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Blue Pearl Girl

An Un-Marketing Blog



 Marketing, at its most fundamental, is a true story about an organization -- what it does well, who it does it for and why.  Marketing enters that story into the lives of the customers in a way that is memorable.  Stories are a part of marketing because they are part of life.  This blog is dedicated simply to storytelling and the freedom to create something that might be interesting. . . or simply fun.  

If you have happened upon this page, please enjoy.






(Elisabeth is a writer and marketing strategist.  She has no real claim to fame other than a slightly checkered past, wonderful people in her life, and a tendency toward foodie-ism and accidental experiences.) 




When it rains, straight down
The simple pleasure of an open window
Offers a sigh of relief
a hit of the heart
a whiff of delight
the satisfaction of allowing
... a quiet, undefinable mystery.



BOOKSTORE SHORT! Northwind Books at Finlandia University

As our authors get to know the different bookstores around the country, we are struck by their uniqueness. We thought you'd like to get to know them along with us. Marketing strategist & writer Elisabeth Veltman interviews owners and managers at these unique havens of literature.

Let's chat with store manager, Alana Nolan

North Wind Books is located in Hancock, Michigan, just a few minutes from Lake Superior. Not only is it in the Great White North, North Wind is also an independent bookstore owned by Finlandia University. Finlandia was founded 1896 by the Fins (yes, people from Finland) and is a 4-year liberal arts university that offers courses and degrees in Arts & Sciences, Health Sciences, Art & Design, and Business. The Fins may have started it, but the University welcomes all backgrounds to its academic world set in an outdoor-lover heaven.

I spoke with Alana Nolan, the Bookstore Manager and asked her what made North Wind Books special. She said that they have an array of different things from textbooks to university apparel to an independent section where books with a connection to Michigan are featured. This section contains local history and local authors, as well as books about birds, insects, or rocks that are indigenous to the area. Likewise, they have a children’s room and a Scandinavian room. As she spoke, it sounded like they actually housed local authors in their store along with the birds, rocks, and insects, and that a bunch of kids and Scandinavians were corralled next door. This gave us a chuckle, since obviously she was referring to books on these subjects.

While North Wind is clearly connected to the students, it is also involved in the local community and they choose events that follow through with their brand. So along with book signings by local authors, they do creative events like celebrating the 25th birthday of “Where’s Waldo.” I would bet money that Waldo hiding among the bookshelves watching the festivities and wondering if anyone would notice him.

If you can’t visit North Wind in person, you can order their books and apparel online. Orders over $50 get free shipping, too.


Have you read any Armenian authors? 

“There is a campus read every spring, which is one of the different events on campus for students and the surrounding community.  We just read “The Gendarme by Mark Mustian.”

What’s on the North Wind reading list?

“The Fault in Our Stars"

What Alana is reading right now:

The Sixth Sense
Boys in the Boat


North Wind is located at 437 Quincy Street, Hancock, MI 49930, on U.S. Highway 41.




The Paradoxical Commandments

As universal, personal, and who-knows-what-kind-of forces knock us around this month, I was struck by something called, "The Paradoxical Commandments" in a new way today. I've always loved them. These are usually credited to Mother Theresa, but were apparently written by Kent M. Keith when he was but 19 years old, and a student at Harvard. He wrote them as part of a handbook for student leaders called, "The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council" in 1968.

Powerful words can travel around the world, and so did these. in 1997, Mr. Keith attended a rotary meeting where his own words were read back to him as a poem attributed to Mother Theresa.

The Paradoxical Commandments:

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”
Kent M. Keith, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council


I looked up the story of how his words made it to Calcutta. Here is what he said in his own words:

"I went up after the meeting and asked him where he got the poem. He said it was in a book about Mother Teresa, but he couldn't remember the title. So the next night I went to a bookstore and started looking through the shelf of books about the life and works of Mother Teresa. I found it, on the last page before the appendices in Mother Teresa: A Simple Path. The Paradoxical Commandments had been reformatted to look like a poem, and they had been retitled "Anyway." There was no author listed, but at the bottom of the page, it said: "From a sign on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children's home in Calcutta."

Mother Teresa thought that the Paradoxical Commandments were important enough to put up on the wall of her children's home. That really hit me. I wanted to laugh, and cry, and shout-and I was getting chills up and down my spine. Perhaps it hit me hard because I had a lot of respect for Mother Teresa, and perhaps because I knew something about children's homes. Whatever the reason, it had a huge impact on me. That was when I decided to speak and write about the Paradoxical Commandments again, thirty years after I first wrote them."

~Kent M. Keith from

Today, I felt moved to post them to my virtual wall, here on Blue Pearl, and share them with you, humbled by their impact on me. how much more we need these words in our world today, and right now. I've been thinking about how I can live up to them, even in the face of personal struggles. How about you?



Author & Novel About to Launch Kickstarter Campaign

A preview of this book's kickstarter image

One of my designers and I have been working with an author on a new novel.  We've designed the website, and the book cover, helped him find an editing team, and are helping him launch a kickstarter campaign.  Its great fun.  Here is a preview of the image for that kickstarter campaign.  We expect to launch this next week.  Stay tuned!




Remembrance: The Great Walk


Originally posted on 9/11/2010.  Reposted on 9/11/2011, the 10 year Anniversay, in dedication to the First Responders who are still experiencing the effects of their courage and still losing their lives today.  I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for what you have done and for all that you do.  May the powers that be do the right thing, and give you the healthcare and support you need.


Too Many Stories

 I had never intended to write about it, and I hope no one will ever have to experience anything like it again.  Neither in our nightmares nor in our realities.  But there is something about that day that I always want to remember.


I hesitate, because as far as stories go, there are more than can be accounted for.  And there is no way to do them justice.  They are too surreal, too personal and too emotionally diverse.  But there are many stories that I remember and honor on this day.  From the story of a friend who lost hold of his coworker’s hand as he tried to save him but never saw him again.  To the man who was the last one on the elevator as it left the 84th floor.  He watched as the door closed on his coworkers who patiently waited for the next car -- each unaware that this elevator car was the last.  When he got outside, he saw the 2nd plane blow a hole through his workplace.  It is the story of a friend who felt the heat of explosion and without knowing what had happened, left all of her belongings and got onto a ferry.  She didn’t pause to look up as many so fatefully did.  That instinct saved her life.  The story continues with a stranger who pushed a lucky man into the doorway of the neighboring building.  This stranger threw himself on top of my friend as the rubble crashed where they had just been walking.  The two men then ran to in separate directions, my friend to safety, the other, who knows.  It is the story of my coworker who flew in from L.A. on the red eye.  He left less than 2 hours before the high-jacked plane.  He awoke from his nap at 8:51 a.m. thinking he had been buried alive.  He rescued one neighbor's dog; then he and another neighbor huddled in the kitchen as the towers fell around them.  Ironically, he could have lost his life twice that day, but died unexpectedly 6 years later.  It is the story of the firemen who rushed in as others rushed out – many losing more than 100 of their friends.  Families upon families, devasted.  The stories go beyond each person, and beyond New York -- to Washington, Pennsylvania and around the world.  Too many stories to do any of them justice, even in their telling and retelling, even though the stories need to be told and remembered.  One story that I wish to remember here is the one about the millions who walked, including a man who walked 20 or so miles back to his wife who gave birth on September 12, 2001.


The Questions

It seems like you either lost everyone or no one that day.  I was one of the lucky ones.   I had worked in the World Financial Center for seven years before changing jobs a couple of years earlier.  The towers weren't just towers to me, nor were they to most anyone else.  When I walked out of the office around noon, a sea of stunned people filled the streets.  No cabs.  No cars.  No subway nor bus.  No phone service.  All of us wondering where the people we loved might be and if they lived.  Just a sea of every color, creed, religion, character, head covering, political belief, age and marital status – all walking together. 


I walked with my friend Andy.  What a gift he was and is.  By the time we emerged onto the street, survivors from lower Manhattan had made it to our position on 36th Street and 8th Ave. Every color, creed, religion, character, political belief, head covering, age and marital status -- they were covered in the ash of the buildings.  They were covered in the ash of their fellow human beings.  Stunned, grey ghosts from every walk of life emerged and walked with us to the Upper West Side or to Queens or to the Bronx.  Some walked all day.   All walked next to someone who could inspire suspicion, and all walked next to someone who had just lost a loved one, but didn't know it yet.  All were walking somewhere.  I walked a mere mile and a half.  Another good friend, J.D. walked 8 miles just to sleep on my couch so I wouldn’t be alone.  Another gift I will never, ever forget.


As we walked, we strangers and friends worked out our feelings toward one another.  We remembered what we had learned about each other when working side by side, by doing business together, by talking daily about politics, prices and the weather.  We remembered who we are.  There was no room for hatred based upon assumptions or misunderstandings.  We knew too many people had died.  Too many people relied upon each other.  We, the strangers who walked, helped each other measure the health of both our trust and mistrust – using experience, behavior and instinct as our guide, not ignorance, fear and pride.  To say there was no evil afoot, no crazy extremism in our neighbors would be foolish.  The weekly bomb threats on our blocks kept reminding us of that.  But we, the strangers, and we the friends, were each other’s support.  I’ll never forget how a co-worker’s Catholic husband insisted that his Muslim wife not wear her scarf – he did not want her to become a target of violence.  He wanted her to be safe.  She wanted to respect her faith and be herself.  They compromised on a baseball cap.  A coworker walked her to work for months until potential danger toward her had quieted.  I’ll also never forget the many faces, accents and cultures who later gathered spontaneously around a radio in a cab or in front of a store window TV – all talking, all sharing information, all measuring our suspicions and all participating in multi-cultural solidarity.  


And I think this happened partly because we couldn’t get into our cars and separate ourselves. 


The Remembrance

I love New York because it is a city where people tell it like it is, no matter what their opinion might be (and they often show it, too).  Though New Yorkers crowd the streets every day, it is usually in equal but opposite directions.  If a brilliant architect or engineer could look at the movement of the city from an aerial perspective, I’m sure they could find some divine pattern that simply seems like chaos on the ground.  But that day, 8 million people from every imaginable demographic not only all walked, we walked together -- unmistakeably -- in the same direction. 


I learned a great life lesson from my fellow New Yorkers that day.  Not a political one.  And not a religious one.  As the shock hit, as the American flags flew up around us, as the military entered the subway, as the food dwindled in the stores and restaurants, and as the black cloud of ash entered our lungs and then circled our lives for months-- there could have been retaliation, violence – but there wasn't.  We simply walked.

It was powerful, it was strange, and it was comforting.  So I find myself writing today.  Because no matter how crazy things get, no matter how many opinions, viewpoints and shouting matches there are, no matter how the facts are gotten right, gotten wrong or are warped …. I want to remember how good people can be, how rationally and intelligently we all can behave.  Amidst the horrible acts that people do and teach each other to do, I want to remember how we can walk together without ego, without hatred and with a humble awareness of what we might not know.  Yes, we need to be smart.  To protect ourselves.  But my hope is that we can walk together toward who and what we love instead of in opposition to what we think we hate. I hope instead of taking a "position", we can look at our humanness and learn.  I hope we can help each other do that, too.  Because in spite of (or because of) our different experiences, we really need each other.  We really do.


In dedication to all who lost their lives and loved ones.