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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life is Good.....

I hope this blog post finds you and yours safe and, if you were in the path of Irene.... well on the road to recovery. It was an experience I hope none of us have to go through again. In the scope of things....it could have been worse...for us, anyway. Tuesday morning...we were trying to juggle the things we were still concerned with, here at home....(dirty pool and the sump-pump being the top 2....) and trying to regain some normalcy at the shop. My son and Grandson came for a visit....and, all of a sudden, you realize what is REALLY important. All he knows is that it was raining....and that meant he couldn't go outside. Other than that.....life is, pretty much, the same. He wants to go outside and play baseball with PopPop....watch the "big trucks" go by on the road....color with his crayons (which he can identify by color...and he is only 18 months old) and tell you that he is an artist. He, also, wants to "fist bump"....another new trick!!! After they went home, I spent the rest of the afternoon realizing how lucky we were....Some of my friends were still without power, many many people lost property....we just had to clean ours up...and some even lost people they love. The sun was shining....the air had a feeling of Fall and we have this face!!!! Life is Good. Have a great night!!!   :):):)

Monday, August 29, 2011

One AWFUL week.....

Well....we survived. The week started with an earthquake and ended with a hurricane...I am elated to see the backside of it. I learned a few things, this week. There are people in this world who are able to cope with stress....and there are people who are not. There are people who take things as they come and try to deal with whatever life throws at them....and there are people who freak out when "disasters" happen. There are people who listen and heed warnings....and people who do not...and people who take everything WAY too literally! I am a responsible person....I always have been. I take all of my responsibilities very seriously....and, on more than one occasion, I have been put in a situation where I need to take other peoples responsibilities seriously, too. It's the fate of people like me....we are asked to do things that are not, and should not, be our problem. I have been dealing with that, almost, all of my life. I am used to it. I must say, however, recently I have been tested in all kinds of new ways. When my shop is full of people....my responsibilities are to keep them cool (or warm) fed and safe. Usually the "safe" part means nothing on the floor to trip anyone, no wet floors to slip on, no snow or ice on the sidewalks....you know, the usual stuff. However....in the relatively recent past....I have been, unwillingly, handed the responsibility of keeping a building full of people safe during tornado watches, snowstorms, bank robberies and now we can add earthquakes and hurricanes to the list. I am pretty good at handling whatever life throws my way....but, I think enough is enough. Is it asking too much to have some nice, peaceful days....the kind when my biggest concern is what kind of cookies to bake and what kind of cakes to put in the case??? I think not. I would like to bid a fond farewell to the month of August....and state, for the record, that I hope September is better. No more floods, power outages, high winds, earthquakes or tornado warnings....right now...I just want to look forward to my Halloween Candy arriving.......

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shhhhhh.....here it is....

SURPRISE!!!! I would like to introduce you to our new sign!! We started this process a long time ago....had several people come out and give us an estimate....you know, all the things that you have to do to get a new sign!! We decided to go with this company...I liked his work and he listened to me! Even though we were, simply, replacing the old U-G-L-Y lamp-post that was there, and recreating the signature "cupcake"....we went to the borough....like good little business owners...assuming that they would "get us" for the cost of a permit. Oh No...we had to go in front of the zoning board and get permission to have a sign...which we ALREADY have....that is, approximately, the same size and in the same place as the one we have had for 16 years. And, the zoning board only meets once a month....at the end of the month....and this was just AFTER the meeting for June...so we had to wait for the July meeting. Are you getting the gist of my frustration?? And, of course, all of this wasted time doesn't figure into the time it's going to take to MAKE the sign....and we don't want to do all of that work only to find out that we will, in fact, be the ONE business who has their request rejected. I am not even going to get into the $$$$$$ of this ridiculousness...because that just makes my blood pressure go through the roof!!! I understood the need for the permit (which was an additional fee, by the way!!!) but the rest of this was a joke!!! Well....here we are....MONTHS later.....and we have our sign!!! After 16 years of dealing with the lamp-post thing, people "hanging" on it (yes, you read that correctly....who could possibly be SO childish as to hang on a businesses sign???? That, my friends, will remain one of life's great mysteries!!!) the wind "spinning" it sideways....and the cold, cruel Winter freezing it that way...and...all of the "political" garbage that we had to go through...we, finally, have a real, honest to goodness, grown up, professional sign!!! Can I hear a WoooHooo??? It looks great....I can't wait for all of you to see it!!! And, by the way, as you walk up the sidewalk....admiring it's awesomeness....look down. That HUGE boulder...was in the ground approximately 2 foot....and had to be removed....if my husband looks a little "hunched" over or seems to be moving with some difficulty....you know why!!! Isn't it funny how the "simple" projects....NEVER are!!!!!!!!!! :):):)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The most wonderful time of the year.....

Boo!! I am happy to report that everything is done....well for now!! I still have things coming in, but everything that we have in stock right now....is out! We have had a very positive reaction to all of our hard work....I have not heard ONE "Halloween already" all week!!! For so many of us....this is the most wonderful time of the year!! We are lucky to live in an area where we have "seasons"...and each one of them has their own magic. It is so exciting to see those first daffodils poke through the ground, and the forsythia start to bloom. The first time you look up at the mountain and see that green hue spreading all over the trees. And, although the heat and humidity are NOT my favorite, Summer has it's own charms. The first lightning bug sighting, the flowers in the garden, sitting on the patio for dinner....and my beloved swimming pool!!! Even Winter in the great Northeast has it's charms....they can wear off pretty quickly....but you have to admit....those very first snowflakes are magical!! There is nothing like a good book and a cup of tea to put you in a good place!!! While all of those things have their merits....if we were to be honest...they all pale in comparison to Fall. I don't think anyone can find any fault in this time of year!!! Sometimes, spending 12 hours in the heat (and humidity) of August to decorate for the Fall and Halloween season can be exhausting. But, then, I see all of my Happy Halloween Lovers....and it is all worth while!!! I don't want you to dismiss the end of the Summer season....by all means...ENJOY!!! Get in as much "outside" time as you can....have a picnic, go for a walk, sit outside and look at the stars....but just remember....when that Fall Fever hits...we are here for you!!! Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Getting there....

Well....we are getting there!!! I knew, even in the middle of this project on Monday, that it was going to take most of the week....and it looks like I was right!! Today....we were working on the kitchen....it looks great...but I am pooped!!! Tomorrow....we tackle the "Christmas Shop" and get the Byers' Choice Carolers re-arranged and in a different home. Then....we will be done. No....we won't....I am NEVER done....but that is one of the best parts of my job !!!! :):):) I still have more GREAT stuff coming...and the show stopper of them all....THE CANDY!!!! I know how much you all look forward to that!!! So do I, actually....it's one of my favorite "re-do" jobs....especially when the Halloween stuff comes in!!! But....for now....I am calling it a night!!! I have more pictures to share....but, you can always come in and see it all in person!!! Judging by the number of happy shoppers, already this week......it looks like that's the plan!!! See you soon!!! Have a wonderful night!!!  :):):)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Halloween is on it's way.........

Tomorrow is the big day!!! I must confess....there was a good dose of panic, earlier this week. Under normal circumstances, once I set the date for the Big Halloween Reveal....I am flooded with ideas. Where to put what, what to put where. Sometimes it wakes me up in the night!!! But, this week, I have been blanking...and seem to be easily distracted. I would start to think about the new merchandise....both what we have already received and all of the amazing surprises yet to come...and, a few minutes later, I would realize that I was focusing on something else completely!!! I was beginning to think that I was going to have to wing it....and then, the flood gates opened on Saturday morning!!! I was wide awake at 4:00 am thinking about Halloween!! Whew....that was a little scary!!! I have never had "creators block" before!!! All is well....and I am ready to work first thing tomorrow morning!!! Make sure your plans include a trip to Sweet Memories, this week......you know what they say about the early worm!!! We have things you don't want to miss out on....and even more on the way!!! Awww....I guess that means a lot of trips to Sweet Memories are in your future....I know, it's tough!!! I will try to remember to take some pictures while I am working tomorrow....Have a great night!!!!  :):):)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Muddy Banks....

I have been in business, for myself, for 24 years.....that's if you count the years that I spent building and creating what was the foundation for what we are now. In those 24 years I have learned quite a few lessons. I think every lesson learned is a valuable one....every experience makes you who you are....both as a business and as a person. If someone were to ask me what I thought was the most important piece of business advice...I would say, without a doubt, to treat EVERYONE the way you would want to be treated. Every person that comes in the door has the potential to be your best customer. Every person you meet on the street has the potential to be your best contact....and, of course, the one that I think is VERY frequently over-looked....every other business owner has the ability to help you toward your goals....or stand on the muddy banks and watch you go down!!!! I will never, ever understand when another business owner treats one of their "own" with any kind of disrespect!! I am on the planning committee for the "1803 House: A Very Merrie Halloween"...as I do with EVERYTHING I do...I am giving this 200%. I "cruise" the internet ALL the time...looking for Halloween artists and vendors of fine Fall merchandise to make this the BEST event this area has ever seen. I am networking like crazy....trying to find just the right people to be involved. I "found" someone in the area (sort of...) and sent them an email....telling them how wonderful I thought their product was and that we would love for them to consider joining us. It took a little more than a week to respond....and it was short, cold....and kinda rude!!!! You know....it just takes a few minutes to make a friend. It could be a contact that will benefit you for a very long time!! But, in all fairness, maybe they were just too busy to spend those few minutes being kind!!! Well....that's OK....it takes much LESS time to be rude....and the "side effects" of THAT action will last even longer!!!! I have watched businesses open....and close....I have had the pleasure of calling fellow business owners "friends" and I have been on the receiving end of the "green-eyed" monster in action!!! Somewhere along the line you need to decide, both as a business person and as a PERSON....which road YOU are going to take....as for me....I am going to stand here on the muddy banks....I am on solid ground.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The coolest stuff ever........

I spent some more time, this afternoon, pursuing my goal of complete organization. I went through some of my catalogs and got rid of the ones I don't need....which made room on the shelf for the ones I do need. Recorded a whole bunch of important stuff in my magic notebook. Wrote all kinds of necessary details about all of the upcoming classes and other special events...actually WROTE it down so that everyone can answer questions in an informed and professional manner....and just in time, too.....because you guys didn't waste any time starting to sign up for all of these things!!!! And, the whole time I am doing all of this....I am thinking about Halloween displays and how excited I am about the new merchandise for this year....and thinking about how I can't wait to get started so that I can share all of this COOL stuff with you....and 4 more big boxes come in. These are Christmas, though. That's OK....we will unpack, check for any problems, price and re-pack to be stored for later. Something interesting to do for the afternoon....and then I start to open the boxes!!!! First of all...let me just say....you all are in for one SWEET Christmas this year... (hint, hint, hint......) and.....now I want to get the Christmas stuff out!!!! I'll tell you what....it's rough to have SO MANY things to look forward to!!!! I'm going to tell you again....save those pennies and DON'T spend them anywhere.....until you have come in and seen us!!!!! I...can't....wait!!!!!!!!!!       :):):):):).......... Have a great night....with visions of sugar plums....and jack-o-lanterns....and candy canes and witches.....heeheee....I am such a tease!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hurdles.....and moving on.....

Some days you just want to scream. Today was one of those days. Every thing and every body make you just want to go back to bed. On days like that, it seems like it's just one thing after another....and, of course, it IS!!! I believe that we make our own paths....and when you allow your path to have one hurdle or another in it....whether you let things get to you or let things make you angry ...you will find yourself tripping all over the place!!! I try to deal with everything as it comes....I don't "put things off"....I don't let things get bottled up...I don't play games!! When I am....shall we say "not happy"....it's not too hard to tell. I get the frustration out....let you know how I feel...try to clear the air and then move on. When I don't do that....I find that everything that COULD go wrong...will. I don't like to have days like this... but then...I have a meeting with one of my Reps....and all is well again!!! I have some of the COOLEST surprises for all of you....some for right now....some for down the road. Oh....you are going to LOVE Halloween at Sweet Memories this year!!!! Save those pennies and don't buy ANYTHING until you see what we have in store for you!!! The hurdles are gone....and so are the potholes....I am moving on!!! I have a few more catalogs to check out  :):):)....you all have a great night!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The notebook...and control.....

I find myself saying "note to self" about 400 times a day. I have three, separate piles of catalogs and the notes and possible orders that go with them, on my desk as we speak. I have no problem with making notes, lists and even diagrams....the question is...which notebook did I write all of this information IN??? I have had enough. I am waving the white flag. I need to get organized....or, I should say, MORE organized. This time of year is particularly stressful. I need to have all of my Fall, Halloween and Christmas orders placed. The problem is...I have to have them placed SO far in advance...that I forget what I ordered. I, also, need to store all of this merchandise as it comes in....some of it is in the storeroom at the shop....the bulk of it goes into the spare room at home...I forget what is where....whether it has come in or I am still waiting for it....frankly, there are moments I think I may have dreamed the whole order!!! I, also, am "cooking" up my displays....I write down, or sketch, the ideas as they come to me...then forget where I put the papers!!! (more than likely...buried in the 3 piles of catalogs....) and then, I am scheduling the Fall classes and jotting down recipe ideas to teach for each of them....I am sure you have figured out where THOSE notes go, too. SO, today, I went to the store...headed for the back to school section (which I have NOT had to visit in some time!!!) and bought a notebook. This, my friends, is not just ANY notebook....it has a handle AND a shoulder strap!!! I think it, also, has a place for everything so that everything will be in it's place!!! I love the business we have created and built....and I love that it keeps growing and becoming more and more successful....I, even, love ALL of the MANY jobs that I do in a day....but I HAVE to have complete control....(I have explained that "type A" thing already) and I do NOT at this moment. SO....my project for this week....get everything organized in my new notebook. Once I get that baby all set up and filled in....there will be NO stopping me.....who would have thought a notebook could be so powerful??? I feel back in control, already!!!   Have a great night!!!