22 July, 2014  |   Comment

Celebrating the Earnest at Y&YY

It was unscheduled, and positive and supportive. I’ve never been to an event like that.

Y&YY was 3 days in Palm Springs at the Ace Hotel and you are already rolling your eyes at this because it sounds so earnest.

It was earnest.
We could use a dash of earnest.

A Palm Springs Sunset

Good people gathered about 300 humans from their community to share what they knew. The sharing was powerful, but not for the “alternative to SXSW” reasons I’d thought.

The sharing was powerful because I discovered my hunger, our hunger for human connection. These lighted boxes are no substitute for hugging, touching, eye-connecting late nights in person. The sharing was powerful because I met people passionate about this internet that has lately reflected the worst in people instead of the best.

Blogging conference evolve, tech conferences evolve and I really hope the spirit of this event affects other educational/networking events.
My roommate was the foxiest. Also the mom-my-est.

Yes, there was a decidedly hippy vibe, supported by their rules for engagement. Yes, I ate up the respect and positivity.

I also ate up a lot of this kale salad.
Earnest kale.
Apparently I’m one step away from shag carpets and encountering sessions.
(Don’t judge.)

I have been on the RVIP since their first year. Apparently, this is something of which I shall now boast.

But if I hadn’t attended that watercoloring mandalas session with Shelia Campbell I wouldn’t have learned about my new favorite way to unwind with my girls.

I am earnest AND I wear a wig. Oh to be 39 in the year 2014.

Put a variety of chill people in a chill place.
Encourage them to share their expertise,
magic will happen.

And even though I didn’t return with a list of action-items, I came back with perspective that people can be great, that events can be rewarding and fun and that there’s hope for this great internet of ours yet.

This internet needs some hope.

16 December, 2013  |   2 Comments

Harry & David and me (notes from a trip)

I think I told you, back in October, that I had gone to Ashland, Oregon with some food bloggers for a weekend sponsored by Harry and David, right?

Sandy from the Reluctant Entertainer put the weekend together. She is a powerhouse connector. Generous with her time and talents, we were treated to dinner in her home — followed up by her daughter’s violin performance. For the entire weekend, she entertained 15 thrilled writers with a weekend filled with treats.

We had the right amount of down time, so that I could get to know this group of digital publishers well — just like the luxury of down time affords. The great meals, at Ashland cuties like the Deja Vu Wine bar added to the connection.

The best part, for me was meeting all this new-to-me talent (although they’ve been doing it for years).
Inspired by Charm
Add a Pinch
Cookies and Cups
Gimme Some Oven
The Little Kitchen
Amanda from Kevin and Amanda
From Home to Roam
The Inspired Room
Bake Your Day
Love and Olive Oil
Skinny Taste

Harry & David put on an amazing blogger event.

It gave me some space to think more about how blogs work, and why keeping a day job makes for the happiest bloggers.

Why should you care? Harry & David employs locals. They make, bake, or grow about 80% of their products. They reminded me a whole lot of many wineries local to me — dependent on an agricultural product, employing locally and being a big part of the health of a community. The fact that they sell beautiful gift baskets doesn’t hurt either.

My secret favorite part of the trip was the trip to the Rogue Creamery. One of the cheeses that knocked my socks off as a young cheese enthusiast was Rogue River Blue. When I host cheese tastings, it’s nearly always on the plate. And here, I was, at their home base, checking out the facilities, loving up on their marketing director.

Another highlight was our trip to Penny and Lulu for lunch. A gorgeous workshop/flower shop/creative/event space, they hosted an amazing lunch with great people.

It’s starting to be a theme.

The more I live in this world, the more I find that people want to help each other be great. Whether it’s something like food blogging or corporate gift baskets, moss-covered chandeliers or cheese companies, the more I get on, the more I see that we want to do our best and help each other out.

Thanks Sandy for an amazing weekend. It meant the world to me.

28 May, 2013  |   4 Comments

Pancake Days

This post sponsored by Frigidaire.

We do pancakes on the weekend.
And twice a month, the girls get sprinkles on their pancakes.
Sprinkles and “syrupy syrup.”

Pancake Weekend

My pancake recipe is tried and true.
Rarely do I ever mix it up, but this time, I used regular flour, added vanilla and an 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda.

Fluffy, trustworthy, homemade.
(Like most things around here.)

Pancake Weekend

I understand the vague blogger pressure to come up with some sort of newfangled Bananas Foster S’More Cakes or Kalecakes with Tamarind Creme, but this is why I’m not a food blogger.

I’m just Helen Jane.

Pancake Weekend

Right now, it’s more important we create traditions for our girls. We made a conscious decision that these years are for helping them feel secure and loved. These years are for building security.

Pancake Weekend

So I was pretty excited to get a griddle/panini maker from the fine folks at Frigidaire. On Saturday mornings, you’d usually find me flipping ‘cakes for about an hour. For this full-time employee, that’s missing out on some valuable giggling girl-time.

This sounds stupid, because maybe at some time we could have invested in another saute pan, but we haven’t.
(And, I’d like my 30 hours of pancake flipping back.)

I think the official name is the: Frigidaire Professional™ 5-in-1 Reversible Plates Grill/Griddle.

Thanks to this fairly lightweight griddle, I was able to cook eight 1/4 cup pancakes at a time, thereby saving me 45 minutes of pancake flipping time. (I only wish one of the plates was a waffle iron.)

Our panini press has moved to the entertaining library, in case you’re hoping to throw a panini party, swing by and borrow it.

Pancake Weekend

When we eat, we show off our “perfect bites,”
(equal parts scrambled eggs, pancake and sprinkles)
we know that fruit is the only green requirement.

My girls, they grow up with a pancake breakfast each week.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

25 February, 2013  |   Comment

Joanie Loves Bocce Cocktail Book

Every year, my bocce team, Joanie Loves Bocce, descends upon the local pizza joint for an awards ceremony. We did it last year, and everyone got a song for their award, shared on a shiny compact disc.

Appetite for Destruction Award

Jessica's RhubarberellaThis year, everyone got their own specialty cocktail wrapped up in a little cocktail book.
The coolest part? You can check it out too.

Check out the Joanie Loves Bocce awards ceremony cocktail book here — or click on the sample page below this sentence.

(You could use a little Harvey Wallbanger in your life, I can tell)

27 November, 2012  |   3 Comments

Limerick day

A tutor who tooted the flute
Tried to teach two young tooters to toot.
Said the two to the tutor,
“Is it harder to toot, or
To tutor two tooters to toot?
Carolyn Wells (1862-1942)

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