Friday, July 13, 2007

A*Muse*A*Palooza 2007: this time it's personal.

Just kidding.

We had a fantastic time in St. Louis yesterday and today. By we I mean myself, Tisha and my sister, Aura. Let me give you all the "Down Low" because I KNOW you've been waiting, waiting ever so patiently for my return and review. OK. From the top chickadees.

We got into San Loo-wee in the late afternoon and had an early dinner at Brio (feh) and then scooted our patoots over to The Ink Spot. {Quick Aside: Those gals there KNOW what they are doing with the stamp BIZ! AND I simply adore the owner, Julie. What a GEM. Absolutely one of the most on the ball, lovely, charming and engaging, fellow A Muse LOVERS out there. *HI Julie! I hope you're reading this!** I now know one more place that I will HAVE to go every time we're visiting my in-laws. Yeah!} We got there a smidgen early but that was OK we had plenty o' time to browse (and warm up our shopping baskets with other essential goodies ... **cough, cough ... can you say mega rectangle scallop punch? ... cough, cough**). At six they counted down and revealed the new images. Hee hee! What fun!

We managed to get exactly what we wanted (minus the pumpkin tree ... oh well, guess I'll have to do a bit more shopping later on!). There was little to no stampeding, pushing or shoving. I only threw a few elbows and clotheslined one little ol' lady stamper to get to my little penguin and Inuit girl! Hey, those few times watching my husband play club hockey paid off ... I've got MOVES!! Alright, alright. I was polite. Frankly, everyone was so lovely. Julie even had handy postcards out so if there was anything anyone wanted in particular all they had to do was write it down and she'd order it for them. **CUSTOMER SERVICE AT IT'S BEST!!***

We did an adorable Make 'N Take, tallied the damage to my stamping account (not TOO bad) and hit the road. Tish and I were the only ROCK STARS wearing this year's A*Muse*A*Palooza tee shirts (Julie had on last year's tee ... so cute ... I want one!). {We made the rounds (during our non-Ink Spot time yesterday and today) to some of St. Louie's more shnah-shnah malls. I wanted to know what it would be like to go in to a store without having to bribe someone with fruit snacks ... and what do you know? it was a lot of fun!} Anyway ... After some shopping, we stayed at my mother in law's place, chatted, laughed at goofy pictures of my husband when he was going through his "bolo tie phase" (don't you love the eighties???), petted our new goodies and went to bed. Aura had to head back EARLY this morning for some weak excuse like her kids or some thing. It was lonely without her but we soldiered on.

We went back today for two A*Muse*A*Palooza classes at the Ink Spot (taught by the LOVELY Barb). The cards we made were so, so adorable. Yeah, Barb!! What a sweetie. Knowing we were driving back afterwards, Barb let us cruise through all six cards in two hours. Yee haw! After finishing the class we headed downstairs to ring up the last couple of A Muse stamps that I couldn't live without (even after sleeping on it! I know!). We had the most lovely, heartfelt "follow your dream" chat with the owner Julie ... have I mentioned how much I liked her? Frankly, I'd drive 4 hours just to chat with Julie, she was a very inspiring woman.

OK, now that I've gotten you all warm and fuzzy, I will just vent a wee little bit. In the interest of full disclosure and complete honesty, the Ink Spot was not the only stamp/craft place we visited while in STL. One was a big national chain whose name I will not mention (rhymes with shmarchivers) and one was a small crafty, stamp-y, trinket-y store not far from the Ink spot. Like I said, the Ink Spot wasn't the only place we visited but it's the ONLY place I'll visit again. The cranky ladies we dealt with at each of the OTHER places only highlighted how hard Julie and everyone at the Ink Spot worked to make each customer feel valued, important and special (never mind carrying a really REALLY great selection of rubber!). Tish and I were wearing our A*Muse*A*Palooza shirts and naturally folks asked about them. (No, not because, like dorks, we were wearing IDENTICAL tee shirts in public which normally might've alerted the fashion po-lice but because they are so flippin' COOL!!) We explained what it all was and how far we'd come to celebrate. I couldn't believe how much disbelief and FLACK we got for driving 4 hours to go to these events! At the small store (where they were familiar with A Muse) we got astonishment and negativity at coming all that way for STAMPS, and A Muse stamps at that! It was kind of frustrating. I sort of felt like saying, if you want me to spend money in your store, please at least be polite to me ... if you are, I might be just a teeensy tinsy more inclined to BUY SOMETHING which last time I checked was sorta the point of your store being here. Sheesh! Vent over!

But a few bad apples didn't spoil my time! Actually, Tish and I laughed about it. If we had our own stamp store ... hey, wait a minute ... that's not a bad idea!!! HA HA HA!!! Anyone out there with a lot of money and an interest in being a silent partner please see my email address at right.

Anyway .... what a blast. Here are the pictures of all the fun we had ...

Clockwise from the top: Aura, me and Tish. On the table are our CUTE little Make N' Takes.

Tish, Aura and I in front of The Ink Spot. That gal (doh! I didn't catch her name but I think she works there) on the stoop behind us was taking a lot of photos ... Barb's supposed to send me the link to her/the blog and I will post when I have it.

From Left: Aura, A*Muse*A*Palooza attendee #1, A*Muse*A*Palooza attendee #2, A*Muse*A*Palooza attendee #3, A*Muse*A*Palooza attendee #4, Tisha. These gals were totally having lots of fun. Don't you wish you were there too??? Everyone was brandishing their new card (from the make 'n take) with pride and love ... see it there in nearly every person's hands.

Me, Barb and Tish. What nice, nice ladies I was able to spend my afternoon with!

Julie (owner of the Ink Spot), me and Tisha. The ONLY A Muse Tee wearin' folk in St. Louis. Shouldn't we get some kind of prize for that alone??? HA!

OK. Off to bed with me. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some time to play around with all my new loot! ***THRILLS!!!*** I promise to show some pictures of everything AND the fun cards we made this afternoon!


Kristina Lewis said...

Hello! I'm so glad you had fun and it's so nice to put a picture with your name! You deserve a prize just for traveling so far! I hope you'll keep in touch after Amuseapalooza is over!

Elena said...

Sarah, looks like you had a great time! Make sure to link this to the AP event challenge!

Liz said...

Thanks for sharing your trip to St. Louis with us. Great pics of you all! Can't wait to see your cards!

Nancy said...

Sarah, I just love your story of your trip. I had to laugh a few times in there, your too fun with your descriptions of some things. Your pictures are awsome, can't wait to see more!!

tami said...

Hi Sarah.
Loved the photos and your wit. It was so great to read all this. I can not wait to see what you made. So you left on Thurs. at noon and got back on Sat. Is that correct? So glad to hear you had a fun trip to St. Louis. I rec. the ATCs and my Sarah masterpiece. You rock woman and I loved all the ATC cards. I hope we will all be friends forever.

Oh and HI Liz.

Michelle said...

Sounds like you girls had a great time!! Thanks for sharing!!

Beverly A said...

I'm glad that you like the Ink Spot; it is my favorite stamp store.