Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's All About The Friends - Friends of the Library!

The Friends of the Stockton Public Library is one of the most unassuming treasures in all of Stockton. They are the only Friends group within the San Joaquin County that actually got so big and busy that they outgrew their little space inside the library and opened shop in the Parkwoods Shopping Center off of Hammer Lane. A shop jam packed full of books, games, puzzles, records, CD's and the like... and I do mean jam packed! Not only are shelves full, but even little book carts are filled with novels and biographies ready to be bought and read!

The Friends of the Library is a non-profit foundation that works tirelessly to promote literacy and raise money by selling gently used books to the community. The books they sell are donated, shelved, and resold to anxiously waiting readers that know how to make a dollar go a long way!

The money that the Friends raise directly benefits the Stockton Public Library branches by providing additional book buying money as well as sponsoring some of the programs used to bring our community together for the love of reading.

The Friends can be credited in part for some great library accomplishments such as:
  • Providing rent-able NOOKS to the community that are preloaded with a variety of titles
  • Supporting fun and educational reading programs for kids all year long
  • Bringing authors to town as part of the One Book, One San Joaquin program
  • Sponsoring the library's bi-monthly newsletter, Let's Connect

The thing is, the Stockton Friends Group (and all library Friends groups) are only successful when they have people shopping their store and becoming members with super duper low membership fees.

Sometimes it's easy to forget the smaller used bookstores in a town because new and shiny can be pretty enticing! But the truth is, both have their place. Sure! I sometimes need or want to buy a new book! For instance, I am headed to Barnes and Noble this week to purchase a new book to donate to my daughter's school library! 

However, I also need a few different titles for my sons reading library (we have read Are You My Mother more times than I care to count) and for that I will be headed to the Friends Bookstore! I can drop off some books as donations and pick up a few more. A gently used book is perfect for him and for me -- and I love the idea that by making my purchase at the Friends of the Bookstore I am directly helping to support our Stockton Public Libraries!

Oh, and don't worry, I am using my local library, too! I have downloaded several audio books in the last couple months to turn beach drives into family reading time! You do know you can download audiobooks (and eBooks) to your smart phones, right? BEST.THING.EVER!

You can help the Friends, too! Come down to the store and browse their large selection of books! Paperbacks, romances, cookbooks, best sellers, travel companions (books, not people), mysteries - they have it all!  

You can also help the friends by becoming a member.  ANY donation amount is welcome, however, if you give at least $25 annually, you will also get 10% off all your purchases! I say to that..."AWE-SOME!"

And if you don't live in Stockton, don't you worry! These Library Friends groups are all over the county! Linden, Mountain House, Tracy, Ripon, Escalon, Manteca, Mountain House -- all of these cities have libraries and Friends groups that run their non-profits right out of the local library! Stop by the library and browse their sale racks or ask how you can be a member to volunteer!

Here's some fun photos of the Friends of the Stockton Public Library to entice you to come visit!  Be sure to tell them "mom" sent you!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Shopping and Crepes

Bellissima means 'most beautiful' and Bellissima Boutique is exactly that! Bellissima is located at 2230 Pacific Avenue on Stockton's Miracle Mile and is the quintessential boutique. 

I happened upon the storefront a couple weekends ago when I took my daughter out for an impromptu photo session, I do that when I get a little stressed.  One minute I was working away on editing client pictures and the next minute Sarah was tip-toeing by me in dress to go play at the neighbors house.

"Whoa there, Boo, you can't go playing in those clothes, go get some shorts on, please," said me.
"Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut Moooooooooooooooooo-ooooooooooooooooommm!" said she.

That was no exaggeration.  She turned mom into a two syllable word. Not lying.

And then I looked at her again... and I saw it! I saw street shopping and purse swinging and hair flying and I begged her to let me run her downtown just for a few minutes.

It was longer than a few minutes. A lot longer.

But it was fun! When we got downtown there were a few store fronts open but the one that caught my eye had a clothes rack out on the sidewalk. A clothes rack full of gorgeous clothing in bright yellows, blues, reds, and purples.  

We took a few pictures in front of the clothes rack/photo prop and then a few more along the sidewalk. Eventually I couldn't stand being on the outside of the store. I had watched about 8 people go peruse the store and some left with bags of goodies.  I wanted had to see what was inside.


The store, and everything in it, is gorgeous! The decor is perfect! The clothes are spectacular! Everything was light, airy, sparkly, gold, and silky. I wanted to touch everything! I wanted to buy everything. And then I wanted to photograph everything.

I didn't get a chance to really meet the girls that were working that day (owners?) although I wish I had. They were both very kind. I asked permission to photograph and they allowed it with a smile and then off they were to become personal assistants to the customers. They were very personable and fun!

The easy part was shopping, the hard part was getting Sarah to stay still enough to photograph! She was flitting her way through like a beautiful butterfly looking at the curio of goodies, the jewelry, and the clothes. She wanted purses, shoes, and bracelets -- she, like me, wanted everything!

Eventually we moved on to another great Miracle Mile place, Midtown Creperie, but I can tell you there was definitely a love connection with Bellissima Boutique. I reminisced about everything I saw in there as I ate my chocolate and strawberry crepe (yum) (oh, that's why I'm not thin).

If you are out and about in Stockton, head over and see the treasures that are there, say hello to the gals, and fall in love with EVERYTHING. You won't be able to stop yourself. Then head to a Miracle Mile restaurant for a sweet, warm crepe fresh, green salad.

Oh, and Bellissima Boutique is also on Facebook! Check them out and see regular posts about their new arrivals and clearance sales! Like their page, and tell them Mom About The Town sent you. 

Now.... where should my next impromptu photo session be? Any ideas? Share them here or on Facebook!



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kids 'n' Local Music

Before I had kids I always thought that when I did, I would raise them up listening to MY music! I wasn't going to be all 'up in their grill' about what they listen to so long as it was clear of cursing. I didn't know much kid music other than the song about a girl that took a lamb to school or the ducks that swam and quacked.  Sounded pretty boring to me. Nothing against the great kid song singers, but my children were gonna be more into the fun stuff I liked... you know, Beatles, The Who, Wham (yes, I said Wham), TLC and more

Now before the bazillions of Beatles fans start picking up stones to throw in my general direction, let me say that there's nothing wrong with kids listening to Let It Be or It's Been a Hard Day's Night. But come on...Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds? Might be hard to explain, don't you think?

I have NO IDEA what the heck I was thinking! Clearly I wasn't. Needless to say, now that I do have kids, I absolutely LOVE kids music and seek out all kinds of great discs for their rhythms, lyrics, fun quality, dance quality, teaching quality, and more.

In fact, when I have the kids in my presence, I try not to listen to my music much at all.  Most of it is about topics way over their head anyway. Really, kids don't need to know about drinking, partying, loving, touching or squeezing (although, I do love that song). They will learn all that craziness fast enough, and anytime before the age of 28 is too soon for me! 

For now, I am completely content with my kids singing about holes in logs, Sammy the Spider, Dinosaurs, and more.  In fact, I prefer it.  Anything else and I may very well get all 'up in their grill'.

And speaking of kids, music... and great influences for young minds... have you heard of the local band The Afternaps? If you haven't, you should! Even if you don't have kids, you should check them out! If you are an auntie, uncle, grandparent, etc... you can become the BEST auntie if you introduce the kiddos to The Afternaps

Erin Odessa leads the way as the singer and the band backs her up with some amazing music! They sing of course, but they also dance, teach, and play -- they PLAY! 

Recently I was at Whirlow's for a Girls Night Out and happened to get their early enough to also enjoy the sounds of laughter in the adjoining store, Yogurt My Way. When I rounded the corner I was instantly in a crowd of moms, dads, strollers, and kids.  Lots and lots of kids. They were all giggly, the parents were smiling, and The Afternaps were OFF THE HOOK!

Take a quick glimpse here and then if you can - GO SEE THEM LIVE!  Support your local musicians, support your local restaurants, and most important, support your kids being kids! 

P.S. The Afternaps are available for private birthday parties, too!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

There Is Plenty To Go Around

As Published in August Issue of Lifestyles Magazine:

Success comes from hard work, determination, tenacity, a set of goals, a clear plan -- and still more hard work and determination. Success doesn’t typically fall into a sleeping person’s lap, but instead belongs to those who bear down and focus up on their dreams.

I’ve seen successful people earning job promotions, starting businesses, losing 25 pounds, buying homes, taking extravagant vacations, spending quality time with their kids, and more.

I feel inspired by them and I am happy for them.  But, if I were honest with myself, the success I saw in others also created a feeling of anxiety in me.  When I heard a friend was moving into a new home I felt the need to hurry up, do more, push harder, work longer, plan better and move into a new home, too. If people around me are receiving the blessings of extra money, validation, and other general goodness in their lives, then I had the nagging feeling that if I didn’t hurry it up, there wouldn’t be any goodness left for me and mine.

That’s how I used to feel.

Somewhere along the way it hit me like a Mack truck. It’s simply untrue that there is a limited amount of goodness in the world. It is simply untrue that blessings are restricted in quantity. It is untrue that because someone has success in their life that I have to compete and fight for my fair share before it all runs out.

Think about this: If we live under the idea that goodness is only available while supplies last, then we create for ourselves a frenzied life that leaves little room for joy and contentment. We end up spending our time grabbing from one another like we are at an 80-percent off clearance sale.

That kind of mentality is not necessary, and it’s not kind. Most importantly, it’s not kind to our own hearts.

In fact, I think life is exactly the opposite. We should openly celebrate the success of others.

I get a little overwhelmed living with the idea of scarcity in which the pie in the sky is being divvied up and depleted as I type. I opt now to believe that there are plenty of blessings to go around and that goodness is not a limited edition. We can actually take a moment to give praise to others and it will not hinder our own success, not one little bit.

Also worth noting, success has a huge range.

For some success may be a new house, for others it might be getting the laundry caught up. Neither is more or less… it is our very own, praiseworthy success.

I believe that if we worry less about competing against one another to get our fair share and instead put more emphasis on supporting each other, then we can be less anxious and a whole lot more joyful.

I am happy to let my friends and family keep their new cars, houses, vacations, and businesses. I am even happier to CELEBRATE their success and blessings -- truly celebrate them, not compete with them. They didn’t take anything away from me. There is plenty to go around.

By the way, that laundry example above, that’s my real life success for this week. It was a really big deal.  I almost celebrated by baking a cake, but then I thought about the dishes it would create. So instead I ate 3 cookies. And then I ate one more.

Feel free to share your thoughts and successes!