old news can be new

particularly if you hadn’t heard or read about them yet.

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there’s an old ritual in chicago wherein the official celebration of st. patrick’s day (this past monday) usually kicks off the saturday before the actual holiday.  the river, which is located downtown,  is dyed green & people flock from all over town & surrounding areas to witness this ceremonial event, then make their way toward grant park to watch the official st. paddy’s parade.

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my sis & i took the orange line downtown (i.e., the “el” aka elevated train) & found ourselves the only ones in the train car not dressed in green.  i actually forgot about this chicago tradition as did my sis (& she lives in chi-town hehehe).  

  we were so excited about & have anticipated for months about going to country living‘s 3rd annual women entrepreneur event.  & as luck would have it, the event took place at a hotel right by the river where throngs of “green people” gathered to watch the (all-ready green) river be dyed (more) green

we arrived early to the event & decided to kill some time by walking across the street & joining the sea of green-clad onlookers already forming by the footbridge.  i think from the looks of things, some people may have already tipped a few prior to coming downtown (& it was only 11 o’clock!).  people, us included, were freezing their bums off…but most didn’t care…they were whooping it up!  irish music was blaring from one of the buildings across the street from the bridge & people were dancing, carrying on & just having a gay, ol’ time.

since we couldn’t see much (way too many tall people) , we made our way back toward the hotel & eventually got in line to register.  fortunate for us, we were one of the firsts in line. there was almost a palpable excitement in the air.  decidely ELECTRIC.  we were so excited! & so were the hundreds of others who came!  we saw the country living staff get ready for the 600+ women (& there were a few men, but mostly women from 40 states, they said)  who attended this year’s event.  last year, 400+ women attended & the inaugral year, 200. 

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i had attended last year’s event (solo) as well as the first year (all 3 of my sisters came with me).  i must say that 3rd time’s the charm!  this was tby far, the best of the 3 events that country living has organized.  last year, i was overwhelmed, but not so much in a good way.  i remember leaving the seminar with a wicked headache and feeling a bit fearful about all the talk they did about legalities/lawsuits & copyright infringements.  all that “scary” talk on that particular subject matter pretty much numbed my mind.  but i must say, it has made me more aware & better informed for it. 

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but this year, my sis & i were so FIRED UP after the event (in a very good way).  seriously.  everything that was shared & said either reaffirmed what i had already known intuitively and/or have done/already looked into OR reassurred me that i was indeed on the right path & that i should carry on.  the information & experiences imparted were, in a word, INVALUABLE.  how wicked awesome!

i actually thought about some of my dear bloggy pals & how they would have benefitted from this SPECTACULAR seminar. (the other day, i was talking to lia, one of my lovely blog sistas, & i told her that i actually thought of her….she has to come to this next year!  my sis & i plan on it!)   my sis & i met so many folks in all different stages of  business (from thinking about stage to been there, done that stage).  it was so invigorating & validating to meet, talk to & connect with other enthusiastic minded folks.  it really was amazing…all that positive energy in one room.  even the panelists remarked on that too as they felt it too.  you just had to be there to feel all that “entreprenurial love” in the room. 🙂   incredible.

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anna griffin was our 1st speaker.  she & country living‘s ed-in-chief, nancy soriano, chatted about how anna got started in her business.  it’s always intriguing to learn how someone got started.  especially someone who is internationally known as she.  & she was so gracious, personable & down-to-earth.  she even gave everyone this tres elegante clipboard with notepad as well as a scrapbook kit from one of her new paper lines.  i always was (& still am) a fan of her products.  & to think she started her multi-million dollar empire in her apartment back in the day,  making boxed wedding invitations (the 1st of its kind at that time).  fascinating!   

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 the next speaker was an executive from blogger, susan mernit (who btw is the sister of nancy, the ed.-in-chief for country living).  susan moderated a panel discussion on web businesses.  the panelists included a blogger, an etsy vp, online web shopkeepers’ team & a computer expert/analyst.  the basic discussion during this segment of the seminar revolved around the fact that the internet is one of the best & most efficient ways to start a business as well as attract the masses of potential customers. clwe3084.jpg

  they also spoke about how having a blog in addition to your web business will only enhance your website presence even more.  good news for us bloggers!  this was an especially interesting panel discussion mainly because it reaffirmed that i was on the right track in my own entreprenurial journey.   it also lit a fire under sparked my sister’s desire to go down the entreprenuial path too!  both my sis & i really advocate attending seminars such as this one. you get a serious jump-start… & the excitement & entusiasm are CONTAGIOUS.  

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the 3rd speaker was tamara monosoff.  she is the ceo & founder of mom inventors, inc.   you may have heard of or seen her on countless tv morning shows or on cnn’s headline news.  she was such a dynamic & highly engaging speaker!  my sister & i both were inspired & touched by her experiences in her entreprenurial journey.  at one point during her talk, she passed out blank cards of which we all had to write down our personal dream.  she said to be true to ourselves & dreams don’t come true unless you write them down & verbalize them as often as possible.  to her way of thinking, dreams are achieved when you say them out loud on a regular basis.  here is what i wrote:

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she has written 2 books…my sister actually bought both of her books during a break.  i bought her more recent book, the mom inventors handbook.  i figured that my sis would let me borrow the other book (secrets of millionaire moms) after she is done reading it.  🙂 

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during the break, tamara signed copies of her books.  there was a rather long line, but we stood there patiently.  she was such a lovely lady.  i told her that her talk was so very inspiring & really struck a chord in me.  i sort of choked up when she asked me what my business was (& i was a bit embarrassed that i did that!)…but she looked at me, with teary, understanding eyes, & gave me a great big hug.  she said, “i know that you can achieve your dream.  i did it & so can you too.”  she signed my book, “follow your dream“.  if i hadn’t been so choked up (which btw came out of nowhere! i hate when that happens, lol!), i would have asked her to write, “follow your bliss“.  but what she wrote was just fine.  especially since she talked so much about what her mother had taught her when she was a child>>>taking that leap to follow your dream

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after the book signing, the last group of panelists were all those women entrepreneurs featured in the march issue of country living.   each panelist shared her story of how the business began…the inspiration, the driving force, the trials & tribulations of owning & operating your own business.  while each arrived differently at their  respective business destin(y) ation, they all shared this commonality>>>they all answered a call within themselves to turn what they truly loved, believed in & were passionate about into a thriving, self-sustaining business, forging something that is largely driven by their sheer passion & determination.  hearing their stories inspired one to want go out there & do the same>>> to create the life you always imagined, paraphrasing a famous quote.  to think outside the box & live & work by your own rules.  yes, those are all very enticing…& according to what we heard throughout this phenomenal event, really not that quite out of reach.

in fact, if you can dream it, you can achieve it.  you just gotta take the leap & unleash your dream.

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clwe3087.jpg  (goody bag from the we event!)

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(stayed tuned tomorrow when my adventures continue with my sister & my niece as we have a leisurely afternoon of tea & what else, shopping).    

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