What I like about my writing: Bloganuary Entry #7

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This is tough for me because it requires self-promotion, which I am not good at. The temptation for me is to spin the topic around into “why I like to write”, so that I don’t focus on the writing itself, but rather what I enjoy about the process.

But I won’t do that. I will allow myself to have a moment of vulnerability and try my best to answer this prompt as written.

So, here are some things that I like about my writing…I’ll keep this short and sweet:

  • I like reading my thoughts.
  • I like journaling. I enjoy reading other people’s journals as well. There are a lot of blogs about a lot of things, but the type I like the most are people who write about their daily lives and thoughts.
  • I like sharing things that I’ve accomplished or made or done with people beyond of my text list.
  • I like my word choice. Sometimes I can be quite quirky and amusing.
  • I like practicing the art of writing. Seeing that I continue to write encourages me to keep writing.
  • I like seeing improvements in my writing and phrasing.
  • I like the appearance of the finished product…the picture, the text, the additional elements, the layout…maybe this is why I liked being on the newspaper staff.

That’s all I have for today. So what do YOU like about your writing? I’m curious about people’s answers to this question because I found it a little difficult. Let me know!

What Makes Me Laugh: Bloganuary Entry #6

this is as scammy as I get…on a fake plane, holding a fake glass of champagne…at a selfie museum.
hopefully this makes sense as the pic for this post.

Let me tell you, I absolutely love to laugh. I love memes, I love funny twitter threads, I love funny facial expressions, and one of my favorite things is watching people trip. Idk what it is, but that gets me EVERY time (as long as the person is ok).

But tonight, I realized something that really makes me laugh. The absolute audacity of scammers and fraudsters. Like…their utter and complete gall just really gives me a good chuckle. But not like an “omg that’s so funny” chuckle. But more like “omg is this person really delusional enough to do this?” and “omg are people really buying this??” chuckle.

I love a good scam story. Not because I love scams, but the make-up of the scammer, the personality traits that leads people to fall for scams, and of course, the trail of events that leads to the scammer being caught…I just love it all! American Greed is my favorite show, and I’m obsessed with cults…which for me, is just another scam.

I’ve been a victim of a white collar crime, and luckily for me, things worked out ok. I was in college, and this was back in the 90s when I was young and naive, from a small town but went to school in the big city, and I had no idea that people like this even existed. Someone passed me a stolen check for a couple thousand dollars, and I cashed it when the bank made the money available. A few days later, I was being sat down by the police. Shocked, confused, overwhelmed…my naivetee diminished. Now as an adult, I know how easy it is to be sucked in when you don’t know better. And I know how horrible people can be when they prey on those that don’t know better. And it’s disgusting. And yet still very fascinating.

I had been hearing Elizabeth Holmes’ name for a while. But never in a way that interested me enough to actually pay attention to what she was in the news for. Until this week when the story broke that she was found guilty of four counts of fraud. I had some time to kill and decided to read up on what this was all about.

If you’re like me, you intentionally select what news stories you allow into your life, and maybe this story has not made the cut. So let me tell you about Ms. Holmes.

Elizabeth Holmes is a Stanford drop-out who went on to found a revolutionary company, Theranos, which boasted having the technology to prick a finger, obtain a small vial of blood, and then analyze these small amounts of blood for over 200 diseases by way of a small box called Edison. This small box, Edison, would be the analytical powerhouse that conducted all of these tests, taking up only a small amount of counter space. The vision was that this tiny vial of blood and small box would then result in these blood tests being made affordable and accessible for any and everyone, and it would ultimately give people more control over their health and life, which would, as she always said it, “change the world.”

I’m not mad at this vision. Anything that gives people more tools for life-saving health screenings at an affordable price…what’s not to love?? The affordability, the accessibility, the innovation could save lives which WOULD change the world! This could be awesome!

The next layer to this story is that Ms. Holmes aligned herself with some of the most powerful men on the planet, convincing them to invest and be ambassadors for her vision and for her company, Theranos. We are not talking famous actors or social media influencers or athletes. We are talking literally presidents, secretaries of state, presidential cabinet members, and billionaires. Bill Clinton, George Schultz, Henry Kissinger, Rupert Murdoch, The Walton Family (aka the Walmart dynasty), Carlos Slim…I mean…these people sat on the board, touted her achievements, and heavily invested in her company.

So now she’s got the vision, she’s got the media attention, she’s got the funds, and she has tremendous support for something that could be absolutely amazing! As she repeatedly says, Theranos could change the world! When all was said and done, this company was valued at $9 billion! She was a Stanford dropout in her 30’s doing the damn thing!

Ms. Holmes modeled herself after other great visionaries such as Thomas Edison and her clear idol, Steve Jobs. She even wore a modified version of his black turtleneck uniform.

Ms. Holmes was featured in Forbes, gave Ted Talks, and had her own security detail. She was living the dream. She was a dropout to billionaire success story.

However…things were not what they seemed. Long story short, the technology was faulty, inadequate, and it just did not do what she promised. And the reality was that it probably never was going to do what she promised. Ever. The results of her company’s labwork was at best, right about 50% of the time. But patients were being given the results as if they were guaranteed correct, and people’s lives were at stake. Because Theranos was a private company, she did not have to divulge certain information to government agencies regarding its technology, she did not have to have audited financial statements, and she basically could control the narrative under the privilege of keeping trade secrets.

Companies like Walgreens were starting to try out her technologies in their stores and inaccurate and unreliable test results could result in a potential nightmare for patients.

Employees, terrified by threatening lawyers and cease and decist letters, finally started speaking out and jumping ship. They spoke to reporters and they whistleblew about what was actually happening at Theranos. And Ms. Holmes’ house of cards crumbled.

I love reading and learning about white collar crimes. I just cannot believe that that kind of audacity exists. I’m always intrigued by the narcissism that leads to the crime, and the investigations that eventually bring the whole enterprise down. And this story is right there on my list. It checks all of my boxes.

  • Charismatic and odd leader that somehow convinces people to get on board with a big-vision plan (and don’t get me started on how this is extremely similar to my other fascination, cult leaders) – CHECK!
  • A following of people totally drinking the charismatic leader’s kool-aid – CHECK!
  • A fraud scheme that just makes me shake my head – CHECK!
  • Lots of money being thrown at said fraud scheme – CHECK!
  • All of the red flags that the charismatic leader is a fraud that people should be picking up on but aren’t – CHECK! CHECK!
  • The slip-up that leads to the subsequent downfall – And CHECK!

While there are so many white collar criminals and huxters that are just plain evil, I feel like this at least was a well-intentioned plan. At least initially. Life changing healthcare being made accessible to all–honestly this is what society needs. But most successful scams play on the vulnerable and the weak, and provide hope to those that truly need it.

But Ms. Holmes didn’t double down on her fraudster ways by preying on the elderly or vulnerable people that couldn’t afford to invest in her company. So at least there’s that. She sought out the ultra rich and ultra powerful. Those that could invest tens of millions and not even miss it.

But everything crumbled and at the end of it, I’m doing my “omg did people really buy this??” chuckle.

Do you love true crime and white collar crime stories? Why do you think people believe they will get away with scams like this? Do you have any favorite shows or stories that intrigue you?

Someone I admire: Bloganuary Entry #5

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This is a really hard prompt because there are truly inspirational and admirable people everywhere. But it’s pretty fair to say that most of the people I admire are women. And even more specifically, they are women in my family. You can close your eyes and pick pretty much any one of them, and you will find someone who has set and amazing example of being a good mother, sister, aunt, matriarch, trailblazer, free thinker, supporter, etc. It is truly hard, no…impossible, to pick only one person to write about. And frfr, I don’t want to poke the hornet’s nest of picking out just one person.

So instead of picking one particular person that I admire, let me tell you five traits that I find are common in the many people I admire.

They choose kindness. Every woman in my family has been through something. And yet they are all the sweetest, kindest people on the whole planet. Yes, I said the whole entire planet!

They stand up for themselves and for others. They all do it in different ways. Ranging from timid and subtle to brazen and spitfire, they have their own approaches, but they speak up. And their approaches are actually quite fascinating. I’ve noticed that there’s a time and a place for each method, and I’ve even used some myself.

Despite obstacles, they persevere. Life is clearly full of challenges. Being able to face those challenges, no matter how big or small, and come out ahead is no easy feat. Watching the women in my life tackle challenges and come out being better and stronger is so powerful and encouraging. They tackle motherhood and marriages and the workforce and entrepreneurship, and of course all of the daily nuances that life can present. Being able to watch them face challenges and persevere gives me so much strength in my own life.

Through actions or through words, they impart wisdom. There is a takeaway from every encounter. Whether it’s a recipe, a history lesson, a mantra about life, a tip for the daily struggle, or a lesson in what not to do, there’s always something to learn.

They love hard. There is never any question about who they love and how much they love them. They express it in their actions and with their words. Often. And without shame.

It may be hard to pick one or even three top people that you admire. But do you notice a commonality among people that make your list? I’d love to hear what you admire about the people you admire!

I wish I knew how to: Bloganuary Entry #4

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Life is about constantly learning. I truly enjoy learning new things, and I seek knowledge, no matter how small. I love that there are so many ways to learn right at my fingertips, thanks to my friend the internet. Whether I’m learning a craft, a recipe, a computer trick, or a dance class, I feel like it’s good to be constantly open to learning.

I love finding random tutorials on pinterest, and I love taking advantage of online resources. I’m currently making my way through a Life Coaching course and hopefully I will finish that in the coming months *fingers crossed*, and I’ve done a few ecommerce courses over the past year that were really interesting.

But if I had to pick one thing that I wish I knew it would be that I wish I knew how to change a flat tire. Of course, there’s a million reasons why this is a good, practical, and important skill to have. I don’t like the idea of being stranded, vulnerable, or possibly in a dangerous situation over something that I could fix myself if I have to. Because tires rarely announce in advance that they plan to go flat, the sooner I know how to do this, the bigger relief this will be for me. So it’s on my 2022 learning list for sure.

But on a smaller scale, here three things I’ve learned to do recently by using online resources:

Fabric Stamping: I follow an artist on IG that uses random items to stamp fabric, and she then uses the fabrics to make bags. I have been mesmerized by her process and thought I could try something similar. So I looked around on pinterest for tutorials and tried my hand at it. Using some remnants from Joann’s, some fabric paint, a straw, and a plastic fork, I created these masterpieces. I thought this was fun, and it’s such an easy way to decorate a space. I also plan to try this on some tea towels. It could make a really cute gift idea, and there are so many different possibilities.









Ceramics: To stay sane during the pandemic, I definitely turned to crafts. One thing I found cute and interesting was clay. Trinket dishes, earrings, and wine charms…I tried them all. I tried both air dry clay as well as clay that you bake in the oven. Here’s one of the many tutorials that I played around with and here are a few of my results.

Beading: I love making my own accessories, so when I stumbled across some posts for making beaded jewelry, I became obsessed! And again, the pandemic caused lots and lots of time isolated in the house, so this was a wonderful creative outlet. Several hundred dollars later (oy!), and I have bags and bags and bags of beaded bracelets to show for it. Here’s one blogger that gives a good bracelet tutorial and below are a few of my results:

What do you like learning? What’s the last thing you learned or taught yourself to do?

Favorite Toy: Bloganuary Entry #3

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I should be more embarrassed about this but I’m not…lol. One of my favorite toys growing up was a portable chalkboard. You could write on the top, then the top flipped open and inside was a place to hold things like papers and chalk and erasers. Which means for fun, I played school.

My dad, to this day, loves to tell the story about how a friend of his came over one day, and his son was about my age. So we went off to play. I asked the son if he wanted to play school and he was completely and utterly disgusted. “PLAY SCHOOL!?!?! YUCK!!!”

But me…I loved handing out papers, and writing on the board, and having a fake grade book. I would line my stuffed animals up and discipline them, which is weird because I never got yelled at in school or anything. I don’t think it’s that I wanted to be a teacher, but this is what I considered a good time back then–handing out homework assignments, bossing my animals around, and washing the chalk board.

So that’s it…the geeky kid me loved pretending I was in school.

Did you have a favorite toy? Does it uncover any embarrassing childhood secrets…like…for a good time, you played school? Let’s hear it!