Friday, December 28, 2012

fickle friend friday : let's pretend

Today is a great day.

It's Friday, we're leaving the office early, Aaron gets in tonight for a week of friend activities, and 2013 is almost upon us.

A year ago today I was headed to San Francisco for a New Years weekend spent with my favorite guy, Spencer. It seems like just yesterday that I was bopping around a big fancy hotel in a pretty dress, shouting down the last ten numbers until midnight. "My year" was upon me and the world was at my feet. 2012 was such a wonderful year and I cannot believe it's over. But if it's any sign of what's to come, I can't wait for 2013

Thank you to every one of my friends and loved ones who have made me such a happy, blessed girl over the past year. And thank you for reading my little adventures. It means the world to me. 


Let's ring out 2013 with a final Fickle Friend Friday, shall we?

My latest blog love, Love Taza has stolen my heart and further excited me for my New York City trip in February. Naomi Davis blogs about her ridiculously adorable little family and their life in NYC. Her photos are beautiful and her adventures even more so. They recently went to Italy and their photos are to die for.

My favorite Tumblr site this week is Awesome People Hanging Out Together. Pretty self-explanatory. And awesome.

Orson Welles and Laurel & Hardy

President Obama, Queen B and Jay-Z

I wish I was in this picture.

Let's pretend like this is my room.

Now that the holidays are over, Corinne Bailey Rae is back on my Pandora, right where she belongs.

Going into the New Year, let's take some Lucille Ball wisdom with us.

To continue with the idea of loving yourself, Gwyneth Paltrow's website goop recently did a special on the idea of Perfection and Imperfection. There are a lot of great ideas and suggestions for being kind to yourself and finding your bliss in the 'real you'. I found a lot of inspiration in the words and guidance from Dr. Brené Brown regarding the idea of scarcity, or the feeling of vulnerability in our lives, relationships, and being. In order to combat these feelings of inadequacy she outlines the following:

The three components of scarcity are shame, comparison, and disengagement. To transform scarcity we need to Dare Greatly; we need to cultivate worthiness, a clear sense of purpose, and we need to re-engage.

Wise words for anyone in this time of fresh new starts, me thinks.

I took my mom to see Les Miserables last night. My eyes were watery the entire time, though I managed to only need one of the tissues I brought along. Well done, Jenny. I highly recommend seeing this one in the theater-- Hugh Jackman and the entire cast give an incredible performance and the cinematography is really something. Turning such a beloved stage musical into a film can be a tough business-- but I was thrilled with the clarity and depth it gave to the story. Bravo!

Hugh Jackman. Middle name, Handsome.

Amidst the discussions of gun control, let us turn our focus towards supporting children and families dealing with mental illness. A friend of mine posted this article, I Am Adam Lanza's Mother, from the Huffington Post a week or so ago. It's incredibly insightful and honest-- a tale of a mother and her struggles and difficult choices with her mentally imbalanced son. A really eye-opening read.

I feel like I must end this post on a happy note! Everything's so... serious....

How about this:


Have a wonderful New Year's! Don't forget to read your horoscope, wear red underwear for good luck (Italy),  eat 12 grapes at midnight (Spain), and drink a lot (Everywhere). This also sounds like the best New Year's tradition ever:

Yes to the tall handsome man with dark hair. Yes to the small gift. 

See you in 2013!

Midnight kisses, 


Thursday, December 27, 2012

tiny tim tears

Good Afternoon!

Let me tell you, I had the most delicious German food this side of Bavaria last night. If you're in the LA area, check out Steingarten LA for some serious California Beer Garden-ing. 

Mm-mmm tasty.

Last I left you Santa was near arrival at Jenny and her mother's fancy Christmas day! There we were, silly new pajamas and all, opening our stockings and unwrapping presents bright and early. But first on the agenda: the traditional hashbrown quiche for breakfast! Yum. 

We have this every Christmas morning.

We skyped with Jamie and Paul to open our presents together, too. Have I mentioned I love the internet? It was almost as good as the real thing. Almost.

Jamie gave me some interesting gifts, as always... 

Wrapping and returning my book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
She borrowed this while at the beach in San Diego... two years ago. 

But she always balances it out with some pretty awesome things, too.

New glass water bottle from sister! I'm obsessed with it.
Cute new Anthro shirt from mumsiedoodle.
Paul found this Christmas classic at a thrift store, washed it, and sent it my way. It's actually super awesome and comfortable. And super sexy, obviously. Thanks, Bikey Paul

Yeah, thanks a lot. 

Mom spoiled me as always, but what's new. We have a present-buying disease.

Please note the wrapping paper with cats playing musical instruments.
This was the very last of the roll, which she's had for a couple of years. No!

New boots! I'm wearing them now.

I got little trinkets, Converse, cute sweaters and even a little canvas and gold paint to make my own Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You print. My mom's the cutest.

Don't worry, I showered her with lots of special things, too. J.Crew sweaters, jewelry, and a Whirley Pop for stove top popcorn precision. Mm hmm, I did good.

Grandma Bernie sent a bunch of lovely gifts as well, including these hand-embroidered pillowcases. I LOVE THEM. She's an embroidering machine! That sounds confusing... She's incredibly skilled, let me say that.

I also experienced my first ever Christmas bonus. Having a real job has it's perks.

My boss gave me an envelope last week and instructed me to not open it until Christmas. Being the anti-rule-breaker I am, I did as I was told. I wasn't expecting anything, just a nice card and a $5 Jamba Juice card or something. That would have thrilled me. What I got was unfathomable. I was in complete shock when I opened the envelope and saw what was inside. A check.  

I might have cried. Not like huge rolling tears but more surprised, appreciative misty watery drops. 

I felt like Tiny Tim.

Job bless us, everyone.

Another Johnny Mac Photoshop original.

My mother and I whipped up some treats and headed to Roy and Kathy's house-- my sister-in-law Emma's parents. There were eighteen of us inside their beautiful British home ready to eat and play games for hours. 

Enjoying some Glögg, a warm and spicy Scandinavian holiday drink.

There was English roast, yorkshire pudding, and the most delicious carrot casserole I have ever had. It was also the first carrot casserole I have ever had and the first time I knew that there was such a thing as carrot casserole. Like most English recipes it's much more enjoyable if you don't know what's in it.

After dinner we all opened our English Christmas crackers for surprise paper crowns, little toys, and a joke or two.

Fake laughing and taking pictures of it. Self-gratuity at it's finest.
But hey, that's a nice crown.
Here's half of the table listening to the silly jokes...

 Here's what mom got as her joke slip:

Q: What two words guarantee the origin of French wine?
A: Appellation Controlee

A real knee-slapper! She was the only one who didn't actually get a joke. Joke's on her.

After we cleaned up and had some raspberry trifle for dessert, the present swap commenced!

We each brought a $25 gift to exchange. In true Jenny fashion I brought a themed present-- Doughnuts!

Complete with:

  • 2 Krispy Kreme hats
  • 1 Krispy Kreme To-go Mug
  • Doughnut Baking Pan
  • Doughnut Mix

My brother of course ended up with it!

Picking numbers-- Emma and her brother, Paul;
Robin and Chris at the bottom are Paul's sister and brother-in-law.

After an hour of inebriated and laughter-filled swapping and strategizing, the game concluded. I ended up with a delightful bottle of wine, a box of popcorn, and Sour Apples to Apples! Score for me.

It has different cards than the original game, and a little green apple spinner, too! Fancy.

The kiddies then opened their presents from us, too.

Being silly with lobsters from Aunt Jamie! Look at those lovable scamps.

Then we wrapped up the night with a raucous round of Awkward Family Photos. Yes it's a game-- and a hilarious one at that!

It was such a wonderfully different day. Growing up every Christmas seemed identical-- perfect, but identical. I love that as I get older, year to year, the traditions and faces change and grow. It's quite lovely. Even sans sister-- it was a very merry Christmas. (But sister would have made it better). 

I drove home, dropped off my dear mum, and headed to the airport to pick up Sarah, who was flying in from New York City at midnight. No way was she taking a shuttle home on Christmas. We chatted about our holiday and hurried home to sleep!-- so we could get up. And go to work. BAH HUMBUG


Thank goodness this and next week are only three-working-days-long. Phew. 

I've got some planning to do before New Year's...

Hope you have a lovely winter Thursday.



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

coffee & fudge

I'm tired, wearing new shoes, and full of naughty food. Thank you holidays, thank you very much.

Seriously though, the only thing getting me through today is coffee and fudge. 

It should be illegal to work on the day after Christmas. I am not physically or mentally up for anything more than sitting on the living room floor, slowly shuffling around my various gifts and watching Live with Kelly and Michael. 

And here I am at work, surrounded by other half-functioning humans and counting down the minutes until I can go eat German food at Steingarten and then sleep, hard.

Luckily I had such a wonderful Christmas yesterday so I really have no room to complain! Such a fun, different holiday.

In all honesty though, I'm having extreme focus issues today on the writing front. I can sit and stare at various social media websites, no problem. Writing coherently is another story. So in deep respect for you, Readers-- let us reconvene tomorrow for more in-depth Christmas tales. For now I'll give you the lead-in to yesterday's magic.

My dear Grandma Bernie visited last week-- which was a hoot! My mom made her pose for silly photos... just like I do.

Funny. I was working most of the time but we did fit in some movies and nice dinners out. Saturday afternoon my mom and I drove her to meet the train in Bakersfield so she could head home to Turlock. Bye for now, Grandma!

The next few days were a whirlwind of playing catch up before Christmas hit. Shopping, wrapping, baking, dog-sitting, etc.

We luckily got to make it to Makena's Christmas pageant at her church. She was a wise man... how fitting!

I love her. Please note blurry drummer boy with sheep.

Makena and I

Once I was home, the wrapping frenzy began! Here are some for my mum. She's spoiled.

Please note Frasier's fancy expression.
Ta-dah! Homemade bow!
My mom loves creative labels too...


But we weren't all born with the wrapping genes. What Jamie lacks in wrapping aesthetic she makes up for with creativity.

Please note the handle for present-carrying ease.

Yes... creativity. Silly sister.

Mom and I watched Little Miss Sunshine and roasted a chicken for our happy little Christmas Eve together.

Then, as always, we arbitrarily chose two presents from under the tree to swap... and what do you know! They both happened to be pajamas! Lucky us!

Then Ma in her owl pjs, and I in my sleeves, settled down in our beds for a long winter's sleep...s.


But that's for tomorrow. Cause my five-year-old focus is spent. That and I have some bratwurst calling my name.


I sincerely hope that you are all happy and healthy and feeling delightful things. This is a very special time of year. There's so much hope and wonder floating around! I don't know about you but my dreaming/daydreaming has been unbridled with all of the coming things in the new year. I think that 2013 is going to be a beautiful something. I feel it in my fingers... I feel it in my TOES.

I'm still not ready to let go of the holidays. Luckily I was told last night that it's bad luck to take down your Christmas tree before New Year's. Perfect. Convenient superstition for me. 

Warm holiday wishes!



(P.S. Happy birthday, Grandpa! I'm wearing purple and missing you. I'll sing a round of Edelweiss tonight in your honor!)

Friday, December 21, 2012

fickle friend friday : thank you world

I am so happy that the world didn't end.

I never thought that anything was going to happen, but still. I'm glad it didn't. I remember thinking about the year 2012 when I was a freshman high school, watching a History Channel special on the Mayan calendar with my dad. 

I remember thinking, "Hm. Well by then I'll be so old! I'll have graduated from college and obviously married. And probably have a baby or something. That seems fair." Then I shrugged my shoulders, dug into my bowl of vanilla ice cream with sprinkles and headed to my room to watch Degrassi.

First of all -- what a cool disappointment I must be for my 14-year-old self. Secondly, my life has been unfolding in the most lovely way and I'm ever so glad that today's deadline has been extended for me. Thank you world.


Let's get all Fickle Friendly up in this place.

Last night Ashley and I exchanged Christmas presents before she headed home to Las Vegas. 

Have I mentioned how much I love my roommate?

We're adorable. And freezing. The heater in our apartment is currently on the fritz and we're waiting for it to get fixed. In the mean time I literally have three comforters on my bed and Frasier sleeps under the covers with me. I'm about this close to making him into a little Tauntaun hat. 

I kid.

...That was pretty nerdy of me. 

I have a confession. A really bad one. But I feel like in the interest of being honest with my readers, you should know.

I might like Green Day.

I know.

I realize I have missed the boat by about twelve years. I have NEVER been a Green Day fan until now. I remember the dumb boys in middle school rocking out to Green Day songs and I would think they were, well, dumb. I couldn't stand "Time of Your Life". I would hear "Twenty-One Guns" or "When September Ends" and violently jab at the radio to change the station while mumbling over it so I wouldn't hear those familiar guitar pangs.

And then I saw American Idiot at the Ahmanson Theatre in March for a student tour I was leading. I was so annoyed that the class selected that musical. And I walked out of that theatre a changed woman. An embarrassed, but changed woman. 

Now it's just time to come clean about it all. My name is Jenny and I am a closet Green Day fan. And when "Let Yourself Go" comes on the radio, I silently shriek and turn it up.

Go ahead, judge me. I would.

Belinda is the best friend ever and got me little notecards from my favorite paper company, (am I for real?) Rifle Paper Co.! Look how pretty. I love Christmas!

If you guys are anything like me (which I'm guessing you're not. You probably don't like Green Day) then you should check out this New York Times article about the Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.

It is a poignant and moving story about sixteen skiers who were unfortunately a part of a terrible avalanche. The article also has some pretty cool java features as you're scrolling, too. Check it out. It's a tough read but super interesting and lets you take a peek into the world of back country skiing.

Awkward 80s video of the week: Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl"

Bless Billy Joel's heart. That dancing! There's a reason he sits down to play piano. It's scary/adorably funny.

Reclaimed wood flooring. I'm drooling. So earthy and warm (and good for the environment, too!) This is also perfect for covering those pesky scuffs you get from, you know, living with wood floors. Consider this on my dream house checklist.

I shall leave you with one of my favorite Christmas songs ever, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" by The Barenaked Ladies featuring Sarah McLachlan. It's just so good.

This weekend is probably going to be kind of nuts for you, huh? That's okay. Eat some fudge. That always gives me perspective. 



Thursday, December 20, 2012

tebow & baby jesus

Merry Thursday, blog elves.

My goodness! It's already the 20th of December. Time flies when you have EVERYTHING TO DO. It's too bad December isn't two months long-- I could use the extra time to check more things off my Santa-long-list. 

For example-- 
  • I wrote all of my holiday cards in the beginning of December. I put them in the mail yesterday. Just in time for everyone to be out of town. 
  • I bought a gingerbread house kit. It's sitting in its box. Looking 'festive' in the corner of my kitchen. 
  • I have not made a single square of fudge. This is Jenny-Christmas-blasphemy.

I realize all of these things are just for fun-- but there's so much I want to accomplish! I'm working through these perfectionist impulses. (More on that tomorrow for Fickle Friend Friday).

I was up late last night celebrating Nikolai's birthday at the King's Head in Studio City!

Here's the one extra terrible photo I took during pub trivia. Nikolai was called up (only because it was his birthday, let's be real) to answer the final round! One-by-one, they each had to say a capital of a country and then a porn star. He did well the first round (because we whispered to him, BEIJING, SASHA GRAY), and then he was on his own for the second-- in which he said "LOS ANGELES"...which is not even the capital of California... And nothing else. He's a champ! And I love him. Happy birthday, friend!

Ashley, Daniel, and I feigning conversation.

After a couple hours at the bar catching up with my dearest friends, I headed home to whip up a batch of muddy buddies for work. They were a HIT. I was surprised that so many people at work had never had them! My boss indulged in about eight pieces, closed up his goodie bag, and offered me a raise. I wish the world worked like this.

Muddy buddies for everyone!

We had a big fancy holiday party at the office yesterday-- complete with a homemade taco crew, BINGO, and a table of glorious prizes. I love these people.

I won the giant version of this:

Yum! I'm very excited about this especially because Ashley and I are throwing a New Year's Eve party at our new apartment! Pear flavored fancy drinks for everyone!

A New Year's Eve party means I need to get things together in my place. New artwork, maybe, I don't know-- PUTTING MY BED TOGETHER, that kind of stuff. Luckily my dearest friend Aaron is going to be staying with me for almost a week starting the 28th. I can't wait. He'll be on best friend duty and helping-Jenny-do-stuff duty. Hope he's ready. 

This holiday season seems to be quite different in general for everyone. Like I mentioned before, this is my first Christmas without my sister. She'll be in Virginia with Paul and his family. I packed all of their presents up tight and got them there nice and early for them to enjoy. Paul has been complaining though-- I picked lots of sparkly wrapping paper this year and apparently the glitter is all over him, especially in his beard. Sounds like a magical elf to me! (But really, why is there present glitter in your beard, Paul?)

Anyways, Jamie's having crab cakes for Christmas dinner, Alison is on a cruise in the Caribbean, and Spencer is enjoying summer in New Zealand. Little Jenny on the other hand will be in Torrance, California, celebrating with eighteen other family and friends at my sister-in-law's English parents house! How fun! We're having a big English roast and playing a present-swapping game. I love my family-- and different traditions. It's refreshing. 

It will just be me and my precious mama on Christmas morning, in our fancy pajamas-- noshing on some hashbrown quiche and homemade cinnamon rolls. So... I'll be sending lots of long-distance love to all of you on your exotic holiday vacations!

Luckily I got to stop by Tucson this past weekend to see my Gram, Uncle Jack, and Dad to celebrate Christmas early!

Stormy Tucson sky. Ahh home!

I left work at 6:00pm Friday night, grabbed my mum, fought our way through Los Angeles traffic, and drove into Tucson at 4:30am. Woof. A nine-hour drive! ...and losing an hour didn't help, either. But this did:

Slow clap for Tucson.

Saturday morning I headed right over to my dad's for a day of festivities! Trimming the tree, Christmas movies, etc!

Those. U. of. A. Games.
Was that real life?

Uncle Jack and the fancy turkey!

A full holiday dinner! How sweet!

We're really serious about cookie decorating.

My little cookies. 

I spent the later part of Saturday eating Dairy Queen blizzards with Alison and her friend Megan and-- what else?-- falling asleep on the couch. I was exhausted! And really, put on a movie and slap me on a couch and there is no way I'm staying awake. (I meant put me on a couch, not physically slap me. Just to clarify).

Sunday morning Al and I met Connie, Brent, and my mom for breakfast at my favorite Tucson stop-- A Great Location. (Yes that's its' real name. It's actually a terrible location but that's beside the point). We then headed home to make cookies. Cookies, cookies, and more cookies. Delish!

Chocolate crinkles!

Buckeyes and Russian Teacakes!

Al Pal and I then went to her very bizarre work party where I got to meet all of her wonderful friends. Then-- it was straight to Winterhaven, of course! 

Winterhaven is a neighborhood in Tucson that goes all out during Christmastime. In fact, the homeowners sign contracts that outline their participation in holiday decor. True story. It's a perfect way to spend a winter evening-- hot chocolate, wandering around the neighborhoods looking at all of the creative lights and decorations!

Me, Al Pal, Megan, and Connie.

Santa and I love those Wildcats.

The creative lawn displays are my favorite.
These ones are on the Naughty side of the lawn: Kristen Stewart, Lindsay Lohan, and General Petraeus sans pants.

Tebow was on the Nice side of the lawn with BABY JESUS TO HIS RIGHT. It was a little extreme.  

Monday morning we stopped for breakfast at Le Buzz, went to the movie theatre and literally only bought popcorn, shopped around a bit at my favorite Tucson shops, grabbed an Eegee to-go-- then we hit the road! Short but sweet trip-- and totally worth it!

I always think Tucson is so close until I have to make the drive. It's tiring! Especially when your mom is navigating. I kid, I kid. But really.

My Grandma Bernie is in town this week! My mom and her have been very busy and out on the town! I've been getting the photo texts to prove it. Here's my favorite:

Grandma Bernie, Scabbers, and Thomas. 

Look at Thomas' face. He is the funniest. Cats run in my genes!

I actually have to wrap things up and head home. I'm having the silly ladies over for dinner tonight! (Ahem. Pizza.)

Thanks for sticking around through that lengthy post. That's what happens when I get sick and don't write. Oy!

Have a lovely evening and be excited that about 40% of you only have one more day of work before a 4-day-weekend. That's nice.

Lots of love to you all, no matter where you are!


Jen Michele