Ask Away Friday with Tamara of Tamara (Like) Camara.

Today I’m trading Ask Away Friday questions with Tamara of Tamara (Like) Camera. She’s kind of a rock star in this corner of the Internet so you may very well have heard of her or visited her blog, looked at her gorgeous photographs or read her exquisite, from-the-heart writing.

Ask Away Friday | Shana Norris Blog

Tamara has a beautiful soul and I am so thankful to have gotten to know her over the past few months. We’ve had a lot of “What? You too?! I thought I was the only one!” moments. And that – to me – is the best thing about writing and sharing our words and our hearts on the Internet.

I’m answering Tamara’s questions below. To see her answers to my questions, visit her blog.

Ask Away Friday | Shana Norris Blog

1. Do you have any road trip or other travel plans for this spring/summer?

My youngest daughter is on a competitive dance team, so we’ll be traveling to wherever she competes for nationals. Right now it’s looking like Wisconsin Dells.

At one point, my mom talked about planning a big family vacation to Mackinac Island this summer. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. We stay on the mainland, in a campground that is situated right on the lake shore, with stunning views of Mackinac Bridge and the island. I really hope we can swing it. If not this year, then definitely next.

2. Name a quality in each of your kids that is most like you. Name a quality in each of your kids that is not at all like you!

My oldest daughter has my passion – sometimes it’s almost a compulsion, something we literally have to do or we cannot live with ourselves – for serving and helping others.

She loves to stay up late, which is so not me. Staying up late is one of my least favorite things to do.

My youngest daughter and I both love to watch television shows and movies. I am very picky about what I allow my younger kids to watch and I agonized over it, but finally decided we could watch Once Upon a Time together. She’s obsessed. And I’m loving the experience of watching it (on Netflix) with her.

She’s been asking to watch The Hunger Games and Catching Fire for months, and now she’s started in on Divergent. My answer is still a big fat no on those.

How is she not like me? Let me count the ways. And I admire almost every one of them. She was born with so many qualities that I only learned through years of blood, sweat, and tears. She’s brave, strong willed, extremely confident, outspoken, emotionally resilient, and a natural-born leader. I always say – only half-jokingly – that one day I may be the mother of the President of the United States.

Ask Away Friday | Shana Norris Blog

My son is my mini me. Of all my kids, he looks and acts the most like me. He’s very emotionally sensitive, which I’ve always been, and maybe a little passive aggressive. Ahem.

It’s honestly hard to think of a way he’s different from me. Well, he’s a very fast runner and a very good soccer player. I run, but not fast by any means, and I’ve never played soccer.

3. What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

I spent four years in corporate finance at a big pharmaceutical company. It wasn’t an awful job. There were many things I liked about it. But eventually I started feeling really guilty about the fact that we were going out for company dinners that cost anywhere from $100-$150 per person while people were unable to receive the medication they needed to live. Those profit margins were so huge. It felt so wrong. I stopped going to the dinners, and eventually I quit my job. That wasn’t the only reason I resigned, but it was the first reason, and a big one.

4. You say you grew up in a family of foodies! Do you have any tried and true recipes from your family that you can share? Or one of your own?

There are so many. My mom makes the best chocolate layer cake, usually for special occasions. She made it last week for my birthday so it’s fresh in my memory. She got the recipe from Midwest Living – she and my dad are always trying new recipes from the many magazines they subscribe to – and it’s became a favorite in our family. It originally ran in the December 2005 issue and has been republished a few times since: Cafe Latte’s Turtle Cake.

5. Have you ever been to a blogging conference? Do you plan to attend any?

I’ve never been and I don’t have any plans to do so this year. I wish I’d went to BlogHer when it was in Chicago, since that’s within driving distance for me.

If time and money and fear of airplanes were not an issue, I’d go to BlogHer, Alt Summit, or The Influence Conference.

But since all of those factors are indeed issues, what’s more realistic is that I’ll find a small, somewhat local writing conference. I’ve really been all about writing lately (more so than blogging, if that makes any sense.)

6. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far about blogging?

I’ve only been blogging for about a year, and I feel like I’m still trying to find my footing in terms of what I want to write about, how often I want to write, and what the purpose of my blog is.

Right now I’m in a place where it’s okay not to know. It’s okay to evaluate. It’s okay to ponder. It’s okay to not quite know the answers, and to maybe have to do some real soul-searching to find them.

7. Can you share a recent photo and tell me the story behind it?

Ask Away Friday | Shana Norris Blog

I’ve been obsessing over the Minnetonka Kilty moccasin for a few months now. My mom gave me a pair for my birthday last week and I’m seriously so in love with them that my enthusiasm embarrasses me just a little.

8. What is something mischievous you have done?

Well, I come from a long line of mischievous, ornery people. It’s in my blood! And I’m passive-aggressive so I’m sure to someone like my husband, it’s a vexing combination. I tease him a lot just to see his very reactive, very predictable responses.

Growing up, my sister and I were an odd mix of demure and well-behaved and mischievous and naughty. We did so many things that part of the grown-up me laughs about, while the other part prays my own children never do.

My mom raised sheep when we were growing up, as more of a hobby than anything else. The male sheep (bucks) were often mean. They’d charge and butt at anything they didn’t like – including my sister and I. We were under strict instructions to stay far away from them. But sometimes we’d venture into the area they were kept. We’d get their attention and of course they’d chase us. We’d then run away as fast as our legs would carry us and clamber over the fence to safety.

9. I know you’re an avid reader. Name some books that have had a large impact on you.

Most recently, Anne Lamott’s faith-focused memoirs. Traveling Mercies and Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. I’ve spent the last few years in a spiritual wasteland. Like District 12 in The Hunger Games or whatever it is I imagine is on the outside of the fence in Insurgent. Bleak. Barren. A little scary.

Lamott – and Rachel Held Evans and Matthew Paul Turner and Addie Zierman – have shown me that people of faith, people who embrace a religion – can be open minded, inclusive, compassionate, loving, imperfect, sometimes full of doubt and questions and searching.

Something inside me is coming back to life, and I have these people to thank for it.

10. What’s your favorite thing about Twitter? Least favorite?

It’s funny that you ask that because I’ve really been off social media lately. Like I said earlier, I just want to write, write, write. And hold my kids and have tea with my husband and read books and watch Scandal.

But Twitter. It’s the one I keep going back to. Days go by when I don’t get on any other social media all day long, but I almost always check one of my two favorite Twitter lists at least once a day.

I love that I can link to articles or blog posts about subjects I’m passionate about. Books. Movies. Parenting. Marriage. Politics. Faith. Running. It’s hard to describe, but Twitter just makes me feel good. Checking in is like checking in with an old friend. It’s like coming home at the end of the day. I’m not sure why, but there you have it.

I think Twitter can be spammy. You only have so many words, so if you’re trying to get in a link, and keyword hashtags, and an attention-grabbing phrase, a tweet can come off as completely self-promoting. So while I see it as a downside, creating lists allows me to completely bypass the issue. Or at least to only see those types of tweets from people I really, really like!

Thanks for providing me with awesome questions, Tamara. This was a lot of fun.

Don’t forget to see Tamara’s answers to my questions HERE.

For more Ask Away Friday Q&A, visit the event hosts: Amber, Penny, Tiffany, Stacey.


  1. Oh, so fun! And I wish my daughter could watch “Once Upon a Time” with me. I love it so much but she’s just not quite there yet.
    I really want to go to BlogHer too. It’s on my birthday, but too much of a trip for me with two kids and such a long distance. I have to figure that next year it will be back on the east coast. And I’m SO there.
    Thanks for swapping with me! I loved every answer you gave, as well as all of your questions for me.

    • Luckily I was only about five shows into the first season when she started watching, so I’m re-watching them all with her and we’ll go from there. Ironically, it was my 19-year-old who got ME hooked on that show. Daughter to mother to daughter :)

  2. So wonderful to get to know you through this Q&A! Now I see your kids! How cute! I love the question about how your kids are like and unlike you. It’s so interesting what they inherit or pick up from parents! And you certainly did a noble thing quitting that corporate finance job! If I were getting $100 dinner, I’m not sure I would ;) . Nevertheless, my hubs worked for a big pharm co. a few years ago and I always bugged him about how they could charge so much for life-saving and needed drugs. He blamed it on the FDA approval process.

  3. Ah — two of my very favorite bloggers together in one spot! I love it. Awesome questions, Tamara, and great answers, Shana. I love the question about your kids — it’s so interesting to see how our children take after us (and how they don’t!)

    I’ve been finding twitter really overwhelming lately. I think I need to harness the power of lists!
    Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout recently posted…Welcome, Danny Zuko! Let’s scrapbook and eat homemade pizza. #askawayfridayMy Profile

  4. I think we are kindred spirits! I got my first pair of Minnetonka’s a few years ago and have worn the treads down. I love them so much, they are so comfy!

    I know it is a super cheesy place, but I adore Wisconsin Dells. My family went on a few vacations there when I was a kid. My husband and I honeymooned there for a few days after our wedding and had a blast! I hope that while you’re there for dance you’ll get a chance to do some touristy stuff!

    • I know we’ll definitely take time away from dance to eat at Moose Jaw Pizza. That place is AMAZING. It’s funny that you call it cheesy – so accurate – but it does have a certain allure!

  5. I loved your reflective answer about your kids! It really showed how much you adore them!
    Nice getting to you! Happy Ask Away Friday!
    Beth at Structure in an Unstructured Life recently posted…Ask Away Friday with SuperFreshBabyPantsMy Profile

  6. Hi Shana! My Girlies are in dance class and I want so much for them to like it enough to join the competitive teams but I don’t think the bug has bitten them. So much for my vicarious living plans…LOL
    Tiffany recently posted…Charming Beauty – The Beauty of One Piece!My Profile

    • Well, my daughter isn’t as into dance as some of her friends but she does one competition number (some girls do 3-4) because she loves the experience of doing competitions with her friends. So there is hope for your girls!

  7. You and Tamara – what a great pairing for #AAF! I feel the same way about Twitter – I don’t really check it unless I’m mentioned in a tweet. Otherwise, I get sucked in reading tweets that read more like headlines of a newspaper with no content. Those moccasins are cute and you’re killing it with those colorful pants :) I think they have lots of those in Wis Dells!
    Gracielle recently posted…My Happy Place: Anna Maria IslandMy Profile

  8. Oh thats so cool! Tamara is a rock star! I love Once Upon a Time, and I am so glad I found it all those years ago :) I am thinking about detaching myself a little from Twitter, sometimes it can get overwhelming, and so hard to keep up! interesting to learn more about you. Thanks for sharing Shana :) Have a wonderful day!

    • Tina, if Twitter is feeling overwhelming, you might consider putting just a few of your favorite users on a list and just checking in with that list for a while. It really cuts down on the overwhelm for me.

  9. Ooh, question #2 is fascinating. I’m curious about asking my parents something similar. Love that you two paired up this week, and your son has gorgeous eyes!
    Christy@SweetandSavoring recently posted…Getting Sick While Traveling: My Month in HawaiiMy Profile

  10. Twitter draws me in too…but you know that. Haha. Sometimes I just have to close down Hootsuite and not look at it at all. I need to shut down the computer some time so I can concentrate on writing because I never quite accomplish what I want to…I get drawn into reading. That picture of your son and the kitty is adorable. I loved your answers about your kids…it is truly amazing how much they are like us, and how much they are their own people too.
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…The One in Which I Share Snowboarding Crashes and Baking Disasters #AskAwayFridayMy Profile

    • I get drawn into reading too Michelle. There’s just so much good writing on the Internet. Lately I’ve felt so compelled to read books though. Now I face the dilemma of squeezing it all in because I don’t want to give up one for the other.

  11. I’m catching up on blog reading while my kiddos have morning snack – I loved learning more about you!!! :) I really wish we could meet up, have a cup of tea, chat, and have a Scandal marathon!
    Ginger – Just One of the Boys recently posted…Week #8 ~ A Happier, Healthier YouMy Profile

  12. I loved learning a bit more about the phenom behind the blog! Connecting with someone (organically or purposefully through the blogging community) like that is one of the most wonderful things xo
    Georgina recently posted…Scenes From My Weekend: Life Is Good NOR’BEASTER FestivalMy Profile

  13. Okay, where can I get my own cute kid with a cute kitten? That picture just made me smile :)
    Jennifer @Making Our Life Matter recently posted…Arnold® Sandwich Thins Product Review And RecipeMy Profile

  14. What a small world. I found you through Mamalode, where I have my first post up today about being a dance mom. Glad to have connected with you.


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