ANYBODY ELSE OUT THERE HEARD OF HEATHER B. ARMSTRONG & DOOCE.COM? I can't say I would have ever thought twice about visiting her blog in a "normal" flow of events, but I happened to see her featured on a national TV segment (ABC's Nightline, I think), and she looked like a complete star to me - fun, a little wild, brilliant, profane, free-form, ex-Mormon, entertaining. I also thought they mentioned developing a movie around her? Who knows about that, but I do know TV producers pretty much can't seem to operate without putting labels on people or situations to function, and they call her a "mommy blogger." Pretty funny - however limiting. Calling her that is like calling me a line cook - just a tiny, tiny, tiny part of the bigger story. I'm sure there's plenty of women out there with kids who like to blog, and that's all well and good; But unless she was the standout writer she is, there's no way her being a "mommy blogger" would ever get her noticed by visitors and advertisers. Advertisers with lots of money willing to pay to get next to those who visit her site.
Unlike other folks I've met along the way and picked for stardom before anyone else, Heather is no "early pick" by me: She mentioned on air TV that, based on a million unique visitors a month to her site (wow), she makes $40k A MONTH (at least, that's what I think she said. DAMN GIRL). A million different people want to read what she writes, every month. So why am I writing about her?
I sent her some of my Totally Chipotle products, less than a month ago. Today, I get a hand-written postcard from her, which totally surprised me, and also reveals what a geek I am: Being in the professions I am (food, music, entertainment, marketing), it's EXTREMELY rare for anyone to say thank you, return a phone call, express gratitude for anything I do, say thank you when they make money directly from my work & connections (did I mention my love/hate position on musicians?). And so, to have someone I KNOW is busier than hell and getting bombarded frequently with solicitions, mail, TV offers, live appearance dates, etc., get back to me, got to me. In a good way. Here's an excerpt: "... cannot wait to try the bloody mary mix, coincidence that that has become one of my favorite drinks. Much love from Utah, Heather B. Armstrong." Yes, it would be sweet if she liked the stuff enough to give it a mention on her site... Beyond all that, I was already a fan; Here's some content from her website, in case you'd like to see for yourself what I see:
My name is Heather B. Armstrong. Some of you may remember me as Heather B. Hamilton. I am married to a charming geek named Jon. We live in Salt Lake City, Utah, with our four-year-old daughter, Leta Elise, and our six-year-old SuperMutt, Chuck, and a ten-month-old miniature Australian Shepherd, Coco. The chaos in our house is unreal.
I am a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) or a Shit Ass Ho Motherfucker. I do both equally well.
In a previous life I was a web designer. I lived in Los Angeles, California, for several years where I worked for drug-addicted executives and discovered what life was like as a recovering Mormon. This means that life was filled with PowerPoint templates and lethal amounts of tequila. I dated several actors and met a handful of celebrities. Everything you've ever heard about Los Angeles is absolutely true, especially the parts about traffic and actors: they really are that bad.
I grew up in a small suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, and graduated valedictorian of Bartlett High School in 1993. The reason I am telling you about the valedictorian part is because being able to say, "I was the valedictorian" is the only privilege I ever got in life from achieving that goal. No one ever hired me because I was valedictorian. The lesson to be learned from this is: AIM LOW. Save yourself the time.
My parents raised me Mormon, and I grew up believing that the Mormon Church was true. In fact, I never had a cup of coffee until I was 23-years-old. I had pre-marital sex for the first time at age 22, but BY GOD I waited an extra year for the coffee. There had better be a special place in heaven for me.
I attended BYU from 1993-1997 and graduated with a degree in English. I firmly believe that BYU is the most horrible place on Earth, worse even than Disneyland. The one skill I learned in college that serves me well now is not how to solve differential equations or how to write a paper deconstructing The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, it's how to distrust organized religion. I am no longer a practicing Mormon or someone who believes that Rush Limbaugh speaks to God. My family is understandably disappointed.
I started this website in February 2001. A year later I was fired from my job for this website because I had written stories that included people in my workplace. My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET. If you are the boss, however, you should be aware that when you order Prada online and then talk about it out loud that you are making it very hard for those around you to take you seriously.
This website chronicles my life from a time when I was single and making a lot of money as a web designer in Los Angeles, to when I was dating the man who would become my husband, to when I lost my job and lived life as an unemployed drunk, to when I married my husband and moved to Utah, to when I became pregnant, to when I threw up and became unbearably swollen during the pregnancy, to the birth, to the aftermath, to the postpartum depression that landed me in a mental hospital. I'm better now.
In October 2005 I began running enough ads on this website that my husband was able to quit his job and become a Stay at Home Father (SAHF) or a Shit Ass Ho Fuckingbadass. He takes both very seriously. This website now supports my family.
I love bourbon, chips and salsa, Britpop, and television that excels at being really awful.
Labels: dooce.com, heather b. armstrong, totally chipotle