Q&A with a ChicagoNow Blogger: Fern Ronay of Stop and Blog the Roses

Q&A with a ChicagoNow Blogger: Fern Ronay of Stop and Blog the Roses

Today is ChicagoNow blogger interview day! We willing participants were each given another blogger to interview in whatever form we deemed appropriate. I was given the chance to (virtually) chat with Fern Ronay of the blog Stop and Blog the Roses.

First of all, should I write your name? I’ve seen it as Jen or Jennifer or Fern.

Feel free to call me Fern! All my friends do.  My first name is Jennifer, maiden name Fernicola.  Growing up, there were 50 million Jennifers.  I always say that I was never worried they wouldn’t have my name on a magnet, pen, eraser (kids love that stuff). I was always worried they’d be sold out!

So, my friends always called me Fern in high school, college, law school, always –  to clarify which Jennifer they were referring to. And then I married Mr. Ronay.

Tell us a little bit about your blog, Stop and Blog the Roses.

In June 2010, I embarked on a year long writing project, where I blogged everyday for 365 days straight, ending each entry with at least three things to be grateful for.

The best way to describe it, considering my voice, tone, blogging topics, style is “If Sex and the City and Chicken Soup for the Soul had a love child, it’d be Stop and Blog the Roses.”

How did you first get into blogging?

I met the former ChicagoNow Community Manager Fernando Diaz through my internship at The Chicago Reporter (yes, I was a 30-something year old, lawyer & CPA intern but I was thrilled to do it as I moved to Chicago and was making the transfer to journalism. I met the most wonderful people and learned a ton!).

Through Fernando, I became the legal blogger, aka The Bar-Tender, for ChicagoNow, where I went to the courthouse each day and reported on all of the wacky case filings (“A dolphin splashed me, I’m suing the zoo!” – that sort of thing).

I did that from 2009 to 2010 and felt like the Jerry Springer of bloggers, exposing people’s crazy cases on the internet. I wanted to be less Jerry, more O as in Oprah.

I decided to embark on something more positive that also allowed me to write in a my own voice (Bar-tender was more news style).  So, Roses was born.

Where else can we find you besides ChicagoNow?

Check out my website www.FernRonay.com, where you can see all of the other projects I’m working on, including a legal talk show (Ms. Esquire), an homage to Oprah’s book club (Behind the Book) and other on-camera reporting projects, as well as past articles I’ve written for The Chicago Reporter and Chi Town Daily News and ChicksInTheHuddle (where I’m CowboysChick). In the past few months, I’ve done a guest blog post on author Zanna Mackenzie’s site (A Tale of Two Dresses) and a Christmas wish list on The Circular Home.

Why the Dallas Cowboys of all teams?

I ask myself the same question. My husband grew up in the ’70s when the Cowboys and Steelers were the popular teams.  His babysitter was a Cowboys fan and got my husband, my sister in law, and all the kiddies in the ‘hood hooked on the Cowboys.  Before I met my husband I knew nothing – NOTHING – about football.  Then, through a combination of osmosis and the Cowboys being on Hard Knocks on HBO in 2008, where I learned all the players’ stories, which is the kind of thing that ropes me in (I think anyone who has ever met me thinks “This girl asks 50 million questions.” I can’t help it! I love people’s stories!) sooooo I started watching that season and, unfortunately, caring.  And now I always say my life was happier before I knew anything about football because now I get my heart ripped out 16 times a year.  Yes, 16 because even when the Cowboys win, it’s still a heart attack to get there.

Since Hammervision focuses mostly on TV and movies, here are some pop culture-related questions:

What is your favorite movie of all time and why? When Harry Met Sally. It is all things I love – funny, romantic, New York City.

Top five all time favorite TV shows? Sex and the City, Family Ties, Golden Girls, Oprah, Dateline

Honestly, I have gotten so excited because I see there’s an ALL DAY Dateline marathon on OWN (*squeal*) and then I go through the descriptions and realize I’ve seen every single one of them already.

Who was your first actor crush? John Travolta

Which shows do you currently watch? The Today Show, Dateline, everything on Investigation Discovery channel, Real Housewives of NJ, NY and BH and True Tori. Shoot me. (Ed. note: True Tori. Oh my.)

Which show would you never, ever deign to watch and why? I’ve heard some things about the Following and it sounds like everything I hate – disturbing and scary.  That being said, my husband can’t understand why I love ID. I love solving or seeing how the true life mystery was solved and the bad guy punished and NOT seeing the actual crime played out, which would play over and over in my anxious mind. Big difference, in my opinion.

Which movie have you never seen that people can’t believe you’ve never seen? Top Gun. Pulp Fiction.  Yes, I know!  In the same vein but not movie-related, I’ve also never had a milkshake. People find this astounding. I’m never going to have one now because it makes me laugh how people react when I tell them that.

Have you ever walked out on a movie? If so, which one? Actually, never. But, there were a couple that I wish I did. In college, I hardly ever went to movies or watched TV (so I didn’t see commercials for movies) so one night when friends said they’re going to see Copy Cat with Harry Connick, Jr., I had no clue. Copy Cat? Sounds like a romantic comedy. Okay, I’ll go.  It was not a romantic comedy. It’s the story of a guy who copies crimes of serial killers!  I went back to the sorority house, went to the basement where some girls used to smoke and posted a sign that said “Attention Smokers: When you are done smoking, LOCK the window! Or a serial killer will cut the screen, lift the window and crawl in and kill all of us.”  So, yeah, not my cup of tea.

So, yeah, I’m obsessed with Investigation Discovery and Dateline and 20/20 and true crime stories in general but I can’t handle seeing any crime acted out in movies or television shows or re-enacted at all.  I guess that makes me weird. But, that’s OK. There are worse things to be.

Thank you, Fern! Now go rent Pulp Fiction, post haste!


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