New Orleans: A (Very Limited) Localist City Guide

A trip to New Orleans, even if it’s barely over 24 hours, is always an adventure. I love Nola for so many reasons: It’s beautiful, the food is fantastic, and personality is jammed into every single space — from the colorful houses to the costumes (sometimes there’s no other word […]

All Aboard: The Localist Book Tour Begins Today!

Photo by Morgan Trinker I leave today on the Localist train tour … it seems surreal even to write that. I planned this trip without really believing it would happen — I thought it could happen, that theoretically I could turn my blog (Shop Small) into a book, publish it, […]

Quick Lunches and Stupid Good Ideas

Today is a day of gloom and wintery mix (whatever that is), but yesterday was a day for a picnic. Once the rain cleared, all I wanted to do was sit outside, have a lazy lunch and pretend that it was Saturday. Sadly, it was Wednesday, which meant I barely […]

Crowdfunding, Community, and Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Very few people care as much about community and art as much as Laura and Caleb Chancey do. They started a music venue to spotlight local musicians and to bring acts they love to Birmingham. Laura spent so much time baking and delivering delicious treats to pretty much everyone she […]

All Aboard! The Localist Train Tour Starts Friday!

Photo by Morgan Trinker This Friday, I’m going to hop an Amtrak train to New Orleans and start a Localist book tour that stretches into the middle of April and takes me all the way to New York … and I’m very excited. I love the romantic idea of traveling […]

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way (and So Does a Little Coffee)

I had a rough morning. Maybe it’s because today is so gray and gloomy. Maybe it’s because I got excited about a Snow Day and stayed up late eating ice cream and watching movies without realizing today’s Snow “Day” doesn’t start until after the sun goes down. Maybe it’s because […]

When Book Clubs Attack: The Localist Goes to Book Group

Last night, I was invited to speak to a book club about The Localist, and I was scared; I didn’t know what to expect from being locked in a room with people ready to question me about the specifics of my book. (They didn’t actually lock me in a room, […]

The World Is My Focus Group

This week, I spoke to one of Birmingham’s CO.STARTERS groups about creative marketing. CO.STARTERS is a program for local entrepreneurs, and every time I speak there I get jealous. I’m jealous because they have a really strong curriculum. (I learned a lot of things covered in CO.STARTERS through an unfocused […]

It Always Hurts to Ask

I don’t like to ask for favors — but you probably won’t guess that from how often I ask for favors. In the past 24 hours, I’ve asked a friend to take photos for my train tour press kit, cold called an event space about using their venue for a […]

Valentine’s Day in Birmingham: A Guide for Procratinators

I have a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. I think it’s fun to have a day to eat candy, give little cards to friends, and not worry about red and pink clashing. But the heavy pressure on making Valentine’s Day THE indicator of your romantic relationship seems a little bit […]

See Jane Write & See Carrie Speak

Next week, I’m really excited to be talking to the See Jane Write group about my experiences in turning my blog into a book and what I’ve learned about self-publishing. This event is open to the public, so if you’re at all interested in asking me about Kickstarter, writing, blogging […]