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How Southern Have I Become?

I’ve been scaring myself lately. I’ve had many moments where I stopped and said, “That was awfully Southern, Jess.” I’ve actually thoroughly enjoyed my time here in the South. The only section in America I haven’t lived in is the Midwest and no thank you. There have been certain aspects to the South I’ve experienced over the last six months that you can only experience in the South. Kind of like New England with their Autumn – apple picking, cider donuts, jumping in the leaves, and oh my god I think I might cry. (You can experience those things outside of New England but it’s not the same.)

So here are some Southerner things I’ve dealt with that is so Southernly Southern that I now feel the need to rate myself on a scale of 1(Southern) to 10 (Northern).

The Food

I ordered Chicken and Waffles the other day for breakfast. I was ashamed as I was ordering it, and I felt the button on my shorts ripping at the seams. Chicken and Waffles is still a completely weird and foreign meal to consume but I’ve heard nothing but good things and decided to try it.

It was disgustingly delicious. For those of you unfamiliar with this meal, it’s a giant waffle with a piece of fried chicken on top. And yes, you dip both the chicken and the waffle in maple syrup. How the hell do they come up with this? And we wonder why the South contains the fattest population in America.

Scale – 1 (Dude…that was so Southern.)

The Pace

It’s very, verrrrrryyyyy, verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyy slow down here. Some mornings, it takes me fifteen minutes just to get my coffee. Nearly every coffee shop I enter, even the Starbucks, there’s no more than two people working the counter, even on the busiest mornings. And they take one order at a time.

They take the order. Spend five minutes making the order. Give the order to the customer. And then so on. They for some reason don’t take multiple orders and try to do everything at once. AMATEURS. 

But I’ve learned to buy myself some time. I wake up earlier, skip down the street and order my coffee, which the place I typically go to now knows my order by heart, and we will make small talk as I’m waiting. The pace down here has been bearable if I allow it.

Scale – 5 (You’re adapting…)

The People

Southerners have a certain quality in them that’s erie. Ever seen Fargo? All of the characters are so wonderfully nice and jolly while they’re trying to solve a murder.

This might be a better example: You can automatically tell when a New Yorker or a Bostonian is angry just by making eye contact. They will get up in your face with a rage you’ve never seen, all because why? You didn’t put the cream in their coffee like they asked. They’ve got places to be man!

But Southerners, they are all about the passive aggressive banter. Take my landlady for example. I got a voicemail from her last week and she said, “I was just driving by y’all’s place and noticed the recycling bin isn’t out, and I just can’t help but wonder…why???” And then she hung up. Bitchy, right? Yet her tone was so charming. She then texted me and Colleen asking about it, and I apologized and said we just aren’t used to taking the bins out because we’ve never had to anywhere else we’ve lived, but we can work with the girls next door to figure out some alternating schedule.

Her response was, “I completely understand and I know I clumsily forget as well. But that’s just part of being an adult living in a city. I’m putting money into making your home feel special and it would be nice if you appreciated it.”

I completely lost it. This woman tends to act like she’s my mother scolding me. I already have a mom. I don’t need another one. And then to accuse me of not having my shit together like a normal adult was downright insulting. However, if there’s one thing I learned about Southerners and they’re clever passive aggressive banter, it’s that it doesn’t usually last very long when you bite back because they hate confrontation. So I said, “I’ve lived in many cities larger than Charleston, so I’m aware that it works differently everywhere.”

Her response, “Alternating weeks sounds like a great idea! *Inserts smiley face*”

Scale – 10 (NORTHERNER! ALERT! ALERT!)

As long as my northernness never leaves me entirely, I’ll live. I don’t think it’s possible, honestly.

 

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I Need to Learn How to Say No – UPDATE

I got a lot of wonderful feedback from you friends on my post from yesterday, and I want to thank all of you. Since I never responded to Maybe Cory’s text from the other night and he’s been silent since, I figured that was the end of that. I was thankful he didn’t turn out to be a psycho stalker who would eventually become scarier and scarier with each unanswered text.

But, I woke up this morning to a text from Maybe Cory saying, “Don’t want to chat?”

Oh boy. It’s official. I have to answer him. The text was slightly passive aggressive, filled with annoyance and perhaps regret. I immediately felt bad and tried to think of what to say without hurting his feelings. I kept thinking this morning about how aggravated I’ve been in the past when my messages had gone unanswered. I tend to overthink things way too much and I didn’t necessarily want to do that to him or anybody else. He seems perfectly nice.

I apologized for not getting back to him due to the stress of moving to South Carolina. <– I had to remind him of this very important fact.

He said he understood and then the light bulb went off. “You live in Connecticut?”

I said yes.

“Ohhhh. I missed that part. *insert sweaty smiley emoji*”

And that was the end of the conversation. I have a feeling I won’t be hearing from Maybe Cory again.

So I realized many things from this very small experience.

1.) Maybe Cory was probably too drunk to comprehend what I was saying to him that evening.

2.) Maybe Cory wasn’t actually listening to anything I was saying to him that evening.

3.) It’s more than likely a mix of both 1 and 2.

4.) I need to take a chill pill.

So even though I didn’t get a chance to actually turn him down, it makes me feel a little bit better that I sorta kinda tried. Until next time.

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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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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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Dear America

I still remember the presidential election of 2000. I was in the fourth grade learning about politics for the first time. Since most kids typically vote for the candidate their families vote for, I was rooting for George Bush. I come from a mostly Republican family. My best friend at the time, Megan, came from a mostly Democrat family, and her vote was for Al Gore. When Bush won, I jumped up and down for joy while Megan kicked her feet around saying, “Gosh darn it!” and we still ate lunch together as if nothing ever happened.

The same exact thing happened in 2004 with George Bush and John Kerry. I still managed to keep my Democrat friends close even after George Bush won. So, I ask America, what in the world happened to us? Unless I just grew up, opened my eyes, and realized what was actually going on.

The 2008 election was just a small taste for what we were in for: hatred. My best friend at the time, Katherine, was voting Obama and she let me know every day what a terrible mistake it would be if I rooted for McCain. I must admit, that election was during my senior year of high school and I honestly didn’t pay attention as much as others did because I had college applications and SAT’s on the brain. But, my family was voting for McCain. However, that didn’t alter Katherine’s hateful and sarcastic comments one bit.

The 2012 election, I was paying attention to the best of my ability. I voted Romney. And from a sorta-kinda-Republican/Independent point of view, this is what happened:

My college campus was jam packed with Obama buses to bring students to the nearest town hall to vote. Thousands of students were shoving Obama signs in my face, yelling at me to vote. Most of my friends spent the day screaming at the television about how much Romney sucked, and nobody was voting for him (which is ridiculous since obviously people were voting for him). I actually had people who I considered close friends express their hatred for Republicans, which made me uncomfortable to no end.

After Obama won, I wasn’t upset. I went to bed and slept like a baby. However, a former co-worker on Facebook figured out that I didn’t vote for Obama, and it MUST have been because he’s black right? Which he then felt the need to express all over the Facebook page of my employer at the time, asking them how they could hire a racist? That racist was apparently me, and he wrote my name out in all caps. Luckily, my boss was able to delete the comment immediately and block the person. But that didn’t stop the cooks from making racist jokes every time I walked by. I spent most of my shift in the bathroom crying.

Ever since that particular election, I’ve been too afraid to voice my own opinion in a country where we claim we can go ahead and do that. Between the Facebook posts bashing not just Republicans but Democrats too, to the unwanted political conversations where all I do is fold my hands and stare at the floor, it’s become too much. I understand this election has turned us into a mockery for other countries. A sort of lesson on “What Not To Do”. But I am here to say that whoever my friends and family vote for, I’m not going to berate them for their choices, and neither should the rest of you.

I haven’t asked one single person who they are voting for because it’s simply none of my business. I was raised to “never bring up politics at the dinner table” and I maintain that even more now. We have to get a grip and remember that not every Republican is so far right and not every Democrat is so far left. For every person you make fun of, whether they are voting Clinton or Trump, you are insulting someone you know or their families. It baffles me that I feel the need to write this to adults. I’ve been wanting to say these words since 2008 and I don’t want to be afraid anymore. It’s not fair.

So, whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or what have you, I wish you all a safe Election Day. Don’t forget to stash those nips in your pocket for later.

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Christmas

I fail every major holiday. I think about my Halloween costumes two months ahead of schedule and then all of a sudden, it’s the day of Halloween and I completely forgot about it. Every year, I intend to buy presents for all of my friends and family and then a week before Christmas, I end up baking Slutty Brownies because I run out of time. Well well well, not this year folks! I started preparing for Christmas in September…

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Once I get an idea, I run with it to the point where it’s all that consumes my thoughts. I rush to the store, credit card in hand, and begin my journey into the Christmas spirit. Nothing is going to get in my way.

First, I spend way too much money on decorations.

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In my mind, I think I’m setting up Christmas for the next ten years of my life when in reality, I’m going to be so cluttered with Christmas crap after the holidays that I will toss them in my dumpster in a fit of rage.

I also don’t have a good sense of how big is too big when it comes to presents.

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Or how small is too small.

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Once I start prepping, I can’t be stopped. I exhaust myself to the point of starvation and dehydration, wrapping and decorating, and ignoring my cat Mumford way more than usual, probably to his relief.

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Once I’m done with my Christmas prepping, it’s barely Thanksgiving and then Christmas rolls around and I’m too tired to care.

With that being said, I hope the rest of you have not gone completely neurotic like I have. May you all have an anti-psychotic holidays!

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Art Project: Acrylic-ing

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A few weeks ago, I decided to buy a haul of canvases from Michael’sI usually like to venture into Joann Fabrics until I found out I had to buy a cart in order to use one. I walked through the store completely unaware of the amount of things I was going to grab and then realized that it would be best to grab a cart. I pulled and yanked and cursed silently, wondering why I was not able to pull the cart away. A cashier asked if I needed a quarter…so that was the end of that.

I’ve been taking a short break from watercolors and decided to move onto acrylics. If I’m going to use acrylics, it’s best to go big or go home. All of my canvases are 16 x 20, therefore bigger than I normally use.

A long time ago in high school, my art teacher assigned us to paint micros. That basically means taking something, and blowing it up to show the detail of it. For instance, in high school, I did a close up oil painting of an orange. One girl did a lobster claw. So I decided to continue painting something similar. With my favorite season approaching, I focused on a detailed sunflower that calmed my excitement.

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The painting, which I titled His Face, is on the website but is not for sale as of yet! 1. I titled the sunflower His Face mostly because I just finished reading Emma Donoghue’s novel Room, which little boy Jack calls the sun “God’s face”. Naturally, it was the first thing that came to mind. 2. I’m waiting to put it up for sale because I’ve applied to have the painting appear in SPACE 776 in Brooklyn for the 2016 Bushwick Open Studio. Each applicant has an automatic spot in the studio for the week of September 30-October 6 for a chance to sell the painting. If the painting does not sell through the studio, I will be putting it up for sale on my website.

This is an exciting time of learning myself through abstract art. My next piece will be a three canvas painting of the ocean that I’m starting to grow fond of.

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I have many ideas for future micro paintings such as doughnuts, butterfly wings, elephants, etc. Any suggestions in the comments would be greatly appreciated!

Before painting, I didn’t know much about submitting works to galleries or contests until I started doing my research. I’m still learning the process, but my only advice to other artists out there is to search and search and search in your area. I promise there are plenty of opportunities to put yourself out there. For instance, literary journals take art submissions, and some coffee shops will hang and sell your work for a small commission of course, and there are plenty of contests either locally or in the nearest city. It doesn’t hurt to try. Even though it only costs $25 to submit my painting to SPACE 776, it will take a half a day’s work, trains, and subways just to haul the painting all the way to Brooklyn. But it will be worth it in the end, even if it doesn’t sell.

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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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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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“Adulting”

Setting: Pub in downtown Fairfield, Connecticut

Girl: Ugh, I have to actually do adult things this week.

Me: What do you mean?

Girl: My parents are going out of town, so I have to do some adulting. Don’t you hate that? I like, actually have to cook for myself, and take the dog out to go to the bathroom. Isn’t that weird?

Me: ………..


I’m in no way judging this girl. Okay, maybe a little. I sometimes forget that not everyone has had the same life as me. When I graduated from high school, my parents moved to Texas about two weeks after the ceremony. I spent the summer living with my grandparents. I then went off to college, and saw my parents twice a year for the next four years or so. Every summer, and during holiday breaks, I stayed with either my grandparents or my aunt. I worked a lot during school, and did my best to help out around the house until I realized it was probably time to find my own place. I was always welcomed at their houses, but by the time I was 21, and I hadn’t lived with my parents since I was 18, I felt like it was time to get my own place.

I moved in with my boyfriend at the time, and continued to do so until about six months ago. But during those four-ish years, I learned to act like an adult. I kind of assumed everyone did around my age but I guess I was wrong. I had to keep up with grocery shopping, clean the apartment when it got messy, remember to bring my car in for an oil change, etc. All of these things that the average adult has to do, I found normal by the time I was 21.

About six months ago, my longtime boyfriend and I broke up. One of the reasons I got off Facebook was the fact that I didn’t want to deal with anybody. It wasn’t necessarily because I was sad, but I didn’t feel like answering questions like, “I saw you moved! Where did you GUYS move to?” or “He’s almost done with school right? What’s next?” My ex and I were not that obnoxiously cheesy lovey dovey couple to begin with, so even if we hadn’t posted about each other in a while, nobody would have noticed. Some friends are just finding out now that we are no longer together and it’s been about six months.

But my point in this post is that, sure, I already knew how to act like an adult early on, but I didn’t know my full potential until I was really, 100% alone. It started with my road trip. I was driving through the Arizona desert at 6am, and realized that I was alone for another 2,500 miles. That was probably the scariest part of this big change of mine. When I finally pulled up to my mom’s house in New Hampshire, something in me shifted. I had done it! All by myself without much help from anyone, minus the Indiana pickle I was in with the snow. I relaxed for a few days and got straight to work to find a job and a place to live. A month later, I finally found a job, and then found a place to live within that week. I felt like I was on top of the world. It’s an amazing feeling to know that I am capable of taking care of myself, when for so long, I never gave myself a chance. It was always a running joke that I couldn’t handle my own life because of how forgetful, klutzy, and at times, shy I am. I am all of those things, but I’ve broken out of the shell just a little bit. When it comes to getting things done, there’s no time for me to be shy. I’ve learned to keep track of important things in my own way, such as not leaving the stove on when I leave the house, or remembering to pay my electricity bill on time, so that I’m not so forgetful. I have yet to figure out the klutzy thing though; that will probably never go away. I will forever and always stub my toe on every corner and drop my keys while holding bags of groceries before getting to the door. I’ve completely put my faith and life into my own hands, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

Now when I have friends or new acquaintances complain that they actually had to go to the bank today, or ask me questions about car insurance, I just nod my head politely and remind myself that we all grow at different times. While some my age complain that they are still living at home with their parents, I remind them of how lucky they are. If my parents had stayed in New Hampshire, I probably would have lived with them a lot longer than I did. But I’m also grateful that I’ve had the chance to grow into the person I am now.

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Family, Home, Humor, I'm not a mommy blogger, Out of the Ordinary

I Took a DNA Test

For my 25th birthday, my mom gave me an Ancestry DNA kit. I produced enough saliva to fill a trough and spit into a tube to send off to the lab to find out any outrageous information about my DNA. I’ve already had a pretty good idea about my ancestral background. It’s known that I’m about half Mexican along with English and Welsh, and a tiny bit of Native American blood. But there is always a chance we could have been wrong all these years, or oblivious to some family information. Well, I finally got my test results back and they are…interesting.

The test doesn’t give you a full detailed list of all the ethnic backgrounds flowing in your blood stream. They give you a percentage of the general region, naming the countries listed within that region. Basically, if you’re 25% “Native American”, it states that this region consists of the U.S., Canada, and Central and South America. It doesn’t mean you’re 25% Puerto Rican. It just means 25% of you hails from this general area. That way, if you are building your family tree and you see your 7th great-grandfather crossed the border from Alberta, it won’t seem so random and out of place.

Here are my outrageously astounding test results you probably don’t care about at all but I’m going to tell you anyways:

31% Native American

Like I said, it states this region is primarily North, Central, and South America. I don’t specifically know what it entails but my first thought was, “I should play Pocahontas in Once Upon A Time.”

pocahontas34% Europe West

This includes Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. Why hasn’t my modeling career skyrocketed?

9% Italy/Greece

I can officially place the Italian flag bumper sticker on my car like every other damn Italian to let other people know I’m effing Italian! If only I had actually moved to Jersey….

8% Great Britain

I’m actually surprised I’m not more British than I’ve been told. I was so sure I was going to find out I’m the long lost cousin of Prince William and Harry, and then be grossly mortified because of how gorgeous I think they are. Well, Harry at least. William let himself go just a tad….

7% Scandinavian

I always knew I marched to the beat of my own drum, all thanks to these guys.

4% Iberian Peninsula

Spain and Portugal…now I definitely missed my modeling career opportunity.

2% Africa North

This includes Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, and Libya. I’m Africa bound to learn more about this deep culture of mine. (Can you smell the sarcasm?)

1% Caucasus

Includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. So I’m the next Kardashian? GOD HELP ME.

>1% African Bantu

South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Uganda.

What would happen if I showed up to these countries and was like, “MY PEOPLE!!”? Feel free to share your guesses.

>1% Finland/Northwest Russia

I didn’t mind Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

>1% Ireland

I find this hilarious and strange since my grandmother on my father’s side always said she was half Irish. Well then…..200

>1% Middle East

Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, and Israel. A bit random if you ask me…..

Those are my astounding results. I hope you enjoyed my first reactions.

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Festivities, Humor, I'm not a mommy blogger, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Things I Should Have Solved A Year Ago

9 Birthday Party Themes I Wish I Had

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The BIG 2-5 is arriving tomorrow and I’ve been thinking about all of the birthday themes I wish I had growing up. I’ve had some wonderful birthday parties filled with sleepovers, freezing the first friend to fall asleep’s bra, applying toothpaste to unsuspecting sleepers fingers, telling ghost stories, and watching Shane West be all romantic in A Walk To Remember while sobbing in a pile of cake and popcorn. And almost every year, I requested a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting and strawberries on top. You can most certainly guess what kind of cake I requested for this weekend.

But now that I’m officially in my mid-twenties, I’m reminiscing on all of the themes I’ve missed out on.

1. Name That 90’s Boy

Every face, poster, and game would relate to our favorite 90’s boys. I’m lookin’ at you Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Rider Strong, and baby faced Leonardo DiCaprio.

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We can play Pin-The-Abs-On-The-Leo. It will be fun.

2. Circa 2004

Ever since I saw that Gilmore Girls episode where they had a birthday party 2002-theme, I’ve wanted to just pick a year and see what people come up with. We can all wear Lance Armstrong bracelets, reenact anything Paris Hilton said and/or did, and bring back the American Eagle jean skirt.

3. Asian Cuisine

Endless amount of sushi, crab rangoon, and fried rice. Yes, please.

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4. Michael Scott

If I could have someone who likes like Michael Scott, talks like Michael Scott, and loves like Michael Scott, I’d like to have that person just follow me around the entire day. And then end the night with Jim Halpert.

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5. Dress As Your Favorite 90’s Nickelodeon Character

Please, please, please, show up to my fictional party dressed as Patty Mayonnaise, or Amanda Bynes and her dancing lobsters.

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6. Teen Witch

I basically just want to learn the routines of those three dudes who are constantly jamming out on the street in that epic 1989 film. Top that!

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7. Murder Mystery

Who murdered the birthday girl? While you all figure that crap out, I’ll be hiding somewhere drinking whiskey straight from the bottle waiting to see how long it takes you fools to find the fiend. I also request that you talk like a 1950’s Hollywood actress. Marilyn-Monroe it all the way.

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8. Dress As Your Favorite Cary Grant Movie

He was in everything between 1940 and 1966, so you shouldn’t have a problem choosing a movie. His Girl Friday, An Affair To Remember, That Touch of Mink. The many faces of Cary Grant.

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9. Offensive Party

All the rules can go out the door. Dress up as something so terrible you can’t sleep at night. If you need references, just play a round of Cards Against Humanity.

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I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend!

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

Surviving

Last week, I shared the wonderful news of accepting my first job since June of last year. That’s right! It took me almost nine months to find a job. That’s how fantastic our world is right now. At the point of accepting the position, I had less than two weeks to find a place to live. It was game time.

It’s not easy looking for an apartment, let alone a house. I can’t wrap my head around a house with actual land just yet. But, the upside is that this is my fourth apartment in four years. I luckily knew what to look for. Unfortunately, due to my timing, I couldn’t exactly be picky either. My new job is located in Norwalk, CT. For those of you not familiar with the area, Norwalk is basically located in between all of the other rich, snobby, and overpriced towns that my search for a new home was extremely limited. I thought for almost a moment that I would have to live in my car. My only choice was to look for apartments in Bridgeport. If you google Bridgeport, you may likely find this:

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Actual conversation between me and my friend:

Me: How is Bridgeport?

Her: We don’t talk about Bridgeport….

Welcome to my new home! I found a studio apartment in the North End of Bridgeport at a very decent price and I was ready to go for it. Of course, you may hit some bumps along the way.

For instance, if you’re looking in an actual apartment complex building, they want to know absolutely everything about you down to the last piece of cheese you bought from the grocery store. Please know, you don’t have to tell them EVERYTHING. There comes a point when it’s not actually their business so feel free to tell them some white lies in order to get what you want. At the end of the month, they are the ones guzzling down your bank account like a box of white wine.

This is my first apartment, alone. I’ve never lived by myself before and I’m actually looking forward to it. However, that means relying on myself entirely. Before, if a landlord or real estate company gave me a hard time about my application to live there, I would have normally shrugged and said, “Oh, darn,” and moved on because I always had someone else living with me. But this time was different. I didn’t have time to browse the entire state of Connecticut. I found the one I wanted and I wasn’t going down without a fight. Especially when you’re my age, and then shed about seven years off your face because everyone thinks you’re sixteen, you have to be kind of a hard ass in order for them to take you seriously. I wagered with them, struck deals, and made suggestions. I thought of every single thing I could think of to convince them that I would be the best tenant they could have ever hoped for. And I won. I felt like Jennifer Lawrence in Joy.

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I’ve always thought of myself as an independent person without the opportunity to see how far my independence could take me. I actually impressed myself over the past couple of weeks with my need to survive in this world alone. So far, it’s going pretty smooth. Fingers crossed that it stays this way.

I started piling my things into my new place this afternoon, and will officially be a Connecticut resident starting tomorrow. I’ll probably post some DIY obsessions for the next few weeks as I make this apartment my own.

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I Wasn't Worried, Internet Things, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Out of the Ordinary, Social Media, Things I Should Have Solved A Year Ago, You're Fine

Facebook-Free Challenge

As of February 9th, I am officially Facebook-free. Well, pretty much. You see, I’ve deactivated my account. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, I do not exist anymore. However, once you deactivate your account, you can easily activate it again by simply signing in like you normally would. Damn you Facebook for making it nearly impossible to be rid of you. You’re worse than cocaine. I’ve gathered all of my photos from the past nine years, stored them safely onto my computer, and happily removed the Facebook app from my phone, and I’m upset to say that I was slightly nervous about this. NINE YEARS I’ve been on Facebook, and now I’m giving it up with just the snap of my fingers. Facebook has been a habit for nine years of my life. It’s such a depressing thought to think about all of the other things I could have accomplished before my upcoming 25th birthday instead of waste time on Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong. Facebook was cool during the first year or two. But now, I’m in EVERYONE’S business, and everyone is in my business. For instance, I hate that sidebar that tells me So-and-So commented on Person-You’ve-Never-Heard-Of’s photo eight minutes ago. First off, I don’t care. Secondly, why is that my business? Thirdly, Facebook has unintentionally turned me into a creepy stalker, and I don’t like it at all! I’m finding things out that I wasn’t even looking for in the first place, and I feel very uncomfortable about that.

There are several other reasons for my hatred of this social media platform.

  1. The fact that Facebook can somehow tap into my conversations with other people, or what I look up on the internet. When I first looked into road tripping home from California, within 24 hours, articles on Facebook popped up titled, “10 Reasons Why You Should Go On A Road Trip During Winter”. I felt the walls closing in on me.
  2. At least half of my friends are trying to sell me products with every status update and invite.
  3. At least 75% of my friends are screaming politics where it’s not warranted. The VOTE-OR-DIE mentality needs to come to a stop. Now that I don’t have Facebook, I should be able to breathe again.
  4. Majority of the photos that pop up on my news feed, I don’t recognize anyone in the picture.
  5. I don’t like the thought of comparing my life to others. What better way to stop than to get rid of the direct source?
  6. Everyone is either over-the-top-crazy-happy and must announce it to the world, or everyone is unbelievably-bitter-and-must-complain-about-every-aspect-of-life-no-matter-how-irrelevant-it-is and must announce it to the world.

One of my first thoughts as I hovered my cursor over the “deactivate” button was, “What if I never see these people again?” Deep down, I know that my most important friends are just a phone call/text away. Why am I concerned with people I haven’t seen or spoken to in years? I’ve been living without them perfectly fine, I think I can live without their Starbucks pictures and traffic selfies.

Now that I am Facebook-free, I plan to do my best and put all of my energy into things that could make me a better person. For instance, actually completing my Goodreads Reading Challenge, volunteering (not just taking a photo of me volunteering and calling it a day), and focusing on myself instead of others. Simply doing the things I want to do without the fear of judgement from others. I think this is a start to a beautiful future.

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