Love. This. Quote.

Picasso quote

The back-to-school time period is always super busy for educators, parents, children and teens.  To stay ahead of the curve, I'm reminding myself of this Picasso quote daily.

Amen, Pablo.  Amen.

You got this,


PS - My secret for staying ahead of the curve is ESC.  Extreme Self Care.  Lots of this, this, and this.

Graphic created with PicMonkey, of course. 

Favorites for back-to-school

It's that time of year again.  And for the record, that was an incredible summer.

Colorado (and North Carolina), I adore you.  I mean really.  Look at that scenery below.

Breckenridge, CO

I am refueled and ready to meet my new college students.  I have some fun keynotes to deliver over the next few weeks, too, plus I need to get my trip to Portland squared away.  In the meantime, these are my very favorite back-to-school activities and resources:

  • Professor KP's textbook gems.  How awesome are those?
  • I love easy tech tools. Recite this helps make quotes more engaging.
  • My all time favorite tech tool, though, is still PicMonkey.  I used it to make the graphic above. (Tip:  If you follow PicMonkey on Instagram, you can see their cool effects in action)
  • If you need new classroom props, I would purchase anything from the "other" Jennifer.  I still have a crush on her miniature metaphor kit.
  • Speaking of props, have you bought Sue's Curiosity Cards?  She's been using them all over North America with her newest endeavor, 1Conversation.
  • And, if you are like me and have cobwebs growing on your dreams, hire Sue!  She's doing a 100 conversations in 100 days challenge.  Which means, you literally pay her what you think the session is worth.  Contact her here (and remember, all the coaching is done by phone which makes it soooo easy to do).  You don't have to drive anywhere.
Off I go - Happy semester!


Life Updated: Summer Edition

Greetings and Happy Summer!  Can you tell what I've been up to this summer?

This summer has been fantastic.  Miss O and I started out the summer spending two weeks at the sleep-away camp I grew up attending in North Carolina.  It took Miss O about four days to warm up to camp life (living in a cabin, having counselors, making new friends, and doing a zillion cool activities), but now she is in love with camp!  It took me about four days to figure it out, as well, since I had a new role at camp.  I was a volunteer camp mom.  The last time I was at camp, I was in my 20s and carefree.  Camp, though, is camp.  It is awesome, life-changing, and filled with so much joy.  We both want to return next summer for a longer amount of time.

The rest of the summer, we've spent in Breckenridge, Colorado at our sweet little condo there.  You know how my family and I adore Breck.  It's been a great summer filled with lots of cool visitors, a trip to Denver, and new activities (like hiking a 14,000 ft. peak), pump tracking, and watercolor painting using Creative Bug's online classes (affiliate link).

What have you been up to this summer?  Are you getting ready for fall?

My best,


PS - I think Jedi enjoys Colorado more than anyone else in our family.  I mean, really.  Look at him here, here, and here.

PSS - This time-elapse video of us bouldering with friends is one of my favs.

Three Part To-Do List

As you know from my last blog post here, Miss O and I are two-week entrepreneurs.  Technically, we are down to one week, so make that one-week entrepreneurs.  To help us create products, launch our shop and reach our goal of becoming small business owners, we used a three part to-do list that was suggested by my new Zappos friend, Jennifer.  Jennifer is the goals queen!  Literally, it's what she does for a living - teaches others how to create goals groups, set goals, and accomplish them.  How's that for an amazing niche?  I think every business, school, and college needs her (probably every family, too).

Three Part To-Do List Collage

Jennifer recommend a three part to-do list.  She may have called it something differently when we were in Las Vegas, but I am calling it this very fancy name, The Three Part To-do List.  Though, you can name each part whatever you'd like, Miss O and I went with....

To-do:  This included all of the micro-steps to accomplishing our big goal of running a successful small business....

To-Do List Closeup

In Progress:  Once a to-do item was in progress, we moved it to this portion of the three part list. There was something REALLY gratifying about seeing each micro-step in action and moving along the completion journey. And really, can my business partner's hair be any shinier or straighter?  I foresee Pantene commercials in her future.

In Progress closeup

High Five:  This last part of our three part list was full of celebrations.  Miss O and I literally high fived each other each time a new sticky note made it to the end of the journey.  Using sticky notes, by the way, was another Jennifer suggestion.

High Five closeup

Now, as you can see below, we are in the final two sticky notes of our three part list.  The only items left for us to do in the progress section is "create thank you cards" and "ship necklaces," which we will be doing for one more week before we close up for the summer (PS - we plan to re-open at some point in the fall).

Three Part To-Do List Journey

I asked Miss O what she thought of the three part to-do list and she said she really liked it.  Her favorite part was moving the stickies along the journey and realizing how much we needed to accomplish and how much we did.  High five!  What do you think of the three part to-do list?

See you at our Etsy shop, OJCreates.  We close around June 7th, so go now!  Big thanks to Jennifer for suggesting the three part to-do list.  And good luck, Jennifer, on the release of your book, Goallaboration, this summer!  Goallaboration!?  What a fun word!

Off I go, dear friends - life is full as a small business owner, college professor, mom and blogger. Lest not forget I am writing a book, too!





Two Week Entrepreneurs

Miss O and I are embarking on something new.  We are two week entrepreneurs.  If you've been following along on Instagram, you know we've been in the planning stages for almost two weeks now. Today is showtime!  Welcome to our new Etsy shop - OJCreates.  We are only open for two weeks, so go shop now.  Really, go!  We close in 14 days and our inventory is made up of 17 special editions.

OJCreates Etsy Shop

This small business project is actually quite overdue.  Last summer, Miss O and I researched opening a business. We even bought a domain name, learned about logo design, and a whole bunch of other good businessy things.  However, my (awesome) sabbatical in the fall kind of got in the way.

Now, with just a few weeks before our summer kicks into full gear, we are finally living the dream - making pleasing and useful products, selling them to customers (like you!) and learning about small business.  I can't think of a better skill set for Miss O to possess than to learn the ins and outs of owning a business.

Our first items for sale are 17 different necklaces.  The necklaces are all one-of-a-kind, hand-knotted, and feature the coolest color & bead combinations on the planet.  Miss O designed 75% of them as she has a fantastic eye for color and style.  I designed or we co-designed the other 25%.  I am the master beader.  Miss O is the master necklace namer.  You can see examples below.   Miss O literally has a story to go with each necklace she's designed and named.  You can read more when you click on an individual necklace in our shop.  Miss O is also our lead shipper who writes all of our hand-written thank you notes.  Just wait until you see her old-school cursive handwriting in person!

Want to peek at the necklaces?

This necklace, Cupcake, is one of our color favorites.  Miss O wanted to design something with soft and fun colors.  I love how this necklace really is simple yet sooooo pretty with all those gorgeous freshwater pearls.

Cupcake handknotted beaded necklace

Lilypad, I designed.  I enjoy necklaces that incorporate eclectic beads and colors.  I feel like this necklace would match just about any outfit for summer and beyond.  I also like the uneven spacing between beads.  Sometimes we unevenly space and sometimes we don't.  It all depends on the design and look we are going for.

Lilypad handknotted beaded necklace

Cooper is named after Mini Cooper.  I won't give it all away, but you can read more about how Miss O designed and named this necklace in our shop.  Cooper's color palette is amazing to me!  I have no idea how she came up with this combination, but I love it.

Cooper handknotted beaded necklace

Ok, enough of me talking.  I'm sure you are ready to get on over to OJCreates and shop.  Just a few quick things....

  • Our necklaces make great end-of-the-year gifts for your favorite teacher(s). And really, you can't beat the price for a teacher gift.  Plus, each necklace is sooooo pretty.
  • If you spend $70 or more, use this code to get free shipping:  HIGH5 (which is because Miss O and I are high-fiving ourselves that we are shop owners.  I'm thinking we could have used Pinchme or Pinchus as the code, too :)
  • I've been wearing necklaces I've made like these for years now.  The necklaces are very strong and durable, but I usually don't shower or swim in mine.  You could, but I think they will last longer if they stay more dry.
Please go shop, tell a friend, and share this blog post with as many people as you can.  We'd love to sell out of our necklaces and create more (or a new product) when we re-open in the fall.

Hurrah for OJCreates and learning new skills,

Jen (and my business partner, Miss O)