Monday Morning Coffee with The Art of Instigating/Tom Morkes

Monday Morning Coffee with The Art of Instigating/Tom Morkes

I recently came across this ebook: The Art of Instigating by Tom Morkes. It’s a quick, one sitting read and an inspiring kick in the rear. It’s completely free to get. I downloaded it after subscribing to Tom Morkes’ blog, which I came across earlier this month. It immediately grabbed me with the orange blocks and bold words, “Join the Resistance.” I don’t think I made it through an entire article before I was like, “WHERE IS THE SUBSCRIBE LINK?!” His writing is capitative and inspiring. He has a unique voice to his writing that just makes it enjoyable to read.

The Art of Instigating is structured into three parts: Hit the Shore, Burn the Boat, and Take the Beach. If you have a project you’ve been thinking about starting or have gotten stuck in, this is the book for you. If you’re stuck wanting to make changes to your life, this is the book for you. Honestly, no matter where you are in your life’s ambitions, this is the book for you, just read it.

The Art of Instigating

Go check out Tom Morkes’ blog this morning and grab his ebook to read over lunch.


A month to go & I got shin splints!!

A month to go & I got shin splints!!

I’ve only got about a month left till the half marathon and it’s definitely been a bit tough to keep up with the work outs everyday. Although, I’m beginning to notice changes in my endurance, strength, and flexibility, I feel like I have a long way to go and not much time to do it in! One helpful thing to my motivation and daily conviction is that Adler got a bicycle for his birthday. So we’ve been going to the greenway together everyday. He rides like three times as many miles as I run.😛 I think, I’m going to get a bike for my non-running cardio days.

I did develop one common runner’s ailment, shin splints, but I think I caught it early. I hadn’t had them before, my shins began to hurt while I was running and after my run they throbbed for a while. Then, I had a sore spot on my shins that was sensitive to touch, but no visible bruise. That lasted for a few days. I’m glad it was only a few days, I read that it can take weeks to heal.
Luckily, I have some really great friends that gave me some tips for healing and further prevention. LOTS of stretching was the main healing & prevention technique suggested. One of my friends pinned this video for me. It’s an exercise/stretch to prevent shin splints. The music is really fun. Other prevention was to wear compression sleeves, and to make sure you have proper arch support.

Yoga has been a wonderful asset to my training regiment too, who knows how many injuries it has prevented! It’s good to do before a run, but I think it feels the best afterwards. Not only does it feel so good to stretch out the muscles in my legs, but I tend to pinch my shoulder blades back while I’m running, and so by the end, they are burning. I keep hoping it will tone my back, at least if it doesn’t the yoga will, so I’ll never know.😛 I like to do 3-4 cycles of the traditional sun salutation with supine twist, child’s pose, and seated spinal twist. Then of course, finish with corpse pose, by then I’m so relaxed it’s hard to get myself up to shower.

P.S. Adler usually passes me once or twice while I’m running and he slows down enough to give me some water. It’s AWESOME! Never knew I could run and drink water at the same time.

Week 33: Daily Draw Project

Week 33: Daily Draw Project

I posted a couple weeks ago that I was trying the Draw 642 in 365 project again. Here is a collection of my drawings so far!

A hammock
A paper clip
An anchor, a skunk, a desk chair, Van Gogh’s ear
A string quartet, an ottoman – sorry for the bleed through from another drawing.
A bottle opener, a fire escape
A cabin
Luminescent plankton
A sandwich
Have you been following along? Follow me on twitter for each day’s drawings and follow along. You can even send me your drawings and I’ll post them too!

First Craft Show

First Craft Show

I recently did a small Make &/or Bake Sale for Alzheimer’s research. It was the first time I’d ever done something like that. I didn’t have a lot of props and I used sticky notes to show prices, but it went really really well.
So First ever show a success! Aaaaannndd a friend asked me to share a booth with her in October, so second show here I come! I’m very excited! I have to make some more items and look around the house for some props. If you live in Tennessee, or want to visit, it’s the Grundy County Craft Show on October 1st. Come and see me!

Some items that will be with me in Grundy County:

Also, I’m taking orders for custom jewelry for gifts or upcoming holiday party gatherings and for custom bags. Get your orders in early for a special surprise!

Does Running Change Your Taste Buds?

I’ve been eating differently because I need more nutrients and calories for all this running! I’ve noticed that my tastes have changed, not cravings but actual likes and dislikes of certain foods. I’ve only noticed this change since I began training for the half marathon, which could be a complete coincidence. However it got me wondering, can running or other types of daily exercise influence your taste for certain foods? It makes sense that your body craves what it needs, so I don’t see why it couldn’t change your response to foods that are good for you.

Steamed asparagus with a little brown mustard has become one of my favorite snacks. I used to hate any kind of asparagus. I would force myself to eat it sometimes, because it’s very good for you, but it has always been one of my least favorite foods, right down there with black olives and mushrooms. I’m not entirely sure when I began to like it, but I was eating it one day and caught myself thinking about how amazing it tasted! Now I still don’t like mushrooms or black olives- I tried them again. So why asparagus? Could it be that all the running caused a tolerance and then a like of asparagus because of it’s nutritional value?

At times like these, when random and strange thoughts and correlations enter my brain, I wish I were some sort of scientist, or in this case nutritionist/psychologist/neurologist person that has the ability to do studies and test things out. Think about how that could help people start to replace unhealthy foods with healthy ones, rather than start an exercise regiment and diet plan cold turkey only to rebound. You could almost trick yourself into liking foods you never did before never noticing the change, until like me you remember one day that you used to hate asparagus. I just shrugged and kept eating… if it tastes good, it tastes good, what does it matter if I used to hate it?😛

PS: My favorite way to eat asparagus is lightly steamed with a dollop of brown mustard. I just put 5-10 spears in a bot with water that barely covers them, bring to a boil, then drain, plate, and eat. It’s super easy and delicious!!

Monday Morning Coffee with Enough is Enough

Monday Morning Coffee with Enough is Enough

I was never any good at writing book reviews in school, but as someone who reads often, I come across books and articles that I feel are so important to share. So I’m going to try this out for a few months, Monday Morning Coffee with… whatever I feel compelled to share. For the first installment: Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources by Rob Dietz & Dan O’Neill. A couple months ago I read this article on LearnVest interviewing Rob Dietz which inspired me to pick up his book.

It is a good read for anyone interested in the problems not just of our economy, but also things like inequality and education. You do not need a scholar’s understanding of the economy or how it works to understand the problems and the strategies for fixing them that Deitz and O’Neill present. Likewise, it is not going to bore someone who knows all about it.

Enough Is Enough depicts many issues, such as natural resource depletion, population stabilization, reducing inequality, and more, in a matter of fact light and then proposes long-term solutions with the goal of bettering not just one set of people, but really of all people. The biggest things that I took away from this book are that it is not just possible to reach an equilibrium between the impact we have on the earth and what we gain from it, but just how closely tied the economy is to things like education, population size, and equality. Most importantly, this book provides a base for creating a better human experience, not just a better economy.

This was my first taste of the theory of a steady state economy and I look forward to learning much more. If you’ve read the book, or once you read it leave me a comment! I’m curious to see what you think!

Some of the comments about the book off the cover… they do it much better justice than I do.😛

Enough Is Enough is an extremely important and timely work. Herman Daly and his many colleagues have masterfully articulated the importance of creating a new economy that can enhance rather than destroy our natural resources and, at the same time, improve our quality of life. Now, in Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill have laid out a pragmatic scenario that describes, in great detail, how we can all become involved in making that economy a reality in the communities and on the planet in which we live. This is a must read for all those interested in their own welfare and that of their children and grandchildren.”

Frederick Kirschenmann, Professor of Philosophy, Iowa State University, and author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience

“The notion that economic growth is the enemy and not our salvation still has about it more than a whiff of heresy. Not after this admirably lucid book, though. Dietz and O’Neill argue persuasively that adopting a governing axiom of ‘enough’ rather than ‘more’ will help make our politics more democratic, our economy more egalitarian, and our society more creative — and then they show how to bring it about. How bad is that?”

-Marq de Villiers, journalist and author of thirteen books, including Our Way Out

Just playing around with the computer…

Thought I would share some current graphic and web design projects I’m currently working on.

I did a few things around here,  a new banner and social profile image.  I also made a cover image for a new series that starts Monday!




I also have been playing around with a logo/car design for a friend. I’m still conceptualizing, but here are his favorite concepts so far.

jklogo JohnnyK

How I got started with Graphic & Web Design:

I’ve always been a bit of a graphic designer. Sadly I used to play around with the basic paint program, changing and building images, sometimes pixel by pixel. At some point I discovered a wonderful and free program called GIMP. It was my favorite program, although, Inkscape is pretty fantastic itself. GIMP is able to do everything from photo editing to from scratch creation, although Inkscape is probably a better choice for from scratch designs and creating vector images. GIMP is for anyone, Inkscape is bit more hardcore, but you can find help all over the net.

And then I discovered web design. I got into web design, because I worked in a church office and they needed some one to do their website. I volunteered and, having only been exposed to the amount of html it takes to change the color on your myspace page, I picked up a book called Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML. If you want to learn, it’s a fantastic book to start with. Also, another thing I did was to download free templates and play around with the code. I’ve made quite a few websites now.

I’m always very excited and humbled when I get to use all of my skills and knowledge to create all the components, not just for the website, but the whole brand or business, everything from the logo, letterhead, postcards, t-shirts, etc. to helping build the entire marketing plan and campaign. And then create a unique showcase for it on the web. I love the process and creativity involved in that sort of thing.  Over the past year, I’ve been switching to Adobe Creative Suite! I love it. The tutorials were very helpful at first, as it’s very different than GIMP. There are a few functions that are easier in GIMP than Adobe, but there are also many more functions available across the adobe platform.

Check out some other things on my portfolio.

Draw 642 in 365

So I totally failed at my first 365 project, but I’m still drawing more often than I have in a long time. I’m ready to try the 642 Things To Draw book again. So this week the Draw 642 in 365 begins again! Really looking forward to this second half of the year! Lets see if I can get the book finished!! Also, I’ll be tweeting the drawing project(s) for each day. Follow me at @amandalynn720 and draw with me! Be sure to submit it and I’ll post it! I’m excited to see what you guys can do!

I’ll see you on the twittersphere tomorrow morning!

Homemade Bug Spray

Homemade Bug Spray

Adler and I are going to visit some of his family this weekend and I’ve been warned to bring big spray. I am always the one to get eaten alive! I hate using commercial bug spray. It stinks and has harsh chemicals.

I found a really simple recipe for homemade bug spray. I never knew making bug spray was so easy! Took me about five mins, no chemicals and it smells awesome! I’m very excited to come home with no mosquito bites!!


  • 2-3 tbsp of any combination of these herbs: mint, lemongrass, thyme, basil, lavender, catnip, citronella (you can use fresh herbs too, it takes a little more)
  • witch hazel
  • 1 cup water
  • storage container, spray bottles
  • To make:

  • boil 1 cup water with 2-3 tbsp of dried herbs with a few cloves
  • once water is boiling cover with lid and remove from heat to let cool
  • after the water cools, strain herbs out and mix water with 1 cup witch hazel
  • transfer to spray bottles, store in fridge until use
  • 20130712-111718.jpg

    And with some left over mint, I made some fresh mint tea for the car ride! X-)