Gen Blue + “New Life” = Your Business

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         Alexander “Xander” Jacob, a Gen Blue inspired “Minion” with his “True Blue” parents,               John & Ashley Houseman, at only 20 hours old. (Photos by Kristina Stotlzfus Photography 2015)

This is truly one of the most special blog posts I’ll ever have the opportunity to write. Not because its content is made up of some profound wisdom or tips and tricks of our trade, but because this post was premeditated while this beautiful baby, Alexander “Xander” Jacob (whom we refer to as our Minion, in which I’ll get to in just a moment), was being knitted together in my womb. I had 9 months to think about this post and how the birth of this beautiful boy not only has so many parallels within our business life, he is a direct result of Coldwell Banker Generation Blue in Hollywood last October.

Literally. Think about that for a moment without me giving you the talk about “the birds and the bees”…

Last year’s Gen Blue was the 2nd one for the books for my husband John and I, as we also attended the one in NYC in 2013 (a-maz-ing). As parents of then 2 children, and like many of of other Gen Blue’ers, this is what we’ve been using as our annual excuse for a “vacation”. Yes, we attended sessions, met some fantastic people within the Coldwell Banker world, and we’ve managed to sneak in a day or two to explore, see the sights, and simply just get away from life from home for a brief moment. (If you’re anything like us, you looked up the Cubs schedule before your flight. You know who you are!) What we weren’t expecting, was life. New life, and adding new life to our business.

You’re thinking, “‘adding new life to your business?’ What does that mean and how could that benefit me?”. It’s simple. Gen Blue (as it did for us) will exceed your expectations on so many levels, you will have SO many takeaways, ideas, new connections, that you have NO choice but to utilize them to help to help you grow, strengthen and/or revitalize your business for the better – you’ll be adding new life – a breath of fresh air to your business.

My husband came to Hollywood as a “referring agent”, my travel companion and eye candy while we toured the California coast. He left the west coast as my business partner, master of CMA’s and my buyers agent extraordinaire. Something happened at Gen Blue for us, our business and our family. Here’s just a few of too many things to list that changed the way we do business because of attending the Generation Blue Experience.

Manager & Broker Sessions
So, my first session sounded really awesome but ended up being directed specifically towards Managers and Brokers – neither of which I am. Rather than leaving, I stuck around to see what Matthew Ferrara had to say and let me tell you, I WISH my broker (sorry, Don! Glad you ARE coming this year!) would’ve been in attendance. Although I’m used to the wildly awesome Prezi presentations that Matthew usually gives, this was so information packed towards managers and brokers bringing in new blood, structuring their business, and other manager-y things to make them successful, I was wondering WHY this wasn’t a packed house?! If you’re a broker or manager, there’s some knowledge to be had at Gen Blue tailored just for YOU!

Agent Sessions: Marketing, Organization, Social Media & Team-Building
Ooh, my! If I could name every speaker and panel that we attended at Gen Blue, you’d be tuning me out, because I could write a book on what I learned in 3 days! The inspiration we gained and ideas we came away with literally changed our life. Between listening to Jessica Edwards, Chavi Holm (Team Diva) and Danny Hertzberg (The Jills) talk about team building to hearing some cutting edge marketing tips in other sessions, we were so on fire to restructure and build our business that making this career change for my husband never would’ve been a reality had we not made the trek to Hollywood.

The General Session
Last year we took over Dolby Theatre (you know, where they host the Academy Awards?) and Gen Blue kicked off with some crazy pumped up action by some of our fearless leaders (Budge, Mike and Sean), an American Idol-esque rendition of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home” sang by Renee Savoy and was lead by the one (and only) ever-so-famous Jane Lynch. This year, Gen Blue is taking over The Chicago Theatre with more awesomenss from our leaders and an epic Lip Sync Battle between 3 Gen Blue’ers in attendance (still a few days to enter, click here)! I said it, epic. So much epicness in one theatre, experiencing in person is the only way to go.

The Speaker Line-up
Although the stellar speaker line-up for Chicago is still yet to be announced, let me tell you… Don’t. Miss. This. A few of the headliners last year were Tom Ferry, Zan Monroe, Matthew Ferrara and Katie Lance, plus many (many!) more. If you’ve never heard of them, Google’em. If you’ve heard the names but never looked into them, don’t wait another minute to hear their goodness. If you’ve heard of them and know of this awesomeness that I’m trying to convey, don’t fret, this year in Chicago it will be even MORE fantastic and you will learn even more than you ever have before so you need to be there!

The People
One of my favorite things about being on the Social Squad is meeting some of my other True Blues that I’ve connected with online IRL (cyber code for “in real life”). Having relationships online is fun, but there’s nothing like having the opportunity to connect with 3,000 other Coldwell Banker agents world-wide IN-person. Don’t ever underestimate the power of relationships that you build with agents from coast to coast (or even Monaco!), as you never know where your next referral may come from. Meeting other agents, managers and brokers in person also gives you the chance to share, learn, and take away some of the most amazing tips that have helped them to be successful by hearing their personal trials and experiences. The relationships you’ll create and build at Gen Blue will last you a lifetime – you can’t build if you don’t go!

The Party
I don’t know if I should compare last year’s closing party to being like “a kid in a candy store” the size of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or the excitement of Christmas Eve x’s infinity. Coldwell Banker – I KID YOU NOT – shut down an entire theme park just for Coldwell Banker Gen Blue attendees. Yes, thousands of agents, managers and brokers alike had the time of their life at Universal Studios Hollywood riding rides, having a massive dance party with DJ MARY MAC, food and beverages galore until we closed the park down. It was pretty exclusive, True Blues only. This year, I can not WAIT to see what they do, as we are taking over Soldier Field as our final “hurrah” to the best few days of your business life in 2015.

As promised, back to the Minion (if you don’t know what that is, they just made a Minion Movie). New life. Gen Blue. Tying this baby (no pun intended) all-together. Our littlest man (we now have 3!) was born just shy of 9 months after our Gen Blue Hollywood Experience. Again, I’m not going to reiterate the talk you probably had with your parents in your teenage years, but it’s the truth. Baby “Xander” is our little Universal-Studios-Gen-Blue-Closing-Party-inspired Minion. This was the trip of a lifetime for us, as my husband went to California for vacation and came back as a member of our team. The Generation Blue Experience was just the “experience” he needed to bring our real estate business to the next level – isn’t it time for you to do the same?

Sign up your broker, your manager, your assistant, prospective team member and yourself by clicking here, you won’t regret it!

Meet John

We are pleased to announce that as of November 1st, 2014, Ashley has welcomed her husband, John Houseman, to form the team titled “Houseman & Co.”!! Together, they will have the opportunity to help serve their buyers and sellers  – both local and far- with twice the marketing power, quality service and of course selling and finding just the right homes for customers!!

More info and links to connect with John on social media to come very, very soon!

Houseman & Co Profile Pic

11 Hollywood Inspired Must Do’s While Attending Gen Blue

Last year, my husband and I added few extra days to our Generation Blue Experience to make a little time for vacay. It was our first “us” trip without our two sweet minions (see what I did there?) since our honeymoon 5 years prior. Result = a HUGE success, which leads to our now 6 day venture in the land of the rich and famous – 6 days in Hollywood and the ‘Hills, SO much to do and so little time!

Our “itinerary” last year was inspired by some of our favorite flicks that took place around the Big Apple, so to keep the merriment going, we’ve revisited some of our favorite films that were filmed in (or around) Tinseltown to inspire us to make a few pit stops while we’re west coast bound.

1. Golf ‘n Stuff – Karate Kid
Location: 10555 Firestone Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650
Karate Kid Golf n Stuff

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who hasn’t wished they could’ve tagged along on Daniel and Ali’s first date full of go karts, bumper boats, arcade games galore with a little hand holding in the photo booth? Ok, maybe not tag along, but definitely have your inner kid just dying to go there for yourself. Yeah, that’s me. Golf n’ Stuff is actually family fun park that’s still around today – and it’s on our hit list.

2. “McFly House” & “Enchantment Under the Sea” Dance – Back to the Future
Location: 9303 Roslyndale Ave & First United Methodist Church of Hollywood, 6817 Franklin Ave
BTTF McFly Guitar Dance

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t tell you how many years growing up I asked for a “hover board” for Christmas or just *wished* I could find the ultimate prom/homecoming dress to resemble Lorraine’s iconic attire from Back to the Future’s (I & II) “Enchantment Under the Sea” Dance. This trilogy has been (and probably forever will be) in my top 3 all-time favs, which is why getting a glimpse of Methodist Church of Hollywood (where the dance was held in the gym) on Franklin Ave, as well as checking out the McFly Residence in “Lyon Estates” is on list of places to pass by.

3. Randy’s Donuts – Iron Man 2
Location: West Manchester Ave, Inglewood, Los Angeles
Randys Donuts Ironman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some like to travel for the sights, I like to travel for the food. In this case, the combination between the two is epic – as in the sunrise scene of Iron Man 2 where Nick Fury finds Tony Stark/Iron Man/Robert Downey Jr after this birthday bash lounging – literally – in the donut of the famous Randy’s Donuts. Although this is no fancy cuisine, who can turn down a hot, fresh glazed donut and a good ol’ cup of joe?

4. Rodeo Drive – Pretty Woman
Location: Rodeo Drive is a two-mile long street, in Beverly Hills, California
Pretty Woman Shopping

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia Robert’s character was sent out enjoy the ultimate shopping spree – with or without a personal shopper – along Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive. Here you’ll find the most desirable window shopping as well as do some heavy plastic dropping at some of the world’s most exclusive designers such as Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Fendi, Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Giorgio Armani, Etro, Tiffany & Co, Chanel and Cartier.

5. Sunday Drive through the Hills – Weezer’s “Beverly Hills”
Location: Beverly Hills (residential areas)

“…Beverly Hills, that’s where I want to be! Living in Beverly Hills…” Here is where my inner “Realtor” kicks in: Mansions. Lush landscaping. Potential Previews properties heaven. Not to mention, some of these residences are owned by the most famous faces in the world, which is why we’ll be cruising through the ‘Hills jamming out with Weezer with the dream “rolling like a celebrity!”

6. Hollywood Sign & Griffin Park – Friends With Benefits
Location: Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains
Friends with Benefits Hollywood Sign

 

 

 

 

 

H. O. L. L. Y. W. O. O. D. The most iconic symbol of Hollywood is the Hollywood sign itself. One can arguably say that when you think of Hollywood, THE sign is the very first thing to populate your thought process – which is no surprise as to why it is on the list of things you must see. Although there is an overabundance of flicks to choose from that frame up this site, one in particular tops off the others – where Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis hike up to the top of the sign and climb into one of the “O’s”, where LAPD shows up demanding them to jump down. Frozen in fear, Timberlake can’t jump, and is forcefully removed from the sign via helicopter. Hilarousness.

7. Rose Bowl – Draft Day
Location: 1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena, CA 91103
rose-bowl-stadium-531570

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is going to be a stretch… although Draft Day was NOT filmed at the Rose Bowl (nor has a Rose Bowl reference, for that matter), I’m doing a throwback to some personal family ties. My brother, John Hall, was the place kicker for the Wisconsin Badgers (ON WISCONSIN!) during the 80th  Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 1994 where the Wisconsin Badgers defeated the UCLA Bruins 21-16. Draft Day features the Badgers and hubby and I have tix to watch the Bruins take on Utah Saturday, October 04, 2014 at 7:30pm. Lifelong mission to see the famous Rose Bowl in person: fulfilled.

8. Balboa Island (The Banana Stand) – Arrested Development
Location: Oceanside Wharf boardwalk, on Balboa Island in Newport Beach
Arrested Development Banana Stand

 

 

 

 

 

“There’s always money in the banana stand…” the famous words of George Bluth in one of the must underrated comedy series of all time, in the life of the Houseman household. Featured along the beautiful boardwalk of the Balboa Pier, this is one of many places to visit for some beautiful views and a chance to dip your toes in the Pacific. You may also want to check out the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Boardwalk and Malibu.

9. Dolby Theatre – Academy Awards/American Idol
Location: 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
Oscars

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Lights, camera, action! How many famous faces have visited this venue? Hundreds, thousands… probably way too many to count. And who will be sitting amongst the seats of the stars? YOU!! Our opening session which will be jam packed with some incredible speakers and lead by someone super famous (see “must do” number #10) and will be another event in the book, right behind American Idol and the Academy Awards.

10. Hollywood Game Night – Jane Lynch Selfie
Location: My. Camera. #Selfie
Jane Lynch_SELFIE_Social Squad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Selfies” are totally the thing right now, especially after Ellen Degeneres walked into the crowd to take one the most epic selfies with some Hollywood stars ever taken with a few faces such as Jennifer Lawerence, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Channing Tatum, Meryl Streep, Jared Leto and Kevin Spacey. Although the Social Squad hasn’t quite hit “A List” status, I like to think that they’re a pretty stellar group – which is why I went ahead and created the ultimate Gen Blue selfie with Jane Lynch (host of Hollywood Game Night & Fox’s GLEE Star) just in case we don’t all fit into the picture.

11. Universal Studios Hollywood – Despicable Me
Location: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
Despicable Me

 

 

 
“It’s so FLUFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFY!” I think I spit out my soda when I heard this in theaters since it was so stinkin’ cute! This animated feature is fun for kids of all ages (yes, that’s adults too) and is loaded with these adorable yellow beings called “minions.” Minions are the mastermind behind everything that is genius, and hilarious, in this movie and is also a ride at Universal Studios – in which you will have the opportunity to experience since this will be the location of our CLOSING PARTAAAAAY! That’s right, last year we were livin’ it up in the American History Museum, this year we’re closing down an entire theme park – just because you bleed blue and are a part of the Generation Blue Experience! I couldn’t imagine being a part of any other brand other than Coldwell Banker, not only because they know how to put together one incredible lineup of speakers to help us to grow our business, but they sure now how to throw one heck of a party for its brand. Can’t wait to see everyone this week at #GenBlue!!

Monday Morning in the Life of Ashley Houseman (for David Marine)

Nothing like a fab friend (Sharon Steele, aka the social queen who’s always on her “A” game) posting some stellar vids and blogs to make you realize that your own content is a little stale. After taking on some suggestions, “a day in the life of Ashley Houseman” was (for some reason) a topic of interest.

David Marine, this post is for you:

Monday Morning in the Life of Ashley Houseman (created exclusively for David Marine)

Snooze (x’s 5). Coffee (lots). Emails, scheduling walk-thrus & closings. Burger King (rejected). Starbucks (happily accepted). LEGO MOVIE (x’s 3). Now for naps at Houseman Headquarters so that mommy can get to work!!

**Disclaimer: this impromptu video created exclusively for David Marine is the victim of no makeup, lack of sense of fashion or beautification of any kind. My sincerest apology in advance.**
**Disclaimer #2: this video IS longer than 1 minute by 6 seconds. For a successful video, please note that David Marine recommends 1 minute or less.**

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Connect with David Marine (@david_marine), Sharon Steele (@sharonsteelnj) or Ashley Houseman (@brokerEXCLUSIVE) on Twitter for the latest in real estate, randomness and life.

For more local real estate information in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Englewood and North Port Florida, check out my personal Realtor source   www.AshleyHouseman.com

 

Consciously Uncoupling

A blog somehow tying “Consciously Uncoupling” and “Real Estate” together to follow soon. Very soon.

In the meantime, enjoy Tracy Miller‘s take on the matter with her thoughts in the New York Daily News Article, “‘Conscious uncoupling’: Gwyenth Paltrow explores spiritual side of divorce on Goop”

Well done, Tracy. Well done.

Pre-conscious uncoupling. Or cosciously coupled.

Prior to conscious uncoupling, Gwyneth and Chris enjoyed happier times while consciously coupled.

The original post signed “Love, Gwyneth & Chris” can be found here in their March 25th, 2014 blog post on Goop.

You can follow Ashley on Twitter at @brokerEXCLUSIVE, Tracy Miller at @MillerTracyL or the New York Daily News at @NYDailyNews 

Thanks for checking out my real estate blog and http://www.ConsciouslyUncoupling.com

“Write a Blog” That’s What He Said

“I want to improve my ranking on Google, but how?”

A common question that many people ask but not sure quite how to do it. Countless webinars, advertising, coaches and social media sites have an overwhelming amount of suggestions and ways for you to increase your visibility, but there’s so much out there – where do you start?!

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Blogging.

Yes, write a blog. It’s that simple. No one loves a good blog (and its keywords embedded in them) quite like Google.

What is the first thing you do when you are in need of a new recipe or location of a certain place you’d like to go to? How about when you need a phone number or want to know the population of how many polar bears there are in the North Pole? You Google it.

Fred Schmidt Jr, the Director of Technology for Coldwell Banker Great Lakes – Schmidt Family of Companies tells us, “Blog once a week. Google loves blogs.”

With that being said, I am sitting in the conference room. Same seat as I was in an hour ago when Fred drilled us on the importance of “blogs, blogs, blogs”… So here it is, Fred, my first blog on the new website.

Blog as seen on my company’s real estate website: http://www.cbfloridahomes.com/ashley.houseman/Blog