Conference and Book Blogger Shenanigans

Last Monday I was off to meet up with my friend Erin and head to the airport. We were on different flights, but headed to the same conference on Library Marketing and Communication in Dallas, Texas. I was glad to have Erin with me as I had worked myself into a tizzy that I would look like a meandering idiot in the airport.

I didn’t look like a meandering idiot, or, rather, most people look like meandering idiots, stressed business men, or exhausted travelers. Erin was off on her flight and mine was delayed. No worries. The people watching was prime and I buried my nose in a book. Towards evening I boarded my flight. I easily fit into my seat and although I needed the seat belt extender I purchased I had to tighten it quite a bit. I probably could have squeezed into my seat. My big girl flying freakout was totally not necessary.

Flying was glorious. The lights outside were twinkling and I saw the sun set while over the clouds. Everything was rose-hued, then blue, then deepened in to an inky darkness punctured by lights and wisps of cloud. My face was glued to the window for at least an hour. It was beautiful.

I felt like Harry on the train to Hogwarts. There you have it. I am a twelve-year old.

When I arrived Andi was there to meet me. I’ve known Andi for over a decade, but this was our first meeting in person. Guess what? It didn’t feel like a first meeting at all. It was like picking right back up with a friend I was chatting with last week. Comfortable. Welcoming. We talked and laughed the entire way home. Okay, honestly Andi listened to me talk her ear off. I was quite chatty.

After she picked me up we were off to grab Amanda from her hotel. Then it was off for Indian food, Chicken Korma for all of us, and more gabbing. We dropped Amanda off and made the trek back to Andi’s. Her kiddo even let me use his room which was resplendent in Spider-Man decor. Atticus would have been jealous. Andi even left a thoughtful pillow on my bed. Ha!

mondayThe next morning I was off to the conference. I went to sessions on gathering data to make marketing decisions, developing an annual marketing road map, working with other departments to create content, and budget-wise branding. The morning’s keynote from David Lee King offered a great introduction for effectively using social media to create customer connections. Lunch was great; I ate with Erin and other librarians from Georgia.

After a full day of conference I was a bit overwhelmed with information and little sleep. I succeeded in walking straight past Amanda and Andi in the parking lot. They circled around and found me and we were off to Half Price Books. That store was HUGE. I behaved and only purchased three books. My phone was dead and I was wandering around in a daze and, once again, Andi and Amanda had to hunt me down and tell me it was time for dinner. I swear I need a toddler leash. On the dinner menu was Tex-Mex. It was delicious.

The last day of the conference contained a keynote about connecting to multicultural patrons and sessions on branding, planning and collaborating on social media and advertising, and marketing for small academic libraries. I ate lunch with Susie from readsusieread! Bloggers and vloggers everywhere!

That night I was picked up by Amanda and Andi and we went to meet up with Trish at a pub house. The food was great, but I still say Georgia wins at Southern fried chicken and tea. We ate too much, laughed a ton, and stayed out late. It was wonderful.


When I arrived back to Andi’s house I realized my phone was going dead so often because my charger died. That meant a quick trip to Walmart for a new charger before spending the morning chatting with Andi and her super sweet husband, David. Then Andi took me to the airport and I was off to Georgia.


I arrived back in Georgia to gray drippy weather and was so happy to see Sam and the kids. Sam SHAVED OFF HIS BEARD while I was gone and started blogging (whaaa???). And, as expected, Persy Jane was completely done with nursing.

This weekend it was back to the generally quiet, but busy daily life: grocery shopping, cooking, knitting, waking with kids at 6am and playing, coffee, ballet lessons, and tot meltdowns (that’s the not quiet part). It was so lovely to learn so much about libraries, hang with great friends, spend time on my own being a grown ass woman, and hold my family close. I’m back at work today and going through interlibrary loan requests and sorting out travel reimbursement paperwork. Back to the grind, but already looking forward to figuring out when to hang with my book blogger peeps next.

Goodbye October, Hello November

october collage

October was such a good month, despite 10 days of sickness and two emergency room visits for sick kids. This month was all about friends and family.

October Highlights:

  • Work was good busy. The student-employee pumpkin decorating contest has been wildly successful on campus and online. The Dean of Library Services loved my LibGuides on copyright and academic integrity. I got to make a fun photo booth and prize ribbons for the Staff Development Committee. Interlibrary Loan hummed along.
  • I spent time with my good friend Catherine. We talked, drank too much coffee, and saw Of Monsters and Men. It was awesome.
  • I had a date night with Sam. We gathered with 105 other liberal progressives for pizza and democratic debate watching.
  • Readathon happened
  • Atticus had his 5th birthday bash. It was perfect. We had it in the morning and served juice and donuts for the kids. We adults had coffee. The kids played at the park. AND we collected over 30 stuffed animals for our local domestic violence shelter.
  • Halloween was a blast and we spent the holiday with one of our favorite families.
  • I wore some pretty dang cute dresses
  • I finished several phenomenal books with The Quick being my favorite of the month.

Anticipating in November:

  • November is off to a great start. I met up with my friend Melissa to take in Crimson Peak (loved it, review forthcoming) and drink coffee. I miss working with Melissa!
  • Tomorrow I head to Dallas Texas for the Library Marketing and Communication Conference.
  • Even better than the conference: I’m staying with ANDI!!!!
  • I think there are some Dallas book store trips in my future
  • Sam is planning us a holiday date later in the month
  • We get our first professional family pictures in a few weeks.
  • Thanksgiving meal and everything Christmas
  • Yarnvember. More details coming soon. Essentially I am attempting to knit or crochet a total of 30 hours this month.
  • More bullet journaling (another post on this later)
  • Potterbinge! I’ll be re-reading books 6 and 7 for this event.

Yup. 2015 is killing it. I’m loving this year.

Happy Birthday, Atticus Clay

5yearsoldDear Atticus,

Now you are five. This morning you woke and granted me the first 5-year-old hug. You sat on my lap – arms tight around my neck – with your long legs dangling off the bed. Seriously, did you grow more last night? I swear you are taller.

Five is a big birthday. At least it feels that way to me. You have opinions, ideas, and so many questions. You ask big science questions and I find myself scrambling for books and resources to answer questions about gravity, dinosaurs, and all sorts of machines.

You are also asking bigger questions. Ones I cannot answer. Why are there homeless people? Where is God? Do we really have to die one day? What happens to kids with no parents?

Big, messy human questions. I don’t have answers to many of these questions because I struggle with the same questions. Instead we puzzle out our feelings together. We think of ways to help. We use our imagination and our hearts to handle the unanswerable. Empathy. You are learning empathy and it makes me so proud.

Yes, you are silly and wild. Underneath the fart noises and antagonizing your sisters is a caring heart. I see it when you advocate for your big sister when she is grounded. I see it when you cry when you baby sister is ill. I see it when you offer to sleep on the floor next to Persy Jane’s bed when she is afraid of the dark. I see ti when you ask if I want to play readathon and pretend there is a river of pumpkin spice latte. I see it when you find crayons or pictures and you save it for Daddy to make art. You have a heart that loves and feels deeply. Treasure it.

Don’t let anyone tell you being sensitive, empathetic, or tenderhearted isn’t manly or will make you weak. It takes incredible strength to remain soft and loving. All of those difficult unanswerable questions can bruise and callous. It takes strength to love without ceasing and to try to better the world.

That is my wish on this big 5th birthday: stay kind. Help. Love. Heal. Believe that you can make a difference because you do make such an impact.

Stay kind, my sweet son. You make my heart happy. I love you.

Happy Birthday,


Ipsy Bag Favorites: Sept and Oct

I’m really enjoying my Ipsy bag subscription. It is perfect for someone like me. I’m “new” to make-up as I’ve spent the lat 20 years with the same makeup routine and a product rut. I’m timid buying full-sized products when I feel like i don’t know what I’m doing. I thought I’d give a shout-out to the products I’ve most enjoyed. I haven’t gotten to use everything yet!

Meet Matt(e) Hughes lipstick in pinky nude. This stuff is amazing. It goes on nicely and stays. A slick of gloss and I’m done. This lasted all day and through multiple cups of coffee.

Evelyn Iona cream blush in Ash. This blush is creamy and non-greasy. It just soaks into the apples of my cheeks and gives a healthy glow. I don’t think I’ll ever use a powdered blush again and this is a definite future buy. Cruelty-free, organic, and $1 from each sell goes to women’s organizations.

Brow Power universal eyebrow pencil. I used earned points to redeem this product. Talk about a lifesaver. This is the first product I can use on my brows that looks natural and fills in the gaps. Before this brow brush I was either weird non-filled in brow or sporting Joan Crawford handle-barred mustaches above my eyes.

mattehughesMatt(e) Hughes lipstick.Seriously… this stuff lasts forever.

#Readathon: Mini-Reviews and Plans


We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (audio) — I’ve read this book several times and truly enjoyed this audio version. It was chilling. I’ll be reviewing this book in more detail later this week.

Dark Horse Book of Hauntings – This is a compilation of haunting stories told in comic book style. It includes a standalone Mike Mignola Hellboy story. Each of the eight stories were tremendously creepy and beautifully executed.

The New Ghost by Robert Hunter – I loved this illustrations in this short graphic novel. A new ghost is nervous on the job and gets help from an unexpected friend.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll – I adored this collection. The illustrations are stunning and the stories are evocative of Angela Carter. Thumbs way up!

In progress:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- I started this one and didn’t get to read as much as I wanted. I gulped down the first 100 pages; I can tell I’m really going to like it!

Five Victorian Ghost Novels – I’ve only read the first novella, “The Uninhabited House” by Mrs. J.H. Riddell. It was creepy, but ends with a Scooby-Doo twist!

Next Read-a-thon:
The next read-a-thon will be on April 23rd. I’m going to try to do things a bit differently and change my schedule to fit in more reading. I tend to co-host around hour 5, so I usually spend my morning cheering, read a bit, co-host, mini-challenge and then pickup reading when the kids go to bed.

Instead I’m going to work on knocking out 5 solid hours of reading in the morning with a sprinkle of mini-challenge participating, co-host, and then cheer up until the mid-way survey. After the mid-way survey more reading and then mini-challenge hosting towards the end of the event (I already have my challenge planned and it will work best at the end). I love the social media aspect of read-a-thon, but I need to maximize my reading time too!

#Readathon: Hour 24 and Closing Survey


Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 16; I had to finally throw in the towel and go to bed
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods was a quick, beautiful, haunting and engaging read.
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope. Andi and Heather have it down to a science.
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Twitter and Instagram are where its at.
How many books did you read? I finished 4 and have 2 in progress (Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Five Victorian Ghost Stories). 539 pages completed.
What were the names of the books you read? I finished an audio or Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle and three graphic novels (The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings, Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods, and Rob Hunter’s The New Ghost)
Which book did you enjoy most? I’m really digging the Ransom Riggs book, but Emily Carroll’s was pretty awesome as well (shades of Angela Carter)
Which did you enjoy least? Truly I enjoyed everything I read.
If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I have a system down for my Instagram cheering. I hit everyone who signed up at least once. Then I use #readathon and cheer for the people in my feed. I fine that often there are folks who didn’t sign-up for readathon or decided to join in at the last minute who love the cheering and it encourages other people to join in. If you signed up to get cheered for on Instagram and you aren’t readathoning on instagram then tough titties. He who participates reaps the rewards!
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I will totally be participating next year! Cheering and co-hosting as well. I may not do a mini-challenge as they seem to piss random people off or I may do a mini-challenge that forces someone to be nice. Like, if you find anyway to bitch about this you are most likely a despicable person.

#Readathon: Hour 17 update

I don’t even have a fun gif to share. I’m plum tuckered, y’all.

Update time! Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and GoodReads!

Pages Read: 307 pages and 112 minutes of audio

What I’ve read: Since my last update I’ve finished The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings.

What’s Up Next: Shower and then bed (a nap?).

Snacks Eaten: dinner was roast beef, taters, apples, and peas. Then I had a pumpkin cheesecake cookie, diet coke, sour cream dip, and chips (not all at the same time, gross).

Mini-challenges completed? nada

Miscellaneous info and oddities: Normally the two-year-old is in bed no latter than 9, tonight she was up until 10:30. It is like she knew mama wanted to read! Also, my mini-challenge is over and we have a winner!

Good night, more readathoning tomorrow!