Archive | Blogversation

Blogversation: How will you support your local businesses during the holidays?

Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation on Newvine Growing—asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the Blogversation 2012. I wrote the following post around Black Friday.

You Get What You Pay For.

Writing my humor blog and then book, Things I Want to Punch in the Face, healed me when I was grieving, and made me not only face my dark side, but get comfortable with it.

Now, publicizing the book has changed me again. It’s made me rethink my purchasing habits and the kind of person I want to be. After a month of throwing Punch Parties at local bookstores and meeting independent booksellers at various conferences, I see the magic that exists within this community. Magic that I—we—can’t take for granted.

I emceed the author’s luncheon at the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association conference a few weeks ago and warmed up the crowd of bookstore owners and staff with a few Things They Might Want to Punch in the Face. First up: customers who regard their store as an Amazon showroom, coming in and snapping photos or making a note on their smartphone so they can order the book later online. This is an all-too-familiar scenario. I know, because I’m guilty as charged. At least I was. I’ve wised up because I’ve learned something.

You get what you pay for.

And what I get at my local bookshop is an experience. When you pay full price at your local bookstore, you get customer service, a wealth of knowledge, the continuing resource of a neighborhood gathering place, a full-on community.When you buy a book on amazon or another discounted retail site, you get the book. That’s it. The 30-40 percent you are “saving” is the cost of having a storefront, a knowledgeable and lovely staff, and books you can thumb through at your leisure. When you choose to “save,” you sacrifice your experience and your community.

You get what you pay for. And often, you lose what you don’t pay for.

Queen Anne Books, one of many local bookstores I’ve frequented over the years, hosted my last Punch Party in Seattle. Five days later, it closed its doors. This is deeply saddening, but not unique. It’s happening everywhere—bookstores, yarn shops, record stores are all going the way of the dinosaur.

I get it. I’m practical and lord knows, I love a good deal. As an author and a consumer, I like that amazon exists, that people can find my books no matter where they live, that I can easily ship out gifts to friends and family across the country.

But this comes at a price, and I’m not talking about free shipping.

Amazon is the hot dog of retailers: we know it’s bad for us but we want it anyway…with relish.

I’m not trying to slap anyone’s wrist as they reach for their mouse to click the BUY button. I’m just suggesting that we make more informed choices, value all that our local businesses provide to us, and as we dive into another holiday season, choose quality over quantity and save our local businesses instead of saving 40 percent off a copy of Where’d You Go, Bernadette (which, by the way, is terrific. I have Suzanne at Secret Garden Books to thank for the recommendation).

You get what you pay for.

Blogversation 2012: What have you done when some life-altering event has happened to you?

Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation here and on their blogs — asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.

Today’s question comes from Kay Hoffman Goluska, who blogs at Pen on Pointe.  She’s @PenOnPointe on Twitter.

While I have many life-altering events under my belt—really, isn’t every moment in your life an opportunity for change?—the one that immediately springs to mind is the bad January I had back in 2009. It wasn’t just one event but four—a breakup, death of a pet, book cancellation, and surgery—that happened over an eight-day span that set me off on a different path.

I was seriously grieving, realizing that we no longer have a culture or ritual around grief. We don’t know how to talk about it. So we internalize our pain, at least I did. I felt like I was going to fucking explode. I was on edge, annoyed at every little thing. So one night, alternately crying and channel surfing, I decided to create Things I Want to Punch in the Face, a humor blog to smack down all the various and sundry things in life that chap my hide. Now, it’s a book and getting great buzz. Even as my grief subsided, I continued with the blog because it made me so darn happy. And following that bliss in an authentic voice has led to new opportunities.

On a more personal level, that bad January broke me. And it allowed me to rebuild myself in new, healthier ways. I work with an amazing leadership coach, I have an incredible support network, and I’m continuing to do work on myself. I see patterns in my behavior that I’m working to shift. For example, that unexpected breakup in 2009 made me realize I was dating the same time of guy over and over, a guy who wasn’t a good or healthy fit for me. So now, I can see that more clearly from the get-go and make different choices (i.e. RUN AWAY!). Certain events can be devastating, certainly, but after working through the initial pain, there is always an opportunity for profound, toe-curling, goosebumpy change.

And that makes me want to fucking explode…in a good way.


Blogversation 2012: What do you do to take care of your health?

Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation, asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.

Today’s question comes from Blogversation hostess Colleen: @cnewvine on Twitter: What do you do to take care of your health?

Well, I don’t run. Here’s what I do do: I listen to my esthetician.

I’m not kidding. She improved my skincare and my complexion, certainly, but she also inspired me to be a healthier person, to improve my appearance from the inside out, to address inflammation in my system. I can’t express what a huge deal this is.

See, I’ve had GI problems for twenty years. To know me is to know I can belch like Barney on The Simpsons. I’ve downed barium to figure out why I burp so much. I had an endoscopy to check out ongoing acid reflux. I’ve elevated the head of my bed, I’ve taken two Prilosec a day. The best I’ve been able to do is manage the pain and chalk up my gut issues to stress.

And then, a couple of years ago, while getting a facial, we got to talking about inflammation, diet, green powder, and alkalizing the digestive track. Suddenly, a lightbulb went on. Aha, if I clean up my system and start eating better and more mindfully, I might alleviate my problems and improve my skin.

This might be obvious to some, but it took me decades to figure it out.

So I started reading, chewing through books like The pH Miracle and Ultraprevention. I asked my GP for certain blood tests to check stuff like my magnesium levels. I started taking digestive enzymes, probiotics, and a boatload of supplements. And I made myself a green-powder smoothie every morning.

I won’t say I was cured after a week. But now, on the flip side, by following a few guidelines (see below), I’ve lost twenty pounds and get compliments nearly every day about how fantastic I look. Someone told me just today that I look very serene. I think my skin has a glow, not from the occasional facial (although that helps), but from good living and eating. I don’t diet, but I’ve changed my diet. And my body continues to thank me every day.

A few tips I’ve incorporated into my life:

  • Buy unprocessed, raw, whole food whenever possible
  • Add in raw foods, seeds and nuts whenever possible (chop chard or kale and add it to soup, for instance)
  • Take Omega-3 fish oil and Omega-6 borage or black current seed oil supplements, as well as other supplements, digestive enzymes, and probiotics
  • Try to drink a smoothie with green powder every day
  • When traveling, bring fruit, raw almonds, and trail mix to snack on. Airports contain virtually no food that’s unprocessed
  • Dry brush your skin vigorously before you shower; it helps to eliminate toxins
  • Minimize or eliminate coffee, sugar*, soda, red meat
  • If you’re going to eat ice cream or any other processed food, look for a few ingredients as possible
  • Brew a pitcher of iced tea at night and try to drink it the next day (it’s a good way to stay hydrated)
  • Chuck all the old salad dressings in your refrigerator door. It’s very easy to make your own
  • Stir fries and fajitas are a staple, as they are quick and healthy
  • Don’t count calories; focus instead on the quality and kind of food you are putting in your mouth

*When thinking of sugar, remember that any starch—potato, bread, pasta, baked good, etc.—turns into sugar (i.e. glucose) in the body. Try to keep your starch/sugar intake to a minimum at each meal. I sweeten tea with stevia.

(photo: iamgratefulhowareyou.wordpress.com)