Friday, December 28

Pinterest's Significance

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This morning, I came across a post from a sweet lady I know only in the virtual sense. We are worlds apart, even though she lives just 45 minutes from me. She is a sweet, kind, Kindergarten teacher with a toddler and husband. She writes today about not letting Pinterest be a compass of sorts. Not letting Pinterest define you as a mother. Not letting Pinterest define you as a failure because you can’t cook like Paula Deen and someone somewhere pinned it to some food board. Though the post is aimed at mothers, it is so true for us twentysomething girls too, to an extent.

Here are a few of my issues with Pinterest:
 It’s no new phenomenon. My Momma has been doing it for decades. In fact, she’s an active pinner, but still refers to magazine rip outs from 2001.
It causes anxiety. Everyone’s got to have a wedding board…yet, most of us aren’t engaged. Everyone’s got to have a baking board…yet, when was the last time you made 4 dozen from scratch 7 layer bars for yourself? Everyone’s got to have a fitness inspiration board…yet, when was the last time you actually did one of those workouts? Maybe anxiety isn’t the right word, but it leaves me feeling like I lack something. I lack the ring. I lack the cute kid. I lack the fabulous fashion. I lack the metabolism to make chocolate wasted cupcakes and eat them without feeling like I have to bitch about it because it’s a few hundred calories my ass just doesn’t need. But I still pin. I still hold out the hope that next week I’ll get around to that healthy smoothie.

 I don’t have the cash to decorate my ~1100 sq. ft. apartment like Nate Berkus and frankly, I don’t want to. But yet, I used to pin all sorts of “dream home” stuff. Yes, I would love to have pink shutters on stacked stone. But in reality, I doubt I ever will. I know that sounds negative, but it’s time us twentysomethings embrace what we have. Lusting after things is always important. Hell, I’m saving up for a trip of a lifetime. But, I am also aware that my furniture doesn’t match; some of it is rescued from Goodwill that I’ve either painted/refinished/modgepodged for around $35. Surviving this part of life means when you can have the next Nate Berkus decorate your house, you enjoy every minute of it.
 I like to bake. I like to cook. I’m very crafty. I’m what you would call a creative person. I’ve been doing stuff like that my whole life. But even I can’t decorate a cake like the one’s some of these stay at home moms, or girls still in undergrad, have pinned (and possibly created.) Because you know what? I’m 24. I have a full time job. I throw parties where the main component is alcohol. Mind you they are damn good parties, but it’s like college with a better (or worse depending on who you are) bank account. I’m fine with that. Because at these parties, I make glittered cupcakes and from scratch macaroni and cheese that gets eaten at 4am. But for lunch today I’m probably going to have a frozen dinner and that’s okay too.

Part of this is a pep talk to myself: I am constantly in a state of moodiness. Some days nothing but contentment washes over me. Some days all I want to do is brood and/or cry about what I lack. Part of that is because of social media: the twentysomethings best friend and biggest adversary. XYZ friend from high school just got engaged in Bora Bora and posted 3546 pictures on Facebook, OF COURSE you HAVE to spend an hour looking at every single one. Which is about as productive as looking at the wall.

This is my life. Not someone else’s. Nothing is wrong with the girls that have 12456 pins about crap they will never use. But it’s time I start getting real with myself. I’ve, for the most part, stopped pinning. I’m going to slowly make my way through every pin I have. If it’s nothing but a link to a pretty picture of cookies? Delete. Recipes I try that fail? Delete. Recipes I try that I love? Stay.

I’ll pin to “Hair/Makeup/Nails” but I’m about as inept at doing my hair as I am with trigonometry. It’s high time I recognize I’ll never be a whiz with certain things. I’ll never be anyone besides me: a whiz at baking, bartending and crafting. The rest? It’ll sort itself out. Our mothers became excellent people without Pinterest and other social media sites. I bet we will too.

Thursday, December 20

Homemade Bread: Another Pinterest Fail


So Pinterest failed me again. Though, unlike last time, this was a complete and total failure at all angles. This bread was completely inedible. Honestly, I have no idea why. It never rose properly at any of the steps, so that might be was probably the problem. But again, I followed the steps exactly. I’m literally at a loss.

When it first came out of the oven the crust was good but some of the inside was mushy. It stated like baked salted sugar. It was really weird.



Then it caved in on itself.



I was really excited to have some fresh homemade bread. I guess I might be adding “bread machine” to my birthday list if I want that dream to come true.

Am I the only one that Pinterest keeps failing? I thought I was doing so well actually making the things I was pinning! Apparently not! 

Thursday, December 6

Pinterest Fail



People never really talk about disasters. I mean when was the last time you saw a blog that was like, “I dyed my hair black at home and I was little inebriated and now it’s KINDA streaky…” (guilty.) No, instead you see, “I dyed my hair at home and it looks so perfect, better than the salon version!” or “my family absolutely loved this quinoa and asparagus tofu health bar thing!” Not, “this bar tasted like cardboard with shit smears.” (guilty again.) Well, this morning I got up at 6am to make “Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes” for the HB 12 Days of Eating Party. Mexican was the Editorial department’s theme as it required minimal effort. I mean how hard is it to buy chips and salsa Bossman? Not very and he came through with three bags.

It’s well known that I am the baker of the bunch. So when I found these on Pinterest, I knew it would be a perfect dessert to our rotel cheese dip, salsa and chili lunch spread. Apparently I was right: only two went uneaten. However, I had one and thought it tasted like absolute dog doo. I LOVE dark chocolate so, I thought adding a little heat might be a fun addition. I was wrong. I think next time I need to up the ante on the cinnamon or cut down on the chili powder. Or I might just say screw it and not make them again.
I'm steps away from my $3,000 work camera and instead use the iPhone. Whoops.

I pretty much followed this recipe exactly, though because of a time crunch I used canned frosting and slapped those puppies down with a butter knife instead of using a piping bag. In way of decorations I dusted them with the remainder of my cinnamon and hit the road. I feel like my Momma would not be proud of me, but I’m on the beginning leg of a cold and frankly I was late.

(She claims they make 18-20. I got about 14 sizable cupcakes.)
Bake at 325 for a little under/about 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 stick of butter, softened slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

Steps:
1. Cream together butter and both sugars. Once well mixed add egg and vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, salt, cayenne, cinnamon, and chili powder. Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk to wet ingredients until just combined.  I did about half and half each time.
3. Scoop into your lined cupcake pan and bake for 18-20 minutes. Mine were in for about 19 minutes. The toothpick, when inserted in the middle, should come out clean with a few moist crumbs—that gives it a “chocolate bomb” flavored center a coworker described

Friday, November 30

Lost Causes/Hopeless Cases


Thanksgiving night I was feeling overly full of food and drink, football and my family. As I mentioned a few days ago, I was also feeling a little blue. While I didn't wallow in my blueness on Thanksgiving I definitely noticed it. As I went to shut off my bedside lamp and get a few hours of sleep, I met my Momma at 6am to go shopping, I noticed a medal hanging from my lamp.

For those that are unaware, in the Catholic tradition medals of saints are worn to show a special closeness. For example, when I was confirmed I was given a medal of St. Therese of Lisieux, who is my personal patron saint. Medals of saints can also be worn of saints you feel a special connection, or request their special guidance. For example, St. John Neumann is the patron saint of Catholic schools, so a Catholic schoolteacher may wear his medal.

Anyway, dangling from my lamp was St. Jude Thaddeus' medal. I put it on that night have only taken it off to shower.

St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases and lost causes.

It seems fitting.

St. Jude, Pray for me that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in my necessities, tribulations and sufferings and that I may praise God with you and all the elect forever. Intercede for us all, gracious, brother Saint Jude, and pray for us to the Lord our God in our daily toil and our necessities. Amen.
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Tuesday, November 27

A Blue Sort of #posituesday


It's one of those days where everything seems to be off. Which I hate because it should be #posituesday.

I've mentioned before about how changing my life so drastically has had ups and downs. Today seems to be one of those downs. In fact, it has been a down week of sorts. I have flashes of happy and content but then flashes of sheer disappointment.

Disappointment in myself for my current state of discontent. Disappointment in how I woke up a few days ago and realized that all the weight and muscle I worked so hard to lose/gain in the beginning of the year is gone. Disappoinment that no matter how hard I try to stay digitally connected to my best friends, a phone call or a gchat will never be the same as grabbing beers at Innisfree to catch up on gossip.

I've read Mommy blogs that discuss not saying never and not taking yourself too seriously. I've learned to never say never, I mean I can't with the job I have! As far as taking myself too seriously? Yeah, that has never been my problem. I've leaned on friends, mentors from school, even my former boss. Yet, I still have this burning feeling that I'm disappointed in myself. Maybe it's the weather: I've never been a "rain" person. Maybe it's the three day blues from having some vacation: being in a cubical is not as fun after a vacation…

I'm disappointed in myself for feeling so blue and being so self-centered that everyone wants to hear about it. It's supposed to be #posituesday, which I'm spinning this week. Every once and a while it's okay to feel blue. It means you're alive and feeling all the other feelings too.

At least that's what I am going to tell myself. I'm giving myself today to feel blue. I'm going to power though my responsibilities and then spend all evening in front of my sad little Charlie Brown tree reading a delicious Nora Roberts romance.

Monday, November 26

An Open Letter to PR Geeks


Hello PR “Guru”, this “Editor” speaking. Yes, the one you BCC’d your press release to a few moments ago. I’ve got a few quick questions for you…
 1. You sent this release to an email address with a persons name in it. Don’t you think sending “Hello Editor” instead of “Hello Jessica” is a little, what’s the word I’m looking for? Tacky? Rude? Stupid? Annoying? Not-paying-attention?
2. I am an editor of a magazine that publishes articles relating to XYZ. Does your release deal with XYZ? No, not even in the slightest? THEN WHY AM I READING IT?

3. Your release is giving people the opportunity to buy things? Cool! Are you going to give one away to my readers? No? Then why would I be writing about your thingamajig? We don’t exactly run product reviews of stuff we’ve never seen.

4. If I haven’t contacted you within a week, it’s safe to say I’m not interested. No need for any sort of follow up. Save me five seconds of deleting, kthanksbye.

I know these questions seem obvious harsh, but honestly? I get annoyed sorting through all these releases. For every one I want/need/do something about, I get thirty.

Bonus points go to the PR geeks that actually do their homework and our visit social media channels/sites and actually tailor your releases, emails and comments to what we actually do. It doesn’t go unnoticed. You people that don’t? Yeah, that doesn’t go unnoticed either. 

You're doing it wrong.

Wednesday, November 21

Word of the Day Wednesday


Today’s word is chach. It has quickly become one of my favorite, go to words. And after numerous  people have asked me what it means, and basked in the glory of what a wonderful (and underused) insult it is, I’ve decided to share.

Definition: Noun—A boy/manchild/dude/bro who attempts to exhibit a cool and popular look but generally comes across as either an asshole and/or a total loser. Plural: chachs, chaches.
Example: David Pollack, in every facet of his existence is a total chach.

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Adjective, adverb— dumb, idiotic act committed by a boy/manchild/dude/bro
Example: "This conversation is just unbelievable, that was a total chach move." 

Yes, because this guy could be a fitness model.

My exboyfriends are awesome examples! If you want more, let me know!

Verb—to unjustifiably escape a commitment, similar to "bitching/bitched out," not my favorite use of the word, but acceptable.


Behavioral Patterns: Tends to bitch out when extreme situations present themselves. Provokes animosity in more enlightened individuals. (Are you getting the picture of who a chach is, yet?)

Special Abilities: Being able to piss off peers in close proximity by doing absolutely nothing. (You’ve got a chach in your mind now, don’t you?)

***Thanks to the folks at Urban Dictionary for the assist on perfectly articulating this phenomenal word. Also, according to them, and me, chach is a very, very mild curse word and could/can be used in public. I know I do. 

Until next time, I’ll be avoiding stalking my favorite chach (also known as my exboyfriend) on his various social media outlets.

Friday, November 9

Friday Favorites

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 My dear sweet friend Caitlin, who is amazing and just all around a light in my life, does a series on her blog called “Friday Favorites.” (Which is where I got the image, I mean, let’s be serious I am nowhere near that illustrator inclined, but I digress.)


Our company had “Thankful Thursday” yesterday, and it made me realize how lucky I am to do what I do. I complain a lot about it, but at the end of the day, I am lucky to have the job that I do. Is it my favorite thing? No, but it’s work. And it is a work I enjoy, most of the time. Being in the thankful spirit has also made me realize how many things I consider my “favorite.” How many people I am lucky to call “favorites.” But I guess that is another post for another time.

Here’s what I have been favoriting this week:

My obsession with Maury Povitch grows with each day. Due to popular demand I have stopped live tweeting the episodes, but I think I just might bring that back. Life might be rough, but HEY!, at least you aren't 35 taking a DNA test to find out if your husband is really your brother/cousin/sister. God, I love Americans.


This past Saturday I was in Death Valley alongside my favorite Alabama fan, my father, to watch the Tide roll. I've been lucky enough to sit in the stands of some pretty incredible Alabama football games: Iron Bowl 2008, SEC 2009, National Championship 2012. This experience was like none other. Roll damn tide.


Decorating for Holidays is something my Momma passed down to me. I've started decorating my little bar area for each of the Holidays. By and large Thanksgiving is my least favorite of the choices, but I do think it came together quite nicely. I just need some apple pie moonshine to really complete the look...


Wednesday, October 31

The Boobie Bungalow


Originally I wanted this to be up Saturday but "life" got in the way…and by life I mean sleeping for like 17 hours straight and then dragging my butt to work.

For my job I travel, a lot, to seemingly random locales. (Why can’t people log in places like New York City or Southern California?) I find myself in the swamp land of south Georgia, the hills of Mississippi, the flat land of Arkansas. Discovering dear ole Dixie has really been a high point for me and my sense of adventure just seems to keep growing. Then I went to a place called Louisville, Ky. for a lawn and garden tradeshow…and woof.

The four days I spent in Louisville were something straight out of a movie. First example, the eight hour car ride there: did you know there is a strip joint south of Nashville called the Boobie Bungalow. No? Me neither. But google it, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Myself, the house’s web guru (a 23 year old Baptist youth minister) and my beloved be-moustached coworker in his mid fourties with a love of all things ironic and creepy found it hilarious. Not only did a twenty-minute conversation, inside of a rented Dodge minivan, ensue about the Boobie Bungalow but for the remainder of the trip the Boobie Bungalow was discussed. As in, “Oh wow, that chick looks like a reject from the Boobie Bungalow.” 
German "booth babe,"  definitely a loaner from TBB.
The tradeshow had sponsored concerts each night. Of course for the open bar concert Kansas played. I had to DD. For the big concert with Eli Young Band we still had press seats but not an open bar. This was the night I chose to drink…to the complete jerk that took my credit card from the Hard Rock Louisville: you really suck. I hope an entire army got completely blitzkrieged on the $250+ you spent in one night at a bar, where wells were like $4.50. Assclown.

Enjoying while he could. 
In my line of work I write about some pretty heavy machinery. Machinery that costs upwards of $250,000 a piece. I’m not usually allowed to touch said machinery. See also: said machinery cuts down trees and I would rather not be responsible for that kind of thing. I can see the news item now, “Little logging reporter causes fatal accident killing herself and three others in El Dorado, Ark.”

 BUT, I also write about machinery that is a little more run of the mill consumer friendly. For example, this MSRP $599 Lithium Ion battery powered Oregon self-sharpening chainsaw. I got to run it while Dan my be-mustached coworker, the VP of Oregon, and the product manager for Oregon chainsaws watched me. I liked it…a lot.
Please notice this awk part of my hair.
Oh and then there was the riding commercial grade lawnmower. This puppy sure is a beaut. MSRP $7,999. (Why did they let me drive that thing I’ll never know.) I got her to top out at about 3 MPH. My friend riding along is the product manager for the Ariens family of companies ZTR riders. (Yes, all this power equipment jargon is…well, it is what it is. But as my dear friend Brian always says, fake it til ya make it. Even I don’t really understand fully what the jargon all means.) This, y’all, is living.

I can honestly say that pure elation on my face is not faked. I had a damn good time.

Thursday, October 11

#posiweek


Today is just one of those days.

I sit in my cubical and think of the ever-growing to-do list. Nothing seems to go right, and everything seems to be falling into place.

As a writer sometimes inspiration comes. Sometimes I stare at the wall. The last little while has been seemingly never ending. I blinked and it was October. Granted, I was out of town on a story-gathering trip for seven days. But still was it not just the 4th of July? Story-gathering trips are always so fun for me, but they usually knock me down a bit. This past jaunt was no different. I covered over 2,200 miles. Four states. Seven different companies. Loggers, timber processers and foresters, oh my!

I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to meet with guys (and their lady counterparts) at the end of dirt roads that are really making a difference in our world. Don’t get what I mean? Don’t support the logging industry?

TRY WIPING IT WITH A PINECONE THEN.

But I digress. Some big things are happening around little 1213, and I am excited for what’s in store. Things aren’t firm yet, but I will more than likely be going back to school in Fall 2013. I couldn’t have found a more perfect program for me and cannot wait to bury my nose in a textbook again. Could I be anymore of a dork? Probably, but oh well. I love certain elements of school and cannot wait to get back into an English classroom. Master’s of Liberal Arts program, lookout!

This past story-gathering trip lead me to some awesome places, which really means lots of awesome treasures were loaded into the back of a Ford hatchback and made their way from Mississippi/Arkansas/Louisiana/Tennessee to Montgomery. I have so many ideas for the things I found. I keep telling myself I am going to post all my projects up here, and then never seem to find the time. Well, next week will be the time. It’s therapeutic for me to do my little crafts and what better platform to showcase them?

It’s also about time I bought myself a chest of drawers/bedroom dresser. But that’s being held off another month because I desperately need to chunk some money into the new computer fund. Plus the holidays are coming up. But again, I digress.

One of my absolute favorite people in the entire world is Brian Oliu. Writer, comedian, all around stand up man. Oh and did I mention my saving grace this last year? (…and probably years to come) He has started a social media campaign called #posiweek. Each day he has postings designed to uplift the spirit, make you smile, and just all around warm your heart. Which, honestly, who doesn’t need that every now and again?

Seeing these posts made me want to be positive about myselflifethings. Difficult, given that for the first four days of this week I’ve battled a terrible head cold. But each time I saw one of the #posiweek tweets/statuses I saw myself smile. I sure hope that the #posiweek stays with me into tonight, as we all watch or in my case don’t watch the VP debate, and into the weekend, where I welcome to Montgomery one of my best friends from college. It’s a good week y’all, it’s #posiweek.

Thursday, July 26

"The Hard Hat Diaries" Chapter Two

I am now the proud owner of TWO, yes, TWO paper fold out maps.
Yes, that is exactly what you think it is.
I know what you are all thinking, paper maps? Wellllll, see, I, as do many of you, have a GPS. Tomtom has helped me fearlessly navigate Montgomery as I find the important things like restaurants, The Fresh Market, Big Lots, Dillards, the art house movie theater, my vet’s office. Tomtom has helped me do wonderful things. But Tomtom has also failed me.

He has epically failed me. Enter the paper map. With my job I visit with some of the most hard working, honest, wonderful people in the country. Due to the nature of the timber harvesting business however, they usually live out in the country. Remote areas where AT&T doesn’t feel that 4G, 3G, EDGE, hell any kind of service is needed. Remote areas where Tomtom gets confused and lost; areas where he frequently lies, saying “Arrived at destination.” Said destination is not where I am wanting to go Tomtom. Being lost in the swamplands of South Georgia with no cell service is not how I like to live my life.

Yet, Tuesday and Wednesday of last week I felt myself slowing losing my mind. Hence, the maps. The outdated, for 90% of the United States at least, but perfect for me, paper maps. I felt very road trippy and adventurous while also having the feeling that I was lost and just asking for some scary sociopath to kill me. (I watch waaaayyyy too much Dexter and Criminal Minds.) So here I am in a rental car armed with paper maps winding down US highway 441 North looking for the job.
At the 441 North split in Homerville, Ga. the Delk family are hard working pond loggers.

There is something exhilarating about not having technology telling you when exactly you will arrive somewhere, simply going and arriving when you get there. I found everything I needed to find this trip using my two eyes and two paper maps. I vow to do this from now on with my logging visits. Unplugging can be a good thing right?

Tuesday, July 10

Sorry, bro.

I love it for so many reasons. My twins are about the sweetest things in the world. They are more afraid of you than you are of them, Sip especially. Today, just for me, push yourself to think outside of a stereotype perpetuated by Michael Vick and people, I use the term people loosely, like him, that don't see the personality inside each animal. You won't be sorry you did. If you still can't understand what I mean then, frankly, you're doing it wrong.

Thursday, July 5

"The Hard Hat Diaries" Chapter One

The cat's out of the bag. I work for a trade magazine publishing house to pay my bills. (I look fabulous doing it, mind you. But that VISA ain't paying for itself. Just like I need a solid supply of Sauvignon Blanc and the pups need to eat...) But I am pushing my limits in ways I never thought possible. I mentioned in my post about #montgomerymove2012 that I would be going on a business trip to the backwoods of Mississippi...well welcome to the first installment of "The Hard Hat Diaries."
Woods Barbie in all her glory!
 A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to accompany Jennifer, a freelance-work-from-home fellow HB editor on a trip to Mississippi. In three days we visited four loggers. I have a thing for shoes. Specifically, high heeled shoes, the more beautiful the better. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been what my family calls a Barbie doll. I’m the epitome of a girly girl. Spiders scare me. So, putting on some work boots, jeans, a neon orange vest I was told to wear in order to not die, and a hard hat was a little…hard to believe. Never one to shy away from an adventure, I went in with an open mind. I’m proud to report I did not die. There were no close calls, at logging operations anyway! Jennifer and I did have a moment or two where we couldn’t exactly pinpoint where we were… I actually got some pretty good pictures as well as some successful interviews.

The loggers were all extremely sweet and very understanding. Each went out of their way to explain the equipment to me and push aside my fears. What I didn’t expect to happen was one trying to set me up on a date with both his son and/or his grandson. The sweet older logger pegged me for a little younger than I am, detailing all of his grandson’s high school football accomplishments from the last year. When I kindly informed him, I was out of high school, in fact out of college; he quickly changed gears and starting talking up his son! Fresh from a divorce, the son, who I am sure, would die if he knew about his father’s antics, was healing and needed a good, fine woman. A good, fine woman, according to the father, like me. Poor guy.

I’m sure my first solo trip will be another adventure filled with all sorts of silliness, drive thrus and Comfort Inns, and I can’t wait! These trips were one of the reasons I both loved my job during the interview process and was horrified by it. I mean, a machine with a blade that cuts down one ton trees? AHHHHHHH! 
A Tracked Feller Buncher aka a machine with a blade that cuts down one ton trees
 

Tuesday, July 3

Yes, I am sensational. At times. Maybe?

Last night’s episode of Bachelorette taught me so many things.

Like how, given a set o’ steamy kisses in exotic locations, and a fun day on the racetrack, Arie’s super skinny tie in Charlotte night 1 can be forgiven.

 Or how I really don’t use the word sensational enough. Though, that was more the men in my life don’t call me sensational enough. Such a great word, sensational, especially when using it to describe the object of your affection. I am pretty sure I would melt on the spot if someone crushingly handsome looked at me unsolicited said, “Jess, you are sensational.” ***Bonus points would be available if he said it when I felt I looked a mess, or was rocking a giant Daddy sized tshirt and running shorts. 

I’m big fan of the show, and if you follow me on twitter you might notice that I am a complete child of the 21sy century when it comes to my Monday nights. I am simultaneously texting with some of my best friends and my Momma, and keeping up with some of my favorite snarky Twitter accounts (@POSSESSIONISTA, @jenniferweiner to name a couple), all while watching the drama unfold.
Momma and I just doing what we do best.
Monday’s are my least favorite day of the week work wise, do you know how hard it is to pretend to be productive on a Monday? Especially when you work with three men that are always trying to freeze you to death!! But I digress. There is something about Monday nights that put a spring in my step, even on the roughest of days. The clock hits 4:45 and I bust out of my cube on a mission. I make myself a fabulous dinner, indulge in a few adult bevies and settle in.

I always wondered what my post-grad life would be like. How would I mesh my college self, which may or may not have had a little too much ridiculousness on the reg, with a more serious, working girl mentality. Oddly enough, Bachelorette last night showed me exactly that.

Monday through Friday from 8:30(ish on most days) to 4:45(on the dot), I am Jessica Johnson associate editor with Hatton Brown Publishers, a little bit of woods and a whole lot of Barbie. I’m me, to a steal a one liner from that dreadful new Willow Smith song. I gchat with the important people in my life, check for daily posts from Suri’s Burn Book, Guy in Austin and some of my favorite Mommy-bloggers. But I also scan Market Watch for news on the EPA and tier 4 (google it), edit scientific garbage into readable information, tell the stories of sweet older men trying to develop businesses their sons and grandsons can be proud of. I mesh my ridiculousness with my seriousness.

I haven’t lost myself along the way. I may have a career now, but I’m still a little lost, drinking a little too much gin, staying up a little too late, and making excuses for why I never fit a long run in.

If I ever need clarification on how I would make it all work, I’ll remember the summer Emily was the bachelorette and how, just like Arie made that hoodie work for him, I made my life work for me.

Sunday, June 10

#montgomerymove2012 and Strawberry Shortcake Muffins

Well, for the last three weeks, life, it has been a changin'.
  I moved.
 In a big way.
 To Montgomery, Ala. 
Where I knew the five people in my office and one other. Now, I've made all sorts of friends and settled in quite nicely. There have been the growing pains that one can always expect when, well, DRASTICALLY changing your life. Work has been fine, and I will be going on my first business trip this week: Mississippi! I'll be conducting some interviews alongside one of our other writers, in addition to conducting a few on my own! I've been doing all kinds of projects around the house and cannot wait to show them off! One thing I have started doing was making more and more Pinterest things. Today was no different.

 I tried this: Strawberry Shortcake Muffins! They were amazingly well, except as the original blog denotes unless using silicon or foil, the muffins stick. I'll get the official word tomorrow when my taste testers are given part of the batch, but until then.... (bear with me I've never done a step by step post before. But, I go a new toy at work, a Canon Rebel T3i so I'm OBSSESSED with playing with it!) I have copied Katie over at the Dashing Dish's instructions with my own modifications.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cup Oats (old fashioned kind, not quick cooking)
1 cup Plain low fat greek yogurt
2 Eggs
3/4 cup Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 1/2 cup Strawberries, diced, and patted dry  (optional 1/2 cup strawberries, diced to place on top of muffins)
Half of a fresh lemon, squeezed for juice

Method:

Place all of the ingredients (except the strawberries) in a blender or food processor, and blend until oats are smooth.  

Pour mixture into a medium sized bowl, and stir in strawberries. 

Divide batter among cupcake liners, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.  



    They look so perfect! Hope my taste testers think they are as good as I do! :)

Friday, May 4

Fail Friday

Yeah, you're doing it wrong....
Oh, you didn't see my PARKED car sitting next to yours? That's unfortunate for your insurance because I'm going to need that fixed. As soon as possible. With a rental car while it's in the shop.

Thanks.

Wednesday, May 2

Wistful Wednesday


Life seems to be spiraling toward a post-grad life I've successfully avoided for 5 full years now.

It's not that I just don't want to grow up—it's not having a plan. It's not knowing where I'm living in six weeks or what I'm going to be doing in six weeks. I love my parents, I really do. But moving in with them, jobless, after spending (roughly) $120,000 on this education? BARF.

So this Wednesday I'm not wordless; I'm wistful. Wistful for Freshman year where skipping class and day drinking wasn't such a big deal. Wistful for going out with Mallory every night of the week and not having a monster hangover.

I'm (almost)(sorta) ready to start my post-grad grown up life. Until then, Immma be a little wistful.

Sunday, April 29

The 'Heart of the Matter'


It's no secret that as an English major, I love to read. And I read a lot. A ton in fact. My reading goes in cycles: I'll read like crazy for a few weeks, devouring all kinds of things. Then, I'll see my reading taper off and I'll struggle through one novel in a month. I blame it on college. Welllllll, college is over now. I'm out of excuses, time to make a commitment to reading my tail off. Summer's always been my favorite time for reading: between the pool, vacations and the warm air, being outside with a book is second nature to me. In fact, when I was about 15 I read 100 novels over the summer. Yes, I'm that nerdy. And yes, my Momma and I are that competitive. But I digress...

I started this “Summer of Reading” off with Emily Giffin's Heart of the Matter. Giffin, the brain behind Something Borrowed and Something Blue, two of my absolute favorite novels. When I came across Heart of the Matter I was thrilled. In fact Giffin even references the Something characters in Heart! From page 1 to page 288 I could not stop reading. I fell in love with the heart stoppingly fierce leading lady that sleeps with a married man. (It's not what you'd think....) But then when the married man finally makes his decision, I became disenfranchised. I hope I'm not giving too much away, but the ending left a lot to be desired, something I never thought I'd say after having read all of Giffin's previous novels. Each character is thoroughly developed, strong yet raw. Real. Exactly what you'd expect from Giffin. I had to force myself to continue on, push through the final eighty pages. I owed it to Giffin and myself to give it a fighting chance. I was disappointed. Check it out for yourself and tell me what you think? I'd love to talk about it with someone!

Wish me luck as I tackle another title on my seemingly never ending reading list: Beginner's Greek byJames Collins.

Thursday, April 19

Cover Letters and Resumes

Job searchin'...every day. Yeah, I wish I had the energy to come up with a better pun. Something witty. But frankly, I'm done. I'm dead inside on the subject. As a writer I know this introduction sucks, but hang in there. It gets much, much better.

Endlessly trying to make oneself sound awesome can be a challenge. Cover letters are a struggle. If you think they aren't you are either A: Lying to yourself and/or others or B: A freak of nature. I've written my fair share of standard, boring cover letters, just as I have spent hours pouring over my resume and writing samples. What for? The hope I get picked from the pile.

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Caitlin posted the fifty hidden talents she has that aren't on her resume, which I loved. We began to make a list of a few of mine, these being my favorites:

4. Straight boss when it comes to drinking tequila shots.

18. Frequently bakes, and loves to share aforementioned baked goods.

23. Crafts like none other. Known among friends and family as the one that sends “off” holiday cards—example from this year, St. Patrick's Day.

37. Will ALWAYS lose something after a night at the bar. Typical favorites include dignity and check cards.

Talents I'm sure my parents are glad I've acquired. As I'm sure they are just as glad their hard earned money went to financing the fine tuning of said skills. Just as I'm sure they would be proud of the cover letter I sent expressing my interest in a job at BroBible, an online magazine of sorts that contains “bro code, hot girls, funny stories and videos” among other things. Read and laugh, because for once writing a cover letter didn't suck. Now they just need to call me....

Subject: Assistant Editor from Sweet Home Alabama

Boys of BroBible,

Add some Southern Flair to your staff and hire me. Why? Because I'm a funny, mildly attractive girl that can hold her own amongst a bunch of Bros. Meaning, I'm a Southern sorority girl; I can drink Bud Light and watch football with the best of them. Don't challenge me in Thumper, King's Cup or Flip Cup, I have a delicate touch. Play me in Beer Pong and I'm a sloppy mess that gets better with time. I have editing experience both in print and online. I'm not located in NYC currently, as I graduate from the University of Alabama in four short weeks, but I'm ready for an adventure. I run an online college women's magazine for the University of Alabama, so I have experience on quick turn arounds on edits and also know how to write quickly and cleanly. (I would send you a link to some of my clips I've done for Her Campus Alabama, but every good girl knows, Bros don't really care about the Oscars.) I was featured in The Huffington Post in October about the Occupy Wall Street movement. The piece can be found here. Attached is my resume, look it over and judge me. If I pass muster you can contact me via email (jmjohnson4@crimson.ua.edu) or on my cell phone (770/861-5078). I look forward to possibly speaking with y'all.

Oh yeah, and I would hope to make an income that would put me above the poverty line....so how's $35,000 sound? Too high? I'm up to your suggestions and a discussion on that number. But let's just get to talking first.

Have a fabulous day and Roll Tide!
Jessica Johnson

Now y'all, say a prayer, as I am still waiting on the Bros to call me back.

Thursday, April 12

Fresh Start...

I feel like I am constantly making promises to myself...I will be faithful about writing in my journal. I will be faithful about blogging. I will be faithful about crafting/cooking/baking. I will be faithful about writing letters to my Nanny. Yet, somehow, life "gets in the way". I'm a little under 4 weeks away from a second undergrad degree. It's almost really time to be a big girl. (Which TERRIFIES me.) This year I've made some big personal changes. I've tried to use this online journal as a tool to express myself, but as a writer, I just don't think I'm there yet. Too much crazy nonsense as gone on. This year has taught me how lucky I am to have the family and friends as a support system that I do. Say a prayer for a few of us, as we anxiously await job offers and big girl lives!! I did however make a promise to myself and one of the members of my writing staff: I will get healthy. Since she is doing a weekly blog on HCA about her quest for a healthier lifestyle, I decided to do the same. Below is simply a re-post of the original piece. There are a few eye opening sentences in there! But wish me luck as I spend the next 4 weeks exercising, eating right, and trying like hell to “grow up”!


I've never been an athlete. I enjoy sports (what girl raised in the South doesn't?) but I've never really played one. Along the same line, I've never worked out, like really worked out. In high school I was a ballerina, and I have done yoga for the better part of my adult life. But I never really considered those sports. I use yoga to center myself and to just be quiet for a half hour each day.

When I gave Ashley the go-ahead to start writing about her getting healthy plan, it got me thinking: am I as healthy as I could be? No. I'm on Pinterest, so I see all the skinny girl recipes, workout plans, and various motivation tactics. Why am I not using them?

I've always had an excuse in the past: I'm too busy, I want to spend my free time doing something else, blah blah blah. Well the reality is, I'm always going to be busy and I'm sick of not feeling as good as I could. Plus there was this one thing that happened....

My boyfriend broke up with me.

You could say it was amicable (which he does and I don't). You could say I'm bitter (I was, let's be real), but now I'm using it as motivation. I'm using it to remind MYSELF how awesome I am.

Like Ashley, I don't have a goal weight in mind and I haven't decided to follow a specific plan. I've just decided that I want to have a healthier lifestyle. I gave up sugar for Lent, which has been painful let me tell you, but I've seen myself making smart snack choices because of it. Now, when Sunday came and Lent drew to a close, you can bet your bottom dollar I was in a sugar coma all day long. But I do hope that going 40 days without it will help me continue to make smart choices, even when I could technically have that cookie. I want my clothes to fit better and my muscles a little tighter.

I've downloaded an App for iPhone called "Lose It" which is allowing me to track my calories for the day, both food and exercise, by entering in what food I eat and what exercise I do. I've pledged to myself that I will take my dogs walking each day outside for at least 30 minutes, because they need to exercise too! In a moment of sheer stupidity (no other way to put this for a girl that is decidedly NOT a runner) I signed up for a 5K in 2 weeks. With the goal of running a half marathon in 2013. So you'll see me at the Rec pretty much every day on the treadmill. I'm the one sweating to death, watching Jeopardy.

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