CELEBRATING WOMEN125 YEARS

Avon is celebrating 125 years of helping women not only look beautiful, but gain financial independence as well.  Here is why Avon has survived for as long as it has.  I am proud to re-print what Avon CEO Andrea Jung stated in the anniversary brochure:  

  

 

125 years of creating lipsticks, blushes and mascaras. Fragrances, lotions and serums.But more importantly, 125 years of creating possibility. Not just by beautifying women, but by standing up. And saying no to Breast Cancer. No to Domestic Violence. By donating over $800 million for these causes and others that are critical to women.125 years of saying yes to financial independence for over 6 million Representatives in over 100 countries.

Each brochure is filled with products that exemplify our passion— making women their most beautiful.
But with each product comes the promise that Avon will do more than bring beauty to doors. We’ll open them too.
Which is what we’ve been doing for 125 years.
Thank you for being a part of it.

Andrea Jung,
Chairman and CEO
Avon Products, Inc.
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New Year – Fresh Start

The holidays are over and 2011 is now upon us.  I have been looking back over the past year with  mixed feelings.  My health had been great.  My mom has been able to retire and purchase her dream home.  And my dog has reached the age of 16 and still is in relative good health!  However, I would have liked to been a bit more successful in my business.  The economy had been tough on everyone and my finances need vast improvement.  Though I have been working to make money with my busniness,  even with the famous brand name of Avon,it still takes time, effort and commitment.  

 I am not big on resolutions as I believe that they don’t last long.  I mean we make them with the best of intentions, but then real life gets in the way and sometimes our good intentions goes by the wayside.  What I would like to do is just to make a fresh start.  Make things simple such as re-examining my work schedule, utilizing the tools that I have to make my business grow and endeavor to be more interactive with my customers.  And most important of all, ignore the nay sayers.  Sounds like a resolution doesn’t it?  Maybe it does.  But I think I will stick with my fresh start idea.  I think that this way, I will stay the course. 

What is your fresh start?

Eat, Love, Shop!

Not too long ago, Thanksgiving meant time with family, friends, lots of food, parades and football.  Then we would sit around moaning about how much food we ate all the while thinking about another slice of pie before nodding off on the couch.  Later in the evening, the kitchen has been cleaned up, leftover’s put away and then off to bed happy with the thought of being able to sleep late and visions of turkey sandwiches dancing in our dreams. 

We still do all of those things, but with a bit of a difference.    Most of us don’t get to sleep in the day after Thanksgiving anymore.  No, work does not call us to the office.  School is not in session.  What could possibly pull us out of our turkey coma?  Holiday sales of course, more commonly known as Black Friday.  No one quite knows when the term came into being, but retailers look toward this day with much anticipation and glee.  It’s their hope that the shopping frenzy will put their ledgers in the “black”.  Shoppers look forward to this day in order to help them to save money on holiday gifts. 

Black Friday had become a tradition much like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football games and cranberry sauce.  I mean, who can think of Thanksgiving without them?  Sadly, I must admit that I am guilty of aiding and abetting Black Friday myself by holding an e-party online for my customers.  I mean a girl has got to make a living, right?  My consolation to myself is that I am not making my customers get up at an ungodly hour and venturing out into the elements.  They can participate from their home and hearth and on their own schedule.  I guess you can say that I am of the school of thought that if you can’t beat them, join them!

However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday or the day after, I wish good food, great company, laughter and love.  And of course, happy shopping!

Moving: Endings & Beginnings

Most people I talk to have very mixed feelings about moving.  On the one hand, they are happy to be going to a new place, especially one that they consider their dream home.  On the other hand, just the very thought of  having to pack up many years of possessions sends a shiver of dread down their spine.   Having just gone through the moving process, I am here to say that I have seen and felt both sides of subject.   

I  have moved to a new place with my sister and also helped my mother move to her new house in South Carolina.  We have all been living together in a large apartment in NJ for the past 15 years or so.  As you can well imagine, one can accumulate a lot of stuff in all of that time. 

This is the time to get rid of the stuff you have collected over the years that you have not used or even remembered having.  If there was any debate on what should get packed and boxed or get rid of, we went by this rule of thumb of: If you have not used or seen it in a year, then you don’t need it.  Trust me, a lot of stuff got donated or thrown out.  Talk about unloading a lot of baggage!  It was great getting rid a lot of stuff along with discovering treasured pictures and items from days long past. 

All and all, we survived both moves.  There was of course, the inevitable bumps and bruises of the actual move.  There were items that were left, the truck was late in delivering to the new house, items were damaged and or missing.  But those things seem minor to the new beginnings that lie ahead for me and my family.  My mom got to retire to her new dream house along with the chance to make new friends and explore her new surroundings.  Moreover, my sister and I will be able to focus more on our financial and career goals along with supporting our mother’s new-found freedom. 

I look forward to this new and exciting journey that life has taken me.  I guess that is what life is all about isn’t it?  Endings and beginnings. 

Other Cool Stuff Spotlight

Speaking of journeys, and yes, there is a plug coming.   This is an Avon blog afterall!   Avon is partnering with Cosmopolitan to promote the new Avon Techniques Frizz Control Lotus Shield. Here are some of the details:

Avon and Cosmopolitan Magazine to Kick Off Frizz Free Revolution Tour

Avon and Cosmopolitan magazine are hitting the road this summer with a multi-city tour to put an end to frizz! The Frizz Free Revolution Tour will feature a glass enclosed mobile van, beautifully branded with Lotus Shield imagery. Inside the vehicle will be a fully outfitted Advance Techniques salon, complete with two styling stations, and staffed with stylists ready to give consumers a frizz-free Lotus Shield experience. 

JOIN THE FRIZZ-FREE REVOLUTION TOUR!

Avon and Cosmo are hitting the road this summer so YOU can be a part of the nationwide Frizz-Free Revolution Tour.

Avon Advance Techniques Frizz Control Lotus Shield is an innovative treatment developed to tame frizz after one use and maintain smooth strands for up to three days.*

The tour stops in Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia and New York where you can:
• Experience Avon’s at-home alternative to pricey salon treatments
• Get a FREE blowout
• Meet Tippi Shorter, Avon’s Global Stylist Advisor and celebrity hair stylist

• Houston – July 19
Galleria Mall
5085 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77056

• Miami — July 24
The Whitelaw Hotel
808 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139

• Atlanta — July 28
Atlanta Station

• Philadelphia — August 3
Walnut Street between 17th Street & 18th Street

• New York City — August 5
The Early Morning Plaza (Morning Stop)
Near 59th Street and 5th Ave
Union Square (Afternoon Stop)
Exact Location TBD

*Please note these locations are subject to change. Check back here for the most up to date information

Follow us on Twitter: @AvonPRNewsflash and check back on cosmopromo.com for tour dates and more information.

Hear more about this breakthrough new product and share your story at avon.com/advancetechniques.

*After using for one week

Keep a look out for a tour near you.  Samples are available if you would like to try before you buy, just let me know. 

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope that you will visit again soon.  Take care.

Tracey

 

Cool Stuff Spotlight: Sweets By Megan

 

I have the extreme pleasure to introduce a great new service and tasty treat: Sweets by Megan.  I was introduced to Megan’s services by fellow entrepreneur Denise Cerveny of Landmark Investments. 

Sweets by Megan offers a wide variety of baked goods, from cookies, to cupcakes.  You can find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Sweets-by-Megan/119049201454187 and here is a menu of her delightful treats:

Sweets by Megan

Spring 2010

Ok….so here is the deal. Everything is priced individually. No order too big or small. My only request is that you order in multiples of 2, just makes things easier for me to package.

If you have ever been to a party where I have baked you see things in all sizes, big and small….this is all big stuff….big cupcakes, big cuts of the bar cookies. If you want smaller cuts, mini’s, etc, just email me and I will price accordingly.

If anyone has allergies, hates raisins, etc, just let me know and we can work something out.

You all know where to find me. Just in case my cell is 201.210.1136 or sweetsbymegan@comcast.net or search me on facebook…Sweets by Megan.

Sandwich Cookies All varieties $1.75 each

Juli’s Linzer Cookie
Straight up soft sugar cookie with a little raspberry jelly in the middle, then dipped in milk Chocolate

Ginger Lemon Sandwich
Fresh, soft ginger cookies with lemon meringue buttercream between them

The Original Carrot Cake Cookie

To all you raisin haters….Carrot Cake just isn’t the same without ‘em
Vanilla bean cream cheese icing stuffed between two cinnamon-y soft cookies full of fresh carrot, toasted walnuts and raisins.

Key Lime Coconut Sandwich
The newest addition
A cookie that will make you want to hit the beach………..Two toasted coconut short bread cookies with a tangy Key Lime cream between them. Forget coffee or milk….You will want a daquiri to wash this one down!

The Italian Oreo
Two Chocolate, chocolate chip shortbread cookies with orange scented Cannoli cream and then rollllllled in roasted pistachios.

Cupcakes All Varieties $3 each

Irish Car Bombs
WHAT! Yes, it’s true….
Very light Guinness chocolate cake, Jameson’s buttercream with some Bailey’s chocolate ganache on top. Might be my new favorite.

Coconut Cupcakes
My mom’s favorite
Dense coconut cake with whipped cream cheese butter cream and then doused in coconut

Lemon, Lemon, Lemon Cupcakes
Fresh lemon cake, brushed with a fresh lemon syrup and then some fluffy lemon frosting on top. There’s a little kiss of lemon curd on top so you can all taste the power of the lemon.

 

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Because all bakers need a reason to have fun with a kitchen blow torch…….

We’ve take fresh lemon cake, brushed it with fresh lemon syrup, squeezed a dollop of fresh lemon curd inside, swirled some meringue icing on top and then…..Tah-dahhhhhh…. TORCHED IT! Looks just like the real pie!

D’Brickashaw’s Strawberry Cupcakes

Named after our favorite NY Jet
Mash some fresh strawberries and deliciousness can’t be far behind
Strawberry cake with a hint of orange zest and almond, covered with some fresh strawberry icing that will turn you into a Jets fan. Next season can’t come soon enough…….

Banana Love

Mini Chocolate chips swirled into fresh banana cake and then covered in a light, super whipped cream cheese frosting. Cupcakes for breakfast anyone? This one pulls double duty.

Plain Jane
Ok, not so plain………Rich vanilla cake with rich chocolate frosting……think Duncan Hines, without the box.

German Chocolate
A classic in cupcake form
Rich Chocolate cake with a frosting you will want to spread on everything full of coconut, almonds and caramel

Bar Cookies -All varieties $2.75 each

Moms Lemon Bars
2 of my favorite moms love these so we have named these for them….
A rich shortbread crust is covered in lemon curd and dusted with powdered sugar. Pucker up people!

Apple Pie Bars
Shortbread crust smothered in thin Granny Smith Apple slices and then covered in cinnamon/walnut filled crumb topping.

Megan’s Cheesecake Brownies
Many have tried but so few have ever come close…..
Vanilla bean cheesecake swirled in with the best brownie you are ever going to put in your mouth. I know my brownies, I would never lead you astray!

Crispy Peanut Butter Decadence
Candied crisp rice layered with Peanut butter milk chocolate and dark chocolate ganache. The adult Rice Krispy Treat. I’m not going to lie…..people look at these like “Eh, isn’t there something better in the box?” and then call me later and say “That was insane! I’ll take a whole box of just those next time!”. Try ’em, you won’t be disappointed.

Apricot Almond Crumble Bars
I love jelly……and I had to get my favorite flavor on this list.
A layer of short bread, a layer of apricot jelly with almond crumbs on top. So good. This might be my favorite.

 Mini Cheesecakes

Pumpkin Cheesecakes
My cheesecakes made better with warm spices and plenty o’ pumpkin. Graham Cracker crust. Fresh whipped cream on top. $1.50 each

(The following are twice the size of the pumpkins, hence the price difference)
Lemon Cheesecakes
Fresh lemon juice and zest added to classic vanilla cheesecake. Nilla wafer crust. Fresh whipped cream and a piece of candied lemon zest on top. $3 each

Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes
Espresso Cheesecakes with mini chocolate chips, chocolate cookie crust and fresh whipped cream on top. A little sprinkle of cinnamon to make it taste just like the real thing. $3. each

Odd and ends…….
Marshmallows
Vanilla (for Santa’s Hot cocoa)
Lemon (to sweeten Mom’s tea)
Toasted Coconut (because these are my favorite)
Bag of 10 – $8

Peanut Butter Cups
Milk Chocolate with creamy or Dark Chocolate with chunky
15 mini’s for $8
5 BIG cups for $10

In case you really want to mix it up…….
The following require a little work at home but are totally worth it……

Ice Cream Sandwiches
My homemade Cream Cheese Ice cream with either Red Velvet Cookies or Carrot Cake Cookies(without the icing listed above). I supply the ice cream and cookies. You are responsible for sandwiching it between the cookies.
Pint of Ice Cream with 16 cookies (enough for 8 sandwiches)
$28

Chocolate Lava Cake
Yes, you can WOW your guests and they may not know I helped.
4 ramekins filled with a light chocolate sponge cake, inside is a warm truffle full of dark chocolate ganache with has a splash of bourbon to really bring out the chocolate flavor. I bring them to you, all you have to do is throw them in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes. Serve with a little vanilla ice cream.
Oh my!
4 servings $22
Must be ordered in multiples of 4

Chocolate chip cookies
There is nothing like a fresh Chocolate chip cookie
24 of my “6 minute” cookies $25
Wanna do it yourself? 24 balls of my dough, a couple of slips of parchment paper and dirctions that ANYONE can handle $20

I’m also working on the following that may make it to the Spring menu so stay tuned to my pics and status updates:
The Quadruple “C” Cookie-Cherry Cheese Crumb Cookie-A swirl of cherry cheesecake filling between 2 cinnamon crumb cookies. BAM!
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes-Our Lemon, Lemon cupcake with a new frosting…..Light meringue that’s been toasted on the outside. Trying to get some lemon curd on the inside too.
Chocolate Truffle Sandwich Cookies…..It’s like chocolate overload.

My mind is always churning people…..bare with me….and if there’s a flavor you like and don’t see on here, suggestions are always welcome!

Sweetsbymegan@comcast.net or 201.210.1136

I hope that you will try Sweets by Megan.  As an added incentive to her Megan a try, I am offering a free cookie or cupcake with an Avon order of $15 or more.  Just log into my website: www.youravon.com/traceyfisher or contact me for a brochure.   Enjoy!

Regards,

Tracey

Direct Selling 101 – ABC News

As I am sure you have heard from news programs, editorials and talking heads alike, the economy is taking it’s time to recover.  Unemployment is still at an all time high and people are looking for ways to make money.  Here is one way to do so, direct selling.  Whether you choose Avon, Tupperware or Mary Kay, take a moment to review this quick crash course to help you to choose the direct selling opportunity that is right for you. 

“Direct Selling 101 “
Benefits & drawbacks of choosing a direct selling opportunity.
 

via Direct Selling 101 – ABC News

Other Cool Stuff 

Here is a direct selling opportunity that may be of interest.  It is a body wrap company whose focus is on weight loss.  My fellow direct seller and colleague, Cindy Voorhies gives a brief description of the company along with the link of the website: 

Hi Tracey, 

My business has in home body applications in which you can lose up to an inch in 45 minutes. We are an all natural based company. The applicator helps tone, tighten and lose inches. We also have supplements and skin care, along with facial and chin wraps which helps with wrinkles. This company is also going Global this month with the launch into Australia and then onto the U.K.  This product has become very popular as it is an alternative methods to liposuction and very affordable. 

My website is itworks.net/cvoorhies  where you will find more information.

Thanks

Cindy Voorhies

Please feel free to contact Cindy for more information.  Please also let me know if you have a direct selling opportunity out there you would like to promote.  As I have said before, we are all in this together.  If we do not help each other out, who will?

 Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.  Take care.

Regards,

Tracey 

 
 
 

 

NY Times Article: Avon’s Little Sister Is Calling

The following is a re-print of an article that I found in the NY Times and I wanted to share it with you.  Please take a moment to read it and let me know what you think.  Thanks and enjoy! 

Greg Sailor for The New York Times

Kristiauna Mangum, left, an Ohio State University student and the campus sales manager for Mark cosmetics, with Amanda Heintzelman, a sales representative.

By CAMILLE SWEENEY
Published: January 13, 2010

KRISTIAUNA MANGUM, 22, a senior at Ohio State University in Columbus, said she always had a flair for makeup, but never considered it a professional calling. Then she heard about a pilot college program offered by Avon’s little sister brand, Mark, two years ago. “My mother was an Avon Lady, so I thought, huh, maybe becoming a Mark Girl could really be the way to go,” she said.

Greg Sailor for The New York Times

DIGITAL TOOL A Mark iPhone app.

Now Ms. Mangum is the sales manager for Mark at Ohio State, and manages 155 other Mark Girls who roam the dormitories and sorority houses, selling Mark beauty products and fashion accessories for a commission in the range of 20 to 50 percent.

“It’s really a grass-roots kind of thing, hitting the dorms, sororities, Facebook,” said Ms. Mangum, who uses her share of the profit, about $800 a month, to help settle her student loans. “I even rented space at local high school fairs — with 16- and 17-year-olds, you can move a lot of lip gloss,” said Ms. Mangum, whose major is marketing.

She is one of more than 40,000 Mark Girls in North America, mainly 18- to 24-year-old women who are changing the nature of direct sales by using the brand’s personalized e-boutiques, iPhone app and new Facebook e-shop, one of the beauty industry’s first forays into Facebook e-commerce.

“We’ve taken the same DNA of direct selling that has always been a part of Avon’s history and applied it to the digital world for our Mark reps to reach their customers,” said Claudia Poccia, president of Mark at Avon, which introduced the brand in 2003. “Now, we’re offering our Mark reps the opportunity to sell products not just door to door, but on Facebook, wall to wall.”

The Mark brand is evolving. It has its own spokeswoman, Lauren Conrad, the former reality TV star of “The Hills,” now a fashion designer and best-selling author of “L.A. Candy.” Its Facebook fan page has over 84,000 fans. According to estimates from Stifel Nicolaus, an investment bank, Mark’s revenue last year was about $70 million.

Unlike other companies involved in direct sales — including Amway, which may dedicate a product line or two to a more youth-oriented market, or Mary Kay and Avon, whose products are geared toward middle-aged women — Mark focuses almost exclusively on teenagers and women under 30.

The younger demographic, at least concerning sales representatives, has its drawbacks. “The fact that the reps are younger can mean different rules apply as to how a direct-selling company is going to have to manage them,” said Linda Bolton Weiser, a managing director of consumer equity research at Caris & Company, an investment bank. “There could be questions about volume limits and credit — a younger rep may be cut off earlier. And, if a rep is under 18, obviously you would need parental permission.”

Still, Mark’s motto — “Make your mark” — seems to resonate with its zealous representatives.

But can Tweets and news feeds from Mark Girls compete with over a century of Avon Ladies’ experience?

Because of the difference in how the products are branded and the separation between Avon and Mark representatives (those selling Avon can also sell Mark products, but not the other way around), there is some internal competition among representatives.

On the mark.girl discussion board on Facebook, the Mark-versus-Avon topic sparked a lively debate when one Mark representative wrote: “Has anybody else noticed Avon reps not taking the Mark product seriously?” An Avon representative replied: “A lot of Avon women I know don’t push Mark because it has a lower profit as compared to the Avon core product line.”

Some experts in the beauty business are fans of Mark. “It really helps that Mark has such low price points,” said Elaine D’Farley, beauty director of Self magazine. “Visually, it’s fun. The products hit the trend.”

Indeed, products such as the magnetic refillable color palette compact ($4) and Hook Ups (about $10) — two-ended cosmetic dispensers that can be customized to connect, for example, lip gloss and lip pencil, eyeliner and mascara — are so popular, as one Mark representative said, that “they’re impossible to keep in my purse.”

But some products have been criticized online, where a bad review may resonate more negatively than an item quietly returned to a store. On the Mark Web site, one reviewer said that a cheek tint left “zero shimmer on my cheek but plenty on my hands.” And on Makeupalley, a forum for comments on beauty products, a reviewer complained about Mark’s Good Riddance: “I have under eye circles and it didn’t even come close to covering them.”

But when it comes to using social media tools to sell services or products, Annemarie Frank, director of digital media and strategic alliance of Mark at Avon, said the viral nature of Mark’s brand presence is what company executives are after.

“Mark Girls can advertise their ability to sell products right on their Facebook profiles, and the widget functionality of Mark’s e-shop enables us to drop the shop into other places to give the brand a presence wherever people hang out online,” she said.

Of course, Mark is not the only beauty company to use digital marketing. Direct-sales firms like Mary Kay and Avon are also using social media and online tools. Both companies have a presence on Facebook as well as apps for cellphones and hand-held devices that their representatives can use to make sales.

Other skin care companies like Jafra, which also sells cosmetics, and Arbonne do less with social media.

But this might be changing.

The Direct Selling Association dedicated its annual communications seminar last month to new media strategies. “Attendance was double our usual number,” said Amy Robinson, an association spokeswoman. “If you’re a direct-selling company and you’re not on the Internet or making use of some of these new technologies, you’re already behind.”

For college-age sales representatives, Mark’s digital and mobile offerings can inspire any number of approaches.

One Mark representative, Hannah Parish, 20, a senior at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., has been selling Mark products since last January, when she ordered a Speedway Do Everything cover stick ($8) and signed up for her Mark Girl starter kit two weeks later.

“I fell in love with it,” Ms. Parish said.

This fall, when the Mark Rewards Program advertised a contest for all-expense-paid trips to this year’s Sundance Film Festival (a guest included) for the two highest-selling Mark Girls, Ms. Parish said, “That forced me to be really creative.”

She created a Facebook event, “Send Hannah to Sundance,” and invited 600 people in her network to join. She made numerous special offers, including one to bring her best client along with her to the festival in Park City, Utah.

Ms. Parish sold $6,000 worth of products; she and a friend will be traveling to the festival in two weeks.

“I’m a film buff and I’ve never seen snow,” she said. “When I answered the phone and heard, ‘Congratulations,’ I started screaming. My friend who bought $617 worth of merchandise and gets to come with me is still screaming.”

September

j0145242September. It seems as if this is the most popular month of the year, with the exception of December, for obvious reasons. Why do I think that September is popular? Well let’s see. I can think of at least 3 songs with it’s name being mentioned. Have you guessed them? Ok, if not they are: September morning by Neil Diamond, See You in September by the Tempos and of course the simply stated September by Earth, Wind and Fire. See what I mean? Let’s face it. September is a very busy month. Labor Day weekend, students going back to school, designer fashion shows and the start of of the fall season are just a few things that make this month a busy month for one and all.

I for one find September a little bittersweet. On the one hand it is the mark of the end of Summer, a season that is my most favorite. I love the warmth and the sun and everything that goes with it. Going to the beach, the pool, the park and vacation, when I can afford it, that is. And let’s not forget the new shows for Broadway, film and TV. I am a big entertainment buff and I look forward to the renewal of my favorite shows and to see what new shows and films that the powers that be thinks will entertain us. On the other hand, September is the month that introduces the Fall season to us. As you may have already guessed, I am not a big fan of cooler temps. Yes, the leaves turn pretty colors as they fall from the trees and a brisk day or two would not be a bad thing, but what can I say? I am a Summer girl and I am darn proud of it!

As I desperately try to hang on the the warmth of Summer, I fantasize about hitting the Lotto and going on a really cool vacation. Not going to happen, but a girl can dream can’t she? Speaking of cool vacations, my friends at Cooler Travel are already looking into planning cruises to Alaska in 2011 and Hawaii in 2012.

cooler travel

Sound like fun, huh? Check them out when you get a chance and tell them I sent you. They also have a great fan page on Facebook as well.

So if you are trying to plan that last minute vacation or are thinking ahead to next year keep in mind your travel accessories. I think you see where I am going with this. Yes, the obvious Avon product plug! What I have in mind are items that won’t break your budget and easy to carry. Lotions, shampoos, deodorant and more. You can even keep them on you and not be hassled my airport security. Take a look at what I am talking about:

avon minis

Pretty neat, huh? And of course they are not just for travel. Keep the minis handy in your purse, in your guest bathroom, or as a nice gift.

And now onto the dreaded phrase: Back To School. Yes, I said it. Oh sure, parents love it as it gives them a break from having to deal with the little darlings all summer. But the kids are, shall I say, a little down in the mouth? I remember when September came rolling by in my, ahem, younger days. Let’s just say I was not in a happy place back then. But here is something that may put a smile on their faces and not put a frown on yours when it comes to your budget.

avon back to school

And don’t forget that you can also find more back to school items at my Cool Stuff For School Store. Yes, I know. Another shameless plug. But a girl has got to make a living, right?

So think of it this way. September can be seen as both an ending and a beginning. Yes, the end of summer and leisurely vacations, but also a beginning for students, entertainment and a whole new season. I wish you the best for this next phase of the year. Enjoy and see you next time.

Regards,
Tracey

Cool Stuff Spotlight

I was just sent one of those e-mails that asks you to forward after reading. My first thought was “Oh, great another e-mail chain letter!” I really don’t like those. I mean, I have enough to worry about without wondering that if I don’t forward this e-mail, my dog’s hair will fall out. Or after I do forward, all of my dreams and wishes will come true, just like a Disney movie. If that was the case, I would be sitting on a beach right now sipping some exotic drink and feeling sorry for people who have to work for a living! I mean jeez, come on!!

Ok, I realize that I wandered away from my chain of thought just then. Sorry about that. I’m back now. What got my attention was that this e-mail had actual information that was useful. And asked that I forward it to people who I thought would like the information as well. And here is the bonus. I did not have to worry about some curse coming down on my head or wait for my rainbow full of riches to come pouring through my window. Nice huh?

So since I don’t have e-mail access to everyone, here is a copy of what I received. I hope that you will find it as useful as I did.

ATTORNEY’S ADVICE – NO CHARGE

Not A Joke!! You will love them for these tips.

Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:

1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put ‘PHOTO ID REQUIRED.’

2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the ‘For’ line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.

3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address.Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.

4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.
I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a Name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have first hand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.
But here’s some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

5. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

6. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here’s what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)
7. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the internet in my name.

The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves’ purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, if it has been stolen:

1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line):
1-800-269-0271

So feel free to forward this to any and all you know. You won’t be cursed if you don’t want to send it to anyone, and no, you won’t be granted your hearts desire if you do.  Don’t you just love free will?   Thanks for listening.  Till next time.

Regards,

Tracey