November 24, 2008
We'll still do some family updates on that new blog, but Little Miss Green Jeans is no more...
September 21, 2008
Off to sort and drool over our "take". THere are lots and lots of great looking books coming out this fall and winter. The economy may suck, but the writing in this country is exploding (in a good way!)
It started with a moderated chat with the owners of Talking Leaves Books in Buffalo and Creekside Books in the Finger Lakes region. A nice session where we got to here from owners of two very different stores.. took lots of notes. Then publisher reps came in and went over their "picks" for fall and winter sales. Todd went to the kids one and I heard about tons of cool adult books (not THAT kind of adult book!) Lots of great books coming just in time for Christmas and Hanukkah shopping!!! (We'll have them at the store and on the website shortly).
Lunch was what they call a "Movable Feast". They have about 20 authors, and for each course you have a different author come sit at your table, and chat about their books, etc. We had a new author, Carolyn Baugh, whom I would LOVE to spend a whole meal talking with. She went to Cairo as an exchange student in 1992, and has since written a book about women in Egypt. It's fiction, but its based on the women she met while living there. She has also married and Egyptian and converted to Islam... so you can see my loving of her already! Our second author was Carl Capotoro, aka "Little Paulie" from the Sopranos (YES, REALLY!). He's written a memoir of his life growing up in the 60's & 70's with a very unique Italian-American father. It sounds like a really great read if you like quirky and true characters. He was a charmer and, of course, shared stories about life on the small screen. Our third author, whom we didn't get nearly enough time with was Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos. He's got a new YA book out that is a modern day Huck Finn, with a Latino-Irish boy at it's center. It's the debut of a new line of books being published for and about modern Latino youth.
After lunch we had another educational session. This one was about doing a store self audit.... I took about 15 pages of notes... needless to say, the next time you see our little "baby" it may well be very very different. (but change is good!)
Todd is down now for another educational session about IndieBound. Which I've blogged about before (see below). Later they open up the expo and we get to start collecting more and more "swag" and meet more authors.
I just have to say I LOVE ABA & NAIBA! Todd and I come back from these things with so much hope for our little store, that low sales can't get us down (at least for a few weeks). We've already started in a new direction for the store with the off site events we've added this year, and feel good because a lot of talk today has been about the importance of those types of things.
Off to head downstairs for the evening activities.. will blog more later :)
September 20, 2008
This was a light night, with a "Philly buffet"- cheese steak and cheesecake. Before the doors opened we met the owner of a used/new bookstore in Meadeville PA- Tattered Corners. They are very similar to us in style, size, and what they carry. It was nice to see we weren't he only used guys here. Then at the supper we met the couple that owns Harleysville Books in Harleysville PA.
While we were seated we got to meet a few of the evening's featured authors: 2008 Caldecott winner Brian Selznikck (illustrator), Ann M. Martin (of Babysitter's Club fame) & Robin Gaby Fisher. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for a story series she did after the 2000 Seton Hall Fire. She has turned that story into a new book called After the Fire. It's about the two roommates that were seriously injured in the fire. One of them came tonight to talk to us about the book. It sounds like absolutely amazing story of friendship and triumph. There is a short video on our store website about this book (click on the "Bookspots" logo on the main page, then scroll down our new books page to see the video).
So not bad to an hour of "work"! Tomorrow is a luncheon with authors "pimping" their books, and some breakout sessions to discuss bookselling. The most important thing Todd and I get out of this annual conference is a rejuvenation in our dedication to making our fantasy bookstore a reality... more on that tomorrow, after some nitty gritty meetings :)
Peace out book dudes and dudettes (yes, I need sleep! hehe)
September 15, 2008
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
The book takes place at a cooking school. But this one has no recipes, just a love of flavor. Each chapter is a different week of the school, and focuses on a different member of the class. Each person, including the teacher, comes to the class with a past, and a need to interact. I swear this teacher is magical in bringing these people together the way she did. She just KNOWS.... The personal stories are interspered with the cooking and YOWZA. The descriptions of the ingredients and how they affect our senses of smell, touch, and taste are absolutely amazing. I salavate as I read each chapter. At one point I had to read a portion out loud to Todd, it was just so filled with powerful imagery that the passage took me to this home in Italy the character was remembering.
Now the book doesn't come out 'til next year, but you HAVE to add this to your January '09 shopping list (we'll have plenty of copies at Aaron's! hee hee)
September 11, 2008
I had been teaching at a Middle school in the metro-DC area for all of 2 weeks. I was in Christa McAuliffe’s old room, and as I stood at my door looking at her plaque, waiting for the last stragglers to come to homeroom, at staff assistant came by and told me about the first Tower being hit. At the time we thought it was an accident. A few minutes later, while she and I were talking, the principal called all the VP's and hall monitors on the walkie-talkie to tell them about the 2nd tower and called an immediate meeting for them in his office. She and I just looked at each other, hugged, and knew we had a job to do. We still had not heard about the Pentagon or the plane in PA. I had spent a year researching the 1994 attack, and the group that the US claimed was behind it, so I knew exactly what was going on in the pit of my stomach. Luckily most of that day was a free reading time for my fist class, and I had just hooked up a computer in my room. I immediately go online and saw that the Pentagon had been hit, and in those early few minutes there were reports that the Mall in DC was hit (due to the smoke from the Pentagon). I went sheet white, and the kids picked up on it. It was a dilemma to tell them or not. Many had family (parents, brothers, cousins) in the areas that were reported to have been hit in DC). Toward the end of my 2 hours with them, 2 had already been pulled from class by their parents (the first of many that day). I knew I had to tell them what was going on, and being with me was the safest place for them, since I knew the most of anyone in the building, having spent years studying the subject of Islam and the Middle East. I told them, read some from the Washington Post Website out loud, and let them draw out their emotions on the blackboard. They were very brave, asked lots of great questions, and used me and each other to get through the day. Our team of teachers decided to tell the entire group (about 200) kids at lunch and have them come to me with questions. By the end of the day, we merged 4 classes (about 25 students that were left) and let them just watch the news with me, discussing and questioning. While I don't believe in a higher power that controls peoples daily lives, I do believe that I was put there at that time to help these 12 & 13 years digest a horrible day in American history.
Driving home that day, it was eerily quiet on the Beltway. There were lots of military jets flying real close to the ground, and not too many cars. The cars there were there were going slow and surprisingly, very polite about merging. Most had their windows down, and I could hear WTOP on lots of cars as we passed each other.
While 9/11 is a time of remembrance for the world, this time of year is a time that I remember more than just that day.
One year later, my area of DC was under attack by a vicious unknown serial killer. On the first day of his rampage, I was on bed rest (with a little doodle trying to come out early). I had asked Todd to go to the grocery store to get some things. We were equal-distant to 3 Safeway’s. I turned on the morning news, and found that 2 people had been shot at a Safeway parking lot near our house. Not knowing which store Todd had gone to, I was in a shear panic until he came back in the door. I was never so happy to see him in my life. Later that day, the killer went to a Middle School not far from the one that I taught at. The next few weeks, all outdoor activities at schools were canceled. We had to escort students to and from the buses, small groups at a time. The schools were on a complete lock down with cops everywhere. It was truly frightening.
Then a year after that, Hurricane Isabel hit. Todd was at a conference out West. Baby Aaron and I hunkered down in the basement with the dogs for 12 hours. Most of the time without power or phone service. I had managed one call to Todd that night before the worst part hit; to let him know were doing okay. I know that it was hard on him to not be there for us. We survived with only a little tree and deck damage (and 2 dogs that needed desperately to go out for a pee). When we went out a few days later, and on my way to school the following Monday, we saw the long lines of power company trucks from all over the East Coast, driving to our area to help restore. Places like the Carolina coast and Florida are used to it, but it was truly frightening for a hurricane to hit College Park MD! Seeing the outpouring from places as far away as GA, brought tears to my eyes (not a safe thing while driving on the Beltway!),
Then in November of 2004, my first love died when his helicopter was shot down in Iraq. This happened on my 32nd birthday. (Hence, me not celebrating my birthday anymore).
So September 11th is a day of remembarances for the coutnry and the world. It is the beginning of a time of great reflection for me, and a solemn beginning to a season of loss and fear from the past years. Thanks for reading my ramblings :) Peace to you and everyone around you this time of year.
This month's IndieNext featured book is from an author living in Bethlehem PA. She has written on her blog about how awesome independent bookstores are! YEA
I have it on pile to read next. We get to meet this author at booksellers event next weekend, and we will hopefully be able to snag her for a book signing here in the not too distant future.
August 31, 2008
Here's another perspective in relation to shopping for books online (from the Great Lakes Booksellers Association)
Local author events sponsored by Amazon: 0
Think about what those numbers are for your local bookstore
Here are ours (esitmates)
Now where is it more beneficial to shop??? That extra $3 you saved at Amazon could have helped pay for that new park your town is planning, or the needed new textbooks for the high school if you had bought that same book from a local independent bookstore!
(jumping off soapbox... but just for a little bit! hee hee)
August 26, 2008
August 15, 2008
August 10, 2008
Here are some pix from his adventures: (they are from my phone, so a little fuzzy)
July 26, 2008
- Aaron is loving his day camp at his Montessori school. Last week was cooking, and he came home with a camp cookbook, we're gonna tray making fortune cookies soon!
- Lititz has it's own Farmer's Market, and we are diligent buyers. We've gone to the gorcery store once in the past 4 weeks for pantry items (we do get milk and bread regularly, though), but all our other foods are coming from the market... the BEST bacon ever is there (and since I've eaten bacon 5 out of 7 days each week for at least 20 years or so, I know my bacons!)
- Store has been hopping... we meet our quota daily, and sometimes exceed it by 400%! Now if we could just get these folks to come back in January and February (pesky fair weather tourists!)
- Aaron has had his first of 2 trips to Virginia this summer, and got to see Williamsburg. His tour of colonial hotspots will end with our family vacation of Valley Forge & Philly in October (for those keeping track he's also visited Plymouth, Boston, & Jamestown)... next up is his intro to the Civil War with a Grandaddy guided tour of Gettysburg in August... nope he's not being raised by history buffs... nope, not at all!
I promise to be back with more words of green wisdom next month when things slow down a bit :)
June 30, 2008
June 27, 2008
June 18, 2008
June 06, 2008
That's me these days... rockin'! Last night I had my first Belly Dancing class... swivel those hips! Goodness knows I've got more than my fair share to bump & shimmy with. It was a nice workout, even for a plump one like me :) (although I did sweat more in my Wednesay Yoga class).
Speaking of hot desert activities...Todd and I in our effort to really become tre-hugging,, earth lovining 21st century hippies, we're attempting to go A/C free this summer. Our first true test will be this weekend, as we are supposed to hit the upper 90's Saturday and Sunday. PHEW!
June 03, 2008
LittleMissGreenJeans is now an online shop "filled" with handcrafted items recycled and reused. Come check us out (new things are going to be added each month this summer as we gear up for ou official debut at the Lititz Craft Fair) :)
May 25, 2008
May 13, 2008
May 04, 2008
April 27, 2008
Friday... took a leisurley drive through southern PA while listening to some NPR podcasts. Arrived around 1ish, checked in at the retreat, and joined a table of shop owners for about several hours of stitching... now a side note: I have several projects in the works, most are gifts or a special secret one for the store, THEN last weekend mom brought me a very very special chart (a Hollins seal chart, that I remember buying 20+ years ago with my grandmother when I first started cross- stitching), so I was completely torn about what to bring with me. Both Todd and Aaron said I should bring the Hollins chart, and I did. So I started that on Friday (had to frog a bunch, cause I can't count!)... so anyway, I checked into my room at 3, then went back down to stitch some more, came up to refresh at 5, and joined a new table of ladies from Sterling VA for our evening activities (one is working on a gorgeous 2'x2.5' nativity scene). We had wine and heavy hors d'ourvres. Then had a 2 hour presentation by Doug Kreinik, showing us all their awesome metallic and silk threads, and all the great things that can be done with them. Inspiration struck me, and lets just say that my Hollins Seal is going to have a splash of sparkle! (just like me!!) We also got a kit with lots of Kreinik threads, so I'll be sharing my wealth with fellow stitcher friends :)
wonky Continental), and now I totally "get" purling :) ... so a few more hours of stitching and a nice sit down dinner rounded out the day...
April 24, 2008
April 15, 2008
A has always had a bit of each of us in him, not now we all three have something in common- Mysteries. Aaron is really liking us to read mysteries to him at night. His favorites so far are the A-Z Mysteries and the Cam Jansen series. I can't wait for him to be old enough for Encyclopedia Brown! We used to play Clue Jr. with him, but last week he was insistent on playing "big people clue"... so we did, with him as my partner... then he decided to try it on his own, and wouldn't you know it the little stinker figured it out before me! Yesterday on the way to school he started talking about all the thing he wanted to be when he grows up, and he came to the realization that he can't do them all... but he's gonna try to do the most important ones, with police officer at the top of his list.. we're driving along after he says this then he exclaims.. mommy I can solve mysteries and fight crime!!! "I'll be a detective".... what a cutie :)
Speaking of mysteries, I just read one last week that I just have to recommend cause it takes place in a mystery used/new bookstore! Murder Is Binding by Lorna Barrett . I love the premise of a town of bookstores... our whole family would be in heave (and serious debt) if such a place existed close to us... as it is we spend money on books even though we own a store ourselves! Here's the blurb: "When she moved to Stoneham, city slicker Tricia Miles met nothing but friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased-and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries-and hunt down someone who isn't killing by the book. " This is one of the best new "cozy" series I've read in a long time... even if cozies aren't your thing, but you're a book lover, ya gotta give this one a try (and nope, I'm not being paid to say that, and I don't have any at my store to sell... my copy is a "keeper".... although I can order one for ya! hee)
On other non-mysterious fronts... things are moving along here at the store... we're hiring our first "employee" next month. She's the daughter of a fellow store owner and has been shopping here since our grand opening. She's graduating high school in June and will be attending our Alma Mata this fall.. so we can corrupt her with lots of DC horror stories while she's working here.
Aaron is loving that it is spring and he can be out doors ore. We've got 5 caterpillars we are raising, so far none have started making their chrysalis'yet, but we should have some by the weekend.
I can see the finish line on dad's insignia cross stitch. I'm on the last bit of insignia number , so I have 2 more to go... phew.. my goal is to be mostly done by next week.... cause I'm going on VACATION!!! woohoo.. 2 days and nights with a group of knitters and stitchers in Gettysburg. 'll take a few classes, shop and just sit and read and stitch, while A supervises his daddy and grandma here at the store!
April 07, 2008
April 01, 2008
It shows him shaking my hand (I’m the white hat halfway through… and If you listen closely you can hear him asking about the stuff he signed for us… at the beginning you can see his assistant handing me the book too!)
March 31, 2008
We were towards the back when he came in, but got closer to the front while he was in the store... one of his campaign guys saw that I had a book, and brought it in to him to sign.. when Barak came back out he saw that I was wearing a bookstore hat and asked if I got the book back!! COOL!!!! Below are photos from our rain-soaked adventure in civics :) (the hand in the last picture is Todd's, and Barak is leaning down shakign Aaron's hand)
Full photo album can be seen here: http://www.t-mobilepictures.com/cozybookgal
March 27, 2008
The “green” movement has many spokes in its wheel. One such spoke is targeting your shopping. While many view “Shop Local” as a separate campaign, I strongly believe that one can not be a true friend of the Earth and NOT pay attention to where one shops. To put it bluntly… if you do a majority of your shopping at “Wally-World” and the like (no matter how many CFL’s they sell), then you are not working towards a sustainable and healthy planet.
Why shop local? Why should you care?
**“Each food item in a typical US meal has traveled an average of 1500 miles… If every US citizen ate just one meal a week composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce we could reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil EVERY WEEK” (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)… This bears repeating 1.1 MILLION BARRELS spared just by eating ONE MEAL a week with local foods… imagine if you ate ½ your meals from local foods… imagine if you bought those foods at a local store rather than a chain that has thousands of trucks on the road daily polluting your air????
**A 200K sq foot space generally draws an additional 10K cars per day, and more on Saturdays; this amount traffic often depresses property values, but increases costs to local governments (Big Box Swindle)
**When a mega store opens, a community LOSES a net of 180 jobs (ibid)
**Because box-store employees often make minimum wage, the costs to taxpayers to fund Medicare and welfare greatly increases (ibid)
**Locally owned business generate 70% MORE local economic impact per square foot than a chain store (ibid)
**3 times as much money stays in the community when people shop local (chain store profits filter up to the corporate headquarters and CEO, where local business reinvest that $ into the community) (ibid)
Many of the above statistics are economically based, and that tends to lead to the assumption that “Shop Local” and the “Green” movement are separate... but if you add it up this way, it makes sense: If you shop local, then more people have better paying jobs, they then are more likely to spend their extra money in the community also shopping locally, thus giving the local farmer reason not to sell off land to developers, thus cutting back on overall pollution and increasing good air through larger organic farming and less commuting and trucking.
If we can’t support our local economy, then we can’t expect it to support us. Does this mean NEVER shopping at a chain store? No. Even I do every once in awhile! BUT it does mean planning shopping, looking for local alternatives, and not relying on the chains for everything. How do you know where to shop? Here are some local (Central PA) sources, as well as national links to websites.
1) Use your phonebook…. Let your fingers do the walking before you jump in the car
2) For those here in Lancaster area use the SSBN Green Pages, especially if you’re looking for local produce and organically grown goods
3) USDA list of local farmers markets
4) American Independent Business Alliance
5) Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
THINK GLOBALLY… SHOP LOCALLY. And don’t forget to take your reusable bags when shopping locally! :)