Make it Monday // Easy Crochet Pen Case

I've been a crafty lady for as long as I remember.  I'd used to sit at my grandma's house cutting up her McCall's magazines.  I'd color anything that sat still.  I just loved to make stuff!  I've been a crafty person longer than I've been a planner person and my favorite thing is when two of my hobbies collide - crochet & planning.
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I remember when I learned to crochet just a simple chain.  I think I learned when I was in elementary school and I felt pretty cool.  The first hat I made was bright yellow.  I'd crochet a row and then ask my grandma what to do next.  She'd tell me 'do two double crochets in every third stitch' and I'd do that around, then she'd tell me the next step.  Eventually I ended up with a bright yellow beanie!  That was in maybe middle school or my freshman year of high school.  My French class went to Canada my freshman year and I wore that hat!

A few years ago I crocheted a blanket in 10 days for one of Zach's siblings.  When I was unemployed in 2012 up here in Michigan I crocheted a butt ton of granny square blankets.  I crocheted this blanket for our first house (and we still have it!).  
I've been a planner lady for quite a while too - ever since we got a planner in high school to use!  I would decorate that little thing with magazine clippings, highlighters....you name it!  I think this post is really the first post I shared about a planner on the blog.  That post didn't even begin to match where I am now in planning.  Hell, you can even watch this video where I outright say 'I don't understand why people use stickers in their planners.'  And boy, look at me now!

Recently I've been seeing these cute little crocheted planner and pen cases!  I can't stand how adorable they are.  I definitely never thought I'd crochet anything for my planner but here we are.  Now that I have a Hobonichi Weeks I plan to crochet a pouch for it as well.  Man the possibilities have become endless!

So I'm here today to share with you the quick and dirty pen case crochet pattern - if you can even call it that!  Seriously this is super easy and it will work through your yarn stash!
supplies // scrap yarn, size I crochet hook

Are you ready for this? 
Chain 8, sc in second chain from hook and all the way across, 2 sc in last chain, do not turn.
Begin to work in the round by sc in back loop of chain across.  Do not join.
Sc in the first sc from the first row and begin to work in the round.
Sc in each sc until pouch measures 5.5 inches, end on the side of the pouch with a slip stitch, weave in ends.
This pattern is so simple I don't know if you'd even call it a pattern!  You can seriously bust your stash and gift a ton of your planner friends with little pen pouches!  Store your pens, tweezers, mildliners, highlighters...you name it.  And maybe even throw a crochet hook or two in there.

I'm just gonna whip a few of these guys up with my yarn stash!

What two hobbies of yours do you wish would collide?

xoxo, Moe


Diet Culture and my Postpartum Experience

Let's start this off with the punch line - at my 2 week postpartum check up I was down 10 pounds.  By my 4 week postpartum check up I was down 20 pounds total.  To a lot of people that sounds great, right?  Personally, I was at the lowest weight I'd been in a long, long, long while.  But being 20 pounds down wasn't cause for celebration.

I'd lost 20 pounds in a month because I flat out wasn't eating.
Hi, hello, how are you.....I've not regularly posted in quite a while because I've been very busy.  Very busy is a very big understatement.  I was growing a baby over the last year and nothing I used to do really gave me any excitement.  If you've followed this blog for a while you'll know that I don't force things if I'm not feeling it.  The blog, YouTube channel, Instagram, Facebook, my planner.....none of that sounded like a fun idea so I didn't do it.  It wasn't the plan to leave all of these things high and dry...yet here we are.

So, I lost 20 pounds.

After I gave birth to Marcus I lost a lot of blood and my blood pressure dropped.  It wasn't scary in the moment to me because I do this thing now where I speak up because my doctor has made my comfortable enough to do so......so I said 'hey I feel dizzy, I think I may pass out' and then I heard my blood pressure reading being called out every few minutes as they monitored me and my doctor stitched me up.  In the days after giving birth my iron was also low.  I was also sent home with very little breastfeeding support (in my opinion), with a newborn, and a set of whacked out hormones.

Long story short when I got home I just stopped eating.

I'm not sure if I cut out eating subconsciously because there was so much going on or what but there just wasn't enough time for it.  I'm not sure if it was the ridiculous hormones, the pressure of breast feeding, the fact that my child was dehydrated, the lack of sleep, or like I said JUST PLAIN ALL OF IT.  But I literally just stopped eating.

When I start to tell my story I make a point to mention that in a month, in 4 weeks, in 28 days I lost 20 pounds.  That means I almost lost a pound a day.  When I tell this to people the first thing they say is 'OMG congrats! That's so great!'  To which I say 'No, its not.  I wasn't eating anything.'  And that doesn't seem to give them pause like it would me.  Not eating meant I wasn't getting the nutrients I needed to heal let alone the extra nutrients I needed to produce milk.  My lack of milk production lead to even more stress which compounded not eating.

If you're not familiar with the term, you're probably familiar with the definition.  NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) defines Diet Culture saying:
  1. Diet culture conflates size and health, pathologizing some body types.  (This means that the view that fat = bad seeps into the medical field and instead of prescribing evidence based medical intervention patients are told to 'lose weight' as the cure to their ailment.  I am so thankful that my OB/GYN did not treat me this way...man I love that woman!)
  2. Diet culture encourages following external rules about what, when, and how much to eat.
  3. Diet culture suggests that people are more or less good/moral/worthy based on their body size.
  4. Diet culture creates thin privilege, which makes thinness a gatekeepr for jobs/benefits/comfort/accommodation.
  5. Diet culture suggests movement as a punishment for, or prevention of, being fat, rather than for other reasons like fun or personal goals.
  6. Diet culture views fat people as less valuable and more risk-able.
More long story short - Diet Culture means that losing 20 pounds by any means, at any time, especially after pregnancy, is a good thing.

While diet culture can affect anyone, women truly feel it the most.  Being a woman means your body open for commentary and is meant for either the enjoyment of, or disapproval by, others.  Your body is not yours.  Your body is seen so your body is expected to conform.  It's ok to be 'fat' while pregnant but afterwards, if you drop the baby weight and more - that is to be celebrated!  But what about the mental and physical health of the mother during this weight loss?

My stress, my hormones, my inability to cope with what just happened to me exacerbated by the anxiety I felt when the sun went down and while breastfeeding led me to stop eating.  I stopped eating and thus I stopped producing milk and thus it was impossible to feed my child.  The life I'd just brought into the world was jaundiced, dehydrated, hungry......and in a few short weeks it would be 'great that I'd lost 20 pounds.'

When I was 10 pounds down at my 2 week appointment I thought I was lucky.  By my 4 week appointment the second 10 pounds concerned me.  It also concerned my doctor.

When I stopped breastfeeding my hormones balanced and I have to say currently, right now, I literally feel 200% better.  And I'm not using the word 'literally' in a figurative manner here.  The way I felt from week 1 to week 5 compared to how I feel now and how I felt even 2 days after stopping breastfeeding is literal night and day.  I was 100% not myself and I didn't realize how scary that was until I started to feel me again.  I also gained my appetite back.

Why am I sharing this with you all?  Because it is important to tune into our bodies.  It is important to listen to gut feelings, to listen to our bodies, and to have the courage to tell someone (like your doctor) that you're scared.  It is also important not to get discouraged and if someone doesn't give you the support you need you continue to search for it.  I am thankful that my friends & family were with me during the first few weeks postpartum.  I think I would have given up on seeking any answers if it weren't for them. 

I'm not sure if it was the hormones that balanced after stopping breastfeeding or the fact that stopping breastfeeding meant there wasn't one more thing on my plate.....but stopping breastfeeding made me sane and allowed me to eat.  I am able to show up better for my child and for myself.  And as for my body after pregnancy?  It just grew a life and delivered a child so I don't care if my belly is a little jiggly still and my boobs hang a little lower, I care that it is still carrying me and I'm able to carry my child.

I want to share this with you all because I want at least one person out there to realize they are seen.  Our postpartum bodies do not need to get back into shape, we do not need to bounce back to what we once were.  We are jiggly and saggy because we are clay.  We are being molded into the women we are meant to be.  And that journey is not the same for everyone. I want women to know that your body just did a thing that we still don't fully understand and we are on the other side of it.

Did you know that we as homo sapiens evolved to walk up right, accommodating our huge brains, but that the plates in our scull overlap each other as we exit the birth canal in order to fit?  Did you know that the cervix stretches an enormous amount and is under enormous strain during birth but then will shrink right back to pre pregnancy size with no problem?  Did you know the elasticity the cervix tissue when not pregnant is dramatically (and I mean dramatically) reduced?  Did you know we still don't understand a lot of this?  Woman literally have life erupt from them.  You try giving birth to the universe and being the person you were before that.  It is hard to become. 

I wrote the majority of this post in the beginning of October 2019.  It is currently January 2020.  Rereading this made me happy that I'd written this down because I've already forgotten a lot of the trauma that I'd experienced immediately after Marcus's birth.  I am in such a better place right now that I even was in October 2019.  I transformed into so many women since giving birth and I can't wait to see who else I can become.  The truth is though you will discover the you that you become is the you that you were all a long.

xoxo, Moe


Best Sticker Books to Bullet Journal your Planner

If you've been following me for a while you'll know that my current favorite planning system comes form The Happy Planner.  The Happy Planner was introduced in 2015 I'm pretty sure and I've been using it since at least 2017.  I posted this unboxing/review video in November of 2015!  Can you believe it?  
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

The Happy Planner has come a long way since 2015 with both their planner styles and assorted stickers.  I have no idea exactly how many sticker books they've released but it's a flipping ton! I remember when their tabs weren't laminated and we all came up with hacks to make them sturdy.  I also remember when morning, afternoon, and evening were printed on the side of the columns.  I also remember when their stickers were really glossy and thick.  The best adjustment Happy Planner made was to make their stickers thinner and on a matte paper so we could write on them better.  The planner community and planner brands have seen a glow up since 2015 (remember how crappy the Webster's Pages launch was and how crappy the planners were?  They have become a leading planner company too!)

In 2020 I am going to completely Bullet Journal my planner by using the oodles of filler paper I have and the bazillion sticker books I own.  My goal this year is to not buy any more planner supplies!  Lord knows I don't need any more stickers!  Creating your own planner layouts is super simple especially with the amount of sticker books The Happy Planner has created!  Here are the Top 4:

A Color Story Books

These books are great because the stickers are already curated for you.  These books are great for beginners too because of the curation of the stickers.  If you're not too sure about creating layouts and using different elements these books offer full decorative boxes, empty boxes for appointments, and some deco all curated together.  With these books you pick a few pages and use the elements there.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed when flipping through and entire themed sticker book like Simply Lovely because there are so many elements that can be used.  With the A Color Story books you get 4 pages of coordinating stickers so you don't have to figure out what really goes together.  You can also create one of my favorite planning trends - the sticker cluster!

Journaling Stickers

Bullet Journaling is traditionally done with just a pen.  Some use highlighters and color coding but the majority of the spread is in pen.  The Happy Planner came out with a few journaling sticker books that can help you achieve that aesthetic with out having to doodle everything!  These sets have functional habit trackers, dates & days, boxes, etc but the book also have cute doodles to spice up your planner spread.  Since they are black and white (or have a little bit of gold foiling) you can keep your spread basic or color in the elements.
I've seen planner peeps create mood trackers out of some of the elements and then color them in daily.  I use these books mainly for the days and the date stickers but I'm hoping to branch out to a pen only spread!

Brights Sticker Book

Another sticker book that offers a lot for bullet journaling is the Brights sticker book.  This one has days of the week and number stickers for dates but it also has some washi style stickers that can help divide your page and some tabs to help you break up or section off your planner.
This is one of the first books I thought of when it came to creating a bullet journal style.  Like the name of the book says, the stickers included are very bright but still pretty functional.  If you had to get one sticker book to start you off on creating your own layouts I'd say grab this one because it's got so much.

Dates & Holidays

An essential part of creating your own layouts is having numbers and months to add to your planner.  These books allow you to create some fun monthly layouts since they have the months of the year and some holiday stickers.  You could knock out all of your monthly layouts in one sitting (or a couple, it take a lot to make these damn spreads!) without worrying which stickers to use.
Plus you'll achieve a more cohesive look across your planner when you use the same type of stickers through out.  Sometimes that is important to me because I love consistency!  There are ton of dates and holidays type stickers too and if you've ever gotten (and *ahem* not used) various extension packs, those work too.

I'm so excited to use the Happy Planner stickers and filler paper to make my own planner in 2020! The Happy Planner system offers so much customization its inspiring.  You can check out my first bullet journal spread of 2020 in this video and you'll peep a quick view of my classic happy planner set up.  Be sure to subscribe to see more planner layouts this year!

Want more planner blog posts? Check them all out here.

What are your favorite sticker books to use?

xoxo, Moe