Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How To Attract Buyers to a Garage Sale.

We are selling all of our furniture in anticipation of the renovation and since I used to be a pretty decent marketer by day and am getting just a tad bit bored with this stay at home gig, I went and got all creative on my craigslist post.  I'd come to my sale...wouldn't you?

Ad Copy:

Black Friday was more like Grayish-White Friday compared to our Kick-Ass Construction Sale.  Do yourself a holiday favor and come buy our awesome furniture, household d├ęcor, fixtures, and granite.  You don’t have to get up at 3am, but you do have to come ready for sweet deals.  We have furniture your next door neighbor will covet that has to go before the bulldozer gets here on Monday. 

Like the dog?  He’s got a price. My husband?  Let me think about it.

Sweet Stuff of Ours You Want to Buy:

Ethan Allen Red Leather Couch - $700.  If you ask Santa for this and he delivers, the stupid elves will ruin it trying to cram it down the chimney.  If you want it, better treat yourself.

Thomasville dining table with 4 Ethan Allen Chairs - $1100.  Well now, aren’t you all Currier & Ives.  Put a turkey on this thing and call it Christmas! 

French Countryside Style Chair - $85.  Hop on the bandwagon and get yourself a French countryside chair of your very own.

Ethan Allen Black Media Console - $500.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, who uses a media console anymore?  YOU DO!  This is a great place to store your video game collection and hide it in a dignified manner.  You’re such an adult now.

Wrought Iron Wall Sconces - $150.  For the pair!  This is the steal of the century.  TWO gorgeous wall sconces that double as weapons.  Amazeballs!

Washer & Dryer - $350.  Ho hum, but you gotta wash your clothes.

Kitchen Granite - $10/square foot.  Will be removed but must be carted away the first week in December.  Who do you think we are?  Home Depot?

Sweet Vintage Barbie print - $40.  Get it for your girlfriend.  It has a certificate of authenticity.  She’ll think you spent mad dollars on it.  You’ll get lucky. You’re welcome.

Day at the Races print - $40.  Mint juleps and stupid bets not included.

Z Gallerie Tan and Brown Sahara Rug - $40.  Rrrawr!  You’re an animal.

Half Round Wooden Side Table - $225.  Class it up, Dallas.

AND MORE!!  Including a stainless steel gas grill, Z Gallerie filing cabinets, lamps, side tables, Z Gallerie decorative vases, and assorted bric-a-brac.  Get over to this sale before our inventory is gone because sales this good only come around once in a lifetime.

Supporting Pictures:


In Dallas?  Want my stuff?  Let me know!

Monday, November 26, 2012

How To Take A Construction Birthday From Pinterest to Party.

If you are considering a construction-themed birthday party, I've got the pictures to prove you don't have to be Martha Stewart or a Tip Junkie junkie to pull it off.  I am not a baker, decorator, or arts and crafts maker, but I was able to cobble my meager skills together into a pretty decent construction party simulation.

I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but this is a blog for chrissakes so I'm going to provide some written commentary.

a.  The gift table before anyone arrived.  I bought yellow paper and used black stickers to form
     construction-esque words to stick on them.  This way, the the party colors would be fully
     integrated into the gift unwrapping experience.

b.  The construction tablescape included his cake (more to come on that below), some mini
     trucks, a plastic  hardhat, handcut sugar cookies, and cupcakes with mini construction signs
     from AnyGoodIdeas.  She was absolutely awesome.  I emailed her at the last second and
     asked if she could switch my purchases from barnyard to construction.  She saved the party!

c.  The sign I made for the front door.  It required math and a ruler.  Although my finance
     partners used to laugh when the marketing peeps tried to talk "numbers" my math SAT
     scores and this sign proves that I did, in fact, know what I was talking about.  Damn beanies.

d.  A broad shot of the table with the requisite Happy Birthday banner.  The hole in the ceiling
     brought the theme to life in an authentic manner.

e.  A close-up shot of the cupcakes which had boulders (aka Oreo truffles) peppered in.  

     Here's a tip I can't believe I can give:  if you don't feel like making frosting, get yourself some
     food coloring and cool whip. I just out-pinterested pinterest!

f.  A close-up shot of the cake.  This turned out MUCH better than I expected.  The crane is
   digging crushed Oreos and the dump truck is dumping Oreo truffles.  To make an Oreo truffle:

Dump an entire package of Oreos in the Cuisinart and blend.  Add a tub of cream cheese.  Form balls.  Dip in chocolate. Done and delicious.  Seriously.  Who am I?

g.  More handmade construction signs along the entryway.  These were the baby's favorite part
     of the weekend.  He hit them and laughed everytime he was carried under them.

I know you are all wondering about the inside of the cake.  I was so nervous about making it that I went through an entire box 'o wine before I found the courage to make the cuts.  Here I am right before the happy birthday song and dance, about to suggest we eat donuts instead of cake:

Here's what pinterest told me it would look like:

And here's what it looked like:

The angles weren't perfect, perhaps because of the wine, but the construction effect was successfully integrated into every cake touchpoint. Not bad for a desperate marketer on Mom sabbatical, right?  Anyone else think it might be time for Mom to get a j-o-b?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What A Construction Birthday Party Looks Like.

I think this week is Thanksgiving, but I'm not 100% because it also happens to be our little boy's first birthday.  A construction cake, cookies, and tablescape are top of mind and even though I am nowhere near ready for the big bash for six people on Saturday, here are some snapshots of the operations involved in getting a construction party up-and-running.

Task 1:  Making hammer cookies without a hammer cookie cutter. I earned my bad-ass crafty badge on this one.  Icing starts tomorrow.

Task 2:  Making sure the holes in the walls aren't the only construction decor.  Getting those letters straight required more math than I've used since the SAT.

Task 3: Making Oreo truffles that look like boulders for the top of the cake.  This worked out nicely because I was able to have wine, Oreos, and weird-ass melty chocolate for dinner while whipping them up.

Next up is the cake, which scares the shit out of me.  I have no back-up plan and no real cake credentials.  I will be posting and pinteresting the results of this experiment, also known as my son's first birthday, after Saturday so please stay tuned for the train wreck.  Until then, everyone be thankful you're not trying to make this cake in the next 48 hours!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tips For Flying With A Baby This Thanksgiving.

Hopping on a plane this week with your baby to celebrate Pilgrim-style with Grandma and Grandpa?  You're in the right spot. Below are five tips I wish someone had shared with me before I first pushed a stroller down the jetbridge.   

You see, I am not an expert in parenting, babies or children, but I am a self-proclaimed expert on travel.  Prior to becoming a mom, I traveled several times a month.  I knew Detroit was the best airport for a layover, Atlanta should be avoided at all cost, could make it through security in two minutes and make a tight connection in heels in five.  

With a baby in tow, things got a little more challenging, but after completing nearly 20 legs alone with said baby, I now consider myself an expert in flying and surviving with a squirmy carry-on.

Tip 1:  Set Your Expectations Low.
This is not an experience that will be better than you imagine.  Like your Pilgrim forefathers, you are embarking on a long and arduous journey.  You will not spend your flight(s) reading, drinking tomato juice, or doing the USA Today crossword.  

This week the airport will be teeming with JV travelers who will hold up security because they have 64 ounces of gravy in their carry-on and are wearing lace-up boots.  And you have a baby.

Mentally prepare for the worst and you will not be disappointed.

Tip 2:  Check Your Bags.
Check every bag except your diaper bag.  Today is not the day to save $60.

Here's a bonus tip:  if you have a backpack, bring it instead of the diaper bag.  Those damn bags we painstakingly chose for our registries were not meant for the friendly skies.

If you call me from the Alberquerque airport in tears because you couldn't pack seven diapers in your teeny, yet stylish, diaper bag with everything else and your baby is now wrapped in a maxi pad that was dispensed in airport restroom, I am going to say, "I told you so."

Tip 3:  Pack Like Someone Who Will Be Stranded In The Wilderness For The Next Three Days.
I'm no martyr.  I didn't make mistakes so you could learn from them, but you'd be a complete moron if you couldn't a thing or two from the time I was pooped on mid-air, the time my flight was diverted overnight, and the time I wasn't prepared for rush hour traffic.

When packing your carry-on, double the amount of diapers, formula, food, toys, clothing, and wipes you think you need and then add some.  With the right resources at hand, you can survive.  Without them, you will find yourself curled in a ball in an airport terminal contemplating feeding your baby peanuts.  

Tip 4:  Break All Your Rules.
If you're at all like me, breaking the rules makes you nervous about getting caught by an authoritarian figure.  The awesome thing about parenting ?  You ARE the authoritarian figure! Break every rule you've set.

Your baby's not supposed to eat an entire bag of Happy Baby Yogi Melts in one sitting?  Today she is.

You don't like your baby playing with your phone?  Download every free Fischer-Price app offered and surrender.

Germs make you squirm?  Pull down the seatback tray table and watch her kick it like a soccer ball!  I drew the line when my little boy started sucking on the seatbelt buckle.  Know your limits.

Tip 5:  Just Own It.
If you are not confident about your journey or the least bit nervous, fake it til you make it to your destination.  Smile big, walk tall and confidently through security, and act as if you are the only person in the entire airport who knows what she's doing.   

Should you receive any condescending looks or loud sighs as you walk by, shoot lasers through your eyes at the source and keep smiling.  All those Delta SkyClub travelers have only a laptop to carry on.  You have a baby.

Good luck!  You CAN do this and you can do it like a pro, but just in case you run into an "Abort Mission" situation make sure you've stowed some emergency baby Benadryl in your backpack.
A Handy Dandy Pocket Guide For You!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's 2012. Why Isn't There A Sippy Cup That Works?

Dear All Sippy Cup Makers In The Known Universe,

Cancel all pending consumer research.  I am going to tell you what Moms want because I am tired of the shenanigans.

We want one vessel from which a child can successfully sip water without creating his or her own personal splash park.  Given the products on the extremely crowded market, I am confident that's not what your research said.

Your study told you Moms want choice and, wow, you took that to heart.  Nervous breakdown and I were as close as we've ever been in front of the sippy cup wall.  Give me one option in one color that my son can drink beer from in college.

Your study lost its loose grip on reality when it ranked cup aesthetics a higher priority than cup utility.

Dr. Brown's, I loved your graceful lines and neutral colors.  I hoped to have you in the family for years, but you stopped dispensing fluid .  Since babies can't talk and were he precocious enough to he would have been too weak from dehydration to utter a word, it was tricky figuring this out.
Sippy Cup Carnage:
 Leaking Out Its Insides.

Once discovered, I left the good Doctor and tried Nuby.  

For a few hours I was pleased as punch because the removable straw let my son hydrate himself.  Then, he started batting the cup.  The dog ran in fear of his life and I ran after it.  Cup carnage is what I found.
Sweet Potatoes, Chicken,
Green Beans
& Spilled Water.
Yummy Fall Soup.

Most recently, when it leaked all over the high chair tray, the cup caused the Sweet Potato Soup incident.  My little boy thought it was awesome.  I did not.

For days, I blamed myself for not being agile, strong, or smart enough to screw the lid on correctly, but then I remembered something I learned in marketing school, at a little place I won't name but is ranked in the top 10 for Marketing, and everything changed.  The customer is always right.  

(God I love our entitled society!  J/K.  Hate, hate, HATE it unless we're talking sippy cups.)

As your entitled customer, I am requesting a vessel to hold water and let it out when summoned.  That's all.  It doesn't have to be ergonomic or green or run a four minute mile.  It just has to work.

Also, you have to figure this out by next week when my little boy starts drinking milk.  I'll be waiting patiently for your call.

Thank you very much.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

What It's Like Living Without a TV.

We are living without a TV.  It's been over two months.

This is not a bloggy experiment, I am not a crunchy, NPR-lover nor do I harbor dreams of fireside games of Pinochle played with highball in hand.  I do, however, hate inefficiency.  Our massive remodel is set to begin early next month and installing the TV, setting up cable and then undoing it before demolition begins was a task I did not want on my ever-expanding list of Household CEO Responsibilities.  Building a sound business case from logic, I convinced my husband there will be no TV until the house is done.

And it's not too bad.  This may have something to do with the number iPads, iPhones, and computers afloat in our house but I don't miss it.

I love that it's not an option when I'm a little bored.

I love that my son doesn't know ANY cartoon characters and his birthday theme is Construction, not Sesame Street or Yabba Yabba Gooba.  Ok, even if he loved Big Bird, his theme would be construction because it's the only way the holes in the walls and ceiling will be decor instead of eyesores.

I love that I cannot join a Honey Boo Boo conversation.

I loved missing the debates.

Now, it's not all sunshine and unicorns.  Along with missing frivolities like Premier Week and Selling LA, we also miss some pretty big things.

Did baseball end?  Did football start?  Was there an election?  Are there any impending natural disasters or recovery efforts occurring?  Who's Ben Ghazi?

I thought I hated TV.  I thought as part of our soon-to-be modern digs, we would set up a new modern TV-free lifestyle, but we all need a little TV in our lives.

I am tired of going to facebook for all my news.

I am tired of my husband and I saying goodnight to each other around 9:00 and diving into our computers.

I am tired of staring at small, plasma-free screens.

Don't get me wrong, I still get anxious thinking about all day movie marathons, but I've seen life without a TV and it's not utopia.  

Newly removed from the remodel budget:  Apple TV.

Newly added to the remodel budget:  Two Large Flat Screen TVs.  

The wall that currently houses the couch will house a TV.
But the wall will be wayyyyyy cooler than it is now.
And the couch will be gone. Anyone want it??

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bye Bye Mommy & Me

I think it's time to cancel Mommy & Me gym class.  I've had too many moments where I laugh out loud at something that isn't meant as a joke and end up looking like a cruel parent and a bit of a weirdo.

Here's why.

I guffaw everytime Ms. Christie, our very nice instructor who has more energy than a Lab puppy, says an activity will develop the baby's vestibular system. I think my vestibular system, which must be the elusive one every Anatomy teacher forgot to cover, needs more help than my baby's.

If I don't know what a vestibular system is, I am fairly confident none of the other parents nodding their heads when its importance is preached, know either, but no one will to tell the Emperor he has no clothes.

Last week I snickered a bit too loudly when Ms. Christie stressed the importance of the babies learning to rotate their grip on the uneven bars.

See, my little guy still poops in his pants so I think there are a few more important skills to master before the uneven bars become priority #1.

Oh Mommy & Me, I am not cut out for you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Waffling On An Important Issue.

I love the dog.  Yes, I may have expressed the opposite sentiment here, and then been all wishy-washy about my official opinion here,  but new facts have been made available since I last went on record on this issue.  
Scary floating staircase.

Here's the deal.  Our dog is afraid of the floating staircase that isn't super cool now but will be once it's ripped down and a new one is built as part of the renovation!  I'm sure our staircase + giant baby gate at bottom will be featured on Houzz.  

Anyway, at his level, with a view onto the air behind the stairs, taking a step up is taking the risk that the stair won't be there and he will fall off an awful cliff built by his masters to test his intelligence.  In the two months we've lived here, he has made it up two stairs in five minutes, shaking like a leaf the entire time, before I coax him back down.  And by coax I mean tell him sternly to get down.  Good lord I give Cruella Devil a run for her fur on certain days.

Last night, we had a non-family member watch the baby for the first time.  When we arrived home, embarrassingly early, I asked for the details of the evening and since the dog was panting in my face asked if he had been much of a nuisance.

"He is such a great dog!" she said while I mentally begged to differ, "he sat right next to me while I gave [insert baby name here] his bottle and [baby] kept getting down to play with him."

"He was upstairs?!" I shouted incredulously.

"Yes, he came up when we went up for bedtime.  Doesn't he usually?  It seemed like the routine."

"No, he never goes up.  Was he terrified?" I asked, sure it took him a solid 20 to scale it.

"No.  He came right up."

At this point I hugged the dog even though I had on a clean shirt.  He conquered his paralyzing fear of the stairs to stay close to the relative stranger caring for the boy.  It melted my heart to realize that our hairy, smelly, way-too-in-your-personal-space Golden would walk off a cliff to protect the little boy.  

During this bout of affection, the dog wagged his tail and forgave me for excommunicating him from the family.  "Did you think I was going to let a new person be alone with our boy?" he seemed to ask, "I'm a Golden Retriever, not a cat.  This little boy is sorta my thing."

The dog is officially back in the family and my official stance will not change.

Touch my little boy and
things will get ugly fast.  Don't test me.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

There's A Fridge in the Dining Room.

There's a fridge in my dining room.

Why?  Because the dining room is going to become a kick-ass kitchen.

When?  When the walls come down.

Why are the walls coming down?  Because my husband and I thought renovating a house would be fun.  It looks like a blast on HGTV, something I haven't watched in months because the wall the TV would go on is having a gorgeous modern wood panel built on top of it.

Do you still think renovating a house is fun?  Not so much.

Why?  Because we've been here two months (and by "we" I mean "me + baby all week long") and are not settled in because every floor on the first floor is coming up.  We move (again) on December 1st so demolition can begin.

Is there an upside? Yes.  There are three:

1. We will have our dreamhouse in a few short months.  I'll believe it when I see it.

2.  Construction as the baby's first birthday party theme will make the holes in the wall seem like part of the decor.  I just have to rig the other walls so that candy comes out when we substitute them  for the pinata.  I'm sure Pinterest has this covered.

3.  I am going to document this renovation, including the construction zone birthday bash, out here in blogland so you, dear reader, can be inspired or come to your senses.  I'm here for whatever you need.