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Q&A With Jodi Picoult in Houston

Listen up, y’all. Just read.
This is Jodi Picoult, an author I discovered recently and I have become enthralled with her books. I love the amount of knowledge I gain after reading her books. I can tell that she researches and dives deep into the topics. 
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I discovered that she’d be in Houston, so of course I jumped on the opportunity to see her! It was about an hour of her talking with Q&A, and then she did photographs. We also got a copy of her new book, A Spark of Light! I WAS TOTALLY FANGIRLING. 
I want to share some of what she said, because I sure do wish everyone could have been there.
First of all, I made a new friend last night! As I was waiting in line to get in, someone asked if she could take a pic of my 2 different shoes so she could show her daughter. Needless to say, we became Best Book Friends and sat by each other and got to know each other a bit throughout the night. I’m so glad I met Amy! We even got BACK in line to get a picture with Jodi Picoult together 😀 I definitely hope Amy and I get to spend some more time together! We live on opposite sides of Houston, but meeting in the middle needs to happen, at least!
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Now, A Spark of Light is a book about abortion. It’s a controversial topic, and Picoult was saying last night that the book isn’t pro-life or pro-choice…but people reading it often see it one way or the other. She said that “When women don’t tell their stories, other people make up narratives for us.” She encouraged everyone to share stories of things they’ve been through – abortion, sexual assault, racism, etc. Just share. Talk about it.
Before the event began, we could submit questions to ask….so I submitted 4. 
  1. Is there a topic you’ve wanted to write about, but haven’t quite figured out how to yet?
  2. Did you write when you were younger? AKA when did you start writing?
  3. Who are your favorite authors?
  4. Which book of yours was hardest to write?

Now, she didn’t answer all 4, but 2 of my questions were answered!

In response to question 1, she said that there was a topic that she’d wanted to write about for a long time, but wasn’t sure how. It took her a long time to crack. It’s the recent book she wrote, called Small Great Things (which I just bought at Half Price Books and am looking forward to reading!). It’s about racism in America. She said her book isn’t here to tell people of color about racism. It’s for white people. She said that racism is prejudice plus power, and that she lives her life very differently now because of that book. 

Someone else asked her what her favorite book is that she’s written, and she said it’s Small Great Things. It’s the only book she’s written that’s made her change as a human being. 

In response to my question #2, she said that she did write when she was younger! Her first book, which her mom still has, was called “The Lobster that was Misunderstood” and it’s complete with words and pictures all her own. 

Someone asked her how long it takes her to write a book. She said it depends on the book, and the amount of research needed. It’s pretty easy to find, for example, lawyers to talk to and interview, but harder to find, say, an Eskimo. But in general, it takes about 9 months, which she likened to growing and birthing a baby. 

When asked how she chooses the topics to write on, Picoult said “If I keep thinking about it and it keeps me up at night, I should write a book about it.”

Someone asked about the next book she’s working on, and she said it answers the question “who would you be if you weren’t who you are now?” She added that it also involves Ancient Egypt, to which Amy and I assumed she’s got trips to Egypt in her near future for research!

Also discussed was how to get kids interested in reading when they don’t want anything to do with books. She said to not start with the big classics and popular books….let them read about topics they are interested in! If they love baseball, let them read baseball books and baseball stats. If they love Minecraft, let them read books about Minecraft. Once they read about topics they love, they will naturally fall in love with reading and will eventually be more open to other topics. But let them read what they want. 

She was also asked what the best and the worst thing is about being an author. 

Picoult said that the best thing about being an author is meeting people and hearing how her books have affected them. 

She then said that the worst thing about being an author is Twitter. There are some mean people on Twitter. 

She mentioned a few times about how she enjoys getting and answering fan mail….I’ve never sent fan mail, but you bet your butt I’m gonna. 

There was so much more shared, and I won’t be writing it all here. If you ever have the chance to see an author speak, GO. This was my first time, and I foresee many more in my future. 

What’s your favorite Jodi Picoult book?

 

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Washi Tape Keyboard

I had some spare time today, so decided to spruce up my laptop keyboard with some Washi tape!

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Here’s how it’s done….

Well, it started out like this….I have a keyboard cover so my keys don’t get all nasty.

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But really…how boring is that?!

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And dusty. It also needed to be washed. 

So, I rinsed it and hung it to dry….I hand wash all my dishes and my dishwasher is simply a drying rack…

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Then I chose my tape! I picked 4 different ones and alternated. I measured out how big the keys were, cut squares in that size, and then cut them in half so I could cover half the key and still see the letters. 

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Now…FYI….I’ve always wanted my keyboard to say “Avada Kedavra” instead of “Backspace”…..so now was my chance!!!

I have a label printer since I shop a lot on my clothing business….find me at http://www.shopwithchloe.com 🙂 So, I measured out my backspace key and printed my own sticker!

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It doesn’t blend in as well as I’d ideally like, but I still love it!

And BAM. Finished up the Washi tape letter keys.

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At this point, I decided my space bar was rather lacking…so I picked another tape and helped it out a bit 😀

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So pretty all together!

 

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And, of course, the cover needs to go back on because (1) it will get very dirty if I don’t and (2) the Washi tape will come off as I type if it’s not covered!

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So. Much. Better, yo. 

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And THEN I noticed the water spots on my keyboard cover. And decided I didn’t care. 

Happy Washi Tape Fun!

 

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Fundraiser for SLCAD

I spent hundreds of hours volunteering throughout my college career, and one of my FAVORITE places to volunteer at was Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf. At SLCAD I met amazing people that included me in their organization and gave me roles that allowed me to really help. I managed their Facebook page, advertised for and assisted with various fundraisers and walks, monitored the hotline, and I was even organizing other volunteers at some point…all in American Sign Language. Before I moved from Utah to Romania and then back to Texas, the included me in their staff/board appreciation dinner and I felt ultimately honored to be among people from such a wonderful organization.

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I sincerely miss volunteering with SLCAD and using my ASL on the regular. I have, however, found a way to help out, and you can, too! When I shop on Amazon, I shop with smile.amazon.com and I have it set up to donate a portion of each purchase to SLCAD. I also hold fundraisers for them! I am currently running my second fundraiser for SLCAD with my LuLaRoe business. You can buy clothing for yourself (or your children), and a portion of each purchase will go directly to Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf. We were able to raise $240 for them last time, and I am hoping to surpass that this time around.

Click here if you’d like to participate in the fundraiser for SLCAD: http://bit.ly/SLCADLLR

SLCAD Invite

Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf is a 501 c3 non profit agency that provides direct advocacy services to Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf blind victims of abuse throughout the state of Utah since 2000. Their mission is to “promote a safe and empowered community for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind people by providing culturally accessible services, advocacy and education.”

http://bit.ly/SLCADLLR 

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All the Things

Things. 

I’m out on my porch, going through things. 

Things that were pulled from my apartment by the cleanup crew after the fire. 

It’s been almost 8 months since my apartment burned down and I’m just now going through some of the things. I’m throwing most of it out, though. If I’d gone through it earlier, I might have been able to save some of it. 

Most of it got wet from the rain the day of the fire, the fire sprinkler, and the DAYS of rain that followed the fire. 

Yet, things were brought to me. And I stored them away. Yes, I went through boxes and bags for DAYS, seeing what I could save and what I had to throw out. And I’m grateful for the friends that helped me during that time. 

But I couldn’t do it all. So I stuck some of it in my new storage unit by my new apartment. 

Now it’s almost 8 months later. 

My apartment called me today because I still have my things in my storage unit over by my old apartment. They said there’s no rush, just to let them know when it’s empty. So I decided today was the day. 

I went down to my new storage unit and opened it up. Inside were 3 bags and 1 laundry basket of things from my old apartment. I moved them to my porch and swept out and bleached that little room so I could move things in there. 

I’m now on my porch going through things. Things that were wet from the fire, covered in ash, and now have mold. Those things are being thrown out today. If I’d cleaned them off and gone through them earlier, I might have been able to save them. I’ve been able to clean and save a few things from today, but not much. 

Yes, they are “just things” – but they’re my things. 

Now my trash. 

Throwing away memories and THINGS. 

I took pictures of some things so I don’t eventually forget them completely. 

It’s now time to move things from my old storage unit to my new one. Those are things that were untouched my my apartment fire. They were in storage, and I am forever grateful for that. 

As I sit on my porch of my 3rd floor apartment in a cute red chair that a dear human bestowed upon me, I am watching a girl carry things. She’s got a trunk full of things and is carrying them up to her apartment. A box, a sombrero, a skateboard – ya know, things. 

And I’m grateful for things. 

Things that remind us of love. And of despair. Things that make us smile. And make us cry. Things. 

After my fire, I was often told “at least you’re safe” and “I’m glad you weren’t hurt” and “things can be replaced” and “at least you get new things” – and that’s nice and well-meaning. 

However, things aren’t just things. I miss my things. 

Yes, I got a new toaster. New pots and pans. New flamingos, a new bed, new couch, new apartment. 

But I still miss my things. 

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Can’t Look Yet


That building back there is the non-burned side of my old apartment building. The side that had smoke and water damage, no fire. I now live on the other side of the apartment complex, but the mailboxes are on the side I used to live on. Sometimes, when I check my mail, I have a desire to go look at my old, roof-gone, burned down apartment. To stand there and cry. I don’t know what else. Just do that. 

I think only 1 or 2 times I actually turned the corner and saw it. But not recently. This is the farthest I’ve gotten in a while. 
I can’t seem to bring myself to turn the corner and see it again. I just can’t look yet. 

I’ve been very well taken care of since my apartment burned down. I’ve even started my own business, and it has blessed my life in many ways. Feel free to shop with me if you so desire!

I know I’ll eventually have to look at it. I’ve got some things in a storage unit over there, that was separate from the apartment. I need to move them to my new storage unit, near my new apartment. But not yet. I just can’t look yet. 

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Dinosaur Jar

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Yep – a dinosaur jar! It is very easy to make, and you can use any color you want!

Here’s how it all started….I went to my friend Emily’s house and we made these:

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She had been collecting jars for SOMETHING, so we bought some dinosaurs and superglue, and went for it! I went for black and she chose gold. I chose to use painter’s tape and just paint part of the jar lid, but she chose to paint the whole thing. After it was all finished, I decided I wished I’d done the whole thing, so I decided I’d just do another one at home. So I did!

Here’s some more details about how to do this…

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Refer to the picture above for the steps….

1. Choose your dinosaur and put super glue on the bottom of each foot! I prefer Loctite Gel Control Super Glue. I conveniently had a bag of animals that I got from my grandma a few years ago! Let it dry for a few hours. I just did it overnight. 

may 0012. Get whatever color of paint you want, and paintbrushes. I used a small and a large one so I could use the small one to get under the dinosaur and in all the crevices, and the large one for the lid part. 

3. Paint your dinosaur and lid! Let it dry for a few hours, I let it dry for a few days, simply because I forgot about it! I put it on top of a small water bottle, because I’d painted the very bottom edge of the lid as well. 

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dino 001You can tell that I kept it by the sink to dry, because it has dried water spots on it! Also, I don’t know how, but some of the paint chipped off…so I just gave it another coat! No water spots, no chips!

4. Use Mod Podge to cover the dinosaur and jar lid with a sealing coat. I used the same large and small paintbrush as before. Let it dry overnight. Again, I let it dry for a few days, simply because I got busy!

5. Put the dry, finished lid on the jar!

6. Fill it with goodness!

Here’s the first one I made, housing vitamins. 

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Here’s the second one I made, much preferred, housing Cadbury Mini Eggs. 

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Ok, let’s be honest. Both jars are filled with dinosaur eggs. 

Emily pointed that out once I showed them to her. She knows everything, and it is fabulous!

Dinosaur eggs in dinosaur jars. 

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