RIP Pancakes Magee

It is with a completely broken heart that I share that our beloved pet bunny, Pancakes, passed on Saturday, 10/23/2016. I like to picture him hopping into my Papa’s lap (since, you know, he’s dead, too). Or hopping excitedly behind Jesus, while eating apple slices or cilantro. Or something like that. 

All dogs go to heaven, but do all rabbits? 

I hope so. 

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rip-pancakes

 

We got Pancakes in 2010. We had baby fever but knew we weren’t ready for a family. We fostered a dog for night, but with our schedules, we felt we’d be doing a dog a disservice by not being able to give him the love and care that a dog would need. 

We were watching the O.C. at the time, and Summer gets a pet bunny. Jonathan had had rabbits as a kid. But nonetheless, I wanted to do my own research. I discovered that rabbits are crepuscular – meaning they are active most in the mornings and in the evenings. Perfect for our schedule! We fell in love with Pancakes the minute we met him. We also stole the name from the OC, but our Pancakes looks much more like a “Pancakes” than Summer’s did. Don’t you think??

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Pancakes was about 2 years old when we adopted him, but to us, he never looked like a rabbit. He always had a baby face and looked like a bunny. He loved apples and cilantro, and he HATED carrots. 

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Pancakes was smart and inquisitive. He would lick Jonathan’s forehead, and jump up on the futon for pets while I was studying for school. 

A few times, we were careless with the pet gates, and he would get out and hide somewhere and we would have to lure him back to his cage with food because he hated being picked up. 

Pancakes was my first, and thus far, only pet. I can’t imagine a better one.

I wish I had more eloquent words, but honestly, my heart is just broken. He was old, and in so much pain, and I know that now he is at peace. 

Pancakes, you were more than just a pet to us. You were our friend. We will never, ever forget you. 

Happy Mother’s Day – a tribute to MY Mom :)

This morning, my hubby surprised me  with a gift certificate to my favorite massage location for a series of three massages to wish me a happy Mother’s Day. This is the first time those words have ever been directed at me, and it felt really amazing and somewhat surreal. To me, Mother’s Day has always been 100% about celebrating the greatest mother I have ever known – who is obviously my own!  But this year, as I’m thinking about what sort of mother I will be, I realize that there are so many things that my mom has done well, and that I am lucky to have a perfect Mom role model to help me shape my own parenting. 

Mom taught me it’s okay to not be perfect. 

My mom is a chill, laid back sort of lady. I look at pictures from middle school, hair a mess and clothes ill fitted, and I ask my mom, “How could you let me go out looking like that??”  My mom shrugs at me and says, “You were happy – who was I to criticize?”  That’s the sort of mom my mom is.

When we were preparing for my wedding, I teasingly asked her what she was going to make – the cake? The dress?  Jonathan’s mom made all sorts of things for her daughter’s wedding. My mom responded, glibly, “Honey, the only thing I make is phone calls.”  Yet, I remember doing all sorts of crafts with her when we were kids. We painted tshirts and made barrettes and created ocean  paintings for school art contests. Looking back, I know these things were no Picassos, but not being the best artist or crafter never stopped Mom from doing something fun with us. She didn’t worry about things like that. 

Mom always pushed me.

I went through a rough time with my mom for awhile in my late teenage years. She was always making me do things that made me wildly uncomfortable. She made me sign up for Mock Trial. She made me leave the freaking state for college!  What I understand much better now, at age 30, is that Mom could see the areas where I needed growth, and she pushed me into situations that made me grow. Before Mock Trial, I was extremely shy. I would come home and tell Mom about all of my frustrations, but I would never stand up for myself. She could see that. By the end of high school, I was a confident public speaker who could express her ideas and thoughts. Socially, though, I was still most comfortable with my set group of friends. Even when some of those friendships were turning toxic, I hung onto them because again, being shy, it was easier to put up with bad friendships than have to start over.  Mom saw that and saw that being forced to try something new and meet new people would be good for me. As I tried to choose between Ohio State – where most of my friends were going! – and the University of South Carolina, Mom counseled me to go to USC. She said if I hated it, I could always transfer, but at least give it a try.  As usual, Mom is always right. I attribute most of my successful characteristics to the way Mom gently, or not-so-gently, forced me out of my comfort zone. (Of course, Dad was a huge part of these pushes as well, but Father’s Day is around the corner and he’ll get his own post. 🙂 )  

My problems were never too small for Mom.

I used to love when Mom would make dinner. I’d be the first to volunteer to help, because I would get Mom’s listening ear for an hour, away from my sisters and my dad and the news and what’s going on with the world. I remember sitting on a step stool in her kitchen, shredding lettuce for salad, and telling her all of my problems. Granted, sometimes Mom’s advice was, “Why do you care what other people think?”  or “Sasha, you just need to relax.”  Even when her advice was less action oriented, Mom never made me feel silly for worrying about things. And as anyone who knows me well, knows, I am a huge worrier! Since becoming pregnant, Mom has been my most frequent phone call, and she has patiently mothered me through my own worries of becoming a Mom. Of course, now that I am older and less sensitive, Mom has taken to sassily giving me “real talk” and telling me not to sweat the small stuff! Nevertheless, she still listens and she still responds to my “911” texts and calls – even when they are far less than emergencies. 

My Mom was the fun Mom.

The way I feel about my Mom is perfectly captured by this exchange I had with a teacher in high school once. Our teacher was looking for chaperones for a weekend trip, and immediately after class I went to her desk and said, “My mom will do it!”  She looked at me, and said, “I usually have to call and beg parents to do this stuff. Wait, you actually WANT your own Mom to come?”  My response was, “Of course! Mom will love to come and she’s the best!”  The truth was, my mom knew how to interact with both other parents and with other kids. She had a way of being chill and laid back and not in our business, but still setting boundaries and rules that let us know we couldn’t mess with her. Because there was respect and trust, we didn’t want to disappoint her and get in trouble. (Also, I was an angel 😉 ) On the flip side, she was NOT a helicopter Mom, following us around and asking us if we needed to use the restroom or if we washed our hands. I absolutely loved when Mom chaperoned things, all the way through prom, because my Mom was way better than anyone else’s. She used to let me have parties in our basement- the perfect hang out spot with a TV and a foosball table. She wouldn’t come down and  “check” on us, per se, but she would come down with hot, fresh pizza rolls! I want to be clear, when I say my mom was the fun mom, I don’t mean my mom was that TV-style fun-mom buying booze or letting us do whatever we want. But I do mean that Mom had a way of making everyone feel welcome and included, of letting us be kids and have fun and make a mess, and always being there for us. 

Another example is this one time, Mom took me for a haircut and it turned out awful. Really awful. She let me ditch class the next day and instead took me to get the cut adjusted and then took me over to the local drug store to pick out all the butterfly clips I could carry to help turn my nightmare into something more palatable. Or how Mom would sit and play Nintendo with us for hours. Or drive us to Columbus for a concert and sit at a nearby McDonald’s reading her book for hours waiting for us to be ready to go home. Which leads me to…

Mom never made it about herself. 

Last piece of cake? You have it, dear. Concert in Columbus?  Of course I’ll drive you. Nothing to wear?  Let’s go spend hours shopping for you at the mall. No I don’t need anything.  Fighting with friends? Let’s rent a movie and order a pizza, me, you and your sisters. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized my mom rarely asked for anything. She was always there, always available, and always putting her kids first. 

Mom never met a stranger.

My mom was THAT lady who talks to everyone. As a kid, I was so embarrassed by the way she would strike up conversation with anyone around her. In the grocery store check out line. At the library. Heck, in the parking lot!  But Mom taught me how to be friendly, warm, and polite no matter what situation I was in. My mom is such a warm, generous, kind person, that other people gravitate towards her. Speaking of those parties I used to have where we’d play games or watch movies in the basement – inevitably one of my friends would go missing and I’d find them in the kitchen, just talking to Mom. 

 

I could go on and on about the amazing woman that my mom is, and all the ways that she has supported, loved, shaped, and grown not only myself, but my whole family. But my mom is also not the overly emotional type, so instead, I’ll share a few of my favorite funny stories and a few pictures. 🙂 

Why Mom Won’t Share a Soda With Me

I was around five years old and we were on a long car trip. Mom was sharing her soda with me, and we took a refill to go in the car. After awhile, Mom commented, “I’m surprised there’s so much left with both of us drinking out of it!” Proudly, I told Mom, “Mom! I have a secret way of making it last!”  My mom gave me a hilarious, skeptical look that I will never, ever forget. She slowly says, “Whaaaat isss it?”  I grin, and tell her, “I just swish it in my mouth and put it back!”  I don’t think Mom will ever 100% trust sharing a drink with me again…. 

That Time Mom Didn’t Explain Babies to Me

When my mom was pregnant with my little sister, Alysha, she kept telling me I was getting another sister. Another sister. Now, I had an older sister, and I knew I was a sister. (I was not quite four at this time.) So I knew the new sister would be littler than me. But Mom neglected to really explain to me that this new sister would be a BABY and that BABIES don’t do anything. Imagine my complete, utter disappointment when my new would-be-playmate came home and was a red, crying, thing that couldn’t do anything. Cue months of me daily asking my mom, “Is she big enough to PLAY WITH YET?”  Poor Mom. 

That Time Mom Had to Taste Our Creations

My older sister, Saira, and I would sometimes be left at home while Mom, Dad, and Alysha went grocery shopping. I was in third grade and I think Saira was in sixth, so just old enough to watch me. We used to create food experiments in the kitchen. It was harmless (we didn’t use the stove), and it kept us entertained for hours. The problem for Mom was that when she got home, of course we wanted her to taste what we made! Sometimes it was fine – ice cube tray popsicles made with apple juice. One time, though, we tried to create frosting from mayonnaise and sugar. Mom had to try that, too. And, not wanting to ruin our happy weekend playtime, she would paste a smile on her face and tell us at the very least that it was “interesting.”  

Little Chef in the Making

I believe that Mom’s patience for mine and Saira’s food creations, coupled with my love of spending dinner-making time with Mom, is what started my interest in inventing recipes. Mom and I would sometimes try to re-create things we liked from restaurants. Some things were very successful – we have an excellent method for making onion strings! And some not so much – remember that time we tried to make potstickers? Epic fail! 

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Me and Mom – based on the date, I was 2.5 years old. 🙂 May, 1988.

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Charleston, SC, in 2007. This was before selfie-ing was a thing!  

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May 25, 2008. I think I look like Mom. 🙂 

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Arizona, Winter of 2009.Love those glasses! 

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Alysha, Dad, Mom, Me – Australia, May 2015. 

I don’t have a ton of pics of Mom because she doesn’t love to have her picture taken, but I think these few show her genuineness, her beautiful smile, her laughter, and her joy in her kids and family! There is literally nothing I could do to show Mom how very much I love her and how much she means to me. Thank you for being you and for everything you do!!!!!!

 

LOVE YOU, MOM!

 

 

The Big Reveal!

45/49.45%  of you were right:

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Obviously, either way we would have been thrilled, but it’s exciting to know one more detail about our baby!  Thank you so much for sharing in our joy with us!

 

Help Us Guess Whether Baby Magee Will Be a Boy or Girl!

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Tomorrow around noon, we get to have our 20 week anatomy scan. This scan will tell us lots about Baby Magee, who we’ve been affectionately calling Pup. We are really excited and maybe a little bit nervous. The last time we saw Pup, he or she was just a tiny yolk sac.

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Taken November 30th, there wasn’t much to see here but it helped us start believing this was really happening!

Now the sonographer will be taking multiple pictures and views so the doctor can make sure that our baby is healthy and developing correctly. The doctor will be checking the heart, spine, kidneys, brain, etc. 

Instead of worrying that the doctor might find something concerning, we are focusing on the excitement of learning more about our baby and hopefully finding out whether Pup is a girl or a boy!  

We would love it if you’d like to make a guess as to Pup’s sex!  

Just for fun, here are how some old wives’ tales are predicting :

  1. Carrying High or Low: Middle. Conclusion: Inconclusive
  2. Stealing my beauty?:  Definitely. Conclusion: Girl 
  3. Ring test: Back and forth Conlucion: Depends which website you check. 
  4. Heart Rate: 150  Conclusion: Girl
  5. Cravings: Nothing out of the ordinary. (Jonathan says sweets, but I always like sweets) Conclusion: Inconclusive, Girl? 
  6. Chinese Calendar: According to http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/, the Conclusion is: Girl
  7. Spouse Gaining Weight: Yes Conclusion: Girl
  8. Morning Sickness: While I felt off for the entire first trimester, I didn’t actually get sick much. Conclusion: Boy, I think. 
  9. Mom’s Guess: I keep dreaming it’s a boy Conclusion: Boy 
  10. Mom’s Weight Gain:  I have (at this point) net lost a few lbs, but my belly is definitely bigger, so the weight is mostly in the front. Conclusion: Boy 

Looks like the folk tales are counting on a girl! 

Finding Out That We’re Expecting (A Late Update)

On December 5th, I posted a life update that took you from September through November 10th (Alysha’s birthday.) Only my Mom thought to ask why, if I was posting a life update, did I stop abruptly a month early. Well, at that point, we weren’t really ready to share yet, but now we are!

We shared this picture on our social media accounts just before Christmas, but with the holiday hub-bub, the blog sort of took backseat.

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I had been feeling some classic pregnancy symptoms, but those symptoms are also the same things I typically feel right before Aunt Flo gives me a visit, so I didn’t pay attention to them. I also felt completely exhausted visiting my sister, but we usually have so much fun that that tends to happen! I remember the first evening, though, it was 7 pm and I was basically falling asleep! Looking back, it all makes so much sense now. I flew home from Baltimore, and on the plane ride home, I had a dream that I took a pregnancy test.
Jonathan picked me up that morning, and dropped me off at home for a quick freshening up before we headed to work. He went to put gas in the car, and I casually took a pregnancy test. I say casually, because for those that don’t know, we had been hoping and praying to start our family for quite some time, and I had taken many tests over the last two years. I wasn’t really expecting anything to come of it. I almost passed out when I saw a second, faint little line!

I always knew that I wanted to tell Jonathan in some sort of fun or crafty way whenever I got that positive test. However, having been out out of town for the last five days, our schedule for every evening after work was packed full of stuff and we had committed to spending the weekend together. When would I be able to do something cute without him figuring it out??? Also, I was scheduled to have my first surgery towards getting a new, shiny set of teeth the next week and we needed to figure that out, too! I knew that I had to tell him THAT DAY. Needless to say, that was not my most productive day at work. Cue me googling “How to tell your husband you’re pregnant” on my iphone! I didn’t find anything that I thought fit us AND could be executed quickly and without Jonathan finding out. In the end, I made him a cryptogram, which is basically a puzzle that where the solver tries to uncode a word or phrase. Jonathan loves puzzles, so this was perfect! When I gave it to him, I tried really hard to be super casual, like “I was really bored at a meeting at work, so I made you this puzzle. But, it’s really stupid so don’t feel like you have to.” Meanwhile, my heart was RACING and I just wanted him to solve it right then and there! Luckily for me, Jonathan was thrilled to get a silly puzzle from his wife and started trying to sort it out right then and there.
The look on his face when he solved it was absolutely priceless. I wish I had a picture of it, but he looked shocked and happy and joyful all at the same time!
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The next few days were a flurry of trying to figure things out, and taking tests everyday. Since the line was faint, I was still worried that it was a fluke or that something would happen to make that second little line disappear. By that weekend, the line was darker and I had begun experiencing morning sickness and absolute extreme exhaustion. I tried to explain the exhaustion to friends and family like this, it hits you like desperately needing to pee. Except you desperately need to sleep. Immediately.

The other thing we had to figure out was my mouth surgeries. Which got figured out pretty darn quickly. The doctor’s office said they absolutely will not operate on a pregnant woman and to call sometime after the baby comes to reschedule. Okie dokie then! While I was disappointed to not be starting the process until next year, I would absolutely not change a thing!

I had a lot of “plans” for when I got pregnant, and I am learning that plans are great, but sometimes you have to roll with it. For one, my mouth surgery plan is now completely different. For two, I always thought that when I got pregnant, I would follow a paleo eating plan and do pregnancy workouts daily. Well, I can tell you, my first trimester, I tried to do the pregnancy work out video I bought twice. It left me so winded and exhausted that the rest of the day was spent on the couch. In fact, everything left me completely wiped out. I barely made it through work on a daily basis, and would spend evenings on the couch. In terms of eating, well, I was lucky if I managed to eat anything. I couldn’t be too picky. 

Now that I am in the second trimester, I have a lot more energy and I am excited to craft more, blog more, and start making plans for Pup (what we’re calling the baby until we have a name!).  We’ll find out whether Pup is a boy or girl at the end of February, and get what should be a baby-looking ultrasound then! Can’t wait! 

The Last Three Months

It has been an insanely busy few months here!  I’m going to write some blogs specific to some big events that have happened lately, but here’s a highlights reel of what’s been going on. 

We went to Ohio for my sister-in-law’s baby shower. 

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We ran in the Rootbeer Foam Fest 10k:

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My goal was to run the first 5k in under 40 minutes, and I hit 38:20. The course was great, and it was a lot of fun! 

Pancakes got sick and had to go the vet and needed lots of love and care:

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We really thought he was dying, but we have an awesome vet, he got put on lots of meds and tummy rubs. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time with this little guy for a month trying to get him back to his normal self. I am happy to report that he is doing great! 

Jonathan turned 30. We had a party, and went camping. 

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Longer post on that forthcoming. But isn’t the banner I made pretty?? 

We went to Ohio to celebrate a belated Eid with my parents.

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My sister and her husband visited from Boston. 

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I should have taken more pictures but we went to the city museum, ate great food, learned some acrobatics, got massages, and played karaoke revolution! A lot of fun packed into a weekend! 

 

I had a huge work project, that took a lot of time out of my evenings and weekends for a few weeks there. 

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I don’t have pictures of that. But I think this meme pretty much sums it up. Glad to say the project was a success! 

 

We visited our best friends who moved away to Chicago. 

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And back to Ohio for the birth of our niece, Amelia Eleanor.

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And then out to Baltimore for Alysha’s 26th birthday.

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Another whole post on this forthcoming as well.

 

And that about brings you up to speed! Whew! It’s been busy! 

 

 

You Can, Tuesday!: Goal-Setting September

This Tuesday just also happens to be September 1st, so it seems like the PERFECT time to write a post about goal-setting. Something that I have learned in life is that if you want to make progress or effect change, you have to be intentional about it. I am so guilty of saying things like, “I want to lose weight” or “I wish my house were clean” or “We need to do better about saving money.”  And then what happens?  Nada. Zip. Zilch. 

Which is why I want to talk about goal setting, and the difference between a goal and a desire. A good goal is a MAP to get to your desire. 

Some Examples:

Desire Goal
I want to lose weight Exercise 3x/week, 30+ minutes
I want to have a cleaner home                      Spend 1 hour everyday cleaning/organizing home, 5 days per week
I want to save money Create a budget, monitor progress weekly

You can see, based on these examples, that the goal helps get you to the desire, but the desire is not in and of itself a SMART goal. You’ll notice I put SMART in all caps for a reason. I want to share a framework with you for setting effective goals. It’s a framework that shows up over and over again in business literature, and which I find very effective in both my personal and professional life. The framework is called SMART, which is an acronym for:

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Let’s take a closer look.

Specific:

As illustrated above, vague goals don’t get you anywhere. Do you get in your car without knowing where you are going? Okay, maybe if your purpose is to just drive around. But you don’t want to just drive around when you’re setting a goal!  You want to know where you want to get to!  Try asking yourself, ” What is my desire or purpose?” Aka, where do you want your map to take you. And then ask, “What is something I can do to GET there.” 

Measurable

You want your goal to something you can measure. For example, if I say I want to “Be healthier,” that is not only vague, but it’s not something I can measure. How will I know if I am successful at my goal if it’s not measurable? Try figuring out a way to quantify your actions. 

Attainable

Have you ever looked at a task, and been completely overwhelmed or daunted? Like you just wanted to give up? That’s what we do when we set unattainable goals for ourselves. If you look at my example desires and goals above, for having a cleaner house I wrote “Spend 1 hour everyday cleaning/organizing home, 5 days per week.” This was my way of trying to write an attainable goal.  I built in some freebies during the week. If that were my goal, then that doesn’t mean that I CAN’T do it everyday. But if I ended up working late on day two, and not doing any cleaning, I didn’t want to feel like I failed at my goal. When we feel like we’ve already failed, we are liable to give up. If you are starting a running program, your goal at the end of a month won’t be to run a marathon. Maybe that will be your ultimate goal, and you can set miniature goals to get there. Running is actually a GREAT example for this, because you can start with a 5k, and once you hit that goal, build up to a 10k, and then a half, and then a whole marathon!  

The point is, if you want change, you want  your goal to be CHALLENGING, but still POSSIBLE.

Relevant

Does your goal get you to your end point? If my desire is to save money, but the goal that I write is to limit how much time I spend watching tv to 1 hour a day, then my map is taking me to my destination (unless I’m a compulsive home shopper!).  Also make sure that your goal changes something. Again, if my desire is to save money, and my goal is to “Eat out only once per week,” that will only help if I’m currently eating out MORE than once per week. Also, this goal has a trap. You can eat out at McDonald’s 5x per week or eat out at a fancy restaurant 1x per week, and still not save money. A better goal would be to limit the amount of money being spent on eating out. Watch out for those traps! 

Time Bound

If you are going to measure your goals, you need a time dimension in order to track progress. Is your goal to do something weekly? Is your goal to get to a specific place by the end of the month?  You’ll notice in my table that each proposed goal has  time dimension. Three times per week.  I also recommend setting a secondary time dimension, like, “In the month of September, I will do x three times/week.” That way, at the end of September you can do a check in and see if you want to adjust, change, or throw out your goal. Make sense? 

My Goals

I want to take this opportunity to share a few goals that I have for myself this month:

Running:
I signed up for a 10k on Sept 13th. before I had the accident, and had been working on towards a new PR. After the accident, I couldn’t exercise for a month. Now I am, 13 days from the 10k, and can barely run a mile nonstop. Clearly, my previous goal is out of the question, but I still have some time to work up to something prior to the race. My hope is to run the first 5k, in less than 40 minutes. Right now, I am run-walking at a 15 minute/mile pace. I think this race will be a good chance to motivate me to get exercising again and set a baseline for me to improve moving forward.
Goal: Run four times before the race. Cover a distance of atleast 3 miles each time, regardless of if I can run the entire thing or need to run-walk. After the race, assess where I am and set a new running goal. 

Blogging:
I want to me more consistent in blogging,  and really start to create my “voice” and identify what I really enjoy writing about. 
Goal: Post You Can, Tuesday on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Post other content atleast once per week. 

Crafting:
One of the things I love doing is creating. I find that it keeps me busy while still giving me “down” time in the evenings. I am always pinning things, but don’t always actually do anything. Now that I have an awesome craft room at home, I want to start crafting again! 
Goal: This month, I want to try one new craft, post one sellable thing to Etsy, and share one tutorial on my blog. 

What goals do you have for September? 

Link up or share in the comments! Grab a badge, a share what you CAN do! 

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The purpose of You Can, Tuesday! is to bring mid-week content that encourages, inspires, or teaches in some way, and to bring together a community of people who want to share their experiences through guest posts, linking up, and comments! Too often, I have heard, and used myself, the words "I could never do that" or "wow, that seems really hard!" I want to give love to our friend, Tuesday, as a day where we instead say, "I can!" or "I'd love to try!" and either share our stories of how we've done something or teach others how to do something!

You Can Tuesday: Be Inspired with Pinterest!

Here’s a confession – I almost didn’t write a You Can, Tuesday! post today. I’ve had dental work done on Friday and Monday and have been feeling sort of blah and mopey. I have a few great topics I am working on, but they weren’t perfect and I was being incredibly self-critical. 

So I was just going to… Not. 

Instead, I was working on inspiring myself, and created an inspiration quote board on Pinterest to try to shake off my funk. Then, I was trying to explain to a friend of mine what I was doing, and realized two things:

1. Not everyone understands Pinterest

2. My inspiration board is pretty darn inspiring. 

So today’s You Can, Tuesday! post is three fold. I want to share a few inspirational quotes and my Pinterest board in case anyone wants to be inspired or encouraged by it, then I am going to do a quick overview on getting started on Pinterest so you can start your own board (feel free to share yours in the comments if you have one or create one, because I could use all the encouragement I can get!), and also share a few places that make it easy to generate your own quotes to share! 

Part I: My Inspiration Board on Pinterest

 Follow Sasha Magee’s board Inspiration on Pinterest.

Part II: Getting Started on Pinterest

Okay, so I have assumed for the most part that you are familiar with Pinterest, but in case you’re not, let’s start with an overview of what it is. Pinterest, essentially, is like online, shareable bulletin boards. You “pin” things you want to look at or read to the bulletin board. You can create as many bulletin boards as you like on a range of topics!  For example, when my family was planning our trip to Australia, my sister created a bulletin board where we pinned links and pictures to anything and everything I found that was an idea for the trip, including places to eat, and things to see!

Follow Alysha Noorani’s board Australia – 2015 on Pinterest.

If you check out that board, you’ll see that its a group board, meaning that multiple people can pin to the board. In this case, my sister and I both wanted to be able to pin to the board so we could share ideas. Pretty cool, huh ?

I don’t find the navigation on Pinterest to be 100% intuitive, so here is a screenshot, and I’ll walk you through the basic navigation, as well as how to start your own Inspiration board! First, here is a screen shot of my Pinterest homepage. 

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1. In the top left corner is the Pinterest icon. When you click it, you get to your Pinterest homepage. Which you would think would be all of your boards, but, that would be wrong! Pinterest aims to be a social media tool, so your homepage will be filled with pins that you or your friends have pinned, or that Pinterest thinks is related to things you’ve pinned recently. More about that later. To the right of the orange number 1 above, is the search bar. This is where you can quickly type “cute curly hair cuts”  or “ways to use burlap” or “kale” and find whatever you are looking for! 

2. To the left of the orange 2, there is a drop down where you can toggle between looking at your home page or looking at other categories, such as “Popular” or “Art.” I literally have never used this until today. And probably won’t. To the right of the 2 is a button that has my name on it. When I click there, I get to all of my Pinterest boards. See the next picture for more on this. 

3. This is the Pinterest notification section. If you click this button, a new menu will pop up with three tabs. The first tab, “News” is a list of what your Pinterest friends are doing. Tab 2, “You,” shows you when people repin your stuff or follow you or your boards.  Tab 3, “Messages,” shows you when your Pinterest friends have sent you messages or sent you pins. 

4. As I mentioned above, Pinterest aims to bring a social aspect to saving all of your links. I’ve blurred out the names, but you can see that Pinterest is recommending me to invite Facebook friends who aren’t on Pinterest (or aren’t connected through their Facebook) in the top window, and recommending that I follow Facebook friends who are on Pinterest. 

5. Underneath each pin showing up on my homepage is a little explanation of why it is showing up. The pin the left of the number five is something I’ve recently pinned, so it has my name and the board it is pinned on. It could have a friend’s name and their board name.  The pin to the right doesn’t have a name. Instead it says “picked for you.”  Pinterest recognizes that I’ve been searching for DIY things, and recommends that pin for me. It’s sometimes useful and sometimes creepy. 

pinterest2Once you click on your name from number 2, then you see this view. You can see the top breaks out my social media stats, and under that you can see each of my boards.  In the top left is the “Create New Board” space, so you can click there to create a new board. 

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So, let’s create an inspiration board together!  When you click the “Create New Board” space, you will get a menu like this that pops up. First thing, name your board. I’ve named mine “Inspiration.” Next, write a quick description of what is going in your board. Third, give your board a category. I called mine “quotes” since I anticipate largely pinning quotes to this board. I did not turn on a map for this board, a feature that I have not yet found useful for any of my boards, so readers, if you’ve used this feature, please chime in!  Next, I did not make my board secret. You can make a board secret if you don’t want your friends to see it. Maybe you are planning a surprise party and don’t want anyone to know about it yet. That would be a great time to make your board secret. Finally, I’ve not added any collaborators, but you can, as Alysha did with the Australia Board.  Then click create, and voila, you are ready to pin! 

You can pin things in a number of ways. The easiest is to search for things in the search bar in Pinterest. The second way is to click on the board you want to add a pin to, click the “Add pin” space, and copy and paste a link of what you want to pin in. Third way, is when you are surfing the net and and the website owner has set it up so a “Pin It” button appears over the picture. For example, on one of my favorite sites, I Waste So Much Time, at the bottom of each picture is a “Pin It!” button. Finally, you can add a pin it button to your browser, which you can read more about here, if you’re interested:  Pin It Button

Part III: Making Your Own Images (Simply)

That’s all well and good, but what if you have an awesome idea for a quote or image and it doesn’t exist yet?? Then what? Well a simple place to start is Be Happy Quote Generator. It might not be as fancy, but it is quick, easy to use, and looks nice. You can easily change the font, colors, and alignment and create a great quote in seconds. Here’s one I made that fits today’s theme! 

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You can also give PicMonkey a try!  You have a lot more options, but the there are two drawbacks. First, it is a pretty sophisticated, web-based tool that is free. So, necessarily that means it has ads, and sometimes runs really slow as the ads run. It also slows down everything else I’m working on. It is also way less intuitive to use, but like I said, you can make prettier pictures. Like this one :

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I hope this post has inspired you in some way – by introducing you to Pinterest or creating your own pictures, or sharing some inspirational quotes with you! 

Do you have an inspirational board on Pinterest?

Have you written an inspirational post recently? 

What do you use to create images for your blog?

How do you motivate yourself when you’re in a funk?

Feel free to share blog posts or pinterest boards in the link up or comments! 

Do you have something encouraging to share this week? Grab a badge, share in the link up and remember, you CAN!

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You Sure Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks!

I have enrolled in Blogging 101 hosted by The Daily Post. (Which, by the way if you want inspiration for writing or photo challenges, head on over!)

I consider myself a seasoned blogger in that I have been keeping some sort of online journal/blog since the age of 15. That being said, outside of logging in and writing words, I really don’t know a ton about engaging with the blogging community or refining my focus, writing style, or the look of my little piece of internet. Also, as you may or may not know, since it seems to be THE subject around here, I recently had my teeth knocked out which has put a huge damper in my social life and work out schedule, so I have a bit of extra time to actually commit to this. I am hoping that this old dog can learn something new. 

Today’s assignment is to write a post to my ideal audience. I maybe should have just done it without all of the preface, but I felt like it would be weird to just start this with no explanation, and I wanted anyone who is already following me (+10 points to Gryffindor!) to understand why I might be doing things a little bit differently or trying new things with this blog in August. 

After all – I am all about trying new things! As the great philosopher Voltaire said, (and yes, this might be the one thing I remember from high school European History – Mr. Raisch would be so proud) –

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For the most part, I spent a large part of my life telling myself I couldn’t do things. I can’t run because I’m slow and unathletic. I can’t make things because I am not creative nor an artist. I can’t cook because I am clumsy and burn things. There were so many excuses to stay comfortable. And bored. And scared to try new things for fear of looking stupid, or failing, or being average.  What I want for myself, for my blog, and for my readers is to stop being comfortable, to try new things, to encourage and be encouraged! You might find you like it. You might find you hate it. But you’ll never know until you try! 

I largely focus on food, fitness, DIY/Crafts, sewing, travel – because those are the things I am most interested in. But I also like challenges and hearing others’ stories.  So, if you made it this far:

Is there something new you want to try? What is it? What’s holding you back?

Whether you’re in Blogging 101 or not – do you have any feedback for me on my blog? Content, look, etc? 

Do you have recommendations on something you think I should try or would like to see me write about?

 

 

What the Heck Happened to Sasha?

If you follow me on instagram, you are probably wondering why all of my friends and family are giving me things. If you follow me on instagram and don’t know me that well, you might think it’s my birthday or something. Because I am getting cards, and flowers, and balloons, and gift cards and just generally being loved on by all of my great friends and family.

A very long, and honestly sort of stupid, story made short:  I was tubing, the bracket broke of the boat, it hit me square in the teeth, and now I am down 4 front teeth and up several doses of hydrocodone. Because getting your teeth knocked out is actually really painful. 

I’m not posting a picture. I feel awful and look like a freak. I had to put my running plan on hold, and I’m working from home. I could share all of the logistics of having my teeth knocked out, but that would make for a very, very boring blog post. 

Instead, I am going to share a few memes that I think are a funnier way to share my current pain: 

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Soooo this is basically how I feel. 

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The dentist said they can’t do anything until I heal more, so I’m just hanging out, taking pain meds.  It is going to be a long journey to getting fixed. 

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My office is being kind enough to let me work from home, which is really helpful.   

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I am also sort of feeling bad for Mom and Dad, who spent a ton of money getting me a great smile when I was a teenager. What a waste!

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But all in all, I am trying to retain my cheerful and sassy personality. After all, it’s just teeth, right?