I’m just back from the Los Angeles CHA Winter show. It was my first time in LA, and because the trip was so quick, I still don’t feel like I’ve truly been to LA. I spent all of my time in the 3-block radius between the hotel and the LA Convention Center. However, the weather was lovely (70 degrees and sunny!), so it wasn’t a bad 3-block radius to live in for two days.
No real sightseeing, only this stretch of road. But there were palm trees and sun, and no snow!
I’m working on more posts about the most interesting “industry” related things I took away from the show, with lots of pictures and insights from people I talked to. But what’s on my mind first is what I took away from the show personally—mostly, these five things:

1. Sleep is wonderful. When I finally got into LA on Friday afternoon, I was jet-lagged and
on fumes, having barely slept the night before. I managed to check in at the show to get my pass, take a short walk, and order takeout to eat in my room before I crashed at 7 p.m. I slept—uninterrupted—for 11 hours. I don’t know the last time I’ve slept 11 hours. Probably in 2007. Being well-rested really is a gift.

2. It’s good to get out of the house. I used to be pretty social, but I’m finding that I spend more and more time cooped up in my office these days. Getting out among people is good for both my mental health and my confidence. I think a lot of writers suffer from the “no one gives a fig about what I write or pays any attention to what I do.” But I got so many compliments on Sew Retro at the show—people stopping by the publisher’s booth just to say hit to me. To ME! One woman even said that she saw me on TV (on the web)—that little local morning show I did a few months ago and then uploaded to my site. Which of course I figured no one watched.

3. Two-year-olds sound so sweet on the phone. You can’t imagine that they would ever do anything bad when you're gone, like steal their baby sister’s paci and hide it in the laundry room.

4. It is, in fact, possible to pump in the bathroom of an airplane while cruising at 30,000 feet. I can’t even believe I had to do this, but it was either that or hours of misery. Luckily, a sweet flight attendant hooked me up with an “out of order” sign on one of the bathrooms while I did it.

5. I love meeting new people. Sit me down next to someone with an interesting job or a fascinating background, and I’m in heaven (coincidentally, this drives my husband crazy—whenever we go anywhere, he always hopes we wind up sitting next to boring people so he doesn’t have to hear me ask an endless series of questions). I met other authors and editors from Craftside’s various imprints, and learned all kinds of interesting things—from what it’s like to work in Hollywood to what it’s like to be a woman from India who loves and respects her culture, but doesn’t want to follow the traditional path set out for her. Grown-up conversations with interesting people are the best way to re-set my mood and pull me out of whatever funk I’m in. And if they happen to be set against the backdrop of LA sun, all the better!

More on the coolest booths and most interesting trends coming soon . . .