Friday, September 22, 2017

A Visit to In Style Baby Boutique

Today Avery, Cyann and Ember are going to a local baby boutique, In Style Baby.  In Style Baby is a family owned establishment owned and managed by brother and sister, Jaguar and Mercedes Howell.Their sister, Logan Howell, also works at the boutique.  Jaguar is the eldest at 26, followed by Mercedes who is 23 and Logan who is 18. Their parents own and operate another business, so they have had mentorship along the way.

It was Mercedes' idea to open a store (which has been open for 2 years) that specializes in baby items which are mostly neutral.  The concept is to make it easier to shop for babies when you don't know the gender and to be able to re-use items for future babies regardless of gender.  Mercedes had just finished college with a business degree and talked her brother, Jaguar, into investing.

Jaguar has a full-time job as a marketing manager, which has been helpful in marketing the store.  He leaves day-to-day management up to Mercedes, who is showing Logan how to run operations.  They have one other employee at the store, Waverly Ingram.

No one working at the store has a child of their own yet, so they read baby magazines and attend lots of expos on baby products to keep up with changing baby items on the market.  They also attend motherhood focus groups so they can stay abreast of items in demand.

The trio, and their plus one, Brooklyn, have just arrived at the store.  Cyann called ahead to be sure they would be able to accommodate Avery registering for baby items.

Mercedes:  Hello. Welcome to In Style Baby.  How may we help you today?
Cyann:  Hi.  I called ahead about registering for baby items.  We'd like to do that today, please.
Mercedes (looking at Avery):  Yes, I can see we are expecting a new addition.  Do you know what you're having?
Avery:  No, we want to be surprised.
Mercedes:  Wonderful!  I'm sure it's fun wondering if you're having a boy or a girl right up until that moment you meet them.  Well, you've come to the right place.  The majority of our items can work for either gender.  While do offer some items which are (makes air quotes) gender specific, you'll see that our color palettes can work for either.  It makes things so easy.  Plus, there are a lot of parents who just want to find items which aren't just pink with bows or blue with trucks.

Cyann:  That's why we're here.  We're throwing our friend here a baby shower and it will make things go easier if we register in a way that people don't feel frustrated about guessing what to buy.
Mercedes:  Sounds like a good idea.  I'm Mercedes and, along with Waverly (points to Waverly who is helping a customer) we are here to help you today.  And you are?
Cyann: I'm Cyann, this is Avery, and this is Ember. It's nice to meet you.
Ember:  Hello, Mercedes.
Avery:  It's nice to meet you.
Mercedes:  We rotate stock pretty often, but with the same staple of main products, like strollers and cribinets.  We do sell full size cribs, however, we do not keep them in stock.  They are special order. 

Avery:  Okay.  We do have a crib, but I think we could use a bassinet or a cribinet for our bedroom for the baby's first few months.
Mercedes:  Good idea.  If you don't see what you're looking for, please ask we we'll let you know if we can get it for you.  You can also see what we offer by visiting our website.  We have our distributors ship direct.  
I'll go grab an Ipad so we can set up your registration account and get you started with your shopping.
Avery:  Thank you.

Ember wanders over to the strollers as Avery is getting her account set up.  Cyann deals with a fussy Brooklyn to get her settled and quieted down. 

Avery provides information to Mercedes.  After she finishes, she takes the scanner Mercedes has provided her with and heads over to get started.

Avery:  So where should we start?
Cyann:  I'm thinking we start on this side (pointing) and then work our way around.  That way we see everything they have, don't jump around and end up at the register to turn the scanner back in.  How does that sound?
Ember:  That's a good idea.  It's very organized.
Avery:  I like it.

Avery:  These breast pumps look good.  I like the hand held one, but I think the electronic one is going to better suited for me.
Cyann:  It's portable.  Will you need to take it to work?
Avery:  It doesn't look like it.  Craig is interviewing for a promotion right now, which will be a pretty big increase.  I could still afford to stay home anyway, but if the gets the promotion, things will be even easier financially.  Especially since we're thinking about buying a house by the time the baby turns two.   That way we'll have more room, a yard and space in case we have another.
Ember:  That's is a great!  I hope he gets the promotion.
Avery:  We're hopeful and I think he has a good chance, but we'll have to see.  We should know soon.

Avery, Cyann and Ember look at several things and Avery registers along the way. Occasionally, Mercedes or Waverly stops to check on them and answer questions.  They also look at:




 Baby gyms, bouncers, tubs 

 High Chairs


 Wash cloths, towels, bottles, blankets, baby monitors, diaper bags and Boppy pillows


Cyann:  This has been fun!
Avery:  I'm so excited!  We already have the crib set up and we've bought a few things, but at someone's insistence, we've slowed down to wait and see what we get a the shower.
Cyann:  Someone is absolutely correct.  I still need a couple of those addresses for people you want to invite from work.  Now that we have the registration completed, I can put the information in the invitations and get them out in the next few days.
Ember:  Let me know how I can help.
Cyann:  Did you get a chance to figure out how we should design the cake?  That's a huge thing we still need to do.

Ember:  I was going to ask about that.  It's Avery's shower, so I thought she may want to choose it.
Avery:  I think I'd enjoy being surprised.  Go ahead and pick something and I'm sure I'll like it.
Waverly:  Hello.  How did the registration go?  Is there anything you'd like to have seen that you didn't or maybe something in a specific color?  We can special order several of the items we sell.  They do require a  non-refundable deposit for special order, but it's worth it if you're interested.  We can also make notes in your registration to help anyone who is shopping for you.

Avery:  I like that option.  Do I have to make a decision right now?
Waverly:  No.  I'm going to give you the link so you can access your registration and the link for people to order online if they don't have time to come into the store.  You can see color selections on the website and note them in your registration, but only if the item is still showing as not purchased.
Avery:  Okay.  I'll be able to show my husband what I registered for, in case he has thoughts about colors or designs.
Waverly:  Let me get you what you need and you can enjoy the rest of your day browsing.

Waverly goes to get the link and registration information for Avery.

Avery:  I think it's about that time to go grab some food.  We are hungry.
Ember:  I think I hear my stomach growing too.  Next stop, food.

After getting the information for the registration link and website, the ladies head out to find food and do a little more shopping before they head home.

So the baby store is available for shopping for the residents here.  After all of this work, they had better do a lot of shopping and there had better be more babies.  

Thanks for stopping by to see the boutique.  ~ Jaye

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dominic Visits Reds'

It's Thursday evening at Reds' and Dominic Balducci has stopped by because he wanted to show his sister, for whom he purchased entry, the establishment.  She should be arriving any minute now.

In the interim, Dominic is chatting with Azalia, one of the owners.  As a reminder, he has used Reds' for his staff holiday party and as owners of food establishments, they do network with each other.

Dominic:  Where's Gia tonight?  Is she hiding out in the kitchen?  I haven't seen her since I got here.
Azalia:  Yes, you would have seen her by now if she were working, but she has the evening off.  She's spending time with her family this evening.  But we have staff to cover and someone else working the floor with me.  Pretty soon, we may even expand and have more people work the floor.
Dominic:  That's good.  I've been thinking about expansion too.  Not so much with Select Spaces, but another restaurant soon.
Azalia:  That sounds exciting.  Congratulations!
Dominic:  Thank you!

Azalia:  How are you doing with that drink?  Are you ready for another?
Dominic:  In a few minutes.  I'm waiting for someone.
Azalia:  Okay.  Well, let me know when you're ready.
Dominic:  Hey, not to change the subject, but that art work is new.  It's not exactly what I'd expect to see here.  Going in a different direction?
Azalia (laughing):  I know, right?  Dogs.  They remind me of a pool room.
Dominic:  Well, I didn't want to say anything, but, yes, that's what I think too.

Azalia:  Well, we were convinced by a local art dealer to be part of an art rental program.  The way it works is you pay a monthly fee and you try out works of art.  You can either go to the studio and choose what you'd like to use or use their online catalog to select and try out or rent art work.  You have the option to purchase at any time, but you don't have to.
Dominic:  Interesting concept.  So you keep the art work fresh?
Azalia:  Yes, it allows you to keep mixing things up.  You pay a certain amount for a certain amount of selections each month.  We could have paid enough to keep changing every wall, but that's a lot.
Dominic:  So you actually chose the dogs?
Azalia:  No, there's also an option to let them just send over something to try out and they take back the previous artwork.  This is what showed up based on our color palette and other selections.
Dominic:  Hmm...
Azalia:  I know, next time we may not let them pick for us.  We're not making that mistake again.

Azalia looks up as a woman approaches the bar.

Azalia:  Hello and welcome to Reds'.  What can I get for you this evening?
Donatella:  Hello and thank you.  I just need a minute to hug this guy right here.

Dominic recognizes his sister's voice and turns around to greet her.

Dominic: Hey, Donnie!  Glad you made it.
Donatella:  Hey, Dom.  I'm glad I made it too.  Thank you for asking me.  So far I like what I see.
Dominic:  Good.  I thought you would...Oh!  Where are my manners?  Let me introduce you to Azalia, one of the owners.  
Donatella:  Okay.

Dominic:  Azalia, this is my sister, Donatella.
Azalia:  Hello, nice to meet you.  Thank you for coming.
Donatella:  My you are pretty.  I love your hair.
Azalia (blushing):  Thank you!  That's so kind of you.  Please have a seat and let me get you a drink.
Donatella:  I think I'll just have some water, please.  I won't be able to stay long and I'm sure I'll have something during dinner.

Dominic:  That's right.  I forgot you had dinner plans tonight.  I should have checked before purchasing a ticket for this evening.  But I'm glad you could at least take a look at this place.
Donatella:  Me too.  I like it.
Azalia:  I don't mean to be nosey, but I'm glad you like it too.  Are you looking for a venue for an event?
Donatella:  Some of my friends and I get together to enjoy dinner and drinks pretty often and, although I know I can always have my brother host us, we like to switch it up and try new places.  Dom recommended this place and I think we'd have a good time.  It will give a couple of us single ladies a chance to mix and mingle with single men too.
Dominic:  Thank you for that information.  
Azalia:  Good idea.  (looking up) Please excuse me, I have to go check on something and I'll get you that water you requested.
Donatella:  Thank you.

Dominic:  So, dinner, huh?
Donatella:  Yes, because my son is such a sweetheart.  I'm looking forward to it.
Dominic:  What's going on with my niece?  I haven't seen her since the Memorial Day picnic.
Donatella:  Rachel's doing well.  She should be here for Thanksgiving. She's still loving her job.
Dominic:  Good, good.

Donatella:  I really need to get going.  I need to make another stop at the store before getting to dinner.  I'm so sorry I can't stay longer, but I will definitely make sure the ladies and I come here next month.  I like it!
Dominic:  Well, that's all I wanted was for you to see this place and try it out.  The owners are wonderful and so are their staff.  You'll have a good time here.
Donatella:  I'll see you later, Dom.
Dominic:  Have a good time at dinner.  

Just as Donatella is leaving, Azalia returns with her water.

Donatella:  Oh, Honey, I'm so sorry.  I appreciate your getting the water for me, but I really need to go.  But I'll be back.
Azalia:  That's quite alright.  I'm sure someone will want water and I'll have it handy.  Thank you for stopping by and please do come back.
Donatella:  I sure will be back.  Thank you again.  Good night.
Azalia:  Good night.

Donatella heads off to dinner and Dominic stays for a while to eat what's on the menu.

Thank you for stopping by. ~ Jaye

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Can We Call it Official?

It's Sunday early afternoon and Brett has plans to go to the park with Marlin.  They have been spending quite a bit of time together doing fun things, like bowling, playing pool, going to the park.  Today they plan to spend time relaxing and enjoying each other's company before the weather gets cooler and the summer officially ends. Before he picks her up, Brett is stopping by Select Spaces, where they both work.  He's stopping to talk to Dominic Balducci, the owner.

Brett:  Hi.
Dominic:  Hi.  I thought you were off today.
Brett:  I am, but I got the message that you wanted to talk to me, so I thought I'd stop by for a few minutes.  Are you too busy to talk right now?
Dominic:  No.  I'm only inspecting the spaces and this won't take long.  Would you like to have a seat?
Brett:  No, thank you.
Dominic:  Well, I will.  I need a break anyway.

Dominic:  So I wanted to talk to you about you moving into the manager position, like we planned.  I think you have done as I asked and started in an entry level position to really understand operations and customer service first hand.  What are your thoughts?
Brett (smiling):  This is great.  I know I still have a lot to learn.
Dominic:  It won't be hard with the time I've spent showing you about the finances, ordering, scheduling and other things.  Now you'll be able to focus on daily operations in the manager role.  It's just another step.
Brett:  Okay.  I'm looking forward to it.  When do we start?
Dominic:  Well, we need to be sure your shifts are filled, so I'd like to have you help me interview a new employee.  We can't be short-handed with the staff.  

Brett:  Okay.  That sounds good.
Dominic:  We'll talk about it the next time you work.  You should be enjoying your day off.  Do you have any plans?
Brett: Yes, I'm going to the park with Marlin.
Dominic (smiling):  I like her. She's a great server.  Does she know?
Brett:  No, I haven't told her.  I wanted to see how things go with us first.
Dominic:  And?
Brett:  And they are going very well.  I can see myself being with her long-term.
Dominic:  Good. I'm very happy for you both.  But you'll need to tell her eventually.  Probably sooner, rather than later.  

Brett:  I know. I'll tell her when the time is right.
Dominic:  Well, do what works for you.  But remember, a good way to ruin a relationship is by not being honest.
Brett:  I know.  I appreciate the advice and everything you've done for me.  You know that, right?
Dominic:  Of course.
Brett:  Well, I should get going.  I wouldn't want to keep Marlin waiting.
Dominic:  Then that means my break is over.  Have a good time and we'll talk during your next shift.
Brett:  Okay.  Bye.

Brett leaves, happy about the news that he'll be in a manager role.  That means a lot, like he's ready for the responsibility and that he'll get a significant raise.  He picks up Marlin and they go to the park.  They go to a park which has a family area with play areas and picnic benches and separate couples and adults only area with smaller tables and some benches with two seats. It's a very popular park and people love that they can enjoy it for different reasons.

They're sitting in the couples and adults area enjoying food they bought from a vendor at the park.  They've been talking about their week and general things as they come up during the conversation.

Marlin:  This is such a beautiful day, the last of them before the beautiful fall days.  I guess it's time to start bringing out the warmer clothes.
Brett:  Yes, and it will also soon be time for cozy fires and beautiful leaves falling.  Then Christmas right after Thanksgiving.  There are so many things to enjoy with each season.
Marlin:  Yes, those are good things to look forward to soon.  So what's going with you.  Not that you aren't always, but you seem happier today.

Brett considers telling her about the manager position, but then decides to wait.  Instead, he feels there's something more pressing for him to discuss.

Brett:  I'm just happy to spend time with you today.  I feel like we've gotten closer and I...I just look forward to seeing you.  Plus, you look so good today.
Marlin (blushing):  I love spending time with you too, Brett.  I'm so glad we get along so well.  You're so nice to me and so thoughtful.
Brett:  Well, you deserve it.

Brett looks at Marlin, just smiling for a few seconds.

Marlin:  What?  What is it?  What are you thinking?

Brett takes a breath.  He wants to be sure about what he wants to say.

Brett:  Marlin, I have feelings for you and I want to keep getting to know you better.  I feel like we make a great couple and I, well, I want to make it clear that you're my lady.  My only lady.
Marlin (feeling surprised, but excited about what Brett is saying):  Uh..
Brett:  I want to be in a committed relationship with you.  Can we call it official?

Marlin looks at Brett.  Her head is swirling with thoughts like: I can't believe it.  This man wants to be with me.  I have to stay calm.  Stay calm, but happy.  I'm not asking him, he's asking me. He's so sweet.  He's actually asking me to be with a relationship.  A committed relationship.  I can't believe we went from friends to this.  Wow!  I'm so happy right now.

After gathering her thoughts and realizing Brett is still waiting patiently for an answer and looking hopeful, Marlin finds the words to respond.

Marlin:  Yes!  Yes, Brett, we can call it official.

Brett doesn't say anything.  He simply gets up, reaches for Marlin and pulls her up from her seat.  He pulls her in quickly and kisses her like they have never kissed before.  

It's a passionate kiss, longer and more deeply than the prior quick pecks on the lips they had exchanged each time before.

They both feel something stir inside.  When they finally stop, they take a moment to look at each other.

Brett:  I'm a very happy man right now and I promise I'll keep working to make you happy.
Marlin (grinning):  I'm happy too and, I don't want to get ahead of myself.
Brett:  You're not.
Marlin:  I want to make you happy too.

Awww!!  It looks like Marlin has a man in her life now for sure who wants her as much (maybe more) as she wants him.  Good for her.

Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye

Monday, September 4, 2017

Spending Time

It's Saturday, early evening, and Parker, Ember and Erwyn are at a restaurant enjoying dinner.  They stopped to eat after having spent most of the day at the zoo.

Parker:  So, I know you had fun watching the monkeys play.  But what was your favorite animal today?
Erwyn:  I don't know.  I like them all.  Ummm.  I have to think.
Ember:  That would be hard choice for me too.  While we think, let's see if Mr. Parker has a favorite.
Parker:  I have one.  It's the giraffe.

Erwyn:  Why the giraffe?
Parker:  Because they are so tall and they walk so elegantly with their long legs, one long stride at a time.  Plus, I know they won't eat me.
Erwyn (laughing):  They want leaves.  I like giraffes.
Ember (laughing): I like giraffes too, but I think my favorite is the gorilla.  They have lots of strength, but can actually be very nice and gentle.  You have to admire that.

Parker: That's a good pick.  Ms. Erwyn, you have to stop stalling.  We've given our favorites, but we need yours.
Erwyn:  Okay.  I like theeeee lion.
Parker:  Nice pick.  Why the lion?
Erwyn:  Because he's a king and everyone knows it.  He mostly lays around doing what he wants, but no one will bother him because he's the king.  Oh! And if they try, he just gives a loud roar and warns them.  Lions are cool.

Ember:  You got that right.  They know it.
Parker:  Yep!  They are the kings alright.  So did you like going to the zoo as much as you liked when we went to the aquarium?
Erwyn:  Yeah.
Ember:  Excuse me, is that how we respond?
Parker (to Ember): It's okay.
Ember:  No, it's not.  Erwyn?
Erwyn:  Yes, I like them both.

Parker:  I'm glad.  Now, we have to figure out what we should do next.  We've been to the aquarium, the zoo, the museum of natural science.  We did all the fun stuff.  What else is fun to do?
Ember:  We haven't been to the beach this summer.  Maybe we could take a day trip there before we lose the heat.
Erwyn:  I like the beach.  We don't go a lot.
Parker:  Well, that settles it. If you ladies would like to be on a beach, we'll head there next.

Erwyn:  Yay!  Mommy, can Brenna come too?
Ember:  Sure, if Parker's okay with it.
Parker:  Of course.  We need to be sure we do all the important beach things while we're there.
Erwyn:  What are important beach things?

Parker:  They are the things you have to do when you're on a beach, like building something with the sand, looking for seashells, and basking in the sun to get a tan.
Ember (smirking):  Maybe you bask.  We rub a lot of sunblock on and only leave the shade of the umbrella when necessary.
Parker (laughing):  I think we can compromise.  

Parker:  Erwyn, thank you for spending time with me.  I like getting to know you.
Erwyn:  I like spending time with you.  You are nice and you always tell me I'm pretty.
Parker:  Well, that's because you are pretty.  So, when are we heading to the beach?
Ember:  Next weekend or the following is good for us, if that works for you.
Parker:  Next weekend works for me.  I'm visiting my father the following weekend.  I need to help him with a few things around his house, plus I just want to see him.
Ember:  That's nice.  Enjoy it.

Parker:  At some point, I think it would be nice to take you both to visit and see where I grew up.
Ember:  That would be very nice.  It's not a long drive, right?
Parker:  No, not long a little less than two hours.  It's a day trip.
Ember:  Sure.  We can set that up later.  I'd like that.
Parker:  Good.  So, Erwyn, I know we're not filling up on real food are we?  We need some room for dessert.
Erwyn:  I have room for dessert.
Parker:  So do I.

After finishing their real food, Erwyn and Parker find dessert to split.  Then they head home.

It's so nice they are all spending time together.  We totally missed out on seeing the trip to the aquarium, museum of natural science and the zoo.  Unfortunately, we'll miss out on seeing the trip the beach too (this girl doesn't do sand well).  But at least we know they're moving along.

Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye