Dating, Girls, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Thoughts, You're Fine

Little Bird

A little bird gave me a wonderful piece of advice and wisdom recently that I’m trying to hold onto dearly.

But first, I’ll explain how my date went with Navy Man on Monday. He was a gentleman, for sure. He held the door open for me. He paid for me the entire evening. He made good conversation with rare moments of silence that didn’t really feel awkward. However, I did find out within the first 30 minutes that he turned 21 in March. Instantly I knew, this guy is too young for me. I was confused because he explained that he went to culinary school for 2 years, and then has been in the navy for the past 2 years, which is why I thought he was more in the age 24 range. Did this guy graduate from high school at 16?
I accepted his age in that moment and decided to just enjoy myself. After dinner, we went to another bar, tried a few weird cocktails called a Jimlet, which tasted exactly like a gimlet, and listened to a Beatles cover band.

On Wednesday, he texted me saying that he had an amazing time and hopes that this wasn’t a one time thing. He said he really enjoyed my company and wants to get to know me more. Now, I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. After a couple of days, I decided I really wasn’t interested in this guy anymore for various reasons, and not just the slight age difference. I politely said that I really appreciate what he has said and I had a great time and would like to hang out again sometime on more casual friendly terms. I told him I’m not looking for anything serious or long term, which in hindsight, is true. Suddenly, he pulled a 360 on me. His response was, “I could be on the other side of the planet in 6-7 months. I don’t know where my job is going to take me. I’m just looking to have a little fun while I’m still here…”

Oh, so now I’m an escort. Or a Geisha. I’ve been downgraded. Immediately, I was even more turned off by this guy than before. I know he responded that way because I kinda sorta rejected him. He said all of these nice things and now he’s considered me his party animal. Oh, okay.

To be fair, I did tell him I wanted things to be casual and light hearted. But he could have responded in a better way.

After that comment, I don’t have an intention of seeing him again. Which brings me back to what my little bird friend said to me a few weeks ago. To sum it up, they explained that dates are kind of pointless. People treat them more like a checklist, which is not the way to find your potential partner. You should find your future someone when you’re comfortable with them and nothing is forced. If you have to force conversation simply because you “matched” on Bumble, then it’s kind of doomed from the start. Everything should come naturally.

Which brings me to my question: if what I said to Navy Man is actually true, that I’m not looking for anything long term right now, then what the hell am I dating for? To pass the time? To seek out attention when I’m feeling the most vulnerable? Writing that out makes me feel like I’m wasting my time and I’m already annoyed with myself.

So, how can you just accept yourself for who you are, without the needs of someone else? I’m getting there, slowly but surely. Especially a few weeks ago when that guy made the cute comment and I shut it down immediately. I’m tired. I’m tired of the same conversation over and over again. I’m tired of the same compliments. I’m tired of trying to find a way to let people down gently. It’s all very exhausting.

I need to stop dating out of boredom. I need to learn how to take myself out on dates, and be content with myself. I’ve been told you can’t fully love someone unless you love yourself first. But that’s easier said than done.

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Awkward, Dating, Girls, Humor, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Thoughts, You're Fine

It’s Just a Date

You know it’s been a while when you log into your WordPress account and find 17 spam comments you need to delete.

How has everyone been? Good? Cool? Solid? Wonderful.

I would devote some time to reading blog posts by all of you glorious bloggers but I don’t simply have the time. I’ll try, though.

But I have finally plopped a seat in my kitchen with a hot cup of coffee watching the sun shine through my window on this day. It’s supposed to be 89 degrees today. The heat has already kicked in rather rapidly here in Charleston, and I’ve been melting. Only slightly.

I’m about to share with you some funny stories over the last few weeks, some updates, and maybe ask for a little advice too, if you’d like to give it.

The job in the gallery is going pretty well. Of course, there are some aspects to the job that aren’t wonderful, but the shoe always drops, doesn’t it? I’m not going to be a millionaire anytime soon but at least I’m gaining valuable experience.

I’ve been “dating” or rather, “seeing” one guy in particular. My Girl Gang group chat with Meghan and Myka like to call him Southern Man. He’s born and raised in Charleston. He’s a little rough around the edges, but he’s sweet. In a weird yet comforting way, he reminds me of my dad. He’s fun to be around and he brings me nachos late at night after he works. We’ve been seeing each other for over a month and I’m having serious doubts about the whole thing. I told him after our first date that I wanted this to be casual for now. I just wanted to keep spending time with him before committing to anything serious. However, after our first date, he made it very known how MUCH he likes me. I feel like I should have been happy with this but I wasn’t. It actually kind of freaked me out. But I wanted to give him a fair chance and still hang out with him in hopes that it would change. It did change slightly. I actually do really like him, but there’s one major con standing in the way. He absolutely despises kids.

He has no intention of having children at all. The first few times he mentioned it, I let it slide. But he’s brought it up on numerous occasions to the point where it concerns me and I’m realizing he’s not joking. I completely respect his decision to not want kids, but I made it known that I actually do want kids in the future. This doesn’t seem to phase him, though. So I keep thinking, where does it go from here? Here’s my answer: it doesn’t. I am fully aware that us hanging out, casually, is as far as it’s going to go. Unfortunately, I know he doesn’t see it that way.

Southern Man left for a cruise on Saturday and will be back on Thursday. I plan to have a chat with him when he’s back to clear the air and see what he’s thinking. I hate having those conversations, especially when it’s about something that is so far off in my future that the whole conversation sounds a little insane. But the way I see it is if I’m going to get serious with someone, we need to want the same things in life.

On a less serious note, I went out for a ladies night on Saturday. I have found a very colorful and crazy group of girlfriends whom I love. We sat in an Irish bar and listened to Irish folk music and danced. Here is the part where I may need some advice from you fellow bloggers but read the entire situation, and take into consideration what I had just previously shared with you.

I’m sitting at the bar, drinking my Michelob Ultra, and noticed a guy at the bar kept smiling at me. He interacted with me from across the bar a couple of times in a joking manner. After a little while, the bartender handed me a shot of whiskey. I asked her where it came from and she pointed to the man. I started laughing and he yelled, “You’re in an Irish bar and you’re drinking a Michelob. Have a whiskey!”

I hate whiskey. But I took the shot anyway and made sure to give him the most disgusted face after, in which he laughed. So then I followed along and asked the bartender to pour two rumplemintz shots. I had never heard of rumplemintz until I moved to Charleston. It tastes like toothpaste but at least you’re minty fresh after. I asked her to hand one over to the guy. As the bartender is pouring them, another guy comes up to me and asks to buy me a drink. I was like a lost doe in the woods. Here I was, buying a man a drink while another man is trying to buy ME a drink. It was a very confusing 10 seconds of my life. I looked down to read this new guy’s t-shirt and it read the name of the same restaurant Southern Man works at and I nearly had a heart attack. Charleston is small, y’all. So I instantly said, “No, I’m good. Thank you.” If I had said yes, I would have had to change my name.

The whiskey guy at the bar took his shot of rumplemintz and yelled, “Thanks for the Colgate!” After a little while, he got up to leave and slipped a piece of paper with his number on it.

Smooth.

What I liked about this guy was how classy and old school he was. He didn’t try to come over and talk to me because he could see I was with my friends. That’s already a good sign in my book. He didn’t ask if he could buy me a drink, he did it anyway. Another good sign. And the fact that he slipped me his number on a piece of paper like it was 1997 made me a happy camper.

I sent him a text, and we’ve been talking on and off since Saturday. Then he wrote to me, “This may seem a little forward, but would you like to have dinner sometime?” <— Another wonderful sign that he doesn’t want to push boundaries. He actually seems like a proper gentleman. And he’s in the Navy, which might explain his good manners. I said yes and now I have a date tonight at a pretty classy, expensive restaurant that apparently people try to get reservations at months ahead of time. This guy means business.

Of course, a part of me feels a little shitty because I’m still technically seeing Southern Man. I keep trying to justify it in my head by saying, “You told him casual, Jess!” or “You’re not doing anything wrong!” I’m monogamous at heart, so going on multiple dates tends to weird me out. I know deep down I’m not actually doing anything wrong or shameful but I can’t shake the feeling either. It’s just a date. It’s just a date. It’s just a date.

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Family, Girls, Home, Humor, Thoughts

The Love Of My Life

I stole this title from Cheryl Strayed. If you want to read her personal essay, you can find it here: The Love of My Life. We may have the same title, but it’s not the same story.

I didn’t realize before how bland my life really was. It wasn’t always bland, but only for a brief time. I’ve been living with Colleen for two months now, and I feel warm inside. I’m convinced it’s the twintuition. It’s been wild, tame, stressful, and celebratory all at the same time. I’m going to punch myself in the face for saying this, but you know that Taylor Swift song “22”? It’s kind of like that. It’s horrible, yet fun. It’s confusing, yet care-free. Now that I’ve said that, please forget I ever said that.

Any person who steps foot in our apartment is freaked out not by me, and not by Colleen, but by both of us.

Together.

We make bird calls from the next room. I cook her dinner and she tells me she loves me. I try to teach her how to cook dinner and she yells, “WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE DOING THIS?!” We FaceTime even though she’s in the living room and I’m in my bedroom. She pulls a seat next to my bed and we talk for hours. I buy her Wasabi Peas when I think she’s running low and she buys me green apples. In the middle of the night, I hear her crashing around in her room and then she takes off. I don’t know where she’s going but I know she’s fine. I find her in her room with all of the lights on and the TV blasting, and she’s passed out with Ragnar on her chest. We go to yoga together and I admire her headstand. When I clean up, she rearranges everything. We can relate to Anne Perkins and Leslie Knope. We can relate to Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison. When we both got the jobs we wanted, we stood in the kitchen and screamed. Some nights, we crawl into bed together with our cats and watch Moulin Rouge and Big Fish. We tell each other about our casual dates. I paint something and she wants to buy it. She rants about her liberal views and I sit and listen because I know she just needs to vent.

We fight too. But it’s not average fights where we say mean things and don’t talk for two days. Our fights are more like heated discussions where she angrily tells me how wonderful I am and that I’m acting stupid, and I tell her she’s reading too much into it and I don’t agree with what she’s saying. Then we make jungle noises and throw the middle finger around and yell, “I HATE YOU BUT I LOVE YOU”, or “I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SAYING BUT YOU’RE BEING WEIRD ABOUT IT.”

Or the heated discussion looks a little like this:

Colleen: GAHHHHHHHH You’re just so wonderful but you’re being dumb about this.

Me: I know I am but you’re being a bitch about it!

Colleen: I KNOW I AM!!!

If we get mad at each other, it’s never for selfish reasons. After a couple of hours, we laugh and grab a bite to eat.

We go to an Irish pub and listen to an Irish folk band. We dance, we sing, we clap, and we don’t care. We do each other’s laundry. We both avoid the dishes. We sometimes feed the cats four times a day without knowing it, those greedy bastards. She buys silly string, and there’s no telling when she’s going to use it. We like tequila. When she’s stressed out, she’ll rearrange her room for the 500th time. We FaceTime her friends back home, and one of them decided to impregnate me with a boy and name him Benjammin’. We talk about books and world history. She tells me she wants to marry a Russian. And then she gags over marriage. We run into Sephora and walk out broke. We wear matching kitty t-shirts in case we lose each other in a crowd. She eats my leftover pizza and takes selfies with it to let me know she’s done the crime. We eat crap, talk about how we need to lose weight, and then eat more crap because we are twenty-six and too young to abandon all good things. We invite everyone we ever knew to our apartment just because we like the company.

So, the point in this post is this. Whether I do meet someone new, get married, and eventually live a life expected, Colleen will always be my soulmate.

Who wants to come over?

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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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Art, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Thoughts, You're Fine

My Quarter Life

There has a been a weird vibe in the air. I don’t know if any of you can feel it but I certainly can. It’s been here for a while. It could still be the aftermath of January and all that it has to offer me, which is usually nothing. It could be the fact that I’m still adjusting to my move. But something seems…off. Things seem strange with friends whom I haven’t talked to in a while, but I have been busy over the last month. Life in general feels like it’s tipping over. I no longer have a routine.

My days are now mushing together and I don’t like it. I find myself sinking into my bed, staring at the twinkle lights I hung up around my closet door for what feels like hours. I like to stay busy, but I have very little motivation lately. Every day, I find a new bruise on my arms, legs, or neck from putting together furniture since I arrived in Charleston. My body is sore. My mind is weak. I haven’t even had much inspiration to blog. If I go on WordPress, I glance through the feed for about two seconds before tossing my phone at the end of my bed and crawling under the covers for the rest of the morning.

But I was in my car this morning thinking about my quarter life crisis I had nearly a month ago. I was home in New Hampshire visiting my family before I moved down south. It was 2am, and I was sobbing into a pillow with my mom by my side. I’m not even sure what happened to make me so upset. It wasn’t the thought of moving away from my family. I’ve already done that what feels like a thousand times. I think I’ve said goodbye to them more than I’ve said hello. I was telling her about a potential job in an art gallery in Charleston that I’m both excited and terrified about it. I finally admitted to my mom that I’m scared I will fail. After all those years in college, studying, memorizing, practicing, and drooling over the art I was taught, I’m scared that in the end, I will find out I’m not actually good in the field at all. Then what? Perhaps that’s why I’ve had such trouble finding a job in my field since I graduated. I’ve secretly been sabotaging myself into believing I will fail and I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Then my mom brushed the hair off my face and simply said, “I have never, not even once, been worried about you succeeding. When it comes to art, you know exactly what you’re doing and saying. I have no doubt you will be great.”

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So, I’ve been trying to remember what she said. I have to stop convincing myself that something will go wrong. I have to focus. But, if I wake up every morning like I did this morning, with Mumford’s paws wrapped around my leg and his head digging into my ankle, I will definitely spend an extra fifteen minutes in bed.

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Art, Books, Movies, Thoughts

1.25.17 Art Project: Understanding Film and Text

I just started reading William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. I’m having a hard time with the first chapter, but I’m enjoying the fact that I’m having a hard time. The first chapter is approximately 90 pages long and in the point of view of Benjy, a mentally challenged thirty-three year old man. Benjy has no sense of time. Every event in his life is blurred together, making the 90 pages seem like utter nonsense. One minute, a character in the book is only seven-years-old, and then the next they are fourteen. His memories shift back and forth constantly, without much warning to the reader. It’s like when you have a dream – you’re at the beach, and you go to step in the ocean only to find yourself in your mother’s kitchen and not understanding how or when you got there. Luckily, after a few dozen pages, I’ve gotten the hang of identifying the shifts in time.

Every once in a while, I have to turn to SparkNotes to understand what it is I’m supposed to be paying attention to. If I didn’t know Benjy or his sense of time, I would have thought this chapter was complete gibberish, especially since the chapter is titled April Seventh, 1928. All of these events seem to take place on this particular date, but they don’t.

The way Faulkner wrote this book reminds me of art in the form of text and film. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a moving text window near the gift shop, and I always find myself sitting on the bench staring at it. The few dozen times I’ve visited the museum, I’ve been irritated by the fact that I can’t just stay where I am and see where the text goes because it never truly ends. The text spits out sentence after sentence, and each one doesn’t seem to relate to another by any means, but it keeps flowing, and I keep reading.

The same can be done in film. When I visited the Tate Modern in London, I sat in the theater and watched a film play on a loop. It was a series of random images. Have you ever seen The Ring? It’s kind of like that but less scary. But there’s still something creepy about it. I remember seeing multi-colored bubbles, a lone chair, mountains, birds, balloons, a close up of an insect. But it had the same effect. I couldn’t stop watching it. I still walked out of the theater thinking, what the hell did I just watch?

Andy Warhol created a 1964 film called Empire. The film is eight hours and five minutes long. It’s a single shot of the Empire State Building from when the sun sets until about 3am. All you see are the changing of lights inside the building, and for a short period of time, complete darkness. Every once in a while, you can see Andy Warhol’s face in the reflection of the glass window in the Time-Life Building as he changes the reel.

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A few years ago, as an art major, you would see me scratching my head when learning this material, trying to find the reason behind all of it. As an artist, I can relate to the idea that things just exist because they exist. But since it’s art, viewers want a reason. I remember in high school for the senior art show, I had to fill out notecards explaining my pieces, and what my purpose and focus was. That was the hardest part. It wasn’t the frustrating moments of not getting the shape done correctly, or trying to mix the right colors, or spending hours after school trying to finish a painting on time. It was the fact that I had to sit down and actually ask myself why I painted this or that.

There’s an episode of Gilmore Girls that gets me laughing every time. Rory is at the Yale Art Show covering for the newspaper and she grabs a cup of water from the bubbler. The show introduces a new character named Lucy who scolds Rory, claiming she’s trying to drink her friend Olivia’s art piece. They call it Olivia’s “self-portrait”. After Rory awkwardly tries to put the water cup down and apologizes, Lucy laughs and says, “I’m kidding! It’s just a water cooler.” I can appreciate a scene like this because even some of the most bizarre art pieces I’ve come across, such as the Tate Modern film or Andy Warhol’s Empire, we can certainly find art and reason behind anything.

While the first chapter in The Sound and the Fury got me a little loopy, confused, dazed, and bewildered, I knew that each piece of information given to me was important to Benjy and the story. Each moment Benjy experienced throughout the day gave him a memory. And he has a lot of them.

Next time I watch a random series of images in a film, or flowing texts in a window, I’ll have to remind myself that they exist for a reason.

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My Idea Of Being An Adult, Out of the Ordinary, Thoughts, Travel, You're Fine

Welcome to Charleston

I can’t be the only one who has that one month out of the year when a series of unfortunate events takes place. For me, that month is January. It happens nearly every year when it seems my walls come crashing down. My walls are by no means sturdy.

However, I just spent nearly a week in Charleston, South Carolina. Yes, it was fun and relaxing, until I came home to a flat tire in the parking garage of the airport, and then a letter from the unemployment office in California, which I won’t go too far into, that would make anyone’s heart stop. By the time I put my bags down, I was ready to fall into tears and fly back to South Carolina to avoid life in general.

Luckily, I will be going back to South Carolina very, very soon. Colleen and I decided to move there. Since my lease is up at the end of February, it’s very important that we make this happen as soon as possible.

Colleen and I sat in the living room of her friend Zach’s apartment while him and his roommates were off at work. We grabbed a bottle of wine, blank sheets of paper, and jotted down the pros and cons to living in Charleston, Washington D.C., and New Hampshire/Maine.

Let me fast forward to when we were leaving Charleston and Colleen was chatting up the Uber driver. He was confused as to why we could just pick up and move without a care in the world.

“What about your jobs?” he asked.

“Well, we don’t really like our jobs,” Colleen answered. The Uber driver laughed hysterically.

“Nobody likes their job!” he said.

It was at this moment I wanted to jump out of the car. I’ve come to really despise that excuse.

Yes, I realize not everyone likes their job, and that’s unfortunate. But there are people out there who love their job. I don’t see what’s wrong with wanting a job I enjoy. One of Zach’s roommates named Jack went on and on about how much he loves his job, and he gets up much earlier than he needs to because he can’t wait to go to work. That right there is the kind of life I want.

I can’t understand why people just accept the reality that they don’t and probably will never like their job. Then why are you doing it? There are bills to pay, and rent, and the overall need to live. I’ve been living this life since I graduated college almost four years ago. But in my downtime, I’ve been searching for other opportunities. It may seem like I’m flaky and I jump from job to job, but that’s because I’m scared of getting too comfortable in a field I don’t actually have an interest in. Even though I haven’t been successful in finding something I love, I at least have been trying. I haven’t given up. I don’t have a reason to. I’m not married, or even in a relationship, and I have no kids. I have no excuses.

Back to when Colleen and I were sipping wine and going over the ideas of living in three entirely different places, we had to be realistic.

Washington D.C. is too stuffy and expensive. It’s also a place Colleen is used to and she needs a change of pace and environment.

New Hampshire/Maine was ideal in the sense that my family is there, and New England is where our heart is. We love the seasons, the beaches, and the people. But the job market is terrible. All I thought about was how I would end up a waitress again, scrubbing the chocolate pie out of my apron every night and smelling of french fries. New England is the type of place I’d like to end up once I feel a bit more established. I just don’t feel comfortable enough there.

Even though Charleston is far away from our families, we have more connections to the job market than we do anywhere else. We have a better chance of succeeding. It seemed like the obvious choice. Even if I do have to serve food for a little while, at least it’s not in my hometown where I feel like I have just given up. I’ll feel more motivated to make it all work.

So, even though January tends to give me a headache, at least I have something exciting to look forward to.

I’m certainly tired of moving. I’ve lived in three different states in the last three years. I’m exhausted. But until I find my place in the world, I won’t stop. I don’t know if Charleston is my forever home, and I’m okay with that. Maybe I’ll fail, or maybe I’ll thrive. But it’s worth a shot.

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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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Internet Things, Social Media, Thoughts

To My Internet Friends

Here’s a scary story for you:

I was nine-years-old when I entered my first chat room. Don’t ask me how or why I ended up in a chat room at the age of nine because I couldn’t tell you. The internet is a strange place. I got a random message from someone named Ashley asking how I was doing. She seemed nice. She just happened to be nine-years-old too. And just happened to live in blah, blah, blah, (same town) New Hampshire.

What are the odds? I thought.

My mother found me talking to “Ashley” and naturally freaked out and made me log off. She explained that “Ashley” was most likely not nine-years-old, and “Ashley” could have been a man. It clicked for me, and since then, the Internet has scared me.

Of course, times have changed drastically since then. The Internet seems to be our main source of communication. When I first started my blog, I didn’t know what to expect, but one of the first pieces of advice I read from other, more established bloggers was this:

Don’t be afraid to talk to bloggers.

They highly suggested commenting on other blog sites to communicate and engage with them. In the world of blogging, it’s okay to talk to strangers despite what our parents taught us when we were little. In fact, it’s expected of you. I thought about it and realized that it made total sense. How else are you supposed to get traffic on your blog if no one knows you exist?

Once I started communicating with other bloggers, I began forming close friendships with each of them. For some bloggers, we started emailing each other. And for only a couple, we began texting. I started thinking about how I don’t find any of this weird like I used to.

There’s always a chance there is a serial killer loose on WordPress, so there’s no 100% guarantee that you are safe. We immerse ourselves into the lives of other people we find funny and thoughtful that they no longer feel like strangers. I consider some of these bloggers as my best and closest friends.

Now, to someone who doesn’t blog, they may find this concept a bit strange, and a little sad. Let me dispute those feelings. As an introverted person, I can be pretty shy when meeting new people. I can be reserved, quiet, and maybe seem a little boring. It wasn’t until I started blogging that I began feeling a bit more comfortable in my own skin due to the support of my blogging community. Meeting new people intimidated me. I find myself cracking more jokes and being my naturally sarcastic self when in the presence of someone new, and when people laugh or freak out because I just referenced Willy Wonka, it feels like a breath of fresh air. The awkward hump in my shoulder has disappeared.

Whenever I get a message or a text from one of my Internet friends, my day is instantly brighter. These are the type of friends every person should strive for. One blogger in particular has helped me out quite a bit whether he realizes it or not. When I lived in California, I didn’t have many friends, I missed my family, I was unhappy most of the time, and I couldn’t sleep due to stress. This blogger entertained me both on and off WordPress. I’m sure he has no clue how much he helped me since our conversations were mostly about silly topics, but he was and still is a wonderful distraction to the chaos and confusion in my life. For once, it was nice talking to someone about things other than money or jobs. It was nice discussing our favorite TV shows and what college was like for us. It was nice feeling like a kid again. Luckily, I have found other bloggers who give me that same boost of energy. In a way, this is why I blog – I never want to lose sight of these people.

It’s complicated explaining these friendships to outsiders mostly because I’ve never met these friends of mine, except for one. As bloggers, we try our best to show our most charming selves whether it’s self-deprecation, our talents, our accomplishments, or our humor. I understand that many of my friends could be entirely different in person, which is hard for me to grasp. For all I know, these people could have qualities that are so hateful or rude or narcissistic, but you’ll never know until you meet them. Or they may not even like me in person, which is just as terrifying to think about. I talk to a few of these bloggers nearly every day, sometimes all day long. It’s hard for me to not bring them up in conversation with other people. They’re in my life and that can’t be ignored.

Does it bother me that I’ve never met these people? Absolutely. I hate not being familiar with their facial expressions, or what truly makes them laugh, or even what their laugh sounds like. I don’t get the full package but merely a piece of them in small increments. When you confide in someone, not only are you listening to them, but you’re watching them speak. I believe you don’t truly know what a person is thinking until you observe them in conversation. We all have a fixed idea of what each of us are like in real life, so I understand the appeal of staying behind the computer screen because that image could be tarnished forever if met face to face. But I’m still, and will forever be curious to no end.

My point in this post is this: I may never meet some of you. Ever. One day, one of us will stop blogging and will never hear from each other again. It’s a scary thought, but it’s a fact. So to my blogging and Internet friends, just know, I’m grateful for your existence. I wouldn’t be who I am today without you. I appreciate and cherish your friendship, and hope that it will continue for many years to come.

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Books, Humor, Writing, You're Fine

My 2016 Reading Challenge: Another Failed Attempt

Welp, I failed my reading challenge once again. Another year has come and gone. I did a bit better than  2015, which gives me confidence that I will be able to handle 40 books in 2017. But for the time being, it looks like I can’t update my About Me page just yet.

Just like last year’s post, I’ll give you a list of the books I’ve read with a slightly sarcastic but very brief review. I had a bit of a dry spell. There were many books I read last year that I didn’t particularly enjoy. With that said, feel free to suggest any books I should read. And I’m talking about books I should read before I suddenly drop dead because they are so life changing that it could alter how I view the world, everyone in it, and myself.

 

1. The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*** by Sarah Knight

Image result for the life changing magic of not givingThis book is a game changer. I thank Sarah Knight for my departure from Facebook. And being okay with not liking quinoa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Image result for station elevenIf you love apocalyptic books, you should read this one! It’s centered around the Toronto area years into the future after a nasty epidemic takes over the world. A band of merrily theater folks move from town to town to continue entertaining those who are still alive while trying to defeat an evil man acting like he’s Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Image result for Me Before YouAnother predictable love story. You can’t help but love it because…Emilia Clarke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Home Is Burning by Dan Marshall

Image result for Home is burningThe prologue of this book is absolutely hilarious and worth the read. The rest? Not so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran-Foer

Image result for everything is illuminatedI get a strong sense that if I were to ever meet Jonathan Safran-Foer, I probably wouldn’t like him. His writing is not my cup of tea. First and foremost, this novel is based around the main character named Jonathan Safran-Foer. Yeah…you read that right. Secondly, his writing comes off as jargon(y) and almost condescending. If I have to look up a new word with each sentence, it’s going to annoy me rather than make me feel smarter.

 

 

6. The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich

Image result for the last girlfriend on earthA collection of short stories about love. It doesn’t sound all that interesting until you come across a short story that’s in the point of view of a condom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Image result for me and earl and the dying girlI’ve heard the movie is better than the book, and I don’t doubt it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 8. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Image result for wedding night sophie kinsellaI know I keep telling you all how much I love Sophie Kinsella, but please avoid this book. It’s not her best. Girl wants to marry boy, boy does not want to get married, they break up, she meets up with ex-boyfriend, and elopes with him just a week later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Image result for the art of fielding book coverIf you like baseball, you might like this book. I’m not really sure. A pet peeve of mine is when things just happen without an explanation as to how it happened, which this book is filled with these moments. I need things to be realistic in a world when it’s supposed to be realistic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Essays of E.B. White by E.B. White

Image result for essays of E.B. WhiteDeath of a Pig is amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler

Image result for z a novel of zelda fitzgeraldThis is one of the most interesting books I’ve read this year. I’m a big fan of The Great Gatsby but I knew nothing about Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of one of the most famous writers in history. Even though this book is fiction, it makes you wonder just how grossly controlling F. Scott Fitzgerald may have been during his time with Zelda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Image result for the particular sadness of lemon cakeOne of my favorite books I’ve read this year! At the age of nine, Rose discovers that she has a secret power to feel the emotions in food. Her mother bakes her a lemon cake for her birthday, and she can instantly feel her mother’s sadness and depression from the piece of cake. I got to the end completely horrified that I stood in my shower and stared at the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Image result for wuthering heightsI personally enjoyed Charlotte Bronte more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty by Amanda Filipacchi

Image result for the unfortunate importance of beautyI hated every second of this book that thirty pages in, I tossed it at the wall. It started out strong. The main character is supposedly drop dead gorgeous but she wants to meet the man of her dreams in an ugly costume because she wants to be accepted by her inner beauty instead. Love the concept, hate the execution. She’s also an Oscar winning costume designer for major motion pictures, and each of her friends are equally successful, one of them being a Nobel Piece Prize winner for a novel, the other being a famous cellist in a New York City orchestra. And none of them are older than 26. Yeah…okay.

 

 

 

 

 

15. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Image result for the picture of dorian grayI absolutely loved this book. It’s creepy, vain, and a little sadistic. I don’t suggest watching the movie starring Colin Firth though. It’s full of orgies, and I don’t think that is entirely what Oscar Wilde had in mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Image result for to the lighthouseThis was my third attempt at reading To The Lighthouse, and each time I found myself on page 50, and not able to recap anything that had happened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Image result for one hundred years of solitudeA lot of superstition, some light incest, and a couple of executions, all in this teeny tiny town in Colombia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Image result for the helpI recommend this book to everyone. Eugenia Phelan is my hero.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Image result for the girl on the trainI’m pretty sure this was my first murder mystery novel I’ve read and it was quite the page turner. And my personality matched the victim’s personality almost perfectly. I’m just not as promiscuous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20. Me, My Hair, and I by Elizabeth Benedict

Image result for me, my hair and iA book of essays strictly around hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21.) All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Image result for all the light we cannot seeI’ve already discussed this book before, so I won’t go into great detail about it. The author’s imagery is stunning and memorable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22.) Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Image result for landline rainbow rowellI’ve heard great things about Rainbow Rowell so I was really excited to read this book. The main character Georgie is having marital problems, and her husband sounds like a douchenozzle who doesn’t support her success/career. She finds an old telephone in her bedroom and realizes she’s able to call her husband in the past, before they were married, which gives her the opportunity to fix everything. Once again, her husband is a douchenozzle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

23.) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Image result for harry potter and the cursed childI have much to say about this book. Number one, it was not necessary. Number two, I hated that it was written out like a stage play, mostly because it actually was a play in London. Number three, it was disgustingly cheesy. I gave the book three stars but seriously, don’t waste your time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24.) Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

dfdsfsIf you want to know the true horrors of how a body decomposes, this is your book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25.) Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler

fdAmy is probably one of the coolest celebrities to read about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26.) The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

rerPeople either love Amy Schumer, or they hate her. I’m one of the people who love her. I found her memoir to be surprising in many ways. For instance, she’s not this raunchy, one-night stand kind of girl as she is perceived through her stand-up and even in her movie, Trainwreck. She struggled quite a bit to be a comedian, which made me respect her even more. I personally think you get the real Amy Schumer when you read her book. But don’t get me wrong, she’s no literary genius.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27.) Room by Emma Donoghue

srIt’s not everyday that you read an adult novel narrated by a five-year-old. But it’s certainly fascinating. The movie is just as wonderful as the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28.) Against Joie de Vivre by Phillip Lopate

gdI don’t quite remember this book sooooooo…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29.) Looking For Alaska by John Green

gfdI wanted to punch Alaska in the face. Not the state, the character. She was this trashy little teenager who flirted with EVERYONE, and I’m sorry, but did she wear clothes? Ever? Yet, every teenage boy had a crush on her. WHAT A SHOCKER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30.) The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet

dfgfAn entire book happened in the first ten pages. It was too much for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31.) Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

fsI only ever thought about Gilmore Girls when Max gave it to Lorelai to read and she pretended she finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32.) Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

aHe covers everything from the Winchester Mystery House to the Salem Witch Trials. I really love ghost stories, and this guy ruined them for me. It was like watching Ghost Adventures if Zak Bagans were condescending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

33.) Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

dfIt’s about a marriage I didn’t particularly care about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

34.) Big Fish by Daniel Wallace

dsSuch a bizarre book that I didn’t quite understand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35.) The BFG by Roald Dahl

erewI can’t believe I haven’t read this book until now. I want a big, friendly giant to come to my window and blow dreams into my room with his trumpet. It sounds pleasant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

36.) M Train by Patti Smith

drfShe drinks a shit ton of black coffee.

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Humor, I Wasn't Worried, I'm not a mommy blogger, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Thoughts, You're Fine

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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Humor, Internet Things, Thoughts

101 Things That Make Me Happy

1.) The weeks leading up to fall, and I wake up to a foggy morning.

2.) When my cat follows me around everywhere.

3.) Losing myself in my thoughts while driving.

4.) Long drives

5.) When someone tickles me, no matter how ticklish I am.

6.) The way a dog wags its tail when they look at me.

7.) Strawberries

8.) My Nana’s pet names for me: “Sweetie”, “Schnookums”, and “Slut”

9.) The way my family members name off every child before eventually figuring out my name.

10.) Bar stools – they are the perfect place to talk.

11.) Cheesy Fries

12.) Graphic T’s

13.) Twitter group chats

14.) When my nephew asks me to read him a bedtime story.

15.) Painting

16.) Cider doughnuts

17.) Smelling books

18.) Gossiping with my hair dresser

19.) When my cat sucks on my finger

20.) Bread

21.) Italian food

22.) Holding hands

23.) Tree branches

24.) Buttercup flowers

25.) Reading

26.) Spooning

27.) Long walks, alone

28.) Watching previews at the movies

29.) Dumping M&M’s into my popcorn

30.) Croissants

31.) Body pillows

32.) Swimming pools

33.) Waking up to birds chirping, knowing spring is approaching.

34.) Sleeping in

35.) The smell of coffee

36.) Going out to breakfast

37.) Staying in and watching movies with my mom

38.) The way penguins run

39.) Rolls on a bulldog

40.) The Starbucks “You Are Here” Collection

41.) Singing “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway

42.) Pulling apart and reorganizing my book shelf

43.) When someone laughs at my jokes

44.) Dancing

45.) Slipping under the covers right before bed

46.) Baking

47.) Feeling a baby kick inside a pregnant belly

48.) A hot shower

49.) Thinking about when I was a kid and helped my Grampy peel corn for dinner.

50.) Melted Nutella

51.) Fireplaces

52.) Hot Cocoa during a snow storm

53.) Christmas lights

54.) Music

55.) Quilts

56.) When someone whispers in my ear

57.) Shopping for presents

58.) Sun bathing

59.) Hearing a baby laugh

60.) Cherry Blossoms

61.) Putting on makeup

62.) Train rides

63.) Purring cats

64.) The sound of waves crashing

65.) Feeling the warmth of a coffee mug

66.) New pens

67.) When my sisters and I start singing and dancing to Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper

68.) When my friend Colleen sings karaoke

69.) Going through old boxes of memories

70.) Cooking dinner for myself

71.) Singing in the shower

72.) Getting in a cleaning mode

73.) Sniffing candles

74.) Browsing through bookstores

75.) Receiving handmade cards from my five-year-old niece

76.) Vintage stores

77.) Passing by the fields of windmills in Texas and Oklahoma

78.) Watching the kiss cam in arenas

79.) Making s’mores

80.) Socks

81.) Pancakes – preferably chocolate chip pancakes

82.) Lounging in my towel twenty minutes after I’ve showered

83.) Funky sunglasses

84.) Dusting

85.) Listening to Grampy tell riddled jokes

86.) The way my mom’s cats talk to me

87.) Chinese food

88.) Church bells

89.) Horseback riding

90.) Playing with goats

91.) Bathrobes

92.) Flash mobs

93.) Shooting stars

94.) Are you ever up so late at night, and it’s dead quiet outside, but you still hear this weird humming noise in the distance? It must be the highway, but you’re never sure. I love that sound.

95.) Summer dresses

96.) When I overhear guys talking sports

97.) Waking up to drool on my pillow

98.) Postcards

99.) Scarves

100.) When my aunt’s dog jumps into the pool

101.) Making lists

Please share some happy things with me 🙂

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Art, Humor

12.6.16 Art Project: Rules Don’t Apply

The past few months have been rocky in my art world but I’m trying. Between preparing for Christmas presents and total lack of ambition, I’ve been working on a couple of art pieces to keep my creativity flowing.

October was a wonderful month because my painting His Face ending up selling, along with a watercolor painting.

200-30

As soon as I was finished with His Face and had it hung in the Bushwick Open Studio in Brooklyn, I immediately began my most risky piece.

I’ve always wanted to do a three canvas split scene, and finally after almost three months, it’s completed and I’m thrilled with the outcome.

image1-24

image2-12

image3-12

image4-10

It is currently up on my website, but I’ve also submitted this piece to a gallery in New York and I will find out just after the New Year if it has been accepted. KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED.

My friend Colleen told me that she’d like to learn how to paint and if I could somehow teach her, which of course I would be honored. I know I may have mentioned this in my other art posts but I will say it again just in case: I don’t necessarily have a clear and direct plan when I paint. That’s the wonderful world of abstract art. Nothing has to be perfect. It’s all free form, which means, anyone can learn how to paint. But in case you were curious about my process, I’ll explain in bullet points:

  • I find a photo, mostly on websites such as unsplash.com where you can take any of the photos and do what you please with them.
  • With acrylics, I use a base color. I pick the most commonly used color in the picture and cover the entire canvas with it.
  • Since acrylics dry so quickly, I then go back in and form some kind of outline of the painting on the canvas, preferably in white, or just a lighter shade of the base color.
  • After the doodling, I return to the painting and add in the specific details which can be of your choice. If you want water to have more texture, that can be your detail. Or if you’d like to focus on bark instead of leaves, you can do that too. You can do whatever your mind initially tells you to do, which is why I enjoy Paint Bars for Wine & Paint Night. Everyone is painting the same picture, but they all come out unique.
  • The photo is simply a reference point. I never look at a photo and try to copy it completely. It’s merely there to guide me if I get lost in the process. I use it as inspiration, not a goal.

Some artists to remember when it comes to breaking the rules:

Jackson Pollock

autumn-rhythm

Henri Matisse

matissetoits

Pablo Picasso

mediterranean-landscape

The other day as I strolled through Michael’s, I found oil paint with 18 assorted colors for the low low price of $14. I was floored. I’ve been avoiding oil paints since high school because of how expensive it can get (one tube of oil paint can cost you more than $15). But I splurged and bought the pack of oil paints, a painter’s knife, and jars for my linseed oil.

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Back in the day, my friends and I used to call linseed oil/turpentine “mineral spirits”. People still call it mineral spirits but it just sounded so mystical.

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I’ve decided to re-teach myself how to paint with oils and I’m both nervous and excited. I’m nervous because I remember my high school days quietly cursing myself if I screwed up a section because it was such a process to fix. And I don’t know if anyone has accidentally spilled linseed oil on their pants before, but it’s a total artistic buzzkill. And there’s always the risk of accidentally drinking the linseed oil/dirty water, mistaking it for your drink, or shoving your dirty paintbrushes inside your drink cup. I know we’ve all been there. But I’m determined to make this oil paint adventure work, no matter how much I’d like to stab my eye out with my paint knife.

Wish me luck friends.

Please check out my website if you’d like to see what else I’ve been up to!

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I Don’t Like the Term Yolo, So I’m Gonna Go with Solo

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain over the last few days as to what I used to do before my relationship. And then I realized, I’ve never been alone. And I mean, alone alone. Even before Mr. Jess, I was focusing on getting out of California, and then I lived with my mom for a short period of time. Someone has always been there. And this past week, I’ve been feeling like this:

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I officially do not know anyone in the state of Connecticut other than co-workers, and they live in New York. So each night, I’ve come home from work and twiddled my thumbs, thinking about how to pass the time before bed.

Luckily, the group chat with Paul, Chris and Meghan has kept me sane. As soon as I receive a message from any of them, I instantly feel better and cheerful. I also tend to have nightly Snapchat dates with Meghan by playing with filters and sending videos telling each other what’s happening. We could just FaceTime, but what’s the fun in that? I have wonderful friends who entertain me through text and I’m doing my best to fill my weekends up with adventure so that I don’t end up in the corner of my apartment eating my hair by Sunday evening.

I got a good dose of how dangerous it is to be alone all of the time without a solid head on my shoulders. Yesterday I had an eye exam at the mall. The eye exam took a whole ten minutes to complete and then my lonesome self was released into the wilderness of the mall. Very bad idea.

I remembered that I ran out of body wash. So I decided to stop inside Bath & Body Works and found a holiday Sugar Plum wash that smells just delightful. Then I saw Victoria’s Secret across the way and remembered I needed to update some under garments.

Let’s just halt right there for a second because I can’t be the only one who does this:

You walk in to search for bras or whatever the hell it is you’re looking for. An attendant comes up and asks if you need any help. Only it happens at least 5 times while you’re in the store. So you keep nodding your head “No, thanks” with a slight annoyance because you are so confident that you can find your own damn bra yourself, only to find out months, maybe even years later, that you’ve been wearing the wrong size bra. Stubbornness at its finest.

Anyways, $50 later and I stumbled across a Sephora. I looked at the time and it was only 6:15.

sdsads

I strolled in and started playing with the samples of makeup. I found Bare Minerals, which I forgot how amazing the product is, a bronzer, some eye shadow and blush, and I was having a ball. I walked in looking like Charlize Theron in Monster, and came out looking like Natalie Portman. I contoured the shit out of my face.

$70 in Sephora later and I was home.

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Needless to say, this cannot turn into a habit of mine. I’m going to need to find other things to occupy my time. For instance, this evening, on a raging Friday night, I will be home doing laundry, cleaning, and probably watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the second time this week.

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Who wants to chat with me?

 

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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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