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Pinterest Explained: 5 Step Guide

Hi. My name is Mia. And I am a Pinterest-aholic. (I mean no disrespect to the 12 step communities here. Just my attempt at a laugh or smile or community around a shared vice. Anyway…)

I find myself talking about Pinterest more and more these days. It’s seeping into my spare time, my party planning, visioning, projects, reference items, wish lists and casual conversation.

Several months back, I declared on Facebook, in one of the only status updates I’ve offered since having a baby, “Dear Facebook, I am cheating on you with Pinterest“. It was met with “lols” and “likes” for those in the know (read: fellow addicts) and lots of questions and even hurt from Pinterest virgins (read: not in the know). And it was true. I nearly never logged in to Facebook anymore, which used to be a constant fixture on my quick links or one of my Perma Tabs (back in my Firefox days) and instead now spend almost all my social media time on Pinterest.

So, to the point at hand, I thought I would share a few quick things to explain this tool I have fallen head over heals in love with and often can’t pull myself away from. Here goes…

What is Pinterest?

  • Its another social media tool, like Facebook or twitter
  • Its a visual wonderland
  • Its a really simple tool
  • Its a place to capture images (This is called “pinning”-more on that later)
  • Its also a place to capture video (although not used as often)
  • Its a place to organize what you capture onto customizable boards, topic specific (when you create an account, there are a few pre-set options to get you started)
  • Its a place to interact (hence, the social in social media)

The language of Pinterest

  • Pin or pinning: capturing and saving images
  • Repin: pinning someone else’s pin to your own board
  • Pinner: (Rhymes with Sinner) A member of the Pinterest community, one who actively pins
  • Board: a topic specific placeholder for you to collect, again topic specific images

What is “Pinning” exactly?

Think of it in the physical world. Imagine reading a magazine and seeing the perfect dining room table for your new house. You want to save this picture so that you can start finding paint colors, chairs, chandelier, a centerpeice and all the other needed items to decorate your dining room. So, you tear or cut that picture out of the magazine. You decide to start collecting ideas into a folder where you put this picture and any other ideas to help you design and decorate this room. This folder or holding place in Pinterest is called a “board” and you can name it whatever you want. In this case, “Dining Room” might be a good name for your board.

Here is one of my current projects, “Sofie’s Room”, that I have created a board for and am gathering ideas. I am planning out Sofie’s room redesign, now that she is moving into toddlerhood. Feel free to repin something that might help your own project, “like” or comment on any of the items I have pinned.

Pinterest App on the iPhone

How do I pin?

  1. You can download the site’s browser bookmarklet, a button that says “Pin It” onto your bookmark bar
  2. You can upload images from your iPhone on the Pinterest iPhone app
  3. You can upload images directly on the Pinterest.com website with the Add+ button in the toolbar on the top right of the site

Where do I get these images to “pin”?

  • From other Pinners on Pinterest.com (This is where I spend a lot of my Pinterest time…directly on the site, binging on others pins.)
  • From anywhere on the internet, vendors where you shop (e.g. Target), blogs you read, periodicals (e.g. NYT.com)
  • From photos that you take (often a great way to use the iPhone app)
So, wait, how does it work exactly ? Here’s a 5 Step Guide, Step by Step…
Step 1: Let’s say you are on favorite site, say Annie’s Eats (yummy blog)
Step 2: You come across a great recipe on homemade bagels and you think, “I want to make those bagels!” But, not right this minute. I need to hold on to that recipe.
Step 3: Aha! You are now a savvy pinner and decide to use your new favorite social media to hold on to that little recipe. And you’ve already downloaded the bookmarklet onto your Bookmark Toolbar, so you hit “Pin It” and this shows up-all the images on the current page for you to choose from:
Step 4: Then, you select the image you want and hit the “Pin This” button over the image. The second image looks the most decadent and will be a great visual reminder of the yummy bagels I want to make from this awesome recipe, compliments of Annie’s Eats.
Step 5: Then you get a screen pops up that asks you which board you want to pin this image to with a drop down menu (first picture below), then you have the option to add a description (second picture below). I would suggest adding something here that helps you remember what this pin is, exactly. For example “a recipe” or a DIY guide or tutorial. This way you will know if its just a picture of something you made vs. a recipe to help you make something in the future. Once you have added a description, you hit “Pin it”. Lastly, you get the option to “See your Pin” on your board, Tweet it or share on Facebook (third picture below). Or you can just close this box and get back to internet surfing or pinning.
Waalaaa! You are now a successful Pinner!
What makes it social in the social media world?
  • You can repin, comment and “like” other pins from other pinners
  • You can follow any other pinner-either all their boards or select any of their boards to follow
  • Other pinners are able to follow your boards
  • You can collaborate with other pinners on the same board (Planning a bridal shower? You and your fellow ladies in waiting can share a board and each add inspirations, ideas, details of the food, decorations, invitations, you name it.) To be more clear, collaborating on a board means that all parties or pinners can pin images to the same board.
A few tips and points of ettiquette…
  • You can add videos…not often used, but also a great option for your pinning pleasures
  • If you add an item onto a wish list board for example, you can add the amount is costs using a $ sign (for us US currency folks) and it will appear on the image in a banner on the left of the image. Great for a budget bound project, like a birthday party or to capture items I want for my birthday…ahemmm, hubby, if you are reading, this is hint-worthy information, an Easter egg (in Lost language) for you to make your gift giving easier for said wife
  • Use a 5 to 1 ratio…for every 5 repins, pin 1 novel image. This keeps things interesting or pinteresting, as the case may be. (Chuckle, snort, chuckle.)

And lastly, here are a bunch of great articles that my brilliant and way more in the know husband has sent me about Pinterest. He has not created an account for himself yet, but in the language of Strengths, a few of his top strengths are Learner, Input and Context…AND he is a GTD guru, so when it comes to all things social media, education, business, or just plain brilliant,  he is my supplier (read this with a Chicagoan, Italian mob gangster accent replacing the -ier with an- a. It makes it way more fun!) When he saw how excited I was at my new social media obsession, he started researching. So, I will share some of them with you here:

Check out my Pinterest page and see all my boards!

This is my first tutorial, how did I do? If you are new to Pinterest, did this help? If you are familiar with Pinterest, was this informative and hit the basics?

Thanks for reading and happy pinning!

Window with an Office

This is my new office. I am in love with it. It makes me happy. Because…it’s my own space, with a door. It’s at a University. And check out that window. It’s awesome. Really awesome! It’s so awesome, in fact, that I don’t think its even fair to call it an office with a window…it’s a window with an office.

I look out over a practice field next to the Riley Center (campus gym) and I see students coming and going, I see the weather and the light changing throughout the day and I see my husband jog past on his lunch break to either come visit me or go for his workouts. It’s a reminder of feeling connected to my community, to what I do, who I serve, where I live. Its just a window. A window that represents so much of what I value.

Office with Morning Light

Office with Morning Light

Office with Night View

Office with Night View

One thing I learned about myself in the two-ish months I spent in cubicle America: I don’t do cubicles. Period. I don’t care how much you pay me, promise me or distract me. I cannot, will not, sit in a cubicle (without meaningful interactions) and listen to people typing all day, for 9 hours, minus one hour for lunch. Cannot. Not sure if this makes me scrupulous or stubborn. Both, probably.

But, the great thing about being in an environment or situation that doesn’t fit, that bucks my values, is the clarity with which I felt to get out and run toward what does. And here I am, underpaid, with a view and happy.

What makes you happy in your space that reminds you of what makes you, you?

4 Great Books… To Grow Your Own Money Tree!

Money Tree

Grow Your Own Money Tree

Someone recently asked me…”What was the name of the finance book that helped you and Brian so successfully manage your money?”

First of all, how totally flattering and validating and humbling. And then, I thought, what a totally overwhelming question…there is so much good stuff out there, so much I have read, so much I could passionately talk about in a lightening speed manner (which is what I do when I am excited about something, I talk at warp speed!)

So, I wrote her back after about a week of thinking, talking it out with Brian and researching my answer. And I wanted to share my response with you…


Personal Finance is one of my passion/hobbies-I have read and continue to read a lot on the subject. So, I have a list of my favorites, the highlights and most influential for me in terms of hands on, how-to’s…and ones that have stood the test of time through the economy/real estate bubble, life stage, etc.

1. “Smart Couples Finish Rich” by David Bach-This was the first book that was incredible influential early on for Brian and I as a young couple. He is the “latte factor” guy who talks about how the little things we spend add up to big wastes of money OR hopefully great wealth building opportunities. What I love most about his book was the step by step guide to thinking about money in a values based vein. He has you go through a few exercises as a couple around your values and then ties in your financial planning to those values-this has stuck with us since the moment we read it years ago.

2. “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey- A book that is a kick in the butt for those who have any kind of debt (e.g. mortgage, student loan, credit card, you name it…) and want to get it all under control and paid off and start building wealth. His philosophy is one of freedom from debt as a virtue. He is Christian and comes at his financial advice from that perspective-so it is woven into his writing-take it or leave it-his advice is well respected and incredibly sound. He is a step by step kind of guy with a strong emphasis on intensely pursuing financial freedom through drastic measures. We barrow from his ideas all the time, for example we are already debt free after our move from Denver using his gazelle like intensity model (also thanks to the amazing generosity of Jeanne and David to allow us to live in the cottage, of course).

3. “Debt Proof Living” by Mary Hunt -This one was great in terms of laying out the tools needed in order to to liver her philosophy: “dedicated to promoting the art of living within one’s means”. I loved this one too. She also has a Debt Proof Your Marriage, which I have not read, but assume is also great.

4. “The Money Book for the Young, Broke, and Fabulous” by Suze Orman -This one is for a recently college graduated, just starting a first job crowd, which clearly doesn’t apply to me or your kids, BUT, in this iteration, Suze does a fine job of framing the basics of how to get yourself started in the world of being an adult, which I think is applicable to many of us. I disagree with her advocacy of using credit cards in the manner she suggests, but overall her approach is worth noting.

***Also, I follow a lot of Personal Finance blogs and have learned a great deal from these bloggers over the years-about personal finance, setting up an emergency fund, frugal living, how to live your life values through your wallet, how to navigate your career and on and on and on. Just recently there was a great review of some of the best out there that are worth checking out: http://www.redeemingriches.com/2010/11/23/25-most-influential-finance-bloggers-you-should-know/ My favorites are JD Roth from Get Rich Slowly, Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar, Free Money Finance, Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Jeff Rose – Good Financial Cents. And last, but not least Tip’d is a great resource too; its a community of folks who share their favorite stuff from the web related to personal finance.

***Also, JD Roth wrote a review of the top 25 personal finance books he likes: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/03/07/building-a-personal-finance-library-25-of-the-best-books-about-money/ You can also check out my shelfari page to see the books I have read on personal finance-I think they are all captured there.

I violated one of my own rules of over answering a question with TOO MUCH information, but this is a topic that I have a hard time boiling down into one book suggestion. I hope this helps! And if its way too much, then I would recommend the first two books on my list.


What are your favorite books and resources on personal finance???

First day at Tulane! Ended with attending TEDxTU.

Sitting here with two of my loves: Brian and Higher Education.

And to kick of tonight’s event…because how else would you do it in NOLA?!?!

Thanks Tulane and TEDxTU for this momentous day!

Digital Journaling on My Own Little Mac

I decided today to start a digital journal. Something I have been resistant to for a while now and I am not sure why. Part of me wonders if my hesitation or now bubbling excitement to start this digital journal can be chalked up to having a pretty little, brand new macbook all to myself.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have been blessed with the great fortune of having been provided with new computers for as along as I have been a working professional. Not only new ones, in the last few years, new mac’s-the computer snob in me gloats!

But as I have made tremendous, jolting, God-inspired changes in my life in the last few months-resigning from my comfortable job and Denver community and life to start a new job in a new industry in a new city in a new region of the country (which feels as times like its own unique world)-I afforded myself the luxury of my very own MacBook Pro 13 inch laptop…and its glorious!

Now the subtext of this entry is that I have also always been blessed to share a home computer with my tech savvy, brilliant, gorgeously introverted husband. He is kind and sensitive and generous and spends an immeasurable amount of time on “our” iMac. Tweeking, organizing, downloading stuff, reading articles and all the other secret things those on the extreme side of the introvert scale do when no one is watching.

I don’t mind and in fact I directly benefit from his organizing and cyber-hunting and gathering activities that remain relatively veiled to me. BUT (and you knew that was coming) I rarely get a turn on “our” home computer.

So today’s thought is about my gratitude for my very own little macbook pro 13 inch laptop and the freedom that comes with sitting on it as long as I want. Its mine.

And now I just can’t get a few things to work and don’t know how my sweet husband does what he does to make “our” computer work so well. Maybe he will spend some time on my macbook too.

Marriage is funny like that.

Thanksgiving…and thanks getting…

Turkey, pumpkin and ear of corn

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year…well, to be honest, I have many favorite times of year. This one, though, brings to life my favorite value and virtue, gratitude.

This morning on the Today Show, there was a segment on instilling family values in children (click here to watch the clip). They mentioned gratitude, but it was second on the list, which was ill placed in my opinion. I believe gratitude comes first and fuels all other values, principles and virtues.

While Thanksgiving conjures up tastes like mom’s homemade gravy and the cranberry jelly from the can (my favorite!) and pecan pie; memories like the year when my mom got my sisters and brother and I matching sweat suits which we all wore proudly; it also kindles the great spirit of gratitude. Sharing thanks for what we have, for each other-both giving thanks and receiving thanks.

Gratitude begets appreciation and validation and…and…and… See, in my mind gratitude is the origin of giving and of getting.

What does Thanksgiving mean to you?