I’m going to PROM … at 42 !!!

taraprom.jpg It’s been an exciting weekend!!

Exciting Event #1

I got asked to prom on Saturday morning.

And I cannot wait to go…

This is not your garden variety high school prom. It’s a 1980’s themed prom. (Okay, it’s a fundraiser.)

My friend ‘TJ’ already has her pretty, bubble gum pink, vintage 1980’s dress. She even tried it on and sent me the picture.

Of course this means I have to find a dress. I said as much to Darling Daughter.

Daughter: Can’t this be about MY prom???????

Darling Daughter said this in her best, whiny voice–as she laughed at me.

Daughter: You’re stealing my thunder. It’s going to be about your dress, your shoes and your jewelry…

Really, very little in my life is about me. And so I’m running with this one. Going all out. I had fantastic 80’s hair. A giant mass of curls, sprayed in place with Stiff Stuff. The biggest problem is that I’m a tad bit chunkier than I was in high school, which may make it more challenging to find a dress. This brings me to the next thing…

Exciting Event #2

I’m officially in training. Darling Daughter signed herself, Son and I up for The Color Run. Daughter is Team Captain and the event comes to Cleveland in June.

color runFrom the website…

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Color Run™ 5k paint race event is a one of a kind experience that is less about speed and more about enjoying a color crazy day with your friends and family. For our events, it is all about participants of all different speeds, ages, shapes, and sizes toeing the start line. Whether you are a casual morning mall walker or an Olympic athlete, the 3 miles of The Color Run™ course will be the most enjoyable real estate you’ve traveled in a VERY long time.

Apparently, the this is The Happiest 5K on the Planet. Those signed up wear white t-shirts and have paint thrown at them as they run (or walk) the course. It looks like fun–people dressed up in headbands, crazy sunglasses, tube socks, etc.

Even thought there are no times, no winners/losers and it’s all about the FUN–I’m not eager to come in LAST. Being last is never fun.

So I must  get more in shape. (I could hardly be less in shape…) Right now my shape is round.

Our team name?

The Misfits.

Darling Daughters description of our half as#ed team; some fit teenage boys, one fat old lady and a group of girls somewhere in between.

And yes, I’m the old lady. When Daughter created the team, she left it open so that others can register online–and join our team. I’m hoping that there is at least one other, old, chunky adult at the starting line with me. (So far, I’ve got one friend who has volunteered to throw paint on runners as they pass…much appreciated MB)

One of my favorite team names as I scanned the list: A Running Joke

So to begin my training, I’m going hiking in the woods with Aunt Kate and the dogs today.

After all, I’ve got a prom dress to fit into…

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NOTE: Those not signed up to follow this blog, might want to get signed up. I’ll post photos of the 80’s PROM here in mid-April. With any luck I’ll talk my friends at Home James! Limousine Service into picking our group up in their vintage white limo. It looks just like the Limousine’s we hired to take us to prom in the 1980’s. Except it’s been updated and rolls with a modern sound system…

Girl Scout Cookies

cookiesgsI opened up my Facebook this morning, and thought “this is why I love my family.”

Cousin J:  I wonder if Thin Mints are organic…yes I will believe they are…

Aunt Kate: Thank God you have declared this! Feel much better about the 2 boxes I ate!

Cousin J: Yes…green box. They are crack in my world.

Last Friday, I stopped at the grocery store for a ‘little snack.’ I was in the mood for some popcorn. That was my plan going in. I swear! But as I entered the lobby, there was a table of adorable little girls sitting behind a mountain of cookies.

Me: I’ll be RIGHT BACK…

The little girls nodded, their heads like bobble head dolls–as I made for the inside of the grocery store.

Inside, I beelined for cold milk in the back refrigerator section–then checked out. With just the milk!

Used my handy debit card to pay for the milk and got a few extra dollars. Within minutes, I was next in line at the cookie table–cash in one hand, gallon of milk in the other.

My family?

They’re like me. We get each other. I’ve always said that Girl Scout Cookies are like drugs, can’t open a sleeve without doing the whole ‘line.’ And there’s got to be milk. (especially since I quit the Diet Coke again last month…)

And so I know Cousin J is in California getting his fix–just like Aunt Kate and I in Cleveland.

cookies

The Brilliance of Girl Scout Cookies…

From a marketing standpoint, the cookie fundraiser is brilliant. It’s an American tradition. The cookie event doesn’t compete with summer picnics, or Halloween, or Christmas cookies. Nor does it happen in January, when everybody begins their New Year’s diet.

It happens when everybody has dieted long enough to be weak.

Further, it happens once a year–so we get excited when we spot the familiar boxes. Many people even stock up! Put them in the freezer. And who can feel guilty about downing ‘lines’ of cookies when they won’t be available for another year?

There’s a statistic that says 80% of women entrepreneurs were once Girl Scouts. That cannot be a coincidence.

In fact, I came across a short article on Inc.com by Geri Stengel is the founder of Ventureneer.com, that supports the theory that selling Girl Scout Cookies helps girls develop entrepreneurial skills.

To view the article, click here:  Why Girl Scouts Become Entrepreneurs

So….at least Cousin J, Aunt Kate and I can feel good about our addiction. Our habit helps to develop the next generation of female leadership, right?

 

The Life of My Dog(s) …

Yesterday was a gift. A beautiful day in early March. Spring was in the air.

Seemed a good idea to walk my dogs in the woods. Or so Daughter and I thought…

The Red Dog barreled out of the car ahead of everyone.

The Little Black Dog, Daughter and I headed for the path, but we were quite a few paces behind The Red Dog. He bounced happily up ahead of us, tail wagging, ears flopping in the breeze.

Not five minutes into our walk, The Red Dog took a sharp left–then hauled as# toward…WHAT?

Curious, Daughter and I stretched our necks, tried to see what had him even MORE excited? Because he was already pretty excited to be running around in the woods…

We rounded the corner and there he stood–up to his neck in water.

The Red Dog found a watering hole. A MUDDY watering hole!!

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I called him, but The Red Dog kind of does his thing. He looked at me when he heard his name–but he wasn’t ending his fun on my account.He frolicked in the water, then got OUT when he was ready to move on.

The Little Black Dog? Loves the water and loves to swim. But she avoided the murky, muddy messes. She ran though shallow water and clear streams, but stayed clear of the sludge.

Not The Red Dog.

He continued to amuse himself by locating every wet, muddy area along the path. He swam in them. Drank the water. Even laid down in them.

Me? The Red Dog was already a mess. He was getting a shower when we got home anyway, so I figured he might as well have his fun.

And really, watching The Red Dog frolic with abandon was sort of contagious. Both Daughter and I laughed over and over again at his antics. Neither of us had the heart to stop him. It was a lighthearted (and dirty) walk. But it was fun!

Of course, the swamp water he drank might be like drinking the water in Mexico. We’re hoping he doesn’t barf–or get the runs…

dogs 001

By evening, all was well. Daughter and I were happy–they dogs were clean and happy. They curled up together like Twinkies, sound asleep in my comfy, King-size bed.

My dogs live a nice life…

I’m back into selling furninture. Ugh!

100_2775Last week, I was on the road, doing my marketing job–traveling from site to site with a Grandfather clock in my Nissan Altima. Because most people do such a thing, right?

Grandfather clocks aren’t small, so I had the backseat down and the clock was laid flat (or as flat as possible) from my trunk on through to the backseat. I had a few other pieces of furniture stuffed into the trunk and backseat, as well.

As I drove carefully (or as carefully as I drive) I was thinking…

“Here I go again with the furniture!!”

It all started when found myself getting divorced several years ago. The kids, dogs and I moved to a smaller house. I began finding and refinishing vintage furniture to create our ‘home.’

Turned out I had an eye for old furniture and people treated my house like a showroom–bought my furniture finds as quickly as I could get them refinished and/or painted.

I sold smaller items on eBay for extra money, but then slowly added furniture to my eBay listings. I listed these large items ‘pick up only’ but then quickly learned how to ship dressers across country because my buyers asked me to.

We’re a family who broke bread at 8 dining room tables in 2012. When I find them, I refinish them. We eat at them until they sell. (I’ve learned to keep a spare table now!!) My children think nothing of coming in from school, dropping their books on a dining table that is completely different from the one that was there in the morning. They’ll sit down to dinner and comment, “nice table. what’s the story?”

Then I got into marketing…

I’ve said I’m getting OUT of furniture since I got INTO furniture on accident.

Especially after I started my marketing manager job last summer–because it keeps me busy. But it also teaches me more techniques that could be applied to the online and local selling that I’ve done for years.

What really pushed me back into selling furniture???

#1) I’m moving (again) …

The little White Ranch House that I’ve rented these past four years is for sale. Another family will surely buy it soon–and enjoy it as much as the kids, dogs and I have. When I move, I organize. I purge the clutter and travel light, hanging onto those items that truly mean something to me.

Doesn’t everybody sell their furniture instead of moving it?

#2) I work in downtown Willoughby, Ohio with all its fun shops, festivities, eateries, creative businesses, coffee shops…

Downtown Willoughby has become a bit of a creative mecca. It’s a social place. I have to walk inside the unique shops on my way in and out of the office. Which is how I ended up having items in Eastside Relics  new Willoughby location.  Eastside Relics used to be in Fairport Harbor, but they’ve recently taken a larger space at 4077 Erie Street.

My very good friend and owner of Blue Willow Creative leased vendor space inside Eastside Relics–and offered to let me put items in her space. Eastside Relics is a large store, not a co-op–but they do have offer spaces for lease inside their store. The store be having a Grand Opening celebration in April.

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[box] Old walnut piano bench that used to occupy a spot by my front door. I painted the top black. Then a couple of days later, painted the base white on a whim. It sits on the showroom floor in Blue Willow Creative/Eastside Relics.[/box]

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[box] The dressers in the photo are both painted by Maggi of Blue Willow Creative. Maggi paints only with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, which is a gorgeous, premium paint line that needs to be buffed and hand waxed. You must see the results in person to appreciate their unique look. Both dressers are available for sale at the Blue Willow space inside Eastside Relics–with more pretty furniture and home decor items coming soon…[/box]

#3) I’ve secured a site in downtown Willoughby where I’ll soon be doing workshops…

I’ll be teaching others how to sell online, the basics of selling with eBay and Craigslist,  how to set up WordPress sites, using Pinterest to sell product, etc.

Since I started accidentally peddling vintage and antique furniture and home decor items, people have been curious–even fascinated. I get several emails per week asking what I think something is worth? How can I sell this? How would you suggest I market that? I get calls when people have items they don’t need. I’ve been asked over and over to do classes, but questioned my expertise.

I’ve never considered myself a teacher. Then again, I never meant to sell furniture, become an eBay PowerSeller, blogger, marketing specialist, web content writer or many of the other things I’ve ended up excelling at over the years. One thing led to another…

And so I’ll be giving the teaching a shot in hopes of helping others use their untapped skills to earn money. Often people don’t realize they have unique knowledge that can translate to profit. When I tally up the amount I’ve made, I must know something!!

I’m confident that I can guide others in shipping large parcels via Greyhound PackageXpress, getting traffic to their online sites, in using analytics and tools to measure sales–and much more. More details coming soon–but class will be in session by March 20th.

If I can do this, anybody can. Other people at least have trucks…

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So anyways, I delivered my Grandfather Clock to its new home on the showroom floor at Eastside Relics.

I unloaded my car in between meetings. And yes, I was wearing my marketing manager high heels, dress-up clothes and shiny lipstick, as I dragged the clock out of the car. My heels made clicking sounds as I moved through the store, with the clock up over one shoulder. I’m sure I was a sight.

Seems to be a normal day at the office for me. I’ve always said my life is never dull.

Just last week I was compared to Lucille Ball.

“You’re like Lucille Ball, everybody watched her to see what was going to happen next…”

As ever, I’ll keep you posted with this blog.

[box] Those interested in my upcoming class schedule can contact me at info@amylauria.com [/box]