Happy Halloween

I use to love Halloween when my kids were little. All the neighbor kids and mom's would get together and walk through the neighborhood to go "Trick or Treating". I remember one Halloween when it rained. So, my neighbor's kids and mine just exchanged candy. That was the worse thing when you were a kid was to have rain on Halloween night! The time and Halloweens pass so quickly. Now my kids are grown and are beginning to have their own kids. This was Riley's second Halloween and her introduction to pumpkins!Last year was the first year Riley really enjoyed the concept of knocking on a neighbors door and getting candy. Riley, Katie, and Vinnie bought my parents house after they died. The same house I grew up in as a kid. And last year was pretty special to walk through the same neighborhood that as a kid I went "trick or treating" at. Talk about memories. Last night when Riley's daddy helped her carve the pumpkins she told him it was "sad"! She is so compassionate. And tonight, after the store closes we will all head over to Riley's house. I will have the heartwarming experience of watching my grandchildren, Riley & Morgan, enjoying Halloween in the same neighborhood I did as a child. We will pass my old elementary school, and I will point at my kindergarten room and tell my babies all the stories of Halloween that happened there. Although Riley won't care, and Morgan is too little to know what's going on, and Katie will probably plug her ears as to not hear the same story again, I will still enjoy telling it. Happy Halloween to you all!


This and That

Is it "that" time of year already? I feel like I'm on that hamster wheel of life, constantly running and trying hard not to screw anything up in the process. I just wanted to make sure that everyone knew that the date of Rachel's book signing has been changed to Sunday, November 15th at noon! Also, we will have her books for sale at the store. They are $35 each. Complimentary refreshments will be served by "Paris in A Cup". My friend Cheryl Turner, who owns the tearoom, is truly a class act as is Paris in a Cup!Christie and I were talking last week about Rachel's book signing and for those of you that are Christie Repasy fans, guess what? Christie will be at Country Roads on the same day as Rachel. If you've never met her, I hope you stop by, she is so sweet and down to earth. You will enjoy talking with her.Last night Old Towne Orange celebrated their annual, "Treats in The Streets". This is a wonderful community event that the City of Orange sponsors along with participating merchants. Little kids are able to go "Trick or Treating" in our quaint little historic area. I remember 12 or more years ago working with so many other great merchants and the City in putting this event together. It is awesome to see how it has turned out. What better way to "give back" than to offer a safe Halloween environment for little kids! That is our own Josalyn above, Yesi's daughter. How did she get to be four years old? I love Josalyn, she is full of "sass", can't you just see that in her little princess eyes? This was Josalyn's first "Treats in the Streets", four years ago as a tiny Minnie Mouse! Where does the time go? These days, it passes just too quickly!!


Jack's Back!

Jack Johnson's new CD, "En Concert" was released on Tuesday. Of course I downloaded it immediately from iTunes. This new CD features live performances by Jack with some of his friends that include Eddie Vedder on "Constellations", and Paula Frug on "Country Road". This woman is totally amazing. If you like this song, look her up on iTunes, great voice! When she sings Country Road with Jack, I just keep playing it over and over again. I can't get enough of that song.The other thing I really love about Jack Johnson is he "lives" the life of GIVING BACK! Above he is singing the "3'R's" to a classroom of elementary school kids in Hawaii. What a great way to teach recycling to kids! Jack does so much for so many, I think this essay written by a student when asked to write about her hero says it all. . .

My hero is not a war hero, a family member, or a lifesaver. My hero is a musician and earthkeeper. He is someone who loves nature and loves to protect it. He is a special person to me, but a lot of people have never heard of him. My hero is Jack Johnson.

Jack has contributed to the Kokua Festival, Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, and the Red Cross. He lives on the island of Oahu on the North Shore. Jack’s songs raise awareness that Hawaii will only stay lush, beautiful, and amazing if we take care of the land that we all call our own.

Jack Johnson’s tour bus now runs on bio-diesel fuel, a fuel that is safe for the environment and can be reused. He comes to schools to tell kids about the land and how we should take care of it. He produces sing-a-longs that teach kids and keep them aware while they’re having fun.

Jack Johnson raised $65,000 for the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina. He raised a total of $122,835.05 from touring money. He funds many things like the Kokua Foundation, a foundation that sponsors “Aina in the Schools,” a program that lets kids plant and farm crops at their school.

I think Jack Johnson is a great hero and definitely a great person. He is a role model, courageous and very smart. I hope my essay helps you understand that our world is disappearing and we have to do something about it.
Written by Savannah from Hawaii

Whether it is Surfrider, helping schools, recyling, Jack is always there giving back. It would be totally awesome if we had more people that cared about the future of our kids, the environment and each other like Jack Johnson does. He lives this life and his beliefs daily! A few years ago, Brande had the opportunity while working for the ONE organization to do fundraising at a Jack Johnson concert in Hawaii. I will never forget her telling me how down to earth Jack was. Before the shows, he would be out with fans, riding his bike around the venue, as would his wife, kids, and band members were as out meeting fans as well. In a world when our kids look up to some of the "not so giving" musicians that are popular today, it is just so heartwarming and fresh to see someone like Jack Johnson "giving back" daily!


White Wednesday

This "White Wednesday" I have some pictures from one of the vignettes at Country Roads. These pictures are the work of a good friend of mine that is also a vendor at Country Roads, Christie Repasy. I've known Christie for a long time and I have to say one thing, she is a wonderful & caring person. What better way to celebrate "White Wednesday" than to enjoy the romantic florals of Christie Repasy's!

When you have a business filled not only with really talented people, but family as well, I'm reminded of how blessed I am. And as always, thanks to Kathleen,for putting "White Wednesday" together. Go visit Kathleen, she has some great pictures of her own, as does the many others that participate in "White Wednesday"!


The Garage

Before I divorced, I lived in a house that had a laundry room. So of course, being in this business, I decorated it. When I bought "my" house nine or ten years ago, it didn't have a laundry room. So, with Bryce's help, we did the next best thing. . .we improvised! This old door leads out to the "garage". The old coke cooler works great for folding laundry and holding all our other junk we need! I just had too much cool stuff I couldn't part with, so why not give the garage a facelift? I've always loved vintage laundry stuff. I reminds me how much easier it is these days to do laundry then it was back in the day! Bryce put up some old fence board on the garage walls to give it a more rustic look. I also added some of my parents stuff they had in their house that I didn't have room in my house for put couldn't part with. I know, its just stuff, like the vintage phone, but for years it hung in my mom and dad's house. He use to hide a collection of old coins in it. Just some more of that vintage "stuff" I couldn't part with. It's kind of funny, Bryce has started adding some of his favorite "stuff" as well to the garage. Once baby Morgan was born something had to be moved to the garage. And after all, I don't think the "garage" would have been a good idea for a nursery!! A garage, much more than a place to just park a car.


Do You Love What You Do?

I really love what I do most of the time. It is great to have a store like Country Roads. I opened it on January 2nd, 1993. And it has been a journey to get to where I am today. I was reading one of Brande's friends, Sandy's blog, this morning. Sandy is a professor over at Cal State University Fullerton. She wrote a post titled "All Out of Love". Basically it is about how discouraging it is to teach with all the budget cuts going on in education system in the state of California. It touched me because I don't think any of us would have ever expected the depth of the economy mess. I hate to see the young people lose "hope" in todays world. Somehow it just doesn't seem fair. Maybe you could stop by her blog and leave a postive comment for her.I love what I do, even in the toughest of times. I have the priviledge of walking in the door of Country Roads and seeing a new Halloween display my son has put together. And is working with your family easy? Of course not. Your expectations are higher, you argue with each other, but at the end of the day you lock the front door and try to leave the not so good memories of the day behind. You are reminded that you all just want the best for business even in this crazy time we are living in right now!And you wake up fresh the next day, unlock the door and get scared shitless by the new Halloween display your son has put together! That's family. Country Roads is a great place if you haven't been to visit us. I'm not saying that because it is our family's business, but because I DO really like it. I get to work with such talented people, and that part of it is truly fabulous. Then we have the "customers"! Our regular customers are the best, they really are. But then there are the others. And for any of you that work retail these days I know that you know what I'm talking about. I had an unusually tough customer week-end. It was like an overdose on negativity, and I have no patience for negative people. I'm pretty use to what I hear out of the mouths of some people, but this week-end it was far more intense. I was told several times how hard it must be for me to have business so slow. I was actually amazed that I heard that more than once. Thankfully, Country Roads has been blessed and we stay busy and positive. No, business isn't like it was a few years back, but is anything in life that way these days? And what was even more interesting was that these customers were saying this to me on a day that we were really slammed, go figure? Little did I know, the best was yet to come. Yesterday this cocky guy walks up to the counter with a really cool, vintage gasoline sign. He lifts the sign up on the counter, points at the price tag of $425 and says one word, "half"? I politely said one word back to him with a smile, "no", and he walked away. I will never understand arrogance and rudeness even after all these years of working retail. It baffles me. And as the day draws near an end, I walk by the Indian in the dental chair once more and I'm scared shitless one more time. I'm a slow learner. And then, Carol walks up to the counter with the above bunny head on "her" head and we all laugh. It reminds me of the real reason I love what I do. It's those precious moments my family, my dealers and all the great customers that put a smile on my face and warm my heart daily. And that is why I sincerely do love what I do!!


The Riff-Raff Room!

As you know, I'm a HUGE Ellen fan. I could never figure out how people got tickets. I would look on the website and it ways had the calendar dates filled with "no available tickets". Then last week, they had three open days. I filled out forms for all three days, not really expecting to hear from the Ellen Show. Then, it happened! On Friday I got a call asking if I still wanted tickets? Of course I did!! I'm going on "stand by" which is in the world famous "Riff-Raff Room". They told me there is a "chance" you could see the show, but if not they would give me tickets for a future taping. So, on November 24th, I'm off to the "Riff-Raff Room" and couldn't be more excited! Thanks to the Ellen Show staff, I appreciate the phone call.


Country Roads Vingnettes

Part of the appeal of Country Roads is the "vignettes" that so many of my talented family continue to put together! The above are some pictures of only one of Margaret's three areas in the store. Margaret and her daughter Leslie, I have been with Country Roads since day one when we opened on January 2nd, 1993. I don't think I'm alone when I talk about the appeal of chippy white paint! I love this little vignette. So fresh and white and well displayed. I have a love affair as is with childrens little things. The photos above are courtesy of Pat Fillipi who also has three areas in the store. Pat is by far one of the sweetest people I have ever met, and I've also known Pat forever! You may remember Pat and Margaret from their adventures at Warrenton last month! As I always say, Country Roads is truly a family in every sense of the word. If you haven't visited us in awhile, you need to come shop "the shops of Country Roads"! I promise you will have lots of fun!


"Pa's Pumpkin Patch"

The other night my family (minus Brande & Vinnie) headed down PCH to "Pa's Pumpkin Patch". The pumpkin patch and then the Christmas tree lot come down every year from Oregon. It's fun to walk around with the kids, feel the ocean breeze, and be reminded of Fall here in SoCal!
"it's true, pink elephants REALLY do fly"

"waiting for the train with Uncle Bryce"

"Riley got to be the engineer and ring the bell, the train being her favorite ride"

"Morgan posing for a picture, her FIRST visit to the Pumpkin Patch"

"Riley refused to have her pix taken, as where Morgan was happy too"

"Morgan still happy, Riley NOT so happy"

"The kids, and at least Riley wasn't screaming"

"the Jackson's at Pa's Pumpkin Patch"

You know, for me it's the times I share doing the simple things with my family that mean the most. In this crazy world we are living in these days, I'm sincerely blessed to have such an awesome family. And I never, ever forget that! Happy Halloween!


My Friend RuFie

Yesterday afternoon when I went out to get my mail, there was an envelope with my name on it. I saw it was from my dear friend Ruthie, or "RuFie" as Riley lovingly calls her. When I opened the envelope, I found a little green box was inside. When I pulled it out, I saw the word "hope" written on it. You see, that word, "hope", is big with me and my friend RuFie. It is reminder of the good things in life, to never give up, and to keep "hope" alive in your heart. I was anxious to see what was inside. And as I opened the box. . . there it was! A little note written from the heart of my dear friend, and a shiny, silver pin with the word "hope" engraved on it. It's funny how life works out sometimes. When you least expect it, suddenly you are reminded of those that mean so much to you. Those that remind you of what you hold dear and near in your heart. And then when you walk out to get the mail, suddenly your heart is not only filled with "hope" but the love a friend that lives way to far away. I miss you RuFie, with all my heart!


White Wednesday

This White Wednesday I'm at my store, Country Roads, taking pictures of chandeliers. For me, nothing says elegance than a chandelier. Here are some of my favorites for White Wednesday.

Thanks to our "hostess with the mostess" Kathleen! Stop by on her blog and you will find many other great "White Wednesday" photos!!