Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

May your day be blessed in remembering the birth of the Saviour of the world!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6

It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold: "Peace on the earth , goodwill toward men from Heaven all gracious King!" The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.

Within all the hustle and bustle of the holiday, be still and listen to the angels sing for the glory of the newborn King!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Coke v. Pepsi...Yeah, Definitely Coke!


I work at Panera Bread part-time just to make money to fill the gas tank. So today I worked during the lunch shift when the Pepsi delivery man came to drop off our 2-liters for catering orders. I was busy by the registers when one of my managers cam up to me and said, "Stephanie, we had a catastrophe in the back." I'm thinking oh goodness, what do I have to clean up?! She then told me the Pepsi guy came and was bringing in the pop on a dolly when he got caught in a narrow space. Naturally, two bottles fell and burst on the floor. She said, "It got on..." and then I chimed in and said, "Not my new winter coat!!!!" She's like, "Yes!"


As I'm walking to the back to asses the damage, I'm thinking not about the newness of the coat, but what am I going to wear in the freezing temperature outside and the 40 mph wind gusts today? I'm envisioning my coat sopping wet dripping with that sticky syrup. I get to my coat and thankfully it just got wet on the bottom. It was a ton better than I thought, but it still had pop on it in which I will have to get dry cleaned.


As I am trying to dress my coat's Pepsi wounds, this Pepsi guy is just walking back and forth. He just said the pop just sorta fell down and my coat smells like Pepsi now. Not even an apology was heard from him. He was nonchalant about the situation. I really wasn't upset. It's just a coat that can be easily cleaned. An apology would be nice though...


My general manager then was asking this incompetent delivery man if she will be reimbursed for the two bottles of pop that he broke and for my dry cleaning bill. He, not really bothered by the situation, said he didn't think so. And that was it. Boy was she storming around. She called the Pepsi supervisor and they said nothing would be reimbursed too. She said that even one of her associates' coat was soaked due to this guy's clumsiness. The supervisor didn't care either and didn't apologize too. My manager was even more upset. She then told me that our store would reimburse me for my dry cleaning bill.


I always have preferred Coke over Pepsi. This just seals the deal. What poor customer service given by one of the world's top beverage producers! They were very insensitive to their customer's concerns...a BIG "no no" in the business world.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude


Why be thankful? It...


-fills our hearts with joy

-shows a selfless attitude in a selfish world

-gives the feeling of being full--not empty

-produces peace within our hearts


Who doesn't want joy, peace, selflessness, contentment? Practice an attitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving. You may be surprised at all the things you are thankful for...and watch your self have joy, be at peace, become selfless, and practice contentment.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Top 5...Places I Want to Visit


One of the big draws for me to my college was that the college offers a great study abroad program. Instead of spending a whole semester in another country (which my school also offers), you have the option of taking a class about a country during the semester and then visiting that country for two weeks after the semester is over! Very cool! I love traveling, so this appealed to me very much. PLUS... it counts toward a requirement for graduation AND the cost is covered in tuition.


Well, last year was the first year the college charged a fee for the trips: $600. That's manageable. This year I am finally eligible to go, and so excited I could be going to another country. This year's trips include Greece! I was so excited when my advisor told me that! Well, I later get more information about the trips and to my dismay, the trip fee this year is $1,500!!! Yikes! Was not prepared for that! So, sadly I will not be going to Greece next May. Now more than ever, here are my top five places I want to visit sometime in my life:


1. GREECE!!!

2. Ireland

3. Paris

4. Egypt

5. Germany


What's your Top 5?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Under the Weather

It's that time of year: Heading into November. Semester is heading toward the end. Final projects piling up. Stress mounting. Making sure the Etsy shop is ready for Christmas. It's a competition to see who can keep their head straight on the longest. On top of all that, it's flu season and lots of people on campus and at work are out sick.

Today I am feeling under the weather. Although I am not deathly ill, I'm just sick enough to not do anything today: 3 classes, 2 meetings, and 1 event. Good Providence got me out of my busiest day this week! So I was able to get some much needed rest and a restart. I also had a sale today which always perks my spirits up!

As far as the Etsy shop, I'm working on getting my Christmas merchandise up. I'm looking to make "the ultimate" Christmas card. What do you think would be "the ultimate" Christmas card? What would make you say, "Wow!" if you received it in the mail? I'm wanting to make them for my own personal use as well as selling in the shop.

As October winds down, I'm looking forward to a new month. A fresh start: November. October was tough and really trying. But I made it through!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Photography 101: What Makes a Good Picture?

1. prompt instant reaction- "Oh neat!"
2. evokes an emotion- tells a story
3. has an unusual viewpoint- viewpoint creates an image with visual impact
4. treats a subject lightly- the approach is simple but made dramatic
5. uses color distinctively- color is the subject as it creates a mood
6. has a singular composition- sense of completeness
7. takes advantage of the lens effects- lens choice affects the whole photo
8. captures a moment- a magic time

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Unethical Customers?

1990's- Cadence Design Systems is located in the Silicon Valley of California and produces software. Gradually, a group of employees left Cadence to form a new company called Avant!. Avant! is a direct competitor of Cadence. Avant! was somehow able to produce the same software Cadence sells in far less time it took Cadence. This automatically put a red flag up for Cadence's CEO. After some investigation, Cadence's CEO learned that the former employees who formed Avant! stole Cadence's software and started Avant! based on that stolen software. Everyone, employees and customers, eventually found out about the stolen software. But what did they do? When Cadence's CEO wanted to file a civil lawsuit, they told him to lay off, and it's not a big deal. Avant! was still making sales even though the customers knew the software was stolen. All employees involved in the intellectual property theft were prosecuted and fined.

Most people would look at the former Cadence employees and condemn them for their criminal activities...as they should be. Stealing is never right. But what about the customers? They KNEW the software was stolen, and yet they continued to purchase from Avant!. They just totally brushed off the whole criminal case and gave their patronage to a corrupt company. The employees were prosecuted, but the customers buying essentially stolen goods got no repercussions for their actions.

Now, take a look at Walmart. They are looked down upon by some for their business practices: buying goods from overseas made by employees paid next to nothing to produce them; using its bargaining power to negotiate prices for products far less that their worth. Yet people still purchase from Walmart. What is the difference between purchasing from Avant! and purchasing from Walmart? With the recession now, people need to stick to budgets rather than ethics, so they continue to shop at Walmart which has cheaper prices. The dollar has more weight than ethics.

In theory, customers of both Avant! and Walmart would be considered unethical...but society now does not call them out on it. Are these customers unethical, or is this just the way of life now? What is your opinion?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Time Management 101--Priorities Exercise


My Business Communications class did this last week, and I found it to be extremely beneficial. If you are serious about managing your time better, I encourage you to do this exercise. If not doing it will be just a gentle reminder of how precious time is. Do this in order so as to not to spoil it:


First, grab a piece of paper and draw a line down it making two columns. Mark one column as longterm job goals and the second longterm personal goals. What are your longterm goals starting right now with your perspective on life right now? Spend just two minutes writing down every thought.


....got it?


Now flip the paper over and divide that side into two columns as well. Mark one column job and the other personal life. Now, if you knew you would be struck dead by lightening six months from today, how would you live until then? Spend three minutes writing down your thoughts.


....done?


Now take a look at what you put for both sides. It is amazing the difference between longterm goals and the things you would do knowing you were going to die in six months. But isn't that reality though? We do not know how long we have on this Earth. My results showed that I would spend more time with family and friends if I knew I were going to die soon. My whole class felt the same way. Take time to really pinpoint your priorities and what means the most in your life. Successful time management stems from having your priorities in order. I would love to hear what you came up with and your thoughts.


Next time I will post specific time management techniques...be sure to stop back!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Song of Praise and A Cry for Help


Dichotomy has come alive to me this week. This week has been truly overwhelming. I do not think I have ever experienced a time with extreme high points and low points all at one time.

A song of praise: Classes are going extremely well. Although they consume most of my life, I am thoroughly enjoying them and somehow managing to finish all my homework! I have had success with my Etsy shop in recent days. I have received a couple sales, a couple custom orders, an inquiry for a large custom order, and great feedback comments. This just validates my work and tells me that this is what I am supposed to be doing. I also have been provided with babysitting opportunities that will bring in some much needed cash. All I can say about these things is, "Thank you Lord!"

A cry for help: I am still discontent with my part-time job, and it seems I will be stuck there due to the job market. I also had a situation that has been going extremely well, but something yesterday literally made my heart drop. Have you ever felt your heart literally drop? Then after dropping, the heart hangs helplessly heavy the rest of the day. Not a good feeling! I also got news that my best friend is going through some changes in her life. I haven't been able to talk in detail with her yet, but just knowing something is going on makes me worry of course. The Christian group on campus that I help lead is also frustrating me as well. All I can say about these things is, "Help Lord!"

God has been so generous to me with providing success in my Etsy shop and the babysitting opportunities I have. At the same time, He is testing my faith with difficult circumstances. This whole situation radiates of God's love for me as His child. He loves me, so he provides for my daily bread. He loves me, so he gives me testing times to make me stronger. My times are in His hands, so I can rest assured He is in control.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Shake Your Tail Feather!

This video made me laugh right out loud...perfect for Friday! Enjoy!

video

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dream


-something you do while you sleep-
-far removed from reality-
-seems unattainable yet within reach-
-green-
-owning my own business-
-perfection-
-no acne-
-lighter than air-
-the ultimate-
-no homework-
-in the clouds somewhere-
-more time-
-Heaven-




What does "dream" mean to you?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Step Back in Time


On our way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, we stopped for a day at the colonial capital of America-Williamsburg, Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg is a town dedicated to the way life was before and during the Revolutionary War. Most of the buildings are reconstructed, but a few original buildings can be found up and down Duke of Gloucester Street. Along with all the original buildings like the post office, the blacksmith, and the printing shop, actors dressed in traditional colonial clothing walk around the town and talk with visitors as if it were the 1700’s.



We were fortunate to see a military reenactment scene at the center of town. The fife and drummers marched down the center street of town to meet the militia men awaiting the appearance of the Commander-in Chief— George Washington. Mr. Washington, as the townspeople call him, came riding on horseback into the center and then gave a thrilling patriotic speech to the men about the importance of the Revolutionary War. After the speech, the militia practiced a military drill firing their muskets and cannons. It was really neat!



For dinner, we ate at Christiana Campbell’s. This restaurant dates back to the colonial period. What is really cool is that George Washington ate at this very restaurant! All the food is inspired by traditional colonial recipes…yummy slaw, spoonbread, and seafood! The d├ęcor is exactly how it would have been back in those days. Dinner was even enjoyed by candlelight.

Being the American government geek I am, Williamsburg is one of my favorite cities! I just love the history of this great country, and being in Williamsburg takes me right back to that time of true patriotism. Everyone was united for one purpose…freedom!

This thought now takes me to the present. Now it’s democrats versus republicans. Now everyone is at each other’s throats. Now everyone is serving their own cause. We Americans have lost sight of the vision that started this great country in the first place.

Take a step back in time and remember all that was sacrificed, all that was fought for, and all that was passionately debated so we can enjoy the privileges we do today.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Sunday Thought

"Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ;
let us regard it as the source of all our hopes,
and the foundation of all our peace.
Ignorance and unbelief may see nothing
in the sufferings of Calvary
but the cruel martyrdom of an innocent man:
faith will see in the death of Jesus
the payment of man's enormous debt to God,
and the complete salvation of all who believe."
-J.C. Ryle [1816-1900] Pastor and Author

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Seller Tips: Analyze the Situation


In my Entrepreneurship class, we do this analysis exercise at least twice a week for various products and businesses. It finally clicked: This can be applied to my Etsy shop!


Analyzing your situation is key to running a successful business. Doing this exercise will get you stop and deeply think about your business. Write all your thoughts down. You may even discover something new about your business!


1. Description of your product- What exactly do you sell? What makes your product different than what’s already on the market? Do you use different materials? Do you have a different technique? Be as specific and detailed as possible—Get down to the nitty-gritty if you will.


2. Who is your market?- Who purchases your products? “I sell to everyone!” Well, not exactly. Be realistic. Think about demographics: gender, age, geographic location, income. Knowing who your target market is will make you more efficient in the type of products you offer and how you promote—saving time and money!


3. Who is your completion?- Who else sells the same things as you? List company names and Etsy shops. Keep in mind your competition is not only other Etsy shops, but also mainstream businesses off Etsy as well. (For example, one of the products I sell is greeting cards. I compete with other card shops on Etsy AND big name companies like Hallmark and American Greetings—no pressure by the way!) Once you know who your competition is, take a look at their business-products, prices, marketing. Anticipate their next move so you can be ahead of them!


4. How will you dominate the market?- How will you get the word out there about your products? Ads on websites-blog-interesting photographs-posting flyers around town-craft shows-packaging the products in an eye catching way? This should be answered in light of your market.


This may be a little deep for some Etsy shops, but it is just to get you thinking about your business. I believe it is beneficial! Hope you learn something new about your business!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Entertaining Tip: Recipe Book Favors




Everyone is always looking to improve their entertaining skills. As fall comes upon us, gatherings like Thanksgiving will be taking place.

From my experience as a guest, I always love receiving a little "party favor" from the host. The favor says to me that the host went the extra mile to make the time special. Most times gatherings happen around a table of great food! Every time my family has a gathering, someone wants at least one of the recipes of what we served!

My idea is to make the time special by giving each family a recipe book filled with the recipes from the meal. That way they will always have the recipes, and they will have something that makes them feel special. The recipe book can be especially appropriate for Thanksgiving and Christmas...preserving recipes that have been in the family.

The possibilities are endless with what to use the recipe books for. Penguin Palooza now offers one of a kind recipe books that are sure to wow any guest and look great on any table setting. Custom orders can also be done too! Visit www.penguinpalooza.etsy.com for more information!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Seller Tips: Arousing an Eager Desire


In my business communications class, we are reading How to win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I was weary when I first heard the title...yikes, winning friends? Apparently this book is the world's best seller behind the Bible of course. As I was reading the assigned chapters, I was struck by what Carnegie was saying and amazed that it can apply to all facets of life...including business.


Chapter 3 can apply to those who have a business. Henry Ford, one of the greatest, most successful business men the world has ever known, said this:


"If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own."


So many times we as humans focus on our wants and what would make us happy. In our shops, of course we want to have sales everyday. But how often do we take a step back and think about the customers we are serving? What would they want to see in the shop? What product would blow their mind away? Customers know you want sales. Customers want the seller to focus on them and fulfill their desires. They ask, "What's in it for me?"


"Customers like to feel that they are buying--not being sold."


Think always in terms of the customer's point of view , and make the customer desire your product in a way that does not manipulate them.


"The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve other has an enormous advantage. He has little competition."


As the time comes to start preparing for the busy Christmas buying season, I am guilty of seeing dollar signs. Let's make an effort to see things from our customers point of view, and at the same time try to arouse their desires for our great products--not try to only fulfill our desires!


(Quotes in green are from Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People)


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Be Still...




Whew! What a whirlwind this past week and a half has been! I just started my junior year at Lake Erie College last Monday. I am majoring in Legal Studies with hopes to have the courage to attend law school some day! LEC is a small, private liberal arts college in Painesville, OH. It's a wonderful school...nice small class sizes, great academic programs, and the professors know your name and talk to you in the hallways!

Anyways, I already have been bogged down with three papers and one presentation already! I am also singing in the Lake Erie College Community Chorus and am a leader for one of the Christian groups on campus…not to mention a leader for the college group at church too! Between those groups, schoolwork, and work, I am pretty busy these days!

I regret to say I haven't spent as much time as I would like to on my Etsy shop! I have so much desire for it to take off, and I am determined to do so! My goal is for my Etsy shop to be my main source of income by the end of this school year…way in May 2010. Right now, I work in the food service industry that is not fulfilling at all! I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and my current class in entrepreneurship is fueling that desire more each day!

As you can see, my life can be overwhelming and sometimes seems unfulfilling. When life throws you into this mess, God states in the Bible to “Be still, and know I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) To “Be still” literally translates to “stop striving.” Stop trying so hard to figure life out on your own. Stop thinking you’re the answer to everything. Stop worrying about tomorrow. Almighty God is in control, and He will not give you a life that is not the PERFECT one for you. He can and will give you the peace and grace you need to make it through every passing day!

Be still…

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sale Number 4!

Just wanted to share the excitement of Penguin Palooza's fourth sale! Not only was it a sale, but it was a sale to an international buyer! Penguin Palooza is officially worldwide. I know I am getting excited about only a fourth sale, but it may take baby steps to create a thriving business. I'm stepping my way!




This was the item that sold...more of these coming soon!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Buy Handmade!

So, I make my own cards for my Etsy shop.... obvious. I was asked to pick up an appreciation card representing a group of us for our friend who will be going away. I asked my mom if I could make a card instead. She said I shouldn't, so I went to the corner Rite Aid to find one. I was so disappointed by the cards! I couldn't find anything I liked! They just seemed so stale, and they all looked alike. I guess I am so used to making my own whenever I needed one! It made me appreciate more the art of handmade goods. We have so much "power" with our two little hands to create something so unique and so wonderful that no machine could ever produce. I love Etsy and what it stands for. Go handmade!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Welcome to Mentor, Ohio!

Penguin Palooza’s “headquarters” is in Mentor, Ohio. Mentor is a growing city on Lake Erie located about a half hour northeast of Cleveland. When you think of Ohio, you probably think of corn fields and a whole lot of nothing. True, there is a lot of that in Ohio, but Cleveland does have suburbs with no trace of those fields (It doesn’t take long to find some though!). Mentor is very developed and has turned commercial. Any store you would want is located on Mentor Avenue that runs all the way across the city. It takes about a half hour to get from on side of Mentor to other on that road (due to traffic lights and well…traffic!) The commercial areas are surrounded by many neighborhoods…some of them very scenic with beautiful woods.

Although there isn’t much going on in this part of Ohio, one good perk of the region is that we experience all four seasons which I enjoy very much. My favorite is winter! I am one of the few people here who like the mounds of snow we get. Mentor is located in the snowbelt…which means we get Lake Effect Snow. I am located in Mentor close to the lake, so my neighborhood does not receive as much snow as other parts do…close to two feet most of the time!

Mentor does have a couple beautiful beaches, but I would not recommend swimming in the water! Still, the lake is always beautiful to sit and look at while musing!

So, in my family’s home is located my wonderful little office setup where everything takes place: homework, internet surfing, and creating my cards. I love the floating shelves I have on my wall because it utilizes my space very well. My favorite item is my bulletin board that I created covering cork tiles in fabric and paint…then assembling them together to be put on the wall. If you couldn’t tell, I love organization!


Just thought I’d give you a little glimpse of where the magic of Penguin Palooza takes place and introduce you to a place you may have never heard before…the place I call home!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Philosophy of Penguin Palooza


As I have learned in some of my business classes, it is important for any enterprise to have a clear mission statement and vision. So what is the point of this business? Where do I want to be in two, five, or ten years? You have read what Penguin Palooza is in the profile , so I wanted to share what Penguin Palooza's philosophy is:

"Expression of life…joy or sorrow, gratitude or discontentment, love or hatred. All are a daily part of Almighty God’s precious gift of life. In light of this unfathomable gift, “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” (Ecc. 9:10) We have guaranteed this moment in time. So, whether it’s an expression of gratitude, congratulations, or deep sympathy, make the most of this moment by sending a greeting that expresses the best."

As I have learned from experiences in my life, life is so short. Time goes by so quickly. I believe that we should live every moment like it were the last—even through extreme joy or deep sorrow. If the world did not take life so for granted, people would do less horrible things, prefer others over themselves more, and be motivated to do even greater things.

With this in mind, I always try to do the very best to my ability. This includes making cards—what I truly enjoy doing and have a passion for. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I would not sell any card that I would not use myself. I believe more hand-written cards should be sent, not because it would help my business J, but because nothing is more personal and meaningful than a hand-written sentiment—especially in today’s world where an e-card can be sent in less than 10 seconds and is free!

So, Penguin Palooza was created to make the most of this moment in time by creating high-styled greeting cards for every expression life offers.

The First Post

Congratulations to me on my first post of any social networking site! I was considering for some time doing a blog as I enjoy writing very much. I was told that I am a pretty good writer, and one day I was inspired to start a blog! So, I have some ideas on what will be fun to write about...behind the scenes and special sales of the new Etsy shop Penguin Palooza and the life of its creator...me! I hope you stop back soon!