Thursday, October 25, 2012

MailPix Photo Services: Instagram Prints

I recently found out about a new photo service MailPix and joined their site to get 100 free pictures. As I was browsing the site, I noticed something interesting and different.

They do Instagram prints! I love Instagram and have always lamented the fact that some of the pics I put up on there can't be printed. I am so excited to send my Instagram pictures in to be printed to frame.  They also allow you to print pictures from Facebook.

A few years ago, I lost over 3000 pictures when my Mac crashed. Some of those pictures only remain on Facebook, I am going to print them to have hard copies. I just love the services offered and the great deals on their site.

I recently signed up to be a blog affiliate and can share this offer with you. Sign up for Mailpix and get 100 free prints. Christmas card season is coming and I always love to put a family picture in my cards. I know what I am going to do with this offer. Join today and get your own 100 free prints compliments of MailPix.

MailPix 100 Free Photo Prints

*disclaimer* I am a affliate of MailPix and do earn a commission from accounts signed up from my link.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Twitter Lists: The Must Use Twitter Tool

By popular demand, a few of my tweeps have asked me to explain the list feature on Twitter and why I love it so? So this is for them and maybe will be useful to a few others along the way.

 No secret, I am a Twitter lover who just celebrated my fifth Twitterversary! After over 100,000 tweets, nearly a thousand followers, I've learned a few tricks along the way. I've been considering writing a Twitter series for awhile and this will be post one.

Somewhere after 50 followers, I started noticing tweets getting lost and was unable to keep up. I knew Twitter had a list feature but didn't utilize it. I started by making a list to just keep up with my close friends and then quickly added more. I mainly stick to reading my lists and rarely just straight read through my TL. Here is what my list page looks like:

I have lists for all the different groups that I follow and even then some groups are broken down by people who like to tweet each other. So I have a cycling fan list but then I have a seperate list for a certain group like my Packer loving friends "AaronsHarem" who also love cycling but love the Packers too.

You can use lists as a mute feature of sorts. One of my friends had a safe list that she knew was a group of people who didn't tweet about certain subjects like politics, fan groups and such. 

You can have a list of people you don't follow. One of my lists is all people who were at the Mixtape festival created by my friend Lori. I don't follow all of the people on the list and don't have to. Yes, you can also follow someone else's list if you want. IowaKathy has a comprehensive list of pro cyclists on twitter that I follow.

To make a list, go to the cog button on the left of the new tweet button. I circled it in red:

Use the drop down menu and select lists. The create list button is below your cover image on the right side of the page. I circled the button in red in the picture below

Click the button, pick a catchy name for your list, write a description if you want and select whether it is a public list that others can see or a list only for you to see which is a private list.

The list page will create and a box will pop up. You can add people to your list by going through your followers and clicking on this button by their user name

Select the add to list button
Simply click the box next to the list name you want to put the person on and your set!
It's that easy. Then you just go back to step one and use the same step to read your lists. Most days, I read through only my lists and @ replies only. This comes in handy during races that you aren't watching live and want to avoid the outcome. You can read lists with non viewing friends. Also comes in handy when a tv show is on in another time zone and you don't want to be spoiled.

Lists are another way to make your Twitter experience even more enjoyable and help you stay connected to those you tweet most.

Feel free to ask me any questions @julesmpg if you need any help setting up your lists. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Day that Everything Changed for Cycling

In 2010, Conner and I went to our local start of the AMGEN Tour of California as we do every year.  This year it happened to be in our hometown of Visalia,CA. As we were walking around looking for the team buses, I was stopped by a ESPN Sports journalist and asked what I thought about Floyd Landis's allegations that morning? I stopped and laughed, "Oh Floyd has lied before, I don't believe him" and went on. Little did we know........

We went to the hotel where we waited to meet some of our favorite riders. I remember seeing George Hincapie on a phone call. I remember thinking he looked very upset and maybe a bit on edge, I just chalked it up to maybe his family needed him at home and he was taking care of that. He later came back and was still on the phone but signed for Conner. Little did I know what he was facing that day.

As we went through the day, we as new cycling fans had no clue that we were witnessing the beginning of something so big and far reaching. We just thought it was nothing that day. We just had started watching cycling two years before, we knew nothing of the history of drug use in the sport.

We went to wait at the Radio Shack bus. We wanted to meet Lance once again, we didn't know at the time and he was a big name. I didn't know the pictures I took that day were the beginning of the end of things for him and would have severe repercussions for other cyclists also.

I remember wondering why Dave Zabriskie wasn't himself that day? He is always so jovial but not that day.

This was the first clue something big was happening

I remember watching in awe the world descend on my small town. I went home and started reading up.

the shadow grew that day

After this day, our love of cycling grew even larger and we started becoming better fans. I started reading and researching these allegations. I started meeting other cycling fans online who started teaching me the ropes of being a cycling fan and schooling me on the doping crisis in the sport.

I read so many great articles, listened to many a debate and just observed the process for the last few years. I've met people who have lost their livelihood over this, who are friends with people directly involved and watched them battle. It has been a surreal journey at times and is nowhere near from over. The investigation of Dr.Michele Ferrari is going to be even more damaging for the sport.

I am just a fan of pro cycling, I really don't know much compared to others I know and I am still learning. This story is more for my friends who don't know anything about cycling. I get asked often what I think about everything going on in my favorite sport? These pictures have been flashing through my brain this past week and I wanted to look at them in a new light.

I am sad about pro cycling. I love the sport and will remain a fan. I want to be a part of the revolution changing the sport and still want to support the riders I love. There is also my love of cycling, I just like to ride my bike and there are so many people like my my friend Darryl who are loving the bike and doing great things as riders. There is a whole other world to cycling where good people are doing great things. We need to support them and let go of the negative.

Here are some resources for those who are interested in learning more:

Neil Browne is a great writer. He also has links to the USADA report on his site. I recommend reading the rider affidavits for a chilling view of this doping crisis:
INRNG is one of my favorite places to read cycling commentary:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Post 700 & Practicing What I Preach

Seven years ago, I started this blog on Myspace with no idea that it would become. It's the little blog that could. It has just grown and grown beyond my wildest dreams. I started blogging because I read a blog that I loved and wanted to do what she was doing. It has been my way of grieving, processing, sharing, remembering and just being Jules. Thank you to my readers one and all, I couldn't have done it without all of you.

What would be my 700th post? A thought that has been running through my head for a few weeks while watching the number quickly approach. A funny story? A update? A long sappy thank you note? 

Last week, my cousin in law Karen sent me a message that my cousin Danny was in ICU at the hospital here in town. She needed me to go down to the hospital since no other family member could get there. I rushed to get ready and head down there. When I got there someone had finally located his daughter Danielle and she arrived at the same time. She doesn't really know me since I am 11 years older than her and our family lived far apart when she was growing up. I introduced myself as we waited to be allowed in. 

Danny was on life support and things weren't looking very good. I explained to Danielle that I was here for her and wanted to support her. Her grandmother was my grandfather's sister and someone I was very close with growing up. She was the head of our family, a great lady who was beloved by all who knew her. The family has really drifted our own ways since she has gone. Her boys have faced huge battles since she has been gone, one gone now and two facing serious health issues. I go because she loved her boys and my mother's heart compells me to love them for her.

During this past week, I have grown to know Danielle and we have bonded while sitting in the hospital at different times. I was able to share some family history and just enjoy getting to know her. I also got to see some family that I never see. It was truly a blessing in disguise.

Danny went home today, he is doing better for now but has a long road ahead of him. Our family has a horrible health history on that side. Every grown adult has faced some chronic illness of some kind as they aged. It is sad today when Danny and I were talking about how many people in our family have battled diabetes and renal failure. Just another reason for me to keep working hard at getting fit.

I write for my friend Stacy's site and last week wrote a piece titled "Support System" about being a supporter to others facing trials. This week I got to practice what I preached and it felt great.  I also have worked hard at living each day, cherishing it and seizing the moment as I promised my friend who recently passed away. I was reading some of her emails today while looking for a piece of info and read some advice she had given.

Life is short. Live each day fully, love deeply and find something to be joyful about each day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Just Jules Features: Spirals and Spice Jewelry and a Giveaway

A couple weeks ago, I ran into a friend from church Tammy. She was telling me about her new venture on Etsy Spirals and Spice jewelry. I asked her if she would be interested in letting me do a review for her on my blog and she agreed. When I went to review her Etsy store, I was blown away by the work she does! I just thought it would be some simple beaded jewelry but I was wrong!

Spirals and Spice is hand crafted wire wrap jewelry using various stones. Her wire wrap rings are stunning and truly unique. She uses gold and sterling silver wire, wrapping it in a unique form to create a stunning setting for gemstones.

She has a large collection of rings, necklaces and earrings. I love these sea glass opal earrings in her bridal collection. They are gorgeous with the intricate and delicate spirals.

I am always looking for great gift ideas for my friends. These would make great Christmas or birthday gifts. Tammy also does large orders for bridal parties.

Tammy is going to be at the Exeter Fall Festival locally this weekend from 7 a.m to 5 p.m., the details can be found on this website

She is working to make Spirals and Spice a success. She is a hard working mom and a lovely person. 

Please go check out her website

Tammy offered to make a piece of jewelry for me as a thank you for writing the blog. Since I never do blogs for that reason, I asked her if she would be willing to do a giveaway for my readers. She agreed quickly and pulled out all the stops. She sent me the pictures yesterday and I was blown away!

Tammy is giving a Light Blue Swarovski Crystal and Blue Topaz Necklace in Sterling Silver to one lucky Just Jules reader.

To win, simply leave a comment on this post. For a second entry like Spirals and Spice on Facebook. For a third entry follower her on Twitter. The contest will run until next Tuesday when a winner will be selected by a random number generator.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Goodbye Kitty Boo Boo, My Dear Friend

Two years ago, I read a story on a fiction site I frequently read at. The story was set in the San Francisco bay area, Menlo Park to be specific. I had recently been living at Stanford with Marty after his transplant in the Menlo Park area. I started messaging back and forth with the author Just4ALE on the site. We quickly struck up a friendship.

We moved that friendship over to Twitter. As you see, there is a running theme with me and Twitter. Five years ago this month, my friend Di asked me to "follow" her on Twitter. We were in some of the first 500,000 users on the site. Then I met T in Boston via Twitter and she introduced me to these writers. Being a reader, I love having free stories to read all the time. I started talking to people who read the stories and joined their community.

Fast forward to meeting ALE and the story above. We started tweeting back and forth. I loved when she would share pictures of her dogs, when she would tweet pictures of her fabulous dinners at five star restaurants and her love of 70's classic rock. I am convinced she knew every 70's rock title by heart.

She and I both loved the same kind of stories. I read through her entire favorite list and loved every single one. She was always having something kind to say, never said a bad word about anyone. She was like a big sister to me often mentoring and encouraging me. She would often tell me I was beautiful, she loved when I had my picture with a smile on Twitter. She would tell me she liked the smiles.

Last fall, she got sick. At first it seemed like the flu but it quickly went south. She was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. She was young and healthy, it just didn't seem possible. ALE was a very private person, who didn't like attention drawn to herself. For a long time, I didn't even know her real name which I later learned was hidden in her handle.

She blessed a group of us with allowing us in and sharing her journey with us via email. Often the emails would start with song titles describing how she was feeling at the time. For the past 11 months, I have been blessed to be on the journey with ALE praying for her and supporting her from afar via email. Last Christmas she gifted us with something from Life is Good. She wore a Life is Good t-shirt almost everyday and wanted us to have something. I got a brown backpack that I use for my swimming and biking.

She was one of the people to deem me a Pollyanna. She would often say that when I would email her positive thoughts about kicking this cancer to the curb. I changed my bi-line for her a few months back. She was a faithful reader of my blog.

This summer, I tried to meet up with her while we were at Sea World but alas that week began hell for her. It wasn't meant to be, we had talked on the phone but never got the chance to meet in person. In September, she confirmed what I think many of us didn't want confirmed. We all hoped and prayed for a miracle but it wasn't meant to be.

ALE often asked us to pray that she would find a "soft place to land" a line from a poem she had shared with us last year. As this last month wore on and things got worse, we all prayed she would find her soft place.

On my birthday, she tweeted me to wish me Happy birthday. She was so selfless like that. We had once read a silly story where the main character called the other character "Kitty Boo Boo" and I had taken to calling her that as her nickname ( everyone knows I love to nickname people) so she started calling me Boo Boo Kitty. She wished me a happy birthday using that name. It turned out to be one of her very last tweets.

ALE taught me grace, humility, outlook, positivity, kindness, generousity, peace, love and joy.She handle this  disease with so much class. She stayed quiet, many didn't even know. She fought so hard all the way to the very end. I learned so much from her. After she emailed to tell us that she wouldn't find her cure, I wrote her back and told her all of those things. I am thankful to have had the chance to tell her just what she meant to me. I told her that I would live everyday the rest of my life for her and live with no regrets.

This past summer, I lived without abandon and she saw that. In many ways, I had already started living for her too. I was reading my email replies to her last night, sometimes they were short and didn't say much after I started working again and traveling. I know that she knew these things and it was okay, she was happy for me.

I am so grateful to have known ALE even for a short time. She made a difference in the lives of so many and she will be greatly missed. Goodbye my Kitty Boo Boo, rest softly.

Thank you Roberta for giving me permission to write this blog. To Mary, Michelle, Dream,Perry for being there for me and letting me talk it out while respecting ALE's privacy. Also thank you to E.L. James for comforting me last week, it meant the world to me and your story that was shared was comforting.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Finding Purpose in the Pain Contributor


I have recently been given the opportunity to become a regular contributor at Finding Purpose in the Pain. Being able to share some of the challenging issues of my past with those who are struggling now is a huge blessing to me.

It is no secret that I have lived a challenging life at times and one of the best ways to stay positive is to look for the good in all these things. I can find the good in most anything hence the reason many people call me a Pollyanna.

I don't see these challenges as road blocks that prevent me from living, I see them as opportunities for living, learning and overcoming. I am truly thankful for all of the difficult things in my life and the ability to show others they can be overcome.

I will be making a tab to link all of my posts. I hope you not only read them but share them with others hurting in your life.

Here are my first two posts:

I am excited to be asked to be a part of this venture. Stacy is a dear friend and ministry partner. We were pioneers in  online bible studies and ministry together. We are celebrating 10 years since starting this journey. I am thankful for her role in my life and excited to be able to support her new site.