Driving up to this place (The hotel Saguaro) in the circus bus of love, we fit right in. We could have been mistaken for the hospitality shuttle (or even lovers as we were in the minority in the same sex love oasis).  I don’t know how we managed to bring the right color vehicle!

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What struck me was the circusy rainbow of colors precisely placed on the building, inside and out. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time and K.C. was a doll for taking me on the journey , but there was something about the extreme retroness of the place that kept annoying me with respect to its cost. They can charge how much per night?! Yes, the place is adorable. Yes, you should go if you want to feel what it’s like to get in a time machine.
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But, when I but when I kept mulling it over, besides the artwork and comfy beds, this trendy hotel was really just an old motel with some new art, bright carpet, and loudly new paint. The bathroom was the worst combination of colors ever, my high school’s green and orange. It was terribly circusy.

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They mastered the art of simple staging and marketing, I think. Maybe it wasn’t that I was so much annoyed, but envious of the owner for being so brilliant and wanting to come up with my own version of the thing. It’s kind of like a colorful abstract painting, just a splash here and splash there and they can command a silly amount of money. You think, how can I do that? AND…the guests seemed to be loving it. Granted, it was St. Patty’s Day weekend. They were probably all high on something besides ROY. G. BIV. Yes, that guy is wearing a green tutu.20130406-010758.jpg

And El Jefe did make some tasty margaritas. Ok, well these are tequilaritas, martinis made with 1800 Coconut tequila…

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P.S. I even got to see my newest house baby for the first time. I couldn’t break in (probably a good thing) but my property team has it under control.

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So, in order to prep for a business or networking meeting in the O.C., I recommend you get smashed first (if you’re female).
Stay with me.
You may remember my makeover post with entrepreneuress Tatiahna of Au-Shé Cosmetics.  She now works as counter manager for Smashbox at Nordstrom Fashion Island.  So, I went for a pre-mixer makeover while I was in the area so I could look my best for Mr. Fragoso and friends from hard money fix and flip lender Anchor Loans. (For those of you who don’t know, hard money is expensive, ranging from 10-12% interest only or more plus 2.5-4.5 points for a loan.  It’s usually short-term bridge money for a house rehabber before they sell to an owner occupant.  It’s quick and helpful if you know how to use it).  Blah. Blah. Blah.  Back to cosmetics…
The Smashbox line is fun with some flirty colors and affordable prices (as far as department store prices go).  They have a new summer collection as well as a “CC” tinted cream which we used as my foundation. I’m told it’s similar to the trendy “BB” cream I’m seeing every where but hadn’t yet tried.  It’s supposed to moisturize and prime as well as be able to stand on its own as a foundation.
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I left with a look Tatiahna called “business casual” and some sticky but smooth Limitless Long Last  Lip Gloss in a neutral sparkly color called “Endless.”  It survived through my 1/2 mocha Ice Storm (shared the other half with the make-up artist) and Crabcake slider.
It’s always strange to see myself in big girl makeup since I’m usually quite minimal.
Which look do you like better?
Simple or Smashed?
Simple Make-Up
Smashed

I can’t sleep. Yet, all day I was exhausted. Now, my brain is spinning like a Ferris wheel at the fair. I’m high on real estate investing fantasies and networking from our FIBI investor meeting with guest speaker/CA real estate educator Bruce Norris. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to scribble a post since it’s way overdue. And, while real estate and the theme of this blog may seem incongruent, part of the purpose of this blog is to discuss thoughts on financial freedom and real estate is one of the avenues I’ve chosen to get me there.

Wordventure alert!
Circusy: It’s an adjective I’ve been using since I started aerial training (aka “circus”) to describe anything fun, colorful, lively, entertaining, out of the ordinary, bizarre, vibrant, colorful, bouncy, or amusing…

Does anyone remember the early 2000s real estate boom with prices increasing month after month and the subsequent crash that the country and the Golden State are still trying to dig out of? How could we not? Yet, the CA market is currently experiencing what feels to me (and what Bruce Norris likened to) 2004 housing euphoria. Towards the end of 2012, the houses listed for sale have dried up and foreclosures have decreased. This lessened supply with increased demand has seemed to create month over month price increases. Yet, based on Bruce’s charts, there are still tons of homes that theoretically should be going through the foreclosure process (people who are way behind on their house payments) and aren’t getting foreclosed on due to unprecedented events and factors such as government intervention and Wall Street hedge funds buying properties and property debt in bulk and sucking up the supply. I can’t explain the intricacies and I won’t pretend to understand all of them. I just know that I have enjoyed these all-time low interest rates and low housing prices and they won’t last forever. So, I’m trying to capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. But are we headed for another crash in the not-too-distant future? Check out the free resources and podcasts at The Norris Group so you can be better educated and prepared as things shift.

What a circusy real estate market this is!

It’s been quite a chilly week with lots of wind here in SoCal.  My lips have been needing some extra love…with lip balm.   Let’s return to the Au-She interview with Tatiahna Simonian who has a special product for lip love.

C.O.H.: Tell me about your lip products.   I like them.  The family seems to love them.  Does every one have sunscreen in it?

A.S.: They do! Every lip product contains vitamin E, B and sunscreen. Au Shé lipsticks and lip balms are made from an oil and butter base vs. a wax/chemical base so the end product is creamier and lighter than traditional lipstick or lip balms. They include ingredients like Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Jojoba Oil, Pistachio Butter and Grapeseed Oil. I am working on developing a business relationship with some local bee keepers so the Bee’s Wax I use in the future will be locally sourced and from rescued bees.

C.O.H: Remind me what your secret make-up trick is with the concealer.

A.S.: This is my favorite makeup tip! It is so easy and quick and it really helps make your eyes pop. When you are applying under eye concealer just bring the product up to the sides of the bridge of your nose and inside the inner corners of your eye socket up to your eyebrow.  The light color helps reflect shadows that are naturally created there and instantly give your face an extra bit of brightness.

C.O.H.: You previously told me that you were thinking of re-branding your company and making some big changes.  Can you tell me about that?

A.S.: I am going start a whole new company (name TBD) that focuses only on lip and body balms. Eventually I will add more products and it will become a fully developed product line that includes hair, skin and body care, as well as cosmetics. Au Shé products will still be around for the people who love them, but I will be attending school to become an esthetician in 2013 and need to scale back my operations to make them more manageable to accommodate my new career.

C.O.H.: What do you think you need to do differently in order to grow the company so you can work on the business instead of in it and sustain it (if that’s your goal)?

A.S.: I think starting new and focusing on only a few products at first will give me more opportunities as far as my reaching new customers.  Almost everyone likes lip balm.  I think Brand development is a huge deal and something I need to work on if I want to grow brand loyalty and my business successfully.  It is easy to have pretty lipstick.  I need to define what makes my company and my pretty lipstick different, better.  Also, I need support staff.  Even if it just one person a few hours a week (I’m looking at you Tony. Haha). That extra bit of help makes a huge difference in what I can accomplish in one day.

 C.O.H.: What kinds of connections, resources, and funding are you looking for?
A.S.: I am looking for all kinds of connections. The more people I am networked with the better. The individuals I meet and the women I touch with my products are absolutely my best asset. There is nothing like a real life testimonial from someone you trust to get you interested in a product so they are really my best sales people.  I really love connecting with people who also own small businesses. Over the years I have met some kick ass people who work so hard at what they do because they are passionate and frankly, they are inspiring. The spirit and creativity of these people never ceases to amaze me.  As you know, SCORE is an awesome resource for entrepreneurs. They offer workshops and free business counseling with retired executives to help small businesses grow.  I plan on taking advantage of more of their services/classes offered in the New Year. In fact, I am attending a free a workshop next week on better sales techniques. How could I pass that up?

 C.O.H.:  I think you told me that you had considered looking into some sort of crowd-funding, like Kickstarter.  I’m sensing lip balm as a “giftaway.” How’s that shaping up and how would you maximize funds raised from that?

A.S.: Right now I am just in the idea phase, but I am planning an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign in the beginning months of 2013. I have been thinking a lot about my video and my giveaways.  There will definitely be lip balm involved. Ha.

C.O.H: What’s your plan for the business for 2013 and beyond?

A.S.: Funny you should ask, my next project to sit down and work on my new business plan. I will let you know when I have a clearer answer to that question.

*Update since our interview: Tatiahna just got hired as a cosmetics manager for the Smashbox line in SoCal. Drop her a line or go get your face put together if you’re in the LA/OC area. 🙂

Technical difficulties on the pics from our makeover day together!  I’ll try to post them later.

TGIF!

Not too long ago, my friend Tatiahna was kind enough to share with me how she started her own make-up biz.  We did a mini-makeover session and she was kind enough to offer some products for our giveaway.  She answered my many questions which I’ll break down into two different posts.

Enjoy the show!

Circus of Humanity: How does one suddenly decide to start her own makeup company? Why not just be a makeup artist?

Au-She: There was really nothing sudden about it. For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with beauty products. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother’s shiny black alligator makeup bag. It had 3 sections, a big golden clasp and was filled with treasure. I distinctly remember Clinique gel rouge and eye shadow. My mom is a bit of a beauty junkie, as well. I gave my senior project presentation in high school about owning a salon/day spa and my own makeup company. I became a makeup artist to
further along my dream of having my own brand of products, one day.  I figured it was two sides of the same coin. While I love makeup artistry, I feel my art is more within the products themselves.

C.O.H: And how did you come up with the name? What does it mean, again?

A.S.: “Au Shé” is what we say in my family when we want to get each other’s attention discreetly. So to me, it means “Pssst, pay attention. Look over here”. That is what I wanted from my customers, for them to pay attention; attention to ingredients, to small business, to their individual beauty … In the long run, I wish I had picked a name that was a little less “inside” and had gone with a name that made my message clearer to understand.

C.O.H.: You hand-craft your products. That seems like a real pain in the butt if you want to make a living. What’s the process like and how much time/cost is to you per unit?

A.S.: Sometimes it is a real pain in the butt!  Part of the reason I handcraft my products is because I formulated all of them as well. I could have come out with a private label line, picked out some products and colors, then slapped my name on them, but to me, that lacked heart. I wanted a lipstick that was perfectly smooth, hydrating, made with natural ingredients plus great colors, and I did not think a catalog would provide me with the products that I was dreaming of. There was a lot of time as well as trial and error involved in developing my line. It has been a labor of love, with blood, sweat and yes, sometimes
tears.  The process of making cosmetics is a lot like cooking. I mix together raw ingredients to form products using mostly kitchen appliances. Making the products themselves does not take too long; it is everything else involved that can be rather time consuming. For instance, I have to clean my lipstick mold 3 times before I can use it. Once with mineral oil to take off any left behind lipstick, once with soap to get rid of the mineral oil and lipstick, and then one more time with disinfectant. Even when that is done, I am only making 96 lipsticks at a time.  If I have multiple batches of lipsticks to produce, I have to clean the mold another 3 times before I can use it again. There is also sterilization of equipment and packaging, general cleaning, filling products, labeling… it is an involved process. One that I love, but it takes a bit of time.

C.O.H.:  What has been the biggest challenge about entrepreneurship?

A.S.: Besides spelling entrepreneurship, for me, the biggest challenge is not having a cloning system for myself. As with any business, there is so much to do and like most small businesses, only me to do it. I do have friends and family who pitch in time to time and that really helps me get things done (Thanks guys! You know who you are). Having to do everything from manufacturing to sales and paper work can make the days seem long, but they are worth it. The other challenge is of course, money. I have ideas and things I would love to do with my business (better marketing, product development, catalogs, etc), but currently my “dream big” budget is just not available. In the meantime, those ideas go in my “idea bank” and I work to build my business so I can achieve those goals someday.

(C.O.H. Sideshow: I gave Tahtiahna my copy of Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week after our time together.  I hoped it would give her additional ideas on how to figuratively “clone” herself.  Tatiahna, check out Tim’s 12/20/12 blog and read #10.  Perhaps your body products/lip balms will be a fit for his latest quarterly shipment box.  T.F. Idea steal, Tatiahna!)

C.O.H.: Have you learned any lessons about business or life throughout the process of building Au Shé that have surprised you?

A.S.: I think I have been most surprised by the generosity of people. My friends and family have given me multiple full days of their lives throwing home parties, setting up at and visiting many a craft fair, labeling lip balms, filling eye shadows for nothing but maybe lunch in return because they love me and want me to succeed. The strangers who ask questions and buy products to try out and support my small business instead of going to the mall to get their favorite products. Other entrepreneurs who sell my products and let me host workshops and sales events in their stores because we are in this together; bloggers and other makeup artists spreading the word, family friends only buying Au Shé products for stocking stuffers…the list is really endless. There are so many people who have supported me in one way or another with usually nothing to gain and I could not be more grateful and thankful for every single one of them.

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And the winner is…

Congrats to @MyGrandmaSue who is the first giveaway winner!  Sue, shoot me an email to let me know where to send you your gift!

I’ll post makeover pics next time (Other readers, please subscribe via email using the “follow/stay updated” link on the left of the blog for future chances to win stuff).

Check out www.Au-She.com to find out more and see the products!

The random drawing has taken place! We have a winner! But you’ll find out who it is Wednesday when the Au Shé make-up article is released!

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I’m not ready for Halloween to be over. In fact, I whimpered in sadness as we drove by the darkened pumpkin patch returning home from the Haunted Hot Tub Halloween festivities. Bet you haven’t been to one of those? And while the candy corn martinis weren’t the home run I hoped they’d be, I did enjoy playing bartender/mad scientist in my homemade tin foil cat ears.

Christmas commercial on Hulu today? Too soon, marketers. Too soon. It’s only Nov 1st…(now technically the 2nd since this is taking me to tomorrow to complete).

Given our amazing (hot) CA weather, it hasn’t felt very Halloweeny. We attended a Dìa de los Muertos festival at Hollywood Forever Cemetary last Saturday. We went during the day and it was close to 100 degrees out. It was my first time at the famous landmark and I was surprised to see this expansive park sandwiched between so much commercial real estate. Parking was terrible and I was ready to give up before we found a spot. Kyle was determined to make the trip worthwhile and we had a really splendid day despite the heat and rough start. I don’t know much about the history of the holiday (“Day of the Dead”) but it appears to be part memorial, part party. There were huge homemade displays, like little scenes, which were elaborately and colorfully decorated. I felt a bit odd and irreverent taking photos, especially in the mausoleum (which had been transformed into an art gallery). It was all very strange and beautiful. Here are just some of the many colorful shots I got:

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And, I just had to get a photo next to Dorothy’s famous dog’s memorial, of course. R.I.P. Toto.
Unfortunately that pic is on Kyle’s phone and I’m composing this on mine (while the iPad sits on my lap).

Here’s a pretty park pic:

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I hope your past week has been spooky (in a good way).

Remember to sign up to “Stay Updated/Follow” my blog via email (top left of screen) Email subscribers will be automatically entered in the December giveaway by Au-ShéAu-Shé.

Boo! (That was a fly by ghosting, not a hiss).

Yours Circusly,
T.

I will not let her defeat me!  This was a first attempt at a new hoop trick.  Hoop and I haven’t gotten along that well in the past.  She spins me too fast and tends to make me nauseated.  Oh, and wood on bones = less than comfy feeling.  I’ve got some pretty circus spots (bruises) to prove it.  But, last night, we got along fairly well.  There was a rough sounding fall (or two) but I got back on the hoop and showed her who was boss!

I know I just posted this week already, but I had too much fun at aerial not to post this video that the lovely Elizabeth took of me.

Remember to subscribe by email to this blog for a chance to win Au-She makeup in December!  Click “Follow/Stay-Updated” on the left column or bottom of the page!

So I bought another Groupony gift certificate for myself recently. (I think it was actually through Living Social but I tend to use Groupon in reference to online voucher purchases as one would use Kleenex to describe tissue). A friend and I bought them at the same time and put the date on our calendars. It’s a cool business idea where everyone gets a 2 hour painting class and it’s held at a local restaurant or wine shop. Plus, if they have a full class, they donate a portion to charity, something we are working at doing more of in our own business. Today’s class was held at a 4-months-in-biz restaurant in downtown Long Beach called Agaves. It’s a swanky tequila bar and Mexican food joint. The large table in the middle of the room was reserved for a 30th birthday celebration (yay) and the occasion was commemorated with a firecracker-topped desert.

I was under the impression that 1 drink (the Beverage part of the “Brushstrokes and Beverages” voucher) was included in the deal. I must not have read the fine print or something because that wasn’t the case. So, that was a little disappointing, especially when my friend had to cancel on me and I’m stuck with a view of Picaso-man on my left painting a masterpiece, while I’m attempting to paint something beyond stick figures. Honestly, the margaritas part of the Stand Up Paddleboarding class I took in Long Beach (twice) was the real selling point of that voucher too. Neema, Mr. SUP Instructor is great with an awesome head of curly hair but the activity was sort of the bonus item if I’m being truthful. Buy for the booze, stay for the fun.

Regardless, I made it through B&B sin ‘rita & con agua and a table of gals who provided some giggles and banter as we took on this painting adventure together. It was probably better for my future 6 pack abs that the Bev wasn’t included, although leftovers for dinner at home later did include leftover vino rojo.

My day: from blank canvas to Día de los Muertos

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Please subscribe to this blog by clicking “follow/stay updated”! The giveaway drawing for subscribers is going to happen VERY soon.

Heave! Ho!

Posted: September 22, 2012 12:29 am in Abs, Circus, Exercise, Food, music

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It’s moments like these (see photo) that you realize putting in the extra effort to eat less and move more will really pay off. I have to heave this heavy a$$ of mine into the air with my own strength.

This week I’ve had to re-dedicate myself to my health and 6 pack abs journey. When considering the fact that I really like to eat and I don’t want to give up certain foods or the quantity of food I eat, but I also want six pack abs and to improve my circus flying, I faced what seemed to be a problem…I reframed the thought to ‘I want to eat what I desire AND I want to get six pack abs.’ The solution appeared. Simply exercise more and burn more calories. And do what worked for me in the past – track what I eat and do so consistently. Of course, like most things, this is easier said than done. It’s something I have to re-commit to daily and sometimes hourly. I have started each morning of the last week reading my list of “Tiffany’s Reasons For Keeping Up A Fitness Program.” This has been on my fridge for years but it’s been a few (years) since I bothered to be mindful of it. And I have also decided to commit to inputing my food in my tracker (love the MyFitnessPal app) before I eat so I have to pause and be consciously aware of my caloric “budget” and whether I have the room for it, consider whether it’s worth it, and acknowledge when I may go over. I also use the “notes” section as a journal of any uncomfortable moods/feelings surrounding my choices. And I bought a “desk bike” to use while sitting on the couch reading or working at my desk to make the process easier. All that said, while I made a healthy dinner choice at a restaurant this evening and planned my choice in advance, I still slipped up and ate a bit more than I was hungry for and more than just the 1 bite of dessert I said I would have. So, naturally I had to get out on the dance floor and boogie down to 80s cover band Knyght Ryder to burn some extra calories. I thought about climbing the velvet curtain which divides the restaurant, but I was wearing a dress and that just wouldn’t be lady-like. Overall, for a night out, it was a success and the week has also been one.

A couple things that prompted these action changes were attending a Landmark education introduction and reading a new book. If anyone reading this is familiar with Landmark education, please give me your feedback on the classes! The book I read this week is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, I believe. It discusses and gives mind-boggling examples of how small habits over time will compound to be life-altering.

Using what has worked on the past, it’s time to reinstate my former good habits, lose the complacency, and drop some of that dead weight!