Help a Mother Out: Shop Small for Moms

One thing that has become increasingly disturbing about this pandemic, is the loss of small businesses. You know, those places that have unique (and sometimes hilarious) coffee mugs and t-shirts, or homemade lotions and soaps, or have one-of-a-kind charcuterie boards to die for; those places that make you feel like you just stepped out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. The feelings you just don’t get from the squeaky wheeled cart at Walmart, or the buzz of your Amazon notification. These are the places that are full of spirit and creativity, and they are truly the backbone of American business. They are a labor of love for many families that put in the blood, sweat, and tears to bring their dreams to life. You really are supporting families when you shop local.

While I fully support the stay-at-home order to protect those at risk with Covid-19, I also think there are ways we should all be supporting our small businesses at home. Mother’s Day is a perfect example of a great time to spend some money locally for your mama. Think of it this way, you probably are supporting another mom by ordering a cool gift or getting a to go meal for your mom. It’s a win win! Also, don’t forget about online businesses too. There are so many awesome people who sell products out of their homes, and are truly grateful for your business. We all need to pull together and try to save and protect these businesses. It would be really be a boring world if we lose the ability to shop at places other than giant retailers.

Here are some of my favorite local (in Ohio) places that you can get really cool items online and for pick up. Browse for some awesome Mother’s Day gift ideas of your own, and tell me what you plan on getting the mom in your life this year.

  1. Heart Mercantile – unique/ humorous gifts and décor
  2. Now and Zen– cute DIY terrariums
  3. Frame of the Heart– homemade wood frames and gifts
  4. Twist Cupcakery– pretty cupcakes, pastries, and other awesome desserts
  5. West Central Wine– wine and charcuterie boards to go
  6. Grace Lane Boutique– women’s fashion
  7. Beck + Call– fabulous girl power items
  8. Omega Music– vintage style record store
  9. Berns Nursery– plants, planters, and garden décor
  10. Scattered Kindness Co. – homemade crafts
  11. Swire Inn– yummy yums for dinner
  12. Spice Paradise – locally made seasonings, dry soups, teas, desserts
  13. Reza’s Roast– fantastic coffee and coffee beans
  14. Central Pastry– old fashion bakery
  15. Mulberry St. Books– second hand bookstore with bookish goods

Lastly, be understanding with these and any local shops during this time. They have endured quite an upheaval in losing staff and having to completely changing up their business model. Not only that, but delivery times have been increased exponentially. Have patience and be kind. Nasty comments and reviews do not help during a time like this or ever really (looking at you Karen).

If you’re still looking for a great gift, you can check out my little Scentsy business (wax burners and other smell goods). It’s a way to help me save up for my future writing career or business venture or whatever I change my mind to later on. Shameless plug I know, here’s the link.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there! Make it a good one.

Talk soon,


To Create or Not to Create: That Has Always Been the Question.

Blogger, Event Planner, Writer, Jami Pack

Well here I am, stuck at home, trying to figure out what to do next in this crazy, dystopian-esque world we now live in. It only felt natural to write my story; the real one; not the contrived bio that makes your life seem perfect and simple. It certainly has been anything but perfect and simple, however my solace has always been writing. I wrote picture books as a kid, lyrics as a teen (yikes!), and eventually moved in to fiction novels in my Master’s program. Some of it was bad, and some of it was very bad. I write more conversational than grammatical, and was told that by more than one professor. My ideas were always my strong suit. I came to the conclusion that I would be better suited for a different kind of creative career. That a designer, marketer, or book publisher would be an easier route for my ideas. But when it came to starting a career, nothing came easy.

I spent the 10 years after graduation floating around in different professional arenas, but I really didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything. That was a hard pill to swallow for this over-achieving, perfectionist. There was never enough time or money to focus on the ideas in my head, and the less work I put in, the more self-conscious I became. I wasn’t going fast enough, there wasn’t enough money in it, it wasn’t a “real job” were the thoughts swirling in my head. I tried niche blogging but always felt like an impostor. I worked as a tech writer at a bank operations center. I did social media and reception work for a few small businesses. I was a server and a bartender a country clubs and golf courses. None of it really afforded me the time or motivation to pursue a career that I wanted, and I had the dead the skeletons of over a half a dozen fiction and non-fiction books littering my hard drive. I finally conceded that I was stuck. I needed a fresh start.

At that point, fate stepped in, or rather Google stalked me enough to show me an opening for an event planning position at a regional casino. I went in to the interview thinking I wasn’t really qualified, but I had a desire to learn and lots of ideas. I had worked numerous weddings and banquets before, and had planned a few fundraising events in high school, but really was just looking for an opportunity to build my resume with a creative outlet. I was tired of bouncing around and wanted a career I could really focus my energy. I had two babies, and my little people needed me to focus.

Luckily, the casino gave me a shot. I later found out it was because I told them I wrote zombie fiction novels in my spare time (thanks Nate!). But for me, events came easily and naturally. They let me design and plan everything from themed VIP parties to beer festivals and multi-headlining concerts. It put me on a good trajectory for a real career in events, and I learned so much about contracts, budgets, spacial design, timelines, and building quality networks. However, the amount of hours required per week to successfully plan and manage 150 events a year was really starting to ware me down physically and emotionally. I began to question my value in the corporate structure; that all my hard work and passion didn’t mean much in the “grand scheme” of things. Eventually, I decided to leave and take an events position at a non-profit planning events for a mid-size city. A bit boring on paper, but it has let me breathe again. It was a tough decision, one that I grieved for months after the fact, but it was the right move.

Before the Covid-19 catastrophe, I had been planning to open a new event consulting business called A Story Book Affair. My new job had given me the background to start a brick and mortar business with the resources to find a perfect location, secure financing, and have a powerful marketing outlet in my corner. My goal was to open a small studio to meet with clients and design spaces for photo shoots. It really was a dream that easily could have become a reality. And yet, I am glad it did not.

It was not because of the virus basically shutting down the whole industry, but rather because I am not sure that is who I really am. To be taken seriously in events, you have to have a way about you; a glamour that entices your client and convinces them you are the only person that could accomplish such a complex web of vendors, timelines, menus, entertainers, and guests. After 5 years in the event industry, I’m just not sure that is me. I know I could pretend to be those things. and I successfully have, but in reality, I am that little girl in pink sweat pants, with dirt under her fingernails, writing stories about a lost puppy named Gonzo. My old boss, Nate, once told me that people will gravitate toward my work if I am being myself; whatever work I am doing.

I’ve been thinking about his comment for over six months now. What is true about me? I really didn’t have a good answer, until now. The collapse of the whole entertainment/service/hospitality industry under the weight of the virus, brought me back to the thing that was always there; writing. Why am I trying to do something else, even if I am good at it? But not the cheap niche writing about fitness, make-up, and fashion that I really didn’t care about before. Writing about things that matter to me. Yes, make-up and fashion do matter to me (sometimes), but I don’t want to be forced to write about it.

That has led to the birth of A Story Book Soul. A place where I can freely write, and hopefully find some direction and peace in my work. It would be about damn time.

Talk Soon,