I’ve hinted a bit at this news on my Instagram stories, but haven’t officially shared my life-update on the blog here: I’m officially self-employed! After 8 long years of running this blog late nights after work, filling my weekends with content projects, and taking many of my vacation days to attend events and photo-shoots, I’ve finally made the jump and decided to make this blog my full-time job! It’s probably the most exciting and terrifying decision I’ve made in a long time. I have had quite a few “oh my gosh it’s finally happening!” moments, and an equal number of, “oh.my.gosh, is this really happening?” moments too.As I ease out of my mini-maternity leave and into this new career stage, I’ve been thinking a lot women business owners that I admire, particularly in this amazing community of creative women I’ve had the opportunity to meet in Boston and through the Boston Bloggers Association. Today is International Women’s Day, and it also happens to be A Day Without a Woman to support women’s rights; one of the ways you can participate today is to support small, women or minority owned businesses. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share a list of my favorite women-owned shops, restaurants, and brands based in the Boston-area – a little cheat-sheet of places that we can support today and everyday! (And if I missed any you love, share them in the comments — I’d love to add more!).

Olives and Grace. Sofi Madison’s South End shop is chock full of gifts and food items that celebrate creative makers and entrepreneurs. On any given day you can pop into her shop and find one of the makers of the products that stock her shelves and learn about their stories, taste their products, and often leave making a new friend! Sofi is always championing other local female-owned businesses, one of the things I love about her and her shop!

Follain. I love to pop into Follain, founded by Tara Foley, for my favorite lipsticks, to refill my soap dispensers with their amazing scents, and to check out the newest wholesome beauty and skin products.

Urban Grape. Hadley Douglas owns the Urban Grape with her husband TJ, and is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet – a true supporter of other women! I’ve had the opportunity to get collaborate with the Urban Grape team on several projects and events, and I always leave learning something new (and with a new favorite bottle of wine!).

Jill Rosenwald. Jill is an incredibly talented ceramic and textile designer, as well as a true supporter of other creatives. She has created a studio space in Fort Point filled with other female entrepreneurs, and has a knack for connecting people with each other to foster collaborations and a creative spirit. She hosts Design Salon, a series of events support creative professionals in the Boston area too!

Boston Public Market. The Boston Public Market is run by female CEO Cheryl Cronin, and is packed with women-owned food businesses such as Finesse Pastries, Jennifer Lee’s Gourmet Bakery, Mother Juice, Nella Pasta, Stillman’s Quality Meats and more!

Holiday. My absolute favorite shop in Beacon Hill, owned by Jessika Goranson, that is filled with girly dresses and vintage treasures and tons of amazing costume jewelry. One of my favorite parts of this shop is seeing their festive window displays change each season!

Neatly Nested. I fell in love with this shop on Instagram, and then once again when I first visited it and its cheery little yellow and white striped awning covered storefront in Southie. I can’t leave without scooping up adorable party supplies or bar cart trinkets!

Miam Miam Macarons. Another Southie gem, the Miam Miam macaron gals serve up my favorite baked good in the prettiest of colors and designs. I’ve snagged them at events and pop-ups, and they’re always the tastiest sweet treat.

Brass Clothing. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about Brass through Boston Bloggers and love not only their stylish products, but also their commitment to featuring real women (yes really real! I know some of them!) in their clothes on their website.

Thimble Collection. Another local brand that I found out about on Instagram that is run by a mother and daughter team, that are focused on making children’s clothes right here in the US and employing working moms!

M.Flynn Jewelry. I met the lovely ladies of M.Flynn Jewelry at an event recently and was so impressed by their aesthetic, their designs, and genuine niceness! My husband got me a pair of earrings from their shop for Vlanetine’s day and they’re my few favorite (good job hubs!).

The Everyday Co. Kathryn has turned this simple idea, a cloth napkin, into the most gorgeous brand of home goods and textiles that are hand crafted right here in Boston by her and other women in her family. I’ve loved collaborating with her in the past and use her textiles in tons of my blog posts!

Sip and Script. Meg and Julie are two ladies who you definitely want to hang out with, they are kind and fun and hilarious. It’s been so fun to see their calligraphy classes grow from an idea to a booming business. They’re hosting several classes this month at a pop-up in Chestnut Hill – if you haven’t taken one yet I highly recommend it!

Apothekers Chocolates. Shari and her husband are some of those folks I mentioned above that you just might become friends with if you pop into Olives and Grace! I have been following these guys on Instagram and love seeing what they’re cooking up next – the honey-sweetened marshmallows are my absolute favorite.

Ore. Sophie Hughes owns this darling South End shop and designs gorgeous jewelry. Her shop features jewelry made by female designers who prioritize sustainability, so you can look good and feel good about the pieces you buy here!

And a few of my favorite women-run places to eat in Boston! Flour Bakery (and Myers + Chang!) run by the powerhouse Joanne Chang; I dream about their raspberry seltzer and sticky buns! Sarma, owned by Cassandra Piuma, was a treat to eat at when we lived nearby in Somerville; it’s a place where you have to try one of everything! Another Somerville favorite lead by Chef Suzi Maitland is Trina’s Starlite Lounge for the kind of comfort food you need on a cold Boston night (and check out her new project at The Paddle Inn in Newburyport!). Blackbird Donuts owned by Rebecca Roth Gullo (and the tasty spot nearby: The Gallows) continues to be my favorite donut in Boston – and I speak from a lot of experience! And one more tasty way to start the day: Mary Ting Hyatt’s Bagelsaurus – yes it is worth the wait in the long lines outside, they’re that good (get the classic jumbo)!