Posts Tagged ‘ Swag ’

The Magic of BEA

  My first time to Book Expo America was amazing! Wall-to-wall books, authors, publishers, bloggers and fans of all kinds packed into the Javits Center in NYC last week for the annual event. Since it was my first time, I was happy to accept tips from anyone who offered them and learned a lot for my future trips.

1. Bring a wheeling suitcase. Since I took the train, it would have been perfect to store all my books into the suitcase and easy to transport my goodies back to my home. Apparently, the people of BEA are wise and well-seasoned and know bibliophiles well as they provide a luggage area for people to check their bags while they browse the wonders of the expo.

2. No need for bags. A lot of the vendors were more than happy to pass out bags with logos of their publishing houses or new releases or authors for people to throw their swag in. When you’re bags got too full you could either dump your loot into your suitcase in the baggage check area or into a box with your name on it that you could then ship to your home if you were flying in from farther away.

3. Make a plan of attack beforehand. With the plethora of info found on the BEA website, the BEA app, or the free schedules provided at the expo, you can easily map your day out to the minute. I saw many people with single-minded expressions plowing their way through the dense crowds in order to get in an autograph line an hour early so they wouldn’t have to wait in line (no, it doesn’t make sense, but don’t tell them that!). In addition to the autograph stations, there were various speakers, signings, and events happening throughout the expo. I mostly just wandered around with a dazed look of awe on my face until I would stumble into something that caught my attention. 🙂

4. Sign up as a book blogger. Apparently, (and I only know this thanks to the well-planned Sheila @ Book Journey who also went to BEA – sadly we missed each other…) you can sign up for BEA as a book blogger and go to special book blogger events. So cool!!! I fully intend on taking advantage of that next year as I totally missed the boat this year and thus didn’t network as I would have liked to.

5. If you see an ARC you want, throw all niceties to the wind and dive for it lest it get snatched from you. Okay, I’m being a bit melodramatic here – but not much! Anyone who has a huge passion for something (such as book lovers at a book convention or Augustus Gloop at the Wonka Factory), is willing to go to pretty great lengths to get something they want. Now I’m not saying people were downright mean or rude, but they definitely didn’t wait for an invitation or follow any polite conventions if it meant they wouldn’t get an ARC or item of swag they had their eye on. One of the talks I sat in featured Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis, (writer and illustrator for the upcoming MG novel Wildwood and also husband and wife) and Lauren Oliver (who was talking about her new MG novel, Liesl and Po). I got there early and noticed a rep set down two piles of each book on the stage. I really, really wanted a copy of both but didn’t feel okay just going up and taking one because someone else had and I heard the rep complain. But then a lot more people just kept taking them and the rep didn’t say anything and then they were all gone and I was left empty-handed. Some people even got them signed! Double sadness. Ah well, next time I’ll ask or simply tackle someone and take their copies. 😉

Overall, though, I had a wonderful experience and am definitely going to attend for years to come! Here are some pictures I took to share with you:

  Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis and Lauren Oliver talk about Magic and Myth in Middle Grade novels


Ellen Hopkins, Lisa McMann, Megan Kelley Hall, and Maryrose Wood talk about Dear Bully



Ally Carter signs an MP3 of her latest book for me


Harlen Coban is happy to pose for a picture with me


  Jan Brett signs copies of her latest picture book


  My loot 😀 Even better than candy at Halloween!


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More Running Swag that Rocks!

Ever drive down the street in the middle of summer and see some crazy runner pounding the asphalt, waves of heat radiating off the road, buckets of sweat pouring down the poor person’s face? Yup – that’d be me!

But I’m not alone in my humid sadomasochism. Thousands of runners young and old, small and large, men and women, join me around the globe in this ritual. You’ll see us chugging along your streets, kicking dirt up on trails, climbing mountains, and careening down gravel paths on a daily basis. And runners don’t just wait until that perfect sixty degree spring or fall day when the air is crisp and dry and the birds are chirping happy Snow White songs. Nope, even the animals stay inside on days that runners are out, getting in their weekly mileage so they’re not set back in their training goals for that big 5k or half-marathon or marathon or (God help them) the ultra-marathon. From the bitter cold of winter to the hundred degree humidity of the east coast summers, runners brave the elements to reach their goals.

What goal can be worth all that pain, you may ask. That suffering?

Why, we do it for the great swag of course!

Before you think I’m being dirty, swag (also written as schwag) is what runner’s call the sweet rewards that they are given for either a) participating in a race and/or b) finishing said race.

Here are some races you may want to check out if only for the loot:

Lake Balboa Watermelon Run 5k, Van Nuys, CA – First 100 finishers will win a whole watermelon, while all participants get a sweet slice upon finishing. A perfect summer prize!

Oktoberfest 5k, Bethlehem, PA – Runners chose their own start and race to each participating bar along the course. Runners each receive a mug, race t-shirt, and beverages after the race.

Squaw Valley Mountain Run, Lake Tahoe, CA – Another steep run ends in a reward of beer, bagels, cookies, and a country rock-band.

For more races, check out the Runner’s World website. And don’t forget to stay hydrated before, during and after your run!

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Race Swag

I have to admit that one of the first items I look at when I’m interested in a race is the free swag that comes with it. Most races will give an article of clothing just for signing up. This usually is a cotton T-shirt that most runners wouldn’t wear to run and thus sits in a drawer waiting to be: A. donated to the Salvation Army, B. made into a “T-shirt quilt” that they’re always advertising in the back of Runner’s World magazine, or C. “I’ll wear it at some point!” While these shirts are cute with the logo and the race sponsors splattered all over it, if it does happen to fit me, which doesn’t happen very often, I’d be more apt to wear it as a bedtime T-shirt.

Other items that can be attained merely by signing up are: nifty pens with sponsor logos, coupons from sponsors, a keychain complete with sponsor logo, or any number of unusable “sponsor” junk that I feel bad for throwing away due to my environmental conscientiousness yet foresee no use for ever and thus it sits until I toss it in a bag for the Salvation Army certain that someone somewhere has a use for a can opening, staple removing, letter opening, rope cutting keychain. And, yes, that was in my last not-so-goody bag from my last 5k race .

Occasionally the shirt given will be a technical shirt. These are great if they fit. A technical running shirt is one that is made specifically with a runner’s needs in mind and is often made of wicking material that takes sweat away from your body without over-saturating your shirt (like a cotton one would). I have only received one of these in all the races I have run and although I received a small it must have been geared toward a man because it was way too big.

My favorite race swag has to be the pint glass and the finisher’s medal.

I collect pint glasses and use them at home all the time. My cupboards are mostly filled with ones I’ve procured from pubs and breweries, but I do have two race glasses as well. They are both labeled with the race logo and the date and are extremely cool. I use these more than any other glasses I own as it’s like a pat on the back every time I’m reminded of these races I have accomplished.

A lot of races, but not all unfortunately, will give some sort of finisher’s medal once a runner has crossed the finishing line. At my last race it was simply one of those ribbons that one might get for winning an elementary school contest. My favorite ones however (and are usually given at larger, longer races) are the clunky ones that have a brightly colored ribbon tied to the top and the race stamped into it. I’ve seen very elaborate ones that are even painted and look even more impressive.

And of course I can’t forget the spread provided for runner’s after the race. Usually the longer the race the better the grub after with the usual fare being an assortment of bagels, bananas, apples, oranges, and water.

Some races will even advertise according to the swag that they offer!

Mississippi Blues Marathon – engraved harmonica and a CD featuring local blues artists

Midwinter Cruise 5K – Pancake breakfast afterwards

Texas Half & 5K – Breakfast burritos and beer  afterwards

Missoula Marathon – Cloth goody bags, shirts made from bamboo and recycled polyester

Whether you choose a race by the swag it offers or just for the race experience itself, there is a wonderful uniqueness about each race that will certainly leave you will a lifetime of memories.