Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting To Know Me: Part Deux

This is a favorite picture of mine from my childhood.  My mother made this Halloween costume for me one year and I just loved it.  I think I made a pretty darn cute bat too!  ; - )  If I'm not mistaken, I think my sister dressed up as a devil that year; also made by my mom.  

I've given you the background of me and my family so now I'll tell you about some of my interests.  As a child, I took ballet for a number of years.  I was enamored with the grace of ballerinas and also the tutus, sequins, and costumes they wore.  I think in total, I took ballet for around 12 years all through high school and a couple classes in college.  It was not the same in college, but I think I was still trying to hold onto the dream that maybe one day I could be a ballerina despite my obvious lack of superstar talent.  Still, the memories I have of those days are wonderful and I wouldn't trade them for anything.  

Choir was another one of my favorite activities throughout middle and high school.  As with ballet, singing was definitely not my calling, but I loved the class.  In high school, my choir got to sing in Carnegie Hall for a concert.  My mom was even able to come watch it.  I know it was a very proud moment for her as well as me!  Choir was such a big part of my high school experience.  This is probably why I am such an advocate for keeping the arts in schools.  The feeling of belonging to a group and doing something you love is so important.

Fast forward a bit to my last semester of college.  (I promise you're not missing too much...if I think of anything good, there's always rewind.)  This last semester is when I met my husband, Sean.  It seems the story of how we met gets embellished for the laugh factor, but I'll tell the real story.  Sean will probably "correct" me in the comments later on, but here's my version.  I was out with some good college buddies of mine celebrating a birthday at an often frequented bar of mine and Sean's when the inevitable bathroom break came about.  As my friend and I approached the bathroom, I started to groan when I saw the line.  (Men always make fun of women for going to the bathroom together, but have they ever seen the line at a bar on a Saturday night?  We need the company!!)  When we discovered the reason for the line was a girl passed out in the bathroom, it became obvious that this would definitely be a long wait.  Just then, the bathroom attendant, Schmitty (I told you I frequented this place), flagged my friend and I into the men's bathroom.  Now, up until this moment I would have never used the men's restroom, but at that moment he was insistent that we use the stall to shorten the line. Who am I to argue with Schmitty and my bladder?  So in my friend and I went.  Averting our eyes, we shared the stall and got out as quickly as possible then went to wash our hands.  If you stop the story here, Sean will say we met in the men's room as he was washing his hands (an EXCELLENT quality in a man I might add), but he was actually introduced to my friend.  I tell people he saw me, but didn't know my name.  

The rest of the story goes like this.  For the rest of the night, as I made my numerous bathroom breaks, he stood in one spot near the end of the bar and conveniently located at the end of the hallway near the bathrooms watching me go by.  I'm not oblivious so eventually I just waved to let him know that I had noticed him noticing me.  Finally, toward the end of the night, fueled by liquid courage and my acknowledgement, he made his move.  As I was coming out of the bathroom for the last time of the night, Sean flagged me over to talk to him.  He was so polite for a guy in a bar and obviously nervous!  Not, a drunken jackass like I had encountered before.  He said, "I would be honored if you would give me your number."  Now, here's where the story kind of goes sideways.  In my head, I was thinking "Man.  A guy in a bar is asking me out. This won't go well."  I didn't want to be mean, so I just said, "Well, I don't have a pen" hoping this would be enough to dissway him from pursuing my number (To this day Sean doesn't believe I didn't have a pen because I always have pens now.  I really didn't).  Little did I know, he had a bartender friend with many pens so there he was, writing my number on his hand.

In the dating world, there is a well known rule that dictates a guy should wait three days to call after getting a girl's number.  Fortunately for Sean, I don't generally follow or even care about those rules.  I was actually pretty surprised when he called me the next day and he was articulate AND seemed normal.  I kind of freaked out a bit when he suggested we go rock climbing on our first date because I am a notoriously klutzy and non-athletic person.  Thank goodness he agreed to a conventional dinner date which turned out to be the absolutely best first date of my life.  

So, we met on a Saturday, talked on a Sunday, and went out on our first date on a Monday.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  I realize I've gone way over the length of what a blog should be, but when you're on a roll you have to go with it.  I have many more stories to tell about Sean and I, but I also have a looming deadline for donation pieces.  Until I can blog again, check a picture of my love and I on our wedding day in Jamaica.  Ain't we cute?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Getting To Know Me

After looking through a couple of blogs over the weekend (because I'm still getting used to what makes a blog interesting), I decided I need to add some pictures to mine to spice it up a bit.  I don't have any mind blowing revelations about running my small business today, but it occurred to me that my readers, if I can get some, might want to know a little more about me.  The picture you see above is me a few years ago in St. Louis.  I had just bought the hat at a second hand shop.  As a birthday present, I took my husband on a trip over a long weekend as I was still teaching at the time.  Hats were really coming back in style and we just happened to find that one.  I had never enjoyed wearing hats until I tried that one on.  In my early 20s, I was really self conscious about being cautiously fashionable.  I would wear cute stylish clothes, but not take many risks.  I personally think a hat is a fashion statement all on its own.  People notice a person in a hat and I didn't want to be noticed THAT much in my early 20s.  But enough about the's more about me.

I grew up in what could only be described as a modest house with my parents, brother, and sister.  I shared a room with my older sister until she went to college.  We are less than two years apart in age so it wasn't long that I got my own room before I graduated high school and got a new roommate.  I always enjoyed sharing a room with my sister because I felt closer to her even though we had different groups of friends as we got older.  I don't really understand the mentality that every child should have their own room.  The relationship you have with your siblings should be treasured and you are only young once.  I felt a kinship with my sister because we shared a room.  I kind of felt lonely in my big empty room once she moved out.  I missed the times neither of us could sleep and we stayed up late talking about nothing.  I even missed our messes.

My older brother (yep, I'm the baby), always seemed to take care of his baby sister.  Some of my best memories with him are staying up late watching Saturday Night Live in his room.    He would park on his day bed and I would bring a blanket and pillow to hole up on the floor.  He had a tv in his room AND the original Nintendo so it was always a fun place to be.  Even though he is five years older than me, I was always welcome in his room especially when my sister was on my nerves (we didn't ALWAYS get along).  I don't remember when he got an aquarium, but he had a fish tank for years.  His room always had that fishy aquarium smell, but watching them swim was always fun.  It got more interesting when he bought a box turtle in high school.  Tubs are great for turtles to move around, but the turtle poo in the bathtub was always gross to clean up.  (Did you know turtles LOVE tomatoes?  They totally do.)  He's a boy and boys don't always clean up after themselves.  But he is my brother, and he always had a soft spot for his baby sister so I tried not to complain about it too much.

My parents divorced when I was nine years old.  I remember the day they told us about the divorce, but I'm not sure I understood how much it would change our lives.  The modest house was sold eventually, and we moved into a three bedroom townhouse with our mother in a different county.  My dad went to live with his mother and father.  I had a hard time adjusting to not seeing my dad everyday, but I loved getting to see my Nana and Papa more often.  Looking back, I know the divorce was necessary because both of my parents were unhappy.  My dad remarried in 1991 and my mom has remained single and fabulous.  It has taken some time, but I'm pleased to say that we are now able to have a family Christmas that includes everyone.  To be able to say that makes me smile.  Time may not heal all wounds, but it will ease the pain.

Four paragraphs into my "Getting To Know Me" blog, I think there will need to be extra chapters.  Stay tuned to chapter 2!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Year In Shows

If you read my "About Me" section, you'll discover that up until last year I was a special education teacher.  I have all sorts of stories to tell about that part of my life, but I'll save those for when I get some more readers.  When you are a teacher, your entire life revolves around the school year.  When is winter break?  How long until state testing?  When is spring break?  How long until summer break?  And of course, the SNOW DAYS are always a fantastic surprise.  I've basically spent my entire life functioning on a school schedule, be it elementary school or in the "real world."

Now that I've started this new venture, AmandaMade, my life is scheduled around shows.  For those of us in the business world without a brick and mortar store, shows are the best way to get our product in front of someone in hopes of either making a sale or making a contact.  I threw myself into them in June of 2010 and immediately got addicted.  I LOVE looking for the next one, getting my product out there, and talking to the public.  It is a completely different kind of life than I was living.

I started looking at my schedule yesterday and making a wishlist of shows I would like to enter for the year 2011.  I got to thinking about the way my world functions now.  It doesn't revolve around state testing, breaks, or meetings anymore.  It is literally all about me!  I am the boss and I decide where I'll be when.  I am the decision maker and determine my own success or failure.  It's a frightening, overwhelming feeling at times, but I don't think I'd have it any other way right now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

To Blog or Not To Blog

     So here I am starting a blog with the title of my company.  I've been debating for a while now about whether it makes sense to start a blog.  After giving it considerable thought, I'm gonna try it out and see how it goes.  I know many of you reading this right now are probably wondering what I could possibly have to say about jewelry that could necessitate starting a blog.  Trust me, the past year I've come up with all sorts of fun stuff to share relating to my business and beyond.  I intend to use this blog as a way to get out my frustrations about running a small business in a world dominated by the "Walmart Mentality."  I'll also share the victories that come along with hard work as well as trial and error (Can we say flea market???).  So sit back, pull up a comfy chair, and laugh or cry along with me!