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Jen

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What is the Blue Whale Challenge?

July 18, 2017
What is the Blue Whale Challenge

What is the Blue Whale Challenge? If you’re a parent of a young child, tween or teen you’re going to need to learn about this chilling online game that has been causing young people to commit suicide. 

The Blue Whale Challenge is an internet game with 50 tasks assigned to those who want to play, the final task is that the player commit suicide. Each task leading up to the final task is a means of manipulating, controlling and eventually goading the player to commit suicide. Tasks include variations of self harm, sleep deprivation, risk taking, and watching hours and hours of horror movies – each getting progressively worse until a susceptible child can be enticed to commit suicide.

What is the Blue Whale Challenge?

The Blue Whale Challenge was created by a 21 year old Russian named Philipp Budeikin who says the reason he created the game is to cleanse society. Philipp Budeikin has been arrested and has plead guilty to inciting at least 16 girls to commit suicide. 

There are reports of children all around the world who have attempted or committed suicide after playing this game. In the US two suicides have been attributed to this ‘game’.

Ultimately this is a game of peer pressure. For kids who want to fit in, they may be more likely to play this sort of game. Talk to your kids about peer pressure, about these online games and about suicide.

It can be difficult for kids to go against the crowd and refuse to play, even when they know they shouldn’t. Help your kids to stand up for themselves and teach them how to say no to peer pressure. 

I can’t imagine the pressure today’s kids are under to participate in these horrendous games. And I can’t imagine the sick fuck who came up with a game like this, but I have talked to my kids about it. It’s opened a dialog about these very difficult topics and for that I am thankful. My heart goes out to those who have lost a loved one because of these sorts of online games. 

Here are some resources about the game and how you can help your children avoid playing it:

How to Talk to your Kids about Suicide

Blue Whale Suicide Game on CNN

Blue Whale Challenge Tasks

The Cyber 7 Tips for Online Safety

Help Kids Resist Peer Pressure

Helping Kids Handle Peer Pressure

 

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It’s Prime Day!!!

July 10, 2017

It’s Prime Day, that’s just like Christmas in July, or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa or having your birthday in July if you normally don’t have a birthday in July. Prime Day is an awesome way to get amazing deals on all the things you want. Amazon offers huge discounts on all the cool stuff, the kinky stuff, the toys we want for our pets, and on the stuff we need

The deal is, you have to be a Prime member to get the deals. Sign up for your Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial now!! That’s right, you can try it free for 30 days and if you don’t like it you can quit and never pay a dime!! Already have Prime but want to give it as a gift to someone else? You can Give the Gift of Amazon Prime too!

What do you get with Prime? All kinds of great things, but mostly you get the opportunity to do a little drunk online shopping without much guilt the next morning because on Prime Day, everything is discounted.

Here’s what you get with Prime – free shipping on everything you order. Not just that but usually two day free shipping. You can also get free same day shipping in eligible zip codes. Prime Now offers FREE two hour delivery for things you just have to have right now – you know like this and this. You also get Amazon Restaurants – they’ll bring the food to you!, Prime Video – unlimited streaming of movies and videos, Prime Music – unlimited streaming of millions of songs, Prime Photos – unlimited photo storage. Got a Kindle? You get stuff for that too!  And, there’s so much more! You can see all of what you get with Prime here

So what are some great things to get on Prime Day? 

If you don’t have one already get an Instant Pot. You won’t regret it, I promise. Go get one now, you’ll thank me. 

Books:

the princess saves herself in this one

Adulthood is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide)

The Big Life: Embrace the Mess, Work Your Side Hustle, Find a Monumental Relationship, and Become the Badass Babe You Were Meant to Be

The Warrior Goddess Way: Claiming the Woman You Are Destined to Be

The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body’s Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You

Beauty:

The Lux Puff

100% Natural Arabica Coffee Scrub

Flat Top Kabuki Brush

Bath Bombs Gift Set

For the Home:

Amazon Echo – Black

Wood Grain Essential Oil Diffuser

Smart Plug Outlets

Amcrest Full-HD Video Security System

And that’s just a sample of the fun stuff you can shop for late at night after a few too many glasses of wine. I’m speaking theoretically, of course. I’ve never been so irresponsible. 

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Dropbox Phishing Scam – Don’t Click on the Links!!!

June 8, 2017

If you use Dropbox you may have gotten an email asking you to click on a payment invoice. DON’T CLICK ON THE LINKS!!

This is a phishing scam. The sender is hoping you will click on the links they can either infect your computer with malware or that you will provide credit card or other payment information to pay the invoice. 

The email I received came from this email address: dropbox@veintrain.com, which is not a Dropbox email. Casey Smith is referenced as having shared a document and requesting payment on the invoice. It was sent to an email address I only use to receive inquiries, I never send outgoing mail using it and no one I might get an invoice from would have.

Again, do not click on any links if you get this email. 

I make it a regular practice to look at the email address of the sender, that usually tells me all I need to know, that it is not an official email.

Please share this with anyone who uses Dropbox.

Blogging Dumb Shit I Do People politics Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off WTF?

Can’t Muster Anymore Outrage

June 5, 2017

Between all the many terrorist attacks, stupid things President Trump tweets or what stupid thing a washed up celebrity has said, I just can’t muster anymore outrage. 

I want to be upset, I do. I mean the fact that Kathy Griffin hired an attorney because she believes the Trumps are going after her and dooming her career – because she hired a photographer to take images of her holding a bloodied head of Trump – is pretty fucking amazing. That’s something to get outraged about. Not so much what she did, but that she was so insulated that she thought it wouldn’t piss people off.

Can’t Muster Anymore Outrage

Or Bill Maher, again, says something really offensive, racist, stupid, and just plain out of touch. Oh, and fucking arrogant as all get out. But he apologized so it’s all good.

I’ve used the word ‘fuck’ twice, maybe I am outraged.

What the fuck is wrong with people (three times)?

Why are we all so mean to one another? When did society come to believe that the only way to make change was to be an asshole?

Whatever happened to attracting more bees with honey instead of vinegar?

I have so many questions.

I am outraged, but not at the right things. I’m tired of people being jackasses. I’m tired of people not thinking about how their actions affect (or is effect, fuck I can never remember) other people. And I’m outraged that people don’t understand there are consequences for their behavior. 

I’m tired, getting worked up doesn’t do anyone any good. No one is listening anyway so there’s no point in trying to have a discussion. 

Everything I learned in kindergarten really was the most important stuff, because the whole fucking world is like kindergarten now. We all need to grow up. 

You know what else needs to happen?

Auto play videos on websites have to stop. These are the most annoying things ever and yet they are everywhere. 

 

Blogging Books Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Nice Writing

Lemonade

May 20, 2017

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Right? That’s what we’re told. And yet, turning something bad into something good inevitably pisses someone off. I’ve been working diligently on being more positive and trying really hard to not wallow in the crap. That’s a difficult thing for me to do – not wallow. I let things get to me when they shouldn’t. 

Lately my life has been a series of tsunamis. It’s been wave after wave of crap coming at me and I’m letting it all get to me. Which means I have puffy eyes and there are dust bunnies all over the house. I’ve managed to stay on top of work, but it’s taken a Herculean effort to stay focused. I’ve made all kinds of mistakes in my work because I am so distracted.

I’m not sure how to make lemonade. Each morning I wake up and try to psych myself up for the day.

“I’m not going to let all these assholes get me down!” I tell myself. 

I start pretending I’m Rocky in the first Rocky and I’m jumping rope to Eye of the Tiger.

I’ve got this, even if I am out of breath before the first chorus.

And then something else happens. Today my basement is flooded. It’s no surprise, it rained two inches last night and my basement leaks like a sieve. I was just hoping to have a dry year this year.

My plan for today was to launch a GoFundMe campaign to presell my book so I can finally get it published. I need to have it professionally edited, I need to get a cover designed and I need a kick ass marketing campaign. I have an agency who rocks, just not enough cheddah in the budget. I’ve been putting it off because I don’t want to ask for help. I hate asking for help because it makes me feel weak and vulnerable and then I start telling myself that I am not worthy of help and the next thing you know I’ve gone down that rabbit hole I’ve spent years trying to climb out of. 

That was my plan, and then the same shit that happens over and over happened again. It seems every spring the basement floods and my ex threatens to drag me to court. Inevitably the dog will pee on the couch which will send me over the edge for a few minutes. Of course the dog pees on the couch because he is afraid of the rain, and because I forgot to put his diaper on.

Every year it is the same. 

I can’t seem to get out of this rut no matter how hard I try. It was my plan to launch my GoFundMe campaign 15 days ago. It’s been ready to go, but I’ve been too afraid to launch it. Actually, turns out I did launch it, I just didn’t know it (shut up! I’ve been a little distracted). What I am afraid to do is promote it. 

Thing is, nothing will change if I don’t start taking some risks. This is scary. I can’t even begin to tell you how scary this is. What if no one wants my book? I’m trying to presell it because that seems less like begging, but if no one wants it then what am I going to do? 

I’m not going to worry about that. Just like I’m not going to keep giving those negative thoughts anymore space in my head. 

If you’d like to pre – purchase my book – Minnesota Nice – you can do so here. If you’d like to learn more continue reading….

About Minnesota Nice

I’m wrote a book about my family.

It doesn’t sound all that intriguing does it? Wait, it gets better. You see my mom had a stroke when I was four years old, leaving her severely mentally and physically handicapped.  A few years later my father revealed that he was gay. A few years after that my brother came out as a Republican. You can’t make this stuff up.

Statistics from the Straight Spouse Network assert that up to two million gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in the United States are or have been heterosexually married. Another demographics study showed that of the 27 million American men currently married, 1.6 percent, or 436,000 men, identifies themselves as gay or bisexual. Countless children have come of age in what is commonly referred to as a “mixed-orientation marriage,” most simply try to move on, too ashamed to admit that their family was any different from the norm. Even as adults they keep their skeleton in the closet, afraid to appear anything but like the wholesome Brady Bunch. Guess what? Mr. Brady was gay.

We were different and I’m no longer ashamed to admit it.

This is not anti LGBT. While I am sure fewer mixed orientation marriages take place in 2017, they still happen. The shame of growing up in one of these families is not due to a gay parent, it is due to the deception and lying that the parent must maintain to keep the secret. 

This is not some dry memoir. It is filled with humorous stories of a family trying to figure out how they all fit together. There are heartbreaking moments as well, but all told with the love and clarity that can only come with years of distance and a few dead family members.

Minnesota Nice has been compared to Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, The Fault in our Stars by John Green and most recently to 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. 

Dumb Shit I Do Reviews Things that piss me off

RAH’MN Review – The Ramen Place on Snelling

May 2, 2017
RAH'MN Review - The Ramen Place on Snelling

This is my RAH’MN review. This is not a sponsored post, all views are mine. All my Twin City peeps, I know you’ve been seeing these ramen places popping up all over town in the last year. You’re probably wondering is it really worth $7 for 25¢ worth of ramen? I’m here to tell you – probably not.

RAH’MN Review – The Ramen Place on Snelling

RAH’MN opened up in Saint Paul on Snelling Avenue about a month ago. It was packed the first night – crowds in line around the corner – so I figured we’d wait a bit. We’d gone to the Mac’s take out place two doors down, which had also just opened, and were disappointed. I wanted to give the new restaurant some time to get it’s sea legs since they are close and convenient and who doesn’t like ramen?

The daughter asked if we could give it a try, so I said sure. I went to look up the menu online, to get an idea of cost (because it’s ramen, for cryin’ out loud) and was frustrated that I had to place an order to see what was offered and what things cost. RAH’MN does not have a menu on their website, although it looks like they are trying to get one up quickly. That they tout their meats are gluten free had me laughing but irritated. 

The daughter is picky and she has food allergies, it’s always nice to be prepared when trying a new place. So, already I was frustrated. I asked some friends on Facebook about their experience and they said it was “solid”. I took that as a positive and headed on over.

Right away the ordering process was confusing. Or maybe that was just the way the door was positioned. No one seemed to know where the line began. The place was pretty busy and it smelled nice so I continued on. When I got to the counter I had a difficult time talking to the nice young man who was dishing up the ramen. The sneeze guard was too high, or he and I were both too short. I had to stand on my tippy toes to shout my questions at him. He responded with a smile, but I couldn’t hear a damn thing he said over the sneeze guard or the loud music and din of people talking to one another over the loud music. 

It’s a build your own ramen bowl, just like at Chipotle. Chipotle is stressful, it’s not as bad as ordering coffee, but it’s up there. I have been ordering Chipotle for at least a decade now and I always get the same thing for fear of holding up the line to avoid the kind of stress I endured last night.

I had no idea what my daughter wanted, but she likes all things Asian inspired so I started building her ramen.  I threw in some tufo, some bok choi and some tomatoes – all things she likes and figured I was safe. 

I wasn’t sure about the meat so I texted her a picture of the RAH’MN menu and one of all the add-ons, including 4 or 6 choices of broth.

RAH'MN menu

“No vegetables” was what she texted back.

Thanks, that helps, a lot. 

All the while the couple next to me is pushing me to the right, even though the friendly guy behind the sneeze guard hadn’t started on my order yet. In fact, he only had one bowl going. 

This caused a fair amount of anxiety because now the one he just put together for my daughter was going to become mine even though I am not supposed to eat tofu and tomatoes in ramen sounds disgusting to me. I didn’t really want pork either, which is what the kid wanted. 

Lawd knows, as a Minnesotan, there was no way I was going to ask them to start over again. 

I got pushed in front of the cashier and explained to him that there was another bowl that needed to be prepared – plain. Just ramen and broth. 

We stood there, awkwardly waiting for the guy to produce the bowl of $7.95 ramen and then he asked if I was paying for the people next to me. 

Um, no.

He bagged up my ramen bowls, cautioned me not to swing the bag around, and I was on my way.

I took a deep breath when I got outside and told myself I would not cry.

(probably more hormone related than ramen related)

A few minutes later I’m home with a dripping bag of $20 worth of ramen.

When I asked what the daughter though of it, if she liked it, her response was:

“Meh”

She’s 14. Everything is “meh”. She did eat most of it.

Mine on the other hand wasn’t what I wanted, but if it had been something I would have ordered I am sure it would have been ok.

It was ramen, it was way too salty and the noodles were soggy. I was disappointed, mostly because of the experience, but the cost of something that is pennies to make at home also irritated me. That’s not their fault, I walked in there willingly. I guess I figured ramen could be delicious, especially starting at $7.95 per bowl. 

It’s not.

I couldn’t finish it. The dogs like it, though I didn’t give them the broth since it was so salty.

I’d like to say we’ll give them another try, but probably not. The daughter will want to, but she’s going to have to do that on her own.

The place was clean, the staff was friendly, though not as helpful as I would have liked. The place was too loud and the food was overpriced. But other than that, it was great!

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Wizard World Comic Con – Minneapolis – Ticket Giveaway!

May 1, 2017
Wizard World Comic Con Minneapolis

Wizard World Comic Con is this weekend at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

When: May 5th – 7th, 2017
Where: Minneapolis Convention Center
1301 2nd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Get your geek on and see Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman of Doctor Who, Nichelle Nichols from the original Star Trek, John Barrowman of Arrow and Torchwood and – sound the trumpets – Charlie Sheen from Platoon, Two and Half Men and the most epic, tiger blood meltdown of all times!!!

Oh, and my personal favorites – Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork from the Monkees. Seriously this is a 1st grade dream come true!

And I have two pairs of tickets to giveaway!!!

Sheen and Capaldi will attend Saturday and Sunday, May 6-7; Barrowman and Nichols are scheduled for all three days; Coleman will appear on Saturday only.

Wizard World Comic Con Minneapolis will also feature non-stop live entertainment throughout extended evening hours, Kick off the Con and After Parties, gaming, exclusive Q&A sessions with top celebrities, movie screenings hosted by stars and directors and more.

Other celebrities scheduled to attend Wizard World Comic Con Minneapolis include the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” trio of James Marsters, Charisma Carpenter and Nicholas Brendon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show, “Spin City”), Marina Sirtis (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”), and Gregg Sulkin (“Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Pretty Little Liars”).

Wizard World is the home of the most creative comics artists and writers on the planet. Artist Alley in Minneapolis will feature Guy Gilchrist (“Muppets,” “The Pink Panther”), Jordan Gibson (“Howard the Duck,” “Where is Jake Ellis?”), Phil Ortiz (“The Simpsons,” “Muppet Babies”), Danny Fingeroth (“Spider-Man,” “Iron Man”), Victor Dandridge (“The Samaritan,” “Origins Unknown”), Jim Mehsling (“Star Wars” fan films, “Into the Void”), Bob Camp (“Ren and Stimpy,” “G.I. Joe”), Clinton Hobart (licensed Disney fine artist), Victor Dandridge (“The Samaritan”) and many others.

Win Tickets!!

I’ve got two pair of tickets to give away.

If you’d like to win a pair of tickets (plus 2 kids 10 and under!!) simply leave a comment telling me who of all the guests you’d like to see. For extra chances to win follow me on Twitter, follow me on Instagram, and follow me on Facebook.

Hope to see you there!!

 

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Let’s Talk about 13 Reasons Why

April 28, 2017
Let's talk about 13 reasons why

By now you’ve heard all the hype about the Netflix series, so let’s talk about 13 Reasons Why, shall we? This is about my 5th attempt at writing about the show, and it probably won’t be my last. 

Before we go any further **** Major Spoiler Alert**** don’t read anymore if you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know what happens.

13 Reasons Why is a Netflix series based on the Jay Asher book of the same name. It covers the themes most high schoolers, and many middle schoolers face every day – including bullying, rape and suicide. It’s graphic and the internet is losing its collective shit over it. Schools are sending notes home about it, every single newscast has covered it and you can’t surf the web without finding blog posts just like this one defending it or criticizing it. Paris Jackson is one of many people telling people not to watch it. I’m here to tell you, if you have kids, you should definitely watch it if for no other reason to understand what kids go through on a regular basis. 

While I have some issues with the series, I think it is always a good thing to talk about the stuff that scares us. Bullying, rape and suicide as well as teen drug and alcohol use, is scary stuff, but if we want to help kids navigate these complicated thing we’re going to need to have a dialog. 13 Reasons Why gets that dialog started.

Suicide is Never Painless

You can read a much better synopsis here, but in a nutshell the story is about a Clay Jensen, a shy high schooler who is given a shoebox of numbered cassette tapes created by Hannah Baker, a friend of Clay’s who recently killed herself. Each tape details one of the 13 reasons why she killed herself and those responsible have listened to the tapes and have been instructed to pass them along to the next person on the tape, which is why Clay has them. According to Hannah, he is partly responsible for her suicide.

Clay is responsible for her death in that he didn’t come out and tell her how he felt about her. His is one of the lesser reasons why she killed herself, though it torments Clay that he didn’t do more. Other people on the tape have teased her, bullied her, humiliated her, stabbed her in the back, and finally raped her. She even includes her guidance counselor who suggests she move on after she tells him about the rape, instead of going to the authorities and having the little snot arrested. 

It is then – when the counselor lets her down – that she comes up with the plan to create the tapes and then kill herself by getting into the bathtub and slitting her wrists – depicted rather graphically in the show.

I should mention, I have not read the book. I understand it has a different flavor to it, and I suspect it doesn’t come off as flippantly as it does in the series. I loved them, but the series felt like a too long After School Special. 

Aside from how it ends – with Hannah killing herself – there is nothing in this series that I, and many of my friends, didn’t experience at that age. What happened to Jessica – raped while passed out drunk, and Hannah – overpowered and raped, is actually quite common. Now we call it date rape, but when I was growing up it was called being in the wrong place at the wrong time or asking for it. We’ve come a long way, because we’ve been willing to talk about it. So let’s keep talking about it because clearly it’s still happening.

Teenage Wasteland

I thought the depiction of teenage life was incredibly accurate. Kids drink, they take drugs, they have sex, and they do a lot of stupid things – all while parents and teachers look the other way because they don’t want to dig too deep. My book, Minnesota Nice, is about all of these issues (I’m working on publishing soon, stay tuned for more info about that).

I also thought the depiction of the aftermath of her death – how her parents react and how the kids deal with it – was pretty well done. I didn’t see any glorifying of suicide. 

My issue is with Hannah’s storyline. She’s depressed and yet she is still motivated enough to create these 13 tapes. I get that they’re a device to move the plot along, it just seemed heavy handed to me. Plenty of teenagers kill themselves each day, most do so quietly because they already feel as though they don’t matter and that no one cares. Hannah obviously thought enough people would care to listen to the tapes. Hers was the sort of suicide most teens have fantasized about – getting even, even if it means getting dead. 

Trigger Warning

Since the show has come out, many teens, teachers and parents are worried that the show is triggering and therefore shouldn’t have been made. I can’t even begin to understand that kind of reasoning. If something is triggering then it absolutely needs to be discussed. Possibly with a professional, but certainly with a parent or trusted teacher. 

I lost three friends to suicide when I was a teenager. It’s an absolutely horrible thing to experience. And yes, cluster suicides are a thing, which is why we need to bring suicide out into the light. Thinking about suicide shouldn’t be taboo – because I promise you every single teenager (and more and more middle schoolers) have thought about their own suicide. I would hazard a guess that every human that lives and breathes has at one time or another contemplated taking their own life. And yet, we make the thought of it something to be ashamed of. 

When asked on most pediatrician questionnaires if they’ve considered suicide before, most teens will lie because they fear being pushed into therapy or the psych ward for thinking about something that is actually pretty normal. I know I have. 

It Gets Better, Promise

Life is scary, people are mean, and bad things happen, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get better. It usually always gets better. And that’s the point of the series, to show how wasteful suicide is. Hannah was a smart, funny, caring, and loving young woman. She had everything to look forward to in her future, she just couldn’t see past what she was experiencing to believe it would ever get better. We need to impress upon our kids that the pressure cooker that is middle school and high school gets better. If they can just hang in there (with professional help) they will be okay. Life is always a struggle, and for some it is much worse than for others. Life is not fair, but it does get better. The more we talk about these things the less damage they can do. 

I grew up reading books like The Bell Jar, Go Ask Alice and other rather dark tales about teens descent into the abyss. Teenage years can suck for a lot of people, they did for me and many of my friends. Having those books, seeing the After School Specials, helped me feel less alone. Because if people are writing about these topics and they’re making movies and TV shows about these heavy subjects, it means someone else has experienced these shitty things and managed to not only survive, but somehow thrive.

Let’s keep talking about Thirteen Reasons Why.

 

 

Advice Books People Reviews Things I Really Like

If You Want to be a Badass with Money, You Need this Book

April 27, 2017
If You Want to be a Badass with money, You Need this Book

If you want to be a badass with money, you need this book by Jen Sincero. By now you’ve heard of the book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life also by Jen. It’s bright yellow and stares back at you from most best seller lists – for the past several years. It’s tough to miss. If you haven’t read it you should – if you want to be a badass in all things. It’s a fantastic read and even better audio book (Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – look at me saving you money, too!) as it is read by the author. Jen Sincero is funny, witty, goofy, charming and she has some great ideas. I highly recommend it. 

I know, I’m always telling you to buy these books I haven’t even finished yet, but I can’t help it because I don’t want you to miss out on these inspiring books. I’m pumped up and I want you to be pumped up!

If You Want to be a Badass With Money, You Need this Book

Now Jen has come out with a new book – You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth. Even if you hate money, don’t want to make more of it and never want to have enough of it, you’ll still love and benefit from this book. 

Jen takes all the excuse we make about money and shreds them – in a really funny way. 

No matter where you are in life – a happy and secure corporate position or you’re a freelancer trying to beat the odds and actually make money – this book has some great tips for mastering the elusive and almighty dollar. 

It’s even got some great ideas about becoming more fulfilled, creative, motivated, inspired and satisfied. If you like the self-help genre and are looking for a great read, this is the book for you. If you’ve already read it you can find some other great life-changing books here

 

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Breaking Down my Fitbit Steps

April 26, 2017
breaking down my fitbit steps

I love my Fitbit. It motivates me to get off my ass and get out and do some walking. That’s a great thing and it’s helped me to lose a some weight I’ve been trying to shed. I can’t say enough good things about the Fitbit.

Except, it doesn’t break down my Fitbit steps.

I do, on average, 16000 steps each day. I walk each morning, usually 3 to 4 miles. If I didn’t I wouldn’t get my steps in because I sit at my desk all day. Aside from getting up to go to the bathroom, get a snack or get the laundry, I don’t get many steps. 

And yet, I still manage to get a lot of steps. 

The thing is, the Fitbit doesn’t differentiate steps. Arm movement (not typing, that doesn’t count) equals steps. I’ll take steps anyway I can get them, but the truth is I get a lot of steps from giving Ruby tummy rubs and doing other things that aren’t actually steps. Apparently, I gesticulate a lot. 

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Compliment Freely

April 25, 2017
compliment freely

Do you compliment freely? Which do you do more often – compliment or criticize? The consensus seems to be that we are in a hand basket on our way to hell. It doesn’t matter where you look, people jump on each other for saying or doing anything, even with the best of intentions. 

Here are just a few recent examples of companies and people that were taken to task for doing or saying the wrong thing:

  • Shea Moisture – For including white women in their latest ad campaign.
  • Pepsi – For suggesting that Kendall Jenner and Pepsi can end racism, among other issues.
  • Anything Sean Spicer says.
  • Everything President Trump says or does including breathing.

I’m not passing judgment on any of these examples or their respective backlash, but I do think we’d all do ourselves a huge favor if instead of jumping on the outrage bandwagon, we used our energy to compliment rather than criticize.

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

My grandmother always said – “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. She didn’t always follow her own advice, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Have you ever received a compliment from a stranger and it seemed to instantly change your mood for the better? Not only does a compliment instantly make the receiver happy, but it also greatly boosts that person’s confidence.

Imagine a child trying to learn how to play a piece on the piano and a member of the family yells at them to stop making that racket. Will the child look forward to piano practice or will they dread it and eventually give up? 

Learning anything new is difficult, in fact to master something it is suggested it takes at least 10k hours. That’s a lot of sucking at something until you “get” it.

And in those 10k hours of sucking at something, there’s an abundance of people willing to tell you how much you suck.

We Become what we Believe

When I was around 18 years old I picked up my brother from the University of Minnesota. It was late in the afternoon and I had my parents new beagle puppy in the car with me. I think I had taken the puppy to get shots. I only remember the puppy being in the car because it was then that we discovered he had motion sickness. Anyway, I rarely drove with my brother. If we were going somewhere together he was going to drive. However, it was late in the afternoon, the campus was busy and I didn’t want to park so pretty much I agreed to arrive at a specific place at a specific time and he jumped in the car while it was basically still moving. There wasn’t time to switch drivers.

As we were crossing the bridge another car swerved over, obviously I was in his blind spot, and would have hit us if I hadn’t reacted quickly and swerved out of his way. 

I executed the move flawlessly. I know this because my brother actually said I did some great driving. 

He was impressed.

It was luck. Thankfully, there was just enough room on the other side of me to swerve – there was no one in the other lane. 

I don’t mean to minimize my skills behind the wheel, but I had several accidents under my belt. It was luck combined with keeping a cool head – something I was not known for.

Because my brother, about the only person in my life who I looked up to, said I was a good driver, I believed it. In fact, since that time I have only been in two other accidents. Neither of which were my fault. 

I am confident when I drive and consider myself a very good driver. Of course, I’ve probably done 10k hours worth of driving since that moment on the bridge with the sick puppy in the back seat.  Make no mistake, there is no doubt in my mind that being told by someone I thought highly of that I was a good driver helped to make me a good driver. 

We Believe what we Become

On the other hand, my brother used to call me “Post Toasties”. To this day I don’t know why he nick named me after a breakfast cereal. I only know it wasn’t a good nick name. It was not a term of endearment. I know this because he and his friends all laughed whenever he called me “Post Toasties”. They may have been laughing because that’s what big brothers and their friends do when teasing little sisters. However, I was a child and didn’t understand that sometimes kids do things without thinking too much about why they are doing them.

In my mind it was simply another way for him to call me “fat”, without my parents finding out. I jumped to that conclusion all by myself. It fit perfectly with what I had been told my grandmother, children at school and was seeing in the teen magazines I was devouring along with the Twinkies and PopTarts. I take full responsibility for the eating disorder I cultivated during those years, and I doubt a compliment would have been enough to prevent it from taking root, but it might have given me pause if someone had given me one.

Compliment Freely

Words we choose carry so much power. We can either uplift or we can tear down. Lately it seems, all we do is tear each other down.

Instead of criticizing try to compliment. If that isn’t possible – and let’s face it, it isn’t always possible – just remember you don’t have to say anything. 

Compliment freely. You could be the difference between someone’s success or failure. A few small words can make all the difference in the world. So choose them wisely.