ny update: I'm getting on a one-way flight in three days.

Hey friends.

I wanted to stop by for a quick little update on all that's been happening the past week or so. I feel awful because I've really put this blog on the back burner this month as I've tried to get everything in order for this trip/move. Also in the process, I've had some serious writer's block. It's a total bummer, especially since I do feel so much inspiration to sit down and write. But then when I do, my thoughts are just all over the place, and I've found myself struggling to get the words to come out in a tasteful fashion. Even now, I'm feeling not myself in the way these words are hitting my screen! So bare with me as I try to set the forecast here.

A couple things to begin with: 1. I got my photos from the shoot I did with Anna, and they came out so so good! It's been a loooong time since I've had any professional pictures/headshots done, so it's great to finally have a fresh batch! I've already shared many of them on personal Facebook page, and will probably pick a few to put on my blog page. Feel free to check them out. And Anna as well. She's an incredible photographer, and also, a dear friend of mine. Next step: send these bad boys on over to Dana, so I can get the new blog design up and running.. yesss.

2. I have been chosen as BLOGGER OF THE WEEK on Gentri Lee's blog !! Ah, this is so exciting/bananas. Not just cause Gentri Lee is awesome, but because, I have most def been one of those hopeful bloggers who have clicked onto Gentri's blog often and thought to myself, "Dang, I wanna be a BOW." If you can imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago Gentri e-mailed me and said, "Hey wanna be my next BOW?" I thought maybe she e-mailed the wrong girl or something. This is a HUGE honor! I feel so happy and flattered. Check out the post if you'd like, and please find a way to shake hands with Gentri if you haven't already. She's one of my bestest blog friends and I promise you, you'll love her. And her blog!

As for the move... well. It is complicated to say the least. If you read my last update, then you know that I've basically decided it's my best hand to return to California post Blogher and start saving for the move in a more appropriate and serious way. I still believe this is probably the best route, and will be more than ok to execute this plan if my mind continues to have a say in it. However, as of right now, I still have no return flight purchased, and I am currently in the process of applying to several jobs out there. Surprisingly enough, since I've announced postponing my move, I've had a lot of people reach out and offer housing/potential job leads, which has really been a fantastic package of miracles. So, my attitude now is: try and make it work. At least try. Or as my Dad put it, "test out the water." If the timing is right, it'll work out (however difficult that will still be). And if the timing isn't right, oh well. Then I come back home knowing exactly what I need to do and how much I need to come out with to make it work the second time around. Either way, I win. But, still, it is all scary and nerve-racking and I have been just a mess of emotions as each day has been approaching. Some days have been filled with happiness and excitement, and others... stress and emotional break downs.

I have no clue what the next three weeks/months are going to look like, and it's a little terrifying. Being unemployed with no savings... is terrifying. Being unemployed with no savings in a big city thousands of miles away from my family and friends... is terrifying. But you know what? This is an adventure. Like a REAL one. And it's starting now. Ha ha... let the games begin.

I want to say thank you again, for the tremendous amount of love and support I have received from all of you-this blogging community has been a God send every morning. There's so many of you who I miss and am excited to have as new readers and I want to apologize for being a lame blogger this month. I'm going to do my best to keep up with everything that is going on. Whether it be here or on Twitter.... feel free to follow and know that I'm not intentionally ignoring any of you who are commenting or sending me e-mails--I promise I will eventually get back to all of you! I'm just trying to get outside of my head and enjoy this journey at the moment. Along with survive it.

Lots of love.


my longest (& possibly dumbest) vlog to date.

A couple months ago some folks and I came together and said...

"You know what? LET'S VLOG."

So we did. And it was good. Real good.

So now we're back for more. And we sure hope that you'll join us. We're talking about BUCKET LISTS this time around. Mine is HUGE. I tried to narrow it down to a few and still, I broke the vlogging rules and went beyond four minutes. I went for eight. That's even after editing, gosh darnsies. Of course, the first min and thirty seconds is me rambling about nonsense that has nothing to do with bucket lists, but eh... it could serve as some good back-story in the future maybe. Also, my sister Shannon makes an appearance in this one! Nevermind how I sound like some stage mom asking her questions like she's four.

CHEERS. (this vlog is whack. If I had time to re-do it I probably would. Please don't hold my cheese against me.)

PS Can someone please give me advice on how to get rid of those AWFUL bags under my eyes? Good Lord. Why do I get those so badly? It's not cute. PSS Poor Kevin. Let's pray he never finds this or else it's done. Psh, Curling my hair?! For some dude at the gym. And then vlogging about it. Who am I......


Don't forget to show my co-hosts some love and check out all the other vlogs/yay:

{Becoming What I Always Was // Hope Squared // Life as a Young Mom //  The Way I Am // Thoughts By a Petite Brunette}

Then link up! Because you can and you want to! FUN!!!

me, myself, and i.

(and some trash cans!)
I think because I'm officially unemployed again/ about to get on a one-way flight in a week or so, I've lost my writing mo-jo joe-joe. I've just had a lot on my mind and it's been hard to sit down and get my fingers to do the talking. All I can muster out is, "hey kids, wanna go for some vodka?" And before I can really mean it, I resort to my bed where I end up napping for a good five hours. Only in between episodes of wishing Barney Stinson was a real person who I could marry.

Ah, I'm ok. Shit's about to get really exciting in my life. And I'm excited. I really am. But I'm also freaking out a little. Cause I'm a bit of a control freak at times and I do like to have a plan even though I dream about being "the girl with no plans".

Like I said, my writing mo-jo joe joe is out of commission at the moment and so I think I will participate in a link up right now. 

My girl Kristen is hosting this one so obvi I want in. Plus I think this might be a nice way for some of you to learn a thing or two about me, aside from the fact that I REALLY want to live in a New York ASAP and that I take wayyyy too many pictures of myself. 

So. Here are the ?s

1. What is your biggest phobia?

Definitely death. But not really death itself, more like, time of death. I am scared of dying young. Or dying before I have the chance to experience the things I want the most out of life. Not to say I'm not enjoying every moment as it comes or that I haven't been blessed with some incredible experiences in my life already, but there are other things that I desperately want for myself... like being a mother and having some tall, dark and funny lumberjack looking dude (or a Barney Stinson character) getting down on one knee. Ha ha, probably not in that order. But either way, I want those things. I also want to go places and see things in the world. I get scared of staying in one place for too long, for fear that I'm missing out on oceans of other cultures and experiences that at any moment can be stripped away from me in some horrible freak accident. I think I watch too much "1000 Ways to Die." I need to stop that. 

2. If you could relive any day of your life, which day would it be? 

Hmm. World Cup 1994? 2002? Brazil winning is always an emotional event that doesn't quite compare to anything else I've ever felt in this lifetime. And for the record---I know everyone always rolls their eyes or says "ugh" whenever it comes to the Brazilian team, cause we're so "full of ourselves"... blah blah blah...but whatever, dudes. We are the world's greatest soccer champs. Of course we are going to take pride in that. Of course we are going to celebrate and get loud and butt hurt whenever anyone else takes our crown and steals our thunder. I think that's only natural.

To be honest, I'm not even a huge soccer fanatic. I don't know all kinds of details about all the players on the team, or who's training where or when, or what games outside of World Cup are going on. But when the FIFA comes around every four years, you can bet your bottom dollars, I'm tuned in with the rest of my family. And we rage. I can't wait for our next victory. And until then, I'd love to relive the ones of the past. Those were some very happy days in my life. Not just cause winning feels good, but because celebrating a part of who you are feels good. 

Come on, 2014!!!!

Sisters and cousins goin' on a pride parade thru Ventura. We do this shit every World Cup... win or lose. 

3. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

This is a tough question because I've only lived for 24 years, and so I only know the life and times of a 24 year old. I think naturally, I'd pick to stay "forever young"... in my mid 20s now, but I don't know. They say sex only gets better with age... I think my 40s are going to be a pretty ravishing time, not afraid to say it. I also look forward to retirement someday. Sure, I'll be all wrinkly with gray hairs and stuff, but I'll have a garden and grandkids and season tickets to the regional theater. Maybe a porch? Sounds pretty chill. I also look forward to being old so that I can look back and do my favorite: analyze and reflect on every god damn thing that ever occurred in my lifetime. 

I hope blogging is still cool when I'm 70. 

Did I answer the question at all. I guess young? 25? I'll let the cliche win. P.S. I turn 25 next week... eeeee!

4. What celebrity do you get mistaken for?

Oh gosh. There's a few....

1. Amy Winehouse: Not so often anymore, but when my hair was black, I'd get it all the time.
2. Anne Hathaway: I don't see it. At all. But I'm totally flattered!!
3. Marisa Tomei: MOST common and my favorite. I do a happy dance every time anyone compares me to her. Have you guys ever seen My Cousin Vinny ? So good.
4. Punky Brewster: dur. 

For comparing/contrasting purposes...

1. A photo of me in case you don't know what I look like. (or forgot.) 
2. A photo of my Amy Winehouse hair days. Not the best photo, I'm aware. I most definitely look like I'm having an orgasm to some random fantasy novel. Also, I did something ridiculous with my hair in that specific photo, so don't be thinking that's how I walked around with my hair did. In summary, that was me circa 2006/2007 with my black hair. Being a strange person.

5. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?

Ah, so many songs that are near and dear. Here's a few of the constants:

Crimson and Clover : Anthem of my youth :)

Beautiful People : Such a perfect and beautiful song about loving your neighbors and being a friend to every soul you meet. I am constantly fascinated and interested in all kinds of people, so this song def speaks to me.

Wild is the Wind & Real Love : Brilliant songs that resonate with my ideas of what real love is and feels like. These are the love songs of my life.

Isn't Life Strange : A song my Dad used to play all the time. A little over the top, but I love it. A perfect song for my reflective soul.

Go West : Ok, this song is just SUPER DUPER corney, but it's another song my Dad used to play in the car and it's just so damn up beat and awesome. You know you agree. It's totally my "wake up and do epic shit today" jam.

Starlight : This is also my jam. I share it with my sister and we get gross excited every time it comes on. Also, Muse is my favorite band. Forever.

Suzanne : All I can say about this song, is...... Fuck. So beautiful. I know this song means so many different things to so many people, but for me it's all about letting go. Opening your heart and having faith in people/life/things. It's about living. feeling. believing. 

The Greatest : Another songs that speaks to my often defeated spirits. On letting go and not being too hard on myself all the time.

Stay or Leave : A song for some of my toughest break ups. This one says it all. 

Like A Prayer : Need I explain? Hands down one of the best songs ever. I go all out for this time. Everytime. Anywhere.

Weeeee. Happy Tuesday.


so today I learned about 'no-reply comments'

That was fun.

I'll be sure to touch base with all of that in a sec, but FIRST: how about some non-related instie's, eh?

The last couple of days have been absolutely gorgeous here in Ventura. It's been hard to let the recent realities that have hit me win, when the reality is this: I'm already winning-- I live in a charming little beach town in Southern California where the weather is perfect and brilliant and currently doing wonderful things for my skin tone. Thanks, Cali sun! Also, thanks sister Michelle for being rich the way you are and having more clothes than you know what to do with, so you just give them to me. Like pictured top above. (the brand is WILDFOX for those who wonder, and the image is a heart surrounding the NYC skyline.. #perfectmuch) Hooray new top! (And Robeks. Yum.)

Secondly, I want to say thank you for all the incredible comments on yesterday's post. Woww, friends. I am still working my way through responding to each and every single one of them. I believe I'm about halfway all have given me a lot to think about/respond to, so it's taking a little bit longer. Also, in the process of doing so today, I stumbled upon this peculiar detail:

'no-reply comment' aka

um yeah.

Have you guys been conscious/aware/checking for this when replying to comments via e-mail?? Cause I most certainly have not.

It was only today that I even noticed that noreply-comment e-mail, looked it up and then realized CRAP, no way. I have been responding to handfuls of readers for MONTHS and THEY HAVEN'T BEEN RECEIVING A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE COMMENT REPLIES FROM ME! Ahh, what a total blog snob I must seem, you guys!!!

Granted, I DO NOT respond to every single comment on every single post, but I do try to comment back to as many as I can. Ha, It may take me like 2-12 days, but I DO reach back out. I DO click onto your blogs. And I DO appreciate every single person who takes the time to say "Hey", let alone read anything I've got to say here. It's important for you guys to know that, and gosh dang, I'm just so bummed that I've written novels to some of you and that it has gone undelivered!! That shit stinkssssss.

With that being said, I encourage ALL of you, right now to go double check that you have your e-mail attached to your blogger profile. Cause if you don't, that means you're missing out on responses that bloggers may be trying to get to you! This post will thoroughly direct you through making sure you're not a no-reply!

Also, I just want to reiterate that I will always respond to e-mails sent to me. Again, it may take a day or five to get back to you, but I promise you, I will! I've been very thrilled to receive a great number of e-mails as of lately in response to my How To Get Over A Breakup post, and I just feel so happy and flattered to have multiple people coming to me asking for comfort and advice. This is one of the things I am absolutely loving about this blogging business most and am excited to pay more attention to in the coming months. I want to help and encourage all of you in any way that I can. Just don't ask me for financial or budgeting advice, haha, because I will surely fail you there. But dating... (?) (?)....I'm all ears. Talk at me! I am beyond happy to offer up what I have learned in my many colorful life experiences. Of course, I still have MUCH to learn for a young lady, as you probably read in my last post, but basically I'm just sayin' that I'm here. And I'm social! So don't be shy--feel free to reach out--I want to be your friend too!

Final announcement: Some special homies and I are co-hosting another VLOG LINK UP. Do you remember when that happened the first time? Well, WE IS DOIN' IT AGAIN! This time we are talking about what's on our BUCKET LISTS. Should be killer. Check out Emily's post for all the details+some laughs. That Canadian lady is pretty funny, eh? I like her.

Ok and one final thank you, friends, for being the best. You all made yesterday and today 298374 times easier for me with your kind and supportive words. I'll be sure to get back to the rest of you in the next day or so :)


ny update: move is postponed.


Before you start throwing your hands up and chucking marshmallows at my homepage, please consider the possibility that sharing this news with you (and accepting it for myself) is not just very disappointing, it's embarrassing. I feel like a stupid idiot with a slightly broken heart at the moment. And nope, not even a whole box of jujy fruits could fix this. Or a bunch of marshmallows. But thanks.

Basically, me and my NY move this summer just broke up, and naturally, I feel terrible.

I will try as best as I can to explain myself here, though I am likely to feel like a total jack ass for weeks to come as I continue to explain myself to everyone who may have heard that I'm moving to NY this summer. Which by the way, most definitely includes all kinds of folks (like all of them) since I posted about it once or twice on Facebook. And you know, made a blog all about it and stuff.

So that's cool. 

Where do I begin?

I'm not moving to New York in two weeks anymore. I'll start by stating that one loud and clear. Tho, I will still be boarding a plane at the end of month to visit my cousin in Jersey and attending the Blogher conference, I will be purchasing a plane ticket back home to California two weeks later. 

I don't fancy the part where my "move" suddenly got swapped for a "mini vacay", but I would be lying if I said I didn't feel a small degree of relief in this decision. It hurts, but there is relief here too.

The fact is this: I am mentally, emotionally, spiritually, culturally, pretty much any applicable word that ends in -ally READY for this move, except for one very important one: financially.

Six months ago when I first set out to put this lifetime dream into motion, I told myself I was going to save up five grand. Not much for a city like NY, but I figured it would be enough to take off with, without having a job and housing lined up. Well, now fifteen days away from this long-awaited event, and I have zero dollars saved. ZERO. At this moment right now I have a very small 600-and-something dollars in my checking account and at least three bills to pay in the next five days that will wipe those precious dollars away in a heartbeat. Which then leaves with me, with not just zero dollars saved, but zero dollars to even leave with.

I know what you're thinking.

How, jen. HOW.

Believe me, friends. I have been asking myself the same question the last couple of months and it has been diligently eating away at me with each passing day. I guess I was having a little bit of a fairytale romance with the wannabe flower child in my head who likes to imagine it's 1967 and/or a movie I'm living, where I can just take off and "make it work" like Tim Gunn would say to peoples. Move to the city on literally two pennies and live the dream. Ha. Wouldn't that be perfect if I could be like Natalie Portman's character Alice in Closer: just move to a new city, walk down the street (looking fly as all hell) and not die from a car hitting me, followed by getting swooped up, saved and immediately sheltered by Jude Law? That would be perf, right? Except for the part where I'm more of an Anna. The kind that's a little less edgy and a little less codependent on others to survive financially. I'm also not a stripper, and have not had serious thoughts about becoming one in order to survive in the new city. My feelings today, anyway.

So what happened? Why didn't I pull my shit together and save five grand? Well, it's simple really.

Six months ago I moved back in with my parents to save money for this very move. Also six months ago: I started this blog. Little did I know it would suddenly become an almost full time job that collectively has brought me no benjis, but a lifetime supply of "yipees" and "this is awesome." I think like most of us bloggers, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. And I most definitely found myself quickly obsessed. Not just with the writing (though that is the best part for me), but Reading. Designing. Networking. Vlogging. Editing. Connecting. Going outside and taking pictures of like EVERYTHING... traveling long distances to meet up with other bloggers who I have come to love and admire. Scheming to attend every blogging and social media event there ever was/is.

All of those things took the place of getting myself a much needed second job to save for this move. Instead of working my buns off to make some extra monies, I stuck to my computer and I kept writing. I kept reading. (and yeah, ok, tweeting slash pinning slash instagramming too.) And I somehow managed to develop this small, but very lovely following that includes you+the confidence that I may actually be onto something here with this writing thing. And it's a good feeling. I have no regrets here with this blog. None.

But as for this move, well, last night I managed to finally say out loud: "I'm crazy. This isn't going to work." And as my wise father began to slowly nod from across the table, I finished that thought with, "I can't move to NY yet. I'm not financially ready." It was a hard thing to admit to, as my half eaten salad sprinkled with tears could have told you, but on the very same note, I felt so much relief from saying it.

It's not time yet. 

Unless, of course, it is. I mean who the hell knows. Maybe when I fly out in two weeks I'll meet someone who miraculously offers me a job, or at the very least housing in the city. Maybe I'll get hit by a car crossing the street and not die and wake up to Jude Law. Or Ryan Gosling. Or some hot man wearing flannel and a beard. Never say never, right. (Even still, I'm an Anna, not an Alice, so not sure I would let my pride and independence escape me that quickly. A job offer would really be the sweetest.)

As I sit here now there is a lot of back and forths going on in my head still. A lot of "buts" and "what ifs" and "ok, so I'm coming back, but do I buy my return ticket now or later?"

I don't know, you guys. But I guess I just wanted to share that, as of right now, I have greatly accepted the fact that I will mostly likely be returning to California post Blogher. This is not to say my journey to New York is over, and all of this planning and counting down has been a complete and utter waste--it has not. The journey continues. This is just a small hiccup, a small bump in the road. An honest realization that I haven't quite set myself up for success in all this quite yet.

So all embarrassment and sadness aside + deep breaths, let's do that. Let's go to Blogher, have a wicked time, and then come back and plan for this more accordingly. Last time I checked, New York ain't goin' anywhere.

Singing: patience is a virtue.


final west coast holiday.

Holidays are very nostalgic. At least for me they are. I always seem to make it a point to either discuss or make a personal mental note to myself of what exactly it was I was doing the year before on whatever holiday it is I'm celebrating. Where I was. What I was wearing. How I was feeling. Who I was with. Who I wasn't with. The reflections are often tender, as for me, I've found myself in places quite different from one year to the next.

Last year, for example, I was hiking in the Laguna Canyon with my friend Kendal. We ended up walking a good five miles post hike to get to what I thought was the nearby beach (ha, my sense of distance can be so terrible.) I remember I took a long nap after that, and then just hung out at home by myself for the evening. Sounds sad, but it was actually quite nice. A gentle calm before the storm to come in the months after. At the time, I was getting ready to move out of my beloved college Irvine apartment into a home in Dana Point to be closer to my restaurant job where I had been recently promoted to management. It was a month filled with stress, fear, and excitement. My college era was over, and I was starting a new chapter in my Orange County adventures: The one where I was a full-time working CAREER WOMAN! I had high hopes. And at the time, I thought it was exactly what I wanted for my 24 year old.

Until I realized it wasn't.

It took a few months for that realization to show up, and then a couple more months to act on it. But ultimately it got me here. Back in Ventura. And basically, it's just crazy how much can happen and change in one year.

I have no idea what next year's Fourth of July will look like. (Or all the days leading.)

But this year's was great. My last real holiday on the West Coast and I spent it with my sister and her friends. We drank and we laughed and we ate candy. And we hopped a barbed wired fence to climb a mountain, for what was definitely the best spot to catch the fireworks show. (total rebels, I know.)

I missed my own friends in LA & OC, but hugging Ventura+my family as tightly as I am in these final hours.. well, it only seems right. I'm going to miss this little home town of mine.

And I couldn't be more proud of myself for the brave distances traveled from the last fourth to now.

I hope you all had a nice holiday as well! See you tomorrow at Blog Brunch? Say yes.


three weeks notice.


Hi Friends. Happy July.

I am a wave of emotions this morning as I note the arrival of this long-awaited month. Not only is it my birthday month... but it's also the month in which my whole world will be changing as I relocate to the other side of the country. It's a decision that has been a long-time coming and seven long months in the official making. Honestly, I can't believe it's here. And I can't believe how far I've come since last December. It's been the monster of all transitions between what was my life in Orange County and what will become my life in New York. I've done a lot of healing and self-reflection here in Ventura, and though I will miss being HOME, I am excited to step back out into the world and be an INDEPENDENT WOMAN AGAIN. *que Destiny's Child*

I want to say a really big THANK YOU to all of you who have been reading and providing me with love and support as I've had rounds of "YAY!!!!" and also rounds of "Holy Shit, what am I doing." Cause honestly, even though I call myself a tough girl eager to welcome any and all change/adventure that comes my way... I still get scared. I'm scared right now (big time). But like my Dad says: "Only once we start running in the direction of the things that scare us, is when we truly allow ourselves to start living."

Time to start packing and saying goodbye.

For those who are just joining in on my shenanigans, Welcome! You can read all about my decision and journey to New York here. If you happen to live in New York, or New Jersey or anywhere on the East Coast, please say hi! I'd love to meet you and make friends :)

In other news, I want to shout hooray because an official new blog design is on its way. I am so thrilled to have hired the beautiful and talented Dana of Wonder Forest to make me up something fresh and pretty. It should be arriving here shortly. I'm just waiting for my dear friend Anna to deliver some photos she took of me to be incorporated into the design.... stay tuned!

Also I will be attending the great Blogher conference in August. If you are too, please say hey!

Besides all that.. Happy day to you all. I'm off to see the gym wizard and then work... to hand in my three week notice.... always tough saying goodbye to a job!