Thursday, July 15, 2010


Recently, I have been forced to reflect heavily on my life. Every aspect. There are times like this in everyone’s life I think when you take stock, if you will, of what is really important, what isn’t, what relationship you need to work on, which relationships you are grateful to have, which ones you have to walk away from. These times are usually brought on upon when a life change either happens to me or when I witness something huge happening to friends or family members. It can though, occur in the car, watching tv or maybe even when just reading a blog because you are bored at work.

In my life I have been blessed and I am not quiet about it. I am so incredibly grateful for the life that my husband and I have built together, the wonderful amazing children we have, the wonderful mother I have, for the dear friends that stick by us no matter what, my in-laws, EVERYTHING. Too often though I find myself getting wrapped up in the he said she said garbage, I become oversensitive to situations and the way that people act towards me, I forget what’s important. Then again, what is important?

Important is life, the life you are living right now, that is what’s important. What else? Look past the obvious, of course your kids are important but what about them is important. Do you think of that very often? I get so caught up in the day to day I forget to look & reflect on what is important about them or about the situation. "Important" is your definition and yours alone don't be fooled by thinking that your "important" needs to follow someone elses.

As you are figuring out what important is, it is vital that you realize that you won’t get these moments back, share them, cherish them. You only get this one life. Remember that, you get one shot at it so have fun, tell people how you feel about them. My step-father happened to be an older man, 20 years my mothers senior, he passed away very young, his friends though, my mothers friends for 20+ years, the people I grew up with, are now starting to have serious health problems & some have also passed away. A year or 2 ago I saw someone at a funeral that really touched my life and I had really never told them how special their family was to me. I vowed that night I would sit down and write a letter just saying thank you for always making me feel special. I still haven’t done it. Shame on me.

Reach out to those you have lost touch with, reestablish old ties IF and only IF they make you happy. Know when to walk away, don’t make a big deal about it, just realize that you are growing in different directions, chances are you will once again grow together. Make a difference in someone’s life, thank someone for making a difference in yours. Be happy, but most importantly be true to yourself.

I know resolutions are for January but I hope that I gave you something to think about. I think I am going to go write a letter to an old friend.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stand Up and Support Your Local Businesses!

So recently a local landmark has been ousted from our downtown area. This has prompted me to take off my mom hat for a few moments and put on my business owners hat for a moment.

Websters Bookstore in downtown State College is owned by a local woman who also happens to be a friend of ours. She has a lovely store full of eclectic and informative books, notecards and a wonderful coffee bar. What I think Websters offers most to the masses though is the ambience. On the occasions I have found myself walking past I have seen the familiar faces of Websters sitting outside sipping coffees waxing on about this and that. Websters recent plight is not an unfamiliar tale to State College. Rents downtown are exorbitant, and the buildings are in horrible disrepair, parking is a bear, its not very family friendly and locals really just don’t like heading downtown. Instead of the adorable boutique-y feel that most college towns have, ours has been reduced to bars, bike shops, banks and Penn State Apparel stores. Our town used to have those quaint little stores but over the last 10 years we are seeing more and more of our local businesses not geared toward students and Penn State fall by the wayside. Now here is a business that has been geared toward students and PSU going out of business because the business is not able to pay the rent. People are shocked, outraged and just can’t help but wonder how could this happen?!

Owning a local business I know far too well how this can happen. My store offers a free play area for children to play along with coffee & snacks for parents/caregivers to sit and relax while their kids play. Our store, like Websters, is first and foremost a retail store and in order to pay then rent we have to sell a certain amount of merchandise each day in order for us to remain open. This sounds simple right? Well, I can tell you that there are days that the play area in my store has been very very busy, but cash register is at 0 sales for the day. Now that Websters is facing being closed their supporters are rallying and I pray that their supporters are able to secure the funds they need for their store to stay open. I think though that moving forward perhaps we as a community need to be a little more proactive about supporting our local businesses.

I know that because I own a business this may come across as a little rude. Trust me I know that its easier to go to Walmart or Target, you will probably save between $1-$5 too. The problem is we as local business owners strive to offer amenities and a level of customer service that the big box stores simply cannot offer . We share one commonality with the big box stores, we have bills to pay, but unlike these big box stores we usually see little to no return. . For the few that have been blessed to be uber successful my hat is off to you! I know first hand it was not just handed to you, you have worked your behind off to get where you are. For the rest of us though many times the businesses we pour our hearts and souls into end up putting a huge financial strain on our families and end up in ruin.

So here is the challenge that I offer to you. There is a project called the 3/50 project. Check it out and I hope that you will accept the challenge! I am sure that if more people bought more than just a cup of coffee at Websters they would not be in this financial trouble right now. Frankly, it took owning my own business to open my eyes to how important it is to support your local stores, local restaurants etc.. I try to as much as possible but old habits die hard.

Currently, Websters in downtown State College is having a ½ price sale on all their books.

Thank you so much for your support of local businesses!