Wednesday, April 30, 2014

World Book Night 2014: Kitchen Confidential

I didn't think I could top last year's World Book Night when I went to McCurdy's Comedy Club in Sarasota to perform my literary comedy and give my favorite book - The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - to the entire audience (click here to see that post) BUT...

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
is a must read for any F&B employee!
Having been a waitress like 15 times, I couldn't help but to request Anthony Bourdain's delicious tell-all Kitchen Confidential about the food & beverage industry for World Book Night 2014.  Bourdain is a real bad ass and an incredible chef who loves to travel and get into I guess you could say he was right up my alley.

Because the book was about working in the F&B industry, I already knew I was going to give it out at a restaurant.  It made sense.  Plus, there was a chance I could get free food!  It was only the night before - typical of most of my brilliant ideas - that I thought 'Hey, wouldn't it be fun to revisit all of the those restaurants that I used to work at?'  The question I should have been asking was 'Would I have enough books?' Or 'Would they let me back in the door?' 

I kid I kid.  I only got fired from a couple.  I mean, who tips a quarter?  And, maybe that dude didn't really need a cappuccino at 11pm at night!  Anyway, I've been writing a book about my journey into becoming the Stand-Up Librarian and sadly, I've had to relive a lot of those server jobs, but thankfully most of them were run into the ground by the idiots managing them so I was left with just a few to visit.

So because I am a huge hoarder (and it also makes sense to take my future bestselling book to the stage with original costumes), I have kept all of my server outfits - collared shirts, aprons, bow ties and check presenters.  I grabbed an old Fleming's bar apron, covered the logo with a Geisha check presenter, added the standard 3 pens and wine key (in case they asked me to work), and on April 23rd, headed to four of my old restaurants ready to celebrate some of the hardest working people I know with free books!  Here is a photo journey of where I went...

Wearing my old bar apron from Fleming's to pass
out free copies of Kitchen Confidential for WBN 2014!
Giving free books to all of the cooks at the Sweet Sage Cafe.
I worked here in 2004! Thanks to owner John Messmore.
Giving the waitstaff at Lee Roy Selmon's free books!
I worked here in 2006 when I started my Masters degree.
I visited my old co-workers Chris, Roy & Greg at
Ya Ya's Flame Broiled Chicken to give them free books.
This was my very first job in 1990! I was a cashier
but I loved cutting the chicken with the butcher knife.
Finally, I had a few books left to drop off with
Jeremy at the Daiquiri Deck where I worked in 2005
while trying to write my first book.
Lastly, I met up with my mom and helped her pass out 100 Best-Loved Poems to those enjoying the beach at sunset.  It seemed a great way to end World Book Night with the soft white sand at my feet and a heart made out of seaweed.  

I LOVE World Book Night!

What's more poetic than a seaweed heart?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DIY - The Power of YOU!

It was just last month that I celebrated my one year anniversary with The Home Depot.  I had originally applied there because they were one of the few companies that offered part-time employees health benefits (plus the single girl in me thought it might also be a great way to meet some dudes! ha ha)  So while the men turned out to be either crazy or already married and the health benefits went away at the end of the year due to Obamacare, I found that the one thing The Home Depot kept giving me was the opportunity to work as a librarian!
Starting out as a Cashier was like working the circulation desk, making sure each patron found everything they needed in the store and giving them great customer service. 

Circulation Desk, Los Feliz Library, 2009
Cashier, The Home Depot, 2013
Then as a Greeter, it was like working the reference desk, assisting patrons with information and helping them find certain products in the store.  Then if we didn't have it, showing them how easy it was to use the in-store computer to find it online.  Plus I was able to wear all of my fun outfits!  I actually got my first Homer award because a woman wrote in saying how much she loved them. 
Reference Desk, Los Feliz Library, 2009
Greeter, The Home Depot, 2013
In leading the Kids Workshop on the first Saturday of every month, I was like a Children's Librarian doing fun arts & crafts with the kids, while teaching them how to hold hammers and express themselves through paint. 
Children's Program, Los Feliz Library, 2009
Kids Workshop, The Home Depot, 2013
As Captain of the Do-It Herself Workshop, it was like book club but instead of books, we discuss how to use power tools to build storage trunks or the purpose of grouting tile for that fabulous floor.  In place of free bookmarks, the ladies get DIH gift bags and are able to take home all of the projects they make - for free!
Book Club, 2012
Do-It Herself Workshop, The Home Depot, 2014
Now as a Paint Sales Associate, I've not only learned more about the differences in paint and stains, but I've applied that knowledge to my library renovations at home!  Thanks to my experiences at The Home Depot, my card catalogue is truly one-of-a kind...a checkerboard effect to represent both the librarian and the comedian, and holds all of my sewing supplies for my literary fashion business.
Card Catalogue - Before
Card Catalogue - During
Card Catalogue - Today
The point is...I am a librarian and I will always be a librarian no matter where I work.  In addition to my job at The Home Depot, I am also a librarian promoting libraries and literacy in my literary comedy shows.  The audience are my patrons and the stage is my reference desk.  When you open yourself up to experiences outside of your comfort zone, you will always see the results in ways you never imagined.  Just last week, I performed my first non-literary parody song "The Power of Tools" and told jokes inspired by my experiences working in home improvement.  I certainly never imagined that would ever happen!  But if there is one thing I have learned over this last year it is this - YOU HAVE THE POWER so stop waiting for others to help you or realize your potential, just DO IT YOURSELF!   

Performing some home improvement comedy & "The Power of Tools" 
live at ARTpool Gallery on April 12th. For a direct link, click here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thank You FL Antiquarian Book Fair!

I can't believe it has been one month since the 33rd Annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair!  It seems I have been going nonstop ever since (mostly sewing over 20 custom orders from the fair) but I have finally forced myself to sit down for a few moments to share some of my thoughts and favorite moments...

What a fantastic weekend!  I was so proud to be the spokesperson for the book fair this year and I absolutely must thank Book Fair Manager Sarah Smith and All-Around Media Guy Allan Smith for that.  We met two years ago and discussed working together and it finally happened!  I had a blast running around St. Petersburg with Allan meeting local business owners and interviewing some of my favorite people in the community about books.  Allan did an incredible job of taking photos and shooting video footage which he later edited into videos to promote the fair online.  We worked together to publicize the fair utilizing both print and social media which resulted in the largest (and youngest) attendance at the fair in many, many years!  To view those video interviews, please visit my YouTube page here.
With Sarah Smith and Allan Smith of the Book Fair.
As spokesperson, I got the chance to open the book fair with a performance on the front steps of The Coliseum and was also featured in some of our local media where I discussed my journey into becoming the Stand-Up Librarian and my love for my hometown of St. Petersburg.  Thanks to Creative Loafing, Tampa Bay Newspapers, and Articulate Creative Pinellas for those wonderfully written articles.  You can read those pieces on my press page here.
Performing a medley of my literary parody songs
on the front steps of The Coliseum.
However, what I was most thrilled about was being an actual vendor at the fair selling my literary fashions!  I sold my first literary purse there in 2012 thanks to a wonderful woman named Edie, and I would not be still making these if it wasn't for her encouragement and support.  Thank you Edie!
With Edie in 2014.  She bought my first literary purse
in 2012 & still uses it: a cats & books fanny pack!
This year I gave her a messenger bag.
It was also a family affair at the book fair with my parents, brother, aunt and uncle helping me at my booth.  Plus, just a few days before the fair, I decided to make literary bow ties and while I knew how to sew them, it was my dad who was able to actually tie them!  So thank you Dad and to all of the people who bought them.  I sold out the first night!
With my parents at my booth on the opening night
of the book fair. Bow ties all around! 
There were so many wonderful people that I met over those three days from vendors and booksellers to miniature book collectors and aspiring librarians.  It makes me very happy to see so many different types of people come together to promote literacy and the preservation of our books.  Thanks again to everybody that bought items from Stand-Up Librarian Designs or just stopped by to stay hello.  I am so grateful.  See you next year! 
Thanks to John who bought my first bow tie...
before the fair even opened!
With Ian Kahn from Lux Mentis - a bookseller in a kilt
is a great friend for a librarian in a book skirt!
Future librarians!
Sisters Kathy and Deborah almost cleaned out my booth.
Thank you ladies!!!!!
The Coliseum filled with book lovers. Perfection!