Wednesday, April 29, 2009

33 Year Old Bones: Shopping & Parties

I feel old. My bones feel like they're getting older. I can't bounce around like I used to. It takes me longer to recover from rocking out. I love that I have so many friends in different ages, but sometimes that makes me feel old. I think I really need more entrepreneur friends who are NOT looking for advice/help from my Vermont PR services.

Yes, the Vibe energy level is low and mostly because running a business really takes it all out of me and leaves little for anything else. I am really working on that.

Yesterday I went to a great conference and planned to do a major grocery shopping after, something which is usually a very irritating activity for me. Being that it's a year since The Mitch and I moved into the Charlotte Farmhouse and that we finished a gigantic spring cleaning last week, our shopping list of non-grocery items was quite high. So instead of distressingly rushing through the shop so I could race home and work, I took all afternoon. I went to five stores:

Cheese Traders was the first stop for the most discounted food items. Then Ace Hardware was paid a stop for some gardening supplies, a fan, and a new supply of energy efficient light bulbs. The Christmas Tree Shops was next - and I don't care if it's not "heady" to shop there. I love it and it always makes me feel good so tough noogies. I got all the supplies I need to re-freshen closets, cat litter area, and the areas where stinky mouse and bat poo filters in from the next door attic. I also restocked my candles and a few more gardening supplies. Then I made my way to Walmart (again, when I get slammed for thousands in self employment taxes, I can shop wherever I need to pay the bills), filtered through my coupons, and bought all of my personal/cleaning supplies. And finally I made my way to Shaws (with more coupons) for food, produce, and meat - and yes, I get all Wild Harvest meat until I get my act together and me a big hunk of local meat. I also shopped so extensively so we can be prepared for gardening and farmer's markets (we attend in Shelburne) where we focus on in season and local foods.

And while I look at my old bones, I also am thankful for my great friends and wanted to share some birthday pics from my dinner celebration at Koto - Japanese Steak House back in March - thanks for coming everyone!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Suburban Homesteading

I can't say that life at the Charlotte Farmhouse can be considered "suburban," however, since The Mitch and I rent the farmhouse we call home to MitchaRachia and Rachel Carter PR, we could sort of fall into that category, because all of this glorious land we are surrounded by isn't ours. Not that any land really "belongs" to anyone but the Earth, but that is another discussion for another day. I am not feeling politically and environmentally charged today, just want to share a great experience The Mitch and I had back in March at the Honey Dew Homestead in Williston.

The Honey Dew Homestead is the home of entrepreneurs, Markey Read (of Career Networks) and Tim King (of Tupelo Group). To some they would be considered part time farmers, but they have coined the term (as far as I am concerned) of suburban homesteaders. They have a glorious property in Williston that you wouldn't guess would be a convenient drive to Boxwood Drive. On this property (which we toured extensively in March for the Vernal Equinox) are extensive veggie gardens, a chicken tractor, bee hives, a small orchard, solace areas, a water garden, a greenhouse, and even a snakepit (it attracts the owls). The Honey Dew Homestead produces eggs, honey, veggies, and excellent expertise. A few weeks before The Mitch and I headed over to the Honey Dew Homestead, I bought some eggs from the basket Markey carried into a WBON networking event while dressed in her business best. I love this stuff!

Markey and Tim created a series of Suburban Homestead Gatherings during traditional seasonal celebrations throughout the year. The first was held in February to celebrate Imbolc - the return of light. Unable to attend this gathering, I eagerly awaited the March event to celebrate the Vernal Equinox, connect with other "part-time" farmer types who live more sustainably off their plots of land, and plan for the arrival of spring and what The Mitch and I have in store for our second year being "suburban" Charlotte homesteaders.

We had the most delightful day with about a dozen other folks dining on the last preserved food of the season, exploring the Honey Dew Homestead, planting a few tomato seeds Markey cultivated last year, swapping stories of success and woe with others (The Mitch was hysterical with his descriptions of his first gardening experience last summer - weeds, and rototillers, and making salsa oh my!), and enjoying Markey and Tim's fantastic collection of gardening books to help plan our own next steps. We were so fired up after the day, we raced over to Gardener's Supply for some seeds and a lovely amaryllis bulb that a month later is almost ready to pop!

For those interested in future Suburban Homestead Gatherings, the schedule is as follows:
Beltane: May 3
Summer Solstice: June 21
Lammas: August 2
Autumnal Retreat: October 2 & 3
Samhain: October 31
Winter Solstice: December 19

For more information or to register, please contact:
Markey Read, 802-373-7789,
Tim King, 802-598-7333,

I am glad we have found this great outlet to share and learn from others. Even though we live on a farm, we aren't really farmers, but considering we yielded an average of 600 tomatoes last year and grew over 20 crops, we are most definitely homesteaders and a definite portion of our food comes from living sustainably off the land. As for suburban - well, we can see our neighbors and for some Vermonters that is suburban!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Corporate Vibing to Manchester

So, since I have decided I am a corporate hippie (for more please see my Linked In profile), I have realized my Vibing expeditions can fall into two categories - the corporate or the hippie. For the most part my Vibes are spread over weekends when I have my favorite hippie outfits on (for those who do not know, outfits completely define who I am - even The Mitch wears outfits!). But sometimes my Vibes are spread when Rachel Carter PR bounces away in the Vibe for an adventure of the corporate variety. Last week was the most perfect example of this so I MUST share!

Two of the most respected people in the Vermont travel scene - Carrie McDougall of Cultural Crossroads and the former Stowe Area's Association PR Queen, Jo Sabel Courtney recommended me to teach two social media workshops at the Vermont Travel Industry Conference held at The Equinox Resort last week. What a vibetastic experience! And thank you Carrie and Jo!!!

I raced through the week leading up to get all of my client work in a row so I could take the time to attend the conference (hence no recent blog posts). With final touches finished and a willing-to-come-back voice (I was at rock concerts over the weekend), I closed up my Vermont PR firm for the week and vibed down Route 7 to Manchester.

The first super groovy thing that happened was after emerging from Rutland, finding myself reverting back in time along Route 7. By the time I was deep in Mount Tabor, I started to feel those wonderful mountain vibes only felt when in a natural energy vortex and couldn't wait to tell The Mitch how we'd have to get down this way again and Vibe around. Before I could finish that thought I drove by Emerald Lake State Park - where The Mitch and I have already booked five days over the 4th of July for our first of many Vermont lakeside vacations (one per year). I won't talk about it anymore because it will most certainly be a fantastic blog post come July, but, man - was I excited!

It is rare that the Vibe gets way down to Southern Vermont, but when it does, I always love it - will I find myself living in Southern Vermont at some point? I always wonder if that will be in the cards. I gawked all along Route 7A until I parked the Vibe at its two night destination - The Equinox. Back in my earlier days as Vermont's PR Mama (before I could be considered a mama), the Woodstock Inn & Resort was a client and to this day I have a love like no other for the Woodstock area. I think I can actually credit that work on the true origins of Vermont Vibing - I was always looking for all of the story angles I could find to share with media folk I pitched on behalf of the Woodstock Inn. As Woodstock's friendly competition, I was fully aware of, yet had never visited The Equinox. Until last week.

Kudos to The Equinox. I wish now I snapped some pictures of my room (this is from the press room). I felt like I was in a movie (one of my most favorite feelings!) - I worked at the desk on the computer, slept so well in the king size bed with delightful turn-down service, LOVED the glass door shower and bathrobe, played make-up lady with the mirror selections, and marveled at a view of the courtyard as opposed to the parking lot. I was also into the lacquered decor look - definitely not my style under my normal hippie circumstances, but when I get to be a Vibing corporate hippie? Most definitely!

The conference itself was terrific and my workshops went great. I think my favorite part was just spending time with people in Vermont's travel industry. They are real, fun, and quite frankly, the type of folks who "get it." Rock on!! I felt renewed, rejuvenated, excited for summer, excited for work, and excited for new friends all after one conference. Now THAT is what I call success!

I spent an extra day heading further south into the Berkshires to have dinner with my father who I referenced multiple times in my presentations followed by lunch the next day with my grandmother. The return trip to Vermont was on the usual 91 to 89. I was wishing my route could have taken me back up Route 7, but I know that trek is waiting for me July 4th weekend. Plus, The Mitch was patiently waiting for his corporate hippie to return home to the Charlotte Farmhouse where I knew he was making me dinner. I Love You Mitch!

I way prefer Vibing than the 91 to 89 drive, but timing so had it that most of my drive was in gorgeous blue skies with high floating clouds and a sea of red and purple on the trees - just waiting for the cold weather to diminish so they can snap into the most glorious foliage on the Earth (springtime in Vermont that is). I was again filled with elated feelings from the experience of the Vermont Travel Industry Conference, spirited tunes on the IPod, and a car ride to myself filled with reflection, compassion, and promise. And then the sun started to set. Besides two irritatingly irritating rednecks who threw three beer cans out in front of me (between exits 8 and 9), I was completely zen - something I am usually only able to experience hiking and gardening. And then I started snapping pictures. I went slow and when the cars would pass I would get real slow and shoot and then speed back up again. I know that is sort of bad, but it was also sort of sneaky (which is more fun than bad), and well, just perfect. Here are the results:

Thanks to all who helped create and manifest the experiences of last week and can't wait to see some of my new friends again soon!