The Pain of Amazon (Not Really)

Oh the pains of Amazon. I made a vow that as long as I had my own store I could never buy or subscribe to Amazon.  I felt that I had to shop local and support ALL local small mom and pop shops. That is until one night, late, or in the wee hours of the morning I could not sleep.  I was thinking of all the weeks leading up to Christmas. I was thinking how my boys were asking to set up the tree early and if I got all my shopping and wrapping done before Thanksgiving I could spend all of December getting little things for stockings. But the main shopping, when? When could I get it all done?

I was also trying to figure a specific day when I would ever start my Christmas shopping. Living out of town and in the country makes late night driving not so fun. And shopping, hauling in gifts, wrapping and hiding just felt like too, much. I did it. I wandered over to Amazon. I started searching for the things on my kids’ lists and before I knew it I was placing orders left and right. Even became a prime member. Even ordered the toilet paper I forgot to pick up at the grocery store.

Here are three reasons why online shopping is a good thing. ( Coming from someone who maybe ordered 3 things since online shopping started.)


  1. No, as in no impulse buying. I look at the items on each of my kid’s lists. I search for that item. I add to my cart and move onto the next things. Which of course leads to saving money, which leads to more gifts for family and friends. I had no idea how much impulse buying I have done in past years.  My kids know this because they actually tell me to NOT to get them things they do not need. But the moment I see that display that has nothing to do with what’s on the lists I buy five, one for each kid. And I even tell them to just re-gift if they don’t like all those impulse purchases NOT on their lists.

20171126_1113442. You might stumble at 3am to search for a supersize box of toilet paper. And order it. Which reason number two is really just those practical everyday things we use and never think to order online. I mean for real. Hauling that super size TP into a cart in the store then out to the car and then into the house….delivered to my front door. Believe me it did not stop at TP. I had been out of my favorite hand-lotion for months. The traffic in the Portland area makes me cringe. To think of driving to Nordstroms to buy. So what did I do….Amazoned it.  And I bought two. One for home and one for my handband.


3. Savings on products that actually do cost more at other stores. Because I am a seasoned shopper I was shocked to find things that were A LOT less at Amazon. Even beating out some of my favorite stores like Target. Bummer because I really do love Target.

My older kids swear by Amazon. And I have turned up my entrepreneur retail nose for over a decade. Today as I finish up this blog I am reporting that I have spent half, yes half of what I budgeted on what I spend from one year to the next on family and friends. I am shocked. I mean really really shocked at what I saved. I don’t just credit Amazon for great savings as I am sure there are many other buying sites to save on. I credit the three things I have learned.

Am I late on the online shopping wagon? No, you are never to late. But if you do have the time please first shop the small local stores. Give them your business. I know that I always appreciated my customers and every single dollar they  spent in my store. Time, work, and living way out in the country have changed my Christmas shopping habits and directed me to online buying.  Now guaranteed I will not change the habit of going to the malls on Christmas even, buying a special Christmas drink and sitting on a bench and watch the frenzy of last minute shopping.

I still have a number of $10.00-$20.00 gift items to buy. If you have a small boutique online shop then buy ( pun intended) all means, please direct me there.

Merry Christmas and happy shopping where ever you are.

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Your Employer, Your Pastor, Your Lawyer & Your Mother are watching.


I will never forget the day I saw my 80 something year old mother update her Facebook. I asked her how she learned how to do that and what her interest in social platforms might be. I mean really you are in your 80’s. She said she wanted to keep up with her grand-kids. That in order to stay in touch she had to be in touch and she was going to learn. She also informed me that she had no idea I had a blog until she got on Facebook. She said she had spent hours reading my blog after I posted a link on Facebook.

I got a “lead” for a great job opportunity. I was excited about the idea of this job once presented. My instincts felt a bit different. Something, and I could not put my finger on that something, did not feel right. Then I did some due diligence.  I want onto Facebook to check out the person I would be working under. I looked at all the social platforms around this individual. I was appalled and shocked. And I saw how this person complained about former clients who had fired him, and how he blew up his streams with profanity. I thought it might be prudent to let this opportunity go.


Today a young woman posted on Facebook about her job. I have watched this sweetheart grow up. I love her heart and her story and love how she does life. She was sent home from work for not having the correct attire on. It was a simple innocent post, however if one single person knows her employer, or another co-worker this could be taken out of context and misinform her employer.

This past week I had to have my entire 10 years of being on Facebook downloaded and handed to an opposing party for a personal legal matter. At first it felt highly intrusive. But then  I thought of the messages and content that will be viewed. I have been hired by national brands for the very messaging and content I share. My online space has been one where I try to encourage, share real life events, and hope that one person may laugh, be blessed, be encouraged, be challenged, will learn something new and most important feel love and kindness. Rest assured that anyone can take your goodness and turn it into something not so favorable, but the realization that whoever reads my streams may come away feeling blessed made me feel more joy than intruded upon. Why?  These are public platforms.


Today, more than ever, decisions are being made about you based on your content shared. What are you sharing? What messages are you communicating?  If you knew your mother was watching would share what  you are sharing?  Do you care what your employer, your pastor, your lawyer, your mother thinks? If you are called on to download your history in social media do you panic or do you smile over the simple fact that someone is going to come away blessed? Someone is going to be reading what Jesus is doing in your life daily.

Your social sharing is your resume for life and for opportunity. I later learned that this person who wanted to hire me was really not a nice person. His response to me when I declined the job was similar to his sharing on Facebook.  Instincts were correct and going to social media to look over this person was very helpful.


We are in an age of now having to accept the simple fact that social media is not going away. Although I have had my Facebook sharing open to friends and family, my own community of people, the bottom line is that this information is still subject to be public. Not because of court orders. But for the simple fact that anyone in your community can share you content, take screen shots, and share outside of your intended community.  I have had to spend a great deal of time teaching my children this very fact. Does your walk and talk in real time reflect who you are online? Today that answer should be yes. It better because the eyeballs of the future are in the palm of everyone’s hand. Our employers, our pastors, our lawyers and yes even our mothers are reading up. You may have the skills needed for a job. Skills that should have nothing to do with your personality or personal life. However we have moved into a space of relational thinking on all the levels of life we live. Being called to a higher standard of performance because today your integrity and character will help you with that next job. And your employers, your pastors, your lawyers and your mother’s are watching you.

personal-blog-header-updatedThis picture is the header on my personal blog. The one my mother reads. It’s true to my heart. Those who know me in real face to face time embrace this kind of sharing. They know my story. I love sharing the stories of my heart and how God steps into my everyday life. I love sharing that others may know and understand my life as a Jesus person. And perhaps be encouraged and take courage in the journey of their stories. My journey of mothering, once upon a time being wife, my journey with a deaf son, and experiencing a brain tumor. God showing up in the middle of my everyday story may offend a future and perspective client. I take that risk. Why?  I am about relationships with people. We are in relationship whether we are working or playing, mothering, being a wife, single divorced mom, and on our jobs.I love that IBM Commerce invited me in as a guest for an online chat. I love that they  called me a “customer experience expert” because in both my business life and personal life people matter. The experiences we provide through our social sharing is important to your relationships. It’s how life is lived and learned.


Your social networks are the platform for your story. Make it YOURS. In the social space I view as I would if we were sitting in a room together. Be kind. Be respectful. Be encouraging. Be the wonderful you that God designed.

Want to follow me in the spaces and places I post.

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Be Who You are Online As You Are in Real Time

I have learned something about myself this past year.  It is actually kind of embarrassing. So much so, that to overcome I am going to write about it. I 100% stink at promoting my own brand. I actually have a line I use in all my interviews….”I am terrible at my own brand, but I can deliver on the marketing and branding of my clients.”  To which I then turn over letters of reference.

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Why?  How can I be a marketing gal and not know how to market myself? Let’s start here. What a pretty picture. A story about one of my companies.  The Sherwood Gazette has made an appointment to come and interview me about my shop. I know the time and I think, “I can quickly finish painting this sign.”  While most would be in the mirror trying on the right outfit, and doing hair and make up I am in my paint clothes. I did have a clean shirt to change into, but that never happened. When the interviewer left I was, once again, faced with the reality that I suck at promoting myself.

I have been very blessed with an enriching career. I have worked mostly on referrals. I did not understand the blessings of referrals until I took a detour out of the Portland area for a few years into a tiny little community. My first consulting job in that community came by way of taking a hike up a mountain with a local business owner. She later hired me for a small project. Another gig was through Skip To My Room. I got to know a local artist who later hired me to assist and teach her how to market her business. I did not have to really go and look for work. Even while living in this small community I came into three more consulting jobs outside of town through what? Referrals.

But then one day, that small community had to much snow and ice to get into the city for meetings which altered taking in more work.  I soon learned that there was not enough work in a tiny little town. So back to Portland I came and sitting at my desk asking myself….”gosh how do I market myself?” I love social media, I am good at marketing and branding, I know how to do all this great work for my clients but for myself. It feels kind of like bragging. It feels dirty and wrong. Look at me. Look at me. Over here. I can do this for you, and that for you. You see when you work on referrals, someone has already come along and bragged on your work. Someone has already spoke on behalf of your credibility.

The question is simple. How do you market yourself?  How do you, as the face of your brand, market the work you do?

In the past three months I have been hired by a company that had nothing to do with work. I sat next to the owner at a picnic. She asked what I do. I shared. The kind of sharing that went something like this, “I work to help companies tell their stories and branding and marketing kind of stuff.” I am at a picnic in shorts and flip-flops. I have most likely had a couple of hard ciders and this is not a working event. Yet a few months later they contacted me.  I also have a company I worked with from five years ago. Five years ago they found me through another client. They are ready for some more cocktails of marketing and branding. And now another project is facing me. All came by way of being out and about, here and there. Could this possibly be my business strategy? Image result for Image of  a struggle with marketing

How do you market yourself?  By being  yourself. How do you market the work you do? Do a swell enough job that someone else is doing the talking for you. However I am going to take this a step further. Because I asked these people why? Why they ultimately hired me. In six specific cases, without knowing my client list, or seeing my work they “heard” about me. A trusted friend, a trusted colleague, a trusted former client all sharing their company success after having hired a consultant, me. Are you worth talking about by others?  What happened for me, is that, by nature I am a social person. I invited all of my clients into my personal social space. Outside of the work that I do, they see I am a devoted mother. They see my hobbies, my interests and my passions. And through those interactions on social media a level of trust is built around my character.  Trust is because in reading your public postings…you communicate more of who you are personally and professionally.  I mean, really look at my Twitter feed. How “professionally” positioned is that. NOT!!  But you might get to know more of my personality.



Now back to the simple fact that I still stink at personally marketing myself. My best advice is be your real authentic self in all your social media platforms and those looking in will either like what they see or not. And those who do like what they see will end up taking you out for drinks to learn the knitty-gritty of what you have to offer.

Be who you are online as you are in real time.

And if someone wants to interview you, might I suggest you hold off on the painting project until afterwards and clean yourself up a bit. @elizabethtraub

If you would love to have me work on behalf of your next project please do not hesitate to contact me. I do keep my Facebook public so you can look in and get to know more of me. Message me or contact me HERE.





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Is Visual Branding the New Media?

I was once this 20 something year old attending the Seattle Art Institute. Studying Advertising & Graphic Design. All my classes, all my cutting and pasting, and all my ad designs came down to one single thing. “What message are you communicating when someone SEES your ad?”

I made an ad for a local restaurant. An Italian restaurant agreed to accept the ad design from one of the students in the program I was in. If I was that instructor I would have asked that all the students enjoy a meal before starting the two week turn around for the ad.  I had to base my decision on visual only. Not taste,  not atmosphere, or all the senses that go into a restaurant experience. I asked one question to my instructor.

“Are the owners really Italian? I mean did they really come over from Italy and are now wanting to start a restaurant from family favorite recipes?” 

She had to get back to me on that question. It turned out that they were in fact from Italy and it was a yes to my question of sharing family recipes.

Visual Branding has been around for decades. It’s not something new in media. We just keep giving new hip cool names to what we have been doing all along. The reason I asked about being a real authentic home grown Italian is that two years prior to this class project I was in Italy. And guess what? If you have traveled and dined in the back country of Italy you know one thing… Italians take great pride in making the perfect bowl of pasta. My experience was that pasta is served before the salad came. A big hot buttery, garlic seasoned bowl of pasta made perfect.

“Pasta Made Perfect”

That was my winning tagline. I then hand made a big bowl of pasta pouring out all over the ad. I won the gig. My ad was chosen and used on the print materials for that company. To this day I have no idea what restaurant. I took no pictures of my work and all I know is that it was a restaurant in downtown Seattle. A bowl of pasta and three words. Visual Branding in telling the story and the message that resonated with some restaurant owners. My experience in Italy was all I had. It was a great piece. One I could recreate from memory. Only 31 years later I would not have to hand letter the words. I would not have to carefully cut and paste with my blade. Each letter was traced from a blown up Kinko’s font. Then colored in with a red paint. And then carefully cut out by an exact-o knife. And then placed on the board. There was no fixing a mistake. This is how it was done. A project like this took many, many, many hours of careful and precise work. Today that same message and picture took me about a minute.


The messages we create in one sentence, one picture,  and one tag-line is going to produce an emotion to those who have eyeballs. Those who have eyeballs are your audience. Visual Branding is not something new if you are in your 50’s like me. Yet we speak as if it all brand new to our marketing strategies. And to the person starting out, then yes this is a new concept. One picture, one branding statement could carry a company for a year. Today we are convinced to be pumping out daily new messages to get our audiences looking in. 

Here is a simple idea for your brand. Find that one image that brands your company. That one piece that says, “WOW”.  Then come up with about ten true and real statements about your company in one simple sentence. Then take that sentence and photo-shop into your pictures. Share that same branding pictures communicating those statements about your company. For those who work in this space, this is a very simple and impacting way to jump start your Visual Branding. One that many boutique companies have no idea on how to do. I would love to help you. If you are struggling in your vision, your voice, your messaging let me help you. Is it enough to be just sharing the content of other brands? Or should you have your own marketing schedule of sharing your own brand?

Perhaps we could meet at an Italian restaurant and have the perfect bowl of pasta.  You can contact me here for more information.




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Creative Sister


Image may contain: tree, house, plant and outdoorOh my goodness gracious me oh my it truly is creative. Much like with my own sisters.  There are four of us girls. The last of us girls just turned 50.  We grew up in a time when all you had to play with was what you could find in the garage, the woodpile, the gutter, the ditch or whatever you could trade on the grade school play ground. I have to say that us girls were in fact “Creative Sister(s)”. My sisters and I have absolutely nothing to do with “Creative Sister” this month’s business spotlight.


One day, as in today, I walked into this darling little boutique. I am still a BIG fan of the local small mom and pop retail business. In this case it is just ma and she is gangster with creating stuff. The kind of stuff that make for great gifts, great treasures and home decor accents. Wendy’s right there creating in her shop. And believe me when I say….WOW!!!

So let’s talk about retail. Let’s talk about this “Business Spotlight”.  I visited with Wendy Malcomsom, the creator and owner. At first she apologized for the BIG table full of all kind of metal collectables. After all what is a girl to do with all this stuff during her shop hours? Create! Duh!! I excused her contained, organized mess. Assuring here that I love walking into a creative shop and seeing the artist at work.   I may have spelled “Bug” while she waited on a customer.


Blurred a bit as an artful attempt at nuts and bolts art.

“Creative Sister” is nestled in the quaint little town known as “Old-town Sherwood” or is “Sherwood Old-town”?  I am new to this area and I hear the locals reference both. Creative Sister is tucked in a little old house and filled with her creative inspirations.


Perhaps “Yum” is in order at your breakfast table.

What is it about the art of the small retailer?  Is the small retailer still viable?  Let’s start with a story. What is her story?  Without prying I did learn a few things about her story.  I learned that Wendy has a mini Labradoodle named Charlie who is with her daily. I learned that she is a single mom. I learned that Wendy once worked in the health industry and turned to her creative space in her brain. Had this crazy idea, ( because that is what our family always says when we decide to step into the unknowns of retail), started collecting and finding  unique pieces of this and that. “That” then being transformed into lovely wood and metal gifts and home decor. I am pretty sure that her glue gun and drill get a lot of use on a daily basis. Each piece that Wendy creates tells her story. A story of wandering long hours and finding the right stuff to create with. Her story of collecting may have gone a bit on the wild side. One day Vicki Norris, local organizing expert walked into Creative Sister and thought a make over was in order. Here is that story.

I happen to be at an evening gathering last October where Wendy told her story of retail. The struggles, the pains, the hard stuff. Wendy began to doubt her decision of owning and running her own shop. Vicki Norris turned that doubt into hope. Sometimes we need that vote of confidence from an outsider. Like a SIGN from a God. And since that time Wendy has been making lots of signs.


Taking every day stuff and creating a new look and purpose.

Wendy is in her shop Thurs-Sun creating. Making ordinary things once tossed aside and adding new zip and zing. Like these vintage jars. Need a pop of color in your kitchen or office. These jars can hold  your desk accessories, wooden spoons on your kitchen counter, or even craft supplies in your crafting space. Even someone creative like me, looks at these jars and thinks…”I will take all three jars.”


Simple statements with color

Supporting your local shop is more important today than ever. Why?  It’s not the fast cheap and easy stuff that makes a difference. We are still a culture that takes pride in the arts. We still want to touch, feel, and learn about the story behind the shop or that special piece made. Your dollars support the economy of small business. Our streets appear to be thriving when the retail spaces are full. Take your walk during lunch and visit “Creative Sister.” Take a few minutes before getting your kids from school to stop in. Think of this darling shop the next time you want a gift.  Think of this shop the next time you are looking at empty spaces on your shelves or walls. With her vintage accents, you will be surprised at how quickly you get lost in the creativity that fills this delicious space.

I thought about this picture below. I thought what a wonderful gift this entire collection would make. Serving breakfast to your guests on a tray with gifts they can leave with. We are talking Mimosa’s in those goblets right? Followed by a shot of espresso.


What a wonderful collection of gifts.

I am both thrilled and excited to see what Wendy creates next. You can keep up with Wendy and Creative Sister here on Facebook. Bring in a swatch of fabric, a favorite home accent that Wendy may create in the colors that work best in your home. Special Orders on creativity is an added bonus to shopping local.

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Dear Americans, Do we want fast, cheap and easy?

On January 6, 2017 The Wall Street Journal reporters, By SUSAN PULLIAMSARAH NASSAUER and RICHARD RUBIN

“Retailers Risk Multibillion-Dollar Earnings Hit Under GOP Tax Plan”

The article basically addresses,

“A Republican proposal aimed at cutting tax rates and keeping jobs in the U.S. risks whacking the earnings of big U.S. retailers by driving up the cost of imported clothes, furniture and other goods.”

The moving of the factoring of products back into the U.S. thus creating more jobs for Americans. I have been a retailer for over 25 years. Small brick and mortar. Some years in the millions, and the past years barely able to pay a staff.  Once companies moved their manufacturing from the United State the cost of good came way down. Yay!  We should all be happy, right?  For my store, more than a dozen American made furniture manufactures went out of business. The quality of once great products I stood behind, became crap. Even a beautiful Vermont made furniture company moved overseas. Everything looked the same, but the quality was so poor that in shipping almost everything is now damaged. Prior to manufacturing overseas I had only had one shipping claim in over 20 years of doing business with this company. I have to applaud them as they did what they needed to do to stay in business.  They are fast, cheap, and easy to get.  As a matter of fact everything became fast, cheap and easy. My once strong staff of 50 or more dwindled to less than five. Why?  If moving manufacturing over seas was such a great idea, who is the winner here? Many stores have folded. I have watched the demise of the local mom and pop retailers slip away. Driving consumers to be conditioned into the new culture of shopping which we ALL love.

Are consumers the winner? Yes, consumers are the winners. We got what we wanted. The American dream of consumption of products. All the stuff we ever wanted is fast, cheap and easy to get. We have taken the finer things in shopping and made them available to everyone with the flip of a credit card.  I am guilty of this as a retailer. I use to have to go through a sales rep in order to order the products for my store. The layers of buying drove up the cost to the consumer. Now I can go online and with a flip of my credit card order straight from the factory over seas. The wholesale prices reduced to be below half of what I was paying. And if I was really excited about running a website I might be selling all those goods on my website. Even with over 25 years of retail experience I know one thing. If all you have to do is click an app to price shop I am going to lose against the big guys out there. They can order and buy in so much bulk that their “free” shipping has made my shipping costs skyrocket more than triple. Thus pushing the smaller retailers out even further. The small retailers who once employed lots of people.

The article with WSJ, in my opinion, was the boo-hooing of the larger retailers who would no longer make the profits they are now making. You see the profits did not pour back into the economy on a day to day scale of employing Americans. Larger retailers have never been one to provide a better life for their employees. Ask any red vested or blue vested employee from a larger employer what they actually earn.  Ask that they same employee if they own a home, a car or are able to send their kids to college. I did ask and I was shocked by answers at random. Learning that most have to have two “part-time jobs because they only give full-time to managers.” I heard that over and over.  Shocked that “I am having to be on state funded care because I do not get paid enough.” And one person actually said, “I do not mind the pay or shorter hours. I can only make so much money or they will take my food stamps from me.”   I am not talking about the corporate side of these larger retailers. I am talking about the staff in the blue and red vests that make these companies run. The larger retailers are winning by bringing products in from other countries. They are getting fast, cheap and easy. Offering consumers compromised quality.  Profits will be affected. Why? They will need to hire out more people from our homeland to produce and factor. Oh wait, you mean their profits may be compromised by employing more Americans? Wait a minute do we want jobs or more stuff for cheap?

The question is do we want jobs or do we want fast, cheap and easy products? I am a fan of jobs. You see those larger retailers may threaten to raise the prices. Are they really? No. Why? Because their stock holders want to keep the company in business.  Raising prices may make us all more conservative in our shopping and making decisions as to where to shop. This larger retailers have been spoiled in ways we may never know. With more jobs there are more people shopping. Retailers do not want to compromise their business profits. Because at the end of the day it is all about the money, not the people. Do not be fooled. They will have to add in new line items for their accounting. Line items with real names of people who live in the United States. Their payroll will have Americans’ names that checks are issued to. Americans who have been out of work, and Americans who actually want to work. When Americans are working, we like to spend our money.

Dear Americans, Do we want fast, cheap and easy? Or do we want jobs?







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Relationships In Business Matter

2016-09-27-11-50-03About twenty-five years ago a very young creative girl walked into the office of a man who would soon become a bit of a thorn in her side. You see, this young girl was running a business. A business that had sales, inventory, purchase orders, receipts, deposits, and profits. It dawned on that young girl that she should probably hire an accountant. Never having  hired an accountant, this young girl thought that someone who was older and wiser might be a good start. This young girl looked to her older friends who had success in business and asked who they might refer her to. There were three choices to make that day. But as a busy entrepreneur only time for one call. That call was made to Joel Shaw, CPA.

First let me explain the “thorn in her side” statement. That young girl was me. I was busy running my store. It was growing at a rapid rate and there was hardly time to pay my bills on time, let alone organize, file, and set up systems. I had four files. Each was labeled “week one, week two, week three, week four.” Invoices would come in and I would look at the date due and drop it in the correct week to be paid. After bills were paid everything was dropped in a box to “FILE” and well who has time to file as long as you pay your bills on time. Upon meeting Joel Shaw for the first time it was first things first. He needed this and that and all these specific documents. Oh brother is what I thought. You mean I have to go through that “FILE” box. What a thorn in my side. Especially for this creative designer of kids room fun. This was NOT going to be fun.

Joel managed to teach me how to put systems in place to not only save on his fees, but to allow my accounting to be put in excellent order. I have to admit that in those earlier years there was something quite scary about it. He was firm, and may have had to get on my case many times over the years to make things on my end a priority.  He was helping me learn how to manage my company and the financial piece to it. This IS NOT my skill set at all. And the scary part was I felt that I should be good at this accounting thing. I should be good with numbers and balance sheets. I can read them, put them together and analyze and assess but actual execution of building out this part of my business is not my skill set, and as I began to grow up  and accept this about myself. Joel was no longer scary to me, but became a colleague who cared about the success of Skip To My Room and my other business endeavors.  Joel understood back then, and even today what my strengths are. Being an entrepreneur I value his experience and am willing to pay for it. In general I think as entrepreneurs we will often cut corners on the very business that can help you succeed. One should never cut corners on the accounting process. You will thank God every day for having your books and accounting in order.

2016-09-27-12-23-01Fast-forward to this morning, and last Monday.( Important to note that cool pens are a must and I did not realize I had this many between our last two visits.)  I had moved away from the Portland area. My business suffered to the degree of pretty much starting over. I am now back in the Portland area. Operating Skip To My Room in Sherwood, OR. and rebuilding my consulting base of clients. Sitting in Joel’s office all over again with the hope of success in my business endeavors.  I feel like that young girl over twenty-five years ago handing over the start of my business all over again. Tracking down and trying to piece things back to as they were. And this man, Joel Shaw, CPA sitting across the big desk. Telling me what he needs, assuring me that, “We are going to get you back on track” because I did get off track.  And to be sitting across from a man who knows me, and having that relationship gives me peace of mind in a turbulent time.

Relationships in business matter. I appreciate that I am in the company of a firm that has been part of my growth, part of the ebbs and flow, and a HUGE part of my success. Gentle and firm guidance and direction. I have always said that Joel directed me on business decisions that grew my business into the millions. When you are are the creative designer, you do not have to understand all the accounting. That is why people go into the kinds of business they do. I get hired to design kids rooms from people who do not know how to put a kids room together. I get hired to help develop brand and marketing strategies for companies who do not have that skill-set. My lack of Accounting savvy does not take away from what I am good at.


If you are a business in need of having your accounting put in order then you know who to call. If you are a business that is growing, it is even more important to have your accounting, your books, your balance sheets and your operations in order so you can move into that next level of growth. Developing relationships with the people who care and can help you get there is a priority.  As I am writing this, about “Relationships In Business Matter” I am sitting in my Skip To My Room showroom and looking at manufactures that I have relationships since I first started this journey in 1993.  Even when furniture was shipped in error, or damaged, we worked it out and valued the relationship. Even with Joel Shaw, CPA when I have not been as timely, or did not have what he needed, we worked it out because at the end of the day, relationships matter and are important long-term for the growth and development of business.


Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored or paid for post. Unless you want to count the bling I took off his counter this morning. I mean really who can not use a mini key-chain flashlight, extra pens and notepad?  I high recommend Joel Shaw, CPA. Please refer to his website for services.






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Posted in Business Spotlight, Portland

Five Tips On How to Turn Off Your WORK Day

Do you ever feel confused as an Entrepreneur? Your creative mind on ALL the time, and sometimes thinking not, “Where do I start?” but more, “Where do I end?”  When we love what we do, it really is like playing. I have a #SavvySocialTip that reads like this…”If work is a playground I am playing today and you should, too.” Because I do love the various aspects to my work and my entrepreneurial brain. When do you stop. turn off, and call it a day, or night?  People often assume because you work for yourself your busy all the time. I have to admit I get little down trodden when someone prefaces a conversation with, “I know you are busy, but I need just a minute of your time.”  Who said I was super busy? Who said I did not have time for you? Okay, it’s no secret I do have a lot of energy. I take no vitamins or drugs for this kind of energy. Unless you count sleep and food because those both fuel me.  If you look in on my Facebook or other social platforms you might see me in LA one week and New York the next, but that scheduled has slowed way down. Even then I had time for family,  friends and new business.  Here is the number one question I get asked by busy entrepreneurs…are you ready? “How do I turn off my day and end it all?”  I have a very balanced life. I have orchestrated this life. And I have established some very good boundaries. Because here is my reality. I LOVE LOVE LOVE working and I LOVE LOVE LOVE doing the many things I do.  Here are FIVE ideas on how to turn it off, and not be so so so busy.cords on nightstands

ONE-Unplug all those cords next to your nightstand. NO, really! I am being serious. You can not function well without a good night’s sleep. Studies are coming out left and right about that light, blue light,  tablet and phone lights that ignite your brain and make sleep harder. It might be time to go back to magazines and books before bed.   I personally had to have my electronics left in the home office, an entire floor away from my slumber. In the earlier years I could suck four hours into social networks. It only felt like 30 minutes. Okay, so reality check. My boyfriend was trying to get a hold of me late one night. He actually drove over to my house to make sure I was okay. Bless his soul.  I told him this, “I turn it all off because if there was an emergency in the middle of the night, wouldn’t be nice to know I was well rested to handle it.” He was not amused, but a very healthy boundary was established. Having boundaries for yourself, for your down time, your rest. You owe it to yourself. closed office

TWO-Establish YOUR OWN boundaries with clients, people and even your pets. I had a season of every Tuesday and Thursday that I was “off”.  I played city league tennis. I scheduled doctor appointments, I had volunteer time in my kid’s schools and I made lunch dates and coffee dates with friends. If a client emailed or called saying they needed to speak with me right away. I would simply get back with, “I am available at this time tomorrow, or that time the day after.” On these two days I did not break away from my peeps to hang on a phone. I do work around digital media, so my kids know on my work days, that I may have to break away. On my off days, no way.  It gave me time to prepare for the call, giving my clients my best.  And did not take me away from the down time I had to do the away from work things I enjoyed. Today that day is Monday. Monday for over five years has been that down day for me. Haha I am writing this on a Monday, because this is my personal time and I love writing. In an hour I am taking my boys hiking as it’s their day off from school.  My kids are older now.  I am no longer needed in the classrooms, or have a host of doctors appointments. Those once two full days are now just one. Make that time for yourself. You deserve to be well, to be balanced and believe me you will find peace.

THREE-Write out your daily work schedule- As an entrepreneur it’s pretty easy to fill your day with all kinds of tasks, only to end your day thinking, “what on earth did I accomplish today?”


Let’s face it. There are many things that will never make that daily list. I write down ALL that I need to get done. I know there are fancy day-timers, and fancy phone apps. This girl is still old school. Paper and pen in a book.  This seems like basic stuff.  Kind of like duh!!  Isn’t that what everyone does?  I met a very successful business man who was all over the place with yellow sticky notes. I could not get him to stop using those sticky notes, but when he started sticking them in a daily notebook his world became more organized. If he did not complete a task on one of those sticky notes he could transfer it to the next day. I simply put a big fat ZERO next to what needs to go into the next day. All in a days work.  Simple enough, but when I finish my important things to do that day. I am done. I tell myself I am done and I can end my work day.

closed office

FOUR-Have an ongoing list of things you would LOVE to do while away from work. Again paper and pen. This list goes in the same book as work related stuff goes. Only this is not a daily list, this is what I am looking forward to doing this week, that is away from work. It is important to make plans for your time, your self and you enjoyment.  It does not take much thought or work to simply plan.  Remember this post is about ideas on how to turn off your work day. Not everyone has a time clock they are watching that tells them this. Entrepreneurs left and right on blood shot and bumbling to find balance.  Having those things inbetween and away from work is important.  You can look back over the weeks and remember what you enjoyed, and what you are still wanting to knock off on that list of what bring me balance and enjoyment.



Five-Understand that more more money does not make you happy. As an entrepreneur it’s easy to pick up as much work as you and your team can manage and at times not manage. I admit I was once sitting at my dinner table, making loads of money and crying because I was just so tired. Honestly it was what brought me, at the ripe age of 29, to evaluate this running your own business thing. Being an entrepreneur is not a steady reliable paycheck. It’s always getting ahead, and keeping things moving and always positioning some slower days. It’s hard work and we never want to know that we missed a really good opportunity because we were playing and enjoying life away from work. But I made that choice. I hired a manager. I delegated more, and my sales were compromised.  Even my accountant brought to my attention the down turn of sales when I was away. I had to stop caring about more sales, what my accountant said, and evaluate things like. My car is paid for. I am meeting all financial obligations. I may not add another zero to my sales, but money was not going to own me. closed office

I loved my work as that young entrepreneur. I still love working. I also love that I have time and energy to be present as a mom. Present as a friend, and most important I am taking care of myself. There are seasons of more and less in all we do.  Having a schedule for yourself and knowing what you must accomplish daily, weekly and monthly as well as a fun list are important to knowing how to turn it all off.  As I look over this post, I think this is silly. I should delete the entire thing. People already know this stuff. Today, more than ever an entrepreneur is born every day. Every day struggling to find that simple balance. Bleary-eyed and sleep deprived.  It will all be there in the morning.  You truly deserve to serve yourself well in learning how to off your work day.

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                            Be sure to fin me @elizabethtraub and let me know you were here.











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Posted in Sales & Marketing


Long before there was Social Media, and the banter for business representations in the online space the UPS truck stopped at my office weekly.  Dropping off products that potential clients wanted me to test out. I would open the package, use the product and decide if it was love at first sight.  To which the company would then hire me to represent their products, help build out strategic measures to develop the markets and all that good stuff.

How would you like YOUR company to be in the “SPOTLIGHT” of social media?  Are you doing things that get people talking about your product? Are people buying your product? Are you just giving away free stuff in hopes you have have analytics saying someone actually looked in?  This is not another  post about how to do this online business right and the promise of instant fame.  This social media stuff takes work.

I would love to help you. It will require three things.

  1. A sample of your product.
  2. For me to love, and believe in your product.
  3. Your company and my company to agree to a contract.

A contract that lays out what I will do to help your company promote your product through online media, a specific campaign push, or simple management of the information you currently have. But let’s face it. That last statement will not happen. I can not come along and manage what is not working for you.  I can re-do and write the best content, sales promoting pieces for the best placements of your product or services. The most important piece of this is YOUR business needs to find the right SPOTLIGHT.

If you would love to work with me, I can assure you of three things.

  1. I will not take on your brand or product if I am not interested. I do not like getting board.
  2. I will commit to doing back research on your brand or product before you ever send me anything. Why? I do not want to waste your time and efforts if I already know I may not love your product.
  3. Before every paying me one dime, you will have a clear understanding of what exactly you are getting for your dollars.

This online space has been around long enough. It’s time you stop hiring people that make you look good. I can make you look good or I can make you money. Your choice.

You can contact me in this way.  You see if you have read this far, than I can trust you with my direct number.

  1. Send a text to 503-686-1109 Letting me know you are on my website and just read this and want to set up a phone call.
  2. Let me know who you are. I promise that within 24 hours I will find all your social platforms, follow them all and know more about you than you might want me to know.
  3. Send me two possible dates and times that we can talk. I promise you that one will work.

Thank you for reading this far. I would love to learn more about your company and help you build out your companies profile in this online space.

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Elizabeth Traub @elizabethtraub



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Posted in Business Spotlight, Uncatagorized

Customer Experiece Will Cost You

In order for  your business to thrive in today’s world of frenzy, you will have to reinvent your idea of what that customer experience really is.  If you want to go after that customer, guess what it WILL cost you.

I do not think companies were lazy in how they treated the customer.  I think that lack of competition brought business to your front door out of need and necessity.  The customer had few choices. How many times have you walked into a store, business or office and get frustrated with the person trying to help you?  Frustration due to lack of help or product knowledge. Or worse, that blind stare as if to say, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”  Most companies could get away with hiring entry level employees at minimum wage and part time hours. The mentality of just putting on the company shirt and find your way. After all, the customer will end up buying from us because we are the only service area within miles.

Customer experience will cost you either the customer, or  hiring at a higher paying positions with someone who really cares about the job they are doing.It cost more when you hire a person with thee gift of serving others, and the ability to learn the product knowledge in your company.  Competition is at the finger tips of every consumer of the goods and services you offer. If you are a large company with branding and a name, you hit social media running strong. You were the leader because long before social media you had a brand presence.   Broadcasting all day long your deals, and links and online bargains.  Broadcasting is not working anymore.

The consumer is now your friend, your foe, and you media voice. Online media is now being questioned across all platforms.  Companies thought it was a good idea to hire that entry level intern to be the voice of their brand.  Really, when you have such a great product and business the brand speaks for itself, right? Until one day you wake up, your boardroom is filled with money savings employees who know nothing about relationship building. Nothing about being social, because they sit in front of a computer all day.  They never worked face to face with the end customer, and so broadcasting continues and your company is now white noise.

If you are strictly an online business that does not require to interact with humans, this post is NOT for you. Carry on.

The customer is still paying your bills, paying for your staff, and allowing you to reinvest in products, goods, or services for your company.  How do you make the customer experience real? Is there a real person on the other side of you business?  Is that still important?  The answer is simple. If you are losing ground on profits, and building business, you may want to look to the two people who make your business happen. The customer and the face that represents your brand.

I challenge you to take your entry level employee, the one who smiles ALOT. The one who shows up on time.  The one who asks ALOT of questions.   Invite that person into your next corporate meeting and seat that person next to the CEO. Then present a letter that reads something like this…

“Dear Julie,

In the past several months we have noticed your interest in knowing more about how better to serve our customers. We love that you ask ALOT of questions to better understand our products and services.  We appreciate that you show up on time and ready for work.  We also appreciate that while at work, you smile at all our customers. We know life can be hard, but you keep your hard at home and service our customers with a smile and product knowledge. Starting today we are adding $2.00 per hour to your hourly rate.”

I was a very young business owner with a company that quickly grew into a million dollar company.  I did infact raise many of my sales staff and write similar letter. Staff that stayed with me for years, and took excellent care of our customers. Even when competition moved in down the street, and then moved to the web.  It cost me an extra $360.00 a month to raise up one single employee by $2.00.  The moral among my sales team, and the customer service piggy backed off the other. You see, customer experience started from within the company. Did it cost me?  Not when you look at the ability to serve our customers. What companies do not realize is it is costing you customers,when you live in past of being the only one out there. You are no longer that BIG brand that once owned the internet.

Customers have the choice at their fingertips.  As much as you can make it real, service with a smile, and create a culture among your staff that they have value.  It’s a win/win for both company, staff and equally important, your customers. What is your customer experience costing you?


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Posted in Sales & Marketing, Uncatagorized

When Tacos Meet Ortega

Ortega Taco Seasoning

Lunch is served.

Sometimes I run across a brand and go chatty crazy over it. I also have the honest thought that if I write about it, they may just send me a case of this yummy goodness. After all, why not?

Imagine four boys staring you down and wanting to go out and eat Mexican food for dinner. As in tacos.  All I can think of is fast food, which is NOT an option or the local restaurant which is delicious, but I do not feel up to being confined to a booth with four boys and paying for their combined weight in tacos being eaten.  Instead we stop at the grocery store for a few items for movie night and a quick scan of the taco isle.   Look what I found.  Ortega Taco Seasoning.

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Ortega Taco Seasoning

I  typically make my own taco seasoning as my body revolts to some of the ready made taco mix seasonings. After looking over the ingredients I decided to give this a try.  If boys love this it WILL be a big win for mom.  I like to take two chopped onions and 2 pounds of hamburger and cook it all up. The instructions say to do just that. Easy enough. Once the meat and onions are cooked it gives specifics in adding six tablespoons which equal about three generous pours straight from the bottle into the cooked up mixture. DONE!!

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All cooked up and ready to add the Ortega Taco Seasoning.

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As you can see this colorful concoction of spices is about to make my biggest critics super happy.

 After adding some water, mixing it all up and allowing to thicken this lovely mess of meat and onions was ready to serve up.  I do not like hot or spicy and with kids I am not to keen on having heat on our food. This is so good that I could not stop eating this straight from the pan. The flavor was so good.  And here is a secret. Last night I could have provided this beautiful spread of all the taco fixings.  I am actually documenting my second batch. I am making this up at 11am in the morning.  Keeping on hand in the frig so my boys can also have more tacos for lunch.  There were no left overs from last night’s meal and everyone loved it.  My 13 year old told me that he liked my taco’s better than the local place we go to on Taco Tuesdays.  A very big compliment from my pickiest eater.  And a first on the homefront and taco making.   The flavor was all in the seasoning.

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Ortega Taco Season makes a big hit at the Traub house.

If you are hitting a wall with dinner ideas, or your kids think your tacos are boring then it’s high time you spice things up a bit.  Since I am one who typically makes my own ingredients it’s a pretty amazing find to buy something ready made that is mom approved.  You can find Ortega Taco Seasoning in the seasoning isle. You are welcome and enjoy.

P.S. Ortega, really you should send me a case of this stuff. I promise to host a taco party and share with my mama friends. I also notices that you can buy online.  Sending all my readers here:

P.S.S. First time a taco seasoning did not give me a big migraine. Another win for me. Taco Tuesdays just got more fun to eat.

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Posted in Food Critic

To Sponsor, Support and Live Happily Ever After in Business

non profit, donations, sponsorship, sponsors, buisness

Ahhhh a lively conversation about those who come to your work place asking you to “sponsor” or “support” their cause.  Perhaps asking for product donations, money, and your time. Basically asking for a sponsorship, financial support and we all live happily ever after.   I am not talking about the young child who comes to my door asking to buy cookies, or wrapping paper for school or event funding, there is much grace for this tike putting themselves on my porch and asking. I speak of the grown ups who know nothing about your business, do not support your business and then get a little red face and flustered when they are not supported. Let’s talk. Can we talk about this?

non profit, donations, sponsorship, sponsors, buisness

There is a grander scope of supporting and sponsoring events. My company and those companies I have worked with have done so in efforts to grow their own business.  There are times and places.  Last year I worked with a wine company and convinced them they they had to support a big fashion event. I knew who would be present, I knew the needs of the event, and I knew that this would help get their brand in front of key supporters who would help move the message of their wine and open up new markets resulting in sales. That today is still being played out well for this wine company as they have deepened and concentrated more efforts in that story as well as building relationships.  There is a time and a place when “exposure” is important.  Building your brand and business does take putting yourself out there and if done well, to the right markets, will produce exposure and ultimately sales or your end goals.  In the same band of thinking, a clothing company, “Sweet Cottons”,  I worked for was trying to get their foot in the door of “Vogue Bambini”.  My suggestion was to “sponsor” and support one of their runway events. Not only did they get a place for sponsorship, their brand landed on the runway, as relationships and trust were built mutually.  Relationships in business build the confidence, the support and the mutually beneficial placement of both brand placement, events, and support.


What about those who come to your business asking you for support of their passions, non-profits, events and on and on?  For the past two months I started asking questions to strangers who came to me for support.  After saying, “no” to a number of requests and seeing the discomfort of the asker I started asking questions.  Here are the two questions I asked?

1.  How often have you come into my business?

2.  Have we met before?

non profit, donations, sponsorship, sponsors, buisness

I was not surprised when both questions resulted in a  firm, “never” and “no”. Basically, no I have never supported, shopped, or hired you out as a consultant. And a, “No we have not ever met.”  In my own little community of The Dalles, OR I know many of the shop owners.  I support as best as I can, when asked of me to support their cause I often do. Why, “cause” I know them. However getting that email, that FB request, that face to face request from a stranger is getting harder and harder to support and really I do not support strangers. Why?  If you are not supporting my efforts I might not be as quick to support yours. We do live in a give and take world. If all that is being done is taking, pretty soon there is a stop to my giving.  Your promise of “exposure” is not going to pay for my next cup of coffee. If there is not vested interest in the relationship, that track goes stale really fast.

non profit, donations, sponsorship, sponsors, buisness

I love the unspoken support that happens on Social Media.  I love when my friends send me a message asking if I will share or support them. I am  happy to. Even if I have nothing to take back.  It does not always have to be reciprocal.  I just love supporting those who I am in community and relationships with. Going back to the Vogue Bambini approach. I did not go to them and ask if we could just land a place on the runway.  Do you know how many fashion designers would die for a look down that runway? My approach was to ask how we can help them.  Giving something, that would cost money from my client, an investment in that relationship. I pitched an idea that they loved, and soon a relationship was born. Give and take baby!!!

What are you giving back to the companies or individuals who support you? Maybe these are your loyal customers. I recently had a customer of mine come to me  and ask for  support one of her projects. Honestly it was not the project I was supporting. I wrote that check to support her passions.    I have worked alongside Young Life, which is where I give lots of my moo-lala.  I have offered both my time as a volunteer and financial support.  In years past this organization realized that it could not just take take take it all.

non profit, donations, sponsorship, sponsors, buisness

They set up committees to not only give back but to build relationships with those who donated time, resources and money.  Long before social media hit our fingertips, this organization understood the value of relationships. Now over 30 years later, Young Life is still in that “happily ever after” state of support from me.

Building a commitment of support starts with building relationships.  Supporting the efforts, projects, business’s of those you invite to be supporting you.  It really is to To Sponsor, Support and Live Happily Ever After in business.



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Posted in In Real Life

American Idol Has Not Failed

American Idol

Invited to New York City to represent American Idol for #FoxFanFront. What a day to remember.

American Idol

I love that my kids were able to see Season 2013 top 10 American Idols on tour in Portland, OR. Pictured with Caleb Johnson

This is not a sponsored post. I am personally not on Idol’s payroll. This comes from a long time viewer of American Idol. American Idol announced on Monday May 11, 2015 that it would come back for just one more season.  Season 15 will air early next year.  I think it is brilliant timing on their part. After all this is finale week for season 14.  Why not put this news out, and get American Idol trending on Twitter. You can bet Tues & Weds. (May 12 & 13) will tip the ratings.  Brilliant has been this entire show. Fourteen seasons and they may not be as strong as earlier season’s but they are still here. Not exactly a fail.

I birthed three of my five children over these American Idol years.  In earlier years when my first two were young teenagers we’d gather around, the kids would get to stay up and together we would watch American Idol.  Being a music loving family, and having some musicians of my own this was our family viewing. I can not name one other show that WE ALL watched together.

American Idol

Invited to be at the American Idol mentoring week. Sometimes I direct. Not really but they did let me.

As they grew up, family TV time turned into this mama cooking for about 30 college age kids who would gather around my dining room table to eat, and then a hush came over the crowd as American Idol aired.  Gathering and piling into my family-room to watch. Bringing my kids and their friends together around my home two nights a week is a highlight of mothering. The only time, ever,  in the history of me being a grown up did friends gather and weekly show up at my house was the first season of “Friends”. Every Thursday night I would order pizza’s and couples with babies showing up to watch.   I guess you can say that music and friends are the essence of our TV watching as a family.  American Idol is being cast into some not so friendly conversations.  Yes, those who love the show share a different story.

American Idol 3

The Idol Auditions for Season 14 hit Portland, OR. I may know a few people who gave me permission to hop the bus.

I feel like the protective family member who wants to counter the negative comments with something positive. I find myself in Twitter doing just that. Not to take away from any one person’s opinion, but just voicing my love and passions for the show and casting a positive tweet here and there. In the same brilliant timing of voicing the last season, American Idol has been brilliant in extending the show year after year. Okay, they fired a few key people, they got into conflicts, they brought on some that did not hold the show up, and they tried and tried to learn how to navigate in a new media of social media.  They even extended their family by adding the IdolTweethearts, a bunch of gals to help spread the word across all media platforms.  A new culture of kids and American Idol still floundered to find that space and place to sustain itself.

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Supervising Producer for American Idol, Patrick Lynn, gave me that up close and personal experience of watching auditions.

I personally believe, that the power’s to be just did not get that change needed to be a bit more dramatic than new judges, lighting and stage fantastics. My bottom three kids got board. Why?  My first two did not. It’s an easy fix but they missed it and I understand with the age of those producers and directors, they perhaps not knowing how to connect with their own children and grandchildren could not build that connection with today’s kids. My first two could connect with the music, sing-a-long and knew that the artists were what their parents had streaming while growing up.  There is an 18 year difference between my oldest and my youngest.  Music in almost two decades is just not the same. Not even in how kids today listen. The music being presented and sung does not resonate with kids today. Even my own younger teenage kids roll their eyes at the song choices.

American Idol

Patrick Lynn has been with American Idol for ALL 14 seasons. As you can see I am pretty excited that he let me shadow him this day in Portland, OR.

The music industry is HUGE is paying compliments to those who have gone before us.  High-lighting long time favorites and icons in the music industry. The problem with that today is our kids do not even know their songs. Fifteen years ago, kids did know those 70’s and 80’s and even 90’s greats. Not today, yet American Idol still favored those artists and paid homage to their  past, which had my kids wanting to get up and go finish their homework.

Did American Idol fail?  Uh-hem, when all is said and done FIFTEEN seasons and how many Grammy artists did they produce?  I mean how many did WE produce as we were the voting crowds that kept them on that stage.   This show will always hold fond memories for my family.  Fond memories of all the kids who gathered in our home to eat, drink and watch American Idol. For all the stories we have shared, cried tears over, and watch fall off that stage, we cared, and American Idol will never be forgotten.

The mention of IdolTweethearts is not lost on those closest to me. This has been one very exciting time to be invited in.  Thank you American Idol for all the years you streamed through the TV and now online.  ~ @elizabethtraub

American Idol

I will never forget Dec. 2013 being backstage with American Idol.

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