Julie Marie

  2. What a special story! Her shop is just gorgeous and that's such a beautiful picture of you two! :)

  3. Laurie,
    I was totally mesmerized as you virtually took us through Melinda Graham's Shop!!!
    But more than all the "beautiful things" she had for $ale,
    I am so impressed and blessed that she "knew" you!!!
    What a precious blessing to meet and come away with a friendship
    that has no end!!! Sisters~in~Christ!!!
    I loved the snapshot of "The Guys" visiting in the Garden.
    This was clearly a vacation to remember!!!
    Thanks for sharing with us!!!

  4. Well, have motivated me to make a trip to this island particularly to visit Melinda's shop. I was swooning over all of your pictures and saw so many things that would look lovely in the lakehouse! Beautiful picture of you both, you could be sisters!

    I will definitely visit her blog and shop. Thanks so much for writing this post! :)


  5. Headed over to check her out! xo Diana

  6. thank you for letting us tag along and introducing us to so much lovely, laurie.

    what a magical shop and setting!

    smiles to you.


  7. First, the photo in your header is so gorgeous, it is really Heaven's light shining down on you, my dear. What a beautiful home and shop. I am going to visit her blog and store. Thanks for taking us along with you. If I get to visit Sanibel Island one day, I will be sure to visit. xo

  8. Oh, how sweet. What a beautiful shop, and I love her story. Great pic of you and your new friend. Thanks for sharing, Laurie. I have to go check out her blog.

  9. What a special treat that must have been...for both of you! I love the images you shared of her shop. I will pay her a visit.


  10. How super cool is all this?! I'm totally swooning over her shop.

  11. Melinda's shop looks just gorgeous and how fun it is that she recognised you! You two are both so pretty--you look like sisters :)

  12. So beautiful place you visited, dear Laurie! Melinda´shop is amazig. And you looks really nice on the last photos :) Have a nice day!

  13. Oh, my goodness, Laurie! What a fun vacation!! First the gorgeous picture of the beach. Then to find Melissa's adorable shop and to be able to chat with her!! I would have spent all my money there...loved the seashells, starfish, and seaglass!!
    Ann @ Cairn Cottage

  14. The shop looks so great, and that garden is amazing.
    I must tell you that my husband made me that table. (He is handy if he want to,) (smile). Come and look.
    Have a great day, Laurie.

  15. You are so so beautiful ! Yes I know the place is nice (and I'm going to visit this blog...) but you have ma préférence as we say in France.

    Bisou de PARIS


  16. absolutely gorgeous! thanks for showing us around laurie.

  17. What a gorgeous shop she has! I will take a little visit to her blog. Thank you for introducing us to this wonderful place. Chel x

  18. How lovely to meet such a nice person and wow what a lovely shop ! Glad you enjoyed your holiday ...over here we are waiting for the weather to get a bit warmer ...have a lovely weekend...Gail x

  19. I will go check her blog out and what a great story you shared. Beautiful pictures of her shop too.


  20. Checking her blog out now. Beautiful ladies you both are! Love the little coin purses!

  21. Oh how fun Laurie! I am a tad bit jealous.:) You both look beautiful and her shop looks amazing!

  22. Hi sweetieheart!
    I really LOVE your new banner, it's perfect.... What a nice shout out to such a beautiful and talented woman! How wonderful to be able to go visit her oh so lovely and elegant shop. Thanks so much for the nice tour and I especially loved seeing beautiful you looking so lovely in white! Hope all is well and blessed in your world my lovely Laurie.
    Love ya,

    ~ Steph

  23. Hi dear Laurie!!!Beautiful post-your heart is very sweet-thank you very much for sharing!!!!
    Have a nice weekend ♥

  24. Wow! How cool is that! She and her shop are beautiful! She looks like a Faerie lady, and i love the way the shop looks all shimmery like gossamer and shells. I'm with you too, i love the parasols on the ceiling. It must have been meant to be for you both to meet...


  25. I am so touched by your post Miss Laurie!!! I had the most amazing visits with you and Rog while you were here. It was a total treat for me. I would like to let everyone know that the type of breast tumors, although aggressive...were still cancer free as of the last I had removed. I am tumor free at the moment and am checked often. Thanks to the Susan Komen Foundation for all they have done to help support me through the process and surgery. And thanks to all who have so selflessly supported me. I am blessed to have such an incredible circle...and I am so glad Laurie is my sister. I love you girl!!! Thanks so much for the post. You are AMAZING and I am blessed to know you...

  26. Thanks for sharing this on the photo friday hop- this looks like a slice of heaven- happy weekend to you!

  27. What a lovely shop and great story! Thank you for sharing this at Rustic Restorations Weekend!

  28. Thank you for the tour of Melinda's shop. I saw so many beautiful things and they were displayed to be very appealing to the eye.

  29. What a beautiful shop! I love the parasols too :)

  30. Hi Laurie I was just visiting over at Susan's Cruisin Over to see that she is featuring one of your dream catchers it looks great and believe it or not you to as just as famous :)

    This post was inspiring, and to have a shop below your place of living is inspiring and always a dream of mine to live beach side with a cottage shop.
    Laurie not only a sister through him but, you look like you could be sisters in the natural :)

    Thank you for posting her shop of inspiration, did you collect shells that you could drill little holes in to then weave them into your dream catchers giving them a beach like feel of catching those beach-ie dreams letting the bad ones escape and trapping the good ones.

    I am inspired by your beauty and grace, and that new your shutters and I am getting right onto it, making some for my kitchen sink window :)

    See you and all you inspire soon.
    Lots of love.

  31. What a thrill it always is to meet someone you so admire from afar! I will head over to her blog after I leave you a comment as now you have me so curious! Such a delightful shop... by the way, would you pick up about six of those lace lanterns? Can't you see them hanging up all summer long? I'm so happy that you got this chance or I should say, made this moment happen. After all, if we don't follow through with our wishes we will become filled with a lot of "if only's"!! Take care, friend, and thanks for sharing!

    xoxo Kadee

  32. Wow how wonderful to have the opportunity to meet Melinda!She has a beautiful shop! Thank you for sharing!

  33. I just read about Melinda's shop in Romantic Country magazine!! It's on page 10. How neat that you actually met her on your vacation, Laurie!! Your photos are all wonderful. Melinda's shop is breathtaking!

  34. What a beautiful shop Laurie - talk about curb appeal - this place has it in spades!!!
    And that garden is just gorgeous - thanks so much for sharing :)

  35. That is such a beautiful shop! You must have had a great time enjoying the beach,and going to beautiful shops etc.
    Hope beach weather arrives here too soon but it is staying cool.

    Take care,

  36. What a beautiful shop Laurie! It looks like you had an amazing time.
    Hope your doing well and have a wonderful day!
    And you are gorgeous by the way!!

  37. Laurie, than you so much for recommending this shop to us. I don't make it down that way as often as I like, but if I find myself in that area, I will definitely go check it out. And will check out the online offerings as well.

    I'm dropping by from Becky's blog party, and it's always nice to meet other sisters in The Lord.



  38. Laurie, it's easy to see that she is a sweet and tender lady. She has not let fame go to her head. Love the sweet photos of her shop and the picture of you two cuties is wonderful! I will be going over to say 'hi'. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  39. Laurie, That's so very sweet! So delighted you sought out her shop and found her to be such a delight and to know she's a Sister in Christ - what a joy it must have been for you. Gorgeous shop - beautiful items - so delighted you shared with Home and Garden Thursday,

  40. Thank you for walking us through her shop with you! You are both just as pretty as everything in there. She is living my dream. How lovely it would be to have a little shop attached to our house, no? Sigh. Those lavender carrots are the sweetest! Off to visit her...

  41. Laurie, Thanks so much for sharing Melinda's shop and her inspiring story. Your photos show that it's a fantastic shop to visit. Thanks again!


  42. Thank you for sharing Melinda's shop with everyone! I enjoyed each and every picture. Thank you for sharing on Fluster’s Creative Muster Party!

    Fluster Buster

  43. Hi Laurie,

    What a sweet lady Melinda seems to be and her shop is gorgeous. I so want to go. Thanks so much for sharing her and the shop with us on Transformed Tuesday.


  44. Oh wow! What a great shop. I am heading over there now.
    Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home.


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