Art, I Wasn't Worried, My Idea Of Being An Adult

I’m Alive and Well

Long time no see!

Cheerio!

Guten Nachmittag!

I have not abandoned this blog, although at times, it felt like I would never write again. It’s been a long few weeks since my move to Charleston. It’s been stressful, hilarious, fun, and also worrisome. I searched high and low for jobs, and then some days, I gave up, and then the next morning I’d get the urge to conquer the world again. But isn’t it funny how you can go from having absolutely no job prospects to having far too many that it stresses you out even more than if you had none?

That’s what happened to me.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a job in catering for an event company. It was serving, which I’m no stranger to, although I’d never done it through catering which can sometimes be fine dining. I’m not a fan of eating at a fine dining establishment, let alone work for one. The pay was practically nothing but I figured if I got a full time job, I could still work for this company to make extra cash. I had my first shift yesterday and in my personal opinion, it was not worth the time and money. It’s great for younger people, like high school or college kids, but I am neither.

It was a long, 13 hour nonstop day. And it wasn’t just serving food. I got in at 5:15am, loaded the truck, drove to the venue, unloaded the truck, set everything up, served breakfast and lunch, broke everything down, cleaned the entire venue, loaded the truck back up, drove back to the warehouse, unloaded the truck, and then put everything back into its final resting place, or at least until the next event. At the end of the day, I realized I only made about $120, given my hourly wage. After serving in restaurants, I came to the conclusion that I could work half of that shift, and not have to do nearly as much work, and make that much money, which led to my bitterness towards the whole situation. Do I sound bratty? Yeah, probably. But I don’t care. I’m twenty-six years old now. I’ve done the waitressing thing. I know the grueling hours and work it takes to make the money some of them make. If I were eighteen years old complaining about this, I’d smack myself in the face. But I’m older and have more experience than most people want to believe so yeah, I feel entitled enough to know that this job was not worth my time. #Sorrynotsorry

Anyway, I found an ad on Craigslist for a Gallery Associate at a downtown art gallery. The ad gave no name, phone number, or email address so I had no idea which gallery it was. I replied to the ad anyway, not expecting to hear from someone. The following day, I received an email requesting to send my resume and by the next day, I was getting called in for an interview. I danced in my apartment for 20 minutes. I also had another interview at a restaurant that reminded me a lot of the diner in New Hampshire where I served, and that position sounded promising and I was genuinely excited about it.

I just had my interview with the gallery today and I was hired on the spot! She didn’t even ask me any questions about my resume. We just chatted about the position, and then she said, “So…what do you think?”

I said, “This sounds perfect.” She shook my hand and we both squealed. That was that. I’ve been searching for a gallery position for over four years, and I somehow lucked out with the nicest woman on the planet who is willing to show me everything on how to run a gallery. And I mean everything from stretching canvases, framing, and installing to selling the work myself. The starting pay isn’t good but after a couple of weeks, if I show I’m able to learn fast and do well, she will give me a raise plus commission on any works I sell. I don’t care if I get paid in rocks…I made sure to tell her how much this position would mean to me and how thrilled I am to be working with her. She hugged me and I feel like I could die of happiness.

The whole point to this move to Charleston was to find myself in the art field. Charleston has a huge art and medical environment. What would be the point if I turned down the position due to the pay, and ended up in accounting again? When I’ve tried for years to get out of accounting? That would make this move utterly pointless and I wasn’t about to let that happen.

I was supposed to work at an event tomorrow in catering but I called up the company and quit, explaining my situation to them. He didn’t sound pleased but I really don’t care. They are a catering company and they have wide range of employees they can call up. I’m usually very responsible when it comes to this stuff and I wouldn’t normally quit on the spot like I did, but this gallery is my top priority. It has to be. Instead, I’ll be starting my new position tomorrow.

I’m feeling hot hot hot.

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Anecdote, Family, Home, I Wasn't Worried, Thoughts, You're Fine

Little Black Book – a ghost story

I realized I’ve never really discussed the idea of ghosts on my blog. What has prompted this inspiration is an article I asked Tierney to send to me because it was spooking her out so I thought, “Hey Jess, let’s not sleep tonight.” You can find the article here: Read at your own risk.

So now, I’m a Nervous Nelly and the only thing I can do to calm myself down is doing what I’m doing now: blogging and joking around. *insert nervous laugh*

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I love ghost stories. That doesn’t necessarily mean I believe in them, but I’m not entirely skeptical either. I know weird and unexplainable things happen. I’ve known plenty of people who have strange stories to tell, including myself. Like this one time, the stereo in the basement of my house turned on by itself in the middle of the night. The damn thing woke everyone up. We never used that stereo, so there was no set alarm either. And no, I was not the first person to walk into my dark, creepy basement to find the source of the noise. I’m smarter than that. Or that other time in college when I went to go wash my face and brush my teeth before bed and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a girl walk in and head for the stalls. After I was done brushing my teeth, I realized how silent the bathroom was, and when I went to check the stalls, nobody was in there except for me. I ran out and hid under my blankets.

But the first time I started to kind of sort of believe these things was after my dad passed away. Several strange and possibly coincidental things happened after his death, but that is for you to decide.

My dad died only a few months after my college graduation. As soon as I was in the “real world” he informed me that he wanted to send a hundred dollars every month. I told him it wasn’t necessary but he insisted. He said, “I don’t want you to ever be without.” He sent me $100 for July and August, and then he died in September. A day or two after he passed, I flew down to Texas to help my mom with some things around the house. We had an emotional morning after picking up his belongings at the hospital, and then the funeral home allowing me to view the body for a few seconds before cremating him later that week, so my mother and I decided to take a long nap. I don’t know how long we were both asleep for, but I eventually woke up and felt anxious. I slipped out of bed, tip toed over our German Shepherd, and sat in the kitchen for a few minutes in silence. My dad’s art studio was all the way down the hallway with the door closed and I felt compelled to go inside and look around. It wasn’t just out of curiosity. It was more of a, “I have to do it now!” kind of feeling.

I began going through his things. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for but I kept digging through the drawers and closets, hoping to find something. He had a tiny book collection on his shelf and I noticed there was a little black book tucked away and it looked like a journal. I pulled it out and opened the first page. It was dated two weeks before he died and he wrote one sentence, “I don’t remember much of my life or where it went, so this is going to be tough to write.” That is all.

I fanned through the pages hoping to find more and then a hundred dollar bill fell onto my lap. After I showed my mom, we tore apart the rest of the house, wondering if he hid any other hundred dollar bills but we found nothing. Just the single bill inside his blank journal. Now, some of you might think that it was just a coincidence. However, what if I hadn’t gone through his things and found the little black book? There really wasn’t anything special about it. It was a small, blank book tucked in between about a dozen books by Stephen King and a few of my Sarah Dessen novels I enjoyed when I was younger. The little black book could have easily been thrown away along with some of his other belongings before my mom packed up the house and moved. Finding that hundred dollar bill was like finding a needle in a haystack —> not an original analogy but whatever.

Flash forward a few weeks and my mom was telling me about the weird and unexplainable things.

Grief messes with you. You start noticing things you never noticed before, and then you feel guilty for not noticing them when you should have. My mom walked by the refrigerator and found a note that said, “I love you!” and when she turned it over, it read, “Just because.” She walked outside one day and stumbled across the row of cement blocks. The day my dad passed away, he was moving them around the yard in the heat, which could be an easy explanation for his heart attack. One of the cement blocks had their initials written on it with a heart. These moments are not considered weird, but instead are happy reminders of the person they were before they are gone. I think this happens with every person once they have died. It’s like that song from The Band Perry when they say, “Funny when you’re dead and people start listening.” But one day, my mom woke up from a nap because it felt like someone pushed her. She felt the hand shove her awake and she looked up and found my dad standing there staring at her. She told me this story and a part of me thought, “She’s grieving. This is natural.” And then another part of me was jealous. Other than the mysterious hundred dollar bill, I hadn’t experienced anything except a number of sleepless nights.

My mom told me a few other stories like that one and I just nodded my head silently. For weeks, I wanted something to happen whether it was my grief talking or something real. I know it was just a desperate plea to see him one last time, and I couldn’t understand why my mom could see him and I couldn’t.

And then one fine evening I had a very strange dream. I was standing across the street from my old house in New Hampshire. Everything was set up exactly as I remembered. From across the street, I could see my dad pacing back and forth in the window of my house. I wasn’t trying to get his attention, but I was just watching him. He noticed me from the big window and waved vigorously with a huge smile on his face. And then I woke up.

Weird? Maybe. Coincidence? Possibly. But I’d rather just keep it as a way of him saying, “hello”.

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Books, Humor, I Wasn't Worried, Thoughts

Rory’s Books

Okay Gilmore Girls fans. I found the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. I’m sure I’m a few years too late but I don’t care. I’m acting as if this list was released yesterday.

I know. You’re just as excited as I am. As if the Goodreads Reading Challenge isn’t stressful enough, let’s just add another one to the mix. But, I am a woman with goals. Maybe this list will take me five years, twenty years, or a hundred years. But golly oh mighty, I will finish this list.

So friends, come wallow with me in the pain that is this reading challenge. I’m sure you’re all jumping to the opportunity to read The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

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RORY GILMORE READING CHALLENGE

1.) 1984 -George Orwell
2.) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
3.) Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
4.) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon
5.) An American Tragedy – Theodore Dreiser
6.) Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
7.) Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
8.) The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
9.) The Archidamian War – Donald Kagan
10.) The Art of Fiction – Henry James
11.) The Art of War – Sun Tzu
12.) As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
13.) Atonement – Ian McEwan
14.) Autobiography of a Face – Lucy Grealy
15.) The Awakening – Kate Chopin
16.) Babe – Dick King-Smith
17.) Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women – Susan Faludi
18.) Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie
19.) Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
20.) The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
21.) Beloved – Toni Morrison
22.) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation – Seamus Heaney
23.) The Bhagava Gita – Unknown
24.) The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews – Peter Duffy
25.) Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women – Elizabeth Wurtzel
26.) A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays – Mary McCarthy
27.) Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
28.) Brick Lane – Monica Ali
29.) Bridgadoon – Alan Jay Lerner
30.) Candide – Voltaire
31.) The Canterbury Tales – Chaucer
32.) Carrie – Stephen King
33.) Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
34.) The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
35.) Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
36.) The Children’s Hour – Lillian Hellman
37.) Christine – Stephen King
38.) A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
39.) A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
40.) The Code of the Woosters – P.G. Wodehouse
41.) The Collected Stories – Eudora Welty
42.) A Comedy of Errors – William Shakespeare
43.) Complete Novels – Dawn Powell
44.) The Complete Poems – Anne Sexton
45.) Complete Stories – Dorothy Parker
46.) A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
47.) The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
48.) Cousin Bette – Honore de Balzac
49.) Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
50.) The Crimson Petal and the White – Michel Faber
51.) The Crucible – Arthur Miller
52.) Cujo – Stephen King
53.) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
54.) Daughter of Fortune – Isabel Allende
55.) David and Lisa – Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
56.) David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
57.) The Da Vinci -Code – Dan Brown
58.) Dead Souls – Nikolai Gogol
59.) Demons – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
60.) Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller
61.) Deenie – Judy Blume
62.) The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America – Erik Larson
63.) The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band – Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick
Mars and Nikki Sixx
64.) The Divine Comedy – Dante
65.) The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – Rebecca Wells
66.) Don Quixote – Cervantes
67.) Driving Miss Daisy – Alfred Uhrv
68.) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
69.) Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems – Edgar Allan Poe
70.) Eleanor Roosevelt – Blanche Wiesen Cook
71.) The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe
72.) Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters – Mark Dunn
73.) Eloise – Kay Thompson
74.) Emily the Strange – Roger Reger
75.) Emma – Jane Austen
76.) Empire Falls – Richard Russo
77.) Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective – Donald J. Sobol
78.) Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
79.) Ethics – Spinoza
80.) Europe through the Back Door, 2003 – Rick Steves
81.) Eva Luna – Isabel Allende
82.) Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
83.) Extravagance – Gary Krist
84.) Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
85.) Fahrenheit 9/11 – Michael Moore
86.) The Fall of the Athenian Empire – Donald Kagan
87.) Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World – Greg Critser
88.) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
89.) The Fellowship of the Ring – J. R. R. Tolkien
90.) Fiddler on the Roof – Joseph Stein
91.) The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
92.) Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce
93.) Fletch – Gregory McDonald
94.) Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
95.) The Fortress of Solitude – Jonathan Lethem
96.) The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
97.) Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
98.) Franny and Zooey – J. D. Salinger
99.) Freaky Friday – Mary Rodgers
100.) Galapagos – Kurt Vonnegut
101.) Gender Trouble – Judith Butler
102.) George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President – Jacob Weisberg
103.) Gidget – Fredrick Kohner
104.) Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen
105.) The Gnostic Gospels – Elaine Pagels
106.) The Godfather: Book 1 – Mario Puzo
107.) The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
108.) Goldilocks and the Three Bears – Alvin Granowsky
109.) Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
110.) The Good Soldier – Ford Maddox Ford
111.) The Gospel According to Judy Bloom – Judy Bloom
112.) The Graduate – Charles Webb
113.) The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
114.) The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
115.) Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
116.) The Group – Mary McCarthy
117.) Hamlet – William Shakespeare
118.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling
119.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
120.) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers
121.) Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
122.) Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders – Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
123.) Henry IV, part I – William Shakespeare
124.) Henry IV, part II – William Shakespeare
125.) Henry V – William Shakespeare
126.) High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
127.) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – Edward Gibbon
128.) Holidays on Ice: Stories – David Sedaris
129.) The Holy Barbarians – Lawrence Lipton
130.) House of Sand and Fog – Andre Dubus III
131.) The House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende
132.) How to Breathe Underwater – Julie Orringer
133.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss
134.) How the Light Gets In – M. J. Hyland
135.) Howl – Allen Ginsberg
136.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo
137.) The Iliad – Homer
138.) I’m With the Band – Pamela des Barres
139.) In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
140.) Inferno – Dante
141.) Inherit the Wind – Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
142.) Iron Weed – William J. Kennedy
143.) It Takes a Village – Hillary Rodham Clinton
144.) Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
145.) The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
146.) Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare
147.) The Jumping Frog – Mark Twain
148.) The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
149.) Just a Couple of Days – Tony Vigorito
150.) The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar – Robert Alexander
151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly – Anthony Bourdain
152.) The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
153.) Lady Chatterleys’ Lover – D. H. Lawrence
154.) The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 – Gore Vidal
155.) Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman
156.) The Legend of Bagger Vance – Steven Pressfield
157.) Less Than Zero – Bret Easton Ellis
158.) Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke
159.) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them – Al Franken
160.) Life of Pi – Yann Martel
161.) Little Dorrit – Charles Dickens
162.) The Little Locksmith – Katharine Butler Hathaway
163.) The Little Match Girl – Hans Christian Andersen
164.) Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
165.) Living History – Hillary Rodham Clinton
166.) Lord of the Flies – William Golding
167.) The Lottery: And Other Stories – Shirley Jackson
168.) The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
169.) The Love Story – Erich Segal
170.) Macbeth – William Shakespeare
171.) Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
172.) The Manticore – Robertson Davies
173.) Marathon Man – William Goldman
174.) The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
175.) Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter – Simone de Beauvoir
176.) Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman – William Tecumseh Sherman
177.) Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
178.) The Meaning of Consuelo – Judith Ortiz Cofer
179.) Mencken’s Chrestomathy – H. R. Mencken
180.) The Merry Wives of Windsor – William Shakespeare
181.) The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
182.) Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
183.) The Miracle Worker – William Gibson
184.) Moby Dick – Herman Melville
185.) The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion – Jim Irvin
186.) Moliere: A Biography – Hobart Chatfield Taylor
187.) A Monetary History of the United States – Milton Friedman
188.) Monsieur Proust – Celeste Albaret
189.) A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister – Julie Mars
190.) A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway
191.) Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
192.) Mutiny on the Bounty – Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
193.) My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath – Seymour M. Hersh
194.) My Life as Author and Editor – H. R. Mencken
195.) My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru – Tim Guest
196.) Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 – Myra Waldo
197.) My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
198.) The Naked and the Dead – Norman Mailer
199.) The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
200.) The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri
201.) The Nanny Diaries – Emma McLaughlin
202.) Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature – Jan Lars Jensen
203.) New Poems of Emily Dickinson – Emily Dickinson
204.) The New Way Things Work – David Macaulay
205.) Nickel and Dimed – Barbara Ehrenreich
206.) Night – Elie Wiesel
207.) Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
208.) The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism – William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
209.) Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A
Time to be Born – Dawn Powell
210.) Notes of a Dirty Old Man – Charles Bukowski
211.) Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
212.) Old School – Tobias Wolff
213.) On the Road – Jack Kerouac
214.) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
215.) One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
216.) The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life – Amy Tan
217.) Oracle Night – Paul Auster
218.) Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood
219.) Othello – Shakespeare
220.) Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
221.) The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War – Donald Kagan
222.) Out of Africa – Isac Dineson
223.) The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
224.) A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
225.) The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition – Donald Kagan
226.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
227.) Peyton Place – Grace Metalious
228.) The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
229.) Pigs at the Trough – Arianna Huffington
230.) Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi
231.) Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain – Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
232.) The Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby
233.) The Portable Dorothy Parker – Dorothy Parker
234.) The Portable Nietzche – Fredrich Nietzche
235.) The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill – Ron Suskind
236.) Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
237.) Property – Valerie Martin
238.) Pushkin: A Biography – T. J. Binyon
239.) Pygmalion – George Bernard Shaw
240.) Quattrocento – James Mckean
241.) A Quiet Storm – Rachel Howzell Hall
242.) Rapunzel – Grimm Brothers
243.) The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe
244.) The Razor’s Edge – W. Somerset Maugham
245.) Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books – Azar Nafisi
246.) Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
247.) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm – Kate Douglas Wiggin
248.) The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
249.) Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad – Virginia Holman
250.) The Return of the King – J. R. R. Tolkien
251.) R Is for Ricochet – Sue Grafton
252.) Rita Hayworth – Stephen King
253.) Robert’s Rules of Order – Henry Robert
254.) Roman Holiday – Edith Wharton
255.) Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
256.) A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf
257.) A Room with a View – E. M. Forster
258.) Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
259.) The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition – Rough Guides
260.) Sacred Time – Ursula Hegi
261.) Sanctuary – William Faulkner
262.) Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay – Nancy Milford
263.) Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller – Henry James
264.) The Scarecrow of Oz – Frank L. Baum
265.) The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
266.) Seabiscuit: An American Legend – Laura Hillenbrand
267.) The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir
268.) The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
269.) Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette – Judith Thurman
270.) Selected Hotels of Europe – Unknown
271.) Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 – Dawn Powell
272.) Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
273.) A Separate Peace – John Knowles
274.) Several Biographies of Winston Churchill – Winston Churchill
275.) Sexus – Henry Miller
276.) The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
277.) Shane – Jack Shaefer
278.) The Shining – Stephen King
279.) Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse
280.) S Is for Silence – Sue Grafton
281.) Slaughter-house Five – Kurt Vonnegut
282.) Small Island – Andrea Levy
283.) Snows of Kilimanjaro – Ernest Hemingway
284.) Snow White and Rose Red – Grimm Brothers
285.) Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World – Barrington Moore
286.) The Song of Names – Norman Lebrecht
287.) Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos – Julia de Burgos
288.) The Song Reader – Lisa Tucker
289.) Songbook – Nick Hornby
290.) The Sonnets – William Shakespeare
291.) Sonnets from the Portuegese – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
292.) Sophie’s Choice – William Styron
293.) The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
294.) Speak, Memory – Vladimir Nabokov
295.) Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach
296.) The Story of My Life – Helen Keller
297.) A Streetcar Named Desiree – Tennessee Williams
298.) Stuart Little – E. B. White
299.) Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
300.) Swann’s Way – Marcel Proust
301.) Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals – Anne Collett
302.) Sybil – Flora Rheta Schreiber
303.) A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
304.) Tender Is The Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
305.) Term of Endearment – Larry McMurtry
306.) Time and Again – Jack Finney
307.) The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
308.) To Have and Have Not – Ernest Hemingway
309.) To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
310.) The Tragedy of Richard III – William Shakespeare
311.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
312.) The Trial – Franz Kafka
313.) The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters – Elisabeth Robinson
314.) Truth & Beauty: A Friendship – Ann Patchett
315.) Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
316.) Ulysses – James Joyce
317.) The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 – Sylvia Plath
318.) Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
319.) Unless – Carol Shields
320.) Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann
321.) The Vanishing Newspaper – Philip Meyers
322.) Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
323.) Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) – Joe Harvard
324.) The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
325.) Waiting for Godot – Samuel Beckett
326.) Walden – Henry David Thoreau
327.) Walt Disney’s Bambi – Felix Salten
328.) War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
329.) We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews – Daniel Sinker
330.) What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 – Richard Nelson Bolles
331.) What Happened to Baby Jane – Henry Farrell
332.) When the Emperor Was Divine – Julie Otsuka
333.) Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson
334.) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – Edward Albee
335.) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West – Gregory Maguire
336.) The Wizard of Oz – Frank L. Baum
337.) Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
338.) The Yearling – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
339.) The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
Read: 31
Remaining: 308

 

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Anecdote, Home, I Wasn't Worried, Thoughts, Travel, You're Fine

I’m Fine I’m Fine I’m Fine

The year 2016, for me, started on January 12th. It didn’t start when the ball dropped in New York City, or when everyone cheered with their champagne glasses. At that point in time, I believe I was in a bathroom of a New Year’s Eve party crying while my friend wiped the mascara off my face, telling me everything was going to be okay.

Many people have complained that 2016 was one of the worst years we have seen in a long time. It was definitely one of the more bizarre years considering the amount of celebrity deaths and America’s recent election. But I don’t review my year based on things like pop culture and politics. I think about the past year and wonder if I became a better version of myself, and if I actually have learned something from my accomplishments and failures.

On January 12th of last year, my car was packed, I said goodbye to my neighbors in California, and I set off back to New Hampshire by myself. As soon as I got out of Orange County and realized I was entering the dusty mountains of Arizona, where gas stations appear once every 45 miles, cell service is scarce, and it seemed as though I was the only person left on the planet driving through the desert, I started to worry. I kept repeating, “I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine.” A little tune similar to Sylvia Plath’s “I am I am I am.” I ignored my morbid thoughts and put on my brave face. For years, I was meant to believe that I couldn’t handle life in general. I was meant to believe that my sense of direction was terrible, mostly because I’m a girl. I was meant to believe that I couldn’t take care of myself, and I was made to feel stupid at times. I’d say it was natural of me to have those thoughts as I started driving thousands of miles alone to places unfamiliar to me. Every town I stopped in for gas, or grabbed food, or just simply needed to use the bathroom, I held tightly onto the mace in my pocket and kept a straight face.

A friend once asked me what my favorite part of the road trip was, and she expected something grand like the skyline of Chicago or New York City. But my favorite part was in the middle of nowhere in northern Texas seeping into Oklahoma. For what seemed like hundreds of miles are fields of giant white windmills. It doesn’t sound exciting but they are hypnotizing. It was in that moment, I felt safe. I felt in control, comfortable, and for the first time, relaxed. I wanted so badly to stop and sit on the hood of my car and watch them turn, but I decided I needed to keep moving.

2016 was one of my better years. I learned a lot about myself that I can either accept or change – I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I’m a naturally impulsive person. I don’t like receiving help unless specifically asked. I’m stubborn. I don’t always speak my mind. I overthink and read too much into almost everything. I rarely take my own advice. I’m independent, yet I rely too heavily on other people. I value my friendships more. I’m able to love unconditionally. I’m okay with rejection because that just means another door opens. I’m a little more optimistic.

I’m looking forward to 2017 not just because it’s a new year. Time is merely an illusion. I’m excited and open for whatever may come. There are still many places to see, people to meet, friends to grow closer with, along with many more accomplishments and failures. I’m a little bit happier with myself than I was a year ago. I will have fantastic days, decent days, and terrible days. But I keep reminding myself that it will be like this for the rest of my life. What really matters is how I look at it.

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21 Things That Prove I Don’t Have It Together

I have a friend, let’s call her Heather, and she’s been going through a bit of a rough time over the last couple of months and has been confiding in me. I think it’s nice to be sought out when the goings get tough. I do my best to give her advice, but let’s face it, I’m no Dr. Phil. Her life seems to be up in the air at the moment, and she’s stressed about her recent breakup from her fiancé, but I try to stay positive and let her know things will work out in the end.

And then this happened:

She asked me what my plans are for the following year, and if I regret any of the decisions I made in previous years when it came to my love life and jobs.

My honest answer was this:

I have no plans. The only plan that seems to stick right now is that I will be moving in with Colleen around February/March. We haven’t picked a location just yet, but we’ve narrowed it down to two places. We will be taking a mini vacation together next month to Charleston, and then I plan to go to England in the spring to visit my newly married friend. But that’s about it.

I have no plans for a job. I could end up working in a coffee house or a flower shop for all I care. As long as I make enough money to pay rent, buy art supplies, and pay my student loans (I like to pretend this one doesn’t happen every month), I’d be happy. I don’t really care about the rest. I think the main things Colleen and I agree on with each other is that we both need adventure, and possibly a prohibition styled apartment (that was her idea).

And even though I have zero idea what my concrete plans are, I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made.

This was her response:

“I’m so jealous of your life! It sounds so exciting and care-free. You seem to really have it together.”

Me:

hgfhgf

What’s funny about this reaction from Heather is that I did not get this reaction at a recent Christmas party where I was the only single person and their response was a little more like, “Oh…alright then…”

I never felt so underachieved than I did in that moment.

However, this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten the “Your life seems so great!” comment. I’ve gotten it a bunch of times this year and I’ve been scratching my head trying to figure out why.

So here is a list of things to prove I don’t actually have my shit together.

1. I finally removed the month old stain on my carpet the other day.

2. I keep forgetting to give my asthmatic cat his steroids. I’m surprised he’s not dead yet.

3. There is literally nothing to eat in my apartment. I’m not just saying that. I think I have a stale box of Cheez-Its and some rice that I’m too lazy to actually cook.

4. ^ I forget what a grocery store looks like.

5. Some of my belongings are still packed in boxes. I moved into my apartment last March…

6. I STILL have not registered my car and I don’t intend to until I move again. Therefore, I’m illegally driving my car everyday.

7. I have split ends.

8. I come home from work every day and crawl into bed with my cat while watching either Gilmore Girls or Friends, but also contemplate going to the gym but then so much times passes that it’s not even worth it to go anymore.

9. I failed my Goodreads Reading Challenge, AGAIN. Unless I can somehow bust out four books in two days.

10. If you’re wondering why I haven’t been able to reach my reading goal, refer back to #8.

11. I still have canvases and frames sitting in my car from when I went home to NH in the beginning of November.

12. I haven’t managed to shave without cutting my legs at least twice.

13. I don’t moisturize enough.

14. The batteries in my electric toothbrush are out and I don’t feel like going to the store to buy more.

15. My Christmas tree will definitely stand tall for another two months.

16. I’m terrible at cleaning my paintbrushes.

17. I don’t have the confidence to wear red lipstick all the time like I want to.

18. I have a resting bitch face. I’m really trying to work on that.

19. I get a slight boost of anxiety every time I open my bank account.

20. It took me months to figure out that the sign at Planet Fitness that says “Leave egos here” doesn’t say “Leave eggos here”. It makes a lot more sense now.

21. I’ve been paying $65 a month for cable and internet, and I never was able to hook the cable up myself. So I’m still paying for cable even though I technically don’t have it. Why? you ask. Because then that means I have to sit on the phone with my cable company for 30 minutes, most likely talking to a machine and listening to customer service grunt about how I should have cable, and I’d honestly rather pay the extra $20 a month until I move.

So there you have it. I don’t have it together any more than the rest of you, I’m sure.

Please share some of your bad habits with me in the comments. I think we all need a good laugh.

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How to Get Out of Embarrassing Situations

I embarrass myself daily. Sometimes I’m aware of when it’s happening, other times I’m not. My embarrassing moments usually consist of oversharing, cracking jokes that nobody understands, walking into doors, tables, and walls (how DID that wall get there?), or stumbling on my words to the point where they are incoherent simply because I’m nervous.

dfsd

Here are some ideas I’ve come up with on how to get out of embarrassing situations.

1.) Just yell out words that come to mind.

“Kittens!”

“Sour Cream!”

“Infomercials!”

By simply shouting out random and irrelevant words, you are then distracting from the previous embarrassing moment with a new one that will both confuse and hopefully amuse the other person.

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If asked why you just yelled out (insert random word here), add an improv sentence that relates to the word.

Example:

“Kittens!”

“Jess, why did you just yell kittens?”

“They are just so fuzzy, and cute with little pink noses. I love them so much. Want to see this video?”

*Embarrassing crisis diverted*

2.) Shuffle your way out.

Learn to do a slight dance shuffle. As soon as the embarrassing moment has taken place and the awkward silence occurs, dance your way out of the encounter and move far, far away.

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3.) The classic “Hey! Look over there!”

Example:

Jess has just cracked a joke that was taken far too seriously by the group of individuals, and now they are staring, slurping on their beverages and trying to figure out the next move.

“Hey! Look at that over there!” she yells.

They all turn to look behind them.

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4.) Pull a Gone Girl

If you haven’t read the book or watched the movie, stop reading here if you don’t want any spoilers.

It’s the perfect plan. Simply fake your own death. Come up with a brand new identity.

Some things you will need to accomplish this mission:

  • Bleach – to clean the fake blood off the floor. Duh.
  • Hair dye
  • The complete opposite wardrobe from what you normally wear.
  • Lots of money
  • More money
  • Some sort of weapon, just in case.

fgfdd

5.) Keep Laughing

Laugh so hard, you look manic.

 

*Please share any methods you find useful!

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Conversation with Sixteen-Year-Old Jess

*Dials number to Sixteen-year-old Jess, fully aware that the ringtone is a Boys Like Girls song*

Sixteen-year-old Jess: Hey, hey, hey! Who is this?

Current Jess: I forgot how annoying you were…

Sixteen-year-old Jess: Okay, seriously. Who is this?

Current Jess: This is Jess…from the future.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: That’s impossible. I don’t believe you.

Current Jess: You’re probably wearing a really tacky and unfashionable Hollister sweatshirt right now.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: That doesn’t prove anything. Everyone has those sweatshirts. Tell me something nobody else knows.

Current Jess: You never read the first Harry Potter. And you read the rest of them completely out of order.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: That was a really lame example…

Current Jess: Okay fine. You kissed Aidan Murphy in the fifth grade…

Sixteen-year-old Jess: *GASP* What do you want? Why are you holding this against me?

Current Jess: He had extremely chapped lips and it freaked you out…

Sixteen-year-old Jess: EW. STOP.

Current Jess: I’m here to fill you in about life.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: How old is future Jess right now?

Current Jess: I’m 25.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: *Sighs* I can’t wait to be 25. I’m going to go to Clark University and study anthropology. Or I’ll go to the Art Institute of Boston and become an art teacher. 25 is going to be amazing.

Current Jess: *Chuckling* Oh Jess…none of that happens.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: What do you mean none of that happens? I had a plan!

Current Jess: I know you do. You were stuffing college brochures in your desk drawer since you were thirteen.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: Did I at least study abroad in England like I always wanted to do?

Current Jess: Yes. I will gladly tell you that you accomplished that. Congratulations.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: Okay, well at least that’s something. So what happened to the rest of it? You’re 25. You’re supposed to be set in your career. Am I an art teacher? Do I work in a fancy office? Do I wear nice clothes? Do I have my own apartment? Am I getting married soon?

Current Jess: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down, Lassie. First of all, you never became an art teacher. You studied art history.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: But I hate art history.

Current Jess: You grew up and changed. It happens to all of us. You also like broccoli now.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: So what do I do for a living?

Current Jess: I’m not going to dive too far into that one because it’s messy, frustrating, chaotic, and frankly, you’ll want to punch me in the throat.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: What about marriage? Am I getting married soon?

Current Jess: No, probably not.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: *hyperventilating* WHY NOT?

Current Jess: I don’t know, dude. Calm down. You can’t just marry the first guy to pay attention to you. It doesn’t work like that. Take your time. You haven’t even figured the career part out yet.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: But there is so much I wanted to do. I wanted to teach English to schoolchildren in Nigeria. I wanted to backpack through China. I wanted to hole myself up in a cabin in Washington State, away from everyone else for a little while. Kind of like Johnny Depp but without the mental breakdown.

Current Jess: There’s still time. Just because you haven’t done those things by the age of 25 doesn’t mean you need to write them off the list entirely.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: What about my friends? I still have my friends, right?

Current Jess: Eh. Not really. Only a select few. But that’s okay. You enjoy being by yourself, remember?

Sixteen-year-old Jess: Yeah, I suppose. But what happened to those friends?

Current Jess: You just realized they weren’t the best people to be around. Quality means more to you than quantity.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: So, what’s your plan now?

Current Jess: I don’t really have one.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: What do you mean you don’t have one? This is our life you’re screwing with!

Current Jess: Remember when you were around three-years-old, and you used to go with mom to her night classes at Lesley? And you would walk ahead of her through Harvard Square?

Sixteen-year-old Jess: Yeah. I would pretend I was a Harvard student even though I was three.

Current Jess: Exactly. That’s when you started dreaming about college.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: Get to the point, please.

Current Jess: My point is you’ve been planning your life out since then.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: Since I was three…

Current Jess: Yes.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: So you’re saying I’m a lunatic.

Current Jess: Yep. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Stop planning and start living.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: How do I do that exactly?

Current Jess: Don’t think. Just do. Just be happy. That’s all that matters.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: Okay. I guess that’s decent advice. Can you just tell me one thing?

Current Jess: Shoot.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: You’re still with Tristian, right?

Current Jess: HAHAHAHAHAAHA. Nah. He’s married to some Romanian girl now.

Sixteen-year-old Jess: What?!

Current Jess: Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. *click*

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Stale Reptar Cereal

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I received the hot pink and glittery invitation in the mail. I can’t remember my exact age, but it was a time when sleepovers consisted of crafts, a pinata, and watching Beauty and the Beast. I was officially invited to Kristie’s birthday party. Kristie was a girl from my class, and I really did like her company. However, I couldn’t stand her mother.

I looked at my mom for some guidance on whether or not to attend. She was adamant on the fact that if I RSVP’d “Yes”, I had to go. There was no backing out allowed. I called up my best friend Melanie and asked if she was going. Even at such a young age, we developed this girl code of sticking together, early signs of the “Come to the bathroom with me!”

She said she was thinking of going, only if I will. Of course, we both could have easily just said “No, I can’t” and moved on, but our brains were still developing. We both agreed that we would go to the party.

Kristie’s mother scared me. She was constantly angry about something. The wind didn’t blow right and she’d wreak havoc around town, cursing the gods, asking why the entire world was against her. I was afraid to sneeze around her just in case she’d decapitate me and stick my head on a stick and present it to the neighborhood. I often found myself in Kristie’s closet eating my own hair. She closely resembled Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. I’m sure you can see now why I wasn’t keen on the idea of spending close to 15 hours in their home.

My mother dropped me off at Kristie’s house and I internally cried as I watched her slowly, or rather quickly, drive off.

I carried my sleeping bag inside while her mother yelled, “Hurry up!” She fashioned a dirty ripped t-shirt and sweatpants, which means she dressed for the occasion. I found the rest of the girls sitting on the couch, quietly staring at their hands. We were all just waiting for some direction in case she were to tase us for reaching for a party hat. Melanie finally showed up and I felt an ounce of relief. It was a long evening of Kristie opening presents and listening to her mother scream at her for grabbing a second cupcake. Not because she was health-conscious but because she felt her daughter was a tad overweight.

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She was a wretched woman.

The hour of sleep approached and we crammed ourselves into Kristie’s bedroom. To our surprise, Kristie needed a nightlight, and the radio playing. Is there anyone else who can’t fall asleep to “Hit Me Baby, One More Time”? I rolled towards Melanie and she had been just as uncomfortable as everyone else the entire day/evening. Suddenly, she sat up. She bolted from the bedroom and ran to Kristie’s mother, which I felt was a bold move, and she cried that she didn’t feel well and wanted to call her mom. Fifteen minutes later, Melanie’s mom showed up at the front door to bring her home.

My first thought was, “That sneaky bitch…”

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I knew damn well that Melanie wasn’t sick.

And then there was one.

Of course, my little brain thought, “I’ll do the same thing.” I began faking ill, holding my forehead like I got the black plague. I asked to call my mom. I can’t remember if I actually did, or if Kristie’s mother knew what I was up to and said “no”. Either way, I got stuck at the house listening to N’Sync and the other girls snoring.

We woke up, not fresh and not dapper, and piled into her kitchen to have breakfast. Kristie was lucky enough to have Reptar cereal.

dfgds

Her mother grudgingly tossed the cereal and milk in our direction. Kristie noticed the expiration date on BOTH the cereal and milk. The cereal expired months ago. The milk had reached it’s due date by almost a week. Kristie informed her mother.

“Well, too bad! You get what you get!” she screamed from her reclining chair.

I felt like a prisoner of war sticking that expired breakfast into my mouth.

I got home and hugged my mom for seven hours.

But a few life lessons I learned along the way:

Don’t attend a party you don’t actually want to go to.

Be wary of your friends.

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I Need a Paper Bag and a Bottle of White Zin

I don’t get easily stressed.

Well that was a big fat lie. I actually get very stressed but I pretend like none of it bothers me so that I can keep my cool and lie to myself even more.

I stress out about everything. I’m surprised I don’t have more anxiety attacks. I have one maybe once a year, and each time it creeps up my shoulder like the grim reaper. Why does my chest feel like this? Am I having a heart attack? Are the walls bleeding?

If something bad happens, I do a Nick Miller head nod and say, “Well…that happened…” And then I brush off the fleck of stress off my shoulder and continue with my day like I’m cool as a cucumber. I do this over and over and over again for months until one day, I explode. It’s like an episode of Ren and Stimpy, and I whip my head around my environment taking mental screenshots of everything I’m avoiding: the dishes are piling up, I need to take out the trash, I haven’t glanced at my mail for two weeks, my unfinished painting is looking sad, is that mold I smell in my sink?, why does it sound like my cat is choking to death every morning?, and for the love of God can he please stop clawing at all of my nice furniture?, am I going bald?, why does my hairline make me look like one of those patients in a Bosley commercial?, I still haven’t registered my car (I hope I don’t get pulled over and have to do the whole “Look at me, Officer. I’m cute. Please don’t yell.”), I have a zit the size of my evil twin on my neck.

Welcome to the inside of my mind. Grab a drink, take a load off because I certainly can’t. I feel like Mrs. Bennett in Pride & Prejudice and I don’t even have five daughters to marry off.

There has been a lot of things happening since last week that my mind simply cannot grasp and/or handle. When I reach a certain point, I babble and say/do weird things. I’ve been so up and down about various things that I feel my heart might burst into flames. So many people tell me I need to de-stress so I Googled some ways to do that and I already call quits on most of them.

1. Meditate

What am I, a monk?

Meditating would look a little like me sitting on my bed eating an entire bag of popcorn and not breaking eye contact with my cat.

2. Exercise

I already exercise regularly, so with my tsunami-like brain waves, my running has been golden. I’ve been walking into Planet Fitness like Usain Bolt. But what do I do after I run off all of those bad vibes? I stress eat. It’s like I never even went to the gym.

3. Drink Green Tea

Because sticking leaves that closely resemble marijuana into a steaming hot cup of water is going to make my troubles go away. Why don’t I just stop shaving and pray every evening to a bowl of granola while I’m at it?

4. Take a Nap

Sure, I could stumble into my apartment after work, crash on my bed and pass out at 5pm. But it doesn’t change the fact that my student loans need to be paid the following day.

I’d rather just take a bottle of wine to my face, talk to my pile of mail, and go to bed.

Tell me some of your de-stressers, or lack thereof. I’ll be sure to take some notes.

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To Apply, Or Not To Apply?

A photo by Nirzar Pangarkar. unsplash.com/photos/Y7y7fe8hrh0I’ve been applying to jobs since 2012. I began my search during my first semester of senior year, and I got a good taste of what it’s really like to be searching for that perfect job. Of course, no job is perfect. Even when I had a job, I was still searching, searching, searching. After four longs years, I can’t help but think, have I been wasting my time?

They say, “It’s all about who you know.” As a millennial, I can’t stress enough, especially for upcoming college graduates, how true that statement really is. Every single job I’ve had since my college graduation, I didn’t receive because I applied to their job posting. I received the jobs through staffing agencies and family friends. I’ve applied to hundreds of job postings with real, genuine interest, and 99% of the time I never got a call back or an email. I learned a couple of years ago that most companies simply post a job on their website because they have to, and they almost always hire from within, or hire someone they know. So all those hours, cover letters, applications, may have been a waste of time.

This makes finding a job, especially for those like me who are weak at networking, extremely difficult. I’ve never liked the feeling that I’m using the person to get ahead. That is what networking feels like. There’s something about it that doesn’t sit right with me.

I’ve also had those close calls. That ounce of hope and shimmer of excitement of a possible job. I recently had that experience and it came crashing down this morning. A recruiter based in London contacted me on LinkedIn. It was the first time something useful and positive has come out of my LinkedIn profile. The position was for an art gallery in Manhattan with the job requirements matching the exact experience I have on my resume. THIS was my dream job, for sure. I was so excited, and the recruiter called me in the early hours of 6am due to the time difference. I was enthusiastic and everything sounded promising. Until the gallery decided against looking into all candidates, and wanted someone with the exact experience in a similar gallery. Naturally, I was frustrated simply because they didn’t even give me a chance. My qualifications matched their needs. My interest and love for art was obvious. I had a recruiter writing on my behalf, explaining that I was a great candidate for them. So, I sit here baffled as to why I continuously get rejected without even a chance to speak on my behalf. And I understand that I’m not the only one.

I let the recruiter know how thankful I was that she contacted me, even after the disappointing news. I’m thankful because it gave me hope, and she saw something in me that most people have overlooked. Even though everything fell through, I’m glad it happened.

So, to answer my question: Is it a waste of time to apply to job postings? I’m not really sure. Maybe. All I know is that every opportunity that has come my way has been because I know someone, or I know someone who knows someone. The rest is entirely up to you.

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Art Project: Bigger and Better Things

It’s been two weeks since I announced my newly created art site, and I’m thrilled to say that I’ve sold two paintings so far! I didn’t expect it to happen so soon.

What I’ve learned during this short amount of time in business is that word-of-mouth is a great way to sell your work. I want to thank my friends, family and blogging community for helping me so far. I couldn’t have done it without you!

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In case any of you were wondering, the items under my portfolio on my website can also be sold if requested. Ironically enough, the two paintings I sold were not originally for sale mostly because they were “old”, or something I was practicing. For instance, the Versailles landscape I sold was something I was trying out one evening and I posted the photo to Instagram. I didn’t expect someone to have an interest in purchasing it until they contacted me. That is another lesson I’ve learned over the last few months. Instagram has played a large role in my ability to get my work out into the world.

Here is a quick update:

  • I recently visited my grandparents over the weekend and they gave me an old easel. Which means I can now move onto bigger works of art! I’d like to move onto canvas and acrylics, along with larger watercolors.
  • I’ve decided to practice my landscaping, which is how I ended up selling my Versailles inspired watercolor. IMG_1047
  • There are also other creative ways to incorporate your art other than paper and canvas. I experimented with a giraffe ink drawing I did a few months ago and placed it on a plain white t-shirt and it actually came out wonderful, all thanks to Zazzle! image3(2)image1(6)
  • I came across an old box labeled, “Jessie’s Memories” and many of the items played like a time capsule. I found a shoe box of random items I put together in middle school, some of which contained old notes between friends, movie tickets, and my 8th grade graduation packet. Some of you might be confused as to why we had an 8th grade graduation packet. Our graduation was bigger than my high school graduation. There were only 65 kids in my grade, and most of us had known each other since kindergarten. Many of us were splitting off, with nearly half of the kids attending a private high school instead. We had a million awards given out, and a prophecy written to predict where each of us would end up in the future. Well it turns out my prophecy was that I would be selling my artwork, which is weirdly accurate. My friend Jackie’s prophecy was that she would run a circus, which I guess is partially true if you want to read her blog here.

I’m looking forward to the summer ending and the start of the fall season! I’m already thinking about my fall-inspired paintings.

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My Life Six Months After Facebook

I made some drastic changes at the beginning of the year. Over the holidays, when I realized California was no longer a place I wanted to be, I packed my bags, moved back in with my mom in New Hampshire, found a job, moved to Connecticut, and started new.

It was during this time that I decided to get rid of Facebook forever.

Well, everyone knows it’s not forever. Unfortunately, you can deactivate your account, but it’s still there whenever you feel the urge to check it, but it was a step in the right direction.

There were a lot of questions and reactions surrounding my breakup with Facebook. Are you doing it because of your recent breakup? Are you trying to avoid someone? Is it because you’re looking for a job? You’ll be back, right?

No, to all of these.

I actually wanted to get rid of my page years ago, but there were many people fighting against it that I raised my white flag instead.

I did it because I personally felt like I wasn’t going to figure my life out with the distraction of Facebook. It was a place where I constantly compared my life to other people. My page claimed I had around 500 friends, when in reality, I didn’t actually have many friends. At the time, I had around 2-3 friends I constantly spoke to, and still do to this day. While most people would say that’s satisfying, it only goes so far when most of those people live in different parts of the country.

I needed to figure out what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be, and who I wanted to spend my time with without Facebook and all of its people influencing those decisions. I wanted to be able to do just about anything without everyone knowing about it. I didn’t like the feeling that all eyes were on me, watching my every move and judging my every decision. If I want to pull an all-nighter and walk aimlessly around New York City, I don’t want the entire world to know it, and proceed to ask me questions. In hindsight, I just wanted to be left alone.

It’s been approximately six months since I left Facebook, with only a handful of times I’ve logged on only to grab a picture or two. I’ve noticed some pretty liberating changes since then that I’d like to share with all of you.

1. Meeting and getting to know friends organically.

Since moving to Connecticut, I’ve met a large number of new friends. Back when I had Facebook, I most likely would have become friends with them after meeting them the first time, creeped on their Facebook page, and that’s how I would have gotten to know them.

Oh, I see Amanda went to Ireland a few months ago. She must like to travel.

Brian is constantly confessing his love for Hillary Clinton. He must be into politics.

Our real-life conversations would have been mediocre at best because we would have felt like we already knew each other based on our Facebook page. Without Facebook, I have no outside knowledge about them, therefore I ask them questions and really show that I care, and vice versa.

2. Absolutely no drama.

Everyone deals with stress whether it’s work-related, or family issues, but Facebook stress is a real sucker and is completely unnecessary. Since I left Facebook, I haven’t been wrapped up in an internet argument, or been subtly insulted by some unknowing individual not realizing their statuses affect their “friends”. There wasn’t a day I didn’t get upset about something because of Facebook, but now, it’s one less thing I stress about and that feeling goes a long way.

I logged on the other day to retrieve an old photo to my phone, and the first status that popped up was a complaint about society, or something like it. I instantly felt claustrophobic and wanted to throw my phone against the wall. It’s kind of similar to that parenting method – if you’re anxious and stressed, your child will be too.

3. Reaching out.

When I hear good news through the grapevine, I now have to personally text or call the person to congratulate them. I feel like that makes a difference, even if they don’t say that it does. For instance, a friend of mine from my MFA program recently signed a 3-4 book deal with a publishing house. I don’t talk to him much, at least not since I graduated, but when I found out, I immediately texted him to send my congrats and asked him all about it. It seemed like he really appreciated it, especially since I’m sure many people said similar things to him on his status.

When I heard a friend of mine got engaged, I texted her to ask how he proposed, and I got the full story and all of her gushyness. I would not have gotten that same experience through Facebook. I certainly feel like I’ve become a better friend and person because of this.

4. Focusing on healthy relationships.

I’m no longer wasting my energy on relationships that are actually just acquaintances. I get to share happy events with those who matter the most, and eliminating those who only spoke to me out of convenience from Facebook. There were some people I considered close friends, and I haven’t heard from them in months. At times, it’s upsetting, but then I remind myself that I’m now surrounded by friends who like speaking to me, and put in the effort to spend time with me.

When Mr. Jess and I decided to start dating, it was pretty nice not having the entire world know about it. Not that I was trying to hide him or anything, but we didn’t have the distraction of everyone asking questions or sticking their noses where it didn’t belong. Everyone got to meet me naturally, and vice  versa. There had been too many times in the past when a significant other and I changed our relationship status, and then ex-boyfriends and girlfriends fluttered in like a pack of cluster flies, sending messages and throwing things completely out of whack. It kind of puts a damper on the honeymoon stage.

Mr. Jess and I got to focus on each other instead, and it has made all the difference in how we approach our relationship. The real beauty of it was when he texted me the other night saying that he realized he never changed his relationship status and he actually didn’t care at all, and for once, he was just focused on being happy. It made me realize that I’d never had a relationship before that wasn’t announced to everyone through some form of social media. I guess that’s growing up millennial.


Facebook has way too much of our past – where we’ve been, who we’ve interacted with, what we’ve said and done. I don’t miss one thing about Facebook. It was the best decision I ever made.

Have you ever thought about leaving it? If so, why? Tell me your thoughts on the matter! It seems as though the Facebook walls are slowly crashing down.

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Art, Connecticut, Festivities, Humor, I Wasn't Worried, I'm not a mommy blogger, Internet Things, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Social Media

Art Project: Florals, Fruit, For Sale, Oh My!

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Hello beautiful people! I’ve finally done it! I’ve created the website that holds all of my hopes and dreams.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the latest watercolors I’ve created over the last few months. It’s been a wonderful lifestyle so far, and whenever I feel the urge to paint something, I’m able to hop over to my desk and do just that. I had been toying with the idea of trying sell my artwork, but obviously it won’t be an easy task. The very idea of it terrifies me to no end, but it’s worth a shot and it gives me a chance to continue painting, whether it works out or not. I don’t expect to become the next Andy Warhol. I know my reality.

I’ve decided to name my new art site Reyna Art & DesignFor a couple of years, my dad sold his artwork. He mostly drew portraits when requested, but he loved to draw celebrity portraits like Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne. He had a Facebook page called Reyna Art, so I decided to continue the tradition.

My biggest problem is that I’m not a big promoter. I feel like those annoying salespeople that show up on your doorstep, trying to convince you that their plastic wrap is better than Glad. I don’t want to be that annoying person. I don’t want to be that person who posts an image of my artwork on Instagram or Twitter every two hours, trying to get people to buy things. Which means, I’ll need all the help I can get from you lovely people. NO PRESSURE. All I ask is that if you happen to know other artists, such as friends or family, pass me along via Instagram or Twitter, or share my website. If you happen to buy a painting of mine, post it to social media with a wink. Sharing is caring.

So far, I have seven pieces up for grabs. Since my last art post, I’ve done some diddling with florals again.

I've called this "Lumineer's Flowers" for reasons I'm sure you've read about.

I’ve called this “Lumineer’s Flowers” for reasons I’m sure you’ve read about.

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I’ve been playing around with different colored pineapples because I think they’re adorable.

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I’ve recently tried out the local paint bar in South Norwalk, CT called Muse Paintbar.

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He’s pretending to be proud of his bottle. I thought it came out fabulous!

So please, peruse my new website and pass it along! You can even find the website under my “Shop” page 🙂

ALSO, I’m going to do a shout out to someone I went to high school with back in the day. Miss Emma Marty sells wonderfully unique jewelry and has recently appeared in Vogue. Check out her page here!

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Anecdote, Awkward, Humor, I Wasn't Worried, My Idea Of Being An Adult, You're Fine

Fear Thy Dentist

I was always that weird kid that loved going to the doctor’s and the dentist. It usually meant that I got to miss out on a couple of hours of school. I never feared that when I arrived, the doctor would tell me I have cancer or something. I still don’t get that fear, with the exception of them checking my weight. That’s always a scary moment.

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At least with the doctor’s office, I could understand the slight fear. But the dentist? They brush your teeth for you! And they usually gave you that bubble gum flavored Novacane! And then you walked away with a brand new tooth brush. How could anyone hate the dentist?

I’ve now experienced the other end of the dentist. On Monday, all four of my wisdom teeth had to be removed. ALL FOUR. They were all terribly impacted, on the verge of damaging my back teeth like the little bastards they were. Since I was driving myself home, they gave me the gas, which made me feel like I was in a David Bowie music video. My whole body got numb and I was giggly about absolutely nothing. While the upside to the gas was that I felt like I was sitting in a tin can, I had the pleasure of hearing each individual tooth cracked and then removed like I was in my own personal Saw movie. If you hear of the newest Saw 18: Jessie’s Not-So-Wisdom Teeth, don’t be surprised. Also, please don’t watch it. Most of you have never met me, so your first impression should not be what’s happening in the inside of mouth.

Once all of the teeth were removed, the doctors slowly released oxygen into my mask so that I could come back down to planet Earth. During this process, what little mascara I applied to my lashes that morning started to smudge and smear, probably from horror. The dental assistant who didn’t speak the most fluent English took a napkin and started wiping it for me.

Assistant: Oh…eh. Let me…get that for you.

Me: Mmmmherrrrthanks.

Assistant: A girl like you don’t need make-up. You….very pretty girl. *Cue low deep voice* Veryyyyyyy….prettyyy.

Me: Mehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I just want to point out that I never get hit on. I don’t think I have the usual face that men are like, “Hey, she looks of age to buy a drink for.” I’m just assuming that’s one of the reasons I never get hit on. It seems that the only time I get hit on is in these situations. The type of situations when I’m not capable of verbally saying, “Hey thanks, that’s very kind of you.” Instead, they are in situations when I’m most vulnerable and awkward where the guy has just spent an hour removing stubborn teeth from the back of my jaw, and I’m left dazed, confused, and not understanding what’s happening at that moment. On the bright side, someone was nice enough to still tell me I’m pretty while sitting under a fluorescent light with bloody gauze hanging out of my mouth and tears running down my cheeks. How sweet.

I found my celebrity look-a-like for the week though:

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