An Appreciated Father

When I think about my father I smile and laugh a lot.

So…I’m the youngest of six and came five years, almost to the day, after my sister. I suppose I completed the set – three boys and three girls, and even though they had their hands full, my mom and dad always made us their number one priority. My mother was, for the most part, a stay-at-home mom. She worked part-time as a yard teacher here and there until I turned four and her child day care operation began to take shape in the basement of our house.

My father worked as a longshoreman, or as the occupation used to be called, stevedore. Often this wasn’t his only job. He took other odd jobs to make ends meet until he became a building inspector on one of the military bases in the bay area. Once my mother’s day care business took off, he retired early to help her with the books and act as occasional bouncer if things got weird with one of the parents.

I smile and laugh a lot when I think of him because he often took a lot of time out of his busy schedule to talk and play games with me when I was a very small child. My mother had become ill after returning from the hospital with me and with five other children to care for, he took it upon himself to ensure my development. Everything from silly games, to reading and learning math filled up our time together up until the moment I entered kindergarten and beyond. I credit my mother for my creativity, and my father for my vivid imagination.

He took his job as father and provider seriously from beginning to end. He was this little girl’s best friend, this teenager’s protector and guide and ultimately this woman’s role model. I can’t honestly say I’ve always thought this. If you had approached me about him as a teenager or a very young woman you would have witnessed a little bit of eye-rolling and rock-kicking. He brought his love of military discipline and order into our household – a teenager’s worst nightmare. I can tell you though, after holding down three jobs at once myself, WITHOUT six children and a spouse, my appreciation for him renewed and has remained ever since.

This fifth son of a sharecropper left the deep south with only a sixth grade education, joined the military, relocated to California and made a tremendously successful life for himself and his family by all measures. To say that I am extremely proud of him would be an understatement.

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Gwen Stefani’s Fashion Laced Music Video

Gwen Stefani has always been a bit of a chameleon to me with the exception of one constant, and that is her platinum blonde hair. She’s strikingly beautiful and talented but her great taste in clothing wins me over every time.

I’d have to do a little research to find out if she’s ever been a professional model, but her latest music video would stand as an outstanding resume if she ever ditched music for the catwalk. Misery is a great song too.

 

Amazon – The Wrecking Ball For Fashion Retail

Let’s face it. Any retail category Amazon touches turns to ash for small business and even its larger competitors. The company has forever changed the nature of book, music and electronics sales. As an author, once upon a time,  I enjoyed fairly impressive sales through a network of small and independent book stores. Those outlets slowly but surely caved in as authors, publishers and bookstores found the lure of online sales either devastating or deceptively lucrative.

Amazon has made it intentions extremely clear from the start when it came to their latest endeavor – high fashion. A still somewhat slow economy may be partly to blame for the decline in retail stales, but the likes of Kohl’s, Macy’s and even Nordstrom are feeling the pressure with notable drops in retail sales. This decline can be set side by side with the proliferation of Amazon fashion. I’ve discussed this before – Amazon’s new photo studios In New York and London are strategically poised to compete with fashion’s heavy hitters, and it appears that they have begun to pick up the kind of steam that others are forced to acknowledge.

It’s fair to say that competition is good. It keeps all of us on our toes with regard to providing value and innovation to our customers. I don’t believe it’s necessary to be afraid or feel threatened by Amazon, but it sure helps to know what you’re dealing with. I think Nordstrom is a company that has always had the right idea – it isn’t my favorite store because I like the name. Superior customer service, quality merchandise and a nice shopping experience will keep customers coming back. I also value Amazon when I want to find the best price or compare options in one place with a variety of merchandise. As a customer I value both experiences, and as a small business, I can just as well learn from both approaches to customer satisfaction

High Fashion At Proms

Proms are hard to ignore. For the past few weeks I’ve seen a slew of limousines, girls wearing long gowns, french rolls and flip-flops at Starbucks with equally coiffed and dressed up friends. Relatives and friend’s kids who were mere teenagers just a few short months have transformed into runway models and stunning vixens for that big night.

One high school in New York captured the attention of silive.com. High fashion and cultivating one’s own look figure prominently into prom attire – it’s nice to see creative expression coming out so strongly. Check them out here.