Friday, February 29, 2008

"We'll Get it Done" Sure Got It Done!

As noted a few blogs ago, our latest book signing in St. Cloud, MN was such a great success as you can see from the happy book-buyers (and authors!) in the above snapshots. The party was a dream, made possible by Laurie Strack and Debbie Spaniol, founders of "We'll Get it Done" (see link to right). If you're planning a party, call them! They've based their smart business on their years of event-planning experience and decades of impeccable style. At our signing, it was all done right, to say the least. The food was tasty. Wine flowing. Flowers stunning. Service flawless. Thanks, Laurie and Debbie! And to all who came to raise a glass with and to us. Amazing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Play. Play. Play.

Okay, so even if you don't have kids, you should read the article and listen to the NPR report linked below on good old-fashioned play. The kind you hopefully remember enjoying when you were a kid: In the backyard, with your neighbors, making your own rules, creating games the limits of which were as vast as your imaginations and townships.

Seems that, over time, our culture and our charge-like-a-bull mentality to give our kids everything -- lessons, camps, toys, and ... more toys -- is really doing more harm than good. Although most of us sort of know it's true, the article below beautifully confirms it.

You will, no doubt, also see the connection between what these researchers are finding and the advice we promote to couples: Play often. Create fun. Scientifically speaking, good old fashion creative play is good for all of us. And our relationships too.

Read on:

“Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills”

Alix Spiegel, NPR,

Friday, February 22, 2008

Be Good

Last night, in the hip loft of the Mississippi Bean in St. Cloud Minnesota, Anna's friends/parents/family and yet more dear friends threw us the most lovely book signing party/event/benefit one could ever dream of. The generous women of "We'll Get It Done" - a local business what will 'get done' whatever you need to get done (and with unspeakable style and panache) - donated their time, energy, and creativity to pull off this memorable event. With a significant amount of the proceeds going to Anna Marie's Women's Shelter in St. Cloud, we all left with big smiles, bigger hearts, satiated appetites and feeling warmed to the soul by the generous love of Anna's parents, family, friends, and neighbors. [ ... pictures coming soon]

We, thankfully, also left with a number of empty boxes (having sold over 100 books in just a few short hours)! To the women and children at Anna Marie's Shelter, we hope the inspiring messages in What Happy Couples Do will make all relationships safer, happier, and more joyful places to be (making the need for a place like Anna Marie's non existent some day!)

Be well. And be good to others.

Look What We Found ...

... while purchasing a pack of gum at a Hudson Bookstore at JFK international airport last week!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A New Ritual...

I (Anna) went to the Pillar Inn in charming Cold Spring, MN, for a mother-daughter Christmas tea with some of my best friends and their moms. I have been hoping to bring my husband there for an escape ever since! It's that time of year when we start getting tired of winter...and crabby (or is it just me?). If you can't go away for the weekend, try getting some friends together for a high tea. It's our new mother-daughter Christmas ritual! We're thinking we might increase our "tea time" to twice a year because we enjoyed it so much. Seriously. You won't regret it. And as a bonus, it's only an hour away from the Twin Cities.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Not Bad!"

... those were the words of our editor (our translation: Ya hoooooo!) after reporting the weekly status of What Happy Couples Do nationally, and in comparison to other books in our market/press:

#1 weekly bestseller for Fairview Press (among 74 titles in print)
#34 weekly bestseller for our distributor (among the 7,200 titles they
#7495 among all books nationwide (among 1.4 million titles in print)

Not bad, eh?

The "Pub"

I (Anna) am writing this blog only because my loving little colleague (Carol) set me up for this in her post a few days ago!

When most people think of a "pub" they think of laughter, friendship, and tippin' a few back, right? To us nerds, however, a "pub" translates to "publication" in a refereed academic journal, one of the highest prizes in academia. Although I've published beautiful and smart books (with my beautiful and oh-so-smart co-author Carol), publishing in academic journals can be more like self-torture. At times, I've wanted to poke my eyeballs out. Luckily, with eyeballs in tact, the recent news that I and some colleagues will have an article in the upcoming Journal of Intercultural Communication makes the torturous late nights worth it ... even though only a few fellow nerds will probably read it. The title of said publication, coming out later in 2008, is Navigating Dialectic Contradictions Experienced by Female African Refugees during Cross-Cultural Adaptation.

Time for a break at a real pub.

You are the "$_it"?

Did you know that when you say that to someone, it's actually a good thing? Well, news to me (Carol). I was just reading my course evaluations from teaching public speaking during our January term to a group of the most amazing first-years with whom I've ever had the pleasure of learning/teaching. And, on the bottom of one of the evals after a number of very generous compliments above, was written the phrase: "Dr. Bruess is the $hit." At first I was offended. Because to my eyes, that's not a great thing to be. It means poop. bad. disgusting. darn it. not good. stinks. gross. offensive.

But (sigh of relief) I quickly found out by asking our nanny (and Anna, of course, who is young and hip and "in" the slang) that when you are "the ____", you are the "bomb-diggity" (yes, I found out about a year ago that being the bomb-diggity is a good thing too).


I feel much better.

Anna is published ... again!

Big news for us academic geeks! Anna and her colleagues at North Dakota State just had an article accepted for refereed publication in one of the best journals in our field. Since I (Carol) don't have all the juicy details, I'll wait for Anna to share them with you here. She's so modest about sharing her own good news, but now she'll at least have to tell us a little ... otherwise this blog entry will seem a bit incomplete, don't you think?

So ... Anna ... do tell.

Monday, February 18, 2008 ...

... wants you to review What Happy Couples Do! Just log into and go to our book; it's a no-brainer from there.

Even if it's just one sentence (hypothetically, of course) like: "You should buy copies of this book for everyone you know, love, and even loath ... because it will change them and their relationships forever more!" or "I, simply stated, absolutely love this little book" or "I have never read such a smart, practical, and adorable book packed with wisdom not only for married people, but people in all types of long-term relationships!"

Write whatever comes from your soul, but please take a moment and write something! Thanks a "negative-infinity-plus-1" (in the words of my second grader as she's trying to out do her 6th grade brother. I guess that's the biggest "number" out there)? Please don't correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks, everyone, for your support.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

More More & More Media ...

Here's the latest on where (we hope) millions of listeners/viewers/readers have been learning about WHCD:

National Magazines
Cosmopolitan, February 2008

National Radio
"Jeanne Chatzky Show", Oprah and Friends, XM Satellite Radio, 02/14/2008
"Jack Roberts Show", Cable Radio Networks*
"Insider Magazine", KPRO-AM, syndicated*

Regional Cable
"Art Fennel Show", cable show syndicated to New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Hartford, Providence, Harrisburg, & Springfield markets. 02/11/2008.

Local Television
WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, 01/24/2008, 10 p.m. "Good Question" segment
KARE11-TV, Minneapolis, 02/13/2008, "Showcase Minnesota" show
KARE11-TV, Minneapolis, 02/14/2008, KARE 11 OnLive
KRQE-TV, Albuquerque, 02/11/2008 "News 12 This Morning"
WCCB-TV, Charlotte, 02/11/2008, "News Rising"
KVEW-TV, Yakima, WA, 02/11/2008 "Good Morning Northwest"
WNEM-TV, Saginaw/Flint, "TV 5 Wake-Up"*
KWTX-TV, Waco, TX, "News 10 This Morning"*
KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh, PA, 02/11/2008 "Pittsburgh Today Live"
WJXT-TV, Jacksonville, 02/11/2008 "Eyewitness News AM"
KMPH-TV, Fresno, 02/11/2008 "Great Day"
KHGI-TV, Kearney, Nebraska, 02/11/2008 "Good Morning Nebraska"*
WGHP-TV, Greensboro, 02/11/2008 "Fox 8 Morning News"*
KMAX-TV, Sacramento, 02/11/2008 "Good Day Sacramento"
KIMT-TV, Mason City, IA, 02/11/2008 "News Daybreak"
WEAU-TV, Eau Claire, WI, 02/11/2008 "Newscenter 13 Sunrise"
KTVE-TV, W. Monroe, LA, 02/11/2008 "Region 10 Today"*
WCJB-TV, Gainesville, FL, 02/11/2008 "Morning Edition"
WACH-TV, Columbia, SC, 02/11/2008 "Good Day"*
WPTY-TV, Memphis, TN, 02/11/2008 "Eyewitness News Midday"*
WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA 02/11/2008 "Virginia This Morning"*
KMIR-TV, Palm Springs, CA 02/11/2008 "KMIR 6 News Today"

Local Newspapers
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/03/2008
Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/15/2008
New Jersey Herald News, 1/18/2008
Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, 1/14/2008
Wichita Eagle, 1/18/2008
Wisconsin State Journal, 1/20/2008
St. Paul Pioneer Press, 02/13/2008
Janesville Gazette (WI), on or around Valentine's Day.
The Buffalo News (NY), 02/01/2008
The Buffalo News (NY), 02/14/2008
Jacksonville Times Union, 02/11/2008
Springfield Journal Register (OH), 2/10/2008
Newark Star-Ledger (NJ), 01/30/2008
Villager, (St. Paul, MN), 02/05/2008
Chicago Tribune, 02/10/2008
Tampa Tribune, 02/10/2008
Cherry Hill Courier Post (NJ), 02/11/2008
Deseret Morning News, 02/11/2008
Lincoln Journal-Star (NE), 02/09/2008
Dayton Daily News (OH), 02/12/2008
Northwest Indiana & Illinois Times, 02/11/2008
The State (Columbia, SC), 01/19/2008
Lakeland Ledger (FL), 02/13/2008
Canton Repository (OH), 02/14/2008

Local Radio
Minneapolis, MN, WCCO-AM, "Fairview OnCall", 02/03/2008
Minneapolis, MN, WCCO-AM, ”Mondale and Jones”, 02/07/2008
Minneapolis, MN, WFMP-FM, "The Lori and Julia Show", 02/14/2008
Baltimore, MD, WLIF-FM, “The Lite FM Morning Show Baltimore”*
Tulsa, OK, KBEZ-FM, Show: “Steve Smith and Carly Rush”*
Grand Rapids, MI, WOOD-AM,“West Michigan’s Morning News”, 02/07/2008
Gainesville/Ocala, FL, WOCA-AM, “AM Ocala Live with Larry Whitler”, 02/07/2008
Colorado Springs, CO, KCMN-FM, “Tron Simpson Show”, 02/07/2008
Roanoke, VA, WAMV-AM, “Bob Langstaff”, 02/07/2008
Norfolk, VAWAFX-FM, “WAFX Morning Show”*
St. Louis, MO, KLOU-FM, "Smash Morning Show”, 02/07/2008
Providence, RI, WFHN-FM, "JR and Sharon in the Morning”, 02/07/2008
Nashville, TN, WLAC-AM, “Dan Eidem Show”, ”, 02/07/2008
Sarasota, FL, WSRQ-AM, “Health Beat of America”, 02/07/2008
Salisbury, MD, WICO-AM, “Bill Reddish Show”*
Chicago, IL, WSBC-AM, “The Morning Break”, 02/07/2008
Milwaukee, WI, WBEV-AM, “Idea Exchange”, 02/07/2008
New Orleans, LA, KMEZ-FM, “Hometeam Morning Show”, 02/07/2008
Parkersburg, WV, WLTP-AM, “Doug Hess Show”*
Columbia, MO, KWIX-AM, “Stephanie Ross Show”*
Burlington, IA, KBUR-AM, “Steve Hexem Show”, 02/07/2008
Cincinnati, OH, WLW-AM, "Jim Scott Show"*
Santa Fe, NM, KSFR-FM, Santa Fe Public Radio, “The Journey Home”*
Fresno, CA, KTIP-AM, “Hopper”, 02/09/2008
New York, NY, WAWZ-FM, "Johnny Stone in the Morning”, 02/14/2008
Johnstown, PA: WKYE-FM, WFGI-FM, WRKW-FM, WJHT-FM, WNTJ-AM, WNTW-AM, "The Helen Mall Show", 2/07/08

* Taped shows, check local listings for air dates.

Everything looks better pressed ...

don't you think?

Yes, I (Carol) love to iron. Especially in the morning. Nothing better than the sound of steam on cotton. smooth. crisp. sharp. ready to go.

Okay, probably TMI and WRC (who really cares), but my iron and I are buds.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What Happy Authors Do?

... They take their editor (Steve Deger) and his wife (Leslie) out for martinis at a favorite St. Paul cozy-hot spot. Why? Because we adore and appreciate them for all they've done for us (as people), done for us as authors and done for us and our big dream! And, of course, for all that lies ahead with Fairview Press and us. Just you wait and see.

Steve, keep doing what you do; clearly your introversion is working for you (!)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Holli and Robert

Hey there (it's me, Carol, writing again). There was so much to say in yesterday's blog post-NYC-visit that we had to take a break and start again tonight! Here it goes ....

The topic on this snowy Thursday (yes, it's valentine's day!) from my "office" (an armoire stuffed into the corner of the family dining room) in my little English tudor in St. Paul, Minnesota (more unnecessary details: Kids asleep. Husband falling asleep watching Law & Order. Electric blanket on high just waiting for my uncomfortably cold fingers and toes). Oh, back to the topic: Holli and Robert. Two really cool people we met in NYC, who also happen to be the founders of the Wedding Podcast Network (linked to the right). Holli (LOVE her!!) contacted us about a month ago about being guests on their "Lovecast." A review of their creative and exciting work got us all the more jazzed to visit the big city. (An aside: you must take a minute -- after reading this very engaging blog -- to visit If you are at all a fan of love, weddings, marriage ... and all things white and romantic ... you will find something there to wow you). Yes, wow. So cool. Hip. Young. Contemporary. (Yes, these are words we've used in our blogs many times. Maybe I'm hoping to be all of those. Probably not going to happen. But hey, I'm almost 40. How cool and hip does a 40 year old need to be?).

Back to Holli. She was terribly excited to hear we were going to be in NYC and, after an enjoyable volley of e-mails, we all arranged to meet for a face-to-face (life is so much better in person, eh?) to record the podcast. Here was the scene: Anna, me, and Holli sitting around our little hotel room table. Faces near these big fancy black fuzzy mics. Holli asking the BEST questions we've been tossed (seriously. and we've been doing this a lot lately). Robert is working the control board with all these cool looking knobs and buttons. Anna and I are sitting on the edge of our unmade bed, hoping the front desk doesn't call too soon to say "you're over-staying your welcome!" Our eyes are bloodshot from being up since about 3:30 a.m. CST. (or was it from the 1980s makeup we had just rubbed into our pores? more on that later...)

Holli and Robert ... a couple married 16 years who have found their dream in not only each other, but in the work of sharing all of the greatest resources about love and marriage. What an honor to be one of said resources! And you really have to meet Holli. She's IS energy. Defines enthusiasm. Exudes electricity! Zow.

When Holli and Robert left the hotel, Anna and I turned to one another and said, almost like an old married couple ourselves, speaking the same words simultaneously: "That was so great!" And it really was. Our podcast should be up soon. Either way, surely there is something you'll find fascinating about their site. Check it out!

Tomorrow's blog: Murray Hill Studio guys (& Monica!)
Next day's topic: 1980s, bacteria-growing, Covergirl makeup. On our faces. For our TV debut. 5:30 a.m.. Not pretty. I repeat: NOT at all pretty.

Check back soon for the full scoop(s).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We 'HEART' New York!

Whew. It's wednesday and we (Anna and I) returned from New York City Monday night. Did you miss us? Some of you must have (thank goodness) because you've been asking us why we haven't blogged. That's rather satisfying.

So, why the delay in reporting all about our media madness journey?! Because ... whew ... we're exhausted and exhilarated. Both at once. Yawn/Smile/Sigh/Giggle. That's us. A mixture of grand emotions.

After 17 satellite TV interviews -- broadcast from and to everywhere from Mason City, Iowa to some unknown city (to us) in New Mexico -- followed by a really cool and lengthy podcast interview (check out the Wedding Podcast Network, linked to the right on this page. So VERY cool), we needed a big old Minnesota nap! Which we both got and now we're here to tell you all about what's going on, and what's BEEN going on. First, let's chat about NYC:

Traveling always points out why we live in MN:
1. No trash bags on the sidewalks. (ever notice how big black bags of garbage ruin the romance of a lovely little stroll?)
2. People actually drive their own cars and can find places to park within a reasonable walking distance (free of charge!)
3. When it's cold, there is actually snow too.
4. Yards. People have yards. Even in the city. Yards. Everyone deserves one.

But there is so much to adore about NYC:
1. With a wave, some one stops to pick you up and take you wherever you want. In MN, people just wave back.
2. Caramel corn. Hot, gooey caramel corn. At least people told us where to get it. But we would have had to wave down a ride, and we were too tired to lift our arms. So we left hungry for some sticky-ooey-buttery carmel corn. Next time. When we're back for an interview with Matt Lauer.
3. Deli's with the biggest sandwiches you've ever seen. Truly. How can one person -- in a single sitting -- eat a full lb of turkey.
4. Friendly people. Really. Everyone was so incredibly nice. Not as nice as Minnesotans ... but incredibly kind and helpful. We love kind people. Who doesn't?
5. Seeing Anna's brother (Mike) and his wife (Jill). The loveliest couple.
6, 7, 8, x 10 ... we could go on and on.

Overall, it's a wrap. We loved NYC.

And, we're back ... and on the media war path once again (two interviews today, two tomorrow ... and a few sprinkled in between). Since this is getting long, we'll dedicate our next blog to a full scoop on recent tv/radio/newspaper interviews ... the people, the makeup, the lights, bad breath, and green rooms painted blue. Yes, blue. And not bluish-green. A true blue.

But who are we to complain?! Life is GOOD.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My Husband is Mad at Me ...

... because I (Carol) totally outed him in the front page story of our "local" newspaper, The Highland Villager (60,000 readers). Yesterday's edition positioned What Happy Couples Do as top-of-the-fold news (very cool)! But, not-so-cool to my husband is the cold hard fact that the reporter reveals, in the very first paragraph no less, that I am the regular winner of one of our loving little ritual games. In fact, I almost always win. It's SO true. Yet my loving and beautiful husband likes to think - and I think he really believes - that in our Happy Anniversary Contest, a monthly competition to see who can say "Happy Anniversary" on the 13th of each moth, the day of our wedding 16+ years ago, he is ahead. Here's the truth: My score - if we were keeping tally, which we've agreed not to - is so high and grand it's not even funny (insert loving little laugh). But don't tell anyone; 60,000 people is quite enough.

Honey, are you reading my blog? I love "mu"!

What healthy and loving little games do you and your partner or spouse share that keep your marriage fit? Do tell, so we can tell millions of others.