The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Nora Ephron

Novelist. Playwright. Journalist. Director. Screenwriter. Producer. It might be easier to list all the things that Nora Ephron had not done as the list above is nowhere near complete. Nora had a way of writing about people and relationships that was deep and humorous, touching and laugh-inducing.

A New York Times book reviewer once wrote, “She’s like Benjamin Franklin or Shakespeare: her words are now part of the fabric of the English language.” So when I was looking for my first Quotable Nerdy Chick, I was immediately drawn to Nora.

Quotes from Nora Ephron:

  • Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.
  • My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be comic stories the next.
  • Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.
  • I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.
  • Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.

Learn more about Nora HERE, or read some of her work HERE.

What happens in high school, stays in high school…thank goodness!

I’m very happy to be joining the team here at Nerdy Chicks Rule, especially because, to me, being nerdy has been a way of life. I’ve always been nerdy. It’s my gift, it’s my curse. (For those of you too young to remember, that’s a reference to a late 90s TV show called Millenium.)

When I was in high school, I was the nerdiest kid in my school, probably the nerdiest kid in the state, possibly the nerdiest kid on the Eastern Seaboard. And I would’ve given ANYTHING – my right hand, my firstborn child – to be anything but nerdy. Yeah, I never had to study for anything and I still graduated at the top of my class – but I got made fun of constantly. Yeah, I got into every college I wanted and was swimming in scholarship money – but I got excluded from all the cool parties. And at the time, it was the ridicule and parties that seemed more important to me. But as I grew older, I realized that what happens in high school, stays in high school – all those things that I felt I’d traded off because of my innate nerdiness… eventually came to me anyway, and no one cares that I didn’t have them in high school. Now, I’m not only invited to the party, I’m often the guest of honor. Now, not only do I not get made fun of, I sometimes set the trend! And believe it or not, that didn’t happen because I got less nerdy – it happened because of my nerdiness. Because I use my brain, my life is better. And now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

All my best,


Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen joins Nerdy Chicks Rule

If you’ve been around Nerdy Chicks Rule from the beginning, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen needs no introduction. She was the first Nerdy Chick I interviewed.

But Sudipta was also involved with the blog long before that interview took place. I was actually on the phone with her when I came up with the idea for Nerdy Chicks Rule, ran to my computer, and claimed the domain name.  (We talk on the phone a lot.) And while I was brainstorming how to develop the blog, she suggested the popular Quotable Nerdy Chick feature.

So when I decided I wanted to bring more content to the blog, but I couldn’t afford to put more hours into it, Sudipta was the first person I contacted to see if she wanted to come on board, since she kinda already was anyway. I’m happy to say that she did!

Sudipta has authored over thirty books for children. Plus, she has a background in science, adding a wealth of knowledge to this blogger base! She is an amazingly smart, funny, and resourceful person. I feel lucky to have her input here.

We’ve had a couple of brainstorming sessions over the past few weeks and I think you’re going to like some of the future additions we have planned. For now, you can count on the same schedule with interviews every other Monday and Quoteable Nerdy Chicks featured on Fridays.  Soon, there will be more!

To find out more about Sudipta, visit her website, her Facebook page, see her Nerdy Chick interview, or visit our About page.


Sudipta’s latest book, Pirate Princess, features savvy princess Bea, who doesn’t let tradition keep her from pursuing her dream of becoming a pirate.!




The Quoteable Nerdy Chick: Jeannette Rankin

Almost a century ago, the first woman was elected to the US Congress. It was in 1917 that  pacifist Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973) was chosen to represent the state of Montana in the House of Representatives. When you read what she has to say, you’ll see that women have been saying the a lot of the same things ever since then. To find out more about her chick HERE.

Jeannette Rankin Quotes:

• We’re half the people; we should be half the Congress.

• Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn’t make sense not to use both.

• You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.

• The individual woman is required . . . a thousand times a day to choose either to accept her appointed role and thereby rescue her good disposition out of the wreckage of her self-respect, or else follow an independent line of behavior and rescue her self-respect out of the wreckage of her good disposition.

• As a woman, I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.

• If I had my life to live over, I would do it all again, but this time I would be nastier.

Sadly, and incredibly, Montana has yet to elect another female to congress. And four states have yet to elect a woman to either the House or the Senate. For a list of women legislators by state click HERE.



Christy Agner: Turning up the Volume of Women’s Voices

Christy Agner works for the state of North Carolina in the office of the Secretary as the Liaison for Productivity and Legislative Affairs. I met Christy about two decades ago when we were working at a summer camp. Christy is several years younger than me, but she impressed me then with her eloquence. After that summer, those who knew Christy would occasionally get an email urging us to vote, and later we received Facebook messages with the same content. Yet Christy never told anyone which way to vote. She never pushed a particular agenda on her friends. She just feels passionately, that our voices should be heard. Because women lawmakers are still in the minority, she has a special interest in getting women to the polls. Given some of the things being said about women and women’s issues by politicians today, I am thrilled to welcome Christy to Nerdy Chick Rules. I think you will find her answers heartfelt and timely.

 Hi Christy! I’m going to start with what I think is the most important question in this interview. While you’re not a politician, you work in politics. Why do you think it is important that more women become active in politics? Government is by the people, for the people.  Yet if only men step up to be involved in public office, then its men’s perspectives, men’s experiences, men’s issues which are prioritized in public discourse and decisions.  Issues such as contraception, child care, medical research, and aging are very different from the ‘lens’ of a woman.  If women sit out or are kept out, then our voices are silent and public policy overlooks those aspects of our lives and the lives of our families.

I have witnessed legislative debate for many years and no matter the Party in charge of the proceedings, the few women legislators have had to carry the voices of 54% of this State (women) onto the floor of the House and Senate.  The House of Representatives now has over 20 women (of 170 members) but the Senate has less than 5 (out of 50).  Ladies, we have work to do!  I can tell you the women legislators of all political persuasions work hard, study the issues, listen to their constituents and don’t get into the ‘ethics’ controversies that have marred government in recent years.

I love the way you said that! You told me most of what you do involves facilitating information requests to and from the legislature branch, to your department in the executive branch. It seems like your role as Liaison for Productivity and Legislative Affairs requires excellent communication skills. What is one of the most important things you’ve learned about helping groups of people communicate?  The most important thing you can do to assist citizens in understanding their government is to ‘demystify the process.’  As a public servant, I can offer transparency about the process to seek a permit, bid for a contract, obtain public information, or learn about a grant application.  You shouldn’t have to pay a lobbyist or law firm to help you understand how to access a public service.  A Legislator needs information to help them make decisions quickly.  If I can provide accurate, contextual and timely information then the legislator is poised to make a more informed decision.  If folks know that you are willing to answer any question that you can (and some you won’t know), it helps to foster trust and understanding versus frustration.

With any type of group communication, that element of ‘demystifying’ the process is critical.  If everyone knows the rules, knows each other, knows the goal, etc then trust and openness emerges and some real accomplishments can emerge.

For you, what is the most rewarding aspect of your career? Watching young women come behind me and not having the same barriers I did.  Watching working women balance kids and public service and knowing that is possible because of supportive spouses and workplaces.  Seeing older women retire from rewarding careers and finding it possible to continue serving their community through elected office.  Seeing better public policy emerge because women stepped up to serve their communities.

Can you share a career success where you helped a group achieve their goals by effectively communicating with the NC Legislature? In my private life, I am a founding Board member of a group called Lillian’s List.  A group of community women came together in 1997, concerned about the lack of women’s voices in our State Legislature.  After several discussions, it became clear to us that we wanted to increase the number of pro-choice, progressive women in the Legislature and to do that we needed an organization that could help erase the main deterrent to women running for office – access to early money to fund successful campaigns.  Fast forward 13 years and the group is still going strong and focused not only on raising ‘seed’ money for women’s campaigns but also recruiting, training and supporting women as they run for the State Legislature.   Lillian’s List has effectively added women’s voices to the public process and because of their shear presence of more women in the Legislature, there has been enhanced communication on environmental, reproductive choice, aging and health care issues in North Carolina.

That is awesome that you all took action in such a rational way, and that it has been so productive. What a great model for a way to make sure our voices are heard.

Now I’m going to ask you some of my standard Nerdy Chick questions. I usually start with this one: If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?  Don’t be afraid to be passionate about the things you are good at and for the groups you want to serve.  That passion will help you open doors and create credibility to make change.  Life does not end at graduation from the microcosm of high school; it begins.

Great advice! What’s something you like to do that might be considered a little bit nerdy, but is actually really fun? I love to register voters.  I have family in the military so the right to vote is precious to me.  As someone who originally went to school to be a high school civics teacher, I celebrate democracy and want everyone to participate in it.

And I love to promote voting to women.  Did you know that more older (65 and over) women vote than younger (35 and younger) women?  Did you know that more married women vote than unmarried (widowed, divorced or never married) women?  As a single woman, I make a point to know when I can cast an ‘early’ vote in case I’m busy on election day.  Since I’m on my own financially as a single woman, I want the financial and government systems to work for me and others like me and not just women who have a spouse.  Recent statistics show that nearly ½ of all women are single head of household, but we don’t vote at the same rate as married women.

In North Carolina it is super easy to check your registration, register for the first time, or quickly re-register in case you have moved since the last election (THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT SO YOU ARE NOT TURNED AWAY AT THE POLL).  This site has all the details:

Thanks for sharing those stats, Christy. Are there any social norms that you’re fond of flouting? Being a decent person.  I believe in karma and that God gives you no situation you cannot handle without his strength.  I wish more people would be proud to be – or at least strive to be – decent people who treat others kindly and ethically in business as well as family.  I am also genuinely excited and motivated by my job and never hesitate to tell folks about that.  I’ve had people roll their eyes at me when I communicate that, which I find sad.  I’ve felt a calling to public service my entire life and I’m excited to have had opportunities to work in public and private roles that promote civic activity in our country.

Can you tell us about a well-known nerdy chick you admire and why you admire her? I really admire State Treasurer Janet Cowell.  She is just a few years older than I am but has accomplished so much and been very devoted to public service throughout her career.  Treasurer Cowell invested in her education, in her community and now oversees one of the largest public pension funds in the country as NC State Treasurer, as well as manages the issuance of several billion dollars of public debt each year.  I have really liked her focus of offering financial education to students across the state.  Janet studies her issues and works really hard in an industry that hasn’t traditionally been led by women. 

It’s great to hear about women like Janet Cowell! Do you have a favorite song that speaks to your inner nerdiness? I’m sure this is so cheesy, but there is a favorite camp and spiritual song ‘This little light of mine.’  It’s like a theme song when you are down, when you doubt, when you wonder about a certain decision or pathway.  I just think about the simplicity of having a ‘light’ that can inspire you to step forward and say ‘Hey, Here I am.’

Oh yeah, that’s plenty nerdy! 🙂 J Do you have a favorite hobby? Details please! Yes, I volunteer at the local animal shelter.  I match available animals with families looking to adopt.  I love when I see a cat or dog going home with a new family, especially the older animals who are going to be great pets.  It’s a blast, it’s rewarding and you meet some really great folks from your community.

Awww. now I am wondering how many pets you have! Thanks so much for your answers. I can tell you thought about each one!

To find out more about Christy, visit this link to The North Carolina Department of Administration.

You can find out more about Lillian’s List at

Christy also shared this link for state by state voter registration. If you haven’t registered yet, now is the time!


The Quoteable Nerdy Chick: Carole King

Carole King (born Carol Klein in 1942) is an American singer and songwriter. I was still a kid when her songs started topping the charts. I didn’t really discover her music until I was in college, and when I did, I was thrilled to find her best selling album Tapestry in my Dad’s collection. I listened to it over and over, I wrote down the lyrics, I memorized the words. At times, it seemed like Carole King was speaking to me. If you read the quotes below, you’ll see that this was one of her goals. In fact, it is the goal of many artists, myself included.  Sometimes King wrote songs by herself, sometimes she collaborated. She has been called the most successful female songwriter of all times, because of the over 100 songs she wrote that landed on the Billboard charts. So, here are a few words from one of the greatest songwriters of all times. Enjoy. Then go listen to Tapestry.


Carole King Quotes:

  • I just do what I do and assume it’s going to be well received if I’m good at it.
  • I’m really in a place where I’m not trying to be anything other than what I am.
  • It’s about connections. I want to connect with people; I want to make people think “Yeah, that’s how I feel.” And if I can do that , that’s an accomplishment.
  • Tapestry was the album in which it all came together.
  • Making the demo is a natural product of writing a song; after that, I’m happy to hear other people do it in other ways.

I hope Carole King continues making music for years and years!

* The above photo of Carole King was taken by Michael Borkson while she was being interviewed at the JFK Presidential Library-Boston, Mass. (4/12/2012).

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Female Olympians

In honor of the 2012 Olympic Games, I thought it would be nice to showcase a few inspirational quotes from female Olympians. Women first competed in the Olympics in 1900, and if you watch the games this year, you know that we’ve come a long way. At the last count of US medals, women had won more than men. Although I have to confess that as a non-athlete, I have respect for all of the amazing women who qualified for the Olympics, not just the medal winners.

 Quotes from former Olympians:

“Never put an age limit on your dreams.”
Dara Torres,  swimmer

Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.
Patti Sue Plummer, long-distance runner

When I go out on the ice, I just think about my skating. I forget it is a competition.
Katarina Witt, figure skater

Some people say that I have an attitude – Maybe I do. But I think that you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.
Venus Williams, tennis player

Hard work has made it easy. That is my secret. That is why I win.
Nadia Comaneci, gymnast

Working hard becomes a habit, a serous kind of fun. You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.
Mary Lou Retton, gymnast

The first thing is to love your sport. Never do it to please someone else. It has to be yours.
Peggy Fleming, figure skater

The medals don’t mean anything and the glory doesn’t last. It’s all about your happiness. The rewards are going to come, but my happiness is just loving the sport and having fun performing.
Jackie Joyner Kersee, track and field

Do you have a favorite quote from a female Olympian? Share it with us here!

Flori Pate: An Artist with Flair

I love the style of artist Flori Pate. Back when she was my neighbor in Greenville SC, I loved the artistic flair she used to decorate her house. Her clothes, shoes and jewelry also showed style, and the artwork she created for her graphic design business always amazed me. Flori’s bold designs have a happy flair. The images she creates make you want to smile. This is true of Flori herself too. Being around her makes you want to smile, so living next door to her was awesome! I’m not exaggerating when I say that one of the saddest days of my life was the day I watched Flori, her husband, baby, and two big dogs drive away when they relocated to Oregon. If I had known at the time that a year later I’d be relocating too, maybe it wouldn’t have been so hard! Flori and her family now live in Asheville, NC where she runs her graphic design business. I am really excited that she agreed to shower some of her artistic flair on Nerdy Chick’s Rule. (Flori nerdified her portrait just for us!)

Thanks for joining us Flori! I ask everyone this: If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?   I would say “follow your dreams.”  In the 80s, so much of our culture placed huge emphasis on money. Therefore, I had several adults tell me that you can’t make a career in art and pointed me in different directions. But art WAS my dream! It took me a while to realize those adults were not necessarily correct. I would have been miserable doing anything else.

I had people tell me not to write, too, Flori, so I think that’s great advice. What is your favorite way to flaunt your brain power?  I flaunt my brain power on paper. And usually with lots of color!  As a kid I was always in charge of “signage” for our summer lemonade stands, a job which I took very seriously. Marketing is everything, you know. As an adult I have the ability to bring a business or product to life by creating a brand using elements of design, illustration, and type. I love meeting with new clients who have worked so hard to start or sustain a business but have not been able to establish the look, feel or voice they desire. I listen and ask lots of questions. Then my brain starts imagining all the wonderful ways to create a brand that breaks through the clutter and avoids the sea of sameness all around us.  My biggest reward is when my clients say “I love it! You nailed it! I never would have thought of that!” That’s how I strut my brain power.

Tell us more about what you do. What skills are needed to pursue a career in graphic design?  To survive in this career, you must entertain everyone’s opinions, always accept change and possess endless curiosity. The ability to come up with many creative solutions to a singular challenge is a must. It’s always important to be able  to work within tight budget constraints and not let that stifle your creativity. You must have thick skin. This career is so subjective. I once worked on a project for Sonoma County Bagels and showed the fruit of my labor and all the client could say was, “I hate purple.” You’ve got to be able to bite your tongue and roll with the punches. My Creative Circus teacher once said, “Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone’s got one.”

Your work has a definite style and flair! I love it! Is there something that inspired you to create that look?  When I was in first grade I won the book fair poster contest. I drew Snoopy on his red dog house reading a book and wrote, “SNOOP ON OVER TO THE WEST SIDE BOOK FAIR.” I loved watching all of the Peanut’s TV specials and reading Charles Schultz’s Sunday comics. Looking at my work now, there’s no doubt that Charles Schultz’s body of work was an influence.

I never thought of that, but your work, like Schultz’s, is full of joy! Do you have a favorite project you have worked on so far? If so, what’s the story?  “Favorite” is hard for me to say! -maybe we should say “MOST RECENT.”

Good point! Tell us about your most recent project.  I was approached by a start-up local business to be the first featured artist to show in their gallery. The assignment was to create “candy” inspired art. I had hardly gotten out of our initial meeting and into my car when I grabbed scrap paper and pen and began drawing. I then stayed up drawing and playing with different concepts until the wee hours of the evening several nights in a row and I couldn’t stop. My very late night ideas ended up being my favorite.

Love those! Especially the jelly beans one! Tell us about a well-known artsy chick you admire and why you admire her.  I LOVE the English illustrator Lauren Child. She has brilliant simple lines to her work that convey imagery of exaggerated emotion and humor. She also incorporates great patterns, textures and color palates. Her style is fresh and fun. Here’s the kicker- she’s also WRITES her books. The quintessential Nerdy Chick!

I like Child’s work too. What’s something you like to do that might be considered a tiny bit nerdy, but is actually really fun? Label lingering. (I just coined that term which, is also very Nerdy!) I appreciate well designed packaging and find great pleasure in reading food labels. Having time to meander at the grocery store, perusing the aisles and reading the small print of ingredients is a favorite past time of mine.  I have a passion for whole food, and cooking. Label lingering kind of goes hand and hand with that.

Because of this interest, I really enjoyed creating a logo for our community garden and also a series of veggie inspired note cards with recipes on the backs.

I’m thinking I’m not a label lingerer, but it’s true that labels have more oomph than they used to.  

You can see the radishes Flori mentions in this sample of her work. To see more of her designs, visit her website


Thanks for answering these questions, Flori!  I look forward to seeing what you’ll create next!

To learn more about Flori, and to see the kind of projects she takes on (everything from personalized invitations and cards to billboards) visit


The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Dr. Sally Ride

Dr. Sally Ride (1951-2012) needs no introduction this week. She was an American Astronaut and physicist. In 1983 she flew into orbit on the Challenger and became the first American woman in space. In 1989 she left NASA and later founded Sally Ride Science, hoping to inspire young women to follow careers in science, technology and math.  There is much more to be said about Dr. Sally Ride. To find out more about her, take a look at her BIOGRAPHY or visit


Sally Ride Quotes

  •  All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.
  • If girls are interested, they have the potential to go further. There are still lingering stereotypes that affect girls in middle school, and they lose interest in the subjects.
  • But even in elementary school and junior high, I was very interested in space and in the space program.
  • There are lots of opportunities out there for women to work in these fields, … Girls just need support, encouragement and mentoring to follow through with the sciences.
  • But when I wasn’t working, I was usually at a window looking down at Earth.
  • I felt very honored, and I knew that people would be watching very closely, and I felt it was very, very important that I do a good job.
  • My parents didn’t have a scientific bone in their body, and their daughter was pursuing a career in astrophysics. They didn’t even know what astrophysics meant, but they supported me.

I am thankful for women like Sally Ride who teach us that we can soar and for parents who give their daughters wings.

*The above photo of Sally Ride is a NASA photo and is therefore in the public domain.