3 Free Apps to Make Fun Graphics for Your Blog, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest Pages

3 Apps to make those fun graphics | Mom vs. Marathon

I wanted to be a graphic designer in college. I was very into the Grateful Dead at the time. I always wore my beaded hemp choker and I never blow-dried my hair. Don’t judge, it was the ’90s.

3 Apps to make super fun graphics | Mom vs. Marathon
My ’90s look. Chokers were a thing, okay?


Anyway, if you wanted to be a graphic designer, you were required to take basic art before anything else. The first two classes had us scribbling circles with a pencil on a pad of newsprint.

It was bullshit.

Being the impatient person that I am, I could. not. deal. So I changed my major…again.

I got a job as a graphic designer for the college newspaper a year later anyway (my degree was Communications), and then went on to start my career after college as a layout designer/copy editor for a daily newspaper in the Seattle area. So there, scribble-lover-lady.

But that was a long time ago. Any on-the-job skills I learned then have mostly gone the way of the…well…the newspaper.

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun with typography and graphics on this blog, and on my Facebook and Instagram pages. There are so many easy-to-use apps now anyone can be a graphic designer! But not everyone can pull off a hemp choker, so be careful.

I thought I would share the apps I like in case you want to make some stuff, too.

There are two apps in particular that I use a lot. One I use on my computer and the other one I use on my iPhone. Plus, I’ll share a great photography website I like, too.

Okay, here you go:

3 Apps to make social media graphics | Mom vs. Marathon
Made this with Canva.


That’s not a typo—there isn’t an “s” at the end. Canva is an easy-to-use free web-based app that lets you make Facebook and Instagram post images, social media banners, posters, icons, Pinterest graphics and so much more!

There are backgrounds, typography, free images, free shapes and free illustrations, and more. I use the app on my computer for this blog and for the other social media accounts that I manage at work. Everything is drag-and-drop. It’s super simple, and there are a ton of pre-made templates.

3 Apps to make fun graphics for social media | Mom vs. Marathon
I made this with Word Swag.

Word Swag

This app is even easier to use than Canva, which is good because I use it on my phone (iOS). The app was free, but there are paid upgrades available. I haven’t needed to upgrade yet, but I use it so much, I may buy the upgrade just because the people who made the app deserve some money.

Word Swag comes with lots of free background images, plus you can search for free images on the site that I’ll tell you about next. You can upload your own images, too. I made this one today:

3 free apps to make graphics for social media | Mom vs. Marathon

There are pre-loaded quotes you can use if you’re not feeling inspired, or you can do your own quotes and sayings. And it saves right into your Camera Roll or you can upload it directly to whichever social media you made it for.

There are tons of typography styles to choose from, too, and each style has multiple text layouts and color options.


Pixabay is the best license-free image site that I’ve found. I generally use it online or inside the WordSwag app. Search for generic images for your quotes or your blogs or whatever. It’s free with the option of buying the photographers a coffee every once in a while, which is nice. I used it to find the photo at the top of this post.

There you have it! Three free and easy-to-use apps.

Go forth and make inspirational text-based graphic images for the world!

How to Get Your Most Important Tasks Done Every Freaking Day

How to Get Your Most Important Tasks Done | Mom vs. Marathon
Me finishing up writing this morning just after the sun came up.

You know what one of my favorite things is?

(And I’m not doing this Oprah-style; you are not all getting new Ford Fiestas. Also, Oprah-style is my favorite position.)

My favorite thing is when my iPhone alarm chimes at 5:45, and I am about to drag my butt out of bed, but then, behold! The bathroom door is closed, so I get to lay there for a couple of minutes and half-sleep until my husband comes back to bed.

It’s the best.

A few weeks ago, I decided to get up 15 minutes earlier after reading THE PERFECT DAY FORMULA by Craig Ballantyne. “Success requires us to do the first things first,” he says. Figure out what really matters to you, and do those things first thing in the morning.

Here’s my new routine:

  • 10 p.m.: In bed reading something light
  • 10:30 p.m.: Book down, lights out
  • 5:45 a.m.: Alarm chimes
  • 5:45-5:50 a.m.: Get out of bed and put on workout clothes
  • 6:05 a.m.: Workout
  • 6:45 a.m.: Write (no blog writing allowed)
  • 7:20 a.m.: Let the crazy begin! Husband’s up, dogs are up, kid’s about to get up…

My day goes so much better when I follow this routine. Working out keeps my mood stabilized, and I’m happy because I spent some time working on my writing goal.

Getting up earlier has helped keep me from skipping workouts and I’ve even started writing fiction again! Plus, it helps me keep my sanity in the morning, which is my family’s favorite thing.

Metabolic Prime 12-Week Challenge Results: Week 3 (Video)

Here’s my video update and I share what I’ve been eating. (Bonus: A little fun with the dogs at the end.)

Thanks for watching!

The quick update:

Pounds lost: 0

Pounds gained: 0

Inches lost: about a 1/2 inch from my hips, which haven’t budged so far, so that is nice.

I wanted to tell you what SHMEC stands for. It is: Sleep Hunger Mood Energy and Cravings. I remembered!

5 Things that Made My Week Awesome

Guys. Some stuff happened this week.

5 Things that Made My Week Awesome | Mom vs. Marathon

1. A new, improved web address: Momvsmarathon.com

At long last I ditched the “sanitydepartment” part of my web address. Whew! It’s just: www.momvsmarathon.com. Hooray! Huge thank you to my computer guy who never charges me a dime because it would just be coming out of his checking account anyway.

(Update: Looks like all the kinks have not been ironed out quite yet. To be continued…)

2. Making smoothies for lunch

I am now that annoying person who runs their Magic Bullet/lawnmower in the lunch room at work. But it’s better than being that person who is bitchy because she’s tired from spending all day Sunday making salad fixings for the week.

Here’s what I take for lunch: Enough smoothie mix and almond milk for five days. Boom. Done. Life is so much easier.

Protein Smoothies for Lunch | Mom vs. Marathon

My super easy breakfast and lunch smoothies:

If you’re the kind of person who needs a little fat in there, try a Tablespoon of almond butter. Then, blend. Drink. Full. Happy. Do other stuff.

3. Finding Austin Kleon

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m a struggling writer. Key word there is struggling. While I do write “for a living,” my dream is to write a book. But I always seem to get in my own way. This week, I stumbled again, except this time it was on writer/illustrator Austin Kleon‘s book Steal Like an Artist.

Steal Like an Artist

If you’re a writer, you’ll get that title right away. Writers tend to overthink things, and we often convince ourselves that we can’t say things because the idea was conceived from reading something else. But, what Austin is saying, is that what we are saying is the sum of all those things we’ve read before. Got that?

If you, too, are a struggling writer like me, do yourself a favor and get his book Steal Like an Artist. I also bought his workbook, the Steal Like an Artist Journal. I don’t mind supporting other writers. at. all.

4. #ManInTree

So…this week in downtown Seattle, a man climbed a 30-foot evergreen in downtown Seattle. And he didn’t come down for 25 hours. Clearly, he has some mental issues and that is sad. However, his little circus act made for some fun puns on Twitter.  Here are the favorite ones that I wrote:

Man In Tree puns

5. The Word Swag App

Make memes, add text to photos or just visualize quotes. I used it to make the “5 things” picture above. Love it. Check WordSwag out here. (I have it for iOS.)

Hope you can use some of these things, too. Now, go forth and have a great weekend and happy Easter!


Transformation Tuesday: Metabolic Prime 12-Week Challenge Progress (Photos)

Boy, am I glad I took pictures of myself in skimpy shorts and sports bras!

Said me never. Until now.

As you may remember, I began Metabolic Prime about 4 weeks ago. Before I started, I took some pictures in my super cool space pants. Remember? Then I took some pictures after a week of using Metabolic Prime’s nutrition and exercise guidelines.

I’ve been taking pictures every week since. I’m so glad I did this. Why?

Well, in addition to pictures, I’ve been weighing myself once a week and taking my measurements. I’ve lost weight (still only about 4 pounds), but the inches haven’t moved. At. All.

But the pictures (at the end of the post) are showing some change. So something’s happening.

I admit that it is annoying the inches haven’t moved, but since I want this to be a lasting change, it isn’t all about just eating certain things so that I can get my body to change (and then go right back to what I was doing and have my body go back to what it was). I want to learn what my body responds to. What kinds of foods help me stay full more longer? What foods make me feel drowsy or just plain yucky? What foods will help me keep my energy up?

This past couple of weeks have been eye-opening for me nutritionally. In order to be a nutrition detective, I’ve been tracking my food in MyFitnessPal so I can keep tabs on my nutrients, especially. I noticed two weeks ago that my fat intake was high and that was probably one reason why my weight loss had stalled a little and my inches weren’t moving. I began making adjustments last week, but it wasn’t enough. Also last week I had my period, we had a death close to the family, I wasn’t getting enough sleep, etc.

This week I adjusted again. I am committed to getting enough sleep so I can get up early and get the things I want to get done for the day accomplished before anyone else gets up.


Metabolic Prime Before and After pictures | Mom vs. Marathon
An example of my nutrition last week (left) and yesterday (right) with some adjustments that I made adding more protein and fiber, and leaving out extra fat.

Yesterday, Monday, was the first day that I felt really good and I didn’t need a whole lot of fat to get me through the day. I went back to square one and started with protein and fiber…and added just a little more fiber, without adding any fat (other than what’s in my protein powder), and that was a huge help keeping me satiated between breakfast and lunch.

Lunch was a different story. I didn’t have the extra fiber and I was hungry two hours later. Luckily, I had a decent protein bar in my car for my commute, so I didn’t eat everything in my pantry when I got home.

That lasted me until dinner, but we had to eat early to get to soccer practice on time. I am the assistant coach on my son’s team, so I actually jog around a little and try to herd cat…I mean, kids. (They are all 8 or younger.)

I was a little hungry around 8:30–3 hours after dinner–and knew that if I didn’t have something small that I would be unraveling right at bedtime, so I made myself a half-size smoothie. It was like having dessert!

I’m so pleased with my day today. Getting my nutrition in order really helped set me up for success in everything else, especially my energy levels and mood. Since I went to bed on time Sunday  night, I was able to get up early, write and then exercise before work so I had time when I came home to take my pictures, walk on the treadmill, then make dinner and clean up the kitchen all before soccer practice. That meant I wasn’t running around before bed.

Progress at the end of Week 2 of the 12-Week Metabolic Prime Challenge

So…technically, I have been following Metabolic Prime guidelines since February 22 or so, but the actual 12-week Challenge didn’t start until March 7. Sunday was the end of Week 2 of the Challenge, but it was the end of Week 4 since I started MP back on Feb. 22.

Here are my pictures taken before Metabolic Prime on February 22:

Metabolic Prime Photos | Mom vs. Marathon
Here are my pictures taken after my first week following Metabolic Prime on February 29, 2016:

Metabolic Prime photos | Mom vs. Marathon

Here are my BEFORE pictures for the 12-Week Challenge:

Metabolic Prime Challenge Before pictures | Mom vs. Marathon
Metabolic Prime Challenge BEFORE pictures take March 4, 2016. The Challenge started March 7.

Here are my pictures taken after Week 1 of the 12-Week Challenge:

Week 1 Metabolic Prime Challenge pictures | Mom vs. Marathon
After Week 1 of the Metabolic Prime Challenge. Taken March 15, 2016 (a couple days late)

Here are my pictures after Week 2 of the 12-Week Challenge taken yesterday (March 21, 2016):

Week 2 Pictures - Metabolic Prime Challenge | Mom vs. Marathon
This is the outfit I’ve been wearing for the photos for the 12-Week Challenge.

No inches really lost, only down 4 pounds since the space pants pictures, yet there is still a noticeable body change. Probably has to do with water, inflammation and that sort of thing. Yet, I would never have realized it if I hadn’t taken these pictures. The pics really give me an appreciation for how different food affects my body.

I’m so glad I took them!

It is Not that I Hate Running, but…

It Isn't That I Hate to Run, but... | Mom vs. Marathon

I don’t hate running, you guys.

I love running.

But sometimes I think people, including me, run for the wrong reasons.

We should run because we love it. Because we need it. Run because of how it makes us feel before, during and after.

If it doesn’t feel good, don’t run. We can walk instead. Walk because of how it makes us feel before, during and after.

Or we can lift weights or dance or box. But we don’t have to run.

Ask yourself: Why am I going on a run? Am I going because I want to breathe fresh air? Am I going to be with friends? Am I going to train for a race? Or am I going because I think I ate too many Thin Mints?

That’s all I’m trying to say.

Life’s too short to do crap we don’t really want to do if we don’t have to. And running is one area of our lives where we get to choose.

Let’s choose to run for the love of it.

Metabolic Prime 12-Week Challenge Update: Week 2 Results (Video)

Hi all! I did another vlog. I’m going to need to work on my vlog and voice skills (ie WHERE DO I LOOK?), but I enjoy doing them. And I brushed my hair first this time. Progress, people.

In the video, I talk about:

-My Week 2 results from the Metabolic Prime 12-Week Challenge.

-Some important information from Jade Teta about the HEC (Hunger, Energy and Cravings) and metabolism.

-One simple thing that helps me drink more water.

This video is a little shorter–I tried to get right to the point. Below the video are some links I talk about that you may want to check out.

Have a great week!

Some links for you:

Metabolic Prime Program (This is the sign up through Tara’s link. She’s a ME coach; if you sign up using this link, she will also add you to her private Facebook group, which a little more intimate than the bigger Metabolic Prime group–also it is all women.)

Hunger, Energy & Cravings: Is Your HEC in Check

The Metabolic Formula (HEC and Fat Loss)

Tara at Prime Life Fit


Related Books*:

The New Metabolic Effect Diet

Lose Weight Here


*The book links above are Amazon affiliate links; should you purchase the books through these links I get a small percentage of the sale. I will never post affiliate links for a book or product that I wouldn’t recommend. 🙂