As you may have noticed, I haven’t written on my blog for a week. I think that might be a record. The truth is, I’ve been finding it really hard to travel, focus on my book tour and keep up the blog at the same time. How do travel bloggers do it?
The irony being that this is the moment when I should be blogging and posting the most to keep up the momentum around my book. (Did you see that Buzzfeed called it “funny-as-hell?” WOOT!) But I can’t hole myself up in my hotel room all day on my laptop, especially when everyone is giving me tons of real-time recommendations for each city on Snapchat. I want to do and see and eat everything!
After my readings in New York, the tour felt like it really started when I left for Minneapolis, armed with a book, a suitcase and a larger than life sign.
Unfortunately, I arrived, did a reading and left the next morning so I had very limited time to experience the city beyond the restaurant across the street from the Barnes & Noble in Roseville.
The people in Minneapolis were great though and I can’t tell you how exciting it was to see a full house in a city where I don’t know a soul. You guys all made me feel so welcome and I can’t thank everyone enough who came out!
My favorite part of the reading was definitely the signing at the end. That’s when I get to talk with each person individually and hear how they found me and how long they’ve been following my blog. It’s interesting to hear who is a big Instagram fan vs. a Snapchat fan vs. a facebook fan vs. someone who follows me on everything. I found there was a mix of everything. Or that someone was having huge problems with sleep training and found my recommendations during an exhausted late night google search.
I want to give a special thanks to Laura, a fan of my facebook page who volunteered to be my mom at the signing. That meant arriving early, helping me set up, sitting in the front row and getting a drink with me afterwards. It was so lovely to arrive and be greeted with an unfamiliar but happy face!
I also want to give a shout-out to the baby who sucked down Plum’s Mash-ups from the gift bag, effectively giving Plum (the sponsor of my tour), stellar product placement without even trying.
There was also a reader who gave me a box of cookies from Cookie Cart, a youth program in Minneapolis where teens learn work, life and leadership skills through working in a bakery. Not only did the box contain about ten different cookie varieties (all delicious), it also included a bunch of specially designed cookies with a picture of a burnt piece of toast, made in icing on top. I LOVE COOKIES so those things traveled with me for a bit.
My next stop was Chicago and if you follow me on Snapchat (ilanawiles), you know my friend Seri (aka Little Miss Party) met me there to make sure I had as much fun as possible. Seri made blow out appointments, brunch reservations and mapped out an afternoon of shopping that I never would have figured out on my own.
The first night, she came with me to Monica & Andy, where I was part of a panel discussion on parenting and work life balance. Monica & Andy is a children’s store based in Chicago which has been a big supporter of mine for the past few years.
It was a really nice event with cocktails, cupcakes and a really impressive group of working mothers accompanying me on the panel.
The people in the audience treated me like someone with actual advice and I tried my best to answer all the questions with as much wisdom as I could muster from my six years as a parent. Seri had no questions because she knows I don’t really know a thing.
Next we headed to Summerhouse for dinner where we shared a bottle of wine, ate way too much food and I think (accidentally) stole some cookies on our way out. Then we headed to Cindy’s Rooftop Bar at the top of the Athletic Club, a really cool spot with an outdoor terrace that looked over the city which was recommended to us on Snapchat. There we met a bunch of dads from Indianapolis, one of whom bought my book on Amazon for his wife on the spot. If I get a sudden surge of Indianapolis sales, I will know exactly who they are from.
The next day, we worked in the hotel in the morning and then left to go to the top of the John Hancock building. My favorite part of the morning was when Seri asked the bellhop how to get there, while standing directly across the street from the John Hancock building. The bellhop told us to take a cab.
Our Uber driver from the night before had told us that the best view of Chicago was from the women’s bathroom of the Signature restaurant on the 36th floor, so we decided to check it out.
Best tip ever.
Thanks Uber driver!
Then we headed to Little Goat Diner for brunch, right next to the Little Goat Bakery. Both places are owned by Stephanie from Top Chef, one of my favorite contestants of all time. She also owns the the Girl and the Goat across the street, which is supposed to be amazing but we could not get a reservation there. Apparently, it’s a sought after ticket.
But no worries because the food at the diner was totally over the top and delicious.
After getting numerous Snapchat suggestions to get donuts, we surveyed my Chicago followers for their favorite place. Stan’s Donuts won by a very wide margin so that was our next stop. I got the cinnamon sugar pretzel on recommendation and it was totally worth the stop. Plus, the whole place was pink!
After a little break in my hotel room, I took a car to Skokie for my reading, which was at the nicest Barnes & Noble I have ever seen. Check out my banner hanging next to Kelly Clarkson’s!
Again, the crowd there was awesome and I had such a great time meeting people who read my blog in person. My favorite person was definitely the kid who held up the wrong book in the third row.
During the Q&A, the Skokie people didn’t ask for my advice on parenting; they asked more personal questions like what Mazzy and Harlow think of the book (they think it’s awesome because they are in it), why Mike is rarely in my snapchat stories (he’s not entirely comfortable with me taking random videos of him) and what I’ll write about as the kids get older (I have no idea!)
At both Minneapolis and Chicago, I had the crowd say hi to Mazzy and Harlow because I knew Mike was showing them my Snapchat back at home.
The best gift at the Skokie signing was a drawing of Mazzy and Harlow done by a woman named Rachel. You can see it in the bottom left of the pic up top. She is the same person who made Mazzy and Harlow the drawings of Joy and Disgust last year.
A few people also brought their kids who were featured in the book, like Lakyn in the “kids who hate their siblings” section.
The next morning, after a quick interview on the local news, I took a car to the Land of Nod for a morning of signing and crafting.
Leading up to the event, the Land of Nod had asked me to pick a craft and I tried to think of one that was as remarkably average as possible. I picked binoculars made out of empty toilet paper rolls and I think they were quite a hit.
Check out Sara and Lucy standing in for Mazzy and Harlow to show off their completed craft.
This Courtney from CourtneyCourtney who made Harlow’s “Three” dress last year.
Then I hopped on a plane to San Francisco, where I had a few days to play before my signing in Corte Madera on Monday the 10th.
When I arrived, I met my cousin Katie and her fiancé Matt. They took me to Burma Love in the Mission which was fabulous. I don’t think I’ve ever had Burmese food before.
The next morning, I met my friend Debbie at the Magic Flute for beignets and breakfast.
Then we headed to Fillmore Street to do some shopping. And of course, I stopped to shoot a little #pinkinsanfrancisco.
Next, I met back up with my cousin and we headed over to the Marina to see the Blue Angels, who were in town for an air show. We sat at the water’s edge with an excellent view of the Golden Gate Bridge, sipping coffee and watching the planes fly overhead.
Then I had tacos at Bonito.
It was next to one of the most colorful little alleyways I have ever seen.
After lunch, I headed to Burlingham, home of Deva from My Life Suckers who invited me over to celebrate her birthday, meet her cats and watch the debate. In that order.
I won’t go into all my thoughts and feelings about the debate but let’s just say I’m very happy that all signs are pointing to Hillary winning because Canada would not be far enough if that misogynist trash can of man was put in charge of this country.
But onto Monday!
I woke up early, did some work and then headed to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse for a cruffin. Unfortunately, you have to wake up a lot earlier in San Francisco if you want a cruffin and they were all out by the time I got there. Not only were they all out, the doors were closed and locked. I couldn’t even get a shot of the pink neon sign that I really came there for! Ah well. I’ll just have to post a picture I found on Instagram.
With the bake shop a bust, I headed to the Ferry Building where I could cross off a bunch of snapchat recommendations at once.
I got the Imperial Rolls at the Slanted Door, which had plate glass windows looking out to the bay and the bridge. Then I got a Hedwig Sugar Daddy (Dulce de Leche) with olive oil and sea salt on top at Humphry Slocombe. Again, this was something someone recommended on snapchat and I would not have gotten it otherwise.
Probably one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted. I might even try olive oil and sea slat on ice cream at home.
That night, I headed across the bridge to Mirin County where I was having a signing at the Barnes & Noble in Corte Madera. Honestly, I was not expecting a big turnout there but I was surprised. Not only did they come; they came early. One fan even drove in from two hours away, dragging her fifteen-year-old son with her. That’s dedication! And two women made a point of sitting right in the front because they had seen my post on facebook asking people to make sure the front was full before they stood in the back.
The fans in Corte Madera were great and asked so many questions, particularly about my transition from advertising to blogging.
That night I went out for dinner at Playa with my friend Debbie and got to see a little bit of the town near where she lives. It’s a beautiful suburb and I totally understood why she left Manhattan to live there and raise her family.
When I got back to the hotel room, I was craving something sweet and I almost cried with excitement when I remembered a woman named Danielle had brought me chocolates as a gift to my signing. Thank you, Danielle!!!
The next morning, I headed out to the Plum Organics headquarters where I was scheduled to do a facebook live interview followed by a reading for their employees.
As most of you know, but I will say it again, Plum is the reason this book tour is happening. Most authors, unless you are really big time, do not get the opportunity to jump from city to city and meet their fans.
Plum offered to support the tour because our missions are aligned. We both aim to celebrate the realities of parenthood, particularly the ones experienced by new moms and dads who are at their most vulnerable. When I started blogging, there weren’t a lot of people talking about the struggles of parenting, and those who were, were talking about it in a negative tone.
I like to think that the roller coaster of parenthood, the highs and the lows, are what make it such an amazing experience. And I’m so happy that brands like Plum are now speaking honestly about parenthood as well. It’s so helpful for new moms and dads to know that they are not alone in their experiences.
Thank you Plum for hosting me at your office! And thanks to everyone who took a book, got it signed and laughed at my reading.
Next up is Beginnings Restaurant on the 20th in Atlantic Beach, Long Island, Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta, Georgia on the 24th and Quail Books in Raleigh, North Carolina on the 27th. You can find all book tour details here. And don’t forget to post your pics to #mommyshortsbook for a chance to win this month’s amazing swag bag complete with a signed copy of “The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting” by my whole family.
I’m feeling pumped and can’t wait to meet more of you all!