Live Life In All CAPS; The Teresa Collins Story: Book Review

With Go Wild right around the corner, I have begun having every area of my life revolve around preparation for this event. Teresa Collins is going to be speaking this year and, I have to admit… I wasn’t to thrilled the last time I saw her speak. But, to be fair I was going through my own stuff at that moment and all my nerves were raw. Maybe she just hit my sore spot.

In order to approach our next encounter on the right foot, I thought I would do a little homework. So I hopped on Amazon and got myself her book.

Notebook and coffee not included

To quickly summarize the summary, Teresa Collins is a designer in the crafty world with her own line of products and partnerships with everyone from Fiskers to Silhouette. She’s overcome a lot of stuff in her life and is very much an optimist. So armed with my best attitude and giving updates as I went on Instagram (which you can watch here), I dove in.

So, let me be very clear in saying that I went in reading this book knowing full well that I am not the intended audience for this book. I’m just not, and that’s ok. I still think it’s important to read stuff we know isn’t written for us because it helps extend our minds and see other points of view. For the most part, I knew what aspects I was going to roll my eyes at and what wasn’t going to resonate with me. So when Teresa talked about her faith and her marriage, I knew that it wasn’t gonna speak to me, and that’s fine. There was enough other stuff that I felt I could have connected on. Just to make that clear.

The book isn’t kidding when it says “all CAPS”. Through this entire book, words are capitalized for emphasis. The pro to this is that it helps translates Teresa’s voice to the written page. The con is that it’s kinda overdone. There are a lot of capitalized words. It made it hard to read because I kept thinking of this meme.

You know the voice that just read that in your head? That was the voice that wanted to read this book in my head. Granted, this is 100% a generational thing and I am nothing but internet trash memes at this point. But, the capitalized words did start to lose their emphasis by Chapter 2.

In talking about this book online and with others, I have called this a “Mormon version of Girl Wash Your Face”. That’s not entirely true. Teresa Collins comes off as authentic and sincere throughout this book. It reads like she speaks; enthusiastic, passionate, and a little scattered because she’s excited about what she’s saying. Like it says on the cover, this is ‘The Teresa Collins Story’. Unlike Rachel Hollis, she doesn’t come off as preachy or judgy. She is that enthusiastic friend that is giving you peppy advice while you are just trying to drink your cup of coffee. I don’t agree with everything she says and would have made some different choices, but I respect her sincerity.

Call the Editor:
It was hard to tell what this book was supposed to be. It started off as a light autobiography, switched to some devotionals, threw in a few vignettes, and jumped back on to the autobiographical timeline while skipping a fair chunk of time. Chapters were very short, some could have been combined by topic, and some jumped around from business to family life to dropping huge bombshells and not picking up until several chapters later. It was very stream of consciousness, if that stream had a few detours to smell some flowers along the way.

Creativity & Ideas:
When Teresa is talking about her business and design, I’m there for it. She mentions making an A to Z book after her mother passed away, and now I want to make one. She mentions seeing some beautiful art while on vacation and feeling inspired to design, and I’m right there with her. If she did an entire book on design, I would eat that shit up.

My favorite quote from the book. Super relatable.

Surface Level Trauma:
Teresa has had a LOT of stuff happen to her in her life; big, deep, heavy stuff. She brings it up to provide examples of how she overcame hardships and chose to be happy. I don’t want to diminish that at all; she’s a BAMF, who probably wouldn’t appreciate the full version of that initialism due to language. Where I get frustrated is when she mentions something, like her stroke, but doesn’t actually talk about the process of choosing to be happy again. I’ve gone through big medical stuff too, and I can tell you first hand that it’s not as easy to just “be normal” again. You have to create a new normal. I wanted to hear about how she went on to create her new normal. Every big thing that happens in this book is told like she isn’t ready to talk about it yet, which is completely understandable. But if that’s the case, why include it in the book?

Was this the best book I ever read? No. It was clunky and hard to read. The advice was shallow and more of a “pep talk” than any actual motivation or overcoming adverse conditions. There were moments that I loved, like when she discussed her feelings around her father’s death – that hit home because I had and still have many of the same feelings in regards to my own father’s death. Her excitement about office supplies was super relatable. Reading her go through the emotions of losing her beloved husband was touching. But, overall it wasn’t really my cup of tea. If you love books like the aforementioned Girl Wash Your Face, or you are part of the Mormon Church, this might be a great book for you to find some soul stirring inspiration.

I am interested in seeing Teresa’s presentation at Wild, especially having read this and having a little more insight to her life and her personality. And I will be bringing this book to hide as a present in the hotel; I hope the next person enjoys the read (and maybe gets it signed during the event!)

Practical Advice for Planner Events

We are less than ONE month away from Go Wild, which is a gigantic planner conference that is being held in Fabulous Las Vegas. In the event group, there is a lot of excitement around the lead up to the event and a LOT more questions from first timers about all sorts of aspects of going to their first “planner event”. I’m certainly no expert in this but I did go to Go Wild last year in Austin, as well as 5 other planner events of varying scales. There are lots of people imparting advice on their spaces, and I am going to join the ever growing throng to give you another point of view. Whether you’re “Going” with us to Vegas, or heading to one of the other planner events that are happening this year, allow me to pass along some wisdom.

The Advice I Wish I Had Listened To Before Going To A Planner Conference

Wear Sensible Shoes – NOT FLIP FLOPS

Y’all, I love me some flip flops but let’s be 100% here, they are not useful shoes. You’re probably going to be doing a LOT of walking at these things. Walking all the way across the hotel to get to the conference. Walking all your swag back to your room during breaks. Walking around the city during your down time. And, you’ll be doing a lot of standing as well. Standing in line for snacks. Standing in line to get on the elevator. Standing in line to get a photo with that speaker you really like. You know what kind of shoes SUCK for that sort of stuff? Flip flops. Get yourself actual shoes. Sneakers. Maybe buy some insoles. Baby the fuck out of your feet. They will thank you for it.

Take The Damn Pictures

I know, it’s weird to go up to someone and go “Hohmigod can i get a picture with you?!” I struggle with it, especially after working with musical acts and remembering they are people who fall going up the stairs too. But you know, you’re gonna get home and be really sad that you didn’t do it. Get in line for those photos; that’s why they have those times set to take the photos. Take the selfies with your friends. Make a gookie if you’re afraid to look dumb… that way you know you’ll look dumb on purpose and it’ll be a cool homage to Wakko Warner/Harpo Marx.

Image Shown: Gookies. Wakko on first.

Nobody Cares What You Wear

There was one event I went to where someone had a light up dress on. The only reason I remember it is because I remember thinking, “Shit… how is she gonna get that dress and all her swag home?” Plus, remember all that walking and standing I mentioned before? You’re probably gonna have to be clothed while you’re doing those things. Pick comfortable stuff that you can hike back and forth in. My go to is black leggings, a t-shirt, and a flannel for if I get cold (actually… that’s my go to everyday. I have no sense of style). If you are flying somewhere and you know that you’re gonna be a tad spoiled by your sponsors, pack light – or make a plan to ship stuff home, and remember to leave some in your budget to do that.

Erin Condren was really excited to take a picture with me. Please note that dressy ballet flats are not much better than flip flops.

Find the Bathrooms BEFORE You Have To Pee.

Just… trust me on this. And when I say find the bathrooms, I mean… don’t just find the closest ones. Find ALL of them so that if one is full you can go down the line until you find something that is open.

Schedule Time To Do NOTHING

So, for a bigger event like Go Wild it’s really tempting to want to schedule in EVERY SINGLE THING. You’re on vacation, you’re in a city that you want to explore, and you need to eat ALL the things. But, give yourself time to just wander around the hotel and hang with people. Sometimes there are hidden goodies around the hotel block. Sometimes you meet your favorite shop owners and get exclusive samplers. Sometimes one of your roommate does a really bad Australian accent to one of the main people of a major planner company (who happens to be British) and you need to have a spare half hour to literally roll on the floor laughing at her. So yeah… make time for those random things to happen.

Everyone is Awkward AF And That’s The Magic Of It

Me and some fellow awkward people being awkward with confetti.

When you get right down to it, this is a weird hobby for a bunch of adults to have. We play with stickers and mostly know each other through the internet. Sounds super legit, right? But you know, we all have that experience of unsuccessfully trying to explain what this hobby is and why stickers are a vital importance to it. We all have that one horrible layout we will NEVER show anyone. Everyone is as awkward as you are and is hoping you don’t notice that their shirt is on inside out. Embrace it. You are among your peers who know that HP means Happy Planner and not Harry Potter, but we are probably obsessed with both.

Where ever your planner related adventures may take you, I hope you have fun, find a new shop to love, and that your pen doesn’t skip while you’re filling out your spread.