Posted in Sneak Peek

Roses šŸŒ¹ > Diamonds šŸ’Ž

RosesĀ  Ā šŸŒ¹Ā  Ā  Ā >Ā  Ā  DiamondsĀ  Ā šŸ’Ž

Just a little sneak peek of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: I’m currently in Week 6 (the halfway mark) and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. This week is about luxury and the silly little things that really don’t cost a lot but make us feel pampered, like we’re really doing something extra special for ourselves. Whether it’s a certain candle scent, raspberries on your ice cream, or a Gerber daisy on your night stand. Treat yourself. You’re worth it, and you deserve it.

Emma Goldman

Posted in Jobe Update, Special Announcement

36 on 36

Did you know that when you get older (I’m looking at you, twenty-somethings) you get emails from the most unexpected senders wishing you a happy birthday? I have received no fewer than four happy birthday emails from: my dentist’s office, Lane Bryant, my mortgage company, and my chiropractor’s office. How odd! The barrage of well wishing on Facebook I expected, but this made me feel, well, somewhere between “grown up” and “old.” Hah! I also had two recent moments where people younger than me taught me how to do something tech-related, and that’s really a surefire way to feel “old.” (I’m putting it in quote marks because I don’t actually mind my age at all and a friend of mine said the 40s are her favorite decade yet.)

So the other weekend we’re at the theater to see Black Panther and I’ve got the text-messaged scan code on my phone (look at me! so saavy!) but the ticket check kid (who looked about 15) told me I needed to turn the brightness up on my phone and I stumbled lamely, “What? But, I don’t–” at which point he said “here let me show you” and proceeded to school me in a super fast method of adjusting brightness that I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW EXISTED. So while I’m still reeling from that embarassment, I’m in the car with my own kid (who is 15) and he says, “oh, I like this song, what’s it called again?” to which I, of course, replied, “no idea,” so he says “that’s what the info button’s for.” Now, I scanned the buttons again to be sure, but I felt pretty certain I had never seen a button reading “info,” and I was right. There wasn’t one. “I don’t have one of those,” I replied confidently, perhaps a little triumphantly, even.

“Mom,” he sighed, “the button with the letter i,” at which point, I swear to gods, he pointed out a button I never knew existed in my vehicle (which I’ve had for many years) and lo and behold, we were given the band name and song title. EGAD. I had no idea what this would feel like, no longer being at the forefront of technological advances, and I’ll admit I giggled with glee when the tables were turned, so it’s only fair I get my come-uppence now, I suppose! Sheesh.

Well I’m just tickled that I’m turning 36 on 36, so that’s my fun for today. Keep shining,

happy birthday

Posted in Cool Tools, Fitness Challenge, Writing Challenge

Fitness & Writing Challenges

Hello and welcome to March. Is the weather where you are as gorgeous as it is here? Yesterday I was able to wear a sleeveless dress (joy!) without leggings (wasn’t even cold!) and I even threw on some colorful jewelry. The Spring comes, and with it the season of looking and feeling our most alive as everything around us is waking up. Yay! (Yes, I know, I’m not very subtle when it comes to season-favoritism.)

March 1 marked not one but two special occasions for me: the beginning of the Blue and You Fitness Challenge (which sadly you can only participate in if your workplace offers Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance) and the beginning of the monthly Writing Challenge on 750 Words, which anyone can join and happens every month! I was pretty excited to see both Welcome emails in my inbox (and when I used arrows to block stuff out only toĀ thenĀ discover that MS Paint does, in fact, have HEARTS.)

gmail view

So, Fitness. What do you do for exercise? I enjoy swimming but find going to the pool something of a big fat hassle, so I don’t often manage it. Likewise I like the dog park but don’t take the doggo nearly as often as I should. For good ole dependable daily exercise, I use my trusty treadmill, set up in front of the tv. 3mph for 45mins means 2.25miles “run” (jogged? run very slowly?) while I bliss out to an episode of whatever I happen to be watching. Currently, The Magicians. Since I’m a really big nerd when it comes to visual encouragement, I made (found hi-res images and added the quote) and collected (google image searches) a bunch of little thingies.

But I would be remiss in my bloggess duties if I didn’t also goob all about the writing challenge. I started using the site 2/12 so I was too late to join up for February but using it has already upped my average writing sessions from 4ish per week to 7 per week, because I get a little x in my little green box in my little strand of green boxes if I continue to write every single day! And I am a total sucker for pressing the food bar. On the site you get stuff like this:


While in your email you get stuff like this:



badgesI’m pretty into it. (You don’t actually get that pencil graphic, I stole that from a Facebook ad.) Are you excited yet? Because you can also earn badges like these (over there, on the side, no, the other side… grr, you know what I mean). Of course if you don’t know about the indelible connection between writing and birds, you’re in for a treat, because Anne Lamott is the bomb. (Do people still say that? The bomb? Well anyway she’s really cool.) I have no idea if the connection to Lamott is what Buster and Kelli were thinking about when they started the site up years ago, but it’s undeniably part of the ongoing literary consciousness now. In conclusion, go out there and kick this week’s (and month’s) ass. That is all.

Posted in Cool Tools, What Makes You Happy?

My Planner Isn’t a Bullet Journal. (Itā€™s Actually a Sticker Book.)

E99C2305-00D7-45BD-89B4-3D802320474CThis is my Happy Planner. For those who care, it’s the middle size available. I chose the Happy Planner over other cool options because the pages are colorful. I got it at Michael’s on sale (you can catch the sales at the ends and beginnings of each year) and I bought extra cover sets on ebay. This is my current favorite cover, and it says, “If you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.” I feel like I do that, or try to do that, for those around me. I wear the brightest colored clothing and hair colors I can find (and I wish other people would too). But maybe I just like it best because it’s got bright yellow on it, and yellow’s my favorite. In any case, you can catch a glimpse of my work desk and the Adventure Time skirt I got on etsy. I buy a lot of stuff on etsy. When you open the cover, you can see all the stickers I’ve placed inside, taped in sheets to the laminated pages.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And that gets us to the back cover. The stickers in my planner take up about 1/3 of the heft of the book. I mostly buy them from all over etsy, but in case you’re dying to know, I’ve included what I hope is a comprehensive list at the bottom of this post.3525FFD0-95DC-4582-89C9-2A3E579F78BFĀ Some of the sticker types I use are filler: rainbows, rainbow hearts, rainbow stars, pink hearts, yellow stars, yellow smiley faces,Ā So So Happy encouragement stickers. They don’t really stand for anything, I just like the way they look, and they take up space and make everything more “filled out” looking. But for the bulk of my stickers, each one represents an action, a mood, something I want to regularly track. So rather than “make a plan” for the day or the week or the month, I actually use my planner as a visually recorded account of what I did/accomplished, and how I was feeling. Since I don’t want stickers for every action I take (poops, for example, which some people wish to track, but I do not) I try to focus my sticker collection on habits I want to encourage myself to keep doing / do more of: exercise, writing, reading, chores. I also want to track things like my period, if I was sick, my mood (I have cry-faces and happy faces and angry faces, etc.) and YES, I do actually write down upcoming appointments and To Do lists as well. Just not maybe to the extent that (actual) planning people do.

Some of my month spreads end up looking gorgeous and amazing. For Nanowrimo, for example, I used extra special stickers to track my daily word counts on rainbow typewriters. So my November month-view ended up extra gorgeous and hyper-focused. Winning! (On the sidebar, Doug’s homework word count, impressive!)

Glorious November spread

Another month that ended up looking gorgeous and amazing was my February spread, thanks to my awesome and amazing friend Karen, who bought a Valentine’s Day-themed sticker pack for me at Target. I held nothing back, as you can see. (Those little green guys are recyle days and paydays.)

Fabulous February spread

And then there’s the weekly view, which is the bread and butter of this industry. I love the way the Happy Planner breaks the week into seven days and the days into thirds. I use them for 1) before work 2) at work 3) after work. There’s a weekly sidebar on the left that I use for To Do’s. And different planner companies will give you the option, or not, to start your week on Sunday or Monday. Some people want the work week sandwiched by the weekend on either side, like bookends. I’m not about that life. The reason the weekend is beautiful isĀ becauseĀ it’s two days together, and hopefully, two days off together.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hope you enjoyed my sticker book, I mean “planner.” It must be a planner, right? It has the word right there in the name… So some of the stickers featured here I bought at the Container Store (these and these). But most of the stickers featured here were made by etsy artists:

Happy Cutie StudioĀ UK
Planner FrenzyĀ New Hampshire
Anna’s Planner BubbleĀ Poland
Planner StudioĀ California
iArtisansĀ Canada
Plan GorgeouslyĀ California
Tiny Little TulipĀ Arkansas
Brianna Nicole DesignzĀ Wisconsin
Keena PrintsĀ Philippines
Domino 626Ā Virginia
Once More With LoveĀ Canada
S. G. StationeryĀ Arizona
Hello StickersĀ Georgia
Ashwood ArtsĀ Texas

Posted in General

2017 Year End, 2018 Year Beginning

want to read
Tried it, didnā€™t like it
Wasnā€™t in the right mood, want to give it another shot
Loved this book
Want to make something like this


So I named my character Dr. Cicely

In December 2017, I went offtrack with my reading challenges, and I didn’t end up being able to finish all of them. I was in denial for a bit, telling myself if I read most of a book in December and only finished it in early January, it could still be counted. But the truth was, there were certain books I just wasn’t making any progress with. I’d also fallen behind on the blog reviews about the books I had finished reading, even though I prepared the Instagram art for them and everything. I just sort of… lost my way. By January 2018, I’d gotten caught up in several addictive phone games, and everything else was shoved to the wayside while I fed my brain all the pellets my button pushing would yield. It’s only in the last several days that I’ve taken a look at myself and realized I didn’t like what I saw. So I’m back, And that for me means running every morning M-F; writing every evening; reading most evenings; and not being a slave to my phone. I deleted the Facebook app off my phone again, and many more that were eating up my time and attention. And Iā€™ve decided to take up the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way challenge.

No idea what this is actually for but Iā€™m always looking forward to the next nanowrimo šŸ˜€


So I had prepared two sets of Instagram posts to accompany book reviews that I didnā€™t end up writing, so here they are below. Ā D299146F-BED4-4B69-9CBD-031AAF44AECB59B390D2-DDCE-4014-B140-57061A6F196109E3CEFC-7D63-444D-96E0-4F63C226C1FF68B08FC0-BFC3-4084-BD1B-028134EDF79A97EDD58F-4261-46B9-A6DE-B76DF17B8110096152E2-AE13-483C-A0C6-51AF1E3A84FCAC1133AF-C85E-4F7F-B3E6-A1CC7E8F0E02A5F4A375-0C56-48AB-A0AF-F1AFA65FFF5A

Iā€™ve also been thinking lately abt that Star Trek episode and how it relates to everything about Drumpfā€™s administration. Donā€™t think for a second that he should be dismissed as ā€œjust a crazy person.ā€ He knows exactly what heā€™s doing.


Posted in Jobe Workshop Review, Writing Prompts

Creative Writing 101 for Teens: Workshop Review

I only had one hour instead of the two hours I’m used to, but I knew I could use the time to provide some starting pointers for the attendees. I told the class about my blog and let them know that if they were looking forĀ inspiration or encouragement, “Thursday Writers” would be a good category to browse. I explained that writing is one of those awesome things that you can get better at just by doing it, whether you have a teacher or not.

I opened the class with the usual introductions around the room. Then we started talking about stories. Whether we’re used to writing or not, we know a lot more about story structure and content than we think we do. Because we all read stories, we all watch stories unfold on the screen, and we all tell stories about things that have happened to us or people we know. So even if we’re new to writing, don’t be scared to get started. And since even adults sometimes feel too self-conscious, I didn’t ask anyone to read aloud after each prompt; we just went around the table and talked about our writing or the ideas we explored.

I told the class that a main character always has something they want, and that’s relatable, because we all have things that we want too. So we dove right into our first writing exercise: Desire. Write about something you want.

After that we talked about how a story always has conflict. That conflict can come from another person who wants something different than (or the opposite of) what the main character wants. Or it could be an event that takes place, like a tornado or a breakup or an injury. For the second writing exercise: Conflict. Write aboutĀ  someone or something in the way between you and your goal.

We talked about how story structure, no matter how complicated it seems, can basically be broken down into these classic categories:Ā story_arc

The example we used was of a college student who wanted to study abroad. Maybe she’s rushing to get the paperwork in on time, but the office is closed early, but she happens to know someone who can still get her in—whether the story is a mystery and there’s a dead body in the travel location when the student arrives; whether it’s a romance and she meets someone once she arrives; if it’s a science fiction story and she has to travel off-world. No matter the genre, all stories follow the basic structure.

I wanted to make sure to mention some fun writing prompt sites so they could be on the lookout for prompts of their own. I told them about the weird and sometimes hilarious watchout4snakes, and I told them about the 7x7x7 exercise from Write to Done. We talked about how anything in life can be used as inspiration for a story idea, and that if a person were to carry around a little notebook all day and just write down all the interesting things they encountered, from overheard conversation to quotes from other writers, they might find a lot of content from which to spark.

Next I asked the teens to come up with suggestions for things that people are afraid of. They threw up some fun ideas: clowns, spiders, water, death, children, heights, social situations, stage fright, and technology. I asked them to call out some of the “touchy subjects” we’re not supposed to talk about:Ā politics, relationships, sexuality & gender, religion, money, and personal views. The third writing exercise was to create a scene using one or two of these concepts as the cause of tension in the scene.

We made sure to do prizes for everybody, a Jobe class hallmark, and this time it was free books, select at your leisure.

Lastly I asked the teens to call out their ages. We had a great range, from 13 to 19. I talked about how some knowledge comes from immediate experience, and people who are older or younger than we are may not understand something as well as we do or be as familiar with it, because of age. For the last writing exercise, I asked the teens to write about something they know because of their age.

For more writing resources for teens, Read Brightly suggests Teen Ink,Ā One Teen Story, and (what used to be Figment and is now)Ā Get Underlined. For writers of YA Lit, check out Go Teen WritersĀ and Kim Chance, including this guest post from Lucia Brucoli. And if you still want more, pick up my all-time fave on the topic, Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks.