Category: life lessons

Life Lessons: If my dog could talk, he would recommend…

5-Things-for-My-Dingo
One..Two..Three..Four..Five

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Sorry I’m missed last week! Easter weekend, so I was spending time with my family. I hope you were too!

I adopted a canine a few months ago: Mr. JayJay! I’m sure if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you have seen photos of him. Not to brag…but he’s pretty amazing.

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He is my buddy! He is part of my family. I’m sure if he could talk, he would would tell you to get the following products for your bud:

1. Well & Good De-Shedding Dog Blade
My dingo is a SHEDDER. My mom and I walk to the pet store a few weeks ago and I picked up something similar to this product for around 10 bucks, and love it! After dinner, I usually spend a half hour or so “grooming” him. Not only are we bonding but I helping all the hair he is shedding to come out! (Is that the right phrase?)

2. Petmate FurBuster 3-in-1 Grooming Glove for Dogs
I use this after I use the shedding blade. Again, picked a similar product up for about 10 bucks! Also, works great on clothing and furniture!

3. Petlinks Tricky Treater Dog Toy
He loves this toy! I’ve tried treat dispensing balls before, but they all were made of soft plastic and he ended up just chewing instead of playing. This had a hard outer shell and few “difficulties.” I’ve put everything from dry food to cheerios to play with and he is always engaged!

4. KONG® Reflective Dog Harness
Never go on a walk without this! My bud is a JUMPER! I feel so much safer knowing he has the harness to restrain him. I also have the matching leash, which has a control grip on it that I love! It helps teach him that I am walking him and he is not walking me!

5. Starmark Everlasting Wheel Treat Dispenser Dog Toy
Another must have! This is almost a 2 in 1 toy. He likes to play with it with and without a treat inside. Basically, you buy the base toy and then refills to place in the toy. It takes me about 20 minutes to get the treat in, but he will play with it for about 2 hrs. I like to use this when I’m eating dinner (and he’s not complaining!)

What about you!? What would your bud recommend?

Talk soon,
Jennifer

 

Thursday Thoughts: My life without a micowave.

Good afternoon everyone!

Let’s talk food…sorry, I don’t have a fun recipe for you today. I want to talk about how you cook food.

I never thought I would miss a microwave. Truth be told, I’m surviving GREAT without one.

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I grew up with a microwave. I had one at my childhood home. When I moved to college, I had one in my dorm room. My first apartment, and every apartment and house after that – microwave. It wasn’t until I moved into my current apartment that I didn’t “inherit” a microwave. I had a family friend that was going to give me one – and we just never met up for me to pick it up. I wasn’t too terrified the first week, there was a lot of ordering pizza or eating out with friends until I got settled in. Days turned into weeks, which turned into months. I still have yet to notice that I don’t have one.

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What were some of my assumptions?

Leftovers would take longer to make.

False-ish. I have not noticed the increased time it takes to heat up left overs. I normally get home from work, turn on the oven, and start doing other things while my oven “pre-heats.” After I see the little light go off and I pop in my left overs and begin to do other things while my food is cooking. Again, I don’t notice the extra 10 minutes it takes to heat up my food, but maybe your will. Truth be told, I tend to get more done while I’m waiting for my food!

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No more popcorn!

False! I thought that I would never get to make popcorn again. All you need are popcorn kernels and a little oil – voila! Stove top popcorn! It’s actually better! You can cook the kernels with what ever seasoning you want and it cooks into your popcorn! Delicious!

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Kiss your frozen meals good-bye.

False! Most frozen meals (or any frozen product) have instructions on cooking in the oven! Just takes an extra little bit of reading to find the instructions! Again, I think it tastes better in the oven!

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At the end of the day, do I miss the convenience of a microwave? Yes. Have I died without one? No. If I was moving, on a budget, and didn’t have one, would I buy one? Probably not.

Challenge! Try not using your microwave for a week. See how you do!

Talk soon,
Jennifer

Life Lessons: What I should have been taught in driver’s ed.

Okay, so I’ve been driving for the better part of 10 years now and I still fell like there are certain situations to with I was taught how to deal. I’m not sure how other states are, but in Ohio, if you want to get your license and you are under 18, you have to take “driver’s ed.”

Like many of my fellow, I have been through driver’s education. However, after 10 years, there are things I learn each season that I feel like they should have taught me. Today I want to share a few:

How to drive in snow.

Snow is gross to drive in. I was driving home from my dad’s house after the super bowl and was inspired to make this post. Driver’s ed never taught me to “turn into the slide” or “tap your breaks” to stop. For an extra fee they could, but this should come standard if you live in the mid-West. What I’ve learned after 10 seasons of snow: don’t drive unless it’s an emergency and if you do, take. your. time!!

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Use your hazards!

One summer while visiting a friend in South Carolina, we decided to go to Charleston (she lived in Rock Hill, which is about 45 minutes from Charlotte, NC). If your from the South, you are familiar with afternoon thunderstorms. While driving, we encountered one of these. “Turn on your hazards!” She said. Oh. My. Gosh. I was amazed! This is awesome!! I thought. I can see the cars around me, because everyone had their hazards on! Why does no one in Ohio do this…

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Rotate your tires, every other oil change.

Just do it, enough said. Your tire will last longer.

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How to change a flat tire.

Why is this not standard? I learned how to change my first flat when I was 17. Since then, I’ve had about 5 flat tires. I consider myself luck. Why, do you ask? Because I know how to change a flat tire! I was with an old co-worker one day and she was 10 years older than me and had never changed a flat. I couldn’t believe it! Why is this not standard in driver’s education? Not everyone has road side assistance.

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HOV lanes

Better know as the “high occupancy vehicle” or “commuter” lane. I don’t think I’ll ever have the opportunity to use this lane. Designated for cars with 3 or more passengers. Truthfully, whenever I need these lanes they are closed or no one is driving in them, oh well. I’ll just wait in normal traffic…

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Well, there you go! I’m sure there are plenty of more things that I have learned over the years and can’t recall at this point. What about you? What do you with you would have learned in driver’s ed?

Talk soon!
Jennifer

Thursday Thought: 5 songs I listen to that I didn’t know the meaning until my 20s

Music is my past, present, and future. I don’t play in a band…nor do I even play a musical instrument. Maybe one day I will! I just really enjoy music! I listen to all types of music – however in high school, I believe we were called “emo kids.” My nickname was “emo hardcore girl.” Okay, this was before hipsters, before scene kids, and even before “scenesters.” (wait, are those two the same thing?)

Maybe I will find a picture and show you all…

Anyway! Here are a few songs that I used to listened to back in the day, but never understood the meaning. When I went back and listen to them today, I finally understand what they are talking about! Take a listen:

Set Your Goals: Work in Progress

The Wonder Years: My Last Semester

Gym Class Heroes: Simple Livin’

Brand New: Seventy Times 7

Straylight Run: Existentialism on Prom Night

I hope that you like at least one of these songs. More importantly, I hope that you got something OUT of one of these songs. I have 100 more songs that I listened to and never understood. What about you? Ever listen to a song from “back in the day” and finally understood the meaning?

Talk soon,
Jennifer

 

Life Lessons: Why I was able to quickly find a job.

Looking for a job is hard! Newly graduated students can attest – searching for a job in you field of study can be extremely difficult. I am on the side of those who went to college without the intention of getting a job from the within their chosen major. I won’t bore you with my college saga (I’ll save that for another post), but I can sympathize with those undergrads who went to college because “that’s what you do after high school!”

I also know what it is like to be laid off from a job. Over the summer, I got a phone call on my day off from my old manager stating that my place of employment was to close in 10 days. I was not scared that I would be in a financial pickle (I’ve prepared for something like that to happen; another time, another post), I was more afraid of the fact that I had not applied and interviewed for a job in over seven years!

Here are a few things that I learned while I was applying and interviewing for jobs:

Don’t wait.
Whether graduation is close or you know your employment is being terminated soon, don’t wait to start looking! When I found out my work was closing, the next day I started applying for jobs. Likewise, even though I knew I wasn’t going to get a job in my field after graduation, I still looked and applied to a few a couple months before my final semester ended. Why am I saying don’t wait? For me, it was the snowball effect. Once I tasted the sweetness of the unemployed life, it would just contribute to my laziness. “I’ll do that later” would turn into “I’ll do it tomorrow” and it would lead to “sometime next week.” I know, I’ve been there. Stop procrastinating! Get on the computer and search for jobs! Jump in the car and pick up some applications!

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Always know “there isn’t a job you can’t learn.”
Don’t think your qualified for the job? Apply anyway! I know that it can be tiring applying for job after job, but don’t rule out a job you might enjoy doing just because you only have half of the qualifications. There were quite a few jobs that I had applied to thinking that I didn’t meet the qualifications, and a couple of them I actually got interviews! Even if you only have one qualifications for the job, apply! What’s the worst that will happen?

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Be yourself.
I know this seems simple, but employers know when you are “telling them what they want to hear.” One of the most common questions I was asked during any of the interviews I’ve been on was “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or some variation of this. I have no problem answering “I can tell you where I see myself, but I guarantee that’s not what’s going to happen.” It’s an honest answer, and chances are it lead to an interesting conversation, because it was a unique answer. I was always honest and upfront in my interviews. If I didn’t have an answer, I didn’t try and make something up. Honesty is the best policy, just be yourself!

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Apply for things outside your comfort zone.
Are the qualifications a four year degree and customer service experience? Chances are you have that! Apply! This goes along with there isn’t a job your can’t learn. I currently work in insurance (I don’t sell it!), and before I got the job I had no experience in insurance. The qualifications were a four year degree and a minimum of one year in customer service, very common, so I applied! Two phone interviews and two in person interviews later I got the job. Don’t limit where you apply because it’s an industry to which you have no experience; nine times out of 10 they have their own “on the job” training program.

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Ask questions.
There is always that point in the interview when the employer turns to you and asks “do you have any questions for us?” In my opinion, the worst thing you can say is, “no, not that I can think of!” Even if you don’t care what the answer is to the question, ask anyway! Common questions I would ask are “How long have you been with the company?” “Tell me more about the job responsibilities.” “What kind of compensation packages are offered for this position?” “What are the next steps in the interviewing process?” Be engaging. Gain as much information about the job you are applying for as possible, that way you can get a good idea of what you could actually be doing. This way, if it is something you don’t think you want to do, you’ll know right away rather than starting the job and not liking it.

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Always send a thank you.
Remember they are doing you a favor by giving you an interview. Courtesy opens many doors. If you are in contention for a job with one other person and you send a thank you and they don’t, chances are you will get the job over them. There is no template for what you write. Again, be yourself. Let them know how you feel! It is more sincere if you write that rather than copying and pasting a template from the internet.

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These are common things that I have learned during my month of applying for jobs. I was able to find a job in a little less than a month. My coffee shop closed on August 3rd and on September 2nd I started my new job. I hope the things above can help you when applying for you next job!

Talk soon,
Jennifer

Thursday Thoughts: I’m proud to say my degree is in Geography!

I love talking about my college experience. Truth be told, I would love to be a forever student. One of my passions is learning. The aspects of college I loved were going to class and learning new things. Do I wish I would have been more involved? Heck yeah, but everything happens for a reason!

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For a while, I was ashamed to say I was a geography major. Why? Because I usually received one of two responses: OMG?!? So, you study maps?! (No.) or So, you study rocks (again, No.). This is when I began to embellish and call my major “atmospheric sciences” or “climatology,” which was half true.

After I got bored of explaining what “atmospheric sciences” meant, I reverted back to the major of geography. Only this time, I embraced it. I laughed when people called me a “geologist” and explained to people I don’t study “maps” but I know how to make them!

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Now, I love telling people I majored in Geography. I feel entitled to joke that “I’ll never get lost” and brag that I know more countries in Africa than most people. When people ask what jobs you can get with a degree in geography, I tell them that I went the useless geography route and studied something interesting, but I have the skills and knowledge to get a job in the field if need be. (Side note: most people who study geography get a job in GIS, geographic information systems. So, yes, you can get a GOOD job with a geography degree. Ever heard of ESRI? Leader in mapping software. Love me some ArcMap!!). Back to reality, nerded out for a moment.

Point for my thought today? I would have majored in something that I enjoyed learning about than pick a major just to get a job.

Population Change in Utah: Map by Me! For more info read here

Talk soon,
Jennifer

 

Life Lessons: Staying positive when times are tough.

Last year was not the greatest for me. I’ve been through some situations that I hope to never have to go through again. It could always be worse, and I look back on the year now and see it as a great learning experience.

When I talk about my life with others, I get a lot of comments such as “well, you sure are looking on the bright side” or “you have such a positive energy about you!” Almost two years ago, I did a daily project using the Backspaces app about looking for an upside or positive thing that happened that day. Sharing my positivity with others was one of my ways to vent my stress.

We all have stresses in are lives that can be hard to deal with. I want to talk about some of the ways that have helped me:

1. Hanging out with friends and family.
This is probably my number one “go to” when I am stressed out. No one understands the words “I don’t want to talk about it” more than my mom, and she always knows how to change the subject! On the other hand, if I need to vent, she is always there for me. Family and friends can prove to be a great distraction to you stress, especially if you don’t want to talk! This gives you the opportunity to practice your listening skills and it shows your friends that you don’t have to talk all the time.

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2. Watching a movie or read a book.
I take time during my lunch at work to read so I can escape from the tasks at hand and feel refreshed. If you aren’t a reader, no biggie. Movies are a great “pick-me-up” when I’m feeling down. I’m a Disney movie fanatic – so ANY Disney movie puts me in a great mood. TV-shows work, too! Honestly, Netflix is the best $8.00 I spend a month. You can always find something to watch on there!

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3. Start a hobby!
You may have already noticed, I’m a crafter! I love making anything and EVERYTHING. I’m always willing to try new crafts! When I start a new project, I lose sight of reality almost. Crafts are a great stress relief for me and it also happens to be my favorite hobby. Think about a hobby that you enjoy. Karate? Chess? Video Games? Take a class, join a club, or rent/buy a game. Do what you enjoy in your free time, make it your “me time”!

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4. Puppy (or kitty or bunny) therapy!
I’m convinced that one of the only things that got me through last summer was my ex-boyfriend’s puppy. Why? She didn’t judge me, she was always there to listen, she was ALWAYS excited to see me, and she loved me no matter what! She wan the perfect cuddle buddy and kept me company when I’m alone. Don’t know someone who has a pet? Jump in the car, head to the pet store, and pet shop! Ask to hold the kitties or bunnies or puppies. They truly do wonders, even if you aren’t their owner!

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5. Take a walk.
Sometimes you got to just walk away. Even if you aren’t one who normally exercises (I am definitely one of them!), a quick stroll around the block to get away and breathe in some fresh air is welcomed every now and then. Step away and clear your head. Not only can you feel refreshed, chances are you’ll be able to see something you maybe didn’t see before!

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Again, this is what has worked for me! Everyone deals with stress differently. How do you deal with stress or negativity? Like I always say, I’m always open to suggestions!

Talk soon,
Jennifer

Thursday Thoughts: The best way to shop Jo-Ann Fabric on Black Friday.

How’s your week going?! I hope well!

I’m not a Black Friday person. I’ve done it a couple of times, but I only look forward to one store: Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Jennifer. It’s March, why are you talking about Black Friday? Well, I don’t know!? You could use these techniques on a busy Saturday, or stock pile them for Black Friday! Your choice.

I think I have gone to Jo-Ann every year on Black Friday for the past 5 years. Today I want to share a couple tricks I learned over the years that allows me to get in and out of the store in less than 2 hours:

Grab your ticket for the cutting counter FIRST, then shop for your fabrics.
The first couple years I went to there on Black Friday I did all of my fabric shopping and then got my number and waited almost 2 hours to get my fabric cut, making my entire shopping trip almost 4 hours! By the third year one waiting at the cutting counter within the giant mob, I started a conversation with the woman next to me. She shared with me this piece of advice: when you get to the store, go an get your number FIRST and then do you shopping. They call the numbers over the PA, so you’ll know when you need to start wrapping up and heading up to the counter. The next year, I used this technique and saved almost two hours! Who knew!!

Ask for the bolt after they have had their fabric cut.
This one is pretty simple. Do you see a bolt of fabric that some else has? Ask them to have it after they have gotten the amount of yardage they want from it! If you don’t, the employees will just put it in the pile and it will get lost for hours until it gets put back on the shelves. By that point, you’ll already be home and wishing you just would have asked for the bolt when they were finished…I’m not speaking from experience or anything…but I am…

Make a list and walk the store a couple days before.
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nless you are like me and know the store like the back of your hand, take a trip to the store so you know the layout! That way you can get in and out because you’ll know exactly where everything is you want!

Be nice, make conversation!
How did I know about getting a number then shopping? Where did I get the fun fabric for the PJ-pants I wear to bed? I made conversation! Talk to the people around you! You’ll be amazed about what you’ll find out. I know there is a woman every Black Friday who shops at my Jo-Ann’s for fabric to make blankets for Project Linus. One of my goals is to contribute to this organization one day. I would have never known about this non-profit if it wasn’t for talking to the people around me when I was waiting!

Buy gift cards beforehand.
Not sure how many of you guys have Giant Eagle, but for those of you who do (and shop there) you know about fuel rewards. Basically, every $50 you earn 10 cents off per gallon. Usually around Holiday’s, they run double fuel rewards when you buy gift cards. If I know I’m going to spend at least 100, I’ll buy Jo-Ann’s gift cards from Giant Eagle and earn 40 cents off a gallon! Win-win! If I know I’m going to spend the money, why not benefit! Look to see if your local grocer has a similar program. (BTDubbs, also use this technique for big ticket purchases such as Home Depot or Best Buy) 🙂

Like I said, I am not a Black Friday person, however I cannot turn down a good craft store sale. I hope you learned at least one new thing today! What about you?? Are there any techniques you utilize when shopping on Black Friday?!

Talk Soon,
Jennifer

Life Lessons: What I’ve learned about time management.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a procrastinator. Who isn’t at some point in their life?
“I’ll get off the computer at 7:45” or “I’ll wake up early to finish my work”
“One more game” or “Five more minutes” or “Ten minute nap”
Chances are I didn’t get off the computer until close to 2, I chose to sleep over finishing my work, and there was definitely more than one more game. I’ve used almost every excuse in the book.

I had a lot of things to juggle when I was an undergrad. (I have a lot of things to juggle now!) I always bite off more than I can chew.
I’ve had a lot of trial and error of what works when it comes to time management over the past few years. Here are some things that have worked for me:

1. Know what is a priority.
I think that this is the number one thing everyone always tells you when it comes to time management growing up. “Know what your priorities are and get those done first.” What does that actually mean? How do I know what is most important? Well, that’s something I can’t tell you. It depends on the situation. If I was at work, helping customers was always my top priority. When it came to school, I prioritized by assignment due dates. In my personal life, I always make the chores I enjoy least my top priority (so I could get them out of the way!!) Everyone’s priorities are different! Organize by what’s important to you (or what you want to get out of the way!!)

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2. Reward yourself!
I wrote a post back in May about the top apps I used in college. One of the best (free!) apps I liked to use was the 30/30 app. It’s based on the principle to work for 30 minutes, then break for 30 minutes. I see this as a little reward! Did you just finish the introduction to your paper? Take a 15 minute Facebook break! Finish the dishes? Pinterest break! Use it as a motivation tool. You wouldn’t believe how much schoolwork I accomplished when I used the 30/30 principle. Try it!

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3. Try and mulit-task (when you can).
Multi-tasking is an art that can take years to master. I am thankful enough to have worked in many jobs where I had to multi-task in order to get things done. Multi-tasking can be dangerous if not executed properly. If you become overwhelmed by working on more than one task at a time, try starting small. I used to make a voice recording on my thoughts on my drives to class or work. On the reverse, I would record my professors lectures and listen to them while cleaning my apartment. Waiting in line at the cafeteria? Respond to emails. Start small and work your way up to larger multi-tasks. It may seem silly to save just to save a few seconds, but the few seconds you save here and there add up over time.

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4. Apply the two-minute rule.
Pretty self explanatory. If the task at hand takes less than two minutes, don’t put it off. It will take you longer to make a note to do it later than it would to just do it! Make sense?

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5. Avoid distractions!!
I still struggle with this one, and I will always struggle with this one. I get distracted so easily! This is why I can normally only do work in my office or offsite, and not at home. It takes a lot of discipline to work from home, and I applaud those who can! I’ve become better over the years, but there are still too many things at my home that distract me. How do I minimize distractions? Hide my phone! Leave the iPad at home! Log out of Pinterest and Twitter. (I’m not on Facebook.) Keep your goals in mind! Think to yourself, “the sooner I get this work done, the sooner I’ll have time to do what I want!”

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Everyone has their own time management strategies. Above is a list of things that work or have worked for me! Everyone is different, everyone has their own system. What works for you? I’m always open for suggestions!!

 

Talk soon,
Jennifer

 

Thursday’s Thought: People who want to make me try something new.

Have you ever seen something on TV or read about someone in a magazine and thought “Man, that makes me want to try that!” Let me explain.

I love trying new things. Whether it is food, hobbies, drinks, TV shows, movies…the list goes on and on. I constantly read about people who do things that I think are so cool and would LOVE to try. This is where my running list of “birthday to do list” comes in handy (see my post about 24 things to do before 25).

Today, I want to talk about a few people that inspire me to try new things, whether it is just because they do something wicked sweet or because of their positive attitude.

Lindsey Stirling

I LOVE just listening to her music, it’s neutral enough where I can get my work done but not so boring I’m falling asleep. Why am I talking about her? Because when I finally saw the video for “Crystallize,” I wanted to sign up for adult ballet lessons and buy a violin. She makes it look so COOL. I could be exaggerating a little (or a lot). Regardless, if I ever try and play an instrument, it will be a violin and I will be thanking Lindsey Stirling for that.

Video Credit: LindseyStomp @ YouTube ; Further Reading: Lindsey Stirling’s About Me

Lauren at LLadybird

Every time a new post of hers comes up in my Bloglovin‘ feed it makes me want to sew my own clothes! I know how to sew and the extent of my clothing-sewing abilities is mainly pajama pants, repairs, and hemming. I constantly buy patterns when they are on SUPER sale but I never get around to sewing them. LLadybird’s blog inspires me to make the time to sew and push myself past the basics. I’m telling myself this now, I WILL make the time to sew my own cloths in the future – thanks to LLadybird!

Photo Credit via LLadyBird’s About Me

Further Reading: LLadybird’s About Me

Chef Alton on Cutthroat Kitchen

Okay, this show is just hilarious. If you have Netflix or cable, and have never watched this before, I suggest to DVR it or put it in your queue. The challenges that some of the chefs featured on this show have to do or the way they have to cook makes me want to try just for shiggles, and it’s all because of Alton. I will be a firm believer that these are all his ideas (spoilers, please don’t tell me if there is a brainstorming, thanks!). I think it would be hilarious to make your friend try and cut their raw meat with a paper cutter or only be able to use tin foil for their utensils and cookware. However, the benefit is if I’m in a pickle when it comes to cooking, I have plenty of options!

Photo Credit Via Food Network

Further Reading: Cutthroat Kitchen Homepage @ Food Network

Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman of ABM

Naturally! Many of the articles featured on their blog I gain inspiration from! I would love to achieve the level of success they have paved for themselves. I still have a lot of work and a long way to go, but their dedication is what inspires me. So, how do they make me want to try new things? It’s not so much about trying new things, but not being afraid to try new things (not that I’m afraid). Between owning a retail store, online shop, clothing line, writing a book, etc. they have truly shown that it’s okay to try and not be successful, but what matter is you TRIED something new and learned from it!

Photo Credit via ABM

Further reading: ABM About Me

These are just a few people off the time of my head that inspire me to try something new. (If you are reading about yourself and I am incorrectly using your photo please tell me and I’ll take it down! I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes.) How about you? Who are some people that you find as an inspiration? Or what have you seen on TV or in a magazine that you thought was cool and you wanted to try? Like I always say, I’m always up for new things!

Talk soon,
Jennifer