Modern Map Art – Review

My dad is a map-person. He has tons of different maps. Everything from small county maps to huge atlases of the entire country. I remember when planning a trip he’d get out the map or maps he needed, spreading them out on the kitchen table. He still does this even though he has the technology not to need to. He likes to know where he’s headed.

Before I had my smartphone with my trusty maps app, I would print Google Map directions to where I was headed. Even if I had been there before, if I was going somewhere outside of my usual route, I printed a map. My mom did this too; she might still do it. Dennings do not like to get lost.

Maps are good at showing us where we are and where we are going. But they can also remind us of where we’ve been. I was recently asked by Jennifer from Modern Map Art to review one of her maps. I decided not to pick where I live now but where I used to live. I chose Columbus, our capital city and one of the several places I’ve called home in Ohio.

Kenneth and I spent the first four years of our marriage in Columbus. I can see the street where we lived on the gorgeous black and white print Jennifer sent me. A lot happened in those four years. We learned to navigate the city after growing up in a small town and going to college in a small town. Kenneth went through the most grueling academic period of his life, veterinary school. I started my first real adult job as an educator at a botanical garden. We found new favorite restaurants and parks.

Adjusting to life in the city was hard. By the time we left Columbus I had finally decided that I liked the city and that I would miss it. And I do. Columbus is unique. It’s an artistic, diverse, vibrant and energetic city. Columbus has beautiful parks, museums, and creative communities.

Check out Modern Map Art. Besides map posters of cities and countries, there are also city skyline prints. There are accessories too, iPhone cases, and map pillows. You can even create your own custom map! You could cover your wall with maps of your travels. You could decorate your couch with pillow maps showing where you want to explore in the future. You could even get a map of where you’re from and put it on a case for your iPhone. We don’t need paper maps anymore to get where we need to go. But maps are still a big part of connecting us to our past, present and future.

Thank you Modern Map Art for letting me frame the only big city I’ve ever called home!

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Modern Map Art

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Thank you to Modern Map Art, for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

July Flowers (and remembering that you’re enough)

When I started editing these photos for this blog post, I was thinking I would post it as a regular photoblog. Hey, friends, hope you’re having a great summer! I am too! Look at my beautiful flowers! As I edited and admired the photos, I thought about how I felt when I took these pictures. Over the course of the summer, especially in July, our yard has blossomed with color.

When I got home from work or after a morning walk, I’d walk around the yard, admiring the flowers and taking pictures. I remember feeling surprised. Surprised that all these beautiful flowers were growing in our yard. Why was I surprised? I didn’t expect these gorgeous blooms. I didn’t think I had done enough in our yard this spring and early summer. I really felt that I had slacked during July. So, if I hadn’t accomplished enough, how could our yard look so pretty right now?

I’ve been wanting my husband, Kenneth, and I to have a backyard of our own for years. We lived in apartments and a townhouse for the first six years of our marriage. The most I could do garden-wise were potted plants on a balcony. For a few a couple summers we had a community garden plot in Columbus. It wasn’t enough to please my want for a garden and a yard. Over the years I gathered a lot of projects, ideas, and plants that I would one day put in place in our backyard.

When we bought our house last summer, we painted and planted a pollinator bed on the south side of the house. In the fall, with help from my parents and my dad’s pick-up truck, we removed the Bradford Pear tree from the front yard. Bradford Pear’s are strictly ornamental. Not only are they invasive the trees are weak and have horrible smelling blossoms in the spring. Kenneth and I replaced the Bradford Pear with two native Eastern Redbud trees. We planted a cherry tree and a pear tree in the backyard.

This summer I planted a woodland/shade garden in a corner around the back of the house by our deck. I filled the space with ferns and other woodland plants from a friend. I added hostas collected from other parts of our yard. I’ve begun creating a dry streambed in the shade garden with rocks found in the yard. We also planted our first vegetable garden since having our community garden plot. We ordered a keyhole raised bed from Vita Gardens and have begun composting as well. I took a tree pruning class and have begun pruning our crabapple trees and shrubs around the house. We created a planting in the front yard with chokeberry bushes, lavender, and thyme.

With all these projects we’ve started and finished so far this year, why did I feel like I hadn’t done enough? Because I usually feel like I am not enough. That I don’t work hard enough. That I could do more and do better. Even when I’m complimented on my work, I figure that person is only being nice. Or that eventually, everyone will figure out I’m not that great at what I do.

This feeling, constantly thinking that you’re not enough, actually has a name. It’s called Impostor Syndrome. Besides having chronic depression and anxiety, I also lack self-confidence. I haven’t been diagnosed with Imposter Syndrome, but I’m making an educated guess that I have it. It’s ridiculously common: lots of famous, very accomplished writers, actors and athletes have admitted to this feeling of inadequacy. You have maybe felt this way too.

And it’s bullshit. I am enough. You are enough. We are enough.

Our yard looks fantastic this summer – and both Kenneth and I have accomplished a lot. I harvested our first tomato this week. I’ve had fresh mint for smoothies and basil for pesto all summer. We’ve had happy bees and butterflies enjoying our pollinator garden. I grew sunflowers this summer. I think the last time I grew a sunflower was in preschool. We started them in styrofoam cups and my dad planted it in the garden for me.

I’m going to think of this ridiculously cheerful flower the next time my inner dialogue of self-doubt starts to get too loud. I AM ENOUGH. I am more than enough. 🌻

Red + Blue Giveaway from Thirty-One Gifts

I’m excited to be partnering with Thirty-One Gifts for my first giveaway on my blog!

The mission of Thirty-One is to empower women to run their own businesses. They do this through their direct sales program. They sell purses, totes, home organization products, jewelry, and more. Thirty-One also has a philanthropic side of the business, Thirty-One Gives. They partner with non-profit organizations that focus on building confidence in women and girls.

Check out my post, Tiny Purse from Thirty-One Gifts – Review, for more reasons to love Thirty-One. To find out about my giveaway, and how to enter, keep reading!

Thirty-One and I have partnered to give one of my lucky readers two of my favorite Thirty-One products. We’re giving away the Tons of Funds Wallet and the Large Utility Tote. I chose to review these products in colors that are near and dear to my heart. Red and blue are the colors of my high school and hometown, Piqua. These were the colors I wore when I ran cross country, competed in Science Olympiad and ran the school paper. My teammates and I even found red and blue mascara to show our school spirit!

Let’s chat about the items we’re giving away and why they’re fabulous!

Tons of Funds is my favorite Thirty-One Gifts item. It only has space for the essentials. I can fit my driver’s license, money, credit cards, keys and a few small items like lip balm, a small pill bottle or a pen. It makes a great wallet and an even better mini purse!

Tons of Funds comes in a lot of bright colors. I love my original Daring Cobalt Pebble (this color is no longer available). Very Cherry Pebble is starting to grow on me. Ever since I started using this purse, I’ve noticed this exact shade of red everywhere! It gives a nice pop of color to my outfits, I prefer to dress in neutrals: gray, black and dark blue. A bright little bag is the amount of color I want most days.

Thirty-One’s Large Utility Tote is a great option when you need to carry a lot! I have used it for family gatherings and a picnic in the park. I’ve been able to fit board games, slippers (I can’t be the only one who takes slippers with them to visit family… can I?) and food to family holiday parties.

It’d also be great for backyard barbecues and shopping at the farmers market. It has a ton of space – you could use it for toting towels, sunscreen and snacks to the beach or the pool. I’m sure it’d be helpful for corralling kids toys or baby gear. The options are endless with this much space!

Making a summer picnic with some of my favorite local foods is my favorite way to use the Large Utility Tote. I picked up a fresh loaf of sourdough bread from Bakehouse Bread & Cookie Company. Rosebud’s Ranch & Garden has delicious fruit butters. I grabbed Vanilla Cherry Plum Fruit Butter and Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Butter. I packed a nice homemade salad with veggies from the Farmer’s Market and a little wine. Loaded up the Large Utility Tote and I had a simple and delicious summer picnic for two!

I have two Large Utility Totes right now. One in Charcoal Crosshatch and another in Blue Crosshatch. The Blue Crosshatch bag has custom embroidery on it. Check out Thirty-One’s online catalog to play with patterns and embroidery. Pick the product and pattern you want and click Personalize & Order. You can choose what kind of personalization you want, I went with my last name. Choose the style of your personalization, including font, text and thread color. Then click Preview Personalization to see your creation!

Enter to win your own Tons of Funds Wallet and the Large Utility Tote below! Fill out the Rafflecopter (not to be confused with ROFLcopter). You have a chance for 16 entries! Share this post with your friends! The lucky reader who wins will be able to customize their Large Utility Tote with embroidery of their choice!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Ohio Life giveaway is open to US Residents 18+ until 11:59PM EST on July 21, 2017. The winner will be drawn using Rafflecopter’s Random Number Generator. All entries will be verified, so play fair! I will notify the winner via e-mail and they will have 48 hours to reply before I redraw winners. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This contest is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram in any way. Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. If you have any questions, please contact Courtney at thisohiolife [at] gmail [dot] com. Good Luck!

 

Thank you Thirty-One Gifts!

ohio-120x120Thirty-One Gifts

Address: 3425 Morse Crossing, Columbus, Ohio 43219

Phone Number: 1-866-GIFTS31

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Thank you to Thirty-One Gifts, a Columbus-based company, for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Share + Give – Cats Advocates of Troy + Purrs in Piqua

This month’s Share + Give is all about cats – which are pretty much my everything. I love hanging out with my cats, talking about my cats, meeting other people’s cats, looking at pictures of cats on Instagram and watching funny cat videos on YouTube. While I love love love cats, I know that overpopulation is a serious problem. There are simply too many cats and not enough crazy cat ladies and gents (me and my husband included) to give them all homes. Always get your cat spayed or neutered, dear readers! If you need a vet in Miami County, I know a guy. 😉

Speaking of cats, Miami County, and cat overpopulation… did you know that Miami County is lucky enough to have not only one TNR organization in our community but two TNR organizations? TNR stands for Trap, Neuter, Return and is a way to control stray and feral cat populations. A female cat can have, on average, two to three litters of kittens a year. If each litter has 6 kittens and the female cat lives to be 10 or 11 years old, she could give birth to 120 to 180 kittens in her lifetime! That’s a really high number and that’s looking at one cat if we take into consideration the female cats of each litter also having 120 to 180 kittens in their lifetime the number gets even bigger and even more out of control. Spaying or neutering is the best way to control cat populations and TNR is the best way to control the population of stray and feral cats.

Purrs in Piqua, started by Tiffany Pontius in March 2015, is a group of volunteers who practice TNR in Piqua. Since April 2015 Purrs has neutered 250 cats, thus preventing thousands of unwanted kittens from being born on the streets of Piqua. Purrs has been able to raise over $7000 since September 2015. 90% of the money raised goes directly to veterinary fees.

Cat Advocates of Troy, founded by Felicia Watson in June 2016, is also a group of dedicated volunteers who practice TNR to control the population of stray and feral cats. In addition to getting cats spayed or neutered, the cats are vaccinated and ear tipped (in order to identify that they have been neutered). After the cats have time to recover, they are then returned to the area in which they were trapped.

I also have to point out how awesome these two organizations names and logos are – Purrs has an ear tipped cat for their logo and Cat Advocates of Troy, or CAT, has a cat in their logo which also spells CAT. It’s almost too purrrfect.

Purrs and CAT are both local organizations, so I’ve had the opportunity to interview both Tiffany and Felicia. In order to better highlight each of these organizations, I will be posting each interview separately later this week. So, you will get to learn more about two TNR organizations and see more pictures of cats. I might also finally remember how to spell neuter correctly… win-win-win.

Since I’m focusing on two organizations this month, I am splitting my donations, $15 towards Cat Advocates of Troy and $15 towards Purrs in Piqua.

Donate to Purrs in Piqua Here

Donate to Cat Advocates of Troy Here

 

I am making my donation in honor of:

  • Lori – my mom, who always talked my dad into keeping the kittens I brought home.
  • Michelle – my friend who loves cats so much she had allergy shots so she can have cats of her own, sans sniffles!
  • Anita – a family friend who shares my family’s love of cats, gardening, and a good bonfire.
  • Taylor – a fellow cat and coffee lover – I love sharing cat stories with Taylor while pulling shots of espresso at Winans!
  • Amanda – my first crazy cat lady internet crush – Amanda is an amazing advocate for women’s reproductive rights and has a bad-ass kitty named Boo Radley.
  • Patty – one of my WGS professors from Ohio University – I knew she was going to be one of my favorite professors when she started a lecture with pictures from I Can Has Cheezburger.

Happy Share + Give 2017!

If you feel like sharing the love by sharing this post on your social channels and/or by giving to Cats Advocates of Troy or Purrs in Piqua in honor of a friend or family member, please use the following hashtags in your post! You don’t have to donate to share the love, just re-tweet or share on FB or regram on Instagram! Let’s see how far we can Share + Give!

#shareandgive2017
#thisohiolife
#CatAdvocatesofOhio #PurrsinPiqua #tnr #trapneuterreturn #spayandneuter #straycat #feralcat