Ok, Time to Get Ripped.

Hi. I do not get dressed up for the gym. I look like a haggard mess and then I sweat a crap ton, adding to the haggard-ness even more. And guess what. I don't care! What's up with all these other chicks dressing up like they're going to a MISSED CONNECTION? Are they joking me??

Ok, time to get RIPPED.

I'm serious this time. Just like I was all the other times. But this time. Really, I am. How do we know I'm serious: because I'm blogging about it.

I'm coming to realize how accountable one becomes of themselves when they put things down in writing. Especially in a public domain. It kind of adds a new layer of pressure and expectation on oneself (wow, I sound so formal this morning-sometimes I forget I'm not writing a college paper....[ever again]). For a gal who is often severly discipline-challenged, this is a bright and promising approach. AND SO, in spirit of all the "healthly/lets get fit/lets feel good" posts I've been reading lately (love it), I'm composing my own. BOOM.

Let me start off by saying this. Honestly? I'm pretty comfortable with my body image. At 135lbs / 5'7 / Size 6 jeans (size 4 at the GAP #reasonsilovethegap) I sit comfortably. Does this mean I don't have a collection of physical insecurities? HECK NO, mamas! Of course I do. I'm human. And those magazines and those televisions sure like to flash images at us constantly that make ALL of us feel like much less than we are. It's annoying, I agree with you. But, I've managed to not let those things get to me. I don't stress over my flaws, I don't demand the lights be turned off when I'm getting intimate with someone, I don't "stay-in" because I feeling like I'm "too fat" to go out (seriously ladies--don't be hatin' on yourself like that-it's ridiculous. GO OUT and have a fun time. No one is seriously going to be looking over at you at any point of the night and think, "wow, she's not thin enough to be outside her home enjoying this fine Friday evening." Are you kidding me? NO. That DOESN'T happen. If you're feeling a little less hot than usual, just put on something that flatters your figure. Put on some black. Put on some lipstick (easiest boost of confidence right there). And maybe have a a glass of wine or two before your GFs pick you up. But whatever you do, don't let your insecurities rob you of your Friday evening. You're robbing yourself in the process.) And most of all, I certainly don't say no to cupcakes when I really want one. To enjoy life means to enjoy cupcakes. It's ok. All is OK in moderation. 

To go back to the bit about having the light turned off during moments of intimacy (sorry, not my most organized post here. Now I remember, I'm not writing a college paper.) I wanna share a quick little piece of reassurance that was delivered to me once by a dude friend of mine. I don't even know how the conversation started, but somehow I think I mentioned the fear/insecurity of taking your clothes off in front of a guy for the first time, and how you worry about what they may think. To which, this friend of mine, quickly responded with, "Jen. We're guys. What girls need to understand about guys, is that when a girl is taking her clothes off in front of us, the last thing we are thinking about is how her physical appearance is disappointing us in anyway. We're not even thinking about that at all. The only thing we're thinking is, 'she's taking her clothes off!!!' We're excited about it. Especially, if it's a girl we're really interested in." Pretty straightforward outlook from a dude person, no doubt. But there is depth there in what he said, and it has stuck with me ever since. I don't demand the lights to be turned off. I never have. But while I have thought about it in the past and almost wished it at times out of fear of judgement, I don't anymore. 

I'm content with the way I look. I'm freckly and curvy like my Brazilian mama, and I've got assets I should stop taking for granted so often. BUT, there is always room for improvement, right kids?

Right. So I wanna tone up. I've managed to maintain the same weight (give or take a few pounds) since high school and that, in itself, is something to be proud of given all the stress that I've juggled since June 2005. But there's been areas of FLAB all along that I have been meaning to tackle. At times, I have, but then it's back to one toooo many jelly beans and BOOM, it's back. Well. This time around I don't just wanna FIGHT THE FLAB! but I want to KILL IT. For good. Do you see the serious-ness and ferocity in my all caps there? Yeah, this is for real.

Cause not only do I want to look good better for New York/the summer of my 25th birthday, but there is no doubt that being active and taking care of your body as best you can, makes you feel good. Even if you can't physically see the changes right away, your mentality shifts immediately for the better. It really does. You have more energy and you have more confidence. Facts.

I've been running long distance on and off since I was 14. (Ran Cross Country in both HS and junior college) and I want the discipline and intensity of all of that back. I wanna seriously be like one of those crazy frequent marathon runners and/or Jillian Michaels. Well, maybe not that ripped, no offense, Jilly, but I just wanna be able to comfortably wear dresses like this awesome new one, with out fear that people are judging my back fat. Cause sometimes, even with the lipstick on and the glass of wine or two you still irrationally freak out that people are having entire conversations about the visible flaws your sporting. #thatslife #thatsbeinghuman #thatsbeingagirlinthisdayandage #america. 

(I like to hashtag my life away. Have you noticed?)


HOW cute?? My sister Michelle GAVE it to me. Sometimes she likes to scream at me for wearing a shirt of hers that surely I didn't think she cared about anymore because I found it in a garbage bag titled "GOOD WILL". Other times she is handing me dresses by Free People for FREE. And I'm a lot confused, but I don't ask questions. I just say yes and immediately try it on and then ask her to take pictures of me so I can instagram it. And then hug her. And then finally, hug the idea that I want to look the very darn best I can in said dresses. 

So here we go. Time to get ripped. I'm doing three days on//one day off with special focus on my core and my arms. And just trying to get more seasoned on the distance running again. I'm definitely not running the six and seven miles a day that I used to. I want those days back. And also, I just want some balance around here. I've been getting pretty lost in all of this blogging lately, and it's great, but I need fresh air, and I need some physical movement up in hurrrr. 

I'll leave you with some tips from my very own gal/hero. The REAL slim shady.

your turn:
- Where do you stand with your body image? Are you guilty of always saying no to cupcakes even though deep down you are crying for one? Demanding to have the lights off? Obsessing over calories? Stay in because you feel fat?
- Do you have any advice you can add in terms of body image and boosting confidence on those nights when you are feeling less spectacular than usual?
- Wanna get tone with me?? Let's e-mail and talk accoutability!!!

Body image can sometimes be a tough one to talk about, because everyone is usually on different paths with it-though I'm sure many of us share the same insecurities, no matter what size we are. I really just welcome you to share any thoughts you may have here. Even if it's just, "GO PUNKY!" because, hey, encouragement is awesome ! And you know how much I love itttt :)

P.S. In other topics, have you guys thought about putting together a post of your favorite instagrammers?? No? Well,  you should!!! My first round of Punky's Picks is up and it's lonely. It needs some friends--would love it if you took the time to share your favorites and linked-up. Link up is open for an entire month! gogogogo.



NO, BUT REALLY: Confessions of a Wannabe Blogger

Hello and welcome to the continuation of this post.

I've been anxious to return to my thoughts and my words and my ever-non-phasing-desire to share every freckle of my young spirit with you. It's been fun rolling in the meadows and organizing link ups for the first time, but I'm back now and I want to let you know where my mind's been seeding.

The wealth of information I've gathered since I wrote that former piece is tremendous.

Where I stand right now as a budding blogger is tremendous.

In the last two weeks my readership has doubled (!!), and all I can say is aw, gee. Cause it ain't even my birthday week and yet it feels like a party in here. It's awesome. And wild. And yeah, much of it IS due to the fact that I've made some investments here and there in terms of sponsoring, but I've also done the one thing I'm proud to say, I do best, and that is: be me.

Granted, I'm still figuring it out. You know, the "me" part. But of what I do know, I embrace. I remain true to it. And that goes for every shade of my being: I'm talkin' the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the lost, the found. Every shade of this 24 year old body, I love and I hold. And all of it, I share. I've opened my heart and soul here, since post numero uno. I've put things out there, that actually, I've looked back and thought, "eeee," only to be swiftly greeted by the after taste of freedom and the quiet confirmation that my "work" here is GOLD. If not for you, for me. Blogging has literally saved me since the new year. It's given me clarity. It's given me peace. And it's given me determination.

The love and compassion I've received from both friends and strangers alike is incredible. From random friends that I haven't spoken to in YEARS to experienced bloggers that I truly admire. To read the words, "you're special", "you've inspired me", "I was blown away by what you wrote" "what you are doing is tremendous and life-changing", I mean.. really? IT'S NOT EVEN MY BIRTHDAY WEEK, people. And those are some pretty powerful things to say.. really? Are you serious, I ask?? You are all too kind to say such things, and also, you're making me blush.

I feel good. And this blogging thing, well, it just keeps getting better. And more real for me. Truth be told, I've only begun to vaguely express the craziness that has occurred in my lifetime thus far. There's been situations I've lived that literally, I've had to turn to GOOGLE (no joke) in order to find another soul on this earth who could relate. They have been dark times where I needed someone who wasn't going to respond with an uncomfortable laugh or a "I don't know what to say" or "that is the craziest thing, I couldn't imagine." I want to share these experiences I've gone through. I want to write about them. And not because I'm looking to exploit any of the characters involved, or because they're "crazy stories", but because I have a voice, and I've been gifted with the willingness to use it, and a passion to relate with others. I've learned so much already, and still-there is much left to be learned. I want to write it all down. And if it's not for you, then it's for me. But see, I want it to be for you too. I want to continue to share the love and to inspire, to get others to think outside the box and see things from a different perspective. That's what I'm ultimately doing here, because the personal diaries, I have those, and I write in them daily. But this is the place where I come to connect, to encourage, and to offer up what I've learned, what I'm learning, and what I hope to achieve in the future.

So if you're with me and you're reading. I want to say thank you. Again and again. And again. I'm just one tiny little fish in this giant blogging sea, where the talent is great, and the blog layouts are just as GREAT. HA. I simply cannot WAIT to afford a spectacular and more professional looking layout--I have such great things in mind! Alas, I must stay close to my old pal, Patience !

Thank you for sharing this space of mine with others and for believing in me and my words. It means so very much to me.

I have big dreams in this life of mine. And yes, blogging professionally and writing and being a source of inspiration to others has certainly become a part of the equation :)

And now a CHEERS to:

- humble beginnings
- to each and every one of your blogs. (which, by the way, I so truly wish there were extra hours in the day for me to read every word of, ahh, it's so overwhelming. I want to give the love back constantly! To all of you.)
- to this incredibly loving, creative and supportive community we all belong to.
- to this strange and modern time we live in where we have the power to reach out and connect with one another in ways our grandparents never imagined.

CHEERS, because it's a remarkable thing.


FILM CLUB: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

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YAY, here we go. 

First mini film review for Punky's AFI Film Club! (These will be posted by 6 a.m. every Monday morning...had a late start today because there was drama last night at work and this morning I was greeted by menstruation/the joy of cramps... you know how that goes.. LADIES) ANYWHO---

As a film lover myself, I am so PUMPED to be paying the classics attention/tribute and I am further thrilled that so many of you are joining me in the process :)

The first film drawn was John Huston's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, starring Humphrey Bogart (lovvveee), Walter Huston & Tim Holt.

Obviously, if you guys watched my silly v-log, you saw how clueless/uncertain I was about this film when I pulled it outta of my fishy bowl. I was totally like, huh? Really, this is the first one?? Am I really sure about this whole AFI Film List thing? I could just say F it, and resume to my episodes of How I Met Your Mother or just put on the 'ol Life Aquatic---Nothing wrong with those choices of entertainment. After all, they're in COLOR.

Ha. I will be the first to admit that, although, I have a lot of respect for the foreign films, for the documentaries, for the old classics... it takes a significant amount of patience to sit down and actually commit myself to these genres. Not only do you have to really be in the mood for it, you have to really talk yourself into being in the mood for it. And I don't know why that is, STILL, when nine out of ten times, I finish such films and find myself saying Wow, that was really good. I'm so glad I watched that.

Well, that's exactly what happened here, boys and girls. I enjoyed Sierra Madre through and through. Not only was it really funny at parts, (totally LOLed several times), but it had a lot to say about the human condition and how money and wealth can control us in ways that are simply just E-VIL. Though the ending was very frustrating, I love the lesson that was unfolded--the harsh reality that so many things in life come and go (money especially), and that it's crucial to hold on and put value on the things that actually matter--you're own self-worth, your own sanity, and your loved ones. 

Such a beautiful message. I nearly started crying when Howard was reading the letter from Cody's wife. Doesn't that letter just say it all?? 

This was a good film. Really really. And Humphrey Bogart, wow, still such a hot hot man even when he's all gross and covered in filth. Oh, and crazy.

Fun fact: Have you guys seen There Will Be Blood? Did you know that the director of that film,  Paul Thomas Anderson, drew much of his inspiration from Sierra Madre? Totally makes sense, right? So many parallels. 

Also, my sis watched this one with me and when it was over said it totally reminded her of that one episode of the Twilight Zone with the guys who stole all those bricks of gold and then went to sleep for like a hundred years or so (purposely) so that they could live without having to run away from their crime. Do you guys know which episode I'm talking about? I'm pretty sure I've seen it a long time ago, but would definitely like to see it again now. 

Anyway yay. Here's how this will work. If you saw this film too and have something to say about it, post up (or comment below, whatevs you'd like!) Keep it simple, maybe three points about the film.

Possible prompts (ew--prompts, I shouldn't use that word. Reminds me of college...gross.) Possible questions to answer:

What did you like about this film?

What didn't you like about it?

Who was your favorite character?

Your favorite part?

What lessons did you take from this film?

Did this film remind you of any other films (classic or modern)?

Would you recommend this film to others?

Then at the very end of course, if you could slap on our club button, that would be RAD.

Punky and the City

Really trying to get the word out about our little club here---it's hard when my readership is still small, and when I KNOW that there's probably many JUST LIKE ME thinking, "ugh... classic films...? That just sounds like a chore." But it's not, people! These films have a level of charm all on their own that don't even compare to films that are being made now. Maybe force your brother or sister or husband to watch it with you, or dare I say, your parents?? Chances are your parents have seen some of these and would be stoked to watch them again with you. I know I'll be watching many of these with my Dad. He's a huge fan of the old-timers. 


This week we're watching M*A*S*H (1970)

Get yourself a copy and join in on next week's discussion.




A Supper Photoshoot in the Meadow

The other day my baby sis Shannon proposed that we have a vain afternoon with one another + our iphones. As if she doesn't know the answer to such proposals already. DUH.

So we headed for Ojai and found a gorgeous flowery meadow beside a winding road. It was perfect. And I have to say, I'm quite pleased with how these photos came out! God bless the Instragram.  

By the way, my very first post of my new series, Punky's Picks is up. It's a link up dedicated to my favorite instagrammers! Would DIE if you joined in and added your own collection of faves. The link-up is open all month, so you have all kinds of time and then some to put something together. Put a smile on this girl's face and share the love!

I need a tan please.


P's Ps: 7 Instagrammers U Should Totes Follow !

Hello hello! AND WELCOME! To a) a new monthly series called Punky's Picks and b) my eager attempt at holding my very first link-up party. It wasn't suppose to come until Monday for my AFI Film Club, but I was feeling extra eager/inspired today and so, here we are folks.

I wanna share with you my favorite Instagrammers and encourage you to follow them! And furthermore, execute your own post in which you feature YOUR seven favs as well. Then of course link up and hooray we all have a collection of new artistic buddies. Does it get anymore awesome and fun than this??? I THINK NOT!

Ok so, here goes.

1. Gabriel of The Artful Desperado // @artfuldesperado

Um, whoah. I wanna get inside Gabriel's head and see where all his incredible inspiration comes from and also, where he stores all his dope photo skills. And guess what! I might just be able to. And so can you, if interested. Not only does this chap provide some solid photos to the instagram feed, but he's starting a question and answers series on his blog where he will be answering questions in regards to art, design, promoting, and being awesome. He should especially know about that last one, because, well, he is :)

2. Chelsea of Lovely Indeed // @chelsea_costa

Chelsea is nuts too. I have to be honest, half the time I DON'T BELIEVE HER instagram photos. Follow her. You'll see what I mean. Chelsea, are you for real? Your instie's are SO GOOD.

3. Meg of Meg in Progress // @meg_in_progress
What don't I love about Meg already? She has a lovely blog filled with lovely words about a very lovely family. And then she signs up for instagram and we get blessed even further with the undoubtable loveliness. Give this gal a follow, would ya?

4. Anna of Anna Joy Photo // @annajoyphoto
Anna is a personal friend of mine. We go back quite a ways, and though I haven't seen her in awhile, I see her work on a daily basis. And it is STUNNING. The lady's a professional photographer after all, so she knows exactly what she's doing. And with it, she knows exactly how to capture the right kind of beauty under the right kind of lighting with the right kind of quality to make you say, "ooo, that's a good one."

5. Alisia of Food, Fashion and Fun Finds // @alisialynn

Another personal gal pal of mine! Alisia rocks, and she no doubt has an incredible collection of instagram photos, much thanks to her creative eye and fancy photo skills. She's also a fairly new blogger, so I hope you'll not only follow her, but give her some bloggy love !!!

6. Rebekka of She Signed in Red Lipstick // @inredlipstick

Ha. Rebekka may hate me for choosing this photo. It is after all a very close up of her face. But my gosh, is this woman gorgeous or what! All of her instagram self portraits are just so darn pretty, I want to like all of them, without her thinking that I'm a total creeper. Ha-- maybe you should follow her and tell me you feel the same way so I don't feel like a creepy. Please and thanks.

7.  Me! // @punkyjsobel

That's right--number seven is YOU. Self-promotion, baby. BUT OF COURSE! Be sure to pick out an instagram photo that you are especially proud of ! (Obviously.)

Then I ask kindly that you include my Punky's Picks button at the bottom of your post, before returning to add your post link!
Punky and the City

Love you tons and tons for this! And no but really I do. I know that link up posts can sometimes be kind of time consuming to put together, but I'm leaving this link up open for an entire month! So you have plenty of timess to get it together! I hope you do! This is my first go, and if I don't get a single person who participates, I'm not only going to be bummed, but I'm probably also going to eat too many jelly beans and get a stomach ache. You love me, so you don't want that.
Yay for link ups and Instagram! Lets dance.


Send Something GOOD.

Check it. I'm participating in a little project called SEND SOMETHING GOOD, brought to you by the lovely Gentri Lee, Kaitlyn and Kristy.

It's basically a Secret Santa operation. (in April) (between bloggers.)

There's about 160 participants and I am one of them ! Weeee ! I'm looking forward to sending my buddy something awesome and to hear words as sweet as, "Yo PUNX, you got a package !" I don't online shop at all. (good thing?) (or bad thing?) (probably good thing.) so it's rare that I ever get anything other than bills in my mailbox. This is going to be funsies.

Today the presidents have asked us to participate in a link up in which we present a few of our favorite things. I hope this will help my pal get a better idea of who I am/what I like.

jelly beans
New York (of course)
vintage jewelry
vintage records
vintage photos
vintage everything?
hair wear (head bands, flowers)
trader joes
wes anderson
burt's bees
reality tv (but only the worse kinds. like A 1000 Ways to Die & Bridoplasy.)
ok, and the Bachelor too.
And Biggest Loser
And The Voice
(I have a life too, I promise)
(I go runnning outside)
the gym
red wine

But above all, I love WORDS. Getting presents is always fun, but nothing compares to the sweetness of words written in a letter or in a card. It's been a long time since I've gotten a handwritten letter in the mail from someone, and I think it would be lovely if my pal just simply wrote to me. Good thing this is a blogger exchange, because I know bloggers can write :)

and maybe check out some of my fellow particpants? maybe?


Punky's AFI Film Club is Now a Weekly Link-up!

Yay! This is my very first attempt at establishing my own blog link-up. And you know what would be nice? Success. 

And so I need your help, friends ! For one, if you'd like to join, JOIN! Go to the main CLUB PAGE and read all the deets. Please keep in mind that becoming a member doesn't mean you have to participate in every weekly link-up. I just think it to be neat to have a members list going so that everyone else can see who else is involved/interested and maybe even click onto each other's blogs. COMMUNITY BUILDING PEOPLE. THAT'S WHAT WE DO HERE. That and watch movies. And eat jelly beans. And blog about ALL OF IT.

For two, spread the news! Tell your bloggy friends. Maybe you don't care to get down with films made before 1990, but you have friends that might? It would mean a lot to me if you could suggest this little shindig to others who may be interested. In any way you can.. whether it's a tweet or on fbook. Or whatever. I'm asking for your help, as my readership is still growing and I don't have the channels in which to reach a lot of people all at once. 

For those who are already members. Thank you for your patience as I've been working hard to get all of this established and figured out!!!! We will officially have our first link up for Treasure of the Sierra Madre on Monday April 23rd. You can't wait!!! And neither can I :) 

Also, I made some buttons so if you wanna slap one on your blog, go for it! You can find the code for it on the main page. Stay tuned for give-aways as well!!! I will be giving away some cool films and film related things to members :) YUP YUP



100 Days.

100 days from now I'll be moving to my most favorite place in the world. It's called New York City. You may have heard of it.

Without further ado, I wanna say thanks to everyone for all the warm wishes and the congrats.  It means a lot and I'm excited to share this whole journey with you (as I've said 100x already). I hope in all of this, I can inspire you to go and do whatever it is you truly want. Don't let fear or inconvenience get in the way. I truly believe that making whatever changes you need to make in your life, however difficult and uncomfortable it may be, is well worth it, if it's all in the name of chasing your dreams. You only live once, my friends. Don't just embrace opportunities that come your way---create opportunities for yourself. Be a go-getter. 

I have been dreaming of New York my whole life. I don't know how or when it started, but at some point while I was very young, I had a collection of images and ideas about NYC and it just seemed like such a cool place. I had to go there.
(photo cred)
My first trip was when I was nine years old. Right before my dad's company went bankrupt due to his factory falling to the ground (Thanks for that, Northridge earthquake of '94, that was real sweet of you) My dad used the very last of his fortune to take my sisters and I on a little roadtrip across the country to New York. We took nine weeks to do it (talk about a vacay, right?). We saw all kinds of incredible things including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, Mt. Rushmore, Washington D.C., Elvis Presley's childhood home in Mississippi (thank God for that Mississippi tune they taught us in grade school-I still hesitate every time I try to spell it, the same way I hesitate with basic arithmetic and the order of the alphabet letters. #thankyousongs &fingers). We spent a week in South Florida, went to an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, and our final stop was of course Vegas (my dad plays poker professionally as a second part-time gig). It was really truly an amazing trip in this lifetime of mine. One dad, three little gals, and a Toytoa Corolla. I'll never forget it and I'll never forget how darn cool my Dad is for taking us on such a huge adventure.

It goes without saying, my favorite part of that whole trip was the two weeks we spent in New York/ Jersey. My dad is originally from Queens and we have family in Old Tappan.. so of course it was in my fate to love New York-I got roots there! We did all the typical touristy-like things that first trip, including the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. Here's a photo that my almost fifth grade hands took from the top:

It's nothing special really--just looks like every other photo taken from the top of the Empire State Building, except definitely lamer. And quality is not so grand (I used Instagram to try and enhance it :) But still, to me, it's a special photo. It's a reminder of that time when I got to stand where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan finally met for the first time on Sleepless and Seattle, and also a reminder of how magical that moment felt. What a city. What a view! That day I knew I was destined to come back to that place, many, many times, if not someday, for good. Here's a couple of other photos of this first trip:

Me and the sisters. Yes, that's a Winnie the Pooh T-shirt I'm rocking, and a big fat scrunchie I've got there around my wrist. Let's not talk about my sexy fashion choices at the age of nine, ok. If I wasn't as cool as I am now, rest assured, I would never post such a thing on the internet for all to see. Or come out and admit that I probably watched Barney until the third grade. You know you did too. Come on! (Or maybe I'm just weird and dorky. This could very well be the case.) PS. Does your heart not sink a little bit every time you see those Towers in old photos? wow.

My cousin Marni mid-speech and my Dad, with his video camera in hand, as always. This was while we were waiting for the ferry to take us to the Statue of Liberty.

The second time I visited New York was by accident. Yes, I am pretty good at accidents that turn out to be awesome. I was on a plane to Brazil with my Mom and our connection flight was at JFK. Well, because American Airlines is so spectacular and never experiences any technical difficulties or departure delays, we missed our connection flight. And the next flight wasn't until the next day at 9 P.M. Um yeah.

In the moment of learning this, I remember thinking, "9 PM??? Tomorrow?? What are we suppose to do until then?" Three seconds later: "OMG, we're in New York. Mom. We have to go into the city. WE HAVE TO." She was reluctant to agree at first... she was scared we'd get lost and miss our flight again... but after much desperate convincing she said YES! (Because my mom is super cool too.) And we went into the city for the day and got lunch in Central Park, did a little shopping and a little sight seeing. We stopped into St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was absolutely breathtaking... I want to get married in there someday? Here's some photos.

Here's mama bear looking pretty happy with our decision to take a day trip into the city.

The third time I went to New York was that same year, for New Years. I went with a big group of friends and it was a blast! We stayed in a little flat just north of Harlem and even though we were  bummed that it didn't even snow the entire time we were there, it was still incredible to experience the city during the Holidays. Magic on an entirely different level.

Subway chillin' with homies.

The fourth and last time I went to New York was for spring break two years ago. My college room mate was suppose to come with me, but he ditched out, and I decided I was still gunna go. Yup, all on my own. I stayed with my cousin Marni for a couple days in Jersey, and then I stayed with my friend Mary in Brooklyn. She works as a fashion design for Express. Pretty gangster. It was a bummer that I didn't get to hang out with her that much while I was there. She was working a lot, but I didn't mind exploring the city on my own. I'm a little bit of a loner by nature anyway and love being able to explore things on my own agenda. And still, while I was there I got to meet up with a bunch of my college friends who were all there for a musical theater program, which was super neat.

Here's me and all my college gal pals, at some Mexican Restaurant where we maybe had a little bit too much to drink. And also at some point starting asking ourselves why were in a Mexican restaurant in NYC to begin with--cause you know, the East Coast doesn't quite compare to the quality of Mexican Food that the West Coast has to offer. This is a fact.

This is me sitting in the airport on my way home. I'm sad because I'm leaving. And also because I missed my flight. Which is a whole separate post to be written. It was quite tragic.

And now, I prepare for my fifth trip! And it's kind of the biggest deal, because, well, it's not a trip. It's a relocation. A pretty epic one. The more I think about it, the more I actually really do get a little scared. And it's not the fear of being somewhere that is the polar opposite of sunny laid-back Southern California (I know exactly what I'm getting myself into). It's the fear of being far away from my Mom and Dad and my sisters and brother. I'll have to think twice when filling out paperwork and putting down an emergency contact number, because my lifetime heros won't be so local anymore. They won't be there on the days that are tough and what I need more than anything is a hug. They won't be there when I need help moving or I'm sick and need assistance/some TLC. They won't be there on holidays when I probably won't be able to afford a plane flight home. They won't be there when I need to come running home in the middle of the night because some douche bag cheated on me and broke my heart.  Above all, I fear the time lost that I could spend near them, with them, together. I am really close with my family. We're as dysfunctional as the next family doesn't like to admit, but we love each other. We may fight, we may yell, and we certainly take each other for granted often, but we're here for one another no matter what occurs. The more I think about it, the more daunting it is to know I'm moving way far away from that. 

After I told my dad I purchased my plane ticket, he left me this little present on my fbook wall.

A little part of my heart broke when I saw this because I just know I'm going to miss my family so much, and I don't want them to be sad that I'm leaving. Or scared. Or envious. Or skeptical. Or indifferent. Or against. I want them to be happy, and excited for me. And I know that most of them are. I know my Dad especially is. But man, I am going to miss all of them so very much. 

And still, I can't let these sad thoughts get the best of me. I know that this decision I've made for myself is the right one. Moving to New York is my dream. I have no purpose of going there besides the purpose of wanting to LIVE there. In 100 days, I will making way with literally two bags, no job, no apartment locked down, a very small savings, and a very large pocket of hope. I've sacrificed and been through a lot to get to this point, including getting through and finishing college, being offered the opportunity to move back to LA, giving up an establishing career in restaurant management in Orange County, a very special dude I was seeing, a whole collection of friends. I've literally dropped everything, in order to chase this dream, and however difficult I swear to you, it absolutely has been, this is the single most exciting thing I've ever prepared for myself. And I just know that the adventures of all adventures await me. I can't wait to learn and grow and to share all of it with you.

100 days and counting. And then it's Showtime.


I'm curious--if you could go and/or do anything you wanted to in your life right now... what would it be? Where would you relocate?

As if, New York isn't enough already, I have dreams of living in Brazil with my family for an extended amount of time and also of living in Europe. Italy or Spain would be nice. Maybe Greece too. 


So You Want To Be a Little Blogger, ay?

Well, great news. Punky is here to help ya out!!! For real. I have so much goodness to share with you here and I hope it will prove to be helpful in more ways than one. This post isn't just for those looking to start up a blog from scratch.. it's also for those who may already have a blog and are looking to enhance their following or their social media skills, or just their blog in general. 

Now, you may be looking at me and my "cute" little blog here (cute meaning amateur) and thinking, really? This chick's got barely 30 GFC followers... who is she kiddingsss ??

Well, let me just say. I feel you. It would appear I know very little. But actually, for many of my outside friends who are still trying to understand blogging beyond it's dictionary definition, I know a lot. And everything I know is all information I have sought out myself over the course of four months or less. I like to think that's pretty impressive and also, that I've set myself up for some future success. So please do me a favor, give me a small chance here. And maybe at the very end TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE BUTTLOAD OF FABULOUS INFORMATION YOU GATHERED FROM PUNKY'S BLOG. That would be really, really swell of you !! :)

Ok. So you want to start a blog. 

First things first. 

You need a computer. That goes without saying.

Two. You need to sign up for a blogging platform/service.

List of Blogging Services:
Blogger (free) 
Tumblr (free)
Typepad ($8.95-$29.95/mo)
WordPress (free unless you want to expand on all the services' features, then it costs some $$)

These are really the only four I would recommend. (Livejournal and Xanga definitely belong on the exiled island where Myspace now lives. I'm happy to be the one to tell you this.). Though I don't have any experience with Typepad or Wordpress, I know bloggers who get along with them quite well. However, I do believe (correct me if I'm wrong) those platforms are for the more advanced CSS bloggers and designers. If you're a beginning blogger, I would really just recommend either Tumblr or Blogger (they're free and easy!). Obviously I use Blogger for Punky and the City, and I love it. Everything about it is straightforward and simple when it comes to designing the look and feel of your blog, and also the analytics that come with it are great. For the newbies: analytics=stats. Like how many people visit your page on a daily basis, what sites they are clicking onto your blog from, and which specific blog posts of yours is getting the most action. 

In the process of signing up for your blog, you need to be thinking about what your blog name is going to be. Think of something that is catchy and unique to who you are. Don't pick something generic like, "A Lovely Blog" or "My Life in a Nutshell" (no offense, if anyone reading happens to have these as blog titles! eee)... try and pick a name that isn't already taken. In fact, go onto google and try a search for whatever you're thinking of. Make sure that no one else has it. 

True story--before I came up with Punky and the City, I looked up the title Jen One 'N' and someone had a blog called One 'N' Jen.... though it's just one blog with the same idea in mind, I decided I wanted something that was completely my own. In the process of turning other ideas in my head, it dawned pretty quickly on me that this would soon be a blog about my life in the city and since Jen and the City sounded boring as F, I used some Punky Power to come up with the genius title that is now Punky and the City, which I think is very fitting, given my ties to such a nickname over the years. 

Once you have a name figured out--I definitely suggest pinning that name into the link of your blog, and not just placing it as the title or header at the top of the page. It's important to do both. For one, I believe consistency is key in all that we do, and two, it removes any confusion as to what your blog title is. Again, the more unique the name, the better because then you can claim that same name in forums across the board and people can easily find you/your blog wherever they go. 

Last, but not least, get yourself a domain. This is totally optional and in many ways not even necessary, but I was feeling fancy in my blogging endeavors and so I went ahead and pinned my blog title down as a domain. I'm sure there's a number of domain companies you can choose from, but the most popular is GoDaddy, it's what I use and I definitely recommend it. It's super affordable (like twelve bucks a year or something) and the customer service is great. Not only did they call me the day after I purchased my domain to ask if I needed any help getting set up, but they even sent me a member card in the mail which I think is pretty neat. I don't know. I like having member cards. Don't you?

Once you're all set up with a blogging service and you've had time to mess around and come up with your starting layout (I say starting because inevitably you will learn all kinds of new things along the way and will be constantly tweaking and improving the look of your blog) and maybe have published a post or two, it's time to start getting the word out that you have a blog! For some, this may seem a bit awkward. Maybe you don't want people to know you have a blog. If that's the case, well, that's easy. Don't tell anyone. But if you're starting a blog for the purposes of sharing your voice and interacting with awesome strangers and creatives types across the globe, then it's necessary for you to alert the media that you now have an internet cubbie where you will be sharing your heart and mind for all to enjoy. 

The first place to start, is with your own friends and family. Send out a link on your personal facebook and let everyone know about your cool new blog. If that's all the attention you're looking for, then cool, stop right there. If not, then proceed to all the following suggested forums.

For the sake of my blog, I got a Twitter account. I wasn't really sure if it would help my blog at all. In fact, I wasn't even really sure how Twitter worked, or what the point of it was. Like a series of Facebook statuses? Uh, ok. That's... cool? 

Well, upon joining Twitter and actually using it through and through, I've come to know it as one heck of a social media tool, that is for certain. It's great for bloggers because it gives us the opportunity to let our readers know that we have new posts up or to share links to other great posts we find elsewhere. And these are just a few incredible perks. What I love most about Twitter is the ability to reach out to basically anyone without feeling like you're out of place for doing so and vice versa. It's not like Facebook where, if you get a friend request from some random person who maybe even shares a few mutual friends, and you're thinking, "the f? why is this person adding me. WHO IS THIS? DENY FRIEND REQUEST." On Twitter, if someone starts following you, you think, "YAY! A NEW FOLLOWER!" And if you're a blogger, that statement is usually followed by the action of clicking onto that new follower's blog (if they have one) and nine times out of ten thinking, "WHOAH, COOL BLOG!!! I'm so glad this person found me!" Twitter is magical. I won't even go into all the stories I have about celebrities on Twitter. Haha, I send dumb stuff all time to people with no expectation that they will respond in any way shape or form. And then, sometimes, they do. And it's awesome.

Get yo self some Twitter! And once you do, maybe follow me @punkyandthecity , I don't know, if you want to.

Then, once you've got yourself a Twitter account, and mind you, you're following more than a hundred people or so, I would recommend signing up for TweetDeck. I've only recently learned about this site, and I'm obsessed with it. TweetDeck allows you to organize basically your entire profile into columns. So you can have a column for all the bloggers you follow, all the friends you follow, all the celebrities you follow, your inbox, all the communities you belong to, your own tweets, your favorited tweets, tweets you were mentioned in... you get the point. It's just a great way to stay organized and to highlight those you follow more than others. 

Not entirely necessary, but if you're like me, I'd rather keep my personal Facebook exclusive to my friends and family and not just anyone who clicks onto my blog and then onto my Facebook link. Also, I prefer NOT to rape the walls of my Facebook friends with all my blog updates. My friends and family all love me, surely, but that doesn't mean they care about every single blog post or my blog at all and I totally get that. So, I went ahead a created a Punky and the City Facebook page. Feel free to click onto it to get an idea of how I have mine set up, and should you feel obliged to hit the 'like' button while you're at it... I will not argue against it at this time :)

If you have an iphone or android, you better be an instagramming monster already. If you're not, GET OUT. Cause instagram is awesome, and hey you know what else? It's great for bloggers. I use it all the time to capture photos for my blog, including this post! And it's also a great way to connect with others and showcase your artistic taste. 

Pinterest is the new craze, and it is definitely a lot of fun/a sleep stealer. I'm actually taking a little bit of a break from it at the moment because I kept finding myself getting so consumed, that I was leaving less room to work here on the blog. Generally speaking tho, Pinterest is a rad tool for brainstorming and book marking ideas, projects, images, recipes, posts, all kinds of things that can easily tie in stupendously with anything blog-related. 

Totes forgot to add this one! Bloglovin' is super. It's an online reader that lets you add all the blogs you follow and organize them into categories. It lets you highlight specific posts you like and even tells you which posts you have yet to read. I know Google has a pretty good reader, but personally I like Bloglovin better. By the way, in terms of Google. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT GOOGLE PLUS IS. And I don't want to. Get yourself a bloglovin!

This one is important. Even if you're totally new to editing photos and working with html/CSS, you will catch on little by little, and you'll come to realize the importance of Photobucket when it comes to resizing images and plugging them into various codes. It also makes for a great safe house in case any of your images get lost or your hard drive crashes and you don't have photos backed up in other ways. #lessonslearned

These next two are more like programs rather than forums, but since I didn't make a separate section for programs:

I would looooove to get completely saavy with Photoshop, but until I do, Google's Picasa is AWESOME. You can download it for free and use it to create basically anything for your blog. I use it constantly, and in fact, the banner you see at the top of my blog was made with Picassa. Not bad, right? 

This is the first blogging community I joined. And let me just say this. Sarah Bryden Brown (the creator of Blogstar) is a genius. And the women who belong to the this community, wow. No doubt, some the most inspiring and supportive women I've ever come across. This is a community every blogger should be a part of. The love and support here stretches for miles, I can't even describe it. You'll just have to come join and see for yourself. You can do so by joining on the site and also on the private Facebook Page. PS. Sarah has some pretty big things planned for the near future of Blogstar. As if it couldn't get any better. I can't wait to see what's in store for this one !


HUGE Blogging network. Probably the biggest and most well-known. Caters mostly to the community of women bloggers, but does not discriminate! There's a lot of exciting things going on constantly here, including their annual Blogher Conferencing Events. I will be attending Blogher this summer in NYC... please say HEY if you are too :) 

Also, I would like to add that this is a community that actively reaches out and listens to all of it's followers. I was pretty shocked one morning when I received a personal e-mail from Stacy Morrison, Blogher's Editor in Chief (!), about being a part of a focus group for the new developing interface of Blogher. Holy wow? I almost thought that it was spam mail or something and then I tweeted about it, and Blogher immediately tweeted back at me saying, "nope, it's real-we reach out to our community members all the time." Pretty sweet.

I discovered and learned all about Alt and nearly died in the process. Died from the disbelief that something so absolutely incredible existed. Who knew there were weekend long parties happening in hotels that were exclusive to creative minds in stellar fashions with champagne and people like Gretchen Rubin??? I mean, basically, it sounds like a smaller version of the Blogher conference, but I kind of freaked out a little bit when I went through the photos of this year's Alt conference and saw ALL of my fav bloggers in attendance. It's definitely a place I want to be. And I will be. My girl Erin of Artsocial and I just booked our rooms this weekend for 2013! Whoo hoo!

And wait----THERE'S MORE. Alt offers ONLINE CLASSES for only $15 a piece with some of the most well-known bloggers in the bizz. The class is taught through a really swanky online forum that allows you to be interactive with other students and the teacher. These classes are a GREAT way to pick up new blogging tips and new bloggy friends too :) I've taken three classes so far and cannot wait to take more!!!

Classes I've taken:

Perfecting the Pitch: How to Win Over Your Dream Sponsor with Erin Loechner of Design For Mankind (This class was SUPREMELY helpful as I didn't know where to even begin in terms of considering sponsoring. Also, Erin is adorable.)

Bringing Home the Bacon When Your Blog's Not Huge with Melanie Blodgett of You Are My Fave (Melanie is an inspiration. Point Blank.)

Twitter 101 with Jaime Derringer of Design Milk (This is how I heard of Tweetdeck! And Jaime is so funny!)

I found out about Blog Brunch by accident. I woke up one Saturday morning and went onto Twitter and kept seeing the word "brunch" on my feed. In my waking stupor, I thought, huh?? Is it like a National Brunch Day or something? How do I not know about this? Where's MY mimosa?? Then I decided to wake up fully and investigate and I came to learn that there's this CRAZY thing happening on Twitter where bloggers come together and under the Blog Brunch hashtag have entire discussions on various blog-related questions. Lucky for me, it had just started when I put two and two together. So I joined in on the craziness and it was lots and lots of fun! I met a whole school of little fishes like myself and we all followed each other post brunch and now look forward to coming together again each FIRST SATURDAY of the month. To become an official member of the community and to receive updates and news for future blog brunches and recaps, be sure to sign up on the site and follow on Twitter. And also, visit the lovely ladies behind the operation: Megan, Amy, and Mrs. Pink

I found out about Creative Connections through Tammy. I found Tammy through Blog Brunch. See already, how all these communities refer you to other awesome communities and bloggers? Tammy, by the way, is awesome. And is a great go-to person when it comes to blog-related things. At least I think so. She knows what she is doing and she has helped set up a number of SoCal blogger meet-ups. I encourage everyone to check out her nifty blog and also say hi to her on Twitter-she's super nice. Anyway--CREATIVE CONNECTIONS: awesome group that sets up blogger meet-ups in various US cities. Cause YES, we don't just like to hide behind our computers and limit the connections we make to the virtual world. We like to get together in real life and hang out and collaborate! I say this, even though I have yet to attend my first "blogger meet-up"... Ha, I'm always working, dangit, but I'm def excited for when I'll get to chill with my blog homies for real reals. Check out this group for potential meet ups, and also follow Elise Ostermann, the founder on Twitter. She's real nice too. 

Just a few blogs that have some great things to offer to newbie bloggers or even the experienced blogger. There never seems to be a lack of things to learn in this trade.

I met Kira through Blog Brunch as well, and her blog is way cool. She does a series called "Primp My Blog" which features a whole school of various tips and tricks. Check.her.out.

Melanie Biehle is just a sweetheart. And she does alllll kinds of really great and thorough recaps of her experience at the Alt Summit Conference. She also knows a lot of peeps in the business and is a great motivator in the land of starting new projects and thinking outside of the box. Definitely, give this one a visit or seven.

Well, aside from this blog having one of my most absolute favorite blog designs on any blog I've ever seen, the ladies behind A Beautiful Mess, share so many of their design and photography secrets. It's like an aspiring blogger's heaven. Just take a look around and you'll see what I mean.

*Also, for some really spot-on general tips and pointers on blogging check out Ashley's Blogging 101 post.  

Link Ups! I haven't yet participated in many of these, but they look like lots of fun! I love Ashley's Friday Letters. I think it's a fun way to add to a great platform of an idea and also see what others have to offer on the same grounds. I'd be weary to participate in mostly only link ups all the time though, as you want to contribute unique content to your own blog... maybe establish a link up of your own? I've thought about creating one for Punky and the City, but then decided it would be too much on top of my Film Club. Hey by the way, do you know about my Film Club? I'm in the process of getting buttons designed and making things more official with it all, but we're only two movies in, I hope you'll join!


No doubt, I've left out other communities, blogs, and link-ups here. These are just the ones I know of and am a part of. I believe that the blogosphere is a place that is filled with love and tremendous support for one another, and that it preservers from smart, funny, artistic, and inspiring individuals coming together to collaborate, share, motivate, and thrive off one another's energy. With that being said, this is the part where I open up the floor and ask for your knowledge. And this time, I am talking specifically to those who are already blogging. I ask you:

- What are other blogging communities you are a part of ?

- Do you know of any blogs that give back and share their own tips and strategies?

- Do you know of any other link ups?

- Do you have a link up of your own? Feel free to advertise here! (I will add more link up 
   buttons to this post, upon others sharing! I just personally don't know of that many myself.)

- Do you know of any specific posts that offer great guidelines and pointers for new bloggers?

- What blogs inspire you the most?

- How long have you been blogging and what do you love most about it?

- What of your own advice could you offer to someone who is interested in starting a blog?

I encourage you all to leave your thoughts and comments. I put a lot of work into this one post, not because I'm looking to receive anything---I'm simply happy and eager to give back. To offer up what I've learned. And to hopefully convince some of my friends to start blogs of their own. 

To those prospecting to start blogs: Good luck! Hug your families and tell them that you're ok, you're just going to spend a lot of time in your room some days doing BIG THINGS at your computer :) And know that everyone in blog land is happy to help! Especially me--seriously feel free to e-mail me if you have questions on ANYTHING! 

Cheers and Happy Blogging!

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