My very first job, fittingly enough, was volunteering at a thrift shop in junior high. My mom made me join a charity organization where we did things like meet and eat cookies and write letters to old people and work at the organization's thrift store, all things that looked great on college applications and bettered the community. While my pre-teen cohorts thought it was stinky and weird, I looooved it. I loved looking through the donation bags and ringing up 10 cent sales, and I especially loved bringing home kooky vintage clothes and old books, and my mom couldn't protest because she was the one who made me do it in the first place. (See? My path of weirdness was ALL MY MOM'S FAULT.)
My second job was a one day stint. In 9th grade, my friend's dad worked for Coca Cola, and a new product was being tested on the market -- a little thing called "Diet Coke." (Fittingly enough.) He told us that he would give us $50 if we went to grocery stores and gave out little samples in Dixie Cups to get people interested. That sounded great, but the day before my shift, I went to Santa Cruz and got a sunburn so bad I barfed and blistered, and even more painful -- I had to wear all white, so I had to borrow a pair of my mom's white polyester pants. I thought I was going to die as I stood there for 8 hours, sick and miserable, looking like a giant Diet Coke can all sunburned in white polyester and listening to people tell me that it tasted like "swill." I cried the whole way home, but later happily spent my $50 on junk like Oingo Boingo records and Maybelline lip gloss. He never called us to do it again -- obviously Diet Coke took off and didn't need sunburned, poly-clad teenagers handing out samples in Dixie Cups. (Too bad. The money was awesome.)
Later on in high school I got a job in a cool bookstore cafe, and worked in other bookstores all through college and beyond. (Even though I had all that nice stuff on my college applications about volunteering, I still went ahead and chose ENGLISH as a major, aka -- "Do what you love, but the money sure as hell won't follow." And then I went and did it AGAIN, getting an MFA, aka, "Do what you love, but the money sure as hell won't follow -- but Sallie Mae sure as hell will." Sigh.) And that Saturday afternoon thrift shop volunteering paid off -- I worked in a vintage store for many years, too.
Now I've had the same job for several years and I really do like it, but a while ago, I realized that it would be awfully nice to have some pocket money, too. (That darn Sallie Mae and her friend Visa. They sound so nice, but they aren't!) I'd like to say that I decided to rely heavily on my MFA and mad skillz and get paid for writing, but considering this is my 3rd blog post in a year, we all know how that's working out. Of course I'd like to win the lottery, but there's a big problem with that -- you actually have to play the lottery. (Though one time I won $6.) And Ed McMahon is dead, so no one's going to show up at my door with a big check and balloons.
You'd think if they won millions of dollars, they'd invest in better hairdos.
A few years ago, I was watching "The American Experience" on PBS and there was a show about Brownie Wise, the woman who revolutionized Tupperware. She was fabulous. Chic and chapeauxed, she made selling plastic at parties sound like the best thing since patented air-tight seals. And oohhh, the Tupperware! Who knew that keeping food fresh for longer could be so fun and fabulous? And save you money? AND you could go to parties where you get to eat delicious snacks and shop AT THE SAME TIME? AND MAKE MONEY OR GET FREE TUPPERWARE? "Anyone want to have a Tupperware party?" I asked my friends. "Um, NO," was the reply, which burped the air right out of my sails.
Then a few months ago, a friend posted something on facebook, saying she needed to do something, too -- Tupperware or Avon -- and I thought, "Finally! Someone's into it!" I responded that I'd love to do it, and then my gay homecoming date from my senior year college (yeah, I know, but actually ALL of my homecoming dates in college were gay) put us in touch with a director, a fabulous drag queen named Dixie Longate. (Emphasis on the "Dix," darlings.) And thus, a Tupperware Empire was born!
After we met Dixie via phone and got our samples (ooohhh, the samples!), we needed to channel Brownie Wise's fabulosity and get "uniforms":
So our custom made dresses were made by the amazing Martha Egan, one of my most favorite local designers -- she is simply wonderful! Check out her etsy shop:
Poppy Frockstar (convo her for requests!)
It was perfect -- here was a way to wear a Martha Egan dress and roll the whole "Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck" into a roaming party! I loved the whole slant of making it Mid-Century (with my friends, that isn't hard), but also, as I discovered when I got my sample kit in the mail -- Tupperware is REALLY GOOD STUFF. Not kidding. I can't believe I wasted all those years and dollars on crummy Gladware. Yuck!)
But then it was time to have a real party, which was actually a little scary. It's all fun and good to talk about it, but getting up and doing it is pretty daunting. So we had a trial one at my house with friends and it turned out to be super fun:
Audience Participation with Jennye demonstrating THE BEST CAN OPENER IN THE UNIVERSE
And then we were off into the world!
Chips sold separately
Brownie would be proud
One of the best things is that everyone gets into the Mid-Century Spirit!
AND we got to meet our mentor, Dixie Longate! (Who is nice as can be and a terrific boss.)
And here she is, showing off the AMAZING Vent'n'Serve. And the colors are Peacock and Meadow. How divine is that?
So yes, I am an Official Tupperware Lady. And I even have the badge to prove it!
from Liana Kabel on etsy
I must admit -- at first I thought it would be a lark, something kitschy and campy and vintage-y to do, but I discovered that I really, really like it. To get up in front of a crowd and present and sell something is more than a little daunting, but to be honest, even though I get super, super nervous and forget to breathe at first, I think it's fun. And once it gets going it's especially fun when people are engaged and talk and participate -- and with Tupperware, it's super easy to do. (And when there's a combo of cocktails and T-ware, it gets REALLY crazy and fun!) Plus I've gotten to go to so many cute houses, and have met the nicest people and have had such a blast!
I even got a shout out on one of my most favorite blogs, Strawberry Lemonade!!! (Speaking of meeting the nicest people -- Alex is a DREAM.) Tupperware Party on Strawberry Lemonade!
And I'm not kidding, Tupperware is AWESOME. It goes so beyond what is normally thought of as "Tupperware." I was so surprised and impressed -- "Tupperware" always gets lumped into one big category of any plastic container in which you put leftovers. SO NOT TRUE. Not only is it stronger and more durable than those containers you get in the grocery store, it's safer, too -- in a recent Good Housekeeping test, Tupperware came out on top as having the lowest level of BPA emissions out of any product in the market. Not only that, it cuts down on landfill by eliminating the need for plastic bags and plastic wrap and bottles by being re-usable and sustainable. AND it saves you money -- by buying in bulk food is cheaper, plus it doesn't go bad as quickly if you store it in Tupperware, and you wind up eating it all instead of letting it turn into a gooey mess in your fridge drawer. How genius is that?
Plus it's CUTE:
Doesn't it go great with barkcloth??? And look at that cute avocado!
And there is sooooo much good stuff -- the Quick Chef is the coolest thing I've ever used -- it's a "manual" food processor, and I swear, I have not shed a tear since I've gotten it, thus saving me money on mascara! And the Fridge Smarts... I had spinach for over 2 weeks that STAYED FRESH, and strawberries that lasted DAYS. And the Vent'n'Serve containers are so good -- they heat up leftovers (another money saver!) perfectly. And the BEST Can Opener EVER that unseals rather than cuts, and the Cupcake Carrier carries your cupcakes with style and grace (and they don't end up in the street, which has happened to me TWICE)and the Squeeze It Decorator makes deviled eggs a dream come true... Sigh. See? I'm not kidding. It sounds like I drank the Kool-Aid, but I drank it from a Tupperware Tumbler (with vodka)and I am hooked and happy!
You, too, can be hooked and happy:
My Tupperware Website!
Click to check it out, shop or if you want to have a party, message me and I'll be happy to help!
I even have a FACEBOOK FAN PAGE. (Okay, everyone's CAT has a facebook fan page so it's not THAT special and I made it myself, but still... LIKE it!)
Most people would say that they've come a looong way since their first jobs, but you know, I really haven't. I still like to meet and eat cookies and wear kooky and fun clothes with a vintage spin, and give away samples and sell great stuff and drink a lot of Diet Coke. And, well, I still spend my hard earned cash on junk like Oingo Boingo records and Maybelline lip gloss. (Sigh.) And then write all about it later. So okay, maybe I've got arrested development or I could go with that I knew exactly who I was when I was 12, but you know -- doing what you love may not get money to follow, but doing what you love is an Accomplishment. And I'll definitely go with that.
And if I don't ever have to wear white polyester again, I'll be even happier.
Thirty-eight down, 59 to go.