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Jenny Lawson “The Bloggess” Gets Furiously Happy con Queso with an Interview, an Announcement and an Old-School Giveaway

September 21, 2015
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Jenny Lawson is my BFF and it just so happens that she has a book coming out tomorrow. Or today if you are currently in Australia. I say that because a whole chapter of her new book is set in Australia…and I know that everything Australian in the book is 100% true because I happened to be with her in Australia when it happened. So sayeth the Koala.

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Exactly. And that part didn’t even make the book. A lot of other things did though, things that were even better. But the book isn’t about Australia, not at all. It’s about being furiously happy…which, granted, is somewhat easy to do when you are in Australia, but that’s not really the point.

The point is about choosing. Choosing life. Choosing happiness. No, more than that, choosing to be freaking furiously happy no matter what is going down. And with Jenny, there’s always a lot going down. At this point, she would make a really lewd joke and I wouldn’t get it or even know what was going on, and then she’d tell me between fits of laughter what I had just said and then I’d be like, crap, now I have to edit that out, that’s not at all what I meant, and then she’d laugh so hard she couldn’t breathe and we’d forget what we were talking about because she was now effectively dying of not breathing. And really that’s sort of what the book is about. Seeking and finding and celebrating happiness and laughter and joy even in the midst of confusion and embarrassment and suffocation. Or something. It has a lot going on. And it’s good. It’s my favorite thing she’s written yet. Keep reading.

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A little backstory: Jenny and I have been friends for a decade now. We met through blogging when she was writing for the Houston Chronicle on Mama Drama and I was writing here at Blog con Queso.

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Photo credit: Ed Schipul

One time we threw a party called Mama Drama con Queso at a random Mexican restaurant for really no reason at all.  (We even had a logo! And listed and linked everyone who attended. Old school, y’all.) It made zero sense, but it was fun. That pretty much sums up most of my favorite things.

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And this pretty much sums up our friendship right here.

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Over the last decade, we’ve been to an embarrassing amount of blogging conferences together. I even help run one now. I know, so nerdy. So fun. Photo credit: Rita Arens 

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And here we are at the Kirtsy book launch, where Jenny was first published. I think that’s true. This was in her “I wear comfort wigs everywhere” phase.

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We quit our jobs at the same time. (Purely coincidence. She left to write a book. I left to take naps in the middle of the day.) Photo credit: Karen Walrond. Although I’m not sure how that’s possible since Karen is in the photo. Magic!

 

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We moved to the country at the same time. Related, her dead dog was half pulled up from the grave by vultures. So I helped run off some vultures. (Texas forever.) All that was in her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. 

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This was us the moment we found out that her first book had debuted #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. Oh yes it did. So now you’re caught up. And now Jenny has a new book that’s coming out, and we are furiously happy about it!

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Are you ready? Because new book. And it comes out tomorrow (today if you’re in Australia). And you should get it. Like right now. Go.

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While you’re doing that the rest of us will look at this photo of Jenny and my son Harry, who happens to be turing 10 on the same day that Jenny’s book comes out tomorrow (today, Australia). He is a bit younger than 10 in this photo. THAT IS HOW LONG IT TAKES BOOKS TO COME OUT. I feel like we’ve been waiting for this one forever. And now it’s here! Finally!

So let’s do this. An interview with Jenny Lawson, a big announcement and a totally rad and ridiculous giveaway. Keep reading. And get ready to get happy. Furiously Happy. 

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Laura: Hi Jenny. You are nice. And I like your outfit. What are you doing?

Jenny: Thank you!  They’re pajamas.  Don’t tell anyone.  BTW, your hair looks fantastic.

L: Thanks! It’s real. Okay, some serious like I know what I’m doing questions now. Are you ready?

J: Ready! And I will try to pretend like I’m a responsible person who answered these questions on time. * cough *

L: Okay. Let’s go.  When we met, you were doing spreadsheets for a living, basically. Did you ever think you’d be writing books?

J: Yes. I just didn’t think people outside of my house would ever read them.

L: Fair enough. But then they did! And people seem to like them. I’d even say they’re quite inspiring. So what are your greatest creative inspirations? 

J: I read a lot.  Possibly too much, if that’s possible.  Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron, and David Sedaris inspire me with their irreverence and humor in tackling hard subjects.

L: Good answer. Remember that time you stalked Amy Sedaris? Good times. Ok. What is your favorite word? 

J: Tintinnabulation: The sound of ringing bells.  My favorite definition of it though is the lingering sound of a ringing bell that occurs after the bell has been struck.  I love that there’s a name for that noise that comes after a noise.

L: Deep. What is your least favorite word?  

J: Panties.

L: Valid.  And what is your favorite curse word?

J: Fuck.  It’s a verb, a noun, an adjective.  It’s positive or negative depending on the tone.  It’s the most flexible thing I own.

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L: What is your favorite room in your house? 

J: My office.  It’s filled with books, my computer and a shitton of taxidermied animals wearing Victorian clothing.

L: Not unlike the taxidermied animals you wear out in public. Favorite spot in the world not in your house? 

J: The swing in my backyard with a good book.

L: Speaking of, what are you reading right now?

J: I always have a lot of books going at once because I like to read what best fits my mood.  Right now I’m rereading Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune for the 5th time, Kindred for the 2nd time and Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood for the 1st time.

L: The best part about being your age?

J: I don’t have to go to high school ever again.

L: Nightmare job? 

J: Scorpion tester?  Is that a job?  Because I wouldn’t want it.

L: I don’t think that’s a job. But maybe. In Australia or something. That’s a teaser for the book. Get it? How about a talent you wish you had? 

J: I wish I could not care what people think about me.  That probably isn’t a “talent” but it’s something I’m working on.

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L: Your definition of kindness:

J: Forgiving someone who never said they were sorry.  It’s a kindness to them and to yourself.

L: Your definition of awesome:

J: This guy: https://instagram.com/dallasclayton/

L: What’s your favorite new discovery or find?

J: Calamityware.  It’s like the blue willow china my mom had, but infested with octopuses and pirates and aliens. http://calamityware.com (This just in: Calamityware has added to the giveaway below. Keep reading…)

L: A six-word memoir that captures your life as an artist OR your art life.

J: “I apologize for everything in advance.”

L: Okay, but that should not apply to this new book because it’s awesome.

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L: But shifting gears, this is The Queso after all, so here are few Texas questions for you. First, what’s your favorite Texas food?

J: Kolaches.  Not the meat ones.  The fruit/poppyseed ones.

L: Your favorite season in Texas?

J: We have seasons in Texas?

L: Allegedly. What about your fave Texas word?

J: Y’all.  It’s almost as versatile as “fuck”.

L: Almost. Where’s one place in Texas that everyone should visit?

J: Big Bend

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L: What’s one quintessential Texas experience everyone should have?

J: Watching a thunderstorm storm blow in from your porch.  That amazing smell of rain hitting dust.

L: Texans get a lot of crap for being obnoxious…and sure, we get that…but what’s one thing that makes Texans unequivocally awesome and/or pretty great?

J: Friendliness.  Especially in the country when every time you pass someone on the road you wave at them.  Not a full wave, but lifting two fingers from the steering wheel in recognition of “I see you.  We’re both here.  Thanks for not hitting me.”

L: Who is your favorite Texas artist right now? Music or Maker.

J: Miranda Lambert.  She’s perfect to sing along to when you’re really angry or really happy or both.

L: Favorite thing about being Texan?

J: That there are so many definitions of being Texan.

L:. Preach.

J: Right?

L: Completely. Favorite “Texas” recipe? 

J: Um.  Booze slushies?

L: Interesting. And you don’t cook, so very apt. I will follow up with you on this later. I see Jenny’s Boozy Slushies recipe will be here in coming weeks.

J: No.

L: Yes. 

L: Okay, where’s your recommended spot to get the best queso?

J: Your house.

L: Aw! Come over right now!  

J: I can’t I have a book coming out tomorrow and I can’t find my shoes.

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L: Legit. But seriously now, let’s get serious. We’ve all read this blog post which was the origin story and inspiration for Furiously Happy…but what inspired you to take it to the next level and write this book?

J: Being a bit “touched” is so intrinsically part of being me that I thought it would be the next logical book.  Write what you know.

L: What was your favorite discovery you found when writing Furiously Happy?

J: That even people who didn’t have or understand mental illness were still interested in learning about it.  I was afraid that this book would have a very limited sort of audience but it turns out that everyone can relate to a little bit of crazy.

L: What is the one thing you want people to take away from Furiously Happy?

J: That depression lies.  That everyone is fighting his or her own personal battle.  That kindness saves lives.  That being different is nothing to be ashamed of.  Wait, did you say “one thing”?  Sorry.  I suck at math.

L: That’s okay, I am too, and I like all those things. The more, the merrier. And the book covers even more than that. As well as our trip to Australia and a fancy dermatologist amongst other things. But all and all and in the end, what’s your favorite definition of Furiously Happy?

J: Madly joyous.  That looks like I just used a thesaurus but I did not.  I can’t even find my thesaurus. I suspect it was abducted by possums.

L: What’s your deal with possums, man?

J: What’s YOUR deal with possums, man?  You’re practically infested with them.  We went on the other side of the world and you still managed to find them.  I think you might be haunted.  With possums.

L: Rude. That’s also a teaser for the new book, yes?

J: I can not confirm or deny this.

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The above photo is also a teaser for a chapter in the new book. It’s less scary than it looks. Possibly.

L: Right but now to the questions we’ve all been wanting to know: Is blogging dead? No really. Is it dead? The blogging? HA HA HA. Hahahahaha. Ha.  

J: What’s “blogging”?

L: That’s what I thought. What else do you want us to know?

J: That my feet are shrinking.  They got bigger when I was pregnant but in the last 6 months they’ve shrunk and now I’m walking out of all of my shoes.  What does that mean?

L: I think it means you’re probably going to be the next helper on Doctor Who. Or personal assistant. Or whatever.

J: COMPANION! And You’re Fired!

L: Okay, Donald. Role of BFF is so wide open for the taking, folks. Because nope.

J: Yes! And okay, you’re not fired. But you just have to watch it with me, YOU HAVE TO! You will change your mind.

L: No, no. I already watched that one long one with you and it was totally scary, like worse than Fantasy Island scary. And I didn’t like it. And I still have bad dreams about that creepy kid. 

J: No. You have to keep trying. You have to watch at least three. That’s the rule. TRY! TRY AGAIN! Everyone knows that. You have to watch three.

L: I will watch three if you will come back and tell us your favorite boozy slushy recipe.

J: Okay. I’ll make something up.

L: Deal. But most importantly, before you go. What’s the password?

J: Password.

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Are you still here? Still reading? Well if so, I’m extremely impressed because that was long, so you get two rewards.

  1. You get to be one of the first to know that Little Ms. Jenny Lawson will now be writing at The Queso from time to time. Oh yes she will. And two…
  2. We’re going to do an old school, old fashioned giveaway here. Old school blogging, y’all! If you leave a comment here on this post, you will be entered to win the randomly selected by randomized Bloggess Prize Package that has at least seven things in it. Probably more. Here’s what that looks like. At least.
The Old School Giveaway Bloggess con Queso Prize Package

A signed copy of Furiously Happy.

A signed Traveling Rory. The original Traveling Rory, in fact. Total collectors item.

 A signed copy of Jenny’s audio book which she recorded herself. Well, I mean it’s her voice reading it.

Some other random crap I find around that I get her to sign. This could be anything. God help us, every one.

Basically anything else I think of or find to throw into the care package. It will be good, y’all.

A certified certificate that states that you are a WINNER!

Some Sour Patch Kids.

Aaaannnddd….THIS JUST IN!…

The artist owner of Calamityware has reached out to us and he would like to play along in the Furiously Happy Old School Giveaway Bloggess con Queso Prize Package madness so he is throwing another high-quality item into the mix:

(Only he’s not actually throwing it, because it’s porcelain, and he is responsible.)

AND Jenny’s favorite Calamityware plate 

So LEAVE A COMMENT RIGHT HERE telling us what you think of Jenny and/or books and/or possums and you are immediately and instantly ENTERED TO WIN! And my God, I hope you win.

Also, go to Jenny’s At Home Book Party on Tuesday night and join us at Book People in Austin on Wednesday night.  In Houston on Friday night. In Dallas on SaturdayAnd/or go see her anywhere on the road between now and December.

Or come back here. She’ll be here, too.  Consuming Queso as per usual.

But first…

A FEW BIG UPDATES!!!!!!

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A) Jenny’s book debuted at #3 on the New York Times Best Seller List! Whoa! Go Jenny! Go You!

Also…

B)  Here are some photos of the goods one of you will win!  Here’s how it shakes out.

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There’s the whole signed Furiously Happy package of goodness. Book that she used to do her reading (the book she read from) at her first Furiously Happy Tour Stop book reading (!) which happened in Austin. Signed copy of the audio book. Signed Rory mask. And the original traveling Rory. 

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I forgot to pick up random items in my house, so I just pulled random items out of my purse for Jenny to sign. Like some playing cards, a receipt, a package of tweezers, a scarf. Oh and teabags…signed by Jenny, Victor and Hailey. You can have tea with the whole Lawson family.

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Plus, Calamityware added one of Jenny’s favorite plates to the mix: Tentacles. 

Plus, a certificate, some other things, sour patch kids. It’s really good. You’ll see. But this contest is almost over (midnight CST 10/2) so if you haven’t left a comment to enter, do that now!   On this post.

Also…

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C) Our Texas Conference for Women giveaway ends tonight, too (same time, midnight CST 10/2) so if you haven’t left a comment to enter that one, do that now!  On this post.  We’ll be there. You want to be there. Celebrate good times, c’mon.

Go.

Texas Women Are So Awesome, They Even Have a Conference

September 16, 2015
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Where will you be this October 15th? If you’re anywhere near Austin, the answer should be, “Why, I’ll be at the 2015 Texas Conference for Women, of course!” Because we will be there. And you’ll be there right? Because you’re smart like that, aren’t you? (And keep reading for your chance to win a ticket to the conference.)

Here’s why you should attend the 16th annual conference held at the Austin Convention Center: Thousands of women from across the state attend for a full day of networking, inspiration, professional development and personal growth. The one-day Conference features keynote addresses, and breakout sessions led by more than one hundred experts in the fields of business, philanthropy, health, finance, media and professional development. The nonprofit, nonpartisan event draws women of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in building communication skills, leadership strategies and work-life balance tools.

Plus, sometimes they have free cookies.

This year, one of the keynote speakers will be Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Emmy winner, author, two time cancer survivor and all-around inspirational person. Plus, she looks awesome in orange:

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Not many people do, you know. Look awesome in orange.

Patricia Arquette will also be keynoting. You may remember Patricia from when she won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Olivia in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, then gave a heartfelt acceptance speech on the gender wage gap in the U.S. You just know her keynote will be smart, powerful and full of calls to action about pay equity and how we can achieve it.

Patricia Arquette Photo: Randee St. Nicholas/CBS © 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Patricia Arquette
Photo: Randee St. Nicholas/CBS
© 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Also keynoting on 10/15 are the amazing Candy Chang, urban space artist and designer and TED Senior Fellow, and founder of the “Before I Die…” project, and Bert Jacobs from Life Is Good who will talk about how we should all “choose optimism.” He seems very “the margarita glass is half-full,” so that’ll be a fun speech.

In addition to the keynoters, there are 100+ speakers appearing at the Conference, including Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family and president of New America Foundation; Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva and Profounder; Mary Spio, CEO of Next Galaxy Media and author of It’s Not Rocket Science: 7 Game-Changing Traits for Uncommon Success; Aliza Licht, DKNY PR GIRL and author of Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job, Kill It in Your Career, Rock Social Media; Elizabeth Thornton, author of The Objective Leader: How to Leverage the Power of Seeing Things As They Are; Azita Ardakani, founder and CEO of LoveSocial; Gloria Feldt, New York Times best-selling author and co-founder of Take The Lead; Major MJ Hegar, Foreign Policy 100 Leading Global Thinker; Gloria Mayfield Banks, world-renowned leadership coach and many more.

Now back to the free ticket business: Want to win it? Go visit the Texas Conference for Women website, take a look at the speakers, then come back here and leave a comment telling us who you’re excited to see. Check out the Conference Agenda, too, for more insight. Winner will be chosen at random, and they may possibly get to sit next to an esteemed member of The Queso during the keynote luncheon, too.

And just in case you’re not our lucky winner, you can still use this super secret password that will get you $10 off the ticket price. You can purchase tickets here and use the password TXBG15. Win/win/win! Good luck!

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Happy 4th of July!

July 3, 2015
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We have taken the week off, but we’ll be back next week in full force to celebrate July life, summer and the pursuit of Queso.

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Happy Fireworks!

See you next week!

I’m Like a Room Without A Roof

May 12, 2015
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Harry made this for me for Mother’s Day at school from the given prompt “My Mom Is…” And I’m honestly surprised he didn’t say “EXHAUSTED!” But I’ll take HAPPY. In one way, it’s the best compliment he could have given me, because it suggests that when he looks at my eyes looking back at him, I am. Happy.

And I am.

Mother’s Day is a fine enough holiday if only because it was created to encourage people to take a break from killing each other during the Civil War. And honestly, how can you argue with that? However, over the years, it has morphed into an often forced and potentially lovely Sunday lunch gathering of flowers and florals and all things maternal. It’s a nice sentiment that makes a lot of people sad because they’ve lost mothers or children or both. I get this. I’ve lost more children than I’ve had, and as much as I don’t want it to be, Mother’s Day is always a silently roaring reminder, rolling in a quiet storm of dark clouds. I always work to push through it, focus on the happy, and I am for sure thankful that I get to spend my day with my mom and my son. But I also understand the blue periods or blind rage that people feel. It’s a complicated day full of shiny, happy Facebook photos of multiple children and moms of all generations. Happy and sad at the same time.

Of course that really sums up life in general, doesn’t it? This one afternoon that produces hundreds of thousands of photos and a rush of every emotion available to us as humans. Beauty. Miracles. Tragedies. All rolled up into one gathering. It’s all there over a few short hours, and if you read too much Facebook in one sitting, it’s really exhausting. But if I get to choose…and I do…I’ll go with Harry’s vision.

I’ll choose happy.

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On Mother’s Day, we swim. #Texas

There’s a lot to be happy for and about and with and through. I’m also really happy we don’t have to celebrate anything today. Although National Chicken Dance Day is tomorrow. So you’ll want to get ready for that.

 

Dos de Gibby

May 5, 2015
Gibby is two

It’s the fifth of May. Which means, Happy Cinco de Mayo! It also means, Happy Gibby Day! Because today is Gibby’s birthday and Gibby is two.

Just in case you didn’t know and/or didn’t figure it out, Gibby is our dog. She is 50%  dachshund, 50% miniature schnauzer, 100% sassy and 200% love.

I’ve never really had a dog before…or at least I never had one that I actually was in charge of caring for…and I used to be pretty scared of them. (All of them, even the little ones.) But this little one has become my pal. She hangs with me almost all the day long, when she’s not outside stalking her moral enemies, the squirrels.

Because this little one knows how to party. It’s fitting that she was born on Cinco de Mayo.

Happy Birthday, Gibby. You are love.

Soundtrack: She is Love. Oasis. 

The Padrino is Getting Married

May 5, 2014

If you grew up in a small town in the 1970s and 80s, and you related to the supporting characters in a John Hughes movie way more than you ever could to the actual, breathing individuals around you in your real life, then pull up a chair. Because this is our story.

And this story started before the Internet allowed us to find one another, before smart phones reconnected us every second, and before said phones were also TVs and alien tracking devices. Back when we waited all afternoon for our favorite song to be played on a radio station with terrible reception, just so we could quickly push record to capture it. Because you didn’t have a record store. You didn’t have a world wide everything to download anything. You had the people and things you could see, hear and touch within about a 10-mile radius. Small, safe, sound. Sorta. And that was your world.

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And I was lucky enough to have Ken in my world. We met in first grade because we were put in the same reading group. There were probably about 150 kids in our grade, and three of us…Ken, Russell Merka and I…were put together to start reading the Rainbows anthology while everyone else tackled Lions and Tigers. Basically, what this means is, at recess Ken was Luke, Russell was Han and I was Leia. Obviously.

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Valentines from a Kid Who Kinda Hates Valentines

February 12, 2014
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Harry is not into Valentines. And this year, he must bring one in to each student in his class, but he’s really not feeling it. In his defense, he’s just starting to understand the differences between boys and girls, and he really doesn’t know what to do with this information yet. So mainly he wishes everyone would just shut up and play football or something. At least.

But he has to do it, so we looked for pre-printed Valentines packs. They all included pre-printed messages he didn’t want to give. Things like, ‘You are great.’ Or ‘I like you.’ Or ‘Hi, It’s Valentines Day.’

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ALT Summit: Things I’m Not Worried About

January 21, 2014
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Photo credit: Alt Summit. Legs/Feet: Mine.

I just boarded the plane to this year’s Alt Summit, and started seeing a number of blog posts about how to prepare for Alt Summit. And man there are a lot of them. I’m already in the air and on my way, so there’s no preparing for me, but I thought, since this is my (I think) fifth year to attend the event, it would be interesting to read these ‘how to prepare’ and/or ‘what to expect’ posts.

And honestly, they totally stressed me out.

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Valentines Finds

January 15, 2014
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Valentines Day is next and I’m already thinking in pink, red and white.  Plus, now that we’re in this weird, purgatorial No Man’s Land between New Year’s Resolutions and Thin Mints Deliveries, I’m dreaming of sweetness. And here are a few things I gonna need to get this party started.

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Merry Happy

December 24, 2013
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Well, now that it’s Christmas Eve, I’ve finally gotten all the Christmas stuff out. Better late than never, right?

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