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Hollywood Real Estate- Stories of Staging Props And Flops

Odd and Shocking Decorating Choices in Hollywood Homes



hookah and alice

We all know the importance of staging a home in order to get the best price possible. Some sellers do it themselves, while others prefer professional staging companies. I live in a town where many people work in the film business, so I often see movie memorabilia used as house decor. Not all of it is attractive; in fact, some of it is downright absurd, hideous or hilarious. I would like to share a few examples of poor staging I have actually witnessed with my own bloodshot eyeballs:

Maybe You Should Re-think That, Pal

The morgue table being used as a dining room table in the home of a known Hollywood Actor (Ideal for cold buffets.)

The sexy  negligee collection prominently displayed in a Beachwood Canyon home (My buyer claimed to have a few outfits that were similar… and he’s a guy.)

The throne toilet in the Beverly Hills home of a Broadway producer. When someone sits on the seat, it plays 76 Trombones. (For the Rooty Tooty Royal Bootie.)

The in-home bar with an IV bag full of booze, supposedly from the show, ER. (Line up for the ever popular Nip and Drip!)

The soda fountain with stools shaped like open hands. (In case you want a bit of grab_ss with your sweet thing.)

The pot plant in the greenhouse window (Sure…it’s an “herb garden,” wink wink. And I suppose that grow light over the plant is a solar panel…)

The “dead dog” on the floor of one producer’s office that looked so real it was upsetting. (The owner cleverly named the dog “Stay.”)

A rotating electric chair in the living room of one actor’s home. (Bind ’em, Recline ’em, Turn ’em and Burn ’em.)

The clock that said “In ‘N’ Out Burger”…with the ‘B” and the last “R” in burger removed. (The clock was over the bed…in the guest room.)

The double closets, staged by a professional staging company, with male clothes in both. (Unfortunately, the absent and clueless seller was a very married rabbi…)

The mushroom shaped table with an Alice in Wonderland sized hookah and a set of cymbals. (Bang a Gong and Smoke a Bong.)

A pale blue velour arched bed frame with tassels. (Ahhhhh – the mellow bordello.)

The deer heads on the wall of a home library in a very animal rights conscious Los Angeles – the city that invented Bambi! (No wonder Bambi’s mom died in the fire – it was probably suicide.)

Bad Mojo:

The giant White Elephant in a house in the Valley – a house that just…would…not…ever…sell…. (Never ignore the “elephant in the living room.”)

Tacky and Wacky:

The cardboard cut-out of Ed Bundy from Married With Children sitting on the Bundy couch with his hand down the front of his trousers. (The newest in Hollywood decorating themes: Scratch a Patch.)

Bold and the Beautiful

The police mug shot of the owner proudly framed on the fireplace mantle…right next to the framed photos of the kids. ( Crimes and MisdeMinors.)

Dubious Contributions

The bathroom in West Hollywood with the disco ball light and mosaic mirrored walls. (Mo’ glo and a Glitter Sh_tter)

More next time, folks – this bag of crazy is deeper than you think! Have a great week.

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  1. Joe Loomer

    October 30, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    You’ve turned me into some sick, twisted semblance of my former self. I spent five minutes wondering if BOTH “R’s” in “Burger” where gone, or just one, and if so, which one?

    I once found a bucket full of human excrement in the walk-in attic of a home. Seems the contractor didn’t like to go out in the rain to the port-a-potty…..

    Smile! Boo! Happy Halloween!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Matthew Hardy

    October 30, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Boy, what a weird country Hollywood is.

  3. Gwen Banta

    October 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Joe, you were already sick and twisted – which is why I like you so much. For you personally, I added the word “last” to explain which ‘r’ was dropped to spell “In and Out Urge.” Your discovery in the attic beats anything I have ever found…but I’m the fat lady hasn’t sung just yet. Have a spooky Halloween. (I am hanging small boxes of cereal on my clothes with little daggers through them. Behold the cereal killer.)

  4. Gwen Banta

    October 30, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    We’re not a country yet, Matthew, but when the next big quake sets us loose into the Pacific, we will finally qualify. I plan to be Queen, unless the boys in West Hollywood assassinate me first in order to claim the title.

  5. Joe Loomer

    October 31, 2009 at 5:55 am

    When the big one hits, go get that elephant ! Ride that puppy around and you’ll certainly be the queen!

  6. Baltimore County Homes

    October 31, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    O’my, I though that the house I recently view with a client in Baltimore, MD where they had a collection of manikins staged around the house was odd. Eccentric people who have money tend to express themselves in very unique and colorful ways. I guess when you take away the basic desires of survival and the common upscale trinkets (homes, cars, trips, jewelry) in life you are left with exploring the odd and dark side of the spectrum.

  7. Roy Cleeves

    November 1, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I love these great stories of weird things we find in People’s homes.

    The weird one for me was when the Sherrif was changing the locks and due to a Power of Sale for non-payment of Mortgage. The Sherrif has to ensure that the home is empty and secure. In the Master Bedroom we found a deadbolt on the walk in Closet. Once the locksmith opened it we found a closet with clothes lining both sides of the closet. The Sherrif pushed some clothes and behind the clothing was the Wife who was to have already left the home. What a shocking surprise that was! She left without incident.

  8. Nick Haertel

    November 6, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Al Bundy……not Ed Bundy.

  9. Gwen Banta

    November 6, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Well put, @ Baltimore!

  10. Gwen Banta

    November 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I had a tenant I had to evict who did that Roy…and she was packing a weapon!

  11. Gwen Banta

    November 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    You are right, Nick – thanks for catching that. You must have been a fan of Married With Children.

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails don’t help customers, they’ve run their course

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.



no-reply mail boxes

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using you can use and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Business Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…



Influencer marketing people taking video on a smart phone to record dances.

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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Business Marketing

The use of offline marketing can still be advantageous in a digital world

(BUSINESS) Offline marketing is usually skipped over nowadays for the sparkly, shining ‘digital’ marketing strategies, but don’t forget the roots.



offline marketing billboard

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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