March 4, 2010

Meet The Broke Socialite's Muse: Aida Flamm

Photo credit: Clique Atlanta
Aida (in red) and her husband Allan are on the right.
I wish I had a better photo but I don't hijack folks' Facebook pictures.

I'm oftentimes asked "How did you come up with The Broke Socialite?...The name? The concept?"

Well...while most of it is divine, a chance encounter with a real Atlanta socialite (and dynamic businesswoman) was the impetus for what has become the manifestation of my becoming more clear about what I want to be when I grow up...the Oprah of Social Media (ha!)!

Nearly four years ago, I stumbled upon a designer home tag sale not too far from my home.  I'll never forget it. It was a Sunday afternoon, I'd spent the weekend working on some projects for the job that I had at that time and I was feeling very, very sorry for myself.  On my way to the market, I saw a sign at a warehouse and, nearly on 2 wheels, I whipped in. I walked into a bargain shoppers paradise: rugs, lamps, desks, tables, name it...all for 50%-70% off. I was so happy that I nearly cried.

Flitting about the warehouse sales floor was a nice lady staging goods, answering shoppers' questions and generally being delightful.  After I'd been there for an hour, she struck up a conversation (now that I think about it, maybe she was trying to get me to leave).  She asked my name and I hers: Aida. I asked how she'd gotten into the designer home furnishing's business. She told me about growing up in Puerto Rico, working for an airline, her love of travel and then how she began to import these fine items from all over the world.  She asked what I did for a was all I could do not to break down in tears. I so longed for the passion that she felt for her work to be mine. I held it together and shared that I was at a crossroads in my life and was praying for what I'd do next. She gave me some very wise advice: do what you love and the success (and money) will follow.  I thanked her and we went our separate ways. Me with a table, a lamp, a chest...all for less than $200, might I add. Yes!

I got back home and started thinking about our conversation. I even shared it with Mr TBS. I told him all about Aida and our conversation.  Literally, later that afternoon (if this isn't the truth, I shall be stricken down), I was perusing an issue of Atlanta magazine and there was a picture of her...the lady from earlier that day...Aida...with a caption calling her a 'socialite'.  I was soooo tickled.

Shortly thereafter, I started thinking about the things I liked to do and how I could make one of them more of a hobby. It wasn't long before the lightbulb went off: I loved finer things but had a beer budget; certainly there were other folks like me. I wanted to help women with champagne taste but without silver spoons find the best deals and not sacrifice quality.  'What would I call this?', I thought.  For some reason, my thought went back to my conversation with Aida. You know, our stories were not that different up to a certain point and with hard work, I, too, had the makings of a socialite. Until then, I shall be called "The Broke Socialite". This is literally how I came upon the name.

Just as quickly as she appeared, I didn't see Aida again.

Imagine my surprise when she popped up in the "Suggestions" column on my Facebook page last week.  Through the growth of The Broke Socialite, I've met some wonderful people.  As it turns out, Aida and I share several mutual friends and the Social Networking gods recently reconnected us.

I shared a shorter version of this same story (because y'all know that I can be a rambler) and she was thrilled to know that she'd touched my life in some way. 

So here I am...doing all of this. Having a great time. Working on great things. Living a great life through the blessing that is The Broke Socialite!

What do YOU want to be when you grow up? Who inspires YOU?


  1. I love this story. Inspiration, sometimes like love, arrives when we least expect it. Don't you think the key is to be open and aware to recognize it when knocks at your door? Stan

  2. this is really a great story--it's funny how one simple choice can really change everything! fast forward to a few years later and you've really taken ownership of following your passion(s). kudos to you!

  3. People exactly like you inspire me! People who take control of life and make something great out of what they love to do. I keep thinking I'll do what I love when I retire. Just keep trudging through until then...but some days are harder to drag yourself through than others.

  4. The person that inspires me the most in this world is my daughter. Which is what my blog is all about ( She encourages me, uplift me, loves me and endures all things. I belive with all my heart that writing is my gift and I am beginning to utlize my passion for this craft to come full circle in my life. Yet I still feel like I am still stuck in some way! I assume that I will find my light soon! I love this post and it doe smake you think!

  5. You inspire me. Seriously.

  6. This is such a touching story. Awwww, I'm a little misty. I really want to be a lifestyle guru of the Martha Stewart type, but with a twist. I want to connect with the urban woman whose idea of a craft project is embellishing a fly shoe. I love entertaining, hair, makeup, and all things lovely. Universe do you her me? If so thanks in advance. Broke Socialite, you are truly an inspiration!

  7. I too have felt that way with my career. I have had soo many people(especially in my fam) tell me to get a real job lol. It cracks me up because they are mostly all doing something they hate, and then I think hmm,I've never asked any of you for dime! If Im fine and not begging them for money, what do they care in what I choose to do.People have alot of nerve prejudging you or wanting to tell you how to live your life. Good for you for living out your dream! All what Ms. Aida told you is so true,Im a living witness of that!

  8. Thanks for sharing your muse. It was nice of you to be able to share your story with her. They say you never know who is watching you. One day you'll find out you're someone's muse.


  9. What a great story....we just never know how someone you meet will touch your life in other ways.

  10. Yes, Billy did survive...and he didn't even complain about the 15 minutes it took us to park. :o)

    I actually met Aida during the summer. We had a mutual friend and the friend wanted us to meet to discuss job possibilities. This was before I started Charm Home. She and her husband Allan are so sweet and down to earth. I enjoyed hearing about their rise to success when I met her. I haven't spoken with her since but I too was touch by her vivaciousness and her passion for her work. Beautiful lady.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It really is an inspiring one. xo, Cristi

  11. I knew many years ago when you borrowed my Ford's book on etiquette that you were headed for great things. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story.

  12. a real inspirational story! we love you and hope one day you'll be the (not so)broke (but always the prima donna) socialite!


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