2015: The Good Stuff

2015 was an interesting ride.  I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I held my family close, I fell in love (with Charlie), and I did some real dig-down-deep type of soul searching.  This year, I realized I was accepting things as they way they were instead of pushing myself for more.  So I pushed back.  There were some pretty incredible moments this year.  Here are a few.

I touched the World Series trophy and hung out with it two nights in a row.  And took a picture with it.  And did I mention touched it?  Because I definitely touched it.

So Your Crush Asked You Out as Told by the Golden Girls

It finally happened.  The guy you've been eyeing for weeks on end finally got the nerve to ask you out.  Obviously, you said yes.

Congratulations! You caught his attention, of course, by utilizing your charm, wit, and extreme intelligence.
rose golden girls sophia shimmy television

Holiday Songs That Don't Get Old

The day after Thanksgiving signals the start to the holiday season and along with it comes the non-stop Holiday Music.  Some radio stations can't wait that long and start the tunes a week before Black Friday.  As we near the end of the holiday season, here's a few songs I can't seem to play enough.

Happy Holidays! 

Last Christmas - Wham!

Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year


Songs I'm Feeling Right Now

The music I obsess over and why I obsess over it makes no sense.  I want to say I'm ashamed One Direction is on this list, but I'm not.  I want to say I'm ashamed that Justin Bieber is on this list, and I totally am.  Terribly so.  These are the songs I play on repeat all day long, at least this week.  Enjoy or judge or do both.

Perfect - One Direction

Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015



Inspired by one of my favorite book blogs, The Broke and the Bookish, I have decided to participate in this week's Top Ten Tuesday!

These are authors I read for the first time in 2015 and rank among my new favorites (links go to Goodreads summary page).

1. John Green
    The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska
2. Cheryl Strayed
    Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
3. Milan Kundera
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being
4. Patti Smith
    Just Kids
5. Isadora Duncan
    My Life
6. Paula Hawkins
    The Girl on the Train
7. David Ebershoff
    The Danish Girl
8. Randy Pausch
    The Last Lecture
9. Lois Lowry
    Number the Stars
10. Michael Chabon
      The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

The Best First Date I Ever Went On Was With Someone I Never Dated

The best first date I've ever been on was with someone I never ended up dating.

In early June of 2012, following the ending of a long distance relationship and a horrifying rebound, a co-worker of mine suggested I go out with her boyfriend's brother.  My co-worker's boyfriend was two years younger than her.  Making his brother three years younger than me, but four years in school.  I hesitated initially.  He was still in college, still two years off from graduating.  He sounded great, but I wasn't quite sure I could let the age gap go.  I politely declined.  Repeatedly.

My Ultimate Playlist

I don't know why these songs get me like they do...but they do.

This list includes my current all-time favorite song: Come on Eileen.  That changing tempo and repetition of "Too-ra-loo-ra" have me jumping out of my seat no matter where I am.  Sometimes, though, it's best not to delve too deep into the meaning of these songs...especially with Come on Eileen.

10 Books That Changed Me

Hi my name is Jen and I read books.  All the time.  Non-stop.  People scream fire centimeters from my face while I'm reading and I can't hear them.  I am long gone in whatever world is currently unfolding in between the pages my hands so carefully hold.

These books below are ones I got lost in from the very first page.  Their words still influence me; I can quote from most of them without batting an eye. They all seemed to fall into my hands in exactly the moment and time I needed them.  Reading each one of these was like discovering the magic of books for the very first time.  The worst thing about these books was finishing them.

What I Would Tell My 17 Year Old Self

Thanks to Facebook's ingenious On This Day app, I am reminded of many awkward and uncomfortable connections I made spanning the ten years I have been using the site.  From what I gather, the best term for me over these past ten years is dork.  A huge dork.

However, if I could go back and reach out to that seventeen year old girl I'd shake her by the shoulders and give her some of the following advice:

Life With Grandpa


For almost three years, my grandfather was my roomie.  And it was glorious.  Every day was truly full of laughs.  Most nights, Grandpa would flip between a sporting event or some Big Bang Theory or Blue Bloods rerun while I worked on the day's crossword (I miss you Newsday!!) or some of the freelance resume work I had leftover.  In nicer weather, we would sit out on the front steps and Grandpa would talk about the neighborhood or any other random thought that came into his head.  It was always the perfect ending to any day.

Feeling a little lonesome for my favorite housemate after briefly seeing him this weekend, I tracked down a few of the amazing things my Grandpa has said during my time spent with him and made a list.  Because I think he's funny and they still make me laugh.

Pittsburgh Bucket List


Since moving back, I've been frustrated with the lack of things to do.  Leaving New York is rough.  There is so much available to you, you don't have to look very hard to find it. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is an enigma I'm ready to crack.  Plus, I'm just not the suburban girl I thought I was.  I like grass and a backyard, but I'd trade it in for some concrete if it meant I was in walking distance of any type of Ethnic food restaurant, period.  A real one, not a chain.  No, Chipotle, you do not count.

Happy Singles' Day

This morning I received a text message from my, very quickly becoming, new best friend Megan.  Macy's shot her an e-mail congratulating her on Singles' Day (11/11) and inviting her to join in on the sales celebrating the holiday.  Is this the Valentine's Day for single people?  If there's chocolate involved, does that mean tomorrow it will all be half-priced?  These are important questions I need answered.

As the concept of Singles' Day isn't wholly American (it's a Chinese tradition, mostly boosting online shopping sales), it's a bit of an unwanted reminder.  Just as Valentine's Day is.  I can buy chocolate/clothes/electronics any day of the year.  Do I really need a holiday based on my relationship status to make these things available to me?

When I started my new job, one of my co-workers cornered me in the kitchen and asked for all the good gossip I could share about myself.  I laughed and asked her what she wanted to know.  Was I married? she asked.  I quickly responded no, which she followed up by asking if I had any children.  Again, no.  "Well, that's all I wanted to know, really."  And she walked away.

Why Going to Work on Mondays Should Be Abolished

1. Because I could have done all of this online shopping I'm doing from my desk in my bed.

I Don't Know What I'm Talking About

When I started this blog, I thought it would be my way to revolutionize the existing blogs I already saw.  Instead of promoting How-To-Hairdo's, I'd create How-To-Volunteer posts.  In some small way, I'd be making an effort to foster positivism and encouraging a world that develops core values around the inner self rather than the outer self.

But that's not 100% me.  I am a very negative personality.  I can find the worst in anything, don't challenge me.  Centering a blog around something that feels fake is the opposite of what I was trying to create. I couldn't get posts out and I abandoned far more ideas than I started.  I began to feel demotivated and, for the most part, stopped writing.

So all I'm saying is, I don't know what I'm talking about, but I want to be talking and maybe along the way I'll find my voice.

Forget New Chapters, This One's a New Book

Que David Bowie's "Changes" to set the mood.

The past two years have not been solid, calm years.  They've been stressful, heartbreaking, full of tears years.  The world turned upside down and just as I started to adjust to the gravity, it flipped itself back around.

Today, however, is a touchable moment in time I can point to and say "This is where it all changes."  I wish I could say I was scared, but I'm not.  I'm not happy but content enough to leave behind the last two years.  I am slightly discouraged in the way I had to run as fast as I could to slam the door.  I learned long ago that the plans you make often blow up in your face, but I didn't even have the chance to make plans before everything exploded.

Mood Music: 10 Songs to Remind You to Just Do You

Sometimes you just need a pick me up when life has kicked you down a time or two.

This is a list of ten songs that (sometimes sarcastically) remind me life's tough but you've got to keep on keepin' on and just do you.

You Get What You Give - New Radicals


Quotable Lyrics: 
The whole damn world can fall apart
You'll be okay, follow your heart

Sharing is Caring, Unless It's Your Sadness on Social Media


The results are in: what you see on social media affects your mood.  Last year, Facebook controversially altered 700,000 users feeds, filtering only positive images/posts or negative ones and gauged how this affected the users who viewed them.  And. It. Did.

If our mood is so easily influenced by how others think and feel, then why are we sharing so much of our misery?  What does it say about us if we spend more time whining about the rain ruining our planned trip to the park than genuinely enjoying the time we still get to spend with our family, even if it takes place indoors?  

No, Thank You, I Don't Drink


I don't drink alcohol.  It smells bad.  It tastes horrible (I've had a sip or two in my hey-day).  It's expensive.

But why don't you drink?  Well, random stranger I've just met for the first time ever: I truthfully don't know.

50 States Challenge: California


February 10 - 13, 2012
Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach

Oh, California.  The trip to kickoff the challenge.  I traveled with four guys, three of them co-workers.  When we arrived, I realized they rented a Mustang...for five of us...and our luggage.  Well, it was an adventure after all.  No one says all adventures go smoothly.

Ten Things I Believe In


50 States Challenge: New Jersey



September 22 - 23, 2012
Atlantic City - Revel Casino

Nirala's birthday, since I first met her in 2008, has always been a major affair.  She's not the type of person to say, "This year, I'll just have a nice dinner with my family." Nope!  Not this girl.  It's one of the reason's I love her.  She's not afraid of celebrating herself and rightfully expecting her friends to join in.

The First

"Do one thing every day that scares you." 
- Eleanor Roosevelt

One day, it clicked.  I was sitting on a bench when four girls gathered in front of me. Throwing their arms around each other, they laughed and small talked while another girl stretched out her arm and snapped a photo with the gorgeous trees behind them providing the backdrop.  Crowding around the phone, three of the girls gave their approval and the fourth girl tapped away.  And then, they walked away. In different directions.

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