Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Traditions Come Full Circle

I spent last weekend in Portland for a holiday benefit concert. Side note- it was amazing. In one evening we saw Matt Nathenson, Amos Lee, Augustana and The Pretenders. Yes- I live a charmed life.

The next afternoon my sister invited me out for some traditional holiday shopping and lunch. My initial response was- "do we have to?". I get a little scared thinking of the holiday crowds, parking, crying, yelling, etc. etc. That's why I love shopping online ( ).

I succumbed and met her at the downtown Macy's. I was "conveniently" 30 minutes late so she had picked up what she needed from Macy's and was ready to eat. Where to? She suggested "The Nines" for lunch. She kinda mumbled that it's the new hot spot in Portland- but would suit our needs since we were starved and it was in the same building.

Immediately upon entering the lobby my holiday frustrations dissipated and my mood turned for the best. I knew simply by looking around I was going to enjoy this lunch. The lobby had a very distinct design aesthetic that I loved. The elevator took us up to the 8th floor and we entered the restaurant- which was smack dab in the center of the hotel. All the rooms look down into the open and airy restaurant. We were immediately greeted and seated.

At this point a memorable and delicious lunch followed. We each tried something recommended by our waitress and paired our lunch with some holiday cheer. An hour later and bellies full we were not quite yet ready to leave and join the holiday crowds- so we unanimously decided on ordering more holiday cheer. We got the banana cream pie with a side of espresso ice cream paired with champagne.

The rest of my afternoon was a blur- a blur of pure holiday bliss. That amazing and wonderful lunch put my holiday stress aside and allowed me to savor the season. It was just what I needed. A lovely and long holiday lunch in a wonderfully inspiring atmosphere.

I later spoke with my mom about my lunch excursion and she giggled in a very knowing way. It's wasn't long ago she herself would look forward to holiday outings at that same Meier and Frank (now Macy's- but then M&F) to have tea at the Georgian room and visit the Toyland.
I asked my mom to share her experiences in her own words:
"The Meier & Frank Georgian Tea Room holds special holiday memories for me. The linens were exquisite, the service superb and the food fabulous. The best part of the whole experiences was the Tea Room's ambiance.
The elegance and formality was magical, especially as a child. Women would never consider entering the room without the proper attire and heels. Men, of course wore a tie and coat. The little girls like myself put on their very best dress with a petty coat, socks with ruffles and patton leather shoes!!!
After our elegant luncheon on the 10th floor my mother and I would pay a visit to the Meier & Frank Toyland. A visit to Toyland was a tradition that I insisted was met every holiday season. The room was breathtaking with toys, twinkling lights, The Cinnamon Bear and the eagerly anticipated "Toyland Train". I think my love of trains had it's beginning in this magical room. The train would travel around a track that circled the ceiling, whistling and chugging as it ran it's course.
Gone now are the tearoom, train, Cinnamon Bear and Toyland. However- the beautiful holiday memories will remain in my heart forever." Jeani Stevens

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Final Frontier: Facebook

by Jenelle Landgraf

I tried to avoid joining Facebook for a long time. My friends and family constantly told me that I need to be on Facebook so I can know what's going on with everyone and get in touch with long lost friends. I was just fine calling my friends on the phone to catch up or sending good old-fashioned emails.

After awhile I started feeling like I was the last person to find things out because everyone posted their updates on Facebook. For example, when my dear friend Angela (aka Mapel's top model) got to interview Tori Spelling down in LA, I didn't hear about it for awhile. My girlfriends were talking about it and I was like "What? When was this? I didn't know Ang got to interview Tori, my old BFF from 90210". Well she posted it on Facebook....yeah, didn't you see her update on Facebook?.....I read about it on Facebook, didn't you?.......

Fine - this week I decided to join Facebook. I was so not excited about joining that I asked my husband to fill out my profile so i wouldn't have to move from my comfy spot on the couch. I was a little more interested when it came to choosing my profile picture. Decisions decisions - should it be a group photo, a couples shot, a close-up of my face, or a full-body shot? I ended up decidng on the one to the right.

After posting, I wondered if it looked too posed? Or if that's really the best lighting and position for my features? Or if I shouldn't have cropped Jaime and Allison out it? And, whatever happened to that photography company that was so popular in junior high - Glamour Shots ? Maybe I should get my profile picture taken there and then my hair would look nice and fluffy and my makeup would be nice and dark, and they could sort of blur the photo so I look sexy and not at all like myself.....hmmm, something to think about.....

My first day on Facebook was a little lonely - I only had 2 friends and nothing on my wall, and I wasn't even really sure what a wall was or what should be on it. My sisters and husband quickly rescued me by requesting that all their friends add me as their friends. In a matter of 24-hours, I had 86 new friends. Wow - I don't think I've ever had that many "friends" in my life. And I found so many cute pictures like the one below. Facebook was already doing amazing things for my social life, but there was more to come...

Now that I had all these "friends", I decided I should start communicating with them. My first mistake was that I didn't fully understand how Facebook communications works. I posted a note on my sister Jillian's wall, thinking she and her friends would be the only ones who could see it. I wrote something about Baby L, even though I had only had a chance to tell my closest friends and family about my pregnancy so far. To my surprise, I started getting lots of "congratulations" messages on my wall and my cell phone. I wondered how everyone knew that I was pregnant, and then someone informed me that when I post something on someone else's wall, all my "friends" can see that I've posted a message on someone's wall and what it says. Okay, got it.
Once I figured out how to properly use Facebook, I found that I couldn't get enough of it. On Monday I probably spent more time thinking about Facebook than anything else (don't tell my boss - she's a real firecracker). This was more addicting than crack - not that I would know - it's been a few years since I've done apple jacks (kidding. I actually had to google "slang for crack" to find that one). Before joining Facebook, I didn't really understand how people could find it so entertaining. But now my eyes were opened to new and fascinating things - for example, I learned that this guy I was "sort of" friends with in high school was on his way to buy eggs at 4:53pm on Tuesday. Wow - I had always wondered if he was an egg-eater, but now I know for sure. Oh, and another "friend" had just finished painting her nails at 11:34pm on Wed - I thought FOR SURE she was someone who went to bed early. It's a good thing I joined Facebook or I wouldn't know what a crazy cat that girl can be.

I have now been a member of Facebook for about 5 days and I still have some questions about proper etiquette. I'd like to start posting more photos and some videos, but not sure if I have to get my friends and family's approval first. I have this adorable video of my friend Allison learning to swim at the villa in Italy a few months ago. I'm sure that everyone would love this video, including Allison. So, I'm checking with her first. I checked and it's a go. So here it is...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Say You????

In an effort to entertain my blog readers while simultaneously promote Mapel I am continually thinking of what my next blog topic will be. (your welcome). This week while rattling through various ideas in my head I was reminded of a marketing concept for Mapel. Forever ago I put together ideas that would shorten the distance between customer and proprietress and allow the customer to connect with Mapel and feel like they had an integral part of our growth.

One idea I had was to create a survey or voting system online where our customers could "vote" for the brands, styles, colors, silhouettes, etc. etc. they wanted to see at Mapel. We would then use this info to make stronger buying decisions.

I still love this idea to pieces (hope you do to) and I am still researching how to efficiently and productively pull it together.

Anyhow- this week I have created a mini "voting" system as our trial run.
This is how it works:
Jenelle gives me a specific amount of money to spend on specific vendors during specific months. It's now time to order more handbags. Given the amount of money I have to spend and the amount of bags I love.... I must reduce the below 6 cutie bags to 3 stellar bags.

This is what I need from you.... take a look at the below bags and retail prices. Choose your fav'sies 3 bags and either send us an email or leave a blog comment to cast your vote.

A: Quilted Frame Bag $54

B: Multi Zipper Tote $58

C: Bold Trim Zebra Tote $48

D: Ostrich Shopper $68

E: Tall Multi Zipper Tote $64

F: Black Patent Tote $68

What say you? Cast your vote via blog comment or @