Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Recap of the Unbelievable LOVE at the Body Love Conference

Unbelievable. Inspirational. Am-may-zing. These are some of the things I have said to describe the inaugural Body Love Conference,and though none of them are wrong, none of them can convey the sense of solidarity, vulnerability, power and grace that I saw at the event and with my fellow presenters.

Try to imagine the power of 400+ women in one room using their energy for good. Trying to uplift one another. Support each other. Learn. Speak. Listen. Here I am getting ready to do just that with a goofy grin on my face!

Create an intentional community that we want for ourselves, our families, our friends, our world, and our children because we deserve more.

For me it was about feeling the love. I went with my best friend and wingman for the event, Beth Robinson, a phenomenal artist who also looks pretty great in a blue dress, here:

My partner in crime made every event more fun. Next year I recommend that if you go, bring a buddy.(I know it sounds like I'm a kindergarten teacher but I sort-of am. Besides, it's great to have somebody to hold your hand). I could almost talk about the conference by listing the stunning sessions that I did not get to go to, because there were so many that I wanted to see, but in the end we all had four choices. One of the comments I heard throughout the day was that they wished the event was over a whole weekend, because there were so many empowering topics to choose from.

I was lucky enough to be speaking in the first session. I say lucky, because that meant I got to jump right in to my topic, "The Self-Advocacy Toolbox: Steps for and Empowered Life," right after Jes Baker rallied us all to action with our first mini-talk of the day. Here's me, talking to what was an interactive and positive group:

One of the best things about the #BLC was that as presenters, we could take the sessions as well. My first was Sonya Renee Taylor's "The Body Is Not An Apology."

I urge you to look into Sonya Renee's raw, beautiful message. She speaks about "radical, unapologetic healing" in an eloquent and compelling way.
After the VIP lunch, where it was fun to mingle with presenters and attendees alike, we listened to the keynote by model Tess Munster. Her story was deeply personal and her style was warm and real.

My next session was Elizabeth Denneau's "Staples and Stitches: Discovering Fashion and Personal Style for all Body Types." She is the fashion maven behind the CandyStrike clothing company, putting affordable fashion in the hands of all women, not only the ones in the small or 3xl category. I love her designs. Better yet, she taught us how to choose clothes based on our shapes, and not to follow any specific rules.

My last session was the lovely Liora K of Liora K Photography. I had the pleasure of meeting with Liora before the conference, when she was kind enough to fit me in for a shoot after I arrived on Thursday night. I felt an instant kinship with her and we had a phenomenal shooting experience. So it was with interest that I looked forward to her talk, "Stripping down to open up: Why Boudoir?" She brought us a historical perspective to the art of the human form and it gave me a new perspective on why women and men could enjoy having their picture taken. It was novel, for I, along with others I suspect, was one of those people who didn't like their picture taken. I won't be only that person behind the camera anymore!

It was executed so well. And, it was put on by volunteers. Phenomenal hard working people who did all this on top of a regular job. I won't even go into the other amazing people I met. There are too many to count, truly-- Julie, Summer, Amanda, Heather, BOB, Liz, Jes, Liora, Amanda, Erin, Jen, Michelle, Julia, Chrystal, Rhea, Christina, Sonya, Steve, so many more. I didn't even get to talk about CurvyGirl Lingerie. I was uplifted and felt a creative rush that I'm still not over, a week later. And I met women I hope will be mentors and friends for many years to come. Be a part of the change that is coming for people of all ages, sizes, and shapes. Give funds to help next year come about. Help make it happen! It has been the biggest thrill of my creative life and I can't wait to see what happens next for everyone involved.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

So happy to be on the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop! Spring has sprung where I am in the Northwest and gloom and rain have slid away to reveal tulip blooms and green grass peeking out. One of my favorite places is Holland and the tulips there are, or course, iconic and amazing. However, if you're in my area of the country, Woodburn has a lovely and awe-inspiring tulip festival from March 28yh to May 4, 2014. the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm has special events like hot air balloon rides over the acres of tulip fields, a Field and Vine dinner, children's activities, blooms for sale, and much more.

As for myself, I visit these types of festivals for a lot of reasons, not least of which that bulbs elude me. It can't be that hard, you say, all you do is plunk them in the ground. Yeah. I have pet gophers that eat them, apparently. I can do bulbs in a pot, so I'll stick with that and visit others' bulb displays for inspiration instead!

I have a delicious springtime recipe that is ridiculously easy, too:

Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
2 c. dry garbanzos
2-4 cups water, or enough to cover
1-2 T olive oil
1 t. cumin
1 t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. chile powder

Cover the beans with water in a pressure cooker; seal pot and cook, with the steam setting the top of the cooker to a gentle rocking motion, for about 25 minutes. You might have a fancier pressure cooker than I, so please use what method you like. Sometimes I get 2 or 3 cans if I'm pressed for time; they work fine too!
Drain and rinse. Place in a jelly-roll cookie sheet and drizzle with oil, then sprinkle the spices over, and lastly give the whole mixture a good stir. Cook at 350 for about an hour or until the desired texture is reached. For me, as I like them crispy with a slight al dente feel, it's about an hour. These are protein packed and a good healthy snack.

I write all sorts of things, but my last novel was about a chef who works in an organic farm and restaurant in western Oregon, called Brambleberry Farm.

I'd love to give away a copy of the book to someone who would like to comment, and please include your email address in your response so you can be counted! It will be either an e-book or a paper copy, depending on if the winner is national or international- just for ease of actually getting you the book.

This way you could win both my prize and the lovely grand prize by the Hop organizers. I'd love it if you followed me on Twitter, too, to get my writing updates, photos, and occasional contests.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And hop to the next author ASAP!
Thanks for stopping by~ and happy reading~

Self-Advocacy Tool: Art as a Deductive Device

Go to my self-advocacytoolbox blog to see more about the tools I speak about all over the country. I'll feature one of the tools here to give you a taste of how it works.

The Vision Board is The 4th Self-Advocacy Tool: Art as a Deductive Device. In a vision board, you collage, write about, draw and imagine your way to what you want. This can be a goal; this can be a situation desired; or it can be the manifestation of a long-tucked-away dream. It's not a new idea under the sun, of course, but I like to think that using art to figure out what you want is a kind of moving meditation.

Having your hands act out what you desire is powerful. As they tear out the magazine picture, as they use childish means to elaborate what is dreamed, the colored pencils and crayons and paste give us permission to figure out what the deep wants of our smallest self are.

It gives you agency in your life.

The handout I give out at my live talks includes tips and advice in creating your own Vision Board, and I'm reproducing them here:

• Stacks of old magazines. These are good for so many uses—cutting photos out off for faces or bodies of your characters, for texture in a collage, or tear out quotes that speak to you.

• Through my research into brain injury I’ve found that, like writing or drawing with your non-dominant hand, going across your artistic persuasion can provide you with a new perspective that can be valuable. This is also true if you consider yourself a non-artist. Mess around and see what comes out.

• Have playful tools at your disposal. Hit up sales for other fun pieces of art equipment; glitter pens! crayons, pastels, etc. Try watercolors. Try crayons. Use fancy charcoal pencils, had for low cost but something that can make you feel important and official. Glitter pens are my favorite!!

• Newspapers. Use a headline or a story to spark a piece of writing or art. Doing so can help you find a bigger theme in your work and generate insight.
• Use photos. This is a collection of images and writing that are meaningful to you in a different way, so use photos that inspire you. It could be something that sparks a memory, or the photo of the couch in the apartment you want to have someday.

• Get stickers! A well-placed gold star can make you feel like a million dollars. It’s fun to celebrate your creations.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's and Getting Excited

OMG> I love this recipe so much I can't stand it. I found an April Fool's recipe to fool the best of them. This Healthy Cookie Dough Dip, by blogger, looks DELISH. And it's gluten-free. and it tastes exactly like real chocolate chip cookie dough. I have to have it. By coincidence, today is April Fool's Day, so I can sneakily make this dip and serve it to my family. Not in a sneaking-nutrition-into-things way, but a "Ha! I got you" kind of way. Besides, they love garbanzo beans, which is the mystery ingredient. (I totally get why people do sneak the beans in, though, no judgment here: shredded carrots are the star "secret" in my home made tomato sauce. I'll post that recipe when it comes to canning time.)

Anyway: here is chocolatecoveredkatie's photo:

I give her all the credit, and please click back to her for the fabulous recipe so she can hear your accolades.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Books To Go Now Promotion Blog Hop

I was asked by the promotion team at one of the publishers I work with, Books To Go Now, to participate in this fun Blog Hop!

1) What am I working on?

Right now I'm finishing a Memoir manuscript for an agent, and getting ready to speak April 5 at the University of Tuscon on my Self-Advocacy Tool Kit, to help people become their own best advocate. I'm also working on the second of my Brambleberry Farms series, a novel about a family of friends who live and work on an organic farm.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think I write pretty good dialogue, in my fiction, and I have good characters too. In memoir and nonfiction I think my strength is in the details.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I've never been able to express what I'm thinking adequately verbally, due to my brain injury. When I write I am fluent and my imagination is allowed to run away with itself, in the case of fiction, or is allowed to create vibrant phrases, in the case of nonfiction.

4) How does my writing process work?

Slowly. I'm like Dory from Finding Nemo. "Just keep swimming," is my mantra!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

5 more steps to Loving Your Body Right Now

There is a thought-provoking article on called 5 Steps To loving your Body Just the Way it is. Being involved in the Body Love Movement has been incredibly inspirational as well.

Check their list out first, then flip back here for mine. Did you do it? Really, it's worth it. Thanks. Okay, here's my further 5 things for loving you just as you are right now:

1) Recognize your body's worth in its functionality. Stretch marks a part of your conversation with yourself? Yep, me too. It's the whole having three children thing. But before that it was just a having stretch marks thing. MY BODY WORKS TO SUPPORT ME. Literally. Yours does too. Isn't it amazing? Flawed, sure, as we all are. But perfect too.

2) Find something you can wholly and unabashedly love about the way you look. It can be your cute dimpled elbow. Whatever. I do believe that we can all find something- your wide smile, your freckles- that not only is beautiful to you, but makes you uniquely beautiful to the world. When you find one, you just might find another thing you love- it's sneaky that way.

3) Inhabit your body by moving in it. Walk. Dance, Jump. I used to love to jump when nobody can see me but now I do it all the time. The jumping may or may not be accompanied to old 90's rap or Sesame Street songs.

4) Instead of comparing yourself to an unattainable stereotype or to the airbrushed model ideal, seek out models who are similar to you. They're out there. Better still, go to any art museum and see the wide and disparate variety of beauty standards throughout the ages. We weren't always supposed to be Barbie's. Take comfort in the knowledge that your body type is valuable in all time periods.

5) Love your body for what it can do for others. I guess it's related to the functionality of our bodies, but I find that the best way for me to appreciate what I have is to do things for other people. Those are the events I remember- things like when I was able to sort food for food boxes with my son, or help create books for elementary school students. I'm so grateful that I could do that. Sure, I'd love to do that kind of thing all the time, but real live intervenes and I don't. But my efforts made something better for someone else once. That makes me pretty happy to inhabit it.

Get inspired! Write your own 5 more reasons to love your body! Tag me on Twitter @JenniferChambe1 so I can see what you came up with. There will be a whole lot more reasons to love yourself at the Body Love Conference, so come see change in action in Tucson.
Or go to body Love Founder Jes The Militant Baker's Website for updates on the conference or what is new in the Body Love Movment.