Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shopping Trip to Paris

Several years ago, I snuck a peek at a questionnaire my husband was filling out that asked him what famous person I reminded him of and he wrote Josephine Baker (see photo to your right).  I thought that was kinda cool.  I always fancied myself one of those women that - like dear Josephine - would pack it all up and move out of the country.  In fact, it had always been my plan to live somewhere in either the Carribean or Paris, both places I love (among others).  And although my husband is a French citizen with his mom's side of the family all over France, I loved Paris waaay before I met James.  He's definitely the gravy.  Good gravy too.  =)
When James and I trotted off to France last year, a part of my agenda was to do some planning for the Shopping Trip to Paris (for interested oo la la! customers) I had been talking about for so long.  After a 3 week holiday, I changed my mind.  And now I've changed it back.  I enjoy travel for myself, but I also enjoy facilitating travel as well -- as you might have deduced from my travel camp for girls.  So here we are, and this time, I'm going for it! 
The plan is to take 10 easy going & adventurous women (i.e., 5 sets of girlfriends, co-workers, moms & daughters, etc.) away for 10 days of gay Paris departing around November 10, 2010!  I will host 2 complimentary dinner/info meetings before we go; arrange all of the air transportation and hotel rooms; arrange for 3-4 tours; provide an itinerary (with choices!); and throw in a few surprises!  All you'll need is money for food, shopping and Paris Metro &/or taxi fare.  All costs will be laid out for you and I will simply charge a concierge fee for my services.  I throw a mean party and put together even meaner events, so I feel confident that you will have a fantastic (and rather unique) experience.
If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here or shoot me an email.  I'm accepting $250 deposits (that will be held in escrow) to secure your spot until I firm up the cost of everything.  You can even start making $300/month payments now!  Once the price of the trip is announced (I'm aiming for a great deal for less than $2000), if you decide not to take the trip for any reason, you get your deposit back (and any payments) toot suite!  It's really as simple as that!
Vive la France!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I've Got Butterflies

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown
I created a heartfelt little Facebook pictorial in honor of the butterflies that have invaded my stomach on and off for the past week or so (because of the launch of an OBG Adventure Camps inaugural trip).  I imagine the butterflies must be enjoying themselves, because they're definitely making their presence known. Cheers to their beauty and to the change and growth they represent. =)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

See Oakland Run

I jogged to the dentist's office and back yesterday.  His office is two blocks away from my house.  Boy was I tired.  And the day before that, I ran on the treadmill at the Oakland YMCA for 1 minute, then walked 1 minute, ran 1 minute, walked 1 minute...for about 40 minutes (so that's 20 minutes in all...LOL).  Today, I raced my husband down the street for about half a block.  I won't say who won.  But it wasn't me.  I was relieved when I went to exercise class last night and learned that the instructor wasn't going to make us run around the indoor track like he made us do last week.  Yeesh.  I just get tired thinking about it.
As you might be able to tell, I'm not a runner.  My knees refuse to cooperate and my lungs are friends with my knees.  But I am pleased as punch that Oakland (after a 25 year hiatus) will be bringing back the Oakland Marathon...uh...Running Festival this coming weekend (March 27 & 28, 2010).  In fact, I think it's pretty exciting stuff!  I even had the nerve to consider running in it when I first heard about it as a way to get fit, but I changed my mind.  I even imagined that someone would notice this little block and the course would make its way down 17th Street (and not 19th).  Ha!  I think I'll surprise my friend Tovi and volunteer at her water stop (it's at mile 6) for a few hours.  Maybe I'll even jog there. 
For more info about the Oakland Running Festival, click here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Never a Dull Moment

I keep saying that someone should bring a reality camera to 17th street and shoot a series.  I swear:  It is SO colorful.  Between the new crop of psychiatrically impaired people that like to make 17th Street their hang out (Security!) and the traffic that the Pot Club attracts (not to mention the stuff I can't talk about), this little tree-lined block of Downtown Oakland is a slice of life that would make for some great tv.  The restaurants, retailers, hairstylists, and yes, even the psychics on 17th bring a spectrum of the working class to the well heeled and it's kinda cool to just sit outside sometimes on a sunny day and watch the world go by.  Folks fighting about parking spaces, horns blaring, cars driving too fast, tattoo guys hanging outside smoking cigarettes, and the occasional pimped out Mack Daddy strolling down the street in his lime green ensemble make this 2 lane stretch of land Oakland's mini-version of Venice Beach.  For me, last week was eventful, as always.  A group of 5 girls showed up in the store and stole some stuff; I almost started a fire in the wastebasket; the property manager for the building thought he had permission to yell at me and treat me disrespectfully (and found out what a big mistake that was); and someone (from the City?) is finally making an attempt to care for the trees on 17th Street and there is now mulch at the base of the trees.  (I'd like to think my b*tching & groaning had something to do with it, but I can't confirm it.)  I'm telling you:  There is never a dull moment...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Flower Power: A Sneak Peek

I'm gearing up for Spring and Summer and found these adorable flip flops - called SwopFlops - for the store!  The flower snaps on and off, so that if you're feeling pinktastic, you can wear a pink flower; and if you're feeling apple-licious, you can snap on an apple green flower.  They also come in black and orange in Sizes XS-XL (which is supposed to fit up to an 11). They'll be here in May.  Cute, cute, cute.

Handling the Pan

Retail establishments everywhere are experiencing relatively slower traffic these days and business (or the lack thereof) for some retailers can even put business on the verge of painful.  And not just because it's the first quarter of the year either (retail's slowest time of year).  No matter what business strategists say about how business owners should change with the tide or roll with the punches in order to survive the recession, the truth is that many businesses will not survive through the end of this week, this month or this year.  Which brings me to the point of this blog entry.
As a retailer in a Downtown neighborhood (across the street from a pot dispensary no less), I've grown accustomed to the unique and colorful personalities that make their way up and down the street everyday.  But what I can't seem to get accustomed to are the aggressive pan handlers that harass people (think potential customers) while begging for a handout.  Not only can an intimidating pan handler encourage people (mostly women) walking down the street to walk down a different street (so as to avoid any discomfort; oh yeah and my store), but having pan handlers regularly hang out can change the vibe of the neighborhood.  So as you might be able to gather by my rant, I don't think Slow Traffic + Pan Handlers = An Increase in Store Traffic.
I hope, of course, that I don't sound terribly unsympathetic, but I'm trying to increase my odds of success (and the odds of the other merchants on this street) by shoo-ing the pan handlers away every day.  And if that means calling on the local Security Ambassadors to get them to move on every time I see a pan handler making a person uncomfortable as they walk down the street, then so be it.  I'm just hoping for a new equation that might have a more positive impact.  Who knows?  Maybe No Pan Handlers + Business Owners That Actually Care might even = An Increase in Store Traffic

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Back Seat Sale!

Everything I usually do (including caring for the store, eating, sleeping, etc.) has taken a back seat to a very important project I'm about to implement and I'm feeling (mildly) guilty about it.  As a result, I'm having a Back Seat Sale through March 30, leading right up to Easter.  Whether it's new merchandise or marked down merchandise, everything thing in the store will be on sale as follows:
March 3-5: Everything is 15% off the lowest marked price.
Week of March 8:  Everything is 12% off the lowest marked price.
March 15 - March 27:  Everything is 10% off the lowest marked price.
March 29 and 30:  Everything is 20% off the lowest marked price.
See?  This is what you get when I feel mildly guilty.  Imagine what you might get if I were feeling really bad!  =)  P.S.  Does not include layaways.