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As you may remember, MacKenzie recently BEGGED me to help her promote her new back-to-school clothes business because she thinks I know how to influence the dorks at WCD.

At first, I thought she was trying to set me up to get burned. It felt like a shark saying, “Hey, Nikki. I have this fish lodged in the back of my throat. Do me a favor…can you climb in and get it out?”

But then I realized she seemed pretty sincere, and she LOVES her Fab-4-Ever Fashions like my dad loves bugs.

Equally important, helping her could be like signing a peace treaty…and I’m SO tired of the CCP wars!

So, I agreed to lend her a hand. I spent a good few days racking my brain for ideas to help her sell her stuff to the many dorks in our school. Here’s what I came up with:

1. A Buy-One-Give-One (BOGO) Campaign

Have you heard of TOMS shoes? Every time someone buys a pair, they give a pair to someone in need. But they price the shoes high enough that they still make money on each sale.

It’s a super smart marketing campaign. Shoes that feel good + feel good buying = a totally brilliant plan!

This kind of marketing doesn’t work on most CCPs…because you need to have cash AND a conscience!

I told MacKenzie she should target the dorks with money (not to be confused with dorks like me, whose parents bring rolled coins to cheap department stores for poorly made, off-brand clothes).

Since dorks care, those kids would feel really good about buying some of her clothes AND helping kids less fortunate than them. Win-win!

2. A Parent-Friendly Campaign

Let’s face it: most kids don’t walk around with wads of hundred dollar bills in their backpacks. (I wish! Oh, the art supplies I’d buy…)

If you want to earn big money, you can’t sell to kids with a limited allowance. You have to tap the greatest resource available to us: our parents’ wallets!

But they don’t just open those things every time you ask to buy something. Parents are SUPER protective of their wallets. It’s like they have several other tiny, green, flat children resting in there…and they guard them with their life!

To get parents to buy stuff, you have to convince them they’re getting a lot for their money.

And you can do that by bundling stuff together. For example…

The Dress for Success Package

Includes a Fab-4-Ever dress, a notebook, a pack of pencils, and a calculator

The word “success” makes parents think of us growing up to be doctors and lawyers, which they love! And just like with the BOGO sale, she could raise the price on the dress so the parents only THINK they’re getting the school supplies for free.

I know, it’s kind of manipulative. Or as I like to say, money-pulative! Ka-ching! (That’s a cash register sound, in case you didn’t know!)

3. Custom Made Clothes

Most marketing people use celebrities to get us to buy stuff. They even give free clothes and shoes to movie stars and singers (like they need them!) because they know we’ll rush to the mall so we can fill our closets with things Katy Perry likes.

But I have news for the misguided marketers out there: not all of us are trying to keep up with the Kardashians!

In fact, a lot of us prefer NOT to look like everyone else. We want to let our inner dork shine through…OUR inner dork, not someone else’s!

I told MacKenzie she should pick a few items of clothing and offer a list of ways to make them unique.

For example, she could let kids choose their own words to put on cute T-Shirts. Or, she could let kids literally design their own outfit – choose the fabric, the color, and the style – and then make it for them.

Sure, it’s time-consuming. But you can charge more for customized stuff. And remember those dorks with money? They’d be ALL over it!

I know I told MacKenzie I didn’t want any credit for my ideas, but now I kind of want it, because I think they’re really good! What do you guys think?

Posted in My Blog | 232 Comments


MacKenzie Asks For Help

OMG! You’ll never believe who just came over, bringing with her a dark, ominous cloud of pure EVIL!

Actually, based on the obvious disdain in my opening sentence, I’m pretty sure you know EXACTLY who: MacKenzie!

But maybe this part will be more surprising (it was to me!): she came over to ask me for a favor.

That’s kind of like the crocodile asking Captain Hook, “Hey, buddy, can you give me a hand?”

(Get it? Because Hook HATES the crocodile…and it’s even funnier because he ate his hand! Ha!)

I couldn’t believe she had the nerve to ask me to help her with something, or that she’d even want me to.

She thinks I stink at pretty much everything that matters to her, like wearing cool clothes, being popular, and slathering on fourteen layers of lip gloss. What in the world could she want from ME?

Turns out, there’s something she thinks I’m really good at: getting people excited about stuff!

I mean, I guess it makes sense.

I did an awesome job planning that dog wedding a while back, and even got an interview in the local paper.  I’ve had a number of successful yard sales. And let’s not forget the frenzy I created with my fake tattoos when I first got to WCD.

I’ve never really thought of myself as a leader, seeing as I’m a MASSIVE dork, but I guess it’s true!

So, what exactly did MacKenzie want? She wanted me to help her promote her back-to-school shopping business.

Or, as she said, “I spent the whole summer on a new line of Fab-4-Ever Fashions, and I just KNOW you could help me capture the dork market!”

At first, I seriously considered saying, “I’m sure you’ll go far with your fashions without me, MacKenzie, and I really hope you’ll stay there…far, far away!”

But then I thought about something. She seems to really care about the clothes she makes, kind of like I care about art. It’s kind of cool when someone puts their heart into something.

And we’ve spent WAY too long being enemies. I thought that maybe if I helped her out a little, she’d realize there’s no reason to be so nasty, and then we might get along better.

I HIGHLY doubt we’d become friends, and to be honest, I wouldn’t want to be. Even if she acted nice for a bit, I’d never be able to trust that it would last.

As her BFF Jessica knows, getting close to her is a BIG mistake. It’s like trying to pitch a tent on the sun…it’s only a matter of time until you get burned!

But as a non-friend/non-enemy somewhere in the middle, and as someone who once helped her with something important to her, maybe she’d be a lot less mean and my life would be a lot easier.

So, I told I her I’d help her out…but only if she plays by my rules!

1. We do everything by email. (I might be nice enough to help her, but that doesn’t mean my nose should have to suffer from her overpowering perfume!)

2. I don’t want ANY credit. (I don’t need everyone knowing that I’m working with someone who’s treated me like something stuck on her shoe. And she had no problem with this…she LOVES taking credit for other people’s work!)

3. I get 15% of her sales. (When you’re a bully, niceness comes with a price!)

Now I just need to think of some ideas to help her sell some of her clothes! What do you guys think? Do you have any suggestions?

Posted in My Blog | 584 Comments


Brianna's Weirdness Paid Off

Squeeee!!! The coolest thing EVER happened this weekend!

I’ve been driving myself crazy trying to find ways to earn some cash so I can replace the TV Brianna broke while I was babysitting her a couple weekends ago.

First, I ran a yard sale, and though I cried myself a little river when some old dude bought all my Disney stuff, including my first EVER Mickey ears, I earned a good chunk of change! Still, it wasn’t enough to replace the TV.

After that, I hosted my own backyard carnival, but all I got from that was dizzy (from pushing kids in circles in a wheelbarrow) and nauseous (from stuffing my face with the carnie food that I REALLY should have sold).

I was starting to think I’d have to live the rest of my days in a home with a big, fat, empty space where a TV once was.

(I know I’m being super dramatic, but a living room without a TV is like a chest without a heart…tragic, empty, and lifeless!)

Then, this weekend, my mom made me take Brianna to Queasy Cheesy, which I usually consider cruel and unusual punishment.

But this time, something totally awesome and exciting happened!

We were sitting at our table, stuffing our faces with pepperoni slices, when Brianna started singing some random song that she made up about pizza.

She does this all the time!

This one time at the beach, she started singing, “I love the beach! Sand is awesome and I love it so! The water’s perfect, I don’t want to go! I love the beach!”

Another time, when we were in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, she started belting out, “Doctors are mean. Needles aren’t fun. Stay away or I’m gonna run!”

She thinks just because people sing about their lives in musicals, that makes it okay for her to do it. And even though I usually think it’s super weird and embarrassing, I have to admit she’s pretty good with rhyming. And this time, it really paid off!

After just two bites of pizza, she stood up and started singing, “Queasy Cheesy, oh how your pizzas please me! They’re perfect and not too greasy! Coming here’s always easy. I love Queasy Cheesy!”

Everyone was looking at us, so I turned bright red and whisper-yelled, “Brianna, sit down! No one wants to hear you sing!”

Boy oh boy, was I wrong! Everyone else seemed to actually like it. In fact, people were smiling and cheering her on.

Then I heard a loud voice say, “Sing it again!”

I looked up and saw Theo’s dad, who owns the place, rushing over with a huge grin on his face, like he’d just discovered Miley Cyrus, pre-Hannah Montana, and realized he was going to make a boatload of cash as her manager.

Brianna can rhyme, but she’s no Miley Cyrus!

Still, being the total ham she is, she hopped on the table and started singing her Queasy Cheesy song even louder, and the whole time Theo’s dad was bobbing his head, saying, “Yeah, sing it little lady!”

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. He LOVED her!

After he asked her to sign it a third time, I knew something was up, and I was right!

We left there with a paper for my parents to sign, giving Theo’s family permission to use Brianna’s song AND film her for a local commercial.

And get this: they’re going to pay her $250!

I thought for sure Brianna would ask my parents to buy her every Princess Sugar Plum-related item in the toy store…which made it totally surprising when I heard her singing, “Now we can get a new TV! Oh, how lucky are all of we? I love TV!”

I’m so excited for that little musical rug rat, and even more psyched that I can finally record my fav TV shows again. The coolest part: with her money and the money I earned from my yard sale, we can get an even better one than we had before.

It was the best weekend ever!

Posted in My Blog | 600 Comments


August Fan Story

I can’t believe what my dad just did! Why is he ALWAYS humiliating me??

It’s bad enough that he drives a huge roach mobile. And he works at my school. And on the days when he’s NOT wearing his exterminator clothes, he wears stuff that’s even worse, like tight, high-waisted, plaid golf pants.

Did he REALLY have to further embarrass me by…

Finish the story in the comments!

Posted in Fan Stories | 1,029 Comments



OMG, this weekend was SO much fun!!

As you may remember from my Facebook post last week, I went to the carnival with Chloe and Zoey on Saturday night, and it was all kinds of AWESOME!!

But this post isn’t about the carnival. It’s about what we did the day AFTER the carnival.

What’s that? You wanted to hear all about our carnival experience, and now you’re bummed out? OK, here’s a haiku about the night!

Games, games, and more games…

Carnival food is the bomb.

Did I mention games?

By now you may be wondering why I’m clearly obsessing about the games. It’s because we got a totally great idea after playing them!

People LOVE carnival games, and they spend a ton of money for a tiny chance of winning a lame stuffed animal that looks sadly under-stuffed, like a really old, super thin pillow.

So we thought that maybe we could make a carnival in my yard the following day and charge neighborhood kids money to play OUR games!

It was a brilliant plan because I still needed to earn more money to replace the TV Brianna broke when I was babysitting her.

Since kids only come to a carnival if there are rides, we came up with a few creative ideas:

  • The Terrifying Trampoline
  • The Dizzy Sprinkler
  • The Silly Surprise Swing

The Terrifying Trampoline is basically just a trampoline, but we put on scary masks and shout things at you while you jump, so it’s like a bouncy haunted house!

The Dizzy Sprinkler involves a wheelbarrow and a sprinkler. You sit in the wheelbarrow and we push you through the sprinkler, in circles, until you feel so dizzy that you fall over right after standing up.

And the Silly Surprise Swing is just a swing. It’s silly because there’s no real gimmick, just you sitting on a swing waiting for something cool to happen. But surprise! Nothing does!

OK, so our rides were kind of lame. But they looked really good on the sign in front of my house, and they helped us attract a nice bunch of customers for the games!

We found a ton of ideas for games online, including:

Water Limbo

(This is just like regular limbo, except you use a stream of water from a hose instead of a stick. You have to put your thumb over the opening to make the water come out straight.)

Water Gun Game

(We put a bunch of empty plastic bottles on a box, and then kids had to try to shoot them off with a water gun.)

Ring Toss

(We stuck a stick in the ground and then had kids throw cheap plastic bracelets at it.)

But the most awesome game of all was “Donuts on a String.” We tied a rope between two trees. Then we tied individual strings to a bunch of donuts and tied them to this rope.

Kids had to eat a whole donut without using their hands, and whoever ate one first won.

I just knew Brianna would win this game, since she’s been eating donuts like a gross little troll pretty much all her life! And since she won, I didn’t have to give away a prize (because she accepted “color with me later tonight” as a decent alternative to a dollar store stuffed animal).

Since we had to buy the materials and the prizes, we ended up breaking even on the whole thing. But that’s okay. Even if I’m no closer to watching Sponge Bob SquarePants in the living room again, I’m PSYCHED because it was so much fun!

What would YOU do if you made a carnival in your yard? What rides and games would you make?

Posted in My Blog | 403 Comments


Nikki's Yard Sale

Remember how Brianna broke our TV while I was babysitting her last week?

And remember how I was SUPER nervous that my parents were going to totally flip out?

They did! I’ve never seen my dad so mad. A scary little vein popped out on his forehead the whole time he was lecturing me.  I seriously thought it might burst, which would make him even angrier.

Then I would have wrecked the TV AND his face!

I know what you might be thinking: “YOU didn’t wreck the TV, Brianna did!”

That’s exactly what I thought! But I had a feeling telling my parents that wouldn’t go over so well, since I was supposed to be watching her.

I wanted to say, “Really, YOU guys wrecked the TV because you trusted me to watch Brianna, when you know I stink at that. Don’t worry…I forgive you guys! Just replace the TV, and we’re good!”

But since I didn’t want to spend the rest of the summer grounded and stuck in my room, like Elsa, I said, “I take full responsibility for what happened, and boy, did I learn my lesson! I’ll NEVER take my eyes off Brianna while babysitting her again!”

Parents LOVE when you take full responsibility! And the words “learned my lesson” are ever so slightly manipulative.

It’s like saying, “See! This was actually a really valuable teaching tool for me, and therefore, totally worth all the frustration and annoyance, since you’re a parent, and your job is to teach me, and I just provided a perfect opportunity for that!”

Still, I ended up grounded for a weekend…not too bad when you consider what happened!

The bad part was the TV. They told me I have to replace it, as if I broke a glass or a light bulb, or something else I could actually replace with the $15.74 I have under my mattress.

Since the idea of spending Saturday and Sunday cooped up in my room makes me feel like jumping out of my skin, I came up with a really clever idea: I could use the weekend for a yard sale to raise money to buy a TV!

I pitched it to my parents like this: “I totally get why you guys grounded me. Boy, do I ever! But wouldn’t it be an awesome TEACHING TOOL if you let me raise money through a yard sale on those days instead?”

They didn’t buy it at first, but then I added, “And Brianna can help out. This way, I get a chance to watch her again, and do it right!”


The yard sale was kind of uneventful. The only person who came by in the first hour was Mrs. Wallabanger, and she spent 45 minutes trying on my old clothes without buying a single thing. (Super weird AND embarrassing!)

Then in the next hour, we got lucky. A guy came by and bought every Disney-related item I had on my table, which added up to $75.

He SAID it was all for his daughter, but as soon as he got into his car, he put on my Mickey Mouse Ears, so I had a feeling that was a big fat lie!

Over the whole weekend, I raised $152, and the TV costs $269.99.

That means I raised more than half! While that’s a lot of money, I have a feeling the TV salesman won’t believe that my library card is actually a credit card, so I have to raise over $100 more. Any ideas??

Posted in My Blog | 483 Comments
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