Friday, November 30, 2012

Favorite Posts of November

This year has gone by way too fast. Is it just me, or was it just like June and 110 degrees?
Now it is November, and the high is all of 65 degrees today.

Where does the time go?

I don't think we will ever know the answer to that question. But, that's part of life, right?
You just gotta enjoy it!

In November, I really vamped up my blog. I posted more, and I put more thought into my posts. And I really think that it has shown in the page views and comments. Now I want to show you my five most popular posts of November! Go check them out!



I can't wait to see what December has in store!




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Freebie Friday: Christmas Printables

I love everything about Christmas. I love the decorations. I love hot chocolate. I love snuggling under warm blankets. I love Santa Hats. I even love rain and cold weather!
I love the baking. I love the time with friends. 


I am a total winter girl (my birthday is in February), and Christmas is one of my favorite days of the year! 
I will also be celebrating Hannukah this year, but that's a different post for a different day. 
Today, since its Friday, and since I love you, I have not one, but TWO freebies! Two free Christmas Printables! I am thinking of opening an Etsy store, to design things like this, because it is so much fun. And so different from what I do all day at my day job. What do you think?
Could I make the cut?
Anyways, click the image of the printable you want to go to the download page.
Let me know what you think. :)


And even though this picture has nothing to do with this post, I have to show you. Loki is crazy.  And loves bags.


Happy Friday, Loves! Come back tomorrow for Design Tips: Vector Vs. Raster.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blogging Tips: Buffer

As many of you may know, I am a college student.
And I work full time.
(And sometimes even overtime!)

And as much as I love all of you, sometimes I just don't have time to be glued to my computer.
(As much as I would love it - my eyes would hate it)

(Side note - I had to write something that didn't start with an "A". The past five lines all started with an "A". It kinda was freaking me out. Sorry. I'm weird.)

So I am going to let you in on a secret.

Buffer

I LOVE Buffer.
It makes my life SO simple!

But before I show you, I want you to promise something.
Promise that you will not just use this for your social media.
Just because scheduling exists, doesn't mean you shouldn't interact.

Scheduling should be the starting point of interaction, not the whole interaction.

Now that everyone has promised, let's get down to it.




I'm not going to go into the basics, I just want to show you.
This is the screen where you put in your content. There is also a Chrome extension, which makes things really easy to share. 

I just use my Facebook Page, and my Twitter. I think you can also use your personal Facebook, but I don't.


And here is my page with some content, that you may have seen me post last week. 
Well, actually, Buffer did it. 
I wrote it and they posted it for me.
They are so nice.

On the content you wish to post to your Facebook Page, you can select the thumbnail you wish to use. 

My only wish is that they had like a hashtag cloud or something, but I'm not an over abuser of hashtags anyway, so it doesn't really matter.

I love Buffer because I am busy, and I love to share content. I share things I find on Pinterest or Stumbleupon, or even things I read out in my blogosphere circle. (And when you are on my sponsors, I try and give you shout outs as well!) So I just love this! That way you guys don't get overloaded with the things I want to share, because, honestly, I can spend hours on Pinterest/Stumbleupon. This way, I can space it out with quotes or questions, or other things. :)

Do you use anything to automate your social media?


I was in no way compensated for this post. I just love Buffer. And they told me on Twitter that they love me too. So there. :P














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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why I really need to get organized...

Because this board stares at me. It expects me to do something with all these pins.
You know, rather than stare at them?
Do I have all my household stuff in one, awesome, binder?
...That would be a "NO"

Do I have a nifty grocery list plan?
... Sorry..

Do I have my recipes in a cute, decorated binder?
....They are in a sheet protector! But no. 




But, I certainly love knowing that those pins are there.

Because I might need them. 

Someday.

Maybe.

I am a pin hoarder.

I need help.

Do you have boards that you wish you would actually put to good use?

Don't even get me started on my "weight loss" board.
Follow me on Pinterest, and I will show you some cool stuff. Promise.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Design Tips: The Shape Builder Tool


So I am going to try something a bit different today. I am left aligned!
It looks different from over here.

I kid, I kid.

What have I got in store for you today?

A TUTORIAL!



Well, really, a tip, if you will. The Shape Builder Tool in Illustrator. It's a really great tool that is new to CS5. Think of it as Pathfinder's new, cute, little brother.

Not that Pathfinder doesn't have its uses, but don't get me started on that.

It could get ugly.

Getting down to business.


Say you have two boxes, like the ones above. And you want to join them.

What are you to do?

The shape builder tool to the rescue! You just select the shapes you want to join, as shown above, and use the shape builder tool.


And, using the tool, drag across the shapes to create the shape you want. The shapes that are going to join will turn a dark grey. The line show is the line I used to create the shape in the next picture. That actually shows. So it's pretty helpful.


And, like magic, you now have one congruent shape! Once you get the hang of it, it only takes about five seconds. Honest.
I hope this helps! I love posting these little tips!
If you ever want to learn anything special, leave a comment or contact me.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Freebie Friday: Storyboard Template

Happy Black Friday, Loves! 
I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving, if you're into that kinda thing. I'm still pretty full!
I have something great to announce today.
 
I am going to start a new feature around these parts.
It's called Freebie Friday!
 
 (Kinda goes well with today, considering many of you might be out shopping for deals!)
 
What I want this to be is one day a week (hopefully) I want to offer you a little something for free. It will probably be things like templates or printables. That kind of thing. But who knows, it could grow into something better! I'm always open to ideas! Let me know in the comments if there is any kind of template or anything you are looking for.
 
I am always here to help.
 
For today, I have a storyboard template. It's kinda similar to the Collage Template I shared not too long ago, but its only three pictures.  Something like you would use on your blog.
 
Images like these help your blog load faster, because instead of loading 3 pictures, it only has to load one. 
Plus, I think it makes a post look pretty sharp. And organized like.
 
I used this template to make this, because this weather makes me miss the mountains.
Enjoy!
 
Click here to download this PSD file template.
Disclaimer: This file was created by me and is my intellectual property. 
You are free to use it for noncommerical work, but please do not redistribute as your own.
 That is stealing and it makes me sad.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Literary Junkies

When I was a kid, probably in first grade or so, I was in an elite (read: two kids) group in my class that were reading chapter books. Because of this, I got to read in a little house my teacher had set up. I would read  The Magic Treehouse books. I think that I might have read them all!
 

Since then, my love for reading and books has never stopped growing. So when I saw the opportunity to join the Literary Junkies book club, you can bet that I jumped on it! The group was created by Lesley and Taylor. I am having so much fun reading The Night Circus, which is our first book! It is absolutely wonderful so far. Very intriguing. 
 
Before they started the book club, they started a link up for everyone to show their love of books!
Since my BFF Abigail doesn't have a blog of her own (I am trying to convince her!), she will be answering these questions here with me.
 
I always love to have her!


What book are you currently reading? Give us a little synopsis and your review.



Jessica:

I am currently reading a few books. The Night Circus, for Literary Junkies, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and The Five Love Languages: The Secret of Love That Lasts. The Night Circus is very intriguing so far. So far it has been about a magician who has been given custody of his daughter and is putting her in some kind of competition with a man in a grey suit. I love Bridget Jones. She is hilarious. I just love british humor. And The Five Love Languages is a great read, it really shows you how people understand and give love differently. They really are like different languages.

 


Abigail: 
 
I'm reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It is about a magical competition in the midst of a circus. The circus is having some strange effect on all the people connected to it. The two magicians have been training for this competition, which they know almost nothing about, since they were children. It is a story about love, loss, and the unknown. So far it is captivating and I jump at every chance I get to pick it back up. Even if you are not apart of the book club, you should read this book. 

What are your three favorite books of all time?


Jessica:

Oh geez. This is hard. My favorite books of all time would have to be.... The Lovely Bones, which is so tragically beautiful. It made me cry. Like, full on cry. In bad ways, and good ways. That sounds completely crazy. But read it.




 
Another would have to be The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It makes you realize that no matter how small you consider your actions, they can have an effect on someone else's life in a major way.  
 
This is really, really hard. I'm going to cheat and actually say four books, because I really can't decide. And even in limiting it to four books is incredibly hard. Every book I have ever read has left an imprint on me that I won't ever be able to shake. But I am going to say The Silence of the Lambs and The Green Mile. Both are incredibly amazing books. I was shocked by how much I loved The Silence of the Lambs. I couldn't put it down. The movie wasn't something I would normally watch, (because I'm a sissy) but after reading the book, I had to watch it. That is a series I hope to someday start here. Movies vs. Books.  
 
Anyways. I digress. 
 
The Green Mile. Stephen King is a terrific writer. I haven't yet been able to make it through Carrie, or IT, or Pet Cemetary, but The Green Mile. It is a very, very long book. But since I wasn't able to put it down, I finished it very quickly. And again, HAD to watch the movie. Because I hadn't seen it, and apparently that is some sort of crime and I was about to go to jail or something. Read. Watch. And then help me find Percy and hurt him. 
 
Abigail:
 
Ok so To Kill a Mocking Bird, the Stephanie Plum series, and The Monster of Florence. Well those are my favorites at this moment lol. They change constantly. 



 

What is your "approach" upon entering a bookstore? Where do you immediately head after entering through the front door?


 Jessica:

Well, it really depends. Before our Borders went out of business, I would head to the YA section. But I would also head to the literary classics section, the craft section. (Long story short: I go everywhere in search of a good book.)

But what I really love? Used bookstores. There's one nearby that is a tiny little store, probably smaller than my tiny house. It is amazing. There are stacks upon stacks of books EVERYWHERE. It has sections, but the stacks of books are often a few books deep on the bookshelves. I love having to dig for a good book. That's how I found The Lovely Bones, actually. It was right before the movie came out, but I had never heard of it. (One of the perils of not having cable, I guess.) And, the best part? Books are 50% of the cover price. Awesome, right? And you can trade in books. I LOVE used bookstores. Plus, you can always tell a good book by how it is loved. Just saying.

Abigail:

When walking into a bookstore, I usually go to the New Books. That's the best place to find books that I haven't read. Then I just move around the store from there. I'm not usually in very large book stores so its not hard to just start in one corner and work my way around. I can spend hours in a bookstore. I just wish I had the time and the money I would like to spend on books. 



Goings on in Texas
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Christmas Color Inspiration

Last year was mine and Dakota's first Christmas living together. So, naturally, we had to decorate. Well, I needed to. Dakota probably couldn't have cared less. 
 
I really wanted to keep things classic, in terms of color. I love when things match. It's kind of an OCD thing I have. I think its part of what makes me a great designer. But its kind of an issue as well, because I can't break out of that box sometimes. 
 
But that's a story for a different day.
 
Today is time for a color palette! All about Christmas! This one is a little similar to the Fall Palette I showed a while back. I think the main idea for Fall and Christmas is warm, inviting colors. 
 
I just love classic colors for Christmas. Do you stay classic or do you go for the new aqua blues and other colors I've been seeing lately?
 
Let me know in the comments!
 
Enjoy!
 
 
Tree Image Source
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Me, Myself, and I : November Edition



I don't think I ever posted the October edition. October was hard. I am so glad it is November. October was really hard. It was a good month, but I can't say I'm sad to see it go.

Who knew a month could make you so tired?

I guess it isn't the month's fault.

So lately, I have been blogging a great deal. Actually scheduling posts ahead of time. Can you believe it? I think I was abducted by aliens. And someone else is now me. But I am still obviously me. I have had too much sugar today, can you tell??

Ahem.

Sorry.

Onto questions!

What are your top 5 favorite movies to watch during the holidays?

Let's see. Definitely Miracle on 34th Street. The original and the one with Mara Wilson. I just love her. How can you not love Matilda? 

There's also Life is Beautiful, and The Santa Clause (I love all of them!) And Olive the Other Reindeer (if you haven't heard of that one, you MUST watch.) 

And, definitely How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I am such a kid at heart.

But that's why you love me, yes?


It's the month of giving thanks, what are you most thankful for?

The thing I am most thankful for is my happiness. I have a man that I love dearly, a roof over my head, a job that I love. Most people don't get so lucky.

But I am also very thankful for my family. My mom, my dad, my brother.And my aunts, uncles, cousins. Also the family I chose, like Dakota, and his parents, and his siblings, and his grandparents.  I am thankful to have such a large and crazy happy family. And my cats.

dakota's family


And lastly, I am thankful to be a part of the blogging community. I am glad I have friends to talk to, and a blog to share my feelings. I am honored to be a part of something so amazing.


If there was a quote or verse to describe your life, what would it be?

I've said before that my favorite quote is "I may have not gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be." by Douglas Adams. 

It is very true for my life. I didn't know I would end up with someone like Dakota. Or that I would end up at a place like Waterman's. 

Who thinks they are going to end up at a manufacturing facility for water control equipment? I didn't. But now that I am there? I love it. I talk about head (a term for feet of water) and seats and wedges and valves and stuff and get excited about it.

Isn't that crazy?

Who in your family are you most alike?

I would have to say either my dad or my Nana. Nana is very creative. She is one of the best artists I have ever met. I know I am pretty biased, but she is pretty awesome. She also has a lot of the same views I do. (She is pro-gay marriage! How many grandmas are like that?!) 



My dad is more like me in my personality. He is reserved. He is emotional and empathetic. He is kind. But he is also someone you don't want to mess with. When he gets mad, its like the world stops. My dad is definitely one of my favorite people on the earth and I am glad to be like him. Plus I look like him, so that helps!  And Dad looks like Nana, so I look like her too! Win-Win.

family



What is your favorite drink order at Starbucks?

I am crazy about the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate when its cold outside. But I also love Passion Tea Lemonade. I like to change it up sometimes.

So do you feel like you know me a little bit better now? Link up so I can get to know you, too!
Linking up with Me, Myself, and I!


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Designer or Artist?: Getting Inspired



Every year, there it was, under the tree, wrapped with my name on it. I would be happy every time I got one, because they were all different, but I was never really surprised. I received art supply kits for Christmas since I was in Kindergarten. And I would use every last piece. The markers, the crayons, the watercolors, the colored pencils. Every piece would be loved and used.

I used to consider myself an artist. 
But now I consider myself a "designer".

When did that change? What is the difference?

A designer creates artwork. An artist can design.
So where do we draw the line?

I think it has something to do with that designers don't create for themselves. And artists do. In my opinion. 

But artists create for other people.

It's a conundrum. 

I need to inspire myself. Look at what I used to create, and be inspired.
I used to create for myself. For the fun. But do I do that?

I'm trying to now, for sure.

But I need to get inspired.

So in this journey, I decided to show you some of my more favorite pieces I have created.


1) A converse shoe made with the gradient mesh tool in Illustrator. I am working on a post on how to use this tool. It really is an amazing tool. I had so much fun doing this. It was for an assignment for my Digital Imaging class. As was #3. Actually, #3 was for the same assignment. But this one I enjoyed so much more.

2) Rocko's Modern Life. I drew this probably 6 years ago, for my exboyfriend. I don't even know if he still has it. Maybe I should ask for it back. Think he would give it back after all these years? Who knows. This is hand drawn and colored.

3) This rose was created, like number one, with the gradient mesh tool. It isn't perfect, but I love it anyway. 

My goal in having this blog is quickly changing. I not only want this to be a resource for you to grow and learn, but also as a creative outlet for me to grow and learn as an artist AND as a designer.

Do you ever look back at your old work and get inspired?
Do you create for yourself?




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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Design Tip: Adobe Kuler for Color Palettes!

I love color. I love color palettes.
It is all just so organized and beautiful.
And when I discovered Kuler, I fell in love.
Kuler (pronounced "cooler", btw) is a color palette tool.
It's pretty stinkin' awesome.
You can do things like shade palettes..
Or do something different and do a compound palette..
Or you can even upload a picture and create a color palette from the image, like this fall themed one below:
(Image Source)
I thought this would be a handy tip for all of you, designers and non designers included!
Especially for blog design!
Also, Kuler has an extension for InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.
Want to learn more?
Contact me or Send me a tweet :)
P.S. I was not compensated for this post. I just love Kuler and thought you would too!

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Faves

Happy Friday, Loves! I am so glad to have made it.

I have been oh so busy this week! Writing posts and planning some awesomeness for my lovely readers. I am so excited I can barely contain it! I want to hit "publish" on all my queued up posts!

But their time will come!

But for today, I have been carefully (read: stumbleupon) looking for great links to share with you!


Ashley After Nine to Five is celebrating her two year bloggiversary! Check out her reflection on the past two years. Warning: Lots to read!

I love these cheat sheet wallpapers! Might come in handy!

Check out 25 Best Sites to Download Free Vector Files... what a resource!

I might have to experiment with these watercolor brushes for Photoshop and create a portrait like Kristen did.

I love this Kate's post about Posting Frequency and Blogging Guilt. Great piece. What a reminder to easy on ourselves and remember why we blog in the first place.

I found a great article about things you didn't know Illustrator could do. I knew most, but I learned something! 







This week I broke my life into numbers. I also wrote a little bit about myself for thLiebster Award. I showed you a little bit of inspiration through Minimalist Movie Poster Design.  And today I showed you a fall color palette that I love.

I am really excited about what is to come here at the blog. I know what I want to blog about. I know that I have a lot to teach you. I hope that I can do that well. And I hope you will stick around for this journey with me. 

I am definitely looking forward to it.

Check back tomorrow for a Design Tips post on making your own color palettes!



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Fall Color Inspiration

I said the other day how I really loved sharing some of my inspiration with you. Well, I'm at it again!
This time, its for Fall.
I know, I know. I am a little behind.
But it's still fall. It's still fall until snow is on the ground.
Which has already happened for some of you poor souls. I love the cold, but I don't think I could handle the snow. You are brave. Very, very brave.
My point is, it is still technically fall. Mother nature sometimes forgets that. :)
Enjoy! 






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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Currently

I think that I am actually linking up with Currently two weeks in a row! Aren't you proud of me? I think I am getting the hang of this blogging thing. Now to just get people to read it. And to like me.
You like me don't you?
Sometimes I require reassurance. 

Reading: Going to dive into Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern for the my new book club that I joined. #literaryjunkies.

Click their button on my new Networking page to check it out!

 I am so excited to be apart of this. I love reading, and I love talking about books even more.
I hope to start it tonight, if I am not too tired.


Wishing: For my brother to be safe. He just left on his first deployment not too long ago and I am very worried. It's a scary thing. But I am oh so proud of him. When he left home to go back to his new base, I hugged him for like 5 minutes straight.

 He is a punk, but he's my little brother. My only one. Watching him leave and knowing he was going to be deployed for the next 6-8 months was very hard. Very hard.

I don't know how military wives do it. I know I couldn't. 

Cooking: Not much lately. But the other day, Dakota made enchiladas. He cooked a roast in the slow cooker and everything! And since I played the sick card, I didn't even have to help! Of course, I offered my  expertise opinion, but he didn't listen. Stubborn men.

Thankful: For the man that I was lucky enough to find four years ago. He is stubborn sometimes and onrey, but I love him so much, my heart has never felt so full as it has these past few years. I'm sorry, I just had to gush about him a little. I am very grateful.

Loving: The cat that Loki is becoming. He is so playful. Such an adjustment from antisocial Scooter. He loves getting into the windows. I think he just likes to see outside since he is an indoor cat. He loves playing with ribbons and boxes and really anything he can get his hands on. 

Today he raced into the bathroom with Dakota to hide under the curtain but slipped and fell in the bathtub. Which was still wet from Dakota's shower. It was hilarious! He was so embarrassed. 

But also, he loves curling up next to me. When I lay in bed watching TV when Dakota's at work, I usually have both cats on top of me or next to me. They really are like my children. I am becoming a crazy cat lady. 
And to think, I used to think of myself as a dog person. Not quite sure anymore.  


Linking up with "Currently" over at Harvesting Kale for quite possibly the longest post I have ever written.
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#iPPP

Haven't linked up with #iPPP in a while. Figured I should, since I have actually been taking phone pictures lately.

What can I say? It's easier to whip it out than my Canon. Plus, Loki stops acting crazy when he sees the big camera come out. It's just like having a toddler, I swear.

Not that I know what that's like.

But I imagine it to be a lot the same.

Except with no diapers. So preferable. (For now.) ;)


1) Laying in bed when I was sick with Loki on my face. He must love me after all. When I was sick I actually had both cats cuddled up with me all day long. I have never felt so loved.

2) Convinced a coworker to get me Starbucks. AND he paid. I was very happy. Loving the holiday cups!

3) Another friendly coworker gave me some medicine to help me feel better! The fizzy stuff didn't taste very good. But its the thought that counts! :)

4) Loki's favorite spot. In our bedroom window. This is the look he gives me when I go back to work.  We want so bad for him not to lay there, but no matter what we do, he still gets in there. I guess for an inside kitty he needs his sunshine. Or he likes to watch the people. Who knows.   

P.S. I am having so much fun with PicMonkey. It definitely won't replace Photoshop in my book, but it is definitely great for things like this! :)
Linking up with iPPP :)
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Minimalist Inspiration

I love minimalist design.I strive for it, personally.

But I always end up adding one thing that pushes it over the edge.But I try.

Here are some minimalist movie / play posters that have inspired me, and I think will inspire you too!


1) I love this movie and this poster! What a great minimalist way to show the movie! 2) I have never seen The Tempest, but this creative poster makes me want to! 3) This poster really showcases a bit of the kind of movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is. 

What inspires you?


I love doing these kind of posts because it keeps me inspired to do the kinds of work that I love to do! I'm putting the call out for guest posts about what inspires you! Any takers?






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Monday, November 12, 2012

My Life In Numbers

One sunny day in math class, while I was daydreaming and looking out the window, my teacher said "So when are you ever going to use this math stuff?"

"Pfft. Never." I thought, oh. so. snarkily.

He went on to explain how everything in life can boil down to a mathematical equation.

A number.

Don't get me wrong, I still don't like math.
But he's kinda right. 

Like Jason Michael Carroll says..

"Numbers all around, flying by, up and down,
Some as slow as Christmas coming,
Some like the speed of sound,
And we all wonder, what they mean,
The highs, the lows, the in betweens,
Most of them mean absolutely nothing
But some of them mean everything"


So here are some numbers that reflect a little about my life:

21: The number of years I have called earth home

2009: The year I graduated High School

4: The number of years Dakota has been my one and only

2013: The year I hope to graduate college, with an AA degree

1: The number of cats currently trying to sneak onto my lap

2: The number of cats that completely have my heart

10: The number of quarters currently in my desk

3: The number of alarms that wake me up every week day morning

2: The number of times I wake up 2 minutes before the alarm every day

34: The number of times I tweet on any given day

127: The number of posts that come through my BlogLovin' every day

57: The number of posts that come through my BlogLovin' that I actually read

15: The number of times a day I call Dakota a dork

18: The number of times a day I tell Dakota how much I love him

11: The number of times it takes berating myself before I get up and do the dishes

3: The number of times I hiss at Loki before he gets my drift

4: The number of times I cuddle Loki like a baby

2: The number of people that now think I am crazy

3: The number of times a day I get my twitter password wrong before I remember that I changed it

361: The number of people who follow me on Twitter

27: The number of people who actually talk to me on Twitter

45: The number of minutes I spend on Pinterest before I remember what I was looking for

20: The number of minutes looking at the blog with the info I was looking for 

15: The number of times I have seen the movie Hope Floats

15: The number of times I have bawled like a baby during Hope Floats

27 28 29: The number of times today I have listened to I Ain't Your Mama

29.5: The number of minutes I spent thinking about this post before actually writing it.

1.5: The number of years I have worked at Waterman

15: The number of bottles of liquor currently in my home

0: Numbers of gallons of milk currently in my home

82: The number of emails I get on a daily basis at work

27: The number of emails I groan at before replying to them

3: The number of times so far I have tried to end this post

4: The number of times I have successfully restarted this post
3: The average number of times I edit a post after publishing because I see minor, but glaring, errors

  2: Hours before Dakota gets home
2: Hours before I need to go to bed

10: The number of Jessicas you probably know

1: The number of awesome Jessicas you know.

*Hint, that's me :)


Linking up with Greta :) I'd love to read your numbers!
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