With Gratitude: Book Tour Best Moments (that can’t possibly do the whole thing justice)

I’m typing this post with a heart full to the brim of gratitude. The sun is rising, and I’m reflecting on my last official book tour stop in Los Angeles on Tuesday night — a room full of bright, warm people and blog friends (new and old) that my Dad and grandma described as “smart as a whip.”

YES. That’s what every stop has been like.

In Los Angeles at Urth Cafe -- planning my final book tour speech

In Los Angeles at Urth Cafe -- planning my final book tour speech

I remarked the other day that I feel rich with friends. Above all else, that’s what this book tour has taught me. I am rich with brilliant friends, readers and community — in every city, including the ones I haven’t had a chance to visit (yet!).

People often ask Chris Guillebeau if his self-funded 50-city book tour was worth it and he always says yes. Mine — albeit a little smaller scale (coming in at 10 cities) — was absolutely worth it too.

I’ve never felt more inspired or more ALIVE. I sometimes resist doing recap posts because I hate the thought of leaving someone important out of a link round-up and I don’t want anyone to feel left out. So this post may not contain a lot of names….but you know exactly who you are.

You know if you purchased a book, came out to my book launch party, a bookstore event, an after party, a conference; sent a tweet, a text, an email, a Facebook note, a picture, or commented on a blog post these last three months. If you did any one of those things — or even just quietly followed along through this blog — I am grateful. You have given me wings.

Below are some book tour highlights from every city. If I left your name out, just know that it isn’t because I don’t love you!

1. Austin Texas — SXSW: a giant dinner hosted by Nick Reese with 20+ awesome people, the first official book launch party, hosted by Betty Jean Bell with my first ever cupcake sponsor. Late night Philly Cheesesteaks with Andy Drish talking about business and big plans.

2. Las Vegas, Round 1: Cancelling my flight home (despite a mile-high to-do list just two weeks before my book launch) to hop into a car for a spontaneous 19-hour drive to Vegas with Sean Ogle, Ryan Martin and Jenna Forstrom — all friends I had met just days prior.

3. Bay Area, CA: Doing my first two book store readings; looking out to an audience of friends and family, feeling like a REAL author while signing books, realizing that the whole writing journey was absolutely worth it. Receiving quite possibly the nerdiest-but-most-awesome gift ever from my high school friends — a framed picture of my book’s ISBN number.

Patrick with Life After College

Spotted! LAC with my college roommate's brother, Patrick Connor.

4. The Internet at Large: Having you all tweet, email, comment and share your love as you helped me launch the book (check out the post-game analysis of how it all went). Getting tweets with picture of the book on bookshelves across America at Barnes & Noble (and on the beach in Hawaii!).

5. TEDxCMU: delivering the opening speech to a live audience of 500 people; almost panicking when my slides went out, then feeling proud of the recovery while watching the video back; hanging out with Charlie and Amber and supporting each other as we helped show the audience what is possible for their lives and careers; having giant margaritas with the whole TEDx student organizer-crew after the event.

6. Making an appearance on my first Morning Show (Video ~2 Minutes)

Heading over to the BetterTV studios in NYC on the morning of my book launch party to film a two-minute video segment. Being swept into the green room where every other guest waited with their personal assistant and/or handler; watching the girls from Jerseyliscious do their thing. Feeling as nervous about those two minutes as any major speech (with only one take to get it right), but being really happy with how it all turned out and keeping fingers and toes crossed that it helps The Today Show find my phone number!

7. An Epic NYC Book Launch Party (with 2-minute Video)

Having over 200 people attend the book launch party in New York City. Receiving a larger-than-life cake from my NYC Angel Ann Turi; dancing and connecting with friends throughout the night; signing 200 books for the gift bags with Allie Mahler’s help; doing my version of a Sex and the City Photo Shoot with photographer Galo Delgado. {Full Flickr set here} Click on photos below to enlarge.

Life After College Book Tour - Snapshots 2 (Jenny Blake)

Here’s an awesome two-minute video-recap from videographer Bryan Ridgell (big thanks to NY Creative Interns, Victoria Monsul at Wix Lounge, and Ruth Ann Harnisch!!):

8. Converging on Las Vegas for a second time to attend Bloggers in Sin City (hosted by the amazing Nicole Antoinette): Meeting Grace Boyle in person for the first time (after knowing her for almost three years online), catching up with old friends, making new ones, having “business breakfasts” with Molly and the brilliant Bob Calise, and Jenn and I dancing our hearts out at Pure on the last night with a new friend that we picked up on the walk there (who clearly made the best decision EVER to ditch his friends hang out with 60 crazy bloggers instead). 

9. My last bookstore event in Seattle, WA: Being greeted at the airport by the fabulous Molly Hoyne, having Derek Shanahan come down from Vancouver to hang out and shoot-the-shit before my book talk, meeting an awesome crew of readers and friends (including Seattle host Mike Krass), giving a talk at the bookstore where my dad grew up (check out this great recap from Devon), heading around the corner for drinks with the awesome people who showed up and sharing our scariest can-barely-say-them-out-loud “secret” dreams and big goals with each other.

10. An amazing weekend in Portland for the World Domination Summit: with far too many great memories and new friends to count. Exploding with inspiration and possibility as I thought about all the ways I can grow Life After College. Morning techno dance sessions in the hotel room with my roommate Andy, catching up over a glass of wine with Doniree, meeting Dave for the first time in person by running into him in the elevator (telling him “my heart’s going to explode!” in the coffee shop the day after the conference ended), meeting the bow-tie master himself Mike Ambassador Bruny, Sunday night shenanigans at Dante’s Sinferno (h/t Sean Ogle!), countless strategy and tip-sharing talks over lunch, learning from people I’ve long-admired like Jonathan Mead, Charlie Gilkey and Corbett Barr, making many new friends (major girl crush alert!) and deeply feeling what it’s like to be surrounded by 500 people who would call you crazy for NOT following your biggest dreams.

Life After College Book Tour Snapshots - 4



The coolest latte design I've ever seen - at Urth Cafe in LA.

The coolest latte design I've ever seen - at Urth Cafe in LA. Tweet tweet!

11. Los Angeles, CA: The final stop with the most energetic group of book tour attendees yet! Organized by Scott Asai and generously hosted by his friend Melissa in the “Hall of Fame” room at the New York Life offices. Writing a new speech an hour beforehand on fear, change, and big leaps; having my grandma attend one of my speeches for the first time (since high school graduation); meeting two incredible women (and several others) who traveled two hours to be there; and seeing what an inspiring group of people make up the LAC community; going out to dinner with my family afterward to celebrate and trying not to look ridiculous staring as we spotted the judges from American Idol at a table nearby (Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest and Steven Tyler).

12. Plane ride to NYC: Jumping back on a plane for a whirlwind trip to NYC to present at a conference; reflecting on the last 3 months of memories, blissful moments, worn out nights, living out of my suitcase, and knowing that every single minute and every dollar spent was absolutely, unquestionably WORTH IT.

As I was writing this post, the Black Eyed Peas’ The Time (of my life) song came on. This book tour has absolutely been the time of my life, and I have every one of you to thank for it. I am rich with friends, I am rich with community, and I bow to you in gratitude.

Thank you for giving me wings. There are some big updates ahead — inspired by you — and I can’t wait until it’s time to share. In the meantime, Namaste (I bow to the divine in you) — and cupcake CHEERS! To great things ahead for all of us :)


  • http://twitter.com/lelandstrott Leland Strott

    This is so great Jenny! I’m so happy for you with all of these great moments of your book tour. You absolutely deserve it!

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thank you so much Leland! So great to hear from you — missed you at #BiSC — it just wasn’t the same!

  • http://jennbollenbacher.com/blog Jenn

    This whole post just makes me giddy and I love it so much and you are seriously amazing. THANK YOU for sharing this journey with us and for dancing the night away with me :)

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Awww, thank you love!! I am SO ridiculously thrilled that our paths crossed and we got to really get to know each other — looking forward to keeping in touch for a long, long time :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=525557867 Nathan Agin

    congrats Jenny – you deserve it! and so wonderful to see your big smile in each photo – always great to see someone who LOVES what they do! :-)

    really thrilled we met, and i’m excited to continue learning from ya!

    ps – thanks for the mention – really appreciate your contribution to the momentum post!

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thank you Nathan!! I am so thrilled that we met too — have been LOVING your blog, and look forward to keeping in touch!

  • Barron

    Doin’ it big J! I’m glad to have met you in person (finally). Gotta have a meetup in SF sometime soon.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Woo! Barron — so great to hear from you :D I’m so glad we got to meet up in person too — and yes!! An SF meetup would be fantastic. Best of luck with all of your exciting ventures too — hopefully we can catch-up soon!

  • http://www.oceantara.com/ Akerr

    I just graduated myself and its great to see someone that has been successful in using online and social media marketing to write a book and promote it.  Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Hi Akerr — welcome! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment — looking forward to having you ’round these parts :D

  • http://growingforward.net Scott Asai

    Glad you enjoyed your book tour and hope it’s just the launching point of your career. What will “Life After California” hold?

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thank you Scott! You played such a huge role in making the last stop a grand-slam success — thank you!! And yes, I should totally buy the domain “Life After California” :D

      Have a great week! Thanks again for everything — you’re amazing :)

  • http://www.dshan.me/blog Derek

    You’re a shining light in my life, and I’m extremely thankful to have spent some time with you again. Can’t wait to see you again, and to witness what’s next, because it’ll be bigger, better, and tastier.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thank you so much, D — that means the world to me. You are most DEFINITELY a shining light in my life as well — a brilliant man who I am very lucky to know and call a friend. I can’t believe we only just met last March — somehow I feel like I’ve known you my whole life…

      Can’t wait to hang out again very soon either! xoxo

  • http://www.proofbranding.com Matt Cheuvront

    I literally think we have missed each other by a day twice. I left NYC a couple days before you arrived. I left Seattle (I think) the day before you got there. One of these days…one of these days.

    It’s great to see all the success that has come your way and I couldn’t be happier for you. Congrats on everything.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Damn!!! What’s the deal?! One of these days for sure…

      Thank you so much for your note — I’m so thrilled to be on this path with people like you — awesome to see how you’ve applied your talents and created a successful business — congrats to you too, and I can’t wait to hear more about your book!! Huge congrats on getting the wheels turning :D

  • http://www.insertcleverlinkhere.com Kelly L.

    It has been so exciting to watch this all unfold for you! I’m so excited FOR you and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book (I started it… but then Chapter 1 mentally kicked my ass and I wasn’t prepared for it and had to set it aside while my brain calmed back down).

    Also, this is really cheesy and lame and I don’t even know why I’m admitting this, but I totally brought my copy to Vegas to have you sign it… and then I totally chickened out because I was way too intimidated by you. Seriously, I don’t even think I said more than five words to you. BECAUSE I AM A FREAK. Sigh.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Kelly!!! Thank you so much for your note — love that you’re taking your time with Chapter 1…it’s a biggie for sure! If that was all you read, it would probably give you plenty to think about/work on…(well, that and the Personal Growth chapter). 

      As for Vegas, you are too funny! I’m glad you shared that…I would have LOVED to sign your book! Sorry if I was intimidating….you are not a freak! There’s always next year :D And if you want me to send you a signed book, just shoot me an email with your address :)


  • http://www.twitter.com/nataliebid Natalie

    Congrats! It’s a fabulous book and you deserve all the best!

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thank you so much Natalie!! I hope all is well with you — have a fantastic week :D

  • http://yourkickasslife.com Andrea Owen

    Jenny, I read this whole post smiling ear to ear.(My face hurts now). I’m so proud of you!!! xoxo

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Awww, thank you so much Andrea!!! So excited for all your projects too — can’t wait to share the gremlin post with my peeps :D Love you! 

  • http://twitter.com/awishcomeclear Caroline McGraw

    It’s an amazing thing to see a woman lighting up her life. Way to go, Jenny! Life After College has been a continual source of inspiration and FUN for me in the last few weeks, and I want to say a very big THANK YOU for all the hard work + courage that went into making it happen. Keep shining!

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Caroline — thank you so much for the incredibly kind words! It’s comments like yours, and readers like you, that inspire me to do what I do. THANK YOU for being here and making it all possible! And for taking the time to comment :D Please do keep in touch, and keep shining in your world too! 

  • http://www.prettyyoungprofessional.com Hannah

    Sounds like a wonderful few months! I love the picture with the balloons in the light–so pretty!
    I think it takes a lot of courage to embark on a journey like this, but taking risks like these only lead to a greater richness in understanding yourself and your career path (in my opinion).

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Hannah — thank you so much!! Your comment is such a wise one — it really is the risky choices in life that have the greatest potential to lead to big rewards. And the riches in self-growth, as you said. Thank you for stopping by — have a fantastic rest of your week!

  • Adriana Casas

    Awesome! Thanks for another jolt of inspiration! :)

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Adriana — my pleasure!! I hope all is well with you :D

  • http://profiles.google.com/xobelladonna Bridget Burnham

    I really love the balloon/street picture. The composition is gorgeous!


    I’m so glad I got to see you on Tuesday. Your family is so lovely (your grandma is such a sweetheart!) and everyone who came had such wonderful energy. I felt lucky to have been in such great company. :)
    For me (and my friend), the two hour trip was totally worth it. Your speech was beautiful and inspiring and perfectly captured your effervescent spirit. What you said about fear, failure, and taking risks really resonated with me and hearing that, especially from someone I admire, came at the right time. I was going through a period of doubt, and after hearing your speech, I felt a sense of freedom. So from the bottom of my heart: thank you!

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thank you so much for the great comment, Bridget! It was SO wonderful to meet you and Elizabeth — my family loved meeting you too!! Please do keep me posted on everything :D I am *thrilled* to hear that you had a sense of freedom after leaving the event — run with that, girl! You are definitely going places :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/xobelladonna Bridget Burnham

    I really love the balloon/street picture. The composition is gorgeous!


    I’m so glad I got to see you on Tuesday. Your family is so lovely (your grandma is such a sweetheart!) and everyone who came had such wonderful energy. I felt lucky to have been in such great company. :)
    For me (and my friend), the two hour trip was totally worth it. Your speech was beautiful and inspiring and perfectly captured your effervescent spirit. What you said about fear, failure, and taking risks really resonated with me and hearing that, especially from someone I admire, came at the right time. I was going through a period of doubt, and after hearing your speech, I felt a sense of freedom. So from the bottom of my heart: thank you!

  • Jamie Varon

    This is so brilliant and inspiring! I am really bummed I didn’t get to go to at least one of your launch parties. You look amazing and so happy and stunning in all your photos. Couldn’t be more excited and proud for you!

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      AT!!! Thank you so much for the note — my whole face lights up when I see a comment come in from you. You were at the launch parties in spirit! We’ll have to do our own private launch party….which sounds kind of dirty, actually…but you know we’ll have fun :) Couldn’t be more excited and proud for you too :D xoxo!! <333333!

  • Sudangautam

    Hey jenny!
    I got your book from a friend in US. I was so excited to read Life after college and Personal MBA. I read both of them. Sorry to say but i didn’t find your book as effective as i thought it would be. yeah ! it would be a good one for those who haven’t had any personal assessment. I have already taken such assessment on blogs like personal excellence by cele. It was too good. Perhaps i need to lend this book to my younger brother which might help him a lot to have a better picture ahead. But i find your blog really good. I hope you will take my feedback positively. FYI: I had watched Josh’s google video. It was nice to see you. PMBA is highly recommended to all the business loving people.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Hey Sudangautam! Thanks so much for your feedback — sorry to hear that the book wasn’t as helpful as you were anticipating…I appreciate you letting me know! Glad to hear that Josh’s book has provided a ton of value for you — it’s like 5 books in one! Looking forward to continuing to keep in touch — hopefully you can pass the book along to another friend who might benefit :)

  • Stefanie

    Okay–this is just fabulous!!  I can totally see your name in lights in NYC.  How exciting!

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thanks Stefanie!! Have a great weekend :D

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