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5 Must-See Movies at the 17th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival

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As a writer and blogger I live my life surrounded by story. Not only do I read and write stories, but I enjoy watching them on screen, too. I love movies! If you’re a film lover too and based in the Birmingham area, then you’re probably quite excited about the 17th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival, taking place this weekend, Aug. 28-30.

There are so many films showing this weekend that there’s chance you feel overwhelmed by all the festival has to offer.

Fortunately, one of my colleagues at the Alabama School of Fine Arts is also on the Sidewalk Film Festival staff and when I asked him to put together a list of must-see movies he was happy to help.

Corey Craft has written about film since 2009, for five years as the primary film writer for The Tuscaloosa News and now exclusively for the upstart arts and entertainment website artsBHAM.com. He also teaches a history of film class at ASFA and has a degree in telecommunications and film with an emphasis in critical studies from the University of Alabama.

Here are five selections that Corey thinks you’ll enjoy at the 17th annual Sidewalk Film Festival and what he had to say about each film:

  1. “Welcome to Leith”

Not only one of my favorite films in the Sidewalk lineup, this documentary is one of my favorite films of 2015 so far — but don’t think that means it’s easy to watch. “Welcome to Leith” charts the invasion of a small North Dakota town by white supremacists, seeking to buy up as much land as possible and transform the sleepy little burg into a haven for the politically like-minded. Tensions rise between the few residents of Leith and their new neighbors, all shot in a you-are-there style by its brave filmmakers. This is an important, terrifying movie that reinforces, particularly after a year that has seen plenty of racially-motivated violence, that America’s past legacy of hate is still very, very present.

Screening at 3:10 p.m. at Red Mountain Theatre Company and 9:45 p.m. at the Birmingham Museum of Art on Saturday, Aug. 29.

 

  1. “Queen of Earth”

A terrific psychological thriller with overtones of dark comedy, “Queen of Earth” features two outstanding lead performances in its ice-cold story about two codependent friends struggling as one of them teeters toward complete mental collapse. This is maybe the best performance its star, Elisabeth Moss of TV’s “Mad Men,” has given in a film to date, and her co-lead, Katherine Waterston, more than realizes the promise she showed as a drugged-out femme fatale in last year’s “Inherent Vice.” This isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes — it’s mean, if not outright misanthropic — but it creates an astounding tension that’ll hold you in its grip from start to finish.

Screening at 7:10 p.m. at the ASFA Black Box Theatre on Sunday, Aug. 30.

 

  1. “Do I Sound Gay?”

After a breakup, filmmaker David Thorpe sets out on an unusual odyssey to discover the origins of the stereotypical gay male voice in this funny, fascinating documentary. Dissatisfied with his own voice, Thorpe interviews prominent gay writers and performers — including Dan Savage, George Takei and David Sedaris — and a number of speech therapists and pathologists to examine the societal forces that have led to one certain sound being thought of as traditionally gay. “Do I Sound Gay?” is insightful and amusing, a film sure to be of interest to anyone interested in contemporary cultural studies.

Screening at 2:15 p.m. at the Carver Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 29.

 

  1. Saturday Sidewalk Shorts

I worked this year for Sidewalk as the short films co-programmer, so I would say that if you attend any of our short films blocks, you’re in for a treat. But I’ll highlight the Saturday Sidewalk Shorts block as being representative of the variety of excellent films we have throughout the weekend. This has a really satisfying mixture of films that will appeal to all tastes: you’ll see “Enfilade,” a visually stunning science fiction short from Australia; the dark comedy “Contact,” about an optometrist seeking revenge on an old rival; the action romantic comedy “Hotwire,” in which a man flips between fantasy and reality on the eve of losing the love of his life; and “One Night in Aberdeen,” a sweet comedy-drama about two lonely souls meeting in the bar of a Super 8 on August 8, 2008.

Screening at 10:30 a.m. at the ASFA Black Box Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 29.

 

  1. “Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made”

This year’s opening night film is one of the biggest crowdpleasers Sidewalk has ever brought and a true testament to the power of cinema. It’s a documentary about a group of Mississippi teenagers who, having their minds blown by Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in the early 1980s, set out to make their own version of the first Indiana Jones adventure — shot for shot. The film’s only half the fun on opening night; Sidewalk is hosting an Indiana Jones costume contest, and after the film moviegoers can walk right outside the Alabama Theatre to a massive opening night block party on Third Avenue North with free food, drinks, music and more Indiana Jones-themed surprises. You won’t want to miss it.

Screening at 8 p.m. at the Alabama Theatre on Friday, Aug. 28.

Check out the rest of the schedule and purchase tickets and passes to the films, parties, panels and other events at http://www.sidewalkfest.com.

 

coreyCorey Craft has written about film since 2009, for five years as the primary film writer for The Tuscaloosa News and now exclusively for the upstart arts and entertainment website artsBHAM.com. He and the Tuscaloosa News staff won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news journalism in 2012 for their coverage of the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak. He has a degree in telecommunications and film with an emphasis in critical studies from the University of Alabama and now teaches world literature and the history of film at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

How to Blog Like a Boss: The Official Bloganista Mini-Con Recap

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On August 1, See Jane Write held its second annual Bloganista Mini-Con, which was presented by Laura Vincent Printing and Design this year. As declared by the fabulous cover of the conference program and complimentary notebooks, which were designed by Dionne Love of Laura Vincent Printing and Design, this year’s conference was all about teaching attendees how to “Blog Like a Boss.”

Here are five simple steps for taking your blog to the next level:

During her morning keynote address, Chanda Temple explained how to build your personal brand.

During her morning keynote address, Chanda Temple explained how to build your personal brand.

1. Know that you are your brand. During her morning keynote address on personal branding, public relations pro Chanda Temple explained that a brand is not a logo, the name of your blog or your tagline. “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room,” she said. “Your brand is your story.”

I believe that once bloggers truly embrace this they’ll have more confidence to better promote themselves and their blogs as a brand and Chanda gave plenty of tips on how to do just that:

  • Write good press releases. Be sure your subject line will grab the reporter’s attention. Be sure you’re sending your release to the right person. And be sure you include all the necessary information: who, what, why, when, where.
  • If you’re hosting an event or promoting your book, create a hashtag for it to use on social media.
  • Be sure you have a professional head shot and professional business cards on hand.
Maybe we were having too much fun on the Blog Like a Boss Panel.

Maybe we were having too much fun on the Blog Like a Boss Panel.

2. Be true to yourself. This is a theme that came up again and again during the Blog Like a Boss panel discussion that I was a part of along with Heather Brown of My Life Well Loved and Jennifer Dome King of Stellar Fashion and Fitness. Sure, we talked about ways to monetize your blog: You can spruce up your media kit and begin approaching brands about partnering with you for campaigns and sponsored posts. You could start developing and selling your own products, services or books based on your niche. You could use your blog to promote yourself as an author, freelance writer, public speaker or coach. But no matter what you do, stay true to who you are and what you’re really all about. Don’t agree to do a campaign with a brand that has nothing to do with your niche or is the opposite of what you stand for just because you got offered money.

The panel was moderated by TV and radio personality Eunice Elliott, who is also a comedienne and, as you can tell from the photo above, was absolutely hilarious.

But before the panel, Eunice gave some great advice of her own.

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Eunice Elliott brought the laughs, of course!

 

Eunice reminded attendees not to get too caught up in the comments of critics and to instead simply stay focused on their goals. “Everyone’s information about you isn’t always for you,” she said.

3. Find your tribe. One attendee tweeted this: “Biggest takeaway from the #bloganista mini-con? ‘Find your tribe.’ If you are a blogger, @seejanewritebhm is it!”

I always say that whether you’re trying to be the Virginia Woolf of literature or the She-Wolf of Wall Street, you need a wolf pack. You need a group of fans, followers and friends who will support you through thick and thin. You need a tribe. Your tribe will defend you against Twitter trolls and naysayers who leave nasty comments. Your tribe will be your first customers when you turn your blog into a business. And when you publish a book, your tribe will not only buy it, but encourage their friends to do so too.

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Maacah Davis (left) explained how she started her own magazine.

Your tribe could even help you start your own fashion magazine as Maacah Davis, founder of belladonna magazine and one of the panelists from the Magazine Dreams panel discussion, can attest to.

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Annalise DeVries of Hoffman Media knows her readers.

And once you find your tribe, you need to get to know them well so you can give them the content they want, how and when they want it. Annalise DeVries of Hoffman Media, for example, knows that most of the readers of their magazines and websites enjoy receiving email newsletters several times a week and so DeVries and her team deliver!

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Kaneshia Sims reminded attendees that if they want to be on the pages of their favorite magazines they must put in work.

4. Be ready to work. If you’re dreaming of seeing your words or photos on the pages of your favorite magazines, Kaneshia Sims of Red PaSH magazine says, you must be willing to do the work to build your portfolio and get your foot in the door.

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Fashion blogger Jeniese Hosey gave an inspiring afternoon keynote address.

5. Step out on faith. “Sometimes when you step out on faith, it can be the most beautiful thing,” Jeniese Hosey of The Je Ne Sais Quoi said during her afternoon keynote address. This probably was the most tweeted quote of the day. Jeniese has done just that. Sometimes stepping out on faith can mean cashing in your frequent flyer miles and hopping on a plane to New York so you can network with brands, which Jeniese did. Sometimes stepping out on faith simply means starting to take yourself seriously as a blogger. Jeniese is clearly serious about her blog. She maintains a content calendar and plans her blog posts a month in advance. She has special days designated for scheduling posts to social media. And she sets goals for herself to keep focused. Jeniese recommends you set two HUGE, shoot-for-the-moon goals for yourself each year and several smaller goals. During her talk Jeniese revealed to me that one of her goals for 2015 was to be a keynote speaker at the Bloganista Mini-Con!

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An even bigger accomplishment for Jeniese this year was that she was selected as one of the winners of Redbook magazine’s Real Women, Real Style Awards! We’re so proud of her!

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This year’s Bloganista Mini-Con wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without the support of our sponsors. In addition to our fantastic presenting sponsor Laura Vincent Printing and Design, I’d also like to thank Church Street Coffee & Books for providing delicious coffee during our Morning Mingle, Full Moon Bar-B-Que for providing lunch, and Insomnia Cookies for sponsoring our afternoon cookie break. (Artney of My Pretty Brown loved the cookies so much she wrote an entire blog post about Insomnia Cookies.)

Special thanks to our media sponsor WBHM 90.3 FM and our Bloganista Mixer sponsor Collage Designer Consignment.

I’d also like to thank Lois Weinblatt of True North Business Development for being a vendor at this year’s conference and LightWorks Chair Massage for giving conference attendees free chair massages!

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And some attendees also scored a special gift from Birmingham Boutique Blowout — a cute koozie and a special discount code for the next Birmingham Boutique Blowout event.

I’d also like to thank Lynsey Weatherspoon Photography for shooting video at the event. Soon you’ll see that footage and more as part of a fabulous brand video for See Jane Write that we’re putting together. Get ready!

To see more photos from this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design, visit the See Jane Write Facebook page to check out the photo album.

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lady blogger e-course cover

If you are truly ready to “blog like a boss” then you should consider signing up for my upcoming e-course Lady Blogger to Boss Lady. In this 7-week course you will learn how to turn your blog into a business without relying on ad sales or sponsored posts. Click here for more information.

Party Like a Blog Star!

Best group photo ever!

Best group photo ever!

Thursday I had a bad day.

Actually, I’d been having a bad week.

Planning for the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design had been stressing me out! In fact, I’d been so stressed I was started to doubt myself and everything I do.

Who am I to think I can empower women with See Jane Write, I asked myself.

Then Thursday night happened.

On Thursday, July 23 See Jane Write held the 2015 Bloganista Mixer presented by Collage Designer Consignment and it was fabulous!

How amazing it was to see so many bright and beautiful women gathered in one place all because they believe in self-expression through blogging and writing.

What I loved most was how all the women in attendance treated one another like family. Even if you were “blogless,” as a few women described themselves, you were welcomed with open arms.

I loved learning about the blogs these women were building or the ones they wanted to created. Women shared with me their writing hopes and dreams and the fears that are holding them back from pursuing them.

We chatted about fashion, food, fitness, and so much more.

Only with a group a lady bloggers and bloganistas can you have a serious conversation about aging and a silly conversation about barbecued pig ears in the same night!

Of course, some ladies did some shopping and they were quite impressed by Collage’s wide array of sizes and styles.

Thursday’s mixer wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Collage Designer Consignment. I can’t thank Collage owner Tracy True Dismukes enough for opening up her Vestavia store to us. The ladies of the Collage team were the most gracious of hostesses, treating us to delicious hors d’oeuvres and even giving each of us a free Collage tote bag!

Check out pictures from the event below and be sure to head to the See Jane Write Facebook page to tag yourself in the photos!

*Photos by Deidre Clark

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Meet the Bloganistas!

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The theme for this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design, set for August 1, 2015 at Vestavia Hills Library, is BLOG LIKE A BOSS!

Here are the conference speakers and panelists who are going to help you do just that:

Eunice Elliott

TV and radio personality Eunice Elliott will be our special guest at the conference and MC for the morning half of the event.

Eunice joined Alabama’s 13 in August 2013 as the traffic reporter. A native of Bessemer, Eunice is a proud graduate of The University of Alabama, where she earned a Journalism/Theatre degree in 1997. She has enjoyed working in sports/entertainment over the years including stints at ESPN in Connecticut, The Tennessee Titans, The FedEx Orange Bowl Committee and helmed her own public relations firm for many years representing professional athletes. Eunice performs weekly as a stand-up comedian at the Stardome Comedy Club, and also enjoys acting, radio broadcasting and writing/producing new television shows. Follow Eunice on Facebook and Twitter to see where she’s performing next!

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Jeniese Hosey will be our afternoon keynote speaker.

Jeniese Hosey is a 30-something woman from Birmingham, Alabama who loves all things fashion! In 2010 she started her blog The Jenesaisquoi, to show women that style has no relevance to size or age.  Jeniese has appeared in Ebony.com, Essence.com, Plus Model Magazine, Centric TV.com and DARE Magazine. Her blog has been showcased by several of her favorite fellow plus-size bloggers. She is a monthly contributor to the Plus Model Magazine Blog and she has collaborated with several of her favorite brands. By day Jeniese works as a PR/Marketing professional.  Along with fashion Jeniese loves football, traveling and food. She received her BA in Public Relations from The University of Alabama and an MBA in Marketing from Capella University.

During her afternoon keynote address Jeniese will discuss how she landed the many opportunities she’s enjoyed to work with brands and big names and will also reveal how she deals with the not-so-glamorous side of fashion blogging. 

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Chanda Temple will be our morning keynote speaker and during the Morning Mingle will be on hand to critique your business card.

Chanda worked as a journalist for nearly 20 years before switching gears to public relations in 2012. For the past three years Temple has crafted numerous public relations campaigns that the public and media noticed. Her latest success was coauthoring the Birmingham’s Best Bites cookbook. The self-published paperback book sold out three times in late 2014 and earned an international gold medal award in 2015. Also in 2015, her public relations campaign for the book, and the Birmingham food festival it was connected to, won a first place state award in public relations. Follow her blog at chandatemplewrites.com.

During her morning keynote address, Chanda will offer tips on how bloggers can build a personal brand and get that brand noticed by media and more. 

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Our afternoon panel discussion MAGAZINE DREAMS will offer tips on how you and your blog can be featured in your favorite magazine, how you can write for your favorite magazine and how you can start a magazine of your own. Our panelists are Maacah Davis of belladonna magazine, Annie DeVries of Hoffman Media and Kaneshia Sims of Red PaSH Magazine.

Maacah

Maacah Davis is the founding editor and creator of belladonna magazine, which she started to provide an outlet for some of Birmingham’s fashion and art-minded creatives. A former biology major at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, she is currently taking a gap year to figure out her future. In the meantime, in addition to being the creative director of Birmingham’s first fashion magazine, her work as a stylist has been published in B-Metro’s recurring feature segment, Birmingfamous. She has directed photoshoots for independent local makeup brand Fancy is Flawless, and she is excited to be at the helm of her first ad campaign with local cosmetics company, Hayah Beauty. As someone who has called Birmingham home for ten years now, she revels in making her twenties all about further exploring and presenting her, and her teams’, creative capacities.

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Annie DeVries is the online editor at Hoffman Media, where she oversees web and social media content for the company’s eight magazines. After freelance writing and styling for several years, she began working as the assistant editor of fresh style magazine, and then became Southern Lady‘s associate editor before starting her current position. Working in magazine publishing was a somewhat unexpected career path. Annie holds a PhD in history from Rutgers University, and previously taught at Birmingham Southern College and the University of Alabama. The research, problem-solving, and writing skills she gained during graduate school and while teaching have proved invaluable in her work as an editor.

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Kaneshia Sims has a deep passion for Birmingham, all of its small businesses and local charities. Using her background in public relations and mass communications, Kaneshia took her passion and turned it into a business.  Kaneshia now serves as editor of  Red PaSH Magazine and head public relations coordinator of Southern PaSH.

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Bloganista defined

Our morning panel discussion BLOG LIKE A BOSS will cover best blogging practices, how to grow your blog’s audience, and how to build your blog into a business. Our panelists are Heather Brown of My Life Well Loved, Jennifer Dome King of Stellar Fashion and Fitness and yours truly!

View More: http://jettwalkerphotography.pass.us/my-life-well-loved-may

Heather Brown has been blogging for 6 years and has worked in social media since graduating from Samford University. She married her college sweetheart and they are expecting their first baby this month! Heather built her initial blog’s social media following to over 27,000 members, helped grow her employer’s Facebook page to over 150,000 followers, and currently has over 50,000 social media/newsletter subscribers to her current blog, MyLifeWellLoved.com. Heather’s passion is helping others grow their blog, brand, and social media as well as empowering women to be their best in healthy living, southern style, recipes, faith, beauty and finding balance.

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Jennifer Dome King is the assistant editor of Bassmaster Magazine and also works as a freelance writer and copy editor. She blogs about fashion, health and fitness and body positivity at StellarFashionandFitness.com where she hopes to encourage women to lead a stellar life. Originally from New Jersey, she has adopted Birmingham has her new home for the past 8 years and loves exploring it with her husband of one year, Jermaine.

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Javacia Harris Bowser is the founder and CEO of See Jane Write LLC, a membership organization and website designed to empower and enrich women who write and blog. Before returning to her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama in 2009 to teach at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Javacia worked as a features reporter in Louisville, Kentucky. Today she continues her journalism career as a freelance writer for a number of media outlets including USA Today, Birmingham magazine and WBHM90.3 FM, Birmingham’s NPR affiliate. Javacia also writes a monthly column for B-Metro magazine on women’s issues. Javacia holds a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley and is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama. Follow her blogs at WriteousBabe.com and Javacia.com.

 

Get your tickets to this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con at bloganista2015.eventbrite.com now! Ticket sales end July 30 and no tickets will be sold the day of the event. 

 

Could you be the next NPR star? (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Southern Accent)

 

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Disclosure: This post is made possible by WBHM 90.3 FM, our media partner for the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design, but all opinions are my own. 

“OH-EM-GEE! Mrs. Bowser, I just heard you on the radio!”

I have to admit that there’s nothing quite like the feeling I get when my students (I’m a teacher by day/ blogger by night) run into my classroom squealing because they’ve just heard me on  WBHM 90.3 FM, Birmingham’s NPR affiliate.

I started blogging for WBHM.org about two years ago on race and gender issues.  The gig evolved and eventually the folks in charge decided to occasionally put me on air to discuss my essays. At first hearing my own voice made me cringe. “I sound so country!” I’d exclaim. “I sound like I have the I.Q. of a sweet potato,” I once told my husband. Then I realized I wasn’t practicing what I preach. I often tell my students to embrace and adore their Southern accents and to not be ashamed of them. It’s the same philosophy I followed when I went to grad school in California at UC Berkeley. I refused to try to conceal my accent. I refused to stop saying “Y’all” and I boasted about my ability to stretch a one-syllable word into three. Because I was so proud of my accent and of my home the notion to ridicule the way I talked or where I was from seemed silly and so no one did. In fact, instead my classmates were all eager to visit the South.

Hearing my voice on WBHM helped me love my accent again and reminded me that what I was saying was much more important than how I sounded saying it. When people mentioned my WBHM segments to me they weren’t talking about my voice, they were talking about my ideas. My pieces broached topics like feminism, colorism, and my love for Birmingham. I even confessed on air that I hate Christmas! Those are the things people wanted to discuss with me, not my accent.

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If you’ve ever thought about pitching a story idea to WBHM, now is your chance!

Currently the bosses at WBHM are seeking to include more listener commentary in the station’s programming. Check out this piece by John Houser on biking in Birmingham for an example of the kinds of pieces they’d like to publish and read the commentary guidelines for more details.

Pieces should present opinion or personal experience but can also be connected to the news or public affairs if they provide food for thought on the issue. Obviously, the pieces should be well-written and should show that you’re a keen observer who can read meaning into the small details of everyday life.

If you’re interested in submitting a piece email Rachel Osier Lindley at rachel@wbhm.org or Michael Krall at michael@wbhm.org for more information.

Be sure to tune in to WBHM 90.3 FM daily. For the next 10 days you could hear a spot announcing the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design as WBHM is our media partner for the event!

And please remember that WBHM is a listener-supported station.  Click here to learn how you can help this station continue the great work it does for our community.

The Bloganista Mixer presented by Collage Designer Consignment

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Collage Designer Consignment, sponsor of this year’s Bloganista Mixer, but all opinions are my own.

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If you feel as if you just can’t wait until the See Jane Write Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design to meet other Birmingham-area bloggers, then I have good news: you don’t have to!

Join us for the Bloganista Mixer presented by Collage Designer Consignment. Mingle with local bloggers while noshing on delicious hors d’oeuvres. Chat with some of this year’s conference speakers. And, of course, while you’re at Collage you can shop for your conference outfit!

Collage is celebrating its 23rd birthday this month, so you can get 23% off summer apparel and if you spend more than $75 you’ll receive a free gift!

July Anniversary Sale 2015 copy

Collage Designer Consignment was a vendor at last year’s Bloganista Mini-Con and I am so proud to partner with Collage again for this year’s Bloganista Mixer. In fact, I think there’s a lot we bloggers can learn from Collage owner Tracy True Dismukes.

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Tracy teaches us to be selective. Collage is known for being exceptionally selective in the items accepted to sell on consignment. Clients include news anchors, government officials, pageant winners, actresses, professionals and soccer moms who all know they can find anything from boutique brands to high-end designer labels, from GAP to Gucci, with all the benefits of a cozy and friendly full-service boutique – all at prices less than wholesale.

Likewise, we must be selective when blogging. We can’t post simply to post and we shouldn’t accept posts from guest bloggers who aren’t in line with the voice and vision for our blogs. We must give our readers high-quality content with a relatable and friendly tone. That’s what makes for good customer service in the blogosphere!

Tracy’s strategies have worked. Collage has been voted Best Consignment Shop and Best Women’s Boutique in Birmingham Magazine and the Birmingham News and was awarded Retailer of the Year by the Alabama Retail Association.  Collage has been featured nationally on FOX Business, Entrepreneur Magazine, Southern Living and in the national publication of AARP Bulletin. Tracy has appeared numerous times on NBC13, CBS42, FOX6 and ABC 33/40 as well as CBS Atlanta and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Enquirer, Entrepreneur.com, Birmingham Business Journal and Birmingham News.

Tracy teaches us to give back. In the past Collage has partnered with My Sister’s Closet of the YWCA and to give prom gowns to teen girls who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford one. And she’s worked with WellHouse Ministries to host events to bring greater awareness of human trafficking to the Birmingham area.

We should all consider how we can use our blogs to spread awareness for the causes we believe in.

I hope to see you Thursday at the Bloganista Mixer presented by Collage Designer Consignment. This is a free event but registration is required. Register at bloganistamixer2015.eventbrite.com.

Last day to vote for the Best of Birmingham!

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The release of  Birmingham magazine’s annual Best of Birmingham issue is only a few months away and the magazine needs your help in choosing the best food, drink, things to do, places to go and people to know in the Magic City.

Voting ends TODAY, July 17,  at 5 p.m.

When casting your vote please consider showing support for some of our partners for the Bloganista Mini-Con  presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design, set for August 1.

Full Moon Bar-B-Que, who is providing lunch this year at the conference, is up for best barbecue. You can vote for Full Moon and cast your vote for your other favorite restaurants and bars here.

Church Street Coffee and Books is providing coffee for the Morning Mingle at this year’s conference, but as the name suggests, Church Street not only sells great coffee, but also great books. Church Street is up for best local bookstore.

 

 

Collage Designer Consignment is in the running for best local consignment shop. Collage is sponsoring this year’s Bloganista Mixer, which is the fabulous pre-party we’re throwing to get you even more excited about the Bloganista Mini-Con.

You can vote for Collage, Church Street and your other favorite places to shop and splurge here. (And if you haven’t RSVP’d for this year’s mixer, which is set for July 23, you can do so here.)

Also you can vote for the best things to do in the city here.

 

Tips for Your First TV Appearance

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Today I was on Talk of Alabama discussing our upcoming events The Bloganista Mixer presented by Collage Designer Consignment and The Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design.

I always encourage the writers and bloggers I coach to pitch a segment idea to local TV media. And, not to brag or anything but… after using the tips I give them on how to pitch their idea they usually email me saying “I’M GOING TO BE ON TV!” (Click here to check out those tips.)

But about five minutes after sending that email they send another that reads something like this: “OMG! I’M GOING TO BE ON TV! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?! I CAN’T DO THIS! I’M FREAKING OUT!”

If you’re a few days away from your first TV appearance and you’re having similar anxious thoughts, here are a few tips to help things go smoothly: 1) Practice, but not too much; 2) Choose your outfit the night before; 3) Arrive too early but not too early; 4) Make small talk…or not.

Head over to my blog at Javacia.com for more details on each tip.

And if you’d like to see my segment on today’s Talk of Alabama, the video will be available here for a limited time.

Don’t forget to get your tickets to the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing and Design and the Bloganista Mixer presented by Collage Designer Consignment.

 

 

Revelator Coffee Company brings more magic to the Magic City

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

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Whether I’m meeting with clients to help them with their blogs or working on a blog post of my own, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. Sometimes I even host See Jane Write events in local coffeehouses

Back in April I hosted the first See Jane Write Roundtable at Revelator Coffee Company and it proved to be a perfect place for such an event. The women who attended used words like “spiritual” and “magical” to describe the evening and new friendships were born. I really believe the venue had something to do with it. Even the barista who took care of us that evening used similar words when describing what it’s like to work at Revelator Coffee. From the shop’s chic, modern design to the interesting people who walk through the door, she said something at Revelator inspires her each day.

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The shop has plenty to inspire writers and bloggers, too. The place is filled with natural light and beautiful flowers. There’s plenty of space to spread out and work. I got the idea for the See Jane Write Roundtable event the moment I laid my eyes on the large communal table located at the front of the store as it’s perfect for group writing, editing, or brainstorming sessions. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to gather a dozen or so See Jane Write members at a time to discuss matters regarding writing, blogging, or business.

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The Birmingham location of Revelator, located on 3rd Avenue North just across the street from the Alabama Theatre, opened in October of 2014.

“It’s our flagship store, so we want to make sure we do it right,” said Meredith Singer, who handles communications and marketing for the shop. “Following this Birmingham location, we have a store open in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and we’ll be opening others in New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville, and Charleston this year.”

Singer is originally from upstate New York but has been living in Alabama for the past eight years. “The founding team brought me on in December of last year, following the store opening, to help build out their communications and marketing strategy,” Singer explained. “As a company, we are very attracted to Birmingham’s burgeoning downtown, rich food and beverage tradition, and central position within the Greater Southeast. We roast our own coffee and have from the beginning — and are excited at the opportunity to have a large retail and wholesale footprint in the Southeast. Birmingham is the right mix of everything we’re looking for from both a strategic and community-focused angle.”

Singer knows that to succeed she and the founding team must find ways to make Revelator stand out from other popular coffee shops in downtown Birmingham.

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“Our coffee shop is, by design, a very minimal approach to what is — inherently — a very complex product,” Singer said. “We want to strip all the barriers and BS out of your usual coffee experience. Instead of the fancy Italian language we’re all used to in coffee shops (lattes, cappuccino, etc) we’ve opted for a very straight-forward menu. Coffee. Tea. Espresso. Espresso with milk. Espresso with chocolate. Our baristas are there to guide you on size and what varieties of coffee we are offering. And our coffees change regularly. It’s an agricultural product, so it’s seasonal and we try to bring it to the customer when its at its best. We’re also in the process of building out a roasting facility on 1st Avenue North. The facility won’t be open to the public, but we will be employing people for production and creating a much wider community of partners, suppliers, and secondary vendors around specialty coffee — something that hasn’t really been done to scale here in Alabama. At the company-level, we’re committed to working with Southern makers and businesses that have a similar attention to detail. We want to grow with our community and share resources, when it makes sense. For the Birmingham store, that means we are retailing Single Lock Records (a fantastic record label out of Shoals that carries a number of Birmingham-based bands), Great Bear Wax Co. candles and Freedom Soap Company (both great Birmingham-based makers). Our food service is done by Continental Bakery and we’re always thinking about other potential collaborations.”

And I’m eager to collaborate with Revelator Coffee Co. for future See Jane Write events.

What topics would you like covered in future See Jane Write Roundtable events? 

DIY Marketing with Books-a-Million

Birmingham-based authors, learn how to be your own publicist at the next See Jane Write event.

On Tuesday, June 16 we’re partnering with Books-a-Million to bring you a FREE workshop on how to market your book. You’ll also learn more about BAM! Publishing and Books On-Demand — which could be just what you need if you’re looking to self publish your next book.

The event will feature talks by Chanda Temple, co-author of the Birmingham’s Best Bites cookbook and A.D. Lawrence, author of the book When the Lioness Roars.

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Chanda Temple worked as a journalist for nearly 20 years before switching gears to public relations in 2012. This change meant that no longer would she cover buzz-worthy events but would now be responsible for building buzz and she’s going to help you build buzz for your book, too. For the past three years Temple has crafted numerous public relations campaigns that the public and media noticed.

Her latest success was coauthoring the Birmingham’s Best Bites cookbook. The self-published paperback book sold out three times in late 2014 and earned an international gold medal award in 2015. Also in 2015, her public relations campaign for the book and the Birmingham food festival it was connected to, won a first place state award in public relations.

AD Lawrence

Although, A. D. Lawrence is new to the official writing world, she is not new to the art. She has spent a lifetime putting pen-to-paper to express her deepest feelings and thoughts and to do research.

A.D. grew up in Tennessee at a time when children were to be seen and not heard. In 1989, she moved further south where she believed blacks were treated the same. During this major transition, she wrote. This era helped to hone her writing skills by giving her an outlet for unspeakable truths, while she dealt with social changes.

Lawrence is the author of When the Lioness Roars, When the Lioness Roars…Again, and When the Lioness Roars…Again and Again. She also has two works in progress. One is entitled Life Beyond the Shadows and the other is A Coloring of Hearts. The underlying theme in both deals with personal disappointment, struggle, growth, and survival. Unlike these two, the current book uses humor, anger, fact, prayer, rhyme and reason to produce a personal journal/textbook.

Join See Jane Write and Books-a-Million as these authors share the secrets to marketing their books. Zach Kendrick of Books-a-Million will also be on site to tell you all about the Espresso Book Machine and how you could use it to self-publish your next book.

This book is free and open to the public but seating is limited so arrive early.

DIY Marketing for Authors: How To Be Your Own Publicist

Hosted by Books-A-Million, Brookwood Village in Partnership with BAM! Publishing and See Jane Write

6 – 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 16 at the Brookwood Village Books-a-Million

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