July 22, 2021

Reader Emails

I had no idea what to title this, because it's a very random post--I have a couple of things I wanted to share, but they didn't really fit in with things like "Transformation Tuesday", so I'm just going to put them in a post on their own!

(Please read this post about submitting things for various posts, if you're interested!)

First, this is a "Motivational Monday" sort of share from a reader named Karen. She's been reading my blog for a long time and is always so kind. I was thrilled for her when she sent me this email--her excitement was shining through. (She gave me permission to share this, of course)

Karen turned 62 years old in May and you would never know it from looking at her pictures. After buying a pair of jeans and being unhappy with how she looked in them, she became determined to lose the "muffin top" before her birthday. Here is what she wrote:

"I wish I had a 'before' picture from 15 months ago when I bought these Silver brand jeans from Maurices. I had a big muffin top that I planned to hide under a jacket or hoodie. The jeans were tight and I didn't feel good about myself. I got majorly back into my stair workout--I sweat my ass off on this workout! I actually love it. I've never done another workout that I didn't come up with excuses or procrastinate. I say out loud to myself 'push it!'. My muffin top is gone and for a person my age, I feel strong, like a mean bitch! I need to do more weight lifting but this is the best cardio I've ever done. When we get older, we can still get tougher. I am constantly working, but still working out."


If you read my post called "Boy Cookies and Girl Cookies", then you know that my beloved Aunt Mary Jo passed away early this year. I wrote about my memories of her in that post and I included a beautiful picture of her from when she was young.

I didn't know this, but a reader named Laura read the post and was inspired to draw a portrait from that photo. She messaged me on Instagram and asked if I'd like to have it--I was blown away at how amazing it looked! I thought it would be a perfect gift for Nancy, my cousin (Aunt Jo's daughter). Check this out--the original photo is on the left and Laura's drawing is on the right:

Laura hasn't been drawing for very long--shocking, right? It's so funny how she picked it up, too--she read my post about when I wanted to learn a new skill and I bought some drawing supplies and drew a picture of a cat based on instructions from a book. I didn't have interest in pursuing it further, but it sparked something in Laura, which she explains in her email below.

"I starting my art journey in August of 2018; my medium is pastel and sometimes graphite. It actually all started with your post about goals and “learning a new skill”. You had a blog post and picked up art posting this adorable cat you drew.

That inspired something in me and I remembered how much I liked to draw as a kid. I recalled really loving using pastels and decided that I would pick that up and see if I could make any progress. I bought a box of pastel pencils and then discovered this awesome website called colinbradleyart.com that offered tutorials. I signed up and immediately loved it, especially doing animals.

I was not very good, but I kept at it and got better. I started doing more and more types of pets and in the past couple of years even did a few commissions. I love animals, so drawing them seemed like the best of both worlds. That is my typical subject, but every once in a while, I see a picture with a story that moves me and I attempt that. So was the case for your Aunt Jo.

I was so touched by your blog post and then when I saw that photo you posted at the end, I thought, 'I want to draw her for your family'. I was very pleased with how it came out even though that is not my typical subject. I am so happy you like it and I hope it can bring some joy in such a sad time.

I don’t have a website yet as I typically post my art on Instagram. My entire art portfolio can be found there on @laura.m.art or @CustomPetPortraitsByLaura to see only my pet work. I can be reached on either of those accounts if anyone is interested in having a pet commission done or just has an art question."

                - Laura Mulcahy

Here is the progression of her work: 2018, 2020, and today:

I highly recommend checking out her work on Instagram. I'm still stunned that she hasn't been doing this her whole life! (And if you are looking to have a pet portrait drawn, she packaged the drawing so carefully--it arrived in perfect condition. I would definitely recommend her work!)

One of the ideas I mentioned in the post looking for submissions/ideas is to write readers' fun news--I really like this idea, so I hope people will submit things! I received this fun news from a reader (also named Katie) who I met during one of my trips to the Pacific Northwest. Here is what she had to say:

"Attached is myself in my new (to me) little Minnie Winnie, a.k.a Littles. I was very fortunate (and grateful) that COVID-19 didn't adversely affect me. I am a software engineer and it was no problem to work from home. I even went into the office some because our office was so small that I was the only one going in. I say it was because my company has decided that working remotely is working out so they have decided to let the lease go on the office and we will be working from home all the time.

So...I got a home on wheels! This has actually been a dream of mine for a long time but Frankenstein, my dog, and I will now be able to travel while we work!! I am going to start small but hope to take a cross country trip to go spend a month "wintering in Louisiana" this spring! I am super excited and looking forward to it. I also attached a pic of my travel buddy!" 


  1. This is definitely motivational! I've loved reading this post... though I like all your posts, this one is so sweet. 1) that you want to highlight others/their joys/their talents/their hardwork. So much in today's world is all "me, me, me". It's refreshing when someone shines a light on others.
    2) this is a clear representation of how many people you and your blog touches, how you impact their lives. A simple sharing of your life, your struggles, and determination, etc... they all touch us, impact us for the better!
    I'm so thankful for you!
    And a huge shout out to all these women you've shined a light on! Go! Do the hard things, invest in yourselves, and enjoy your life!

  2. This was a great post. Those jeans looks amazing on her, that artwork is spectacular and I'm SO loving the motorhome idea. Jealous all the way around. One of my private facebook groups (Engineering working moms) has a post about every week or two to celebrate "something good" and I always enjoy hearing the upbeat news - big and small wins for everyone.


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

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