At The Grommet, we truly believe that every purchase is an act of citizenship. That's why we launch undiscovered products and help them succeed. Our Grommets aren't just things. Grommets are products with a purpose invented by people with stories. Browse our Citizens Gallery to learn about these ideas or post your own. Buy differently.
Last week I got the opportunity to meet and mingle with several foodies, photographers, and bloggers at wonderful luncheon hosted by Todd and Diane of WhiteOnRiceCouple.com. If you're not familiar with Todd & Diane, they describe themselves as:
"... professional food & lifestyle photographers & filmmakers, travelers and gardeners. Fueled by our love of local culture, people & rich heritage, we document powerful stories from around the world."
A glimpse of Todd & Diane's blog, WhiteOnRiceCouple.com
Honestly, they had me at "stories." As I listened to Todd and Diane share their passion of capturing someone's story and telling it through photographs and video, I instantly wanted to get to know them better. Storytelling, now this is a topic that feels familiar and comforting. It's what we do here at Daily Grommet, everyday. It's what gets us going in the morning -- capturing the story of a great product and the people who love it and sharing that story with the world. Surprisingly, the luncheon became less about food and more about the story of everyone in the room. Themes of community and connecting seemed to fill the air (don't get me wrong, there was some amazing food happening as well).
Here's a peek at the food.
But it really was the stories of the people I met that made a lasting impression.
Like Alex Thomopoulos -- a student, turned comedian, turned gluten free chef. She's pretty funny and has a very interesting story.
And Joy, who has been baking with her father for as long as she can remember. She created a blog to share her baking journey with the world and has just released her first book -- Joy the Baker. She also makes some amazing frosting (it's dangerously good).
I also met up with long-time Daily Grommet friend Ciaran, creator of Francie Pants. Her story is ever-changing as entrepreneurs tend to shake things up in small and big ways. Looking forward to seeing what she does next!
And of course it wouldn't be a successful outing without a little Grommet scouting. I discovered two possible Grommet ideas, both delicious I have to say. Stay tuned!
We enjoy following the evolving stories of our Grommet friends and love hearing how they are shaking things up, making a difference or following their dreams. In the case of our pal Audrey McClelland, it's all three! Here to share her new book, we sat down for a little Q&A with Audrey (plus we have a giveaway, details at end of the post!).
Colleen Padilla and Audrey McClelland authors of The Digital Mom
Well, I'm excited to announce that my book (that I co-authored with Colleen Padilla) The Digital Mom Handbook is coming out July 26th! This has kind of taken over my life right now. We started thinking about the idea of this book back in October of 2009... so to know that it's almost ready to be released, it's truly a dream come true.
How did you like the process of writing a book? Any surprises?
You know, it's funny... I've written another book before, Preconception Plain & Simple, with my mom, but we self-published, we never actively looked for a publisher. It was much, much different -- we had to do everything (I mean, everything). This time around with The Digital Mom Handbook was a DREAM. It was hard work, yes... but it was good hard work. Colleen and I knew what we wanted to share, so it was just a matter of making sure everything we wanted in the book, made it in the book. Having an editor helped tremendously because we were guided through the whole process. We each took a stab at different chapters, and then came together to make it work as one. The biggest surprise for me throughout the process was seeing the amount of edits that went back and forth... everything is so thorough, and it was incredible to see that. Not to mention, this is "our" baby, and it was amazing to see people care about it as much as we did.
What has surprised you most about your career transformation from Fashion Executive to Blogger to now published Author?
The journey has been amazing. You know, when I was working at Donna Karan, I always dreamed of doing something on my own. When I started blogging, I remember actually thinking, "Oh... so this is what I've been wanting to do my whole life." I just LOVED It! I felt like I finally figured it all out in terms of what I was supposed to be doing with my life. So when the book came along, I just felt very excited. It's an extension of myself and I just really felt so much information about the digital mom world needed to be shared. The digital mom community means so much to me, and I just wanted to be able to support it in the best way possible.
Is there a book tour in the works? Anything else you want to share with us?
We have a few things in the works. For anyone who orders our book before July 26th (the day our book will officially be released) we have a special offer for them. You'll have access to an exclusive online seminar with me and Colleen. We'll discuss the book LIVE, share tips and advice and take questions from the readers during our webinar. I'm very excited about this!! And we're going to be doing Digital Mom Handbook seminars throughout the country towards the end of 2011 and into 2012, so stay tuned for cities where we will be.
Audrey, thank you for sharing this update with us -- the Daily Grommet gang is enjoying watching your (digital) story evolve!
Want to learn more about The Digital Mom Handbook? Read more and preorder your copy here. We are also giving one away right here on the Daily Grommet blog! Just leave a comment for a chance to win a copy.
For an extra entry, tweet (leave a comment here letting us know you tweeted):
General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U.S. resident and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question on today’s post. No purchase necessary. Two entries per person. The winner will be randomly selected and notified via email. Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 11 am PST July 11, 2011 to 10 pm PST July 13, 2011.
With a nostalgiac nod to a supper club from the 1930s and 1940s, Friends at the Table will teach you how to plan your menu, organize the event, and get it all on the table at once. Seasonal menus, tips for table decorations, and music selections make this a book for novice and expert alike. With plan-ahead instructions and ingredients you can find at your local grocery store, Friends at the Table is the ultimate how-to guide and cookbook for a modern day supper club.
Debi's cookbook is filled with fabulous recipes. She even shares several on her site like Southwestern Ceasar and Apple and Cranberry Crisp with Maple Whipped Cream (see them here).
Thinking about starting your own supper club, or just looking for new delicous recipes? You're in luck, Debi is generously giving away a copy of her cookbook to one lucky reader!
Just tell us, who would you invite to your dinner table?
Comment below to enter to win a copy of Friends at the Table!
Contest is now closed. Congratulations to Angie P.!
General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U.S. resident and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question on today’s post. No purchase necessary. One entry per person. The winner will be randomly selected and notified via email. Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 1pm PST June 6, 2011 to 10 pm PST June 10, 2011.
If you have ever felt overwhelmed by clutter and chaos or simply wanted to learn how to organize your home, this post is for you. Laura is a blogger and author who chronicles the life of an organizing junkie and attempts to get others “hooked” along with her. She has graciously stopped by our blog today for a little Q&A with us.
1. Your blog (orgjunkie.com) is quite popular and seems to be the go-to place for organization tips. How did you get started with blogging and did you ever anticipate that you would have such a
I started my blog 5 years ago now, when my youngest was just six months old, for something to do and to connect with other moms. At the time I had no idea what a hot topic organizing was, I just knew how much I loved doing it and wanted to share that passion with others. My friends all thought my habit was a little strange so it was nice to find people out there that appreciated this love of mine and that I could help in some small way. I anticipated going back to work outside the home when my baby turned one but blogging turned out to be such a blessing in more ways than one when it became a part time job for me. This allowed me to stay home with my son, something I didn’t have the opportunity to do with my oldest two children. My blog has continued to grow over the years and I’m just so grateful for that. It’s really taken me by surprise to be honest.
2. Have you always been an "organizing junkie"?
Oh gosh no, just ask my mom! I was a very messy teenager. At the time it didn’t bother me though so it never occurred to me that there could be another way. It wasn’t until I lived in a 900 square foot rancher (no basement) with a husband, two kids and a dog that stuff really began to drive
me nuts. Stuff without “homes” turn into piles and piles turn into cluttered messes. I remember having to get very creative with space in that home. The day that I turned a coat closet into an office was a turning point for me. It was my a-ha moment when I realized that even though this wasn’t conventional it worked for me and that’s what mattered most. It wasn’t someone else’s idea of what an organized home should look like, it was how it worked for my family that counted. To see so much fit into such a tiny space was so rewarding and dare I say fun! It became quite the addiction for me, hence the name of my blog, I’m an Organizing Junkie.
3. You've recently wrote a book (congrats!) -- I remember reading a post where you said that writing a book wasn't something you had ever planned. How did your book deal come about?
No writing a book was never something I dreamed of doing. In fact I still have trouble calling myself an author! My publisher found me through my blog and contacted me to find out if I’d be interested. I turned him down. Yes I really did. My husband had just lost his job and was relocating to another province for work leaving me at home to hold down the fort with the kids until school finished for the year. I knew my hands would be full. However my publisher persisted and proposed instead a simple easy to read organizing tip book rather than a full on wordy book. I liked the sound of that as it’s something I knew I would read myself and so I agreed.
4. How did you find the book writing process? Easy, hard, fun? Or a combination of a bunch of different feelings?
To be honest it was a lot harder than I had anticipated. Writing doesn’t come easy for me and it would literally take me hours to write one tip. There were days I wanted to just give up. I hung in there though, with the support of many people, and completed it right on my deadline. I’m very proud of that and I think it was a wonderful lesson for my kids to see. Pushing through our fears and what’s comfortable is possible with some perseverance, determination, deadlines and prayer.
5. Do you have any advice or encouragement for people who claim that being organized just isn't in their blood?
Well I don’t really buy into the theory that it isn’t in our blood as I don’t think I have any special organizing gene or anything. Yes I have a passion for it that other’s may not but anyone can do it. They just have to learn the skills needed to do it and that’s what I teach in my book. The two key elements to organizing any space are knowing the process to follow and the ability to make decisions. This last one I think is where people get stuck most often but with practice it does get much easier.
6. Do you have a simple tip that you'd like to share with our readers?
Start small. It’s as simple as that. Feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to be done can be debilitating and lead to procrastination. Break your tasks down into bite size manageable steps. For instance, don’t keep reminding yourself that you need to organize your office. Instead make a list
of all the things that need to be done inside your office in order to reach your goal of an organized space. One drawer, closet, file and/or pile at a time.
7. What's next for you and orgjunkie.com?
This year I’ve introduced a new challenge on my blog that will help readers with their own organizational journeys over the course of the entire year. It’s called 52 Weeks of Organizing and it is designed to have you accomplish
one small organizing task per week. Bite size portions, one week at a time. However, from the feedback I’m already getting, what seems to be happening is that once people get started (and let’s face it that can be the hardest part sometimes) and experience that sense of order and calm that
comes with an organized space, they want to keep going and end up doing more! My goal is to get everyone “hooked” on organizing right along with me!
Laura is a wife and mother to three great kids, lives in Alberta, Canada and is an addict of all things organizing, especially containers. She is addicted to the “high” that comes with living a life of order and simplicity and is always looking for her next "fix". You can find her blogging regularly and sharing her passion over at I'm an Organizing Junkie, and her organizing book, Clutter Rehab: 101 Organizing Tips & Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!
I don't generally think of myself of an addict, but the fact is, when it comes to (certain) television shows, I'm a downright junkie. I'm like a character from LOST, pushing the darn button, week after week. I do go through phases -- but once I'm hooked, I've just gotta know: what happened this week?? And I'm not even a snob about it. I'm just as likely to fall for Modern Family (free) as I am for Entourage (cable - ouch!).
One of my longest running crushes: Mad Men ... Madison Ave in its heyday. Beautiful, wicked, tragic people wearing stunning clothes. Iconic 60's fashion in a haze of booze and cigarette smoke. What's not to love about Mad Men fashion? So when Anna at Hachette told me about The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men (Emmy award winner, Janie Bryant), I just had to have it -- so we could share it with you, of course.
Fashionistas will love the forward from January Jones and the stylish illustrations. You'll get a peek backstage, but pick up some pretty practical tips too. Here's a bit about "Comfort versus Chic" -- a topic I can especially relate to (mostly because I'm a transgressor in just about every category!)
Have fun discovering your inner Betty or Joan ...
Comfort versus Chic
Just as the right accessories can enliven any outfit, the right pieces will surely main a stylish silhouette. I refer to those items as "fashion felons" and can guarantee that they never play nice with other separates. Sneakers, for instance, are appropriate only for athletics. And don't think that you can get away with them while running errands. You can find a smart, chic alternative that's equally easy on the feet. Skeptical? Read on.
Fashion felon: A shapeless tee
The white T-shirt, first issued by the navy was originally designed as an undershirt beneath a uniform. But ever since the fifties, it has become an American staple and tripled in size (I'm not talking about the huge, trendy tees with shoulder pads form the eighties either.) If you're swimming in a T-shift, your silhouette suddenly appears as vast as the ocean. Toss this top or relegate it to attire for garden work or attic cleaning.
You don't need to banish tees. Just be sure to find a style that doesn't swallow you whole, and opt for little feminine accents like a puffed sleeve or a low ballet back. Ruching on the sides will slim your outline and three-quarter sleeves are always flattering. Experiment with varied necklines like a V, cowl, or boatneck style. A cotton tunic is just as breathable as a tee. Plus you get a wink at your natural curves and femininity.
Fashion felon: Visible panty lines
These pesky undergarment outlines disrupt the flow of a tailored silhouette. Plus they hardly flatter the backside. Similarly, a protruding panty strap looks more unkempt than alluring.
The thong -- originally worn by men more than 50,000 years ago as a loincloth -- is one handy solution for eradicating panty lines. If you're averse to the style, girdle-inspired shapewear will certainly do the trick.
Fashion felon: Visible protruding midriffs, AKA muffin-tops, and bra back bulges
Again these disruptions to your contours break up that natural long line of the body.
If you're not blessed with a slim torso, replace low-rise jeans with a high-waisted style that doesn't pinch at the midriff. A well-fitted bra should eradicate back bulges ...
Fashion felon: Disheveled sneakers
Perhaps the perceptually chic Parisians abhor jogging because it would force them to wear running shoes? A pair of slipshod sneakers, with scuff marks or grass stains, should be worn only for athletic reasons or to a sporting event. In my opinion, they defy femininity.
Flat-heeled boots, ballet flats, summer sandals, and espadrilles all make perfect alternatives. Or try a pair of slip-on canvas skimmers in a vivid red, green, or floral print, which look cute with jeans, shorts, or even a summer mini dress.
Does this book sound up your alley? Leave a comment below describing your fashion style and we will select one winner to receive their own copy.
Excerpts reprinted with permission from Hachette Book Group.
General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. or Canadian resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question on today’s post. No purchase necessary. The winner will be randomly selected and will receive the title above. Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 8 am PST November 16, 2010 to 10 pm PST November 19, 2010.
Just last week, I spent a few days in New York City and was reminded what an important role food plays there. I had lunch in a charming French bistro with Maria Baugh, co-founder of famed cupcake bakery, Butter Lane and Managing Editor of Food Network Magazine; I toured a to-die-for Italian food mecca (more on this to follow!), and the Hachette Book Group told me about the newly published Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook, by the husband and wife team and restaurant founders, Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lanman. After reading the recipes, I'm determined to make my way back to the Big Apple just to have brunch at "New York's number one breakfast spot" (says Lonely Planet ... and I'm buying it!).
Yesterday, we asked our Facebook community which of the two wildly popular Clinton Street cookies recipes they'd like us to share here on the blog: Chocolate Chunk ... or Maple Walnut? So, without further ado, here's your winner (by a crumb!). Happy baking:
Clinton St. Baking Company: Maple Walnut Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
1 stick (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts (or pecans), toasted
*These cookies are made from dough that you can roll, slice, and bake like a shortbread. Not too sweet, they're great confections for dunking in coffee
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes, until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the maple syrup, yolk, and vanilla and mix until smooth and combined, again scraping down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the flour and turn the speed to low. Mix until combined and a dough forms. Add the nuts and briefly mix until they are evenly dispersed in the dough.
4. Roll the dough into a log (2 inches thick and 12 inches long) and wrap it in plastic. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, until firm.
5. Coat 2 cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray or line them with parchment paper (we do both at the bakery to prevent sticking).
6. Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap, and use a knife to make 1/2-inch thick slices. Then sprinkle lightly with sugar.
7. Place 12 cookies on each cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until pale golden brown. The cookies should have a brown colored ring around the exterior and the undersides will be a golden brown.
How would you like to have over 100 of their beloved recipes (yes, including more cookie recipes) that can be found the Clinton St. Baking Company cookbook? We are giving away one copy to one of you! To enter, leave a comment on this post and we will select one winner.
General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. or Canadian resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question on today’s post. No purchase necessary. The winner will be randomly selected and will receive the title above. Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 9:00 am PST November 4, 2010 to 10 pm PST November 7, 2010.
We recently caught back up with Grommet Tikatok and were excited to hear they've been up to some pretty cool things. If you aren't familiar with Tikatok -- it's is a website where children can read, write, illustrate and publish their very own books (how cool is that?). We admire this company for being a true supporter of children’s literacy and encouraging creative reading and writing in our youth.
Tikatok recently asked children, ages 5 to 12, to imagine, if given a chance, how would they advise the First Lady to encourage children to read and stay active? The creative submissions poured in and Tikatok decided to assemble them into a beautiful compilation. The first copies of “Letters to the First Lady” were released on September 15th.
As part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support reading and literacy, Tikatok will be donating $1.00 per copy sold of “Letters to the First Lady” to the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) Foundation, the creator of the largest international digital library of freely available children's books (www.childrenslibrary.org). For more information about “Letters to the First Lady,” please visit http://www.tikatok.com/letters.
I love to cook. I might not be a Teresa Scenna, but I love strapping on an apron and spending an afternoon trying new recipes and making a mess of my kitchen. So, when I had the chance to review two new cookbooks I immediately got out the pots and pans.
The first book I cracked open was American Cookery by James Beard. Not only was I excited to read the food diary of this master, but I was really eager to read the forward from chef Tom Colicchio (I am a huge Top Chef fan on which Colicchio is a judge). The book (and forward) did not disappoint. Here's a bit more about the book:
"James Beard was the "dean of American cookery" (New York Times), and he put practically everything he learned about cooking into this single magnificent--now classic--cookbook. James Beard's American Cookery includes more than fifteen hundred of his favorite and most successful recipes, as well as advice on dozens of cooking questions, from choosing meats and vegetables to preserving fruit and making real cheeseburgers. A celebration of the roots of cooking in the American style, this repackaged edition features the original text and color illustrations, and a new foreword by Tom Colicchio. Like Mastering the Art of French Cooking and The Joy of Cooking, it is a standard reference no kitchen is complete without."
The second cookbook I reviewed was 5 Ingredient Fix by Food Network Chef, Claire Robinson. I was immediately captivated by the gorgeous images and the elegant simplicity of her recipes -- 5 ingredients, that's it! Recipes like Ginger Pumpkin Tart, Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions, and Fig and Rosemary Flatbread are all on my menu this fall. More about the book:
"Claire Robinson, the hot new Food Network star of 5 Ingredient Fix and Food Network Challenge, helps people get dinner on the table with little fuss and a few great ingredients. The quest for simple, affordable, and fresh, mouthwatering food is over. 5 Ingredient Fix helps put delicious and sophisticated meals on the table in a snap. With people struggling to simplify, streamline, and budget, the Food Network's Claire Robinson is here to help. Cooking doesn't have to be complicated to be impressive; simplifying the process with fewer ingredients saves time, frustration, and ultimately, money."
Whether you are a seasoned pro, or a wanna-be chef (like myself), these cookbooks are great to have in your culinary library. Want to get cooking? Leave a comment and let me know which cookbook you'd prefer and I'll send one of you American Cookery and the other 5 Ingredient Fix!
General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. or Canadian resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question on today’s post. No purchase necessary. The winner(s) will be randomly selected and will receive the title above. Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 11:00 am PST October 28, 2010 to 10 pm PST October 31, 2010.
I have a pretty varied group of Internet friends, all of whom are interesting and dynamic and unique. Jason Mayo is one of them. He's got a great wit, a great perspective on women (he has a house full of them) and a big heart. It's that heart that led him to write a book for which all proceeds go to charity. I sent Jason a Q&A about his book, "Do Witches Make Fishes?"
1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself. Who are you and why exactly are you on the Internet? (I jest. Who isn't on the Internet, other than my Grandma?) Where can our readers find you if they want to get to know you better?
Well, my name is Jason and I'm gonna be 40 years old in a couple of months. This means that I'm too young to retire and too old for chicks to think I'm hot anymore. I'm losing the hair on my head but it's growing back on my ears, my back and the top of my shoulders. Luckily I have a wife that still thinks I'm handsome and two daughters that are too young to know any better. I also write a Dad blog called Out-Numbered where I make some pretty bad decisions a couple of times a week and my first children's book just came out about a month ago. I need a nap.
2. So. You wrote a book called. "Do Witches Make Fishes?" What is the book about?
Well, the book is about a young boy who favors candy over his Mom's healthy but really weird looking dishes. Eventually he's faced with an ultimatum from his Mother and he has to make a choice. What ensues is a series of extraordinary and fantastical events. I used to love Dr. Seuss as a kid but I'm also a huge horror buff, so it was only natural for me to try and introduce a little bit of the two into the story. I think the combination makes it pretty unique. It's like a cross between Dr. Seuss and Clive Barker. Aside from being fun to read and filled with tons of cool illustrations, it has a really important message for kids about making healthy choices and listening to your parents. That was something I really wanted to work into the story because I haven't seen that many good new children's books dealing with eating healthy and it's a real problem with kids in our country today.
3. How was the process of creating the book? Was it as hard as we've heard, or what is easier than expected?
I'm the kind of person that likes to have things done perfect and fast. Not one or the other. So it was a really difficult exercise in patience for me. In all honesty, the first draft of the story took me about 2 or 3 hours to write and then it took about 8 months to finish fine tuning the story and perfecting the drawings with my illustrator. I really enjoyed that collaboration. It was amazing for me to see my story come to life through the eyes of another human being. I'm just happy he didn't kill me for annoying him with my changes day in and day out. There was a lot of back and forth on multiple levels. My editor was really helpful with the story arc as well as, phrasing and what not but I think some of the most valuable feedback, came from the multitude of teachers, school administrators and parents alike that took the time to read and comment on the book. I didn't think it was going to be that arduous a process but then again, I'm usually wrong about most things.
4. Now that you're on the other side and on the published side of things, is it what you envisioned it to be?
The truth is, I never envisioned anything. I never even envisioned writing a blog, let alone have people that read it. I'm just really happy that I actually followed through with it because it feels good to have accomplished something. I think my wife and kids are proud of me and that's pretty much more than I could ever wish for. I think the biggest thing for me is that I don't allow myself to feel a ton of pressure. I'm not doing this to make a living. I'm lucky enough to have a full time gig that allows me to do this sort of stuff in my spare time. It's a labor of love really.
5. Rumor has it that the book's proceeds go to charity. OK, fine. It's not a rumor - it's the truth. SO COOL. Which charity gets to benefit from all of your hard work?
Yes, you are correct. All of the profits from the book (my royalties) go to a terrific charity called the Garden of Dreams foundation. The charity works closely with all areas of Madison Square Garden, including the New York Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, MSG Media, MSG Entertainment and Fuse to make dreams come true for kids in crisis. About a year ago, my best friend found out he had cancer and one of our sports heroes, Adam Graves of the New York Rangers, did a pretty amazing thing for us. I wrote a blog about it called, "Hockey Heals". That experience opened my eyes to a whole new world of thinking. It really was a spiritual experience that changed my life and I made a decision to make giving back a priority in my life. I originally wrote the book for my oldest daughter and her 2nd grade class but I thought it would be a cool way to raise money for The Garden Of Dreams if I could get a bunch of people to buy it. So far it's working and I'm grateful for all of the support and love I've found along the way. I'm pretty psyched because I've started to do readings at schools, libraries and local community fairs etc. I'll also be working with the Garden of Dreams and doing events, hospital readings and other great stuff to help put smiles on kids faces. I just hope the kids don't think the book sucks.
Thanks so much, Jason. We're happy to be able to feature this book (and the Garden of Dreams foundation) here at Daily Grommet. I'm sure our community members would love to buy a book that is not only a fun read for kids, but gives back to those in need.
Today's Grommet, ila security, actually got me thinking quite a bit about my own personal safety. I know there are times when I'm not as aware of my surroundings and as alert as I should be ... and I'll bet I'm not the only one feeling that way after watching today's video. Jacqui Hames is the spokesperson for Ila security and she reached out and asked us to pass along her top 10 safety tips for personal safety. I was very impressed by Jacqui -- she's one of Britain's best-known real-life detectives, with 25 years in the London Metropolitan Police. Plus, she co-hosted BBCs Crimewatch for 16 years. She clearly knows what she's talking about, so I'm happy to share her safety primer with everyone here.
by Jacqui Hames
1. THINK AHEAD
Take a few minutes before you go out to think through and plan your journey, particularly if it's not a regular route.
It may sound obvious but try and avoid poorly lit or very quiet areas if possible - even if it is the quickest route.
Check public transport journey times and look for alternative options should your plans change or a bus/train is cancelled - have a contingency.
2. CARRY A MOBILE PHONE
This can be a lifeline when stranded but when you need it most you can guarantee you'll have forgotten to top up your credit or the battery will be flat! If nothing else, make sure you have change for a call box. Some phones have an SOS message facility - check yours.
3. LET SOMEONE KNOW
Keep in touch with a member of your family or a friend, particularly of you're feeling nervous or a little vulnerable on a new route. Phone or text just before you start your journey and let them know what time you should be arriving.
4. CARRY PERSONAL SECURITY ALARM
This could give you the opportunity to stop any attacker in his tracks. Attaching the ila Dusk to the outside of your bag also provides you with the additional feature of using a woman's scream.
So many of us are literally 'struck dumb' with fear when confronted by an attacker - the ila Dusk gives you back a voice and valuable seconds to escape. Sad to say these days there aren't many knights in shining armour about to come to your rescue unless you're really lucky, but using the few seconds to put as much distance between you, could stop you from becoming a victim.
5. WALK WITH CONFIDENCE
Following all these tips will give you confidence and there's no doubt that striding out, head up, oozing confidence is one of the best ways of putting off a potential attacker. He won't want to raise his risk of being caught, so if he thinks you're going to cause him trouble he's likely to be put off. When you arrive at your front door have your key ready to go straight in. Try to wear flat shoes (or have spares with you) and walk with traffic coming towards you so a car can't creep up and surprise you from behind.
6. DON'T FLASH YOUR CASH OR VALUABLES
If you stop at a cash machine or shop on the way, try to conduct transactions as discretely as possible. Carrying your bag with the clasp facing inwards is a good idea, but keep your keys and phone separately in your pocket if possible.
7. TAKE OFF THOSE HEADPHONES
It's sooo tempting to lose yourself in your favourite music when walking home or to work, but being aware of your surroundings and the other people around you will sharpen your senses and provide an early warning system of any potential trouble.
8. ALWAYS USE LICENSED CABS
When your feet are sore, you're tired, fed up and desperate to get home it's oh so tempting to get into a car when the driver says 'Want a cab, love?' Please don't - licensed cab drivers are only allowed to ply for hire in a regulated cab rank. Would you willingly get into a stranger's car under normal circumstances? Well that's exactly what this is.
Book a cab through a known cab company and make sure the driver tells you the name it was booked in - before you get in. Programme a couple of reputable cab numbers into your phone before you go out.
9. IF YOU THINK YOU'RE BEING FOLLOWED
I know - our worst nightmare. But it needn't be if you keep your wits about you and act fast. First try crossing a road or turning back on yourself. If they continue to follow, assume your suspicions are right and get help. Try pretty much anywhere there are people - pub, bar, cafe, shop, service station etc or knock on the nearest door where the lights are on. If the worst happens and you think an attack is imminent set off your ila Dusk alarm and run as fast as your can towards an area where you know there will be people. Leave your shoes behind and even your handbag if that's what he's after - you are far more valuable than property.
10. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Well all develop instincts or intuition for danger as we gain more experience of life. But it's easy, particularly under influence of alcohol or peer pressure to ignore what they're telling you. Trust them and you'll invariably stay one step ahead of the criminal.
For more about Jacqui's background, you can check out the video she sent us below:
As Jacqui mentioned, she has written a book called, Savvy!The Modern Girl's Guide to Doing It All Without Risking It All, and she has generously offered to give a copy away to one of you today.
To enter to win, just leave a comment or question below. Jacqui will also be checking in to answer any questions you might have!
General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. or Canadian resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question on today’s post. No purchase necessary. The winner will be randomly selected and will receive the title above. Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 9:00 am PST September 29, 2010 to 10 pm PST September 30, 2010.