ShoesDay: Freestylin’

Happy ShoesDay!  This summer we are reminiscing on our favorite and least favorite shoes and what they meant for us.  The stories about those shoes tell a lot about us.  You can read about athletic Mary Janes here and platform wedge espadrilles here. For a delightful summer read, may I recommend the delightful book Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman.https://smile.amazon.com/Love-Loss-What-I-Wore/dp/1565124758/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=love+loss+and+what+I+wore&qid=1564506599&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Join me now as I recall my favorite athletic shoe of the 80s/90s.

I was away at college when my dear friend asked me about going to jazzercize, and I had to admit that I didn’t actually own any athletic shoes.

Pause.   I am pretty sure that she actually said: “I’ve never known anyone who didn’t own tennis shoes.”

P.E. was only required through sophomore year of high school.  And being that my only two recreational sports of bowling and Roller skating required renting sport-specific shoes, when my white hi-tops faded, I simply threw them away.  After all, I was known for sporting my Sam & Libby bow flats everywhere!  Seriously, if you had said, let’s have a picnic!  I’d wear a sundress and flats or sandals.  Ask me about the time my grad school department had a picnic, and the Brazilian soccer team was picnicking in the area adjacent.  Or, hey! Read my story about that in my book. 

Anyway.  Enter these babies.  The Reebok Women’s Freestyle Hi.

Hi, #Reebok #Freestyle #Hi classic

 

 

Iconic, right?

I loved these because they felt to me like roller skates.  The two Velcro straps were more convenient than the “granny boot” style that I also wore during that decade.  The design was minimal, save for the high top. Despite the extra material around the ankle cuff, they were light enough for jazzercise and light walking. The neutral color went with everything. For me, I would pretend that I would be roller skating again, soon.

I remember going to the Gilroy Shopping Outlets one summer during the mid-90s, being very surprised to see rows and rows of this shoe, now (then) available in every color.  Bright red, hot pink, yellow, lavender, even teal.  It seemed so crazy, then.  Why would you want anything other than white?  You can now buy these icons again, in both white and colors.

I don’t think I’ll be buying them soon, though.  Sometimes it’s just nice to remember who you were when you wore them.

Peace.

Tuesday, ShoesDay! The ones I threw away

Happy Tuesday, ShoesDay! We are having fun this summer reminiscing about our favorite pairs of shoes. It’s fun to remember the details, and the stories that go with them. Last week I wrote about these ones that did me in! Last month, guest writer Dani Lorta shared about her fave platform espadrilles here. Read about my pink Mary Janes here and my athletic Mary Janes here. And here is the sweet book that inspired this nostalgic journey: Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman (published posthumously).

It was a weekend getaway – my young family was on a cruise to Mexico in celebration of our wedding anniversary. We drive down to Los Angeles, and boarded a ship. See my tips for packing and cruising here! More of my cruise diaries begin here and here. I love traveling, but I wasn’t sold on cruising – it certainly has its pro’s and con’s – And isn’t for everyone.

Packing light for a cruise is a must. For “formal” nights, we bring slightly fancy casual- which packs well. My girl and I wear dresses and they boys wear polo shirts and dockers/ chinos. (Earlier this week I asked my teenage son what the dress code for the concert was, and if he could wear dockers or chinos. He looked at me and said, “You’re just saying words that have no meaning to me.” LOL)

Alas, I digress. I had packed a sweet maxi dress for the occasion. And black leather-ish chunky heels with a square toe and thin bows. It’s hard to tell from this image, but I’d say they were four inch heels. They were certainly the highest heels I’ve ever worn, and would only wear in a chunky heel style.

I remember the one other time I needed heels of this height to accommodate a dress length. For my music recital invitation, I wore a full length red satin gown. These shoes were perfect for my not needing to alter the hem. Truthfully, that dress still dragged on the floor a teensy bit.

Ok, so, as I’ve said, this was a cruise. A fun thing about cruises is the ships can get rocky. I don’t mind this, but it can become difficult when wearing heels. Hubby saw me take ten steps outside our cabin (Struggling, I might add, like a drunken person holding up the walls) and suggested I change into any other shoes- as they wouldn’t even be seen due to the length of the dress. I agreed. As weekend travelers, I had limited choices! So I chose Mary Jane sneakers (pic below) and wouldn’t you know, I was plenty comfortable the rest of the evening. We enjoyed a fancy dinner in the fancy dining hall and took some photos. Can you see my shoes?

I left the heels near the cabin garbage can. Maybe our gracious hostess found them!

I hope you are enjoying our review of our favorite (and sometimes least favorite) shoes. Coming soon- Reebok High Top.

ShoesDay — The Ones That Did Me In

It’s ShoesDay! Happy Summer! We are having fun reminiscing absolutely it our favorite shoes— and our least favorite. I wrote about Pink Mary Jane Chunky heels, black athletic DKNY Mary Janes, and the versatile Patricia Slides. My dear friend Dani waxed poetic re: her platform espadrille wedges. And now I am going to tell you about the shoes I was wearing on the day I fell splat on my face last summer.

When I bought these the previous autumn, I was enticed by the soft step. I had the same brand in a patent leather Mary Jane flat, which was great for work, play, and singing at church. In fact, I rather liked the fact that they didn’t click or clunk as I walked from behind the piano to the center aisle, then up steps to the lectern to proclaim the Psalm. No Harriet Hardheels for me! So I was intrigued to find the simple gold flat. The bottom was a neutral “old scotch tape” color— you know what I mean. It was hardly committal in its translucence, it sort of ended up looking like the color of yellow rubber cement, which blended by default into the neutral gold. Comfortable as tennis shoes, I could even run in them. The neutral color looked nice with dresses, being similar enough skin tone, as short girls know, they almost make you look taller, by visually extending the leg.

Truth be told, I wore them too often. If I had to go to the soccer field or the softball field, they were already almost the same color as dirt. It’s not like they became cloudy as my aforementioned black patent leather mary janes did!

The problem with wearing them everyday is that they wear down. There were holes in the athletic gummy soles, but not in the inside of the shoe. So I kept wearing them. I remember thinking, I need to replace these soon, but school had started, as well as soccer season, and marching band season … I had to pre-order the darn high school school yearbook for freaking $75.00– so I decided to wait until my next credit card cycle to replace these shoes.

So it was only the second day of the school year, but still August. In that in-between time, when we are still in denial of our summer being usurped by school and all that comes with it. I had just dropped off both kids at their respective schools, then decided to stop back home to pick up dear daughter’s soccer bag, since we’d forgotten to pack it before school. It was supposed to be a real quick stop, then I would resume my trek to work.

I should state here that my driveway is an incline.

Sometimes if the garage door clicker isn’t working, we press the wall button and run outside under the closing garage door, careful to step over the sensor just at the bottom of garage. We’ve done his hundreds of times, without problems.

But not this day.

I remember thinking I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS! as I stashed said soccer bag in my parked, running car, as I ran back into the garage, getting ready to do the under-door dash. I pressed the button with my left hand and started running.

I thought the door was coming down faster than usual, so I started running faster, struggling to stop (while remaining hunched over) and step over the empty space where the sensor reads.

I heard the sensor catch and the door stop as I tried to stop my fall. There was my running car on my left and a row of prickly thorny roses on my right. My legs kept running, down the driveway incline (read HILL) and I went splat in the middle. On my face.

I remember lifting my head up and seeing blood. My whole head throbbed. I remember thinking I wanted to put my head down. In all honesty, I think I passed out. Because my next memory is picking myself up off the sidewalk.

I somehow got my bleeding self into my car as my neighbor rushed over to check on me. He kindly offered to take me to the ER. I said it was ok, my husband was working from home that day, as he would take me. I moved my car out from blocking the sidewalk, to park in the driveway somewhat properly, then I grabbed a couple of wipes to clean my hands- bleeding from both my palms and my knuckles. It was then that I caught my first glance of my face in the rear view mirror. Yup. Huge gash in my nose. I parked and turned the car off. Ran inside to get my husband.

Thankfully it wasn’t worse, and I was able to get 7 stitches and come back home. I took the rest of the week off and enjoyed a 3 day weekend. Benefits are a beautiful thing. Thankfully my family was able to handle the school, soccer practice and marching band practice drop-offs and pickups.

But you know that when I got home from the stitches, the first thing I did was throw those shoes in the trash. Even dear hubby said they had Bad Juju.

One final word of wisdom– see your local shoe cobbler, before it’s too late! It is often less expensive to repair a worn shoe, than it us to replace it. (Sometimes, you’ll find that it is even out of stock.) I’ve taken handbags to my local cobbler, as well, to repair broken straps. (Ooh- should we do purses next?)

Moms, especially: don’t be a martyr. Wear good shoes.

Happy #ShoesDay!

ShoesDay: Patricia Slides

Happy Tuesday, ShoesDay! We are having fun this summer reminiscing about our favorite pairs of shoes. It’s fun to remember the details, and the stories that go with them. Last week, guest writer Dani Lorta shared about her fave platform espadrilles here. Read about my pink Mary Janes here and my athletic Mary Janes here. And here is the sweet book that inspired this nostalgic journey: Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman (published posthumously).

I was on a family vacation in Hawaii when my baby girl was juust under two year old. She was free to fly as a lap child. Cute as a button. But she had developed an ear infection and lacked the language skills to tell me. So she remained awake all night and I made the executive decision to cancel our island-hopping excursion for the next day. My immediate family remained on-island, where dear son rode along with dear husband on the golf cart. Baby girl and I schlepped from medical facility to hotel business center to pharmacy while the extended family flew to Oahu to enjoy the Polynesian Cultural Center and Pearl Harbor. I’d had to cancel not only our inter-island flights, but also our Sea Life Park tickets and dolphin encounter. Low point. Toting around a sick and sleep-deprived toddler in a rental car and stroller is not how one envisions one’s Hawaiian vacation. I obtained doctor’s notes and faxed them to the airline and dolphin visit- getting my money back, at least. Yay. The family returned to me and said for dinner we could do anything I liked. I desperately chose pizza at the shopping center next door to the hotel.

I tell you all this because sometimes, beautiful colorful flowers grow through thick soil.

Walking around after dinner, I happened upon a Crocs store. This was the first tine I had seen an entire store fully dedicated to Crocs. And I am not really a shoe aficionado (though I play one on my blog) but I wasn’t a Birkenstock or crocs wearer either. Crocs were purchased for my kids! I did note that Hawaii sales tax was only four per cent, as compared to my home state’s near ten per cent sales tax.

It was there that I first happened upon the Patricia thin wedge slides. They were simple, yet somehow more sophisticated than flip flops (aka zori’s). The Z design in basic black elevated the crocs concept. As a slide, they lacked the annoying toe hook. They were textured in the footbed, and contoured to my parents foot shape, offering a micro-massage. The sole was textured to avoid slips. The heel was a thin, subtle wedge. #ZoriBliss

Soon after I bought these, so did my sister-in -law and mother-in-law. Mine lasted five years before I had to replace them– only after having worn out the tread. (I fell once in Guam, running across the street in the rain, wearing my red Royal Robbin Essential Dress- cap sleeve, v-neck, empire waist, fit and flare.)

My own mother brought hers to Ireland and wore them with stockings to a wedding. They are subtle enough to pass for an appropriate strappy sandal. But they are also perfect for trekking to the neighborhood pool, lounging in a hotel, or post mani-pedi’s. And because they are crocs, they clean easily, lasting longer.

Some of my other favorite shoes are a bit more whimsical– but these shine for subtlety. Sensible, slightly sophisticated, versatile.

Kinda how I see myself.

What’s your favorite shoe? What can they tell us about you?

Tuesday, ShoesDay! Vol. 2: DKNY Mary Jane

Happy ShoesDay! I decided to write a series on shoes this summer. Join me as I reflect on my favorite- and least favorite- shoes.

Sometime after my first child was born, I happened upon a delightful pair of athletic Mary Janes. They were perfect in every way — cute, comfortable, casual, and suitable for dressy. Is this not the miracle shoe? I felt fully and truly myself in them. They were reminiscent of my younger days, bridging my whimsical ways whilst functioning for practical days. My post-childbirth mirror wasn’t reflecting my pre-motherhood identity anymore, but still I held on. They looked like a ballet flat, felt like a tennis shoe. I brought them to Alaska in summer of ‘04 where they worked for a baptism, rehearsal dinner, wedding, reception, and hike. I danced the Electric Slide in these shoes whilst holding my then-toddler! My cousin, the bride, told me they were great for travel. If only she knew they were for every day. These were great with jeans, pants, skirts, or dresses. I particularly liked them with a midi floral sundress. Perfect for an evening at the theater.

If only I had taken better care of them. If only they didn’t have that sneaker toe flaw. (You know what I mean- the sole curls up over the toes and that part peels and separates- kicking stroller brakes only exacerbated this already fatal flaw.) If only I’d thought to take them to the local cobbler. If only they weren’t discontinued after a year.

The next year DKNY replaced them with the Muse. Even the Macy’s salesman told me, “It’s just not as good as last year’s” and it wasn’t. Unfortunately this is the model name I remember. It wasn’t as cute. Still lighter than a tennis shoe and passable for work. But not the same. By this time, Skechers were everywhere and everyone was trying to sell me those. Skechers are ok, but I mean DKNY is DKNY. What I liked about the DKNY was that it had a raised ankle tab like a real athletic shoe, which was very comfortable for the sudden plantar fasciitis which I now sported post-childbirth.

I wore them to work, and on the weekends. Becoming a new working mom, I’d had to minimize any time-consuming routines, and that meant tying my own shoes. Goodbye, granny boots. Hello, slip-on pseudo-sneakers. (Check back later this summer for my reflection on the granny boot.)

Skechers are fine and I’ve owned many since. Dansko is where I seem to land these days- again I wear them nearly daily and so they last only a year. Softwalk is cute and comfortable, as well. But these are merely facsimiles.

For years it’s been difficult to even find an image. But I decided to look on eBay- where- lo and behold- they are for sale. I don’t think I’m size 8 anymore- but as my Auntie Ling used to say- “Even if don’t fit, FIT.”

Should I buy them?

What are some of your favorite shoes? Tell us in the comments!

Inspired by the book Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman.

Tuesday, ShoesDay!

Happy Tuesday, Friends! 👠

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? Do you remember slipping them on for the first time? Did an angel chorus sing? Or did your fairy godmother squeal with delight?

Were you sad when they finally wore out? Were you upset when they were discontinued? (I’m talking to you, 9west.)

This is the pair that comes to mind when I think about my favorite shoes. Baby pink patent leather chunky heel Mary Janes. Behold.

I had these in my mid-twenties, in the 90s. I remember I felt so confident in them. I was not really a shoe girl, but I had my favorites. This was a perfect mix of whimsy and sensibility. They were playful, but not reckless. I had just earned my graduate degree, and I still liked Hello Kitty, thankyouverymuch.

The picture above is very close, but truth be told mine were more pink/ less blush, and had a round toe. These babies took me from my bookstore day job to my evening choir director responsibilities. I wore these with a pink skirt/ white top combo, or jeans, or my favorite spring dresses. I recall one Easter dress that was mint with pink flowers: cap sleeve, v neck, fit-and-flare midi. Perfect for conducting the choir and musicians. I never felt like I would topple over, as the heel was nice and sturdy.

My then-boyfriend, now-husband, didn’t appreciate them. (He is a trained mechanical engineer.) He had even discussed them with his mother. In a rare motion of solidarity by my future mother-in-law, she made sure to wear all pink, including pink tennis shoes, next time he visited her. “Nice, Mom,” he said, and smiled.

The pink patent leather became worn and scuffed grey. Sadly, mine went away with donation.

But soon after, I would get them in white for my wedding. And my bridesmaids got them in velvety midnight blue. I still have my sister’s pair, which I wore for my 40th birthday recital with a wide strap sleeveless blue velvet sweetheart neckline hi-lo midi dress. I stood center stage and sang, but I could also rock out at the piano.

And last year I picked them up in gold. More about those in a future post.

What about you? Tell me about your favorite shoe.

Inspired by the book Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman.

Friday Friends: Aimee Brown & The Last Dance

Happy Friday, Friends!

I’m delighted to share with you today an interview with returning guest Aimee Brown. Aimee’s new romance debuts this month and she’s graciously offering us a special double ebook. Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/145642292/?

Without further ado, welcome back, Aimee!

1. So, what have you written? Hi there!! I’m a romantic comedy and contemporary romance author who’s thus far written 3 books (2 published, one in editing). My first was Little Gray Dress, which was rebranded by a brand-newpublisher and republished as The Lucky Dress. My second is The Last Dance, released in April.

2. What has your publishing journey been like? Rocky at first. I had some issues with my first publisher and had the rights reverted back to me just six months after it was published. Luckily for me I was already in the works with a contract by my current publisher (Aria/Head of Zeus) and they have made the publishing experience SO much better than it had been.

3. Which character of yours has received the most fan love? Definitely Liam from The Last Dance. He hardly had any lines, was just a distraction for the main character but somehow even with his few scenes, readers fell in love with him. He’s got so much love that he has his very own book coming out in January 2020. It’s in the editing phases right now and I can’t wait for you guys to meet him and his leading lady!!

4. What is your favorite writing snack? Popcorn or Reeses. Or sometimes both! lol

5. How much time do you spend writing? I write everyday of the week for the most part. It’s just something I do. I love creating characters and storylines.

6. Do you use an outline? Nope. At least not until I’m near the ¾ mark. I am such a pantser it’s not even funny sometimes. Once I know where the story needs to go or what it needs to include as it progresses then I make some rough notes. But no outlining for me, I let the characters lead me which can be interesting…lol

7. What’s one thing that surprised you when writing The Last Dance? How attached to the characters and story I got.I had a book hangover for MONTHS. I had such a hard time even writing Liam’s story because I was still so hung up on Henry and Ambri. I still have them in my head and I still absolutely adore these guys and their story. It’s easily the favorite I’ve written yet.

8. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?Anywhere tropical. I live in cold Montana so I’d love palm trees, sandy beaches, and no snow.

9. What music do you listen to while writing? I actually make playlists for my books as I write. Songs help me find the emotion I need on the page so when I’m writing a scene, sometimes I spend more time finding the right song to inspire it than I do writing it. You can even find my book playlists over on my website at authoraimeebrown.com – I’m listening to The Last Dance playlist as I type!

10. What books have you read recently? Not many sadly. I’ve been on a lot of deadlines, and had a lot of both good and bad going on in life, so I haven’t had much time to really read.  But I’ve got a list a mile long.

11. When will Liam’s story be published? The publish date has been pushed to January 2020, which seems a long way away but it just gives me that much more time to perfect him. You guys will love him. My editor actually saidshe loves Liam more than Henry and she REALLY loved Henry so…yay!!!

12. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today? I just so want to thank my readers. You guys have made this so rewarding for me. I write for myself, but the fact that so many readers have fallen in love with my words is so exciting. I just can’t thank you guys enough.And thank you for being such a supporter of my work. I appreciate all you do for authors. We couldn’t do this without amazing bloggers and readers like yourself! ❤

Thanks Aimee! Great to have you here again!

Aimee’s previous features here on Friday Friends at Key of Dee:

Book Tour: Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown (Guest Post)

https://denisederrico.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/friday-friends-aimee-brown-hello-chicklit/

Friday Friends: Sarah E. Boucher & The Golden Gown

Happy Friday, Friends!

On Fridays I like to feature authors, creatives, and entrepreneurs here on the blog. The blogging/ reading/ writing community is a wonderful galaxy and this is my way of giving back- shining the spotlight on others. Today I am delighted to feature a returning visitor with her new book: Sarah E. Boucher. Welcome, Sarah!

1. What can you tell us about your new book? 

I’m so excited about Golden Gown! It’s been a blast to twist so many things I love into one fairy tale. First, it’s a retelling of Rumplestilskin where Rumple become the romantic lead. (And a sexy, mischievous Spaniard…) Second, it’s a tribute to my Grammy Elsie, who is the inspiration for my heroine, Elyse. She’s the type of girl everyone wants as a best friend. She’s smart, hardworking, and unfailingly loyal. (Okay, maybe she’s a little naive too, though that trait is more mine than Grammy’s.)

2. How was it different writing this book? 

I took an entirely different approach to writing Golden Gown. It all started when my longtime book boyfriend Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables influenced my Rumplestilskin, Gilberto De La Vega. As soon as that happened, Marilla Cuthbert, Rachel Lynde, Diana Barry, and half of Avonlea crept into the narrative. It was absolutely delightful to fangirl over one of my favorite series, reinvent the characters, and introduce them into a fairy tale world. So. Much. Fun.

3. If you could spend a day with any one of your characters, who would it be? What would you do?

Oh my goodness, is it obvious I’m in love with Gil? I’d definitely make him take me out for a schmancy dinner and some sort of romancing. He still surprises me, so it would definitely be a good night. (Probably ending in a dark corner and a make out session…uh…I mean, a really heartfelt conversation.)

4. Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors? 

Keep writing! Don’t fall so in love with your sweet baby manuscript that you a) won’t let anyone help you make it better (because it always becomes better when you involve others in the process), or b) writing something else. 

Because that thing you’re obsessing over is never going to be as good as the thing you write a couple of years down the line.

5. What is your favorite food? 

Chocolate. I mean anything chocolate. Currently it’s peanut butter and chocolate in any configuration. Like Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. Or Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars.

6. Are you still watching superhero tv?

Does is count if I binge watch Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow? Because I do. A lot. They’re like fairy tales with scmancy weapons.

And don’t get me started on the entire Marvel movie franchise…

7. What was one thing you edited out of this book? 

I had an entire relationship I removed from my book. Early on my good friend told me that one of my female characters was too good for the guy she ended up with. It took two more drafts until I agreed with her. But now the dirtbag does not get the girl. (It’s funny because my dad read it last and said, “Why doesn’t he end up with…?” Too late, dad. I burned that relationship to the ground!)

8. What are you working on these days?

My writing group (The Writing Girls) is releasing a Fairy Tale Anthology this fall, so my extra time is spent working on that. I also have a retelling of Rapunzel that’s whispering at the back of my mind, but it will probably only get attention when I retire from kindergartenland for the summer. But it’s a really fun twist that I can’t wait to jump into!

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? 

Europe. All over Europe. Especially Spain and Italy.

And England.

And probably Germany.

(Is it obvious I’ve never crossed ‘the pond?’)

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Thanks for hosting me! This journey has been so much fun! Several years ago, I introduced myself as a kindergarten teacher because that’s all I thought I would be. But someone read my very rough draft and said, “you have to submit this.” 

And I said no. 

Then I thought about it for a long time. And I threw my baby manuscript to the wolves. I will forever be grateful for that friend who believed in me. So take it from me, if there’s ever anything you are afraid to try, gather your tribe and go after it. As I tell my five-year-olds, you will never know if you don’t try!

Thanks!

Here’s the book blurb:

Elyse has lost everything; her parents, her family home, and the village where she is loved and respected. Still grieving, she arrives in a new town where she must prove her skills as a seamstress. Overnight, she creates a gown stunning enough to catch the princess’s eye and win the community’s approval. With every eligible maiden clamoring for her designs, Elyse must do everything in her power to appease them. No one can ever know that in the moments when she doubts her abilities, a mysterious stranger with a talent for tailoring and a penchant for damsels in distress comes to her aid. If anyone ever discovers the truth, her reputation will be ruined.

Thank you for stopping by, Sarah! Here’s how you can find Sarah online.

blog/website (SarahEBoucher.com)

Wednesday Wellness: Journaling

Welcome, Friends! I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesday’s as I noted many of my friends an creative types struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my journey as I explore mental health and self care, stumbling along the way!

Even before I was an author, I was a writer. I vividly remember when I was six years old, I insisted that my dad drive me downtown to buy a diary. I have always written in one form or another: journals, stories, blogs. (If you write a blog post and nobody reads it, is it a journal?) Did you have a pen pal when you were a kid? I had several. Some of those letters were epic, let me tell you! It was a form of journaling.

Currently I am journaling in no less than five journals. And that’s not even all of them! I can think of two more which I have only temporarily abandoned, and one more which I would like to replace. (Then there’s a really fun one I might want to start up again!) Let me explain.

Each journal has its own function and purpose. I can keep five journals simultaneously because each has its own design and intention. First, I’ll start with my daily planner. Sure, I use it to organize my future plans. But I also use it to keep track of what I do from day to day. See my posts on creative, decorative journaling and how it helps me manage my anxiety. #PlanforMagic Journal No. 1.

Journal No.2. This is my work notebook. Similarly, it is my list collection of daily activities, but at work. This is something i reference often something when I have a similar instance, and want to recall how i processed something. Recently, I changed the way I use it. I now refer to it as my Success Log. See my post here on how to keep a success log. Basically I now track what I did, instead of listing what I have to do. I find this mindset helps keep anxiety at bay. Of course, I till need to track my To Do items, so I write them on Post it’s and stick them on the facing page. This practice reminds me of the Word Banks that we used in creative writing in school. Use these words. Do these things. But it’s okay to keep moving them to the next day, accordingly.

Journal. No. 3. At my birthday brunch a couple of months ago, everybody gave me a journal. How delightful! My besties know me so well. Here is one of them. Isn’t it gorgeous? This one reminds me of Lucy’s journal in the TV series Timeless. I am using this one for traditional journaling, by this i mean recording feelings and processing difficult subjects. Like what, you ask. Oh just the basics, you know, inspiration and mortality…

Journal No. 4 is my book journal. This is a entralized place dedicated to my book writing. It is part organization, part freewriting, part collage. I cut and paste in images, doodle, list, the like. I have some larger worksheets that I fold and insert in the back. I may list questions that I have for further research. I may list websites which have been helpful to reference.

Journal No 5. I received this one as a gift. With my success with my work journal and my personal daily planner, I decided to try this one. It is basically an interactive goal-setting workbook. I appreciate how it guides you. This one is designed for career and professional goals, but I think I am using it more for personal goals. It is like having a personal coach in your back pocket. In the past, I have used Leonie Dawson’s guides for this purpose. Here is a link to the Acheivement Journal I am using now. Here is a link to the Life Goals workbook I have used before.

Not pictured: Gratitude Journal. Last year I used a guided gratitude journal that was in almanac style. I realized quickly that my daily planner (journal no 1) was the source and reference for completing my gratitude journal. Although you can use a gratitude journal daily, I found that I would often have Gratitude Sessions, in which I would sit in a cafe and open my daily planner to where I’d left off in my gratitude journal. I’d review the planner, taking one thing per day to write about in my gratitude journal. I found it to be a great way to savor my memories, as well as my coffee or tea! I began to look forward to my practice of self care in this way.

Travel Journal: I always encourage my children to keep a journal when we are on vacation, just as my parents did for me, when I was a kid. Last summer my daughter and I each created our own travel journals: smaller booklets with diary entries, weather tracking, memorabilia and photos. This is a good, first activity if you are overwhelmed by the idea of journalling, because it is contained and limited in scope. Read my post “Dear Diary” about how special it was to read my friend’s travel journal after she died.

Training journals: I keep a notebook for professional trainings I attend. I keep a separate notebook for personal development sessions- coaching, podcasts, or webinars.

Collage Journal: This was a favorite activity I started in 2011. The memorabilia and paraphernalia is what makes the collage journal magic. Here is a sample of my collage journal spread.

Bullet Journal: this is a modern minimalistic journal practice. It is very trendy now. I have seen examples that are simplistic habit trackers and goals/ lists, and others with ornate doodles and drawings. Usually done with a small journal with grids, you make a table of contents and may use a code. Bullet Journaling/ Bujo also has a cult following. This is another good introduction into journaling. This can be an “everything” journal, in which case you may need to replace it every month. Try it for 30 days. See if it works for you!

Do you journal? What kind of journalling do you practice?

Friday Friends: Yancy Lael & The Reluctant Owlet

Happy Friday, Friends! I love to introduce you to my creative friends and feature their newest creations. I’d already interviewed Yancy before, so I asked her to write about her writing journey. I think you’ll love getting to know Yancy. After reading The Fox at the Door, I was so excited to hear about her newest release ~ a picture book entitled The Reluctant Owlet. Take it away, Yancy!

My path to writing was not a straightforward one, something that still surprises me, to this day. It’s surprising because I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I loved writing and books since I was a very young child. 

By the age of 10, I was 100% certain of my destiny to become a writer. At the time, my parents decided to write a cowboy romance novel (a marriage of each of their favorite genres).They had decided to write under a pen name. They chose my first name and an old family name for their pseudonym: YancyJohns. They printed out business cards using that pen name; underneath the name was the word writer.

They had one of the business cards laminated and attached it to their new typewriter. When I looked at that card and saw my name and the word writer, I knew that was my destiny. 

I spent my teen years writing novels in spiral-bound notebooks. That’s right – handwritten. We only had one computer back then and I had to share it with five other people. So if I wanted to spend most of my time writing, I had to do it by hand. 

When I was 19, my uncle gave me his old laptop. It’s humorous to remember it now, that archaic machine that weighed close to 15 pounds. It was so large, it would never be called a laptop by today’s standards, but in 1996, it was quite sophisticated. I felt so lucky to have my own computer. I had finally become a real writer, clacking away at a keyboard that belonged solely to me. 

By the time I was 26, I had written four or five complete novels. I was quite proud of a few of them, though too afraid to send them in to publishers. (It wasn’t quite so important to get an agent back then.) 

One story really stuck with me. It followed a young man in his twenties who was trying to find a way to deal with a sister who had become an addict and was, by the time the novel started, in a coma after a car accident. When I was done writing the novel, I realized the character I had loved the most was the one in the coma – Mary Raedwolfe. I rewrote that book from scratch three times until it became what my readers now know as The Poison Box. But still, I was too shy to share it with others, so I left it on my hard drive, untouched, for many years. 

By my thirties, though I can’t really say I had tried very hard to get published, I was so discouraged with writing that I decided to pursue my Plan B – teaching. If I couldn’t write, at least I could help the kids in my community get excited about writing! I thought I was done as a writer. I thought I would get married and have kids and keep teaching and that would be that. It was hard to let go of my dream, but it just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. 

In 2010, I found that I wasn’t very satisfied with teaching. I needed to find another outlet for my creativity – preferably one that could supplement my teacher’s income. I’d always been very interested in nature and natural healing, and had struggled for decades with acne that I only ended up healing through homemade natural remedies concocted with herbs and organic oils. I knew I could help people dealing with similar struggles and feed my creativity by opening a bath and beauty shop on Etsy.

My little shop, Five Seed, was the joy of my life for the few years that it was open. I loved writing blog posts, product copy, and social media updates. I loved designing the labels and photographing the products in creative ways. And I absolutely adored mixing up different herbs and oils and waxes and turning them into finished, healing products. 

I truly loved being a shop owner at the time. It was such a rewarding experience, and a true balm for my heart during a tumultuous time in my family life. 

Unfortunately, my shop didn’t last long. In 2013, Etsy, prompted by the FDA’s new regulations, issued an edict that herbal shops could no longer talk about herbalism, healing, or even herbal folklore. Everything was off-limits except listing the ingredients in the products. As you can imagine, sales plummeted. The personality of my shop and educational aspect of it were lost. And really, who would buy a product with no listed benefits?

It took me a couple of months to really come to terms with what was happening, but ultimately, I decided to let the shop go. As the experience came to an end, many of my amazing, devoted customers asked me to share my skincare secrets in a booklet. I laughed, at first, at the thought of returning to writing…but eventually, the idea seemed like the only thing to do after the shop closed. Initially, I envisioned writing a short e-book. But as the months went by and I couldn’t stop writing, I realized that this was going to be a major project.

Once I was finished with the manuscript, I realized I had to figure out how to distribute it. I discovered Amazon’s platform and decided to start there. It took me almost a full month to format that book, but eventually, in October, I was able to release Soulful Skincare. 

Some women imagine what it will feel like when they put on a wedding dress for the first time. I, on the other hand, had always dreamed of holding my first book. And let me tell you, it was everything I had imagined. I was exhilarated. 

Somehow, I had become a writer. 

It wasn’t the way I expected. I had always thought I would get a publishing deal and sell a novel as my debut work. Who knew that the universe would trick me into writing a self-published self-help book about acne, instead? It seems so funny to me now.

Once I’d gotten up my confidence, I pulled out the old manuscript that I’d held on to for so many years – The Poison Box. I think that sat on my hard drive, mostly untouched for twelve or fourteen years! Can you imagine how trippy it was to open it again and decide to finish editing it and put it out into the world? That was a big step for me.

And then, like any writer would, I kept going. There’s no end to our stories, after all. 

My cousin’s untimely death prompted me to publish the journal I’d kept during my trip to France with her and my ex-boyfriend. Then I finished the project that I’d wanted to write as a companion piece to Soulful Skincare – a book about radically accepting the way we look. And then came the debut of my series of adult fairy tales (don’t get all hot and bothered – they are G rated but written for an adult audience). 

Then I achieved a huge milestone, a goal I’ve had for decades: Writing a children’s book! The Reluctant Owlet debuted earlier this year. This story follows an owl family – one I had actually observed in the woods in 2017 – as the youngest owlet faces her fears about leaving the nest. I’m so proud of this book. I loved sharing the story of these real-life owls with others. I’m proud of the artwork, which was based on actual pictures I took of the owls. And my brother even contributed photographs to the book, which makes it extra special. 

So here I am, knocking out an average of two books each year. An unconventional writer, I suppose, and admittedly, a struggling one. I have yet to be able to pay the bills with my work. 

But for now, it’s more important to me to tell the stories. I think the rest will come in time. I’ve just got to keep my head down and write what I’m asked to write. 

There’s no point in giving up, really. I’ve certainly learned that. I do love it, after all. Writing is one of the most important parts of my life. I couldn’t breathe without it, without my stories, without the characters who have become my dear friends. 

I think that’s really what it means to be a writer. That you’re willing to surrender everything to the stories that come to you. That you fight for every minute you sit in front of the blank page. That you put all your energy into completing the stories and getting them out into the world where they belong. 

There’s something of service about it. Or maybe just obsession. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I’ll still be typing away over here, no matter what happens. Just like I imagined when I was 10 years old. I already saw my cosmic business card way back then and it said, simply: Writer. 

 

You can buy The Reluctant Owlet on Amazon

Read Yancy’s interview here.

Follow Yancy on Twitter @YancyLael