What’s your favorite kind of cheese, photos

What’s your favorite kind of cheese, photos

Yes!  After I wrote yesterday’s post I went on a hunt for the book.  And found it!  Score 1 for my mom for saving all my school things.  ❤

Wtf is Taco Pocket?
Ok let’s go on.
Love the teacher’s note at the bottom: “Sorry – Alison was out of the room!”
Most kids also drew pictures on the backs of the letters. (Note: as the label says, this is clearly a picture of pizza.)
Picture of me being awesome.
Hopefully not a picture of me being awesome.
Me killing it on the monkey bars.

Some classic lines:

  • “I’m almost 9 but you’re 8.”
  • “I like turquoise and blue.  You just like blue.”
  • “I don’t like pizza.  It makes me have a stomach ache and I throw up.”
  • “What is your favorite money?  5, 10, 15, 20, who cares?  My favorite money is 20 dollars.”



What’s your favorite kind of cheese?

What’s your favorite kind of cheese?

Okay, here’s another childhood flashback.

In some grade in elementary school, I forget which one, we used to have a Person Of The Week.  I forget what all this entailed but I think you got to feed the class pet (haha), and you got to lead the line when the class walked to the library, etc.

And – and I think this is pretty cool – you would get to sit on a stool in front of the class and your classmates would interview you.  “What’s your favorite color?”  “When is your birthday?”  “Do you have any pets?” and so on.  Then afterwards, you would get to do something special, like help the teacher with something, while all your classmates each wrote you a letter (how cute!) in which they commented on your answers to the questions.  So it would be things like, “You said you like cats but I like dogs better because they can do tricks.”  (Yes, that is a real part of one of the letters I received :). )

Anyway, the question I would always ask the POTW was, “What’s your favorite kind of cheese?”  This was to be humorous and also because I honestly loved cheese and still to this day love cheese and probably will always love cheese.  It always got a laugh and I was quite proud of myself.  After a few weeks, I suppose it became predictable, because then, to my horror and disappointment:

During one interview, I had my hand raised to ask my favorite question.  But another girl, Katie, also had her hand raised.  The Person of the Week called on her first, and she said, “I’ll speak for Brianna: what’s your favorite kind of cheese?”

I was shocked.

And everyone laughed because, hey, it was a funny question.

I couldn’t believe it.  I don’t need you to speak for me.  I can speak for myself!  What is this?!  I thought.

And then, of course, I had to put my hand down because I no longer had a question!

And THEN, it became the new thing, that any random kid would say, “I’ll speak for Brianna: what’s your favorite kind of cheese?”

And it happened multiple times when I, too, had my hand raised, but wasn’t called on.  I think perhaps they specifically didn’t call on me for that reason.

I was so mad.  I am still mad, actually, thinking about it.  I’m a little flattered because “imitation is the most sincere–” yadda yadda yadda.  At least my name was cited each time someone asked it, so I guess I should be thankful for that.  They could have just ripped the question completely.

But boy, did it bother me.

P.S. Another reason why this whole POTW thing was the cutest thing ever, is because the teacher collected all the letters, bound them into a book, and gave them to the POTW!  I bet I still have mine somewhere!!!

How I almost became a boutique owner

How I almost became a boutique owner

There’s a reason I haven’t posted in the last three weeks.  The first two weeks were spent being insanely busy becoming a boutique owner.  This last week was spent being depressed that it didn’t work out.  But now I’m ready to talk about it, and even look on the bright side of things.

Here’s what’s been going on:

My mom and I decided to open a boutique.  A boutique selling handcrafted items.  I think I’ve mentioned before that my mom is quite crafty and makes a lot of things.  I do, too, but not nearly as much as her.  We’ve thought of setting her up with an Etsy account to sell her stuff online, but we’ve also sort of joked like, “you know, we should just open up a store in town!”

So, a few weeks ago, we drove around just for fun, to see if there were any places for rent on the square downtown (we live in a small town).  We ended up finding the perfect space in the perfect location, called the landlady, looked at it, loved it, and decided right then and there that we were actually going to do this crazy idea and open up a store!

For the next week and a half, we planned like crazy, and even ordered some things for the store.  It was the hardest I’ve worked on something in a long time.  Maybe ever.

We had given the landlady the deposit, but not yet met to sign the lease.  When we first met her and saw the space, she was super accommodating and awesome.  When we went back to see the space again and sign the lease, half the things she said she would do weren’t done.  (“Well I never said I would fix that!”)  And, the lease was absolutely ridiculous.  English is not her first language and there were tons of spelling errors for one.  For two, the lease contained crazy things like that if the furnace broke (the building is 100 years old) then we would have to pay for it!  Crazy.

So, anyway, between the crazy lease, going back on her word about a few things, and her changed attitude, we felt like we could no longer trust her.

And now, we are no longer going to open a store at all.  You might think that that is a rash decision, but honestly I am so disgusted at the rental market in my town (I had an almost identical situation two years ago with a different landlord regarding an apartment I was going to rent) that I am just so discouraged and want nothing to do with any of it.

We still could look around for another space, but half the appeal and reason we even decided to go ahead and open a store was because we found a space in a great location.  So without that, we worry we wouldn’t be as successful.

The bright side of all this is that it was a crazy learning experience and a great life lesson.  Here are a few things I learned:

  • Don’t give a deposit until you see and sign the lease.  And until you write down all the things that the landlord agrees to fix, and he/she signs that.  I’ve learned this lesson twice now and I think this time it’s stuck.
  • There are so many different kinds of gift boxes, bags, ribbons, and mailing envelopes.  And, you have to buy them in huge bulk quantities.  (Papermart.com was the cheapest I found, and the one we ended up going with.  I don’t even want to tell you how caught up I got in that site and how many hours I spent on it.  Which brings me to my next lesson:)
  • Don’t get caught up in frilly things.  Like colored gift boxes.  And coordinating ribbons.  And whether or not you want to offer free gift wrapping, and therefore which colors you want to offer.  All this is great to think about a few months down the road, once you see that you are successful and can afford this service.  But I thought of this right away and then spent way too much time planning it (and being overwhelmed with choices) when there were more pressing matters at hand.
  • Starting a business isn’t nearly as difficult as it’s made out to be.  It was a ton of work, yes.  And it would have been even more work had we kept going with it.  But we also learned that a lot of steps could be skipped, such as getting a business license and an accountant.  (In some states and for some business types, a business license is required.)  We just met with a consultant (for free!) from the local community college whose job is to help small businesses get started, and he explained everything to us and we were quite pleasantly surprised at the lack of paperwork, etc.
  • Getting over the mental hurdle of “can I actually do this?!” is one of the hardest things and the biggest obstacle to get over.  We literally joked about starting a business on Friday, drove around looking at spaces on Saturday, and met with the landlady, saw the space, and gave our deposit on Sunday.  And we told ourselves we’d open in 4 weeks.  It all happened so fast (in large part because someone else was interested in the space so we had to give a deposit lest potentially lose it.)  And all the while we were simultaneously excited and wondering if we were crazy.  Normally, we might have been considered crazy.  But.  I think that the fact that we went so fast was such a blessing.  Because the fact that we gave ourselves little time to think and to doubt, is what propelled us forward.  We could have easily decided we would open a store, then “research” for 6 months, then start looking for spaces, and really look at a lot to gauge the commercial rental market and find the “perfect” space, and then take another two months to choose paint colors and the store name, etc.  But what would that have accomplished except push us back another year?  We did ALL of that in two week’s time.  And while we feared that we didn’t know what we were doing, and felt that we should “research” more, I kept reminding us that there wasn’t really anything to research.  And that that was just an excuse and a delay.  And I think that so often, with myself and with countless others, we fool ourselves into thinking that we need to “prepare” because “starting a business is a big deal”, while really we are just giving ourselves permission to stall and stall and then possibly never actually take action and reach our goal.  So the fact that we just went for it is something that I am still really proud of.
  • Monthly costs add up.  This one should have maybe been a bit more obvious than it was at the time.  We had rent, which we were cool with.  But then utilities on top of that, phone and internet, and insurance – not to mention the costs of materials/stock and shopping bags, etc.  Which each new cost we remembered, that meant we’d have to sell that much more inventory each month, which got to be pretty daunting and intimidating.  But again, maybe if we had realized all this in the beginning, we would have let it delay us or even give up.  So maybe the gradual realization helped ease the scariness of the whole thing.
  • You don’t need nearly the startup capital that you might think.  Luckily we didn’t buy too much before the whole lease fiasco, but even the things we did buy were ridiculously cheap.  We bought some furniture pieces, to display our inventory, from Goodwill and other second hand places around town, and some paint.  We primed and painted the furniture to all match and look way more expensive than it was.  We also planned to bring in some furniture from our house that we were thinking to get rid of anyway.  With a bigger store, this would have been more expensive, but for our small space, we were able to get like half the tables we’d need for like $10 total!  And again, this was in only two weeks!

So, after this whole experience, I feel a few different things.  Pride.  Happiness.  Anger.  Disappointment.  Confusion.  Disgust.  Shame.  Curiosity.  Relief.

Relief because I don’t have all that work to look forward to!  But in the end, I am glad that at the very least I can take away multiple lessons from this – ones that I do think will serve me well in the future.  And the fact that I now have experience starting a business – and the awareness of what it takes and what it doesn’t take – will be a great head start for my next business.  Whatever that may be.