Chookooloonks visits Blue Willow Bookshop

Blue Willow Books Houston | Karen Walrond reading The Beauty of Different

Maybe that one thing about you that you can’t stand is your different.

To that, Karen Walrond (@Chookooloonks) would say, “Your different is your beautiful.”

Karen Walrond, author of The Beauty of Different dropped by Schipul client,  Blue Willow Books for an intimate reading and book signing. Karen shared with visitors her different (she was a sensitive child) and said it’s probably what made her able to write the book.

Chookoolonks reads from The Beauty of Different at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston

The reading was like sharing a story with a good friend. It was share and share alike as visitors talked about their different, their experiences blogging and their journeys through photography. After the reading, Karen signed books with personal messages to each woman.

Karen signs copies of The Beauty of Different at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston

The Blue Willow staff f gifted Karen with a pen before she climbed the ladder to leave her mark on the wall. She wrote: Your Different is Your Beautiful.

Karen Walrond leaves her mark on the Blue Willow wall

The Beauty of Different features photos and stories of everyday people and the unique things about them. Through their faces and revelations, perhaps readers will discover their own special qualities.

For more about The Beauty of Different check out Karen’s Blog.  Also, our very own happykatie is featured in the book and writes about being part of the experience on her blog.

Be sure to check out Blue Willow Bookshop on Facebook to learn about more events like this. Each event brings a new guest, a new book and new friends.

Book Give-Away: Greater Than Yourself

Update: We Have a WINNER!

Happy Thanksgiving folks! I hope that you have a wonderful Holiday. Thanks to all the folks who shared their comments about being inspired.

Now onto the important FREE Book thing – we dropped the names in the magical internet hat at and  Jim Struck has won the Schipul Thanksgiving Book-Away! We will be sending over a copy of Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership. Congrats Jim! We would love to hear your thoughts on the book once you get a chance to read it.

Thanx again everyone for sharing – now…   go eat some Turkey!


It’s November again in Schipul-land (well, it’s really November everywhere else too, but is makes for a good opener) … and we are once again focusing on thankfulness. This November we are celebrating the sources of our inspirations… those people, quote, movies, books, etc. that have influenced us, motivated us, inspired us to do bigger, better, awesomer things.

To celebrate our celebration of inspiration we have a super special giveaway!

While our blog posts are sharing those things that have helped us get farther down the road of life, we want to give away a copy of book that focuses on how we can all give to someone else’ to inspire them, help them grow, lift them up, guide them through the obstacles of the work place, or community space, or fill-in-the-blank space.

Greater Than Yourself
Greater Than Yourself

Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership is a book devoted the idea that the goal of genuine leader is to help others. To help those around us become more capable, confident, and accomplished than we are. That’s right… a leader’s goal is help the people we lead to be Greater Than Ourselves.

‘Real leadership, in other words, is an extreme act rooted in love and motivated by a desire to create a better world’ whether it’s the world of your company, team, neighborhood, or family.”

Written using the now very popular allegorical form, Greater Than Yourself wraps the three tenets of Greater Than Yourself’ Expand Yourself, Give Yourself, and Replicate Yourself – inside a fictional narrative. We follow the main character on his journey towards understanding and embracing the ‘GTY” way of life.  The book is a short and sweet read… ending with a perfectly useful recap of the steps to the Greater Than Yourself philosophy. It strips out the entire story and gives you the guidance you need to embark on your ‘GTY” way of life. The book is also supported by a vast and active online community at

My favorite quote of all time, the one that keeps inspiring me over and over again is the Marianne Williamson quote stating, ‘as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” It will come as no surprise then that one of my favorite quotes from this book is right in line with this idea…

‘One tricky part of a Greater Than Yourself project is that you cannot truly give in a worthwhile way to those around you without accepting within yourself the qualities the program emphasizes. You must be willing to expand yourself, to give your abilities to another, to tap into the greatness inherent not only in you, but it those around you.”

So’ we want to inspire you! We want to inspire you to inspire others! We want to give you a copy of ‘Greater Than Yourself.”

How do you win this amazing book? Glad you asked:

  1. Leave a comment below’ who or what has been a source of inspiration in your life?
  2. That’s it!

We will pick a winner using the random integer generator on Wednesday, November 24th.

PS –Be sure to let us know a good way to contact you when you win!

Schipul Geek’s Guide to Summer Vacation Success

Photo thanks to jaeWALK

Greetings from Schipul-Land!   As our Schipul crew prepares for another hot Houston summer, our minds wander to our favorite vacation spots, travel tools, preparation tips and out-of-town safety tidbits.

We may not be lounging on a beach or flying high in a plane over foreign lands today, but our entire team has some great ideas on how to make your summer travel experiences safe, fun and memorable – one geeky post at a time.   Join us for this month’s:   Schipul Geek’s Guide to Summer Vacation Success!

Schipul Book Club giveaway!

Lonely Planet books

To kick off this vacationing Blog posting party, we have a fun Schipul Book Club giveaway for June.

Leave us a comment telling us about your dream vacation spot (whether you’ve been there yet or not) and on Friday, June 18th 12pm CST we’ll pick one lucky commenter to select a Lonely Planet Country Guide book of their choice!

Thirty Days of Thanks – Thank Goodness for Good Design!!

Deconstructing Product DesignWe’re a Web Marketing company so of course one of the thirty things we are thankful for is good design!!

And we’re not just talking web design either… we’re talking about the design of all of your everyday things from the mundane to the magnificent.

To celebrate our love of design, we’ve got a super special giveaway for you this month!!

Our very own Search Engine Marketing Team Manager, Jonti Bolles, is a former professor of Architecture and we can testify that this gal loves her design… so much so that she was tapped to offer her expert design commentary in the recently published Deconstructing Product Design book by Will Lidwell and Gerry Manacsa.

Want a copy? Tell us what product you can’t live without and what about it’s design has made it integral to your life.

For inspiration check out my 5 Favorite Product Designs from the book!!

  1. the Motorola Razr V3: I had one of these babies. And yes I agree… the silver version pictured in the book was a step forward for phones, but the Pink Razr (with duct tape accents) that I personally owned was what I’d consider more of a giant leap. Razrs are risiliant little things and last for years!
  2. Aeron Armchair: I sit in a wannabe one of these (from Eurway) all day at work and I would never switch to a different chair. Commenter Carley H. Franklin calls it the “Rock-Star of the Seating World” and I wholeheartedly agree! Even if my chair is merely the pop-star version.
  3. the Chanel No. 5 Flacon: Ladies across the world will unanimously agree that this famed bottle of perfume is one of the iconic   symbols of all things womanly.
  4. POM Juice Bottle: I love pomegranates so by proxy I love this bottle. The design helps too.
  5. Glock G17 Semi-Automatic Pistol: I’m an Army Gal and so weapons of all shapes and sizes interest me. This one is a little smaller than the ones we used to tote around in basic training but I love that they featured it in a design book!!

And if you MUST have some Internet Inspiration, check out the Sew Crafty Houston Site or Gwen Bell’s Beautiful Blog. Both make me smile every time they pop open in my browser. I blame the monsters.

So one more time. How do you win this awesome book??

  1. Leave a comment below
  2. What product can’t you live without and what do you LOVE about its design
  3. We’ll pick a winner using the random integer generator on November 18
  4. Make sure you include a way for us to contact you when you win!!

George Foreman – a lean, mean, entrepreneur-ing machine!

MagsMac gets some one on one time with George Foreman, photo by Ed Schipul

Last week, a group of Schipulites had the pleasure of attending Rice Alliance‘s kick off celebration featuring speaker George Foreman. That’s right, George Foreman – Houston native, two-time former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Olympic gold medalist, and the guy with the famous grill (I have two – I am obsessed). We each got a copy of his latest book – “Knockout Entrepreneur,” and got to hear George in his element – telling stories.

He told the story of his life – from his first fight (explaining “They laughed me out of the ring and I said, ‘I’m never doing this again!'”), to his first retirement, to his motivation to get back in the ring again to support the George Foreman youth center in Houston.

George Foreman’s appeal is his personality – he is one of those rare people who can convey both complete confidence in all he has accomplished and somehow still remain humble about the whole situation. I imagine that if it was just the two of us hanging out having a beer, he would tell the exact same stories in exactly the same way. And I love that.

My favorite moment was when George summed up his philosophy on taking advantage of his personal brand to start his various businesses. While most of us don’t have his inspirational story of starting in poverty, rising to be the best in the world at what we do, winning international honors, and having millions of fans… we have our own personality and our own story to tell.

“If you make them love you they will buy it. But you gotta make them love you. The way you make them love you is love them back.” – George Foreman

Thanks George and Rice Alliance for the fantastic program!


Schipulites with our George Foreman books. Photo by Ed Schipul.


George Foreman in Rice-adorned apron and chef’s hat. Photo by Ed Schipul.

Schipul Book Club: Win Hugh MacLeod’s new book – Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity

Ignore Everybody

Congratulations to Karen Pitcock at Team Teen for winning your free signed copy of Hugh MacLeod’s “Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity!” Thank you to all who commented…and keep listening to your wee voice!

Rally your creative comments people! The Schipul Book Club has a new favorite author and a chance for you to add another piece of fine literature to your collection. Let the curiosity ensue…

A guy sits down at a bar, starts drawing cartoons on the back of business cards and now has a bestselling book. Sounds like a simple plan. True. But it wasn’t your plan, nor your passion…it was Hugh MacLeod’s. His book, ‘Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity,” stems from his own personal life experiences and his ability to ‘nurture and develop his own creative sovereignty.”Brimming with quick-witted brilliance and intellect, his stories are raw, ingenious, and to be quite honest, compel numerous snorts of laughter.

While I can’t sit here and write out my thoughts on MacLeod’s entire book, (well actually I could, but I would be banned from the Schipul Blog entirely…with God only knows how many legal issues from Ol’ Hugh), I can highlight one of my favorite ‘keys to creativity.” And it is not because Hugh mentions crayons…or that my 23nd birthday party was Crayola themed with a life size Crayola box…but I digress…

Key to Creativity #7:   Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

‘Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away…Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug” is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.”

Everyone was also given nap-time as a small fledgling, and to your dismay, is no longer included in your job description. Naps are something you should do when you can truly enjoy them…where you wake up with a mutated mug due to bed sheet indentions. In other words…a successful slumber. A creative endeavor is parallel in this thought. You need to create something that you love and can give to wholeheartedly. ‘If you make something special and powerful and honest and true, you will succeed.”

MacLeod does not mention naps in this chapter, not even once (I’m just strange and my thoughts tend to wander). But here unto you my little pandas the interest lies…your body will never be satisfied with a mediocre nap just like your soul will never be satisfied with an empty crayon box.

MacLeod puts it quite simply…

‘They’re only crayons. You didn’t fear them in kindergarten, why fear them now?”

Write that down.

So now I can only assume that you are planning to conquer the world with your creativity all the while changing people’s lives and going on leisurely runs with your new buddy Matt Lauer. But before you do:

  1. You must leave a comment explaining how you let the creative juices flow by listening to your ‘wee” voice You will be entered in our drawing to receive your very own SIGNED copy of Hugh MacLeod’s, “Ignore Everybody and 39 other Keys to Creativity.”
  2. Read the book. This is imperative to your survival.
  3. Make something. Why? Because Hugh said so.
  4. An anonymous comment will not enter you in the drawing. Let us know who you are!
  5. Contest will end Friday, August 14th at noon. Your new book awaits…

Schipul Book Club: Win a copy of The Survivors Club’ The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life

the-survivors-club-book1Highlighting Safety Month, we wanted to focus on three things we love. Preparedness, Data and Stories.   Author Ben Sherwood delivers on all in The Survivors Club!

Ben Sherwood studied data from survivors of all kinds of events to find the commonality. Who survived and why? The range of things life throws at each of us includes everything from losing a job in a recession, being diagnosed with cancer, surviving a plane wreck or a even a burning building. The science of studying the people who survived catastrophic events revealed amazing similarities.

The Survivors Club book leads us through the answers to two questions, ‘(1) What does it really take to survive? and (2) What kind of survivor are you?”

  • Part 1 tells the extraordinary stories of survivors and their traits that gave them the advantage to overcome improbable odds. Their data helps unlock the mystery of survival and teaches you about the 5 personality types and twelve tools of survival.   These stories were amazing in detail and inspiring in their hope and faith.
  • Part 2 builds on the same traits, but focuses on you, the reader, and helps you determine your Survival IQ. Ben Sherwood, includes an internet based test to determine your survivor personality type. Don’t worry… you can’t fail the test, but it helps you realize your strengths in an everyday situation or a major catastrophe.   Ahem… some people have been known to skip to the test first. Just sayin’. Oh yeah, if you don’t win, there is a shorter version online.

We took the test and found… well, once you take the Survival Profile, you also get to read about other survivors of your same type and match your traits with theirs! Do you know which survivor you are most like?

And, a big hint before reading the book or taking the profile test. Everyone is a Survivor… everyone has inherent tools available to help them. The first step is identifying your tools and then learning to use them as your talents, your strengths. After reading stories of people who survived lion mauling, extraordinary combat situations and overcoming cancer, you will believe anything is possible. You will also learn how simple things can make the biggest difference in your safety and the best advice of all, ‘Do not waste a breath.”

We hope you never need it, but we enjoyed reading how instincts, perspective and preparation can all make a difference in life threatening moments.

In honor of this month’s Safety Month, we’re giving away a copy of this book AND an emergency supply kit to keep in your trunk to help you take your emergency preparation to the max!

Join our Schipul Facebook fanpage and leave a comment here on this post about your favorite preparedness tip.   What are you doing to keep your family, friends and business ready for anything?   Do you have any survival stories you’d like to share?

Leave your comments here and we’ll be selecting a random commenter (after double checking they’re a member of our Facebook fanpage of course’ it’s also Schipul Fan Mania month!!) on Friday, June 26th at 2pm CST.

Schipul Book Club: Win The Giving Tree + a Moleskine of Your Very Own

giving-tree“Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy”

It’s that time again! Every month we give away a copy of one of our favorite Schipul books and since Schipulites LOVE Storytelling, that is this month’s theme!

What better book to Demonstrate “Story” than the Shel Silverstein classic The Giving Tree? Using very simple writing and line drawings, Silverstein proves a little can go a very long way in telling a powerful tale. We’ve got a copy with your name on it.**

Can’t wait? You can also watch an animated version of the book narrated by Silverstein himself!!

We’ve got a double whammy for you this month so that’s not all!!

Long before the netbook became the new notebook, legendary artists such as Van Gogh and Hemingway used the real deal made by French booksellers to capture their ideas and jot notes. These little books were called Moleskine’s. The last French bookseller that sold Moleskine’s closed it’s doors in 1986 but the little books and the genius they inspired was not gone forever!

In 1998 a tiny Milanese bookseller brought the books back and as happykatie so elqouently puts it “happiness is a fresh Moleskine” so we think you need one of your very own! Use it to draw your own pictures and flex those storytelling muscles!! Practice makes perfect right?

So how do you get your Giving Tree and your Moleskine? Comment below!! What organization do you think is awesome at telling its story? It can be anyone from the pizza place down your street to the biggest cell phone company. We want to know!

We’ll be picking winner this Friday (the 29th) at 3 pm so follow us on twitter to get the announcement!

**Oh and a word to the wise: If Hallmark Cards make you cry, you may want to read The Giving Tree behind closed doors. Especially if you’ve never read it before…. I know I’m a cheese ball but I tear up every time!

Do Work.

by: Courtney Pemberton

Sometimes you read a book that makes you want to jump out of your seat, start singing ‘Man in the Mirror,” and gather all of your co-workers for an office musical. Sounds quite delightful right? I assume you are now wondering what kind of book could make someone experience this type of euphoria… possibly leading them to a Tony nomination.   It’s Called Work for a Reason! by Larry Winget. No, I did not stutter. Out of all the great business reads in the world, this one was my monumental epic to date…besides Harry Potter of course.   A successful wizard is difficult to come by these days.

I am aware of the fact that many of you have read, heard, or even been offended by Larry’s books…good. His ideals about what it takes to become successful are unparalleled and dare I say, hilarious. He doesn’t spout off statistics and graphs…he tells you the truth, and doesn’t care if you like it or not.

Why couldn’t Larry have been there when I thought I looked cool dominating a game of Vortek VR Desert Gunners?

I believe for something to be effective it must spark an action. “It’s Called Work for a Reason!!” does just that…hell, I’m even writing a blog post about it already. I compiled a list of quotes from the book that inspired me, made me chuckle, or simply needed to be shared. Here are my Top 10 favorite quotes that could possibly start an office revolution:

  1. There will be parts of this book you won’t like.” How much more honest can a guy get? It’s like the medicine commercials that give a disclaimer about the strange side effects which often times leave you to wonder if you’re better off just enduring the pain for the rest of your life. You must always tell the client the good then follow it directly with the bad. Candor is great in any   business…plain and simple.
  2. We have become spectators instead of doers.” It’s easier to be a big loser by sitting on your butt watching the biggest loser than it is to get off your butt and lose weight yourself.” Guilty as charged. If you want something to get done, don’t write it on a Post-It, just go do it. We all know the glue on the back of a Post-It note fades in a day anyways.
  3. Stop blaming your male-pattern baldness on your lack-luster results.” Own up to your failures, just like you own up to your achievements. It’s a two-way street and we all know what happens on a one-way street…lots of traffic.
  4. You dress like a hobo on Fridays because it’s ‘casual day.’” I blame my favoritism to this quote on my deluged stream of consciousness that tends to have a mind of its own. I guess the point I am trying to make here is that I think ‘Casual Fridays” at Schipul should be renamed ‘Hobo Fridays.” I’m just throwing it out there…Ed, you can throw it right back if you deem necessary.
  5. “…organizations that refuse to accept poor performance at any level and that take the time to deal with every slip in service do well regardless of economic conditions. They thrive in spite of it all just because they expect, demand, and deliver excellence at every level.” I am not an expert on economics by any means and I will admit that I often confuse NASDAQ with Aflac, but I will tell you that if you think you are going to fail at something, most likely you will fail. If you believe that the economy will be the reason your business goes bankrupt, most likely your business will go bankrupt because of the economy. It’s called the ‘Self-Fulfilling Prophecy,” which name sounds angelic and magical but don’t be fooled. It is the equivalent to the cute little dinosaur from Jurassic Park that purred at you and the next thing you know it has dispersed bat like wings and shot you in the eyes with venom that resembles dirty oil. What I am trying to say before this turned into a discussion about dinosaurs is that a bad economy shouldn’t hold the fate of your company’s success.
  6. I just checked and found there are more than thirty-nine thousand books listed with the word ‘secrets’ in the title. Are there really that many secrets?” No there is not. The reason your cooking sucks isn’t because there is a secret ingredient…you just didn’t read the recipe right. The same holds true with a successful business.
  7. Larry explains that your job is like every relationship in your life…you must work at it. Sometimes you get ‘stuck in a rut” and you might need to spice it up a bit. Here’s a suggestion: make a list of what you originally loved about your job.” Maybe set out some candles and set the mood with a little Marvin Gaye. In my case, I would bring my job a bouquet of cal lilies, a bag of Trolli Apple O’s, a 6-pack of Miller Lite and call it a day. Rekindle that love you felt when you locked eyes with your job for the first time. Because like Ol’ Larry says, When you love your job, enjoy your job, and have fun at your job, you will be better at your job.”
  8. No one can compete with a truly unique individual or company. I don’t believe in competition, but I will bet money on uniqueness.” Nike is a great example of a company that took the basic idea of a running shoe and turned it into a unique brand image that is recognized by millions all over the world. Another example…Bermuda shorts. I am not a big fan and to be quite frank, I think they are hideous and do nothing for the female form. But they are unique…not quite shorts, not quite pants…it’s like you came here to work but you also came for the rain party. What I am trying to say is despite my preferences, they are constantly selling off the racks. Offer something truly original and whether it’s good or bad, people will take notice.
  9. The companies that do well in a sagging economy are the ones that provide the best service.” Ultimately, the customer is your boss. No explanation necessary.
  10. The real key to business success is to be good at what you do. Excellence does not just come from enjoyment or passion or love or fun. Excellence comes from study. Excellence comes from experience. It comes from screwing up and doing it wrong until you finally, finally, finally get it right. And it comes from good old-fashioned hard work! The other things help, but alone they are mostly hot air. Sweat changes things-not hot air.”

Most of the things I have told you are common sense and it’s likely you have heard these tactics before. But my question is, if so many businesses are failing then are they really using common sense? I guess it doesn’t hurt to repeat things.

Thanks for the photo Amen-Ra