I'm Annie. And I haven't always cared about the planet.
I grew up in a normal family. We recycled and tried not to litter, but we also ate McDonald's and sometimes forgot to turn off the water when we brushed our teeth. I grew up like most people my age. Normal.
We had a few pets growing up, but I wasn't a huge animal person. In college, I went to Buffalo Wild Wings so much that the waitress knew me by name. Until one day...
I got a dog. She changed my world (now I understand you crazy dog people!). In 2014, my boyfriend (now husband) bought me a Time Magazine called "The Animal Mind" because it had a cute dog on the front. I read it. There was a section on factory farms. I had some questions. So I Googled "What is factory farming?" And that's the day my life changed.
The images I saw online will never be erased from my head. I was in complete shock. How had no one told me where my food was REALLY coming from? I watched all the documentaries. I read all the books. I turned to social media to find vegetarians who could show me what I should eat because meat was no longer going to be apart of my diet. I just couldn't stomach it anymore.
It turns out most vegetarians on YouTube and Instagram are also vegan. In turn, I learned the truth behind the dairy and egg industries, as well. I gave it up for good in 2015.
Over time, I began to find out more and more about how animals are exploited in the entertainment, cosmetic and fashion industries. I started to rid my life of any products that came from an animal because I just couldn't bear to know that an animal suffered because of ME.
Eventually, and unfortunately, the shock of these images wore off and I was tempted to eat meat again. So I looked to the other benefits of a vegan lifestyle. I was already feeling better, health-wise, but I began to learn of the effects of our waste, our plastic, our pollution on the animals, and the planet. So off I went on my own journey to reduce the waste in my life.
Starting this journey of compassion for the animals has led me to a place where I want to lead a compassionate life for the planet and other people as well. I now try to live my life in the most ethical, compassionate way I know.
While I wish I was a total hippie that just sat around all day, making her own soap from scratch and living in VW bus, that isn't my life. I'm a busy, professional- probably just like you- and I don't have all the time in the world. So I'm on a journey to live life in a simple, compassionate way. I hope you'll join me!
Won big in Atlantic City today! 🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑 I am SO LUCKY!!! #skinahan #victory
He tried to move the elephant in the room but I herd it was irrelephant. #skinahan #battle
No one is you. That’s your superpower. ✌🏼#power #skinahan
My brothers and invisible sister ✨
TOOK A DNA TEST, TURNS OUT I’M 100% THAT crazy dog lady... 👋🏼🐶💁🏻♀️
Thanks for all the birthday love 💕 2️⃣6️⃣ already feels SO GOOD. 🎂
Literally the best possible end to my 25th year. 💕 // Thank you to @bdemczak @mammaskinz and @cskinz for the amazing surprise! Not to be dramatic but it has been the BEST DAY EVER.
THAT’S A WRAP! 🎬 I cannot believe my 3rd school year has come and gone so quickly. This was by far my favorite year of teaching. This was the year I really got to hone in on my craft and really focus on extending content for accelerating students, improving communication with families, supporting Level 1 ESOL students, creating a welcoming climate and completely flipping my behavior management on its head. This was the year that I started our school’s first Sign Language Club and got to work with older kiddos and develop cool relationships with 5th grade students before they head to middle school. This is the year that I truly felt apart of my students’ families. My cabinets were overflowing with donations for the first time ever and I received heartfelt letters from parents that thanked me for loving their kids. This was the first year that I stepped into leaderships roles in our school and started to see myself as a leader in our building. This was the year that I made so many new friends at work and did everything I possibly could to go to work with a big smile on my face. It’s the first year that I had a healthy work and personal life balance. But it was also my last year in 2nd grade and my last year with my amazing team, who are more like my best friends than coworkers. It was my last year in my beautiful classroom with ALL the natural light. But...it won’t be the last year with my kids because I am LOOPING! I beyond excited to have these kids for another year! I am truly blessed...especially because SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER! ☀️
I stepped away from Instagram for 3 months and all I got was some mental clarity and a haircut. 💁🏼♀️
Four years. 💍 Things just keep getting better.
Giving up social media for Lent this year •• Here’s to 40 days of replacing screen time with intentionality, prayer, meditation, reading, focusing, laughing and self-discipline. All to Him I owe. 🌱
I finished this book a few weeks ago and it was EYE OPENING. 😳 I used to think the enneagram was BS.... but then I realized it’s because I’m a Type 6 who is distrustful of everything 😂 Being a Type 6 means I’m loyal, hard-working, responsible, self-reliant and passionate about championing for others...but also largely anxious, suspicious of others (explains my love of conspiracy theories, don’t it? 😂), rebellious, full of self-doubt and indecisive....which is all spot-on 👌🏼••But seriously, realizing which type I am and which type Brandon and my friends are has been so helpful. It’s probably the most accurate personality test I’ve ever taken. •• If you are interested, definitely read this book before even taking a test online. It’s so helpful and fun to read! 📚What’s your enneagram type? #anniereadsthings
These aren’t my students. They are my babies. They are my heart. I know their favorite colors, what they’re building in Minecraft, what body language they show when they’re feeling awkward or anxious, who their best friends are, if they had a bad dream last night, why they are fighting with their parents. I have had their literal snot, germs, blood and vomit on me. I have opened their chocolate milks, wiped their faces, tied their shoes, brushed their hair, unzipped their coats. I have dealt with their sometimes bad behavior, dealt out consequences- essentially parenting them for 7 hours every day. I have bought them presents, told them I love them, counseled them, prayed for them by name every morning on my way to work. My kids (and their parents now...)call me “School Mom” cause ain’t that the truth. I may not love teaching but I LOVE these kids. And today. Today, it was hard. Today broke my heart, made me nauseous. Today, I physically felt the weight of my students’ anxiety and fear on my shoulders and in my chest. Today, I couldn’t shake it. Today, I cried. God, make me RELIABLE for these kids. May I be trustworthy with these pure little hearts that God has placed in my hands to protect and mold. Every child has a right to a childhood and God has given me a job to stand at the gates of their innocence and stand guard over these precious years. Teaching may not be my long-term gig but protecting and fighting for these kids is. May I be the light. May I be there every day, ready to take on the world with them. May I be something reliable for them in a world of chaos. #anniesteacherlife #wordsonwrists
me, working out: *swan dives head first into a burpee* •
me: *thuds face first into the living room floor* •
me: OHHHHHH! •
brandon: are you okay? I just heard something crash and you make a weird noise... •
me: I think I broke both my elbows...
And the award for favorite corner of the house goes to....🏆My first home project that I did solo and I am IN LOVE 😍 The home reno bug has bit me and I’m pretty sure my name is Annie Gaines now so whatever 🤷🏻♀️
YOU WERE NOT MADE TO BE A DOORMAT. I have always felt like “too much”. Too bold, too stubborn, too opinionated, too strong-willed. I prayed to God for years- literally -to make me quieter and gentler because in my mind, being quiet and gentle was the only way to be kind and loving. There have been times when I thought my being blunt, up-front, confrontational, willing to have awkward conversations in order to set boundaries made me a major beeeeyotch. •• But God has shown me this year an important truth and I am realizing how passionate I am becoming about cheering others- who may not have the same boldness- on in this truth. And that is: YOU WERE NOT MADE TO BE A DOORMAT. You were not created to be walked all over and taken advantage of. You can say “no” and still be a good person. You can say “no” and still do God’s will. “No” is a complete sentence.
You do not need to explain yourself to others. You are not a sinner for walking away from toxic situations. You were made to be challenged- but not abused, bruised or used. You get to choose the people that are in your life- friends AND family. You are not obligated to toxic people because you happen to share the same name as them or you happen to have known them for a long time. God gave you a brain, a gut feeling and legs to walk away from anything that tries to make you believe that you are anything less than WORTHY or LOVED. You do not need to be a YES girl. You are loved, kind, compassionate, important and still fulfilling a purpose if you say NO. You can’t allow God to use you in BIG WAYS if you choose to remain locked in your own, or somebody else’s, prison. YOU ARE NOT A DOOR MAT. You are a DAUGHTER of the KING, ADORED and created ON PURPOSED to set this world ON FIRE with PASSION and RADICAL KINDNESS. 💕
Every day, I write a word or phrase from my prayer or meditation or from the Bible, on my wrist. I keep it there as a reminder all day to help ground me in truth. // today, I was focusing on the truth “When He opens His hands, they are filled with good things” from Psalm 104. It hit me that my life is FULL OF GOOD THINGS. I don’t have my dream job, marriage, body, closet, house, etc. but my life is STILL FULL OF GOOD THINGS. Cause God doesn’t give out crap. Whatever I have right now IS A GOOD THING. So just so you know...YOU are a good thing. YOUR JOB is a good thing. YOUR MARRIAGE is a good thing. YOUR FINANCES are a good thing. YOUR BODY is a good thing. List them out like I did today and you’ll start to see all the good things popping up before your eyes. So to paraphrase God....it’s all good in da hood.
snow day vibezzzz. ❄️🔥💕
Had lots of work to get done today but instead spent the day making macrame essential oil car fresheners...so..... 🤷🏻♀️💕
REMINDER: Love is not manipulation. It is not passive aggressive. It is not unwilling to accept responsibility for actions. It is not unsupportive or unkind. It is not cold. It does not ignore or use the silent treatment. It doesn’t require others to comply with its demands. It doesn’t call names or forget plans with you. It does not belittle, make sarcastic comments at your expense or embarrass you in public. It does not forget to ask you questions or invest in your life. It does not solely speak about itself. It does not brag in order to watch you shrink and feel small. It does not withhold affection until you act “right”. It doesn’t depend on others for happiness. It does not buy your affection or hold things over your head. It does not control, blame or isolate. It is not jealous of you. It does not hold a grudge for weeks, months, or years on end. It doesn’t ignore boundaries. It doesn’t meddle or talk behind your back. It shouldn’t make you feel sick to your stomach when it calls or shows up. It doesn’t dredge up the past. It doesn’t exhaust you, mentally or physically. It doesn’t hurt you physically, emotionally or spiritually. It isn’t co-dependent, enmeshed, immature or lazy. If it is, then it isn’t love- it’s toxic and it’s abuse. If it is a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, mom, dad, sibling, cousin, co-worker, friend, neighbor, grandparent- get out. Know you are worth more than being treated like someone’s garbage. You are worthy of respect, dignity, freedom, independence, affection and time. You should only have people in your circle who BRING YOU UP • CHEER YOU ON • SPEAK POSITIVITY • SUPPORT YOUR CALLING• CALL YOU TO HIGHER. You are not sinful, selfish or rude to cut ties with people who are toxic. You are not obligated to ANYONE who is dysfunctional. Speak truth in love, draw a boundary line and have enough respect to know you are worth so much more than being bruised by people who use you and abuse you // Love will walk through it all with you, even when you try to quit every second. Love is personified in my perfect husband who is gold-hearted in every sense and makes this world a better place just because he’s in it. 💕🤟🏼