Charcuterie Board – Discovering The Ease of Creating

Tiffany Eckhardt, founder of Flown The Coop and Scout & Cellar Wine Consultant: discovers the ease of creating a charcuterie board

Wine tasting led me to discover the ease of creating a charcuterie board

Scout & Cellar wine tastings have ignited my gift of hospitality.  I learned a long time ago that a smart hostess always keeps it simple.  It was pure joy the day I discovered the ease of creating a charcuterie board.  These boards filled with beautiful colors and a variety of flavors makes the hostess look like a culinary genius.

First of all, charcuterie boards are not scientific or rigid

I tend to gravitate towards meals and dishes that are simple, yet make a splash.  The very reason I love creating charcuterie boards!  As I throw random finger foods together the board becomes a culinary piece of art.  It is really that easy!

The ingredients to a good charcuterie board is up for interpretation.  Techically, charcuterie is a french term for smoked, dry-cured or cooked meats.  Charcuterie boards have become a fancy cheese board.  A typical charcuterie board includes a variety of cheeses, nuts, honey, crackers, fresh and dried fruit, along with meats.  My friend Robbie introduced me to the ultimate charcuterie board at a wine tasting she hosted.  I learned to add tortillini screwers from her board.  Her board was filled with wonderful ideas and definitely made a splash!

Tiffany Eckhardt, founder of Flown The Coop and Scout & Cellar wine consultant discovers the ease of creatign a charcuterie board.

Robbie Birch’s ultimate charchuterie board on a beautifully hand crafted board her family creates!

The basics of creating a charcuterie board

You want to start building on a wood cutting board.  I have found a long skinny one works best for me.  I’ve unsuccesfully tried smaller boards.  Creating a fun board is like feeding a large family.  The food just keeps mulitplying.  I recommend my friend Robbie’s boards at The Birch Tree.  Stayed tuned… she is creating a long one for me!

Start builidng with cheese, an important element.  Few foods go better with wine that cheese.  Buy several different textures and flavors.  Place the cheese selections in a procession ranging from soft to hard to mirror a wine tasting.  Placing Harvati cheese at the top to pair well with a sauvignon blanc.  Brie would be nice for chardonay.   Red and white wines pairs well with gouda.  Aged Cheddar would be nice with a Malbec.  Smoked gouda is my favorite with a cab.

A true charcuterie board will have an assortment of meats.  Fresh summer sausage from a local meat market is a treat!  The deli at your grocery store will work fine as well.  I grab a few different sausages and prosciutto.  Scatter the placement of the meats around the chesse, leaving room for additional layers of goodies.

Now it’s time to get creative!

Fill in every nook and craney with a variey of finger foods.  Here are a few suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Dried and fresh fruit
  • Nuts
  • Crackers and brochetta
  • Have fun with screwers:  tortillini, mozerella balls, basil, dried tomatoes, cherry tomotoes (My friend Michele first introduced me to tomato and mozzerella screws with fresh basil!  I immedieately fell in love!)
  • Jar of local honey (Lazy Bee Honey in Burton)
  • Bowl of olives
  • Hummus
  • Vegetables

I do not want to overwhelm you.  Keep it simple and have fun.  I was proud of my humble first attempt.  The more I practice the more elaborate mine become.

Tiffany Eckhardt, founder of Flown The Coop and Scout & Cellar wine consultant discovers the ease of creating a charcuterie board

My humble first attempt at a charcuterie board

I hope my interpratation of a charcuterie board has encouraged you to create one for your family and friends.  It is an easy way to creatively offer the gift of hospitality.  They will love it!

The final ingredient

You can’t have a great charcuterie board without a great bottle of wine or two!  I am happy to help you select from the Scout & Cellar portfolio.  The difference between a clean crafted wine and a bottle from your grocery store is the difference between a strawberry picked from a farm and one bought at the grocery.  Let me help you discover wine the way natuer intended it.

Cheers!

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

Mystery, an epiphany unlocked a pro mindset.

 

The entrepreneurial journey unfolds in mysterious ways.  I admit, I have been fighting the mystery.  I want a clear cut road map with guaranteed destinations, an expectation belonging to an amateur mindset.  An epiphany unlocked a pro mindset.  I will embrace the mystery!

 Flown The coop! Embrace the Mystery... Tiffany's epiphany... the journey is a brilliant mystery.

Flown The Coop

Flown The Coop closed the doors to regular hours on Saturday, August 4th.  Big dreams die hard.  Change can be heartbreaking.

I will continue pursuing creative classes on a variety of topics.  I will host an occasional event, like our BIG Backyard Bash on September 28th. (why not???? we have a fun space for a party!)

Jeff and I are talking to contractors about our garden guest house.  I have dreamed of this project for almost four years.  Stayed tuned for progress updates as the project comes together.

Embracing the mystery... Tiffany's entrepreneurial journey of letting go of expectations.

An ephinany

I have operated in survival mode for too long, trying to make sense of it all.  Thank God for authors who speak right into our souls at the perfect time.  I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I reread Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield.  This little book is incredibly insightful into an amateur mindset and a pro mindset.  Funny how all the books I’ve read lately are all pointing to mindset.  Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, PhD is a great resource for learning the difference between fixed and growth mindset.  I loved Girl Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.  Rachel shares raw life experience in an attempt to get her readers to identify lies and create a positive mindset.

I had an epiphany reading Turning Pro.  I am a Networker.  Recognizing this truth about me is the moment I “Turned Pro.”  My amateur mindset has been running from this gift.  It seems skeevy.  It has a ton of bad connotations.  Entrepreneurs survive by networking themselves with people.  I believe that I have a gift for connecting people and promoting ideas I care about.  I have the gift of hospitality which is a really handy skill for a Networker.

Hi!  My name is Tiffany.  I am a Networker.  The best epiphany ever!

I can’t quite put my finger on how to define my new role as a Networker.  I am embracing the mystery.

Letting go of Flown The Coop retail was my first hard step.  Pros do hard things.

Stepping into the mystery

I will step into the mystery by working on business developments that promote my passion for wellness and the pursuit of a life well lived.  All of my projects require me to learn new skills and get out of my comfort zone.

I am building a team with Young Living.  I adore this company and their commitment to bringing a wellness mindset to every home.  On top of the business opportunity, I am impressed with the company’s world wide philanthropy opportunities.  It makes my heart sing!

I am also building a team with Scout & Cellar Wine, another company with high standards and a commitment to wellness.  Working with Scout & Cellar is an exciting journey into the clean crafted wine industry.  I am learning to savor good food and great wine.  I have inhaled my food without thought for far too long.

Gadabout Gals ~  The launching of Gadabout Gals, our lifestyle travel site was a true labor of love with my favorite gal pals and is a collaboration made in heaven.  The three of us truly love to travel finding adventure in excursions, destinations and great flavors.  We are using our combined influence (networking) to promote our experiences.

Clear as mud

I have two choices

  • I can control the future with fear (amateur)
  • I can embrace mystery as a beautiful reality.

I will put in the effort and allow the mystery do it’s thing.

I will focus on the only thing I have control of, my mindset.

I will let go and fly free!

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky

Entrepreneurial Journey to the right side of wellness

Flown The Coop's Tiffany Eckhardt taking flight as an entrepreneur

My entrepreneurial journey has had many twists and turns.  The latest adjustment is a hard for me, but I am confident it will be WELL!  😉

The Story Of A Serial Entrepreneur

Tiffany Eckhardt with Flown The Coop is a self proclaimed serial entrepreneur

I am a self proclaimed Serial Entrepreneur, tenacious in attempting business ventures and gravitate towards the under dog.  I wholeheartedly believe in the American Dream.  I believe that a life worth living is not handed to you, but is earned by hard work and dedication to a dream.  I also believe everyone would own their own business if it were easy.  Despite the changes I’ve had to face, I prefer to create a life on my own terms.

As you can see from the above picture… I’ve attempted a lot of businesses over the years.  I am blessed by the experience each venture has added to my life.  The uncomfortable truth of creating a life on your terms is that you must remain flexible and learn to adapt to changes in the market place.

Flown The Coop

I have officially Flown The Coop.  August 4, 2018 is our Final Closeout and will be the last day of regular hours at my little shop in Burton, Texas.  I’ve known in my gut that it was time for a change, but my heart didn’t want to accept it.  For three years I’ve invested my heart and soul into my dream shop.  I have loved creating a destination in this sleepy little town that begs to be discovered and LOVE all my customers who are now friends.

I could list all the reasons that Flown The Coop isn’t flourishing, but I prefer to face the future with a positive attitude.  I believe that a new exciting chapter awaits.  I hope you stick with me as I embark on a new journey.

Moving forward I plan on hosting classes and special events at Flown The Coop.  Keep an eye on the Creative At The Coop webpage.  I will also focus my attention on our Guest House project.  Stayed tuned for regular updates as I share the progress.

For now, let me explain how I got to this point….

An Entrepreneur on the Right Side of the Quadrant

I am a big fan of Robert Kiyosaki’s book CASHFLOW QUADRANT.  I read his first book, Rich Dad Poor Dad when it came out twenty years ago.  Has it really been that long????

His CASHFLOW Quadrant explains my entrepreneurial journey completely.  Most of us live in the E Quadrant.  We are taught in school to be a good employees.  Some of us set out to own our own businesses.  MY EPIPHANY: As I struggle to make Flown The Coop profitable.  As much as I enjoy owning a store, I had basically bought my own JOB (Just Over Broke).  A true entrepreneur eventually understands the importance of creating residual income (or passive income).  I am now focused on the right side of the quadrant.  I highly recommend reading CASHFLOW QUADRANT.  Robert explains the concept way better than I ever could!

An entrepreneur on the right side of the quadrant

SIDE NOTE:  Jeff and I have the CASHFLOW QUADRANT board game.  Anyone interested in a game night??????  Seriously, message me!  I won for the first time during a recent family vacation.  So, I’m feeling empowered!

Business Opportunity In Wellness

I have spent the last year focused on wellness.  Jeff and I have come to the realization that we are approaching the prime years and want to enjoy them.  We want our grandkids to have to keep up with us.  Honestly, we still have work to do… but it’s a journey worth taking.

Wellness is not just ONE thing.  It’s a lifestyle.  It is learning to listen to the body, mind and spirit.  Wellness is eating whole “real” foods, staying active and getting the toxins out of the home.  Wellness is focusing on what the body needs before there is crisis.  Wellness is taking charge and living the best life possible!

I want to spend the rest of my life promoting this lifestyle.  I hope you have enjoyed traveling the world of Young Living essential oils with me, and now Scout & Cellar clean crafted wine. These two businesses have been game changers for me!

I’ll never forget when Lynsey Kramer visited me after I ordered a Young Living premium starter kit.  She had shared her lifestyle so freely on her Facebook page.  I didn’t hesitate to jump in when she shared the opportunity to purchase a starter kit.  Lynsey came to my house to help me understand what the essential oils could do for me.  In passing she mentioned that she was growing a Young Living distributorship for retirement. As small business owners, they didn’t have a traditional retirement to fall back on.  IT WAS A LIGHT BULB MOMENT.  I remember immediately thinking about the book CASHFLOW and saw a real opportunity to make a difference.

Then another opportunity presented itself.  Bethany Dwyer reached out to me, offering a Scout & Cellar wine tasting at the Flown The Coop Backyard Karaoke Bash in the spring.  Bethany is a Young Living member as well.  She mentioned that this wine company shared a similar philosophy and paired well with essential oils.  First of all, who would turn down a wine tasting opportunity?  I liked Bethany right away.  I love her boldness in reaching out to me and her tireless pursuit of many business ventures.  I asked her why she worked so hard.  Her response was another LIGHT BULB MOMENT.  She replied, “The truly wealthy people have more than one income stream.”  In April I invited her and Lacey Harwood back to Flown The Coop for the Cotton Gin festival.  I got excited watching the people try and love this wine.  I had to get involved in this opportunity too.

I truly believe that these two movements (plant based products and clean crafted wine) are the future.  This generation will demand cleaner products and are taking charge of their wellness.  I also believe there are people like me, who want to enjoy their prime years and still have the spunk to grow a business that will give them financial freedom.  They call people like me encore entrepreneurs.

I urge you to invest twenty five minutes watching this video…. while a little goofy and long winded, he totally nails retirement.  Totally worth the time!  {Here are the docs he mentions: the income disclosure statement, the comp plan and the personality colors}

This is why I am focusing the next phase of my entrepreneurial journey on wellness and the right side of the CASHFLOW quadrant.

Dollars & Cents of a Young Living Business from stacie malkus on Vimeo.

Flown The Coop will become my creative outlet for prime lifestyle, wellness and wine.

SO…. stayed tuned.  I’m looking for people to join my team.  Reach out if you are a kindred spirit (a serial entrepreneur) who wants to build a thriving business in Young Living or Scout & Cellar.  I would also love to chat with anyone who simply wants to take charge of their wellness.  I’d love to help in anyway I can!

Life is a journey, come travel with me!

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

Flown The Coop Liquidation Sale

Make plans to come out to our Liquidation Sale at Flown the Coop.  Shop our “junque” with garage sale prices {except consignment and choice pieces}.  To be honest, we won’t know exactly what we have until we pull it all out.  I know for sure we have doors, sleds, canoe, Coca Cola machine, barn beam, wood, car hoods, signs, furniture, and misc. smalls…. and we’re ready to liquidate!

Thursday, June 14th – Saturday, June 16th

11am – 5pm

But first let me share with you how we got here….

Flown The Coop’s humble beginnings

From humble beginnings to Liquidation Sale... Flown The Coop is a genuine free spirit

The storefront was a blank page three years ago.  The dream of a store in Burton, where Jeff and I could work and live, was sealed with the promise of a rainbow.

Flown The Coop sealed with the promise of a rainbow

It has been a wild ride!  I cherish the friends I’ve made,  both customers and/or vendors.  I have loads of memories from buying trips, and the cool “finds” I brought back to The Coop.  The numerous events, from White Linen Night to Backyard Karaoke Bashes, have filled my cup!  I even treasure the obstacles that have been thrown my way.  All in all, I am blessed with a wonderful creative outlet.  I have become a better version of myself because of this adventure.

So why a liquidation sale????

I am, and will always be a gen.u.ine FREE spirit.  I am keenly aware when I need to adjust my wings.

Flown The Coop's Tiffany loves her WINGS, and is excited about the future... especially the liquidation sale June 14-16

The recent changes that have been made to the storefront are well received.

The Coop feels bigger with an open floor plan.

The classes are well received!  It is pure joy building relationships with customers who attend the classes.  I am currently working with a variety of teachers to offer classes that will work for them and potential students.  Jeff and I have plans to double the classroom space.  Groups will be welcome to use this space as a collaborative work space, private wine tastings and for small events.  The Creative space is a genuine “parks & rec” at Flown The Coop.

After the Flown The Coop Liquidation Sale????

Expect exciting days ahead for Flown The Coop…. I say “exciting” because I have no clue what’s in store for us (no pun intended).

One thing is clear, I can’t go on as it is.  My resolve has tanked with sales.

Customers can visit the storefront on Saturdays through the summer, along with scheduled classes and events.

The Antique Show in the fall is still up for debate.  Although, I have booked a band September 28th.  I will have a BIG party that night. STAYED TUNED!  (follow the EVENTS page on this website)

The guest house will be underway shortly.  That is a done deal… FINALLY!  I am looking forward to sharing every step of the way with you.  I might even let you in on some of the design decisions.

My enthusiasm and energy is being poured into a few passion projects.
  • I love sharing my wellness journey and Young Living Essential Oils.  There has never been a more important time to focus on keeping the body well!
  • Join our Burton Oilers Facebook Page for the wellness community & conversation.
  • I love sharing Scout & Cellar, a clean crafted wine company that pairs well with wellness.  I’m having so much fun sharing what I learn about the wine industry, classifications of wines and offering wine tastings.  #friendsdontletfriendsdrinkdirtywine
  • Gadabout Gals is my latest collaboration with my best friends Michele and Kelly.  Our launch last week exceeded our expectations!  Read how all that came about HERE.  The three of us and our Gadabout Guys have BIG plans to cross the globe together.  Individually, we have interesting adventures you can follow as well.

With mixed emotions, I look forward to what lies ahead.

Your friend,

Tiffany
And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

 

 

 

Life in the Prime!

A women in her Prime! Going for it!

The beginning of an epiphany:

In preparing for our vacation to Belize, I discovered a picture of a fearless young girl jumping off the end of the pier at The Villa Groovy Gecko.  I admired her youthful inhibitions and knew I had to recreate that picture! {See Take The Leap}

The Villa Groovy Gecko, our vacation home in Placencia, was perfect!  After a tour and home instructions, the gang didn’t waist any time tackling island life.  First stop, floating in the pool, then we made cocktails and soaked it all in.  Jeff tried out the paddle boards and a few of us headed to the pier to watch.

The pier was calling me.  I knew in my gut that it was time for me to take the leap!  I wanted to get this act of bravery over with.  The only problem was a rare influx of seaweed had washed up shore.  The water looked mucky and I had no idea of what I’d be swimming with.  Even in my younger days I didn’t like to swim in lake or ocean water.  I just kept thinking, “I can’t let that young girl have all the fun.”  So I did it… I took the leap!

Our dreamy trip to Belize

I can honestly say our vacation to Belize was the best!  I fell in love with The Villa Groovy Gecko, and the entire staff who took such good care of us.  It was special to experience a bucket list dream with my hubby and best friends!  The weather was great with only one day of rain.  The day it rained, my friends and I had a epic dance party in the foyer. #winning  I watched the sunrise every morning from the end of the pier, and experienced a breezy massage there too.  There were adventures in the village, at a waterfall and a sunset sail. Finally, at our last dinner Jeff and I went international with our karaoke version of Inspite Of Ourselves (a John Prine song).

The vacation was everything I imagined and more!  Here are a few highlights:

 

The Epiphany

I had plenty of time to think.  The ocean breezes and the jungle air helped clarify a few things for me.

Conversations I had with Kelly and Michele, while lazily hanging at the pool, stuck with me. {This is where the epiphany set in}  I’ll be 50 years young in two years.  I am middle aged.

I don’t feel old.  I don’t act old.  I still have HUGE dreams.  So, why would this number even effect me???

Dreams aren’t reserved for the young, but for the young at heart. I believe the only real limitations I have are the ones I create.  I still have thirty plus years to blow up my dreams, and the confidence that I lacked in my youth.  Watch out!

Future plans?

When I returned home, I had a conversation with Jeff about focusing energy on our middle age.  It is time for us to get laser focused on what we want, where we want to go and how we’ll get there.  No time to waste!

Kelly, Michele and I agree that there is a market for women (and men) who are coming into a new freedom.  After raising a family and/or pursuing the career of our youth, it is time to pursue out of the box ideals.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal ~Earl Nigthengale

I believe success is defined differently in the prime of life.  “Worthy ideals” may be a call to travel, or start a new business, or maybe it is time to do volunteer work on a passion project.

After the conversations I had with my tribe (Jeff, Kelly, Jason & Michele)… and my epiphany in Belize… it is no coincidence that I found an advertisement for Prime Women Magazine,  “Redefining the ageless generation.”  BINGO!  Confirmation to my hunch.

There are a bazillion ideas running through my head.  The future looks as mucky as the water I leaped into at the end of the pier in Belize.  One thing I know for sure, I am not letting the young have all the fun!  I’ll take the leap!  Here are a few things I’m working on:

  1. I love the course Flown The Coop is on.  Creative At The Coop classes start this Saturday (May 19th).  I LOVE all our product lines and supporting local entrepreneurs.  The redesigned the store looks amazing!  Exciting times!
  2. Jeff and I are planning the start of our guest house project.  This is going to be challenging, but so rewarding!  Stay tuned!
  3. I’m going to attack business ventures with confidence.  I am currently building three businesses; Flown The Coop, Young Living and now Scout & Cellar.  They are all wellness focused and allow me to express my passion for entrepreneurial endeavors.
  4. Travel and travel real estate is calling my tribe.  Currently researching vacation property.  AND… Kelly, Michele and I are looking at relaunching a travel project we started nine years ago.  EEKS!
  5. Wellness has taken on a whole new meaning for me.  I started my wellness journey in response to health crisis.  Now, I want to make wellness an integral part of my life.  I am going to be extremely picky what I ingest, inhale and/or place on my body.  I am going to be even pickier about the thoughts that I entertain.  I need my body to keep up with all the business, travel and lifestyle adventures I have planned.

No more inhibitions, I am a women in my PriMe!

Reach out to me by email or comment below if you can relate to life in the prime!

  1. I’d love to talk with you about entrepreneurship in the prime years.
  2. I’d love to encourage you in moving past limitations.
  3. Let me know what travel interests you have.

Life is a journey, come travel with me!

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

 

 

Zest For Life

Flown The Coop is dedicated to those who can’t be caged.  Our mission is to aspire to inspire creativity and a zest for life.

I can honestly say that I have stayed true to creating a lifestyle on my terms.  Jeff likes to remind me that I created my job (especially when I find anything to complain about).  I love my little shop, that provides an outlet for creative energy, and all the lovely people who have crossed my path since opening my doors.  Flown The Coop is not just a place to buy unique finds and gifts, but a developing lifestyle brand.  The kind of lifestyle that questions conventional wisdom, looks for alternatives uses for the discarded, and continually promotes the makers, creatives, entrepreneurs, and anyone who believes in pursuing a fulfilling life on their terms.

Flown The Coop is an unique mixture of Industrial, Vintage and Homestead Goods.  Curating industrial and vintage pieces for The Coop is my original passion.  I also enjoy finding fun gift items, like the Blue Q socks and oven mitts.  Our Homestead Line has naturally developed as I discovered local products that support Burton’s entrepreneurs.  I am excited to now introduce Young Living essential oils to the Homestead Line.  I am impressed with the Young Living seed to seal guarantee, that insures a pristine final product.  These products promote my new passion, WELLNESS.

Photo cred Who is Leading Photography & Garnished Events

My journey toward wellness began at the beginning of the year with a bundle of unfortunate health issues.  What started as a year to be Fierce, turned into the year of Resilience.  As a result, I dove into learning about wellness.

First Jeff and I focused on our diet, changing to a (more or less) Paleo diet.  I then created a wellness room for stretching and an inverted table for Jeff’s back (this was inspired by my friend Pamela Hutchins, author extraordinaire).  I discovered Lynsey Kramer’s Five Chicks Wellness Facebook Page and Instagram.  If you aren’t following The Yonder Way Farm, along with their various social media platforms, you are missing out!  They are the most adorable family with an impressive devotion to providing local and healthful food to the surrounding area.  I became intrigued by essential oils as I saw Lynsey share how her family was using them in their daily lives.

Convinced essential oils were worth trying in my pursuit of wellness, I purchased a starter kit.  It arrived just in time for a buying trip to Ohio.  Stress Relief became my friend on the way to Ohio as I drove through some hellacious storms.  I discovered Frankincense helped some skin issues.  A mixture of coconut oil and Panway helped ease lingering discomfort in my arm that I broke in February.  I used that same mixture, adding Copaiba, to help in healing my new tattoo.  Lavender helped me relax.  I picked up a car diffuser that made a HUGE difference in my truck (lets just say junking is a dirty job).  When I returned, I fell in love with Thieves.  I washed all my new pieces and the whole store, including windows, with a mixture of water, vinegar, dash of blue dish soap and Thieves.  I have enjoyed dropping Tangerine and Lemon into my water.  Honestly, I am a little surprised by how often I grab an essential oil during the day.  Check this info graph out for a few ideas:

There is so much to learn!  So… Flown The Coop is offering an Essential Oils 101 Class Thursday, June 15th at 6:30PM.   Lynsey Kramer will be teaching us the basics about essential oils and how you can incorporate them into your daily lives.

Come for light snacks and drinks. Weather permitting, we’ll hold the class in the back yard. If weather is not coroporating, we’ll move the class inside The Coop.

Check out our Facebook Event for more details and to let me know if you plan on attending.

 

I invite you to join my wellness journey.  I plan on sharing more as I continue to explore various aspects of living on purpose.  Cheers to a zest for life ~ let’s live with a lot of flavor and gusto!  What have you recently discovered in your pursuit of creating a lifestyle on your terms?  I’d love to hear from you!

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

A Dreamy Evening With The Dreamers

The Gathering at Round Top

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Months ago Tara Royer asked me to share my story at The Gathering At Round Top on September 22, 2016.  What was I going to say?  NO?  Of course not, it was such a privilege and a great opportunity.  I was a nervous wreck.  So, I spent months writing and rewriting what I’d share.  Then I spent hours practicing and making changes.  The day of I kept asking myself, “what are you so afraid of?”  Well, it turns out I had nothing to get worked up over.  It was actually fun overcoming a fear and to be surrounded my SO many kindred spirits.  It was a dreamy evening with the DREAMERS.

Thanks to ALL who put in countless hours preparing for The Gathering!  I love that you all cared so much to give of your time!!!!  Your love for sister/dreamers inspires me.

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Thanks to Beverly Martinets {owner of Bel Sole} for videoing me!

Words I meant to share

I skipped over a few details in my rush to finish.  I forgot to say that I actually got the job and didn’t let Jeff down.  🙂  However, it only lasted six months.  I can’t be caged to a desk or clock in.

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Hello!  My name is Tiffany Eckhardt, owner of Flown The Coop in Burton just 9 miles down the road.  FTC is an antique store specializing in Vintage, Industrial and Homestead Goods.  I also love to feature a variety of local products and my entrepreneurial friends!  My work IS dedicated to those who can’t be caged.  I hope to inspire kindred spirits to go for their dreams despite the directions others have taken.

I am so honored to be asked to share my story.  It is humbling to stand before so many rock stars in business.  There are so many stories I could share!  I have Forest Gumped my way through life.  It’s true.  Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get.  If I’m brutally honest, I struggle with fear that I don’t have what it takes to succeed.  I don’t have a college degree.  I didn’t come from money.  AND I often feel like the underdog.  But God has given me a stout heart that perseveres.  The truth is I only become defeated when I compare my journey with others and allow my limitations to define who I should be.

It has taken me a long time to figure out what God had in mind for me. This road to RT has been a long one.  I am very determined and usually choose the road that is uphill both ways.  I am NOT afraid to try anything and get more motivated by being told it can’t be done.  Although, the older I get the more I am learning to lean into God for direction.  In hindsight, I can see how he used each time I thought I had failed or that the deck was stacked against me.

If you get anything out of the stories I share, I hope it’s that… If I can do it… you can too.

I was born in a beautiful suburb of Columbus, Ohio and grew up in a wonderful old house.  I am the child of very hard working parents, Robb and Rose Landon, who instilled in my sister Gretchen and I the importance of working for what you want.  My Dad is a retired fireman and my Mom drove school bus while we were in school.  My Grandpa, his father, owned his own insurance company when insurance was just a developing industry.  I believe I get my entrepreneurial spirit from him.  One of my earliest memories is standing in the doorway of our kitchen while my Mom was making dinner and making the proclamation that I was going to own my own business some day like my Grandpa.

We were a frugal family.  I grew up shopping thrift stores and loved going to garage sales with my Grandparents who religiously went every Friday morning.  I learned to negotiate watching my grandma asking for a better price, even when it was cheap enough.

After graduating high school, I decided not to take the college path and enlisted in the Air Force as a reservist.  I was hoping to begin a new adventure…  It is in Tech School that I met my future husband Jeff Eckhardt.  We lived in the same dorm and became best friends.  After training I went back to Ohio and Jeff went onto Florida for more training.  We stayed in touch and after traveling back and forth several times, until I moved to Florida.  We married in 1989.

After Florida we were stationed at Columbus AFB in Columbus, MS. where we started our family.  We have 2 children Emily and Hayden.  I thoroughly enjoyed staying home with my children.  Being a Mom was the best job ever!  I fed my entrepreneurial spirit with a couple direct sales opportunities.  And Jeff and I stayed busy renovating historic homes.

After 9 years in Mississippi, we moved our family to my hometown Westerville, Ohio. While my children were in elementary school I took over my parent’s drive through coffee shop called Rosie’s Java Hut, which was fun for about two years.  I learned the importance of great customer service during that experience.  My customers loved that I had their drink ready for them by the time they pulled up to my window.  And all of them thought I did it only for them.

Moving our family to Urbana, Ohio is a great example of my willingness to go for it.  Jeff was working for a traveling CatScan company.  The kids and I would travel with him to explore the museums and parks in the area where they sent him.  I will never forget driving down Scioto Street in Urbana for the first time and falling madly in love with the stately historic homes.  I told the kids as we drove down Scioto St. that I would love to live there.  I’m sure they thought uh-oh, knowing their Mom was a free spirit.  That day I found a home that was up for silent auction on Scotia Street.  Jeff and I went to look at it on during his lunch and decided put a bid on it.  The next day we got a call that we won.  In a matter of weeks we moved our family into our fourth renovation project.  This time the kids knew what to expect and were not thrilled.  I tried making light of our adventure the first few months by reading them the book Onto Oregon by the fire before we went to bed in our pop up camper in the back yard.  The kids quickly made friends and it ended up being a great small town for them!  I jumped into volunteering, serving on a the Main Street board and founded First Fridays.

Later when the kids were in high school I became a realtor.  I loved showing off the historic homes in Urbana, until 2008 when the market came crashing down on us in Ohio.  Eventually I couldn’t afford to market homes that didn’t have a chance to sell and had to step away from my first real career.  I was crushed.  So, I did the only logical thing to do:  I sold my car and went to Costa Rica for a month to find myself.  Thank God my husband is totally supportive of my need for adventure.  I went to a language school and stayed with a host family.  It was a great experience, but I didn’t find myself.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was glad to get back to my family and figure out what my next step would be.

A funny story after I got back: A friend of mine in real estate went to work as a sales manager for a local manufacturer.  He called and asked me to apply for an inside sales position.  I went to an interview and thought to myself that I would be a shoe in…. Wes knew my work ethic and I had done sales my whole life.  He and I had several conversations about how it’s hard to teach sales, you either have it or you don’t.  Well, I was called back for a second interview.  I was totally annoyed.  I did not see the point.  On the way out the door the morning of the second interview, I asked my husband for some advice.  I never really held a corporate job.  He turned to me and said, “All I can think is this is your one chance fancy don’t let me down.” I got the job, I worked for the man all of 6 months.  I just couldn’t be caged to a desk or clock in.  I worked there long enough to save for a trip to Italy… Which was a dream Jeff and I realized in March 2011.

I may not have had a job, but I was never idle.  I was trying a variety of opportunities to figure out my “muse.”  I had a blog and had learned how to promote businesses using social media.  I had founded a group called Weekend ReTweat.  We were a group of ladies who had met on Twitter and then later in person at Tweetups in Columbus.  Weekend Retweet used our various social media platforms to collectively promote B&Bs and area attractions. It was fueling my need to travel and my passion for marketing.

I had also become friends with a Brenham native, Kristie Herlong, who had moved to Urbana and opened a cute little shop called the Green Owl.  We had the bright idea to put all our stuff together and do the Springfield Flea Market in the month of July.  Kristie was really good at merchandising and we were both excited.  We had no idea what we were doing, but were having a blast and felt like we were making a killing despite being an off month. That weekend hooked us into this crazy business.  We later named our little business Flown The Coop.  Mainly because we both wanted to get out of the house to JUNK.  Kristie and I had done Round Top together.  We set up at the Antique Depot (which is now the Stone Cellar).  Funny thing is when we did that show I never in a million years would predict that I’d be living in this area within a few years.

Jeff and I had been married about 20 years when he shared with me his dream to move to Texas.  Our kids had graduated high school by this time.  So, he told me that it was his turn to live near family.  I hate to admit it, but I was devastated by the idea.  I couldn’t imagine moving away from my kids, family and friends.  I was frightened by leaving my projects behind and starting completely over.  It took me several months after Jeff moved to finally join him.  I moved and took the name Flown The Coop with me.  Flown The Coop took on a new meaning for me.  Most families send their kids off into the world…. Jeff and I flew off and left the house to the kids.

This was really hard for me.  I am a small town girl who moved to Houston, the fourth largest city in America.  It took months, but I gradually found my groove doing the Canton Flea Market once a month and Round Top twice a year.  We found a cute little house to rent in the Heights and I rented a booth space in Chippendale Eastlake Antiques on 19th St.  I quit Canton to take care of my booth and set up at Round Top 2x a year.

One of the best things that happened to me during this time was befriending Brian and Melonely Russell, owners of The Seedbox.  They were rock stars in my eyes.  Both of them are extremely talented, generous and took me under their wings.  I helped them with Urban Market in Houston and the Dallas Gift Market.  I learned so much about merchandising and ways to look at the business from them.

Brian and Meloney encouraged me to add Urban Market and the Dallas Gift Market to the list of shows I did a year.  I quit my booth space and was so proud to set up seven times a year at shows.  To say it is hard work is an understatement.  I have a deep respect for the dealers out in the fields.  I got better at merchandising and figuring out what works for my booth with each show.  But honestly, I was not happy.  Jeff could not do this business with me because he had a REAL JOB that he loved.  And I haven’t figured out how to be his Sugar Mamma.  Traveling away from Jeff and toting all the heavy industrial pieces I love was taking a tole on Jeff and I. I started dreaming of a property that we could live in and work at.  I had specific ideas of what I wanted life to be like.  I wanted to walk to live music.  I wanted to be in a community of creatives.  During the show I would drive around Round Top and wish I could have a store here.  Jeff and I began looking for warehouse space in Houston and drove around the country looking at options.  Everything seemed way to expensive and totally out of reach.  I was tired and discouraged.  During the Fall Show in 2014 I remember telling God that I something needed to give.  I had just finished unloading our truck and setting up my booth.  I was exhausted and just couldn’t do it anymore.  During that show my friend Meloney came to our booth one morning and asked me if I knew Old Glory was selling their little property in Burton?  I remember my eyes getting big and told her that I had to have it.  I had been to the property several times and knew the past two owners.  I called Jeff to tell him the news and expected him to say that I had lost my mind.  Instead he said, “Let’s make an offer!”  I immediately called Brian Kuhn to tell him Jeff and I would like to make an offer on his property.  This was on a Friday and we agreed to meet him on Monday.  That weekend was so hard for me.  I knew that I’d be heart broken if it didn’t work out, I’d have to start all over again figuring out what to do with my life.  Jeff and I went by the property on Saturday evening after we closed my booth.  When we got there we saw a double rainbow over Burton.  It was a sign.  I called my daughter Emily about the property, she told me, “you know it will work out Mom, you didn’t have time to think about it.”

We signed the papers to close the deal at the end of November 2014, our year of jubilee.  This is the first home we moved into that didn’t need a renovation.  And we love Burton!  It is the obvious choice for me, off the beaten path with so much scope for the imagination.  Flown The Coop has become everything I dreamed it could be.  Thank God for Social Media!  I’m convinced that no one would know about Flown The Coop without friends talking about it on their social networks.  I couldn’t make Flown The Coop happen without the constant support of my husband Jeff!  He’s been making my dreams come true for 27 years.

My Mom always liked to say, “go with the flow and your sure to grow.”  I think my stories illustrate the importance of being willing to go with the flow, work hard, show up, never give up and talk about what you want. I am dreamer, but I also believe that you have to keep trying until the perfect solution presents itself.  I talked to God a lot about it.  Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses:  For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future. After the 2008 crash “the year from hell”, I was convince that he was not even on my side.  But He knew what I needed and recaptured my heart in the process of pursuing this dream.  And HE knows exactly what you need and can lead you to it.

I couldn’t be happier developing my little piece of heaven.  I’m so thankful that my journey led me to Texas and especially this area.  I love being involved in Burton and watching this secret town develop into a creative haven with several new businesses opening this month, one being the Burton Roadhouse where I can walk to hear live music!

So, I leave you with the words of Steven Tyler…

I know nobody knows where it comes and where it goes.  I know it’s everybody’s sin.  You’ve got to loose to know how to win.  Dream on!  Dream until your dreams come true!

DREAM ON!!!!!!

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky

 

 

 

Spreading Wings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all of my wonderful customers {dear friends} for helping me put Burton on the map during the spring Texas Antiques Show!  Each show just keeps getting better.  Karaoke Night and White Linen Night were both huge successes.  Karaoke Night felt like a scene from a Reese Witherspoon movie, as I watched guests approach The Coop carrying their lawn chairs and coolers to listen to Karaoke singers in the back yard.  The community did not disappoint on White Linen Night either.  Loved seeing the crowd dressed in white enjoying Libby Koch, Bad Girl BBQ and of course all the talented artists who participated.

It was an exhilarating and exhausting three weeks.

Now that I have had time to catch my breath, I am ready to take on new and exciting things at The Coop!  The past few months I’ve been exploring high quality and light hearted items that compliment our “Industrial, Vintage and Homestead Goods” core products.  I promise to never stray too far from our core, but would also like to

be delight and frolicsome, I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.

Have you ever felt like an underdog?

I confess that I often feel like the underdog as I forge my way in a secret town.  The underdog is a role that many entrepreneurs can identify with.  We march to our own beat and take the path least traveled.  Part of my mission at Flown The Coop is to promote fellow entrepreneurs and underdogs. I wholeheartedly believe everyone can achieve a dream by hard work, persistence, determination and being flexible to market trends.  It also helps when your small business community focuses on discovering ways to support each other.

I am so proud of the variety of talented people featured at The Coop.  Our vendors are dear friends who are chasing a dream and the majority of them are local folks.  We currently offer tee shirts designed by Sugar Pie Tees and Display,  Pamela Fagan Hutchins fiction and nonfiction books, artwork by Humble Donkey Studio, Lazy Bee Honey and honey jams, lavender products by Lacey Farms and sugar scrubs by Massage Therapy by Emily (my daughter).

In May The Coop will add jewelry created by Anastasia Gregoire.  Anastasia designs jewelry from vintage silver platters.  Stayed tuned on our Facebook Page for details!

New to The Coop: Boomtown Coffee is now sold at The Coop in one pound bags of whole been blends {Ethiopian Amaro Gayo and the very popular Darkness blend}.  You can now buy THE coffee voted number one in Houston at The Coop!  {EEKS!}  Jeff and I made Boomtown part of our daily routine when we lived in the Houston Heights.  Our son, Hayden, roasts coffee and is a barista for Boomtown.  We love this company and are thrilled to bring the Boom to Burton! #BringmetoBurton #BringtheBoomtoBurton 🙂

Items Just for the FUN

I am open to any idea that will make our customers smile!  A few months ago my daughter texted me a picture of novelty socks that she insisted we carry at The Coop.  So I did.  The first weekend we sold ten pairs.  SO FUN!!!!  I love watching people read the socks.  Most of them supports my sassy side.

When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead. ~ Hemingway

Spreading my wings

Despite my love for The Coop and my beloved secret town of Burton, I need to fly free from time to time.  In May I will hit the road for a buying trip to Ohio.  I have several stops planned along the way and will see my favorite pickers once I’m in Ohio.  I hope to bring back amazing Industrial and Vintage finds.  You can follow my journey on our Facebook Page and Instagram.

Contact me if you would like me to hunt for something specific for you!  The Coop will be open while I’m on the road.  But please call or check our FB and Instagram for possible closings.

That’s the scoop on The Coop!  I’m excited to spread my wings with new ideas, products and an upcoming road trip.  Hope you have something zesty to pursue!  I’d love to hear about your adventures.

Dedicated to those who can’t be caged,

~ Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

 

 

Exploring The Back Roads

The Local Experience

I love to travel, preferring trips spent exploring back roads and discovering local hot spots.  No matter where I go, I always spend the trip wondering what it would be like to live there.  Several years ago Jeff and I realized a dream trip to Italy.  One of our best decisions was renting an apartment in Naples for a week.  We thoroughly enjoyed walking to the neighborhood markets and bringing food back to prepare in the kitchen.  Every evening we saw the same couples strolling down the street as a part of their daily ritual.  By the end of the week we felt satisfied that we immersed ourselves in the local experience.

Back Road Dreaming

As a dealer who set up in Warrenton at Bar W twice a year, I often wondered what it would be like to to be a local in the Roundtropolis.  I found it was difficult to immerse myself in a local experience.  I was there to work and had so little time to get away from my booth.   After a day selling junque, my friends and I would go to our favorite local restaurants, which were always packed with visitors and dealers.

I woke up early some mornings to spend time exploring before I had to head to my booth.  On those early morning road trips, the back roads seem to be calling this road warrior to the country.  A dream to open my own store in a small community was developing.  I was willing to answer the call, but the dream felt just too far out of reach.  And really, did I want to be “caged?”  Could I live in the country?  What did locals do for fun?

Where The Back Roads End

You know the story… dreams do come true!

After a full year, I can honestly say that living on a back road is more than I could have ever imagined!  Our friend Abbey Road coined the phrase, “Where The Back Roads End.”   Burton IS where the back roads end!  Life travels at a slower pace out here.  It is not uncommon for people to stop by The Coop just to shoot the breeze.  I love the sense of community!

We are supported by the most generous and hard working people.  The business owners of the Roundtropolis understand the need to promote each other, which has been helpful in growing Flown The Coop.  I showcase several local entrepreneurs, a local author and a local artist in The Coop.  The creative community is flourishing on the back roads!

Our social calendar is never boring.  I am so grateful to live in Burton with so many kindred spirits who enjoy life!    Here’s one of my Facebook posts from February 8th:

For those who wonder if country life is boring… We started the weekend Friday at ROYERS ROUND TOP CAFE and then dropped by a friend’s house to sit by the fire for a bit. After another great day at The Coop, Saturday evening we went to Saddlehorn Winery for wine tasting and sang carpool karaoke on the way to a Mardi Gras party at The Stone Cellar. Sunday I worked in my garden (this weather is awesome) and then went to a Super Bowl party at The Cottages on Mill Creek-Round Top Lodging.

Exploring the back roads for yourself

Wether you need to recharge yourself in the quietness of the country or you’re in need for an adventure, exploring our back roads will not disappoint.

When you hit the road, I hope you make your way to Burton.  We are located half way between Houston and Austin on 290.  It’s where the back roads end.  If you want the local experience, stop by The Coop to ask for directions.  I would love to visit with you!  I try to keep up with what is going on, where to eat, nice places to stay and who you need to meet.  I’ll point you in the right direction.

You never know what you’ll discover off the beaten path.

Happy Trails,

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

 

Answering The Call

 

My restless, roaming spirit has called.

“Traveling is like flirting with life.  It’s like saying, I would love to stay and love, but I have to go; this is my situation” Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

The Coop is currently at an all time low in the junk department.  While I love pouring over beautiful catalogs, ordering from a catalog pales in comparison to the joy I experience junking, and meeting up with my friends who deal in the coolest junque!  “Chief Junker” is my favorite hat that I wear at The Coop.  Returning to The Coop with a trailer load satisfies my restless, roaming spirit with adventure.  I hate to leave my beloved Burton, but I have to Fly The Coop.  This is my situation.

The Coop will be closed January 14th – 23rd

Jeff and I are answering the call with a road trip to Ohio.  Armed with audio books and a journal for my crazy ideas, we’ll hit the road next week.  The hours on the road often feel endless.  If I’m lucky, we’ll stop at a few interesting places on the way.

I know once we make it to our destination I’ll have plenty of treasures to pick from.  I have an idea of what I’m looking for, but am always open to the unexpected.  On our last trip Jeff bought a stack of eight foot church pews (the seats and backs, without the ends) from our friend Ken.  I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea.  They took up a lot of room on our trailer.  There were enough ends to make four pews.  Jeff cut the eight foot pews into four foot sections and added a galvanized detail to the ends.  The finished product turned out fantastic.  The owners of The Grand Texana saw the pews Jeff crafted and commissioned him to make eighteen short pews out of the remaining stack of eight foot pews.  I shared this story with Ken.  He laughed and reminded me, “Tiffany you weren’t even 40% on those pews.”  Lesson learned.  Jeff and I will never question each other’s wisdom or sanity when junking.

I am on the hunt for specific treasures for a few of our customers.  I enjoy the satisfaction of finding the perfect piece and their delight when it is delivered.  Email me what you are looking for at eckhardt.tiffany@gmail.com if you are interested in this service.

Remember to stayed tuned to the Flown The Coop Facebook Page and Instagram account @2FlownTheCoop!  We’ll share our adventure on these two platforms.

Flown The Coop Reopens January 28th

The doors will reopen on Thursday, January 28th.  Will you answer the call to fly the coop?Plan a road trip to be the first to pick from the treasures we bring back to Burton.  While your here, show off your wings by taking a picture in front our Gen.U.Ine Free Spirit mural.  Tag them with #2Flownthecoop so we can celebrate all our free spirits!

#BringmetoBurton

Happy Trails!

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky.