Posted by: nichemarketplace | June 28, 2008

On a personal note …


What a difference a week can make! Last Saturday afternoon, I was attending eBay Live in Chicago, trying to digest the information from three days of fabulous speakers, and toiling on a list of provocative titles for future Blog posts. That evening my husband Mike informed me that my younger sister suffered a pulmonary embolism and suddenly passed away. Less than 24 hours later I was writing her obituary. 

While I am understandably overwhelmed with shock and sadness, I want to thank everyone — but especially Janelle Elms and her OSI Rock Stars — for your words of comfort, strength, and inspiration. One of the things that I have come to appreciate most about OSI Rock Stars is that it is NOT just business as usual. In this nurturing and supportive environment, we are encouraged to be well-rounded, three dimensional human beings. We share our successes and our challenges — both professional and personal — and the neverending struggle to find a balance between the two. I really appreciate all of you more than words can say. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I would also like to express my gratitude to my eBay Live room mate — fellow OSI Rock Star and certified eBay education specialist Marlene Gavens, AKA The Savvy Seller. Marlene changed her plans on a dime and stayed with me after I received the unhappy news about my sister’s passing. Thank you for putting on your “therapist’s hat” and for being so supportive and empathetic. You helped me get through the initial shock and guilt that accompanies the grieving process. I am so thankful that we met and I know you are going to be wildly successful in your eBay education and training business and your online auction education Blog.

P.S. If you have a relationship “fence” in your life that needs some mending, please don’t delay … act today! I know how hard it can be to take that first step, but “too hard” can turn into “too late” faster than you can possibly imagine.

Posted by: nichemarketplace | June 6, 2008

How I found my bliss in a sale bin at a thrift shop?


What makes you happy?

What fills you with so much joy that it completely overflows into the lives of others?

Some time ago, I bought a new car and it has a CD player (my old car only played cassette tapes). Recently I was poking around my favorite thrift store … I’ve found some of my best eBay Home Runs at this store (an “eBay home run” is an object or collectible that was purchased for a pittance at a thrift store, garage sale, or estate sale and sold on eBay for “big bucks”). I’m rummaging through their CDs and I come across an obscure CD of Broadway show tunes called A Broadway Celebration. Now Broadway show tunes are a long-standing guilty pleasure of mine. I didn’t recognize any of the artists on the CD and the name of the recording company doesn’t even appear on the case (a vanity pressing?), but I thought I’d take a chance.

So a few weeks ago, I was driving home from visiting my aging mom at the private care home and I was feeling a little down. I popped the Broadway show tunes CD into the player and I was transported to another time. On the CD, was a quartet — two male voices, two female voices (Lainie Nelson, Susan Watson, George Ball, and Dan Gettinger) — accompanied by pianist. The group sings mostly show tune medleys.  There was a Rodgers – Hammerstein – Hart medley, a Styne – Merril – Sondeim medley, an Lloyd Webber – Hart medley,  even a Jerry Herman medley. The style hearkened back to the early ’60s, a time when the Broadway Musicals not only dominated the Great White Way, but show tunes were a mainstay of supper and night clubs (occasionally crossing over to T.V. variety shows and Top 40 radio). There were tunes from Oklahoma, Flower Drum Song, Funny Girl, Gypsy, Camelot, My Fair Lady, Cats, even Phantom of the Opera … before I knew it I was singing along at full volume as my car crept down the freeway at rush hour. I even attempted a little impromptu harmonizing on Cockeyed Optimist from South Pacific. And as I sang my heart out, I stopped compulsively checking the clock, cursing the traffic, and, gradually, my burdens lifted. I was enraptured and living totally “in the moment.”

There is a famous quote by Joseph Campbell … “I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” Now I’m not saying that I have a new dream — Rina Mizrahi Varon, Broadway Star! But I am asking myself, what is my bliss? And where do I go to find it?

At, there is a compelling article entitled How To Find Your Bliss So You Can Follow It. In it, there are a list of tips to help you recognize what it feels like to find and follow your bliss:

  • you feel at one with the world, as if everything is in its rightful place and all interconnected
  • you feel totally alive, as if your body is resonating at a slightly higher frequency
  • you eyes light up and you feel like you could spend hours talking about the subjects you love
  • you see things more clearly, as if a mist has cleared or a fog has lifted and now you can see more clearly or deeply understand
  • you feel totally at home within your skin and so comfortable within yourself that you the ideas of who you are fade
  • time ceases to exist when you are following your bliss – whether that is researching at home or being on stage
  • you feel surrounded by kindred spirits when you find other people who are passionate about the same things
  • you have deep, insightful discussions with people you have known only a few minutes
  • you experience leaps of insight and the profound understanding of concepts and ideas that go beyond words
  • you find yourself creating at an extraordinary level far beyond your normal abilities
  • worlds of ideas and knowledge that you never knew existed open up to you
  • the world becomes a place where synchronicities start to make sense and form a subtle path pointing you to the things you need to discover
  • you find yourself (many times unknowingly) amassing a collection of resources built around your bliss
  • you feel the touch of unseen hands guiding you
  • you feel like a light deep inside of you has been turned on
  • days you follow your bliss start to feel a bit like Christmas morning, making you want to jump out of bed and see what the day holds
  • you surprise yourself by the things you say and do because they make you seem much smarter and gifted than you usually think you are

To read the complete article How To Find Your Bliss So You Can Follow It, go to: Find Your Bliss.

Harold Whitman has been quoted as saying, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Or as Charity Hope Valentine — the heroine of the Broadway Musical Sweet Charity (music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields and book by Neil Simon) — would express it musically …

There’s gotta be something better than this.
There’s gotta be something better to do,
And when I find me something better to do.
I’m gonna get up, I’m gonna get out …
I’m gonna get up, get out and do it!

To learn more about eBay Home Runs and how to find them, go to OSI Rock Stars.

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Posted by: nichemarketplace | May 30, 2008

Do you think you can name that sleeve? 


Fashion pundits have described this season as “The Return of the Sleeve.” With names like Lantern, Kimono, Flutter, Balloon, and Bell, sleeves in all shapes and lengths are the talk of the runway. For those of us with less than perfect figures, this is good news. From camouflaging flabby upper arms to adding balance to a bottom heavy figure, sleeves can be an effective way to disguise figure flaws.

Can you tell the difference between a Lantern sleeve , a Balloon sleeve , and a Bell sleeve? In an article entitled What’s That Sleeve Called?, Cynthia Nellis the Women’s Fashion expert for explains the latest sleeve styles. The article features a picture gallery with photos straight from the runway shows, as well as tips on how to utilize the trend to its most flattering effect.

In the words of Cynthia Nelms, “If men liked shopping, they’d call it research” … So test your fashion I.Q. and then go out and conduct some “research” of your own.

You can read Cynthia Nellis’ complete article What’s That Sleeve Called? by clicking the link below:

Posted by: nichemarketplace | May 23, 2008

One great motivational saying deserves another …

Slow Fat Triathlete Big

I read a great motivational quotation this week. A great motivational quote stops you dead in your tracks. It forces you to think. It makes you question your own preconceptions about yourself, the world, and your place in it. It also makes you want to share the ember that sparked your inner revelation with others (with the idea that it will cause a cascading ripple effect of hope and inspiration that will engulf the whole world). And what better way to get the proverbial ball rolling than to make it the subject of this week’s Blog post?

If you’re a large woman in America, your whole life is an opportunity to feel self-conscious, embarrassed, resentful, and way too BIG. You can hide in the corner or on the couch, you can go to therapy, or you can put on your lycra bike shorts and get out there and move.
Jayne Williams from her 2004 book Slow Fat Triathlete:
    Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now

It is the story of Jayne Williams a self-proclaimed slow, fat triathlete. In the book, Jayne describes her journey from cubicle-bound, obese office worker to triathlete. Jayne freely acknowledges that she is NOT an expert coach, trainer, exercise physiologist, or nutritionist. Some pundits suggest that her book falls more under the category of motivational literature, rather than a sports and fitness guide. All the reviews I read praised Jayne for her humorous and lighthearted writing style. To read selected excerpts from the Jayne’s book, visit

Now I confess, I haven’t read Jayne’s book — does reading the blurb about the book on Amazon and checking out her website count? — although it is definitely on my MUST READ list. And I have no plans to start training for a triathalon, but I have been thinking about my own perceived limitations. I’ve also been wondering what small, measured steps I could initiate to bring about a personal breakthrough. Which leads me to yet another classic motivational quotation — What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? … I’m sure you’ll agree that is a veritable banquet for thought. It is also a question that I am still in the process of digesting because any serious answer not only necessitates change, but places one squarely on a path towards personal transformation.

So please stand by for further developments (I am undeniably a work-in-progress) … In the meantime, I hope you will add your favorite inspirational quotations to the comments because to quote yet another classic motivational sayingA rising tide raises all ships!


So the other day, I was shopping online and bought new panties. They are the most expensive underwear that I have ever owned. (When gasoline tops $4.00 a gallon, it inflates the cost of all consumer goods — even underpants.) In fact, when I saw how much each pair was going to cost … I gulped hard, closed my eyes, and clicked ADD TO SHOPPING CART. Now underwear without holes is not what I consider a luxury item, but in this case, price was not my first priority. In inflationary times, it is tempting to shop for the cheapest price, rather than seek a good value (or what our mamas used to call being “penny wise and pound foolish”).

It is easy to understand that panties that don’t fit, aren’t comfortable, and won’t last are NO BARGAIN, but there is a lesson here that extends far beyond underwear. Looking for “complete package” — quality materials, superior design, competitive price, fast shipping, and excellent customer service — is always the hallmark of a smart shopper in good economic times or bad. In the 2006 film Stranger Than Fiction (screenplay by Zach Helms and directed by Marc Forster), Emma Thompson’s character Novelist Karen Eiffel describes how little indulgences (along with acts of loving kindness) sometimes serve a higher purpose in our lives and may even connect us with the very essence of our humanity …

“As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be okay. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And fortunately, when there aren’t any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort — not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters … and maybe, the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things — the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties — which we assume only accessorize our days are effective for a much larger and nobler cause … They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true. And so it was: a wristwatch saved Harold Crick.”

So the next time you’re in the mood for a funny film with a message, watch Stranger Than Fiction (starring Will Farrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah). You’ll can rent it at your local video store or look for it on cable / pay-per-view. And while you’re shopping around, splurge and buy yourself some new underwear because heaven knows you can never have too many pairs!

P.S. Another awesome quote from the film has become my personal mantra. Try saying this to yourself the next time you’re feeling your age … “You’re never too old to go to Space Camp, Dude!”

Posted by: nichemarketplace | May 6, 2008

Life is like a cup of coffee … A Mother’s Day tribute!


“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.
A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”

~ Sophia Loren

* Mothers SHOP TWICE too — once for themselves and once for their children!

So here’s to Mom — help mate, nurturer of children, keeper of the hearth, caretaker of the family home, stocker of the fridge, guardian of the family budget, and retail therapist extraordinaire — on her special day! Thanks for all the morsels of wisdom so lovingly offered. I also want to thank entrepreneur and fellow OSI Rock Star Scott Nelson of Fox Music Company for the following uplifting story. Feel free to share it with all those who have had a motherly influence on your life or anyone you know who is experiencing challenges and might appreciate an infusion of hope and inspiration …

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the daughter replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water , its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes under pressure? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that causes the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

I hope you choose to be like coffee. May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy!

This Mother’s Day, practice random acts of Retail therapy. Pamper yourself a little, Mom, you deserve it!

OSI Rock Stars is an education and training that teaches online entrepreneurs how to be successful. OSI Rock Stars offers cutting edge information from the brightest minds in the business world today, as well as practical tips and tricks for taking your business to the next level. A FREE 10 minute backstage pass is waiting for you, just click the OSI Roadie badge below.

Posted by: nichemarketplace | May 4, 2008

Expert Tips for stretching your retail therapy dollar!


You work hard and you deserve to pamper yourself with a few affordable indulgences. At the same time, you want to be a wise steward of your finances and get the most “bang” for your retail therapy dollar. You want to be stylish and cultivate a fashion forward image, but you can’t afford to replace your wardrobe every season. Given the notoriously fickle nature of fashion, how do you choose what trends to invest in?

In an article entitled Hot or Not? When Fashion Trends Die, Cynthia Nellis the Women’s Fashion expert for offers some valuable tips.

How long a trend will remain viable depends on where in the fashion cycle you bought the trend. Cynthia describes the fashion cycle as a three-step process.

First, there’s the emergence phase where the trend is highly sought after (what the American Marketing Association refers to this as the “distinctiveness” part of the cycle). In the next phase, everyone wants a piece of the trend and it becomes widely disseminated in magazines, newspapers, television, and the Internet (what the AMA calls the emulation phase). Finally, the trend becomes saturated in the marketplace, usually at very low prices.

Most consumers will buy the trend somewhere between phases two and three (typically, only the elite are able to access a fashion trend in the first phase — fresh off the runway before it appears in stores). As a fashion trend moves through the cycle, it becomes increasing available and therefore increasing affordable (which is good news for those of us on a budget). At the same time, as the market becomes more and more saturated, the less cachet the trend carries and the less appealing it becomes. So the clock is probably already ticking on that totally trendy hand bag that you purchased on “super sale” at the discount store.

In Cynthia’s view, most fashion trends stick around for at least a year. In most cases, she adds, the more difficult a look is to pull off, the more quickly it will fade. In addition, the higher the profile of the fashion trend — or the more radical the cut, color, or print — the more likely that the trend will look dated by the same time next year. Sometimes however, consumer demand can transform a trend into a wardrobe staple. Cynthia identifies capris, crop tops, tank tops and flip flops as trends that have withstood the test of time.

Cynthia advises that the best defense against quickly changing trends is to have a wardrobe stocked with mostly classic looks: jeans, T-shirts, blazers, and of course, little black dresses. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have any fun and funky looks in your closet, but they may not remain in style for multiple seasons. Use the trendy items to spice up your core wardrobe.

Some say fashion trends tend to cycle about every 20 years. So if you hold onto a trend long enough, it may eventually come back into style. Or better yet, you’ll be able to make big bucks selling it as a collectible on eBay.

To read the complete text of Cynthia Nellis’ article Hot or Not? When Fashion Trends Die, click the link below:

Posted by: nichemarketplace | April 30, 2008

Invest in your own success … Join OSI Rock Stars!

There is an incredible wealth of information on this website. OSI Rock Stars can help you take your business to the next level whether you are a business neophyte or a veteran online retailer.

If you are new to eBay and online retail sales, not all of this is going to apply to you right away … listen to it anyway. It will reassure you that “YES, YOU CAN DO THIS!” Besides it typically requires more than one exposure to a new idea before it takes root. That is why the format of OSI Rockstars is so valuable. one can listen / watch the podcast, video, or webinar as many times as necessary to let the concepts sink in.

If you are an established eBayer / online retailer and are ready to take your business to the next level, OSI Rock Stars is also designed with you in mind. OSI Rock Stars is unique in that one need not choose between seeking practical business advice and uplifting the inner human being. Being a member of OSI Rock Stars feeds both the head and my heart–the mind and the soul. From bestselling author and business guru Seth Godin to marketing mastermind John Jantsch, OSI Rock Stars is literally your own personal “dream team” to enlighten you, mentor you, inspire you, and uplift you in your pursuit of business success and personal excellence. OSI Rock Stars features speakers who have the proverbial fruit on the tree. Because they have each “been there and done that,” the presenters not only speak from the heart, they possess the ability to take difficult, complex subject matter and explain it in a way that is accessible and relatable no matter what your background or experience.

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Posted by: nichemarketplace | April 30, 2008

Having a business mentor made me a Rock Star! 

Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.

As someone who came into the entrepreneurial world with no sales background whatsoever. I think one of the most exciting and intimidating aspects of entrepreneurship is the learning curve. It is truly a proverbial double-edged sword … The “good news” is that there is always something NEW to learn. The “bad news” is that there is ALWAYS something new to learn! It is easy to feel overwhelmed. (This is especially true for those of us who are “fifty-something” and trying to develop new skills and reinvent oneself.)

The entrepreneurial world is very different from the JOB world. The entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to hold him or her accountable and it is easy to get sidetracked in a world of multiple and competing priorities. A mentor not only gives you the information you need to move on and take your business to the next level, mentors offer a encouragement and support, a role model for success, and a broader vision undiminished by the day-to-day challenges. That is why I not only highly recommend, but I am personally and actively involved in OSI Rock Stars. In addition to providing cutting edge information on the latest developments in eBay selling / online retailing, OSI Rock Stars also offers me an ongoing source of inspiration to recharge my batteries and keep me connected to the bigger picture.

To find out for yourself how having a mentor can advance your Internet business, click the OSI Rock Star Promoter badge below…

Posted by: nichemarketplace | April 30, 2008

Retail Therapy — A trend that is here to stay!


Retail Therapy is about getting away from the frantic pace of life in the roaring 2000s and maximizing your precious ”me” time. A stolen fraction of time — both sweet and rare — to pamper yourself and savor the moment.

To phrase it more poetically, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson …

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
We must carry it with us or we find it not.

But Retail Therapy is much more than merely a source of pleasure or a brief escape from reality, it is inexorably tied to our desire to connect with others. According to Paco Underhill, a retail consultant with Manhattan-based Envirosell and author of the book, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping: “The reason why we shop stems from a basic social need; part of the process is not just acquiring goods … People are social, and they need to be around other people. Going to the marketplace has been a drive since we were hunters and gatherers.”

Internet shopping, on the other hand, tends to be a somewhat solitary experience. However whatever web shopping may lack in social bonding, it makes up for in its immediacy and the ability to provide instant gratification 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Online shopping devotees can shop in the cracks of time whether it’s an on-the-job lunch break, while the kids are taking their naps, or the wee hours of the morning.

The Raison d’etre of this Blog is to create an virtual marketplace where people can share the social aspects of shopping. While I may be the resident Retail Therapist for this Weblog, it is my fervent hope that you will share your therapeutic shopping experiences by adding your comments to my posts.

Please share our adventures in retail therapy with your fellow power shoppers … After all, the only thing more satisfying than getting a great bargain is bragging about it to your friends!

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