When Not Selling Books is Fascinating

29 Feb
When Not Selling Books is Fascinating

Sometimes these vendor events that mom and I attend are entertaining for reasons other than selling our books. Here’s a sample:

We had the opportunity recently to be analyzed by a lipologist. One of “only six in the U.S. and one on the east coast,” this individual had piqued my interest as she walked by, adorned in a flowing skirt and blouse decorated with kisses. Early into the event, she had the opportunity to announce to attendees that, for just $10, they could press their lips to a piece of paper and she would ‘read’ the print and tell them about themselves.

We sat next to a booth table where a woman had only a stack of construction paper preprinted with giant paw prints. She began to apply glue, then gold glitter to each print, then was joined by two high school students. The three of them sat there for three hours putting glitter on the prints until they were joined by another two high school students and the four of them packed up to find a bigger spot where they sat for another two hours applying glitter. I had to admire the fortitude of all five of those women for “sticking” with it for five hours.

We received an education on what a “cropping” is. Mom and I had no idea that scrapbooking had taken off and sprung wings to include painting, card making and other crafts. Women get together and spend a whole day working at their art and sharing conversation, methods and table space. They come laden with huge canvas bags full of strange-looking cutting and pasting tools, pots of paint, mounds of stickers, bows and intriguing paraphernalia. What we found out from meeting a few cropping attendees was that, the most common reason they give for being there is: “to get away from the husband and kids.”

We found out that in some European countries where health care isn’t as prevalent as in the U.S., people use natural ingredients to create herbal oils, which they then spread on the bottom of their husbands’ feet to prevent colds, on their children’s pillows to stop snoring or on their own feet to relieve the stress of taking care of sick husbands and snoring children.


Valery Li and helper

The most remarkable aspect of these four examples, however, is that all occurred at one event last weekend. Since we had no traffic at all at our table, we were happy to be entertained, though we felt like we were in the Twilight Zone (we never did figure out where the occasional strains of flute music were coming from). We also had the very best food ever at an event (rich lasagna, creamy chicken penne and mouth-watering breakfast sweets as opposed to the usual overdone hotdogs, pizza and donuts). And despite the fact that most of the vendors that were there were selling branded products, we met an artist that wowed us. Her company is appropriately called “Valery’s Wonderland Treats” ( and I’ve never seen anything like it: little cookies and pastries that are so hard to describe, I’ll just call them, “beautiful” and show you pictures.

We won’t be making a reappearance at this particular event. But we thank the hardworking women who scrapbook, the student volunteers who persevere and the friendly vendors and croppers who stopped by our table and made up for a total lack of public visitors for keeping us entertained. And we thank Valerie Li for simply wowing us.

–Genilee Swope Parente





Posted by on February 29, 2016 in Uncategorized


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3 responses to “When Not Selling Books is Fascinating

  1. Debbie Phillips

    February 29, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Delightful post, Genilee! Thank you for introducing me some new concepts (lipology?!) and yummy treats (Valery’s!)

  2. allynstotzyahoocom

    March 3, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Wow, those cookies look amazing! I agree, sometimes these events we do don’t turn out profitable but you almost always meet someone else fascinating, get a new writing contact, get some Christmas shopping done and walk out of there thinking, “that was fun!”

    • swopeparente

      March 3, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      I checked out her web site. These cookies also get rave reviews for deliciousness!! Amazing, isn’t it. She really is an artist.


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