We Love Memoirs

This Week’s WLM Sunday Spotlight

Have you ever heard of a Facebook group? Maybe you’re part of one. There are all kinds of groups on Facebook made up of like-minded people sharing information on a gazillion topics from antique cars to zebra stripes. (I have’t looked up either but I’m sure they–or some likeness of these subjects–exist.)

We Love Memoirs Header this Week

For the past two weeks I’ve gleaned a ton of information and support from a FB group that’s all about covering very specific health issues for women. I’m also part of a couple of FB groups that highlight deals (and some doings) in Telluride, Colorado, where I’ve been living for fourteen years. My most lighthearted FB group of all, however, is WLM, or We Love Memoirs.

Victoria Twead

What a fun bunch of friends! Each time I pop in, my mood is uplifted by words and images from men and women that share a common bond: a love of memoirs. Over 4,200 strong, it’s populated with readers and writers of memoirs, firmly established authors, wannabes and fans. It’s all good because we all love memoirs.

Set up in 2013 by Victoria Twead and Alan Parks, two memoir authors that wanted to create a place where memoir-loving people could chat, exchange ideas and interact with each other. It’s a coffee klatch of sorts with one big common thread.

Alan Parks and One of His Many Alpacas

Victoria, New York Times bestselling author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools and the “Old Fools” series, checks in on a daily basis from her home in Australia. “Apart from producing my children, passing my driving test and hitting the New York Times bestseller list, co-creating We Love Memoirs is my proudest achievement,” she says. “It is a wonderful, caring community of readers and memoir authors, and every time I hear of another WLM meet-up somewhere in the world, I get a warm fuzzy glow.”

Indeed, WLM is often taken off the internet when WLM members get together with other members in person. Can you imagine having tea with someone in a faraway land that shares your passion and is connected to you by the same group of fun-loving memoir readers? It’s like being a part of the same tribe.

WLM cofounder Alan Parks, author of Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca? and the “Seriously Mum” series, calls Spain his home.

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Discovering Discovery Map

The Evolution of a Discovery Map

I hope you’ve had a chance to read my story Touring Country Stores in Stowe, Vermont with Mom. I think the photos are pretty nice, too. I give most of the credit to the subject matter–everywhere you turn there’s another photogenic scene in this endearing New England state.

Actually my main reason for heading up to northern Vermont was to meet the folks at Discovery Map. You can tell from my Touring Country Stores story, however, that mom and I were a bit sidetracked. Oops! Shopping and touring can do that to you, especially when it involves mothers and daughters in Vermont country stores.

Discovery Map

But just about forty minutes south of Stowe, on our drive home, we pulled into Waitsfield, Vermont, a charming town in the heart of the Green Mountains that serves as home to Discovery Map International. Whether the name is familiar to you or not, I’m sure you would recognize the cheery, hand-drawn maps that you pick up in travel destinations all over the U.S. You know–the colorful ones full of whimsy that highlight restaurants, shops, places of lodging, cultural sites and a flourish of other attractions?

A Veritable Library of Discovery Maps

Checking Out a Map

Looking in the Map Drawers

People might never imagine that most aspects of the production of these maps take place in a sleepy little town in rural Vermont. Yay! Their origins are as heartfelt and homespun as the maps themselves. With well more than a hundred maps throughout the country and beyond, it’s hard to believe that they are all born here. But it’s true and I hope you will enjoy meeting the team behind them through the photos in this post.

Since I started to write content for Discovery Map’s website, I’ve had a lot of email contact with Susan Klein, the oh-so efficient Operations Administrator who is clearly a multitasker extraordinaire. So, of course, I wanted to put a face to a name, even if it was just a brief encounter.

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Going Forth with Fabulousness

Mom and Me Faking It Until We Make It

Mom and Me Faking It Until We Make It

I’m back. Or at least I hope so. This is by far the longest I’ve gone without posting a blog since I started Bonjour Colorado in 2008. Even throughout the craziness of working as a ski instructor at Telluride Ski Resort during epic snow years, I’ve never let so much time pass without being in touch. But I can’t begin to explain how upended my life has been these past months.

I never imagined that the death of one parent might trigger a whole series of events that would make my brain feel like mush. Honestly. (The six months leading up to this life-changing event were extremely stress inducing, however, the last few months have been mind numbing.)

I’ve barely been able to keep up with emails let alone string two sentences together for a story. I had a deadline for Forbes Travel a few weeks ago that I just kept putting off. I’ve never blown off deadlines like that but I felt like I couldn’t compose a proper sentence. Finally, I forced myself to sit down and commit to the act of writing. What first sounded like an instruction manual ended up reading with more of a flourish after an hour of tweaking, so that experience helped me to regain confidence in myself as someone that has not become totally unhinged.

From that point on, I swore I would write at least a couple of hours every day. It has been a couple of weeks and I’m just sitting down now to jot off a few lines. So much for deadlines and goals.

What have I been doing? Well, I guess the best response is I’ve been juggling a ton of physical, emotional and mental clutter. I’ve been seeking some kind of normalcy, some kind of routine while everything around me has been shifting and transforming like an iceberg in the Arctic during the month of July.

My father passed away in March and since then, there has been an endless series of to-dos, none of which have had much to do with my own work. I spent a sweet period of mourning this spring with my mother in upstate New York, during which time we started to adjust to the idea of Dad no longer being around while writing thank you notes to the many people that sent flowers, goodies, donations and mass cards. I also accompanied Mom to a lot of her doctors’ appointments and attempted to gain better knowledge of what was happening in her world.

Then as if my father was upstairs pulling strings, we learned that there was a serious offer on our house at Lake George in the Adirondacks. After having been on the market for almost five years, it seemed as though it was now time to sell. Well, you know what they say about death and moving.

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Nights Out in Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York

Sam Bush Giving It His All at The Egg

Sam Bush Giving It His All at The Egg

My Mom and I laid low during the few weeks after my father passed away in March at our family home in Troy, New York. Then I said, “Let’s have some fun.”

After a few minutes of reflection, Mom said, “Yes, I’d like to break out and enjoy myself. Although don’t take too many pictures because officially I’m in mourning.”

The heck with old conventions–we’re no longer entrenched in the burdensome customs of the Victorian Age; Mom was long overdue for a little gaiety in her life. (I do, however, think there’s a lot to be said for the nineteenth-century tradition of wearing black for at least a year. It indicated to people ‘I’m vulnerable. Be kind to me.’ But I suppose that’s a thing of the past–people would just think we dressed very New Yorkish. Or Goth.)

So I checked out what was happening in the capital district area, the region that encompasses Albany, Schenectady and Troy as well as the event listings for Saratoga Springs, New York, the quaint old town just forty-five minutes north of us where I lived five years prior to moving to Colorado. Of course I zeroed in on what interested me the most in the Entertainment section of the Times Union; fortunately Mom and I have very similar tastes.

I snatched up tickets for a Sam Bush concert at The Egg in Albany and a book event featuring Augusten Burroughs, put on by the renowned Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga. Mom agreed to treat us to dinner and suddenly we felt excited about life again. With all the care-taking Mom did for Dad the past six months, there’s no doubt that these plans promised to buoy her back to more fun-loving days.

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Luxurious Telluride Stay and Travel Planning to France at a Discount

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Icicle View

Icicle View

Yay! It’s KOTO fundraising again. This is when you can snatch up all kinds of great deals on hotel stays, restaurants and other travel perks. I applaud the generosity of so many that donate alluring premiums to our community radio station during this time. Thank you also to those of you that bid on them. It makes the fundraising for Telluride’s homegrown radio so much more fun.

Summer at Mountain Lodge Tellu

Summer at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Chef Bud Serving Up the Smores at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Chef Bud Serving Up the Smores at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Mountain Lodge Telluride, one of my favorite properties in our beautiful mountain destination, has once again stepped up and donated a two-night stay in one of their handsome condos. Valued at $1,000., these superlative accommodations come replete with a king-sized bed, leather pull-out sofa bed, fully-equipped kitchen, gas fireplace, balcony and all the amenities that come with a stay at an elegant mountain lodge. (There are even robes in the closet–a rarity these days–which you can use to pad over to the outdoor heated pool and hot tubs.)

Ski in/ski out in the winter, hike in/hike out in the summer–no matter the season, you’ll enjoy the convenience and breath-taking views of Mountain Lodge’s location.

Situated in the main lodge, The View Bar & Grill has become a favorite for locals and visitors alike due to its excellent food and fun, heartwarming ambiance. They haven’t let their success go to their heads either because they still offer one of the best price/quality relationships on their food and drink around. Read my story Chef Bud Creates an Elevated Dining Experience at Mountain Lodge Telluride.

I’m setting the opening bid at $250. for this two-night stay with all proceeds going to KOTO. Contact me ASAP to make a bid or a pledge. I will close out the auction Friday, March 11.

My Travel Memoir

My Travel Memoir

Pondering a trip to France? If so, my Travel Planning Consultation might be a good fit for you. After having lived in Paris eleven years and written four guidebooks on shopping and touring in France (three on Paris and one on the French provinces) as well as a travel memoir that leads you over hill and dale in this glorious country, I do know how to help you plan your travels to this top destination.

For a $40. donation to KOTO, I will chat with you for an hour about your trip planning to France. Valued at $70., this premium also includes a copy of A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, my travel memoir that will also inspire you to explore some of the most scenic regions of France along with the City of Light. For this, too, please contact me ASAP.

Voilà! That’s all folks. Thank you in advance for supporting KOTO community radio in Telluride. I hope you will find the opportunity to tune into Travel Fun, my talk show on travel, which airs every other Thursday at 6:30pm MST. You can tune into it at KOTO.org and also listen to some interviews that I’ve posted as podcasts here.

Holiday Online Shopping Recommendations 2015

Swiss Dog Collars and Leashes for Your Precious Pups from Alpen Schatz

Swiss Dog Collars and Leashes for Your Precious Pups from Alpen Schatz

Terrace Holiday-Pretty Plates from Quel Objet

Terafeu Holiday-Pretty Plates from Quel Objet

A Superlative Blanc de Blanc from Henri's Reserve

A Superlative Blanc de Blancs from Henri’s Reserve

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to think about shopping. Oh wait, you’ve probably been thinking about it–and even doing some of it–the past week. Good on you if that’s the case. Others (like me) haven’t even begun to tackle their holiday shopping despite a deluge of offers that have flooded our inboxes.

I recommend keeping it simple and shopping online for those on your list that live a distance from you. Have that something special sent directly to their door, so that you don’t have to put up with all the wrapping, packaging and waiting in line at your local post office or shipper. And while you’re at it, pick up something for yourself because that’s just what we do when holiday shopping.

I showcase a curated list of favorite purveyors at my Online Shopping Page, most of whom offer discounts between 8 and 10% to Bonjour Colorado readers. Go directly there if you want my more lengthy descriptions. Otherwise, check out my highlights and some other add-ons below.

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Out and About in Paris Showcases the City of Light and More

Happy Bastille Day from Out and About in Paris

Happy Bastille Day from Out and About in Paris

Happy Bastille Day everyone! It’s France’s National Holiday and a good day for us Francophiles to raise our glass to the French and all that we love about France and Paris.

The Tour de France Arriving in the French CApital

The Tour de France Arriving in the French Capital

There are two days–both in July–when you want to be on the Champs-Elysées in Paris:  today, July 14 and the last day of the Tour de France bike race which typically occurs the third Sunday in July. On both these occasions, you can witness magnificent displays of color and might on one of the world’s most beautiful avenues in one of the world’s most magnificent cities. The parade has already passed by today, but mark your calendar for Sunday, July 26 when the Tour zooms into Paree.

Dining in France According to Out and About in Paris

Dining in France According to Out and About in Paris

Ah Paree

Ah Paree

How do you keep up with what’s happening in and around Paris? Where do you find your daily dose of alluring images of this top travel destination? The website/blog Out and About in Paris is your answer to this and beaucoup plus! In addition to reading their blog posts, plug yourself into their social media and you’ll be gloriously showered with all that you know and love about the City of Light. The oh-so dynamic and très internationale Mary Kay Bosshart is the driving force behind all that is Out and About in Paris. Honestly, I don’t know how she keeps up with her reporting and postings but she does with great enthusiasm and panache.

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2 Jun 2015, 6:04pm
Writing & Books:
Comments Off on Marking Four Hundred Blog Posts

Marking Four Hundred Blog Posts

Planning Ahead:  Stamping Out 400 in the Glorious Outer Banks Sand During My Visit There Two Weeks Ago

Planning Ahead: Stamping Out 400 in the Super Soft Outer Banks Sand of North Carolina During My Visit There Two Weeks Ago

Four hundred–woo-hoo! I can’t help but wonder what the word count is on that milestone. Writers, you may know, always talk in word count. I suppose I could find out but I certainly don’t have the time.

It takes a lot to do a blog post, especially mine at Bonjour Colorado, which tend to be full-on stories with lots of links and photos. But I love it. I started out as more of a book person–I’ve authored five, in fact.

Yet blogging on destinations from Stockholm to Santa Fe has allowed me to broaden my coverage on favorite places, people and experiences. And posting on a variety of subjects from The Thrill of a Bike Race to Skiing with Rock Stars to Traveling Like a Pampered Pet and Other Tales from the Road to Take Me to the River Especially on a Rafting Adventure allowed me to have a taste of and report on new happenings I likely wouldn’t cover outside of this blog. Posting podcasts with interviews with people such as Ken Burns, Cheryl Strayed, Susan Herrmann Loomis and a host of other illustrious figures whether well known or not, has permitted me to share with you interviews and information from my Travel Fun radio show. Writing a beauty post such as A Happy Ending to My Own Horror Story as well as a tribute to my mother at My Mom:  A True Original helped me to open up even more to you, dear reader.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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