As noted in the last time I wrote, it’s time to downsize- and I started off with a bang. The hand me down chair I inherited four years ago or finally left the premises.
Now the chair was still in pretty good condition, but let’s face it, after a few years, I have a tendency to hit a stage of “I’m tired of looking at that”. So, when I started thinking about downsizing things, the chair was not very far down my list- and the first to go.
I’ve been thinking and plotting and thinking about how much we could live without in our lives. We’ve got an awesome family and some amazing friends and have gotten to have some fun adventures. When Losson and I think about these things, we realize how much STUFF we have and we truly don’t need.
I’ve read (most of) the Kon Mari method of cleaning from “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo but had let the knowledge go in time. Flipping through the stories on Instagram, I was reminded of the methods thanks to a rad lady I follow.
Losson and I live in a tiny apartment that is a little less than 500 square feet and we have so much stuff just thrown in. We’ve even got some things that are hanging out in boxes at our parents houses (don’t worry, there’s a section about that in the book!) for when we plan on moving at some time.
After reading more about the travel we are wanting to do, I’ve been seeing people writing and claiming it’s easy to save money for the flights, accommodations, food and all. Easily save up $4k-5k? Sure, let me just blink my eyes and it’ll happen. Then I look around and see all this STUFF. I’m thinking we could find some cash in what’s lying around and we’ll also be a little less stressed and more organized.
So, here it’s going to go…we’re going to try for a Kon Mari method house once again. I figure if we can get a good start on the clothes & then move along from there, so we’ll see…
Anybody else a fan of the Kon Mari method? Did it work for you?
Let’s just say it: I blame Chris & Patricia for helping convince me a Japan trip needs to happen. I’m in no means upset by this though (as you can probably tell). If it tells you anything, I found Chris & crew from the fantastic Tom Bricker at Disney Tourist Blog in his Japan trip reports & guides as well.
TDR Now is the first English speaking podcast about Tokyo Disney Sea, coming from Japan directly. The podcast, focusing on Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo Disney Sea and Tokyo Disneyland), is released biweekly (or sometimes a little more often) and focuses on current events, news and information at TDR and also other areas around Japan.
Along with all of the great, up to date info from the podcast, Chris, Patricia & their crew run TDR Explorer. They have some awesome trip planning information and I’ve already bugged Chris with a question or two with our trip planning process, which he awesomely answered. I highly suggest the guides & they’ve even got a little Shanghai & Hong Kong Disney content as well.
I mean, where else can I get my Gelatoni fix? You better believe it’s from TDR Now & TDR Explorer!
You can find TDR Explorer on Itunes, Google Play Store & also the RSS Feed. Also find TDR Now on Twitter for lots of awesomeness.
I won’t lie, I still get surprised when I have those moments of realization that “Wow, you’re really #adulting now!”. At 29, these moments happen generally when paying a bill for something big that seems pretty stupid, but it’s always still empowering to have that moment of “yea, it’s taken care of & we took care of it”.
All of this is to say, despite my excitement to see My Morning Jacket in my hometown, Losson & I won’t be attending. We tried really hard to get tickets through the presale release on Thursday, but given the venue is so small, they were gone in a minute or two. Thursday night I got to looking more in depth at hostels in different cities around Japan and realized that the $150 I’d put in savings for the trip & then pulled out to spend on MMJ tickets could cover 3-4 nights on our trip. I’m not the best at it, but I did the math…
3 hours (ish) concert OR 3-4 nights stay on our 2 week long trip
So the hostel stay won out.
I talked to my mom on Friday about the whole thing & she told me what this was an example of: “Delayed Gratification”.
My response? “It really sucks”
But it will be so worth it.
So here’s to an exercise in delayed gratification (Yeah, I’m part of that generation that hates it, I guess) & #adulting. I’m honestly just proud to have something I’m so motivated by, particularly in the money saving arena.
Ok, so the title is actually an LCD Soundsystem reference, but My Morning Jacket might as well be playing at my house, I mean, they are playing in Chattanooga in October!
Yes, my dreams have come true & Jim James & the boys are coming to my hometown for a gig in the most sweet spot around- the Tivoli Theater. The theater opened in 1921 & has been a gorgeous venue for the musicals and speakers that I’ve seen there, but I have a feeling that MMJ is going to take the cake. Oh, and it seats about 1000 people- that is going to be an amazingly intimate show!
In honor of the super exciting show announcement, I went walking down memory lane & have some fun memories to share about the 6 times previous that I have been lucky enough to see my absolute
favorite band live & in concert.
Fall 2007/Nashville/Riverfront Park
The first time I saw MMJ was after I’d heard a few songs by the guys & won tickets from Out the Other (then on WRVU, the Vanderbilt radio station). Thanks to Janet & her great show, I was introduced the pure joy that can be found at a magical show. This one took place on the side of the Cumberland River, in downtown Nashville, across the way from the Titans playing a pre-season football game, complete with fireworks. That’s how you do your first time.
August 2011/Atlanta/Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
My friend Kristi & I were front row for the second show in my MMJ outings. Pro Tip: at this venue, if you were a Verizon subscriber, you get in five minutes earlier. This works amazing when you are looking forward to a spot on the rail.
November 2011/Nashville/ Vanderbilt Auditorium
It was a pretty surprising turn of events to get to see MMJ twice in a few month span. I think that this might have been Vandy’s homecoming, but as far as I was concerned, it was an excuse to see my fave band again. The night was kinda crazy & I wound up going with a friend of a friend & making our way to much better seats once the show got started. Good times.
July 2012/Louisville, KY/ Forecastle Festival 2012
MMJ got me to visit Louisville, that is totally true. The Forecastle festival celebrated its 10th anniversary by letting the boys curate the line up & headline their home turf on the Saturday night. I’d been really wanting to check out a hometown show, so this one got me to the festival which has turned into my favorite. The best part of this set? Jim speaking in a British accent & singing as George Michael in a cover of “Careless Whisper”, eventually changing the lyrics to “bananas, bananas” & throwing said bananas into the crowd. That was worth the price of admission alone.
August 2012/Atlanta/ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
A year later, I returned to the scene of the crime but this time with the love of my life (so not what I was expecting, but so happy that was the case). We also lucked out and saw Band of Horses for the first time this night. I knew a few songs, but as soon as we got home I picked up the BoH albums & we’ve seen them a few times now & have a shared love of the band as well, so thanks for the intro, MMJ. This was also Loss’ first MMJ show, so it was awesome for us to share in the common love for the music.
June 2013/Nashville/Riverfront Park (but a different spot than previous)
This show was a no brainer, on my birthday, supporting Wilco and BOB DYLAN. That’s all you need to know. (fun fact: Loss & I bonded over some Dylan when we first met & hearing him play “Tangled Up in Blue” right before we left was just perfect & super special, even if we couldn’t understand exactly what he was saying. Love you, Bobby D!).
So there it is…a fun little walk down memory lane to get the excitement going for my hometown visit from the My Morning Jacket guys. I know it might seem a little repetitive, but they put on such a great show, I can’t help but get stoked for the next one…so here’s to some dancing and singing along October 26th!
PS Can’t let this post go without sharing this picture from Forecastle 2014 when Spanish Gold played & Patrick, the drummer from Spanish Gold & also a little band called MMJ, did some meet & greet time. Thanks for letting me share!
Hi friends, how’s it going? Long time, no write, I know. I read about someone calling themselves a “lapsed blogger” and I totally can relate to that term.
But here we are and I just paid for another year of jlbnerdy.com, so I figured we might as well put it to use. Since it’s been a while since I’ve written, it’s a good time to share what I’ve been nerding out over lately, especially over this long Labor Day weekend.
I’ve mentioned it before on the blog & am excited to say we have started prepping and planning for the big trek in 2018. Saving has not been a strong suit in the past year or so since getting married, but we recently started putting some money away with the motivation to make the bucket list trip happen before too long. I’m still not honestly sure how we’re going to make the $4000 in airfare, but it’ll happen as long as we stay motivated.
After watching so many vlogs on youtube lately, I’m more motivated than ever to see the big city of Tokyo and trek out to Osaka and Kyoto as well. As we look more into the adventure and planning, I’ll keep the blog updated. I’ve found lots of great information online and would love to make a series of posts on Japan to add my voice & experiences to the conversation.
Call me nerdy if it’s linked to my Japanese research, but lately tea is back in. I’ve recently rediscovered the decaf lemon lift and it has been hitting the spot for that the comfortable feeling. It might be a subconscious longing for fall and that comfy feeling, but tea is good for you, so I’ll take it. Lots of it.
I didn’t mean to get hooked on the Travel Channel show, Expedition Unknown, but after catching a few episodes of the show at the in-laws house, I was so on board. Losson is convinced it’s solely because of host Josh Gates’ Chris Pratt like looks (yeah, he’s handsome, I won’t front) and his snarky comments that are intermittently thrown in, but the adventure also has pulled me in. I wouldn’t consider myself very interested in that world, but it’s just good. While looking for various legendary places and items, Josh makes me super nervous as he seemingly jumps into any random hole or pit in the ground that is on the path to (hopefully) find what he is looking for. I also have an immense respect for the crew that goes on the treks as well. I can’t even fathom it. But I love watching it. And you can too on Netflix & also a new season starting up soon on Travel Channel. If you have on demand included with your cable package, such as with Comcast, episodes from season two are currently available to be watched.
Take an adventure with Josh & crew while sitting on your couch- I highly suggest it!
Recently, my Orlando expert friend Ken gave a “State of Things” on his podcast, the Orlando Tourism Report– he looked at what’s working? What’s not? What could be tweaked? Ken’s analysis, findings & changes he shared made me take a step back & try to do the same thing for myself. I’ve been doing this writing thing a lot shorter time than OTR has been on the air/podcast apps, but it was an important reminder to continually assess & realign, so here we are.
I’ve been running the JLBNerdy blog since October of 2015 and only have a handful of posts- and that signals that it’s time to get on it. In all the marketing advice I’ve seen on pinterest (hard research- that’s how I roll), it’s all about scheduling. Knowing that, Sunday is now going to be post day. Instead of over scheduling and stressing, it’s going to be one post a week unless something awesome & extra & random shows up. My goal is to keep it nerdy, keep it real & keep it me, so rest easy on that end.
As previously mentioned, I’ve been writing via Fiverr, freelancing for individuals directly and looking at some larger projects in the near future as well. The amount of writing I’ve done lately is awesome & I’m aiming for a day in which I do only that for work. There’s big goals & little goals sprinkled down the road ahead for me- & I’m simply excited to have an audience to help make that journey possible.
Feel free to comment or shoot me a note if you’ve got anything you’d like to throw out there- I’d love any feedback you’ve got to share.
PS Like I said, Ken is THE authority on Orlando and Central Florida. If you’re interested in that, check out the Orlando Tourism Report to hear from some of my favorite nerds around.
I started freelance writing. I sucked it up and decided to not be afraid anymore and move forward. Besides, a smart man named Kevin Smith said that if something is scary, do it. Forget that fear and just dive in (more on the Q&A session with Kevin that we attended later in a possible review of Atlanta stop, if only so I have an excuse to share the selfies Losson & I got with him)
I decided that April was the time to start, so I did what I had been considering for a while & signed up for a Fiverr account. The website is an awesome website where you can buy and sell services starting at $5 a pop. After fees, as a seller, you bring in 80% of those sales, so you don’t start off being a billionaire- that comes later. The increments of what you offer/how much/the cost can vary based on your offerings and what folks are wanting to buy as well. For example, a base 500 word blog post/article from me is $5 for a 3 day delivery, but for an extra $5 you can get 1000 words instead or pay extra to get it a day earlier- it’s very flexible and I like that.
So Fiverr is my start. I figure once I get a little more experience I’ll look at some bigger, meatier freelance jobs but this is a good side hustle for the moment. My biggest goal is to get $200 in sales so I can buy a new laptop (it’d cover about half the cost), then I’ll really be making it in my mind. Thus far, I’m about 1/4 of the way there, so it’ll happen before too long, hopefully.
I’m still surprised every time I get an order that people want to pay for my words. Even though it’s their assignments, the fact they want me to put their expressions together is pretty awesome. I haven’t really advertised a whole lot either, so the buyers I have gotten are pretty random and so appreciated, too.
I’ve done a lot of scary things in my life-quit my job of 5 years, get married (hey, it can be scary to say ‘forever’!), etc., but this journey of becoming a freelance writer is one that I am super proud of already, not just in hindsight. I could have thought about starting for a lot longer before I did, but I decided to just jump in and see what happened. Within three hours of having an account, I had an order for an blog post in my inbox.
So here’s to conquering any fears that might be a hindrance to what you dream of doing- that fear is more than likely just a figment of your imagination- take that chance and just see what happens!
I’ve absent some lately & I must explain myself. I blame Kevin Smith.
I’ve written before about Kevin, my enjoyment of his films & my love for what he stands for- not just the inappropriate sayings I’ll spare you from here. Kevin is a man on a mission to inspire. He took a leap of faith to begin his career in 1992 & create “Clerks” by maxing out some credit cards. His gamble paid off & the film found a deal with Miramax. Kev was able to pay off those credit cards & also start down a creative path that led to many more films & a cult following.
I say all of that to tell you that Kevin Smith has inspired me to find my thing. He is forever talking about how people need to find their passion, follow it & make their life what they want it to be. That being said, I want to be a writer.
You’re probably thinking “well duh, she writes” by the simple fact I’ve got a blog in the first place, but there’s more to it than that- I’m admittedly scared with this writing realization.
Writing is hard & eventually being a freelancer is something that I dream about but makes me nervous. There’s 3 big reasons that I’m not so certain about writing- my mindset, my laziness & my need/want for new equipment.
My mindset is full of “but who would pay for my words?”. This questioning also informs my subconscious self-sabatoging that I have a tendency to do. If I didn’t self sabotage, I would have graduated college a semester sooner, I’d probably weigh a few less pounds & I imagine I’d honestly be a little less stressed out in life. It has gotten much better but I still have my moments & areas that I’m not so certain about. With some positive performances & feedback, I know it’ll get better, but I’ve got to make it to that point.
My laptop fan is shot, so I kind of feel in order to get much work done, I need a new laptop. That’s not the most crucial thing though. I’ve got Losson’s computer to use & can save for a new laptop- as long as I have paper & pen I can write, right? Right, just gotta keep reminding myself.
So there it is, all laid out. My fears are pretty much all in my head & I need to continue to move away from that. If you have any advice on freelancing, writing or generally being a positive, confident person, I’ll take any & all pointers!
Kevin-John is a rad artist who has created many pieces for sports teams & players and also most recently for the Fine Arts arm of Disney Parks. I could go on & on, but I’ll go ahead & let him tell you how it is.
I must tell you first though, as I listened to the audio he sent me of his answers,there was constant sounds of his pencil moving. This guy is the real deal.
1) What brought you into the world of art? Did you always focus on creating pieces based around sports?
Unprofessionally, meaning art in general, drawing sketching & painting, has always been a part of me. It’s just something that just comes out; you can’t prevent it. As long as I’ve been around I remember picking up any crayon or pencil that I could find when I was a really small child & just trying to replicate anything I saw on paper. Back then it was Batman & dinosaurs, that sort of thing.
Professionally, I started when I was a senior in high school selling my art. Basically what brought me into that was that I worked a retail job part time in high school, was bringing home $80 a week & realized that I could do much better by selling art. So I came up with some pieces that I thought would sell in my hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. At the time we were really enthusiastic about local history & the landmarks & things like that around my town, so I created art based around those things & then would sell them through local galleries & gift shops.
The sports art came about 10 years later and that was again driven by need. I met some pro athletes & they asked if I could do portraits of them playing football or whatever [sport], [as] they would like to have it for their sports room at home or one guy was opening a restaurant and wanted it [f0r that], so that’s how that came about. I was a sports enthusiast and an athlete myself so it was an easy transition to make; it was something that I understood visually how to make that work. I built my brand nationally based on the sports art [and] until about 4 years ago, that [is what] I was most known for.
2) You made the move from Pennsylvania to Florida- what caused that big of a transition? How did it effect your art?
I moved to the east coast of Florida 4 years ago. I was on a trip to Walt Disney World & I’d always heard about the coast here, so I rented a car & drove out. It was February, it was 85 degrees, and beautiful and palm trees everywhere and I was knee deep in ocean water that was warm and beautiful and blue. Back home in Pennsylvania we were getting just absolutely shellacked by a huge snowstorm & I just said ‘this is where I need to be. I have no reason to stay there,’ so I made a plan. Looking back, that was about six years ago now.
[It has affected my art] in ways I’d never expected. I expected to just move forward with the sports brand, continue [on]. I started doing some pop culture art & that was going well.
Once I got here, the opportunities for different type of art are just endless. I’ve never been an artist that has been ‘inspired’ to create art, I’m kind of a ‘paycheck artist’. If I think that it will sell, I’ll produce it, that’s my job. Once I got here, there’s the beach & palm trees & sand & the surf, I’ve been quite inspired to create coastal art, which I’ve done a lot of [now]. I’ve also always had a passion for the tiki culture. There’s a little bit of that here on the island, so I’m developing a whole series of tiki culture art. It’s a situation where I’ve never been inspired before, but this place it’s just so beautiful that it continues to inspire.
3) How did you get involved with creating work for Disney? That has to be a dream for any artist! Do they give you subjects to create works around or do you get free reign?
Disney became familiar with my art work, it wasn’t something i was searching for. I’ve always loved sports & then I worked in sports, I spoiled where I play with work, which is a blessing & a curse at the same time. I wasn’t looking to do that with Disney- Disney was my playground; it’s one of the reasons I moved to Florida & now they were offering me this contract to create art for them. I am so blessed to be able to do it- it didn’t take much convincing on my part after I realized what their direction was with me. Their direction for me is to create experiences in the parks that people can take home with them to relive those park experiences in art work form. that’s as much direction as they give me, they don’t suggest one way or another what I do. I essentially come up with concepts for new pieces I’d like to create, I then present those concepts & it goes through a bit of a review process & then that’s pretty much it. Then I create the art, it goes through approval & then it finds it’s way into the galleries in the parks here [in Orlando] & also Disneyland.
4) You have done some amazing pieces for the Disney parks & I especially loved the footage you shot while creating your Tower of Terror painting, showing the process. It was a really cool look “behind the scenes”. What inspires you to make videos such as this & share tests on colors & concepts with your friends on social media?
I have always been strong with marketing in my art. Its one of the reasons my brand has become so successful because I’ve been so strong with marketing the art. I think that means more than just showing the completed product. I’ve always been a proponent of talking with my client base and introducing them to Kevin John the person, as well as Kevin John’s art. I think it adds a little more dimension to the art to know who the person is behind it [and] creating it. Along with that, here comes social media, with fans following me from all over the world & they are able to have this intimate look into my studio everyday, me creating this art, so why not put videos up & share that process with them. Photos, commentary, that sort of thing. I don’t give away any of my trade secrets, if you will, however I do like to give my fans an intimate look at the process. It creates excitement for new, upcoming pieces.
The last two pieces that I produced for Disney, the Tower of Terror piece & the Tiki Room piece, I promoted it in [the months leading up to] the release. we’re talking hundreds of hours in the creation of this artwork from concept sketch to final product. So the fans are really watching this along the way & I think they gain an appreciation for how long it takes to create the piece of art & how labor intensive it is & my passion for it, that I don’t just sit down in an afternoon & whip some paint on a canvas & off it goes to sale. They’re paying $6,000 for an original because of everything that went into that piece, as well as the quality & what it looks like. I think the re was so much anticipation for those two pieces that they sold immediately. I’m honored that they sold so quickly.
5) The million dollar question: How does one make creating your art your job? You’ve been at it for quite a few years & have an impressive list of clients & I know that is a dream for myself & many other creative folks that I know.
29 years as a professional I celebrate this month (March). How do you do it? Talent is a component, but I think that is lower on the list than what a lot of people believe. Hard work. When I talk to artists or do interviews, a lot of the questions are similar to [these]- the word ‘inspire’ comes up a lot. I think that the general public believes that an artist kind of floats through the world & all the sudden is hit by this ‘inspired vision’ and then sits down & creates this masterpiece & sends it out into the world for sale, & then goes back about his or her day for the next few weeks or months, until [they] are inspired again to create another piece. That maybe true for some artist, but for me, inspiration has a little bit to do with it, but production is more the fact.
I work an easy 70 hour work week every week. It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked my life, over the last 20 years specifically. I didn’t go to college or art school, so I kind of earned my bones, gritty in the streets so to speak, learning on the fly & kind of inventing it on my own. It was just something I knew I always wanted to do. This was how I was going to make a career and I don’t look at it as ‘I’m an artist, I’m going to run this like an art process’, I’m a business owner, I own a business, the product is art, iI am the CEO, I am part of the marketing team, I am part of the sales team, part of the production team & I’m the sole laborer. So you look at business owners; what type of hours & effort do they put into a business? Just one of those job titles would dedicate an easy 40-50 hours a week, so I’m doing all of those different jobs, there’s no way you can do it part time & there’s no way you can do it in a 40 hour work week. It is non stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I am lucky if I take a Friday off every couple of weeks.I try to reserve Friday as my day off, I work Saturdays & Sundays. Even then, I’m still answering emails, checking social [media]. When I’m mobile I’m still on my phone constantly. That is how I think you become successful at this. It’s not about the art, it’s about running it as a business, as a business owner would run a successful company along with wearing different hats along the way. So you have to learn all those disciplines as well, you have to learn what it takes to wear those different hats, not just the artist hat & I find very few people are able to do that. I have forgone having children, all the normalcy of having a ‘normal 9-5’ for this. My career & my brand is everything for me. And I’ve sacrificed everything for it.It’s not unlike musicians [who] sacrifice everything to be on tour, everything [else] takes a back seat.
Bonus Question: You often talk about going to estate sales, on a quest for tiki themed items. Any tips on going home with something awesome? Also, for the record that Magnum PI mug you posted the other day is now in my radar to seek out!
[Estate sales are] just recreation to get out. I can’t always plan to be that far away from my studio, even on a day off, so down here in FL, there’s estate sales every weekend throughout the entire year. It’s something I’ve always done. My grandmother used to refer to me as an Old Soul. I think I have kind of an attachment to history, so when I go to estate sale or yard sales, [the people are like] “the tools are over there, the men’s fishing equipment & boots are over there” & that’s the last thing I want to look at. I look at the old decor & vintage accutremont , things of that nature. It links connective tissue from today & our past. We have such a recent, young history in our country here, it’s not difficult to find items that can link you to 50 years ago or 100 years ago, and i appreciate the craftsmanship & beauty.
I’m really drawn to atomic age, mid century modern decor. MY whole house kinda looks like the Jetsons, kinda 1950s vibe, so I love to collect that. The tiki culture is rolled right into that, so i snatch up tiki mugs when i can.
Tips? You’ve got to be persistent. You cant’ just go out one day a year & expect to scoop all of the prized booty that you could desire. I hit sales atleast a couple times a month. I went out two weeks ago with a friend & we didn’t find one piece [and] we hit 25 sales. Last weekend, on my birthday, I went out & scooped 5 or 6 pieces, it’s just luck of the draw. Stay consistent, that’s my Kevin-John estate sale tip.