Category Archives: life

July Inspo: Vacation

July is almost over and we recently had an amazing week long vacation to Florida. The first chunk of the week was spent in St. Augustine with my parents and brother and sis in law and the latter half took Loss and I to Orlando. This isn’t going to be my trip report and filled with a zillion photos (that’s still to come) but to cover the result of all of it.

 

 

By having a week to not worry about our home, work and other normal responsibilities, it opened up room to in my brain to get inspired. Between the beautiful beach and sunrise we woke up super early to view (and admittedly nap again after I saw it) to the beautiful smiles on my friends faces, I’m inspired. My heart is full.

 
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There are people around me who are taking risks, testing the waters of what they dream, they’re creating and making the world around them better. I am inspired. And that’s not just people who are right here, in a ten mile radius.

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I’m feeling like things are possible. I feel the explosion of inspiration about to hit. I’m not sure what will come from it, but it’s time. I can’t wait. I’m so thankful for a time to slow down, take things in and see what comes of it.

xoxo

Jenny

 

Nerdy Turning 30

 

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You can’t be afraid to have fun sometimes…

So it has happened: my 30th birthday has come and gone. It was pretty cool, nothing too over the top. My day was a Friday off work with Loss and a few of my favorite things: a trip to a photo booth (a birthday tradition for us), a free Mellow Mushroom pizza, diving face first into a cake and spending my normal Friday morning WPRK radio block relaxing & nerding out with Orlando Tourism Report (thanks for the shout out, Ken!).  It was an awesome day that started a chill long weekend.

I’ve got a dinner in Orlando and a little party with my family later on this month that I’m looking forward to as well. In the end though, I’m the most excited to get to spend time with those I love.

Has 30 changed me? Not that I can tell, except for one a tweak to my life’s mission statement: I’m done worrying about what others think.

I’ve been feelin’ myself lately (it goes with “trying”, I hear)

This is showing in a few areas of my life and it’s pretty awesome.  I recently purchased my first bathing suit top that was neither a tankini or one piece and I feel amazing in it. I’m no skinny Minnie, that’s for sure, but I’ve got the confidence to rock this thing. We’re headed to the beach soon & there will be some pictures of it soon, don’t worry.

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I’ve adopted #EverydayGlitter as a part of my routine. I realized throwing on a little glitter in my make up makes me happy, so why save it for special occasions? I’m bringing that stuff out everyday, if it’s even just for a little bit.

All the rainbows from Nashville Pride

Also letting my ally flag fly and being a little louder about it. I’m supporting and learning more everyday about the people who don’t subscribe to a black and white stance on sexuality and gender. It’s time to accept everyone has some good in them and they shouldn’t be judged and put down simply because they are different from ourselves or what we see as “normal”. I mean, what is normal anyway? Sounds pretty boring to me.

Why be boring?

These are not new concepts by any means, but it’s time to share them with no regrets and no worries. It is what it is and I’m on board to continue to grow and evolve a d become even more of the woman I’m meant to be when all is said and done. Got an issue with me? Check it at the door!

xoxo

Jenny

Life Coaching: Month 1

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Life was a little simpler for me back in 1988…

Recently, one of my friends from college days has started offering life coaching services and sent out an email looking for folks to work with for 4 comped months.  I’d researched life coaching for some writing that I did last year and I had always been interested in what a life coach could do for me.  So, knowing what I did, I replied to the email and told Anna that I was very interested in the 4 sessions with her.

A few weeks later, we had a phone conference for our first hour session. Up front, she gave the description of her services, stating it was not therapy and to try and focus on one area or goal for our times together. After a little discussion, I narrowed down my focus to be find ways to be more productive and motivated.

Just like anyone, by the time the everyday work of being married, working, and just plain adulting can be overwhelming sometimes. After being married for two years (in a week!), I feel like we’ve gotten quite a bit of things figured out, which is awesome, but I need to make sure that I myself am taken care of as well. Whether that be dragging my butt to the gym or not feeling bad about taking time to do somethings for myself, it’s all a part of the balance that I need to work on. Add to that the tendency to shut down when I get overwhelmed (such as if there’s a pile of clothes to put away, if it seems to be too much, I just don’t and avoid it).

After talking to Anna and following the way she was guiding, I came to a realization or two about being positive and keeping things flowing in an optimistic, uplifting way. It’s a simple concept that is sometimes hard to remember, but positivity is a key.  We also discussed desire statements and saying them to myself daily to keep the reminder of where I am and where I’m going fresh in my mind. I admittedly haven’t been the best at saying these to myself twice a day as she suggested, but I do look at them every so often and repeat the thoughts to myself. A little bit at a time, right?

So that’s a nutshell of what month one has brought. We will have session number two in a week or two and I’m interested to see where else it will lead. I feel good going into the experience confidently and open mindedly and am proud to have a friend who is also able to help guide people in this way.

Here’s to month two!

If you’re interested, you can reach Anna and read some of her content through her site, Heartbeat Hive.

Things I Love: TCM Big Screen

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Sometimes I model in front of the theater. It’s an excuse to dress up. 

I’ve made note before of how much I love Turner Classic Movies and the #TCMParty fun on Twitter but this year, my love for classic film has gone to a new level. Attending the TCM Big Screen Classics events throughout this year has been an extension of my TCM love and super awesome!

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We attended some of the Big Screen Classics last year but lucked out and a friend passed along a link to purchase a year long pass for 2017’s film series. So, for $50 each, Loss and I have access to view 14 films this year on the big screen! Buying a pair of these passes was one of the best ideas I had in December of 2016.

Each film is opened with a short intro from a TCM host and is also punctuated with that same host sharing a few more tidbits about the film.  It’s pretty much what you’d see while watching prime time TCM films, but there’s something extra cool about seeing Ben Mankiewicz on the big screen (I’m super stoked to see my girl Tiffany Vazquez show up before the film next month!).

So far this year, we have seen Singin’ in the Rain (aka my favorite movie ever ever ever), An Affair to Remember, All About Eve, North By Northwest, The Graduate, and Smokey and the Bandit. Next week brings Some Like It Hot and thinking of Jack Lemmon’s face on the big screen just makes me excited (drag or not..he’s a classic film crush of mine, I mean, have you seen him in The Apartment? Perfection!).

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You just can’t go wrong with Jack Lemmon (L) or Billy Wilder! 

I know some bigger cities have cinemas where they show these films on the big screen on a regular basis, but here in Chattanooga, we rarely have older films showing on the big screen. Thanks to TCM, this is possible without a two hour drive and I super appreciate it.

And did I mention the perk of having a built in date night every month that’s already payed for? Yes please!  Thanks for helping me nerd out and get some special time with the hubs as well!

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One more model shot since my pics of Loss & I together at the movies are all on my old phone

Coming Out as an Ally

June has just started and it’s the most rainbow colored month of the year. Yes, June is Pride month and I am beyond excited to celebrate this year.

As I wrote about after my March visit to Orlando, I spent time with friends in the LGBT community and got to spend time in their very welcoming clubs and learned that there is more out there than my small town upbringing.

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Reusing my fave photo from Parliment House in Orlando. Again. I just love it.

While in Orlando, I got to experience my first drag show and have since taken to loving the amazing RuPaul’s Drag Race show and have been binging all the seasons I can get my hands on.  There’s just something so amazing about these people who find their inner voice and creatively channel and share themselves. These queens carry themselves with so much confidence and femininity, humor and glamour- I can’t help but love them.

In the past few months, I wrote about how Katy Perry’s experience growing up was the story I needed to hear. In a nutshell, she grew up really conservative, found this whole new world that’s out there of the LGBT community and that experience has changed her life so much for the better. Her experience is very similar to my own and being shown that others have been there as well is what I needed to become more bold. It might upset some people that I know to say this outloud, but I agree and take the role of an ally to this community. That’s just how it’s going to be- it’s time to stand up for what I truly believe in.

RuPaul has done more than just offer up hours of a fantastic reality show for me to devour, through hours spent listening to him and his bff Michelle Visage on their podcast, What’s the Tee?. The more I’ve listened, the more I’ve learned about Michelle and how she relates to the LGBT community as a straight, married woman with kids.  She speaks very openly about becoming an ally and standing beside all of her friends in every and any way that she can.

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I left this flag painting at the Pulse Memorial in March. In the bottom of the photo, you can see some of the 49 who were lost in the events there.

With June being Pride month, I want to come out as an Ally. I want to proudly say that I support and love and stand behind all of the LGBTQ+ community. While I don’t know even a quarter of it all yet, I am proud to call myself an Ally and want to do good for all of my friends and people I’ll never even meet who want nothing besides the rights seemingly everyone else has been alotted and allowed.  My goal is to spread love and acceptance, happiness and friendship.

I’m here to be an Ally and I’ll shout it from the rooftops. We have to remember: Love is Love is Love is Love and I love you- June or July or December or whenever.

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Katy Perry Inspiration

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Katy Perry at the HRC Gala

Things have started making sense lately.  Issues and concepts I have had difficulty with in the past have started clicking and my world view is truly becoming my own (I think it has to do with the return of Saturn I previously wrote about). In the process of this growth, I have been pointed the direction of pop singer Katy Perry- hear me out on this one.

I mentioned in my March Tunes post about non stop listening to “Chained the Rhythm”, thanks to randomly hearing it when visiting the Parliament House in Orlando. After multiple listens to the song (and I mean literally on repeat), I went ahead and added Ms. Perry to my list of people I follow on twitter. A day later, she posted video of her speech at the Human Rights Campaign Gala.  I watched it and cried. She had the answer I was looking for- you have to step out of what you were raised in.

In her speech, Katy speaks about being raised in an uber conservative household and even performing Christian music. She shared how she broke out of that mindset, “Most of my unconscious adolescence, I prayed the gay away at my Jesus camps. But then in the middle of it all, in a twist of events, I found my gift and my gift introduced me to people outside of my bubble. My bubble started to burst.”  

Throughout my life, the idea of LGBT issues had been seen as a no-no in my church background.  When I went to college, I had a few friends who were in the community and I spent quite a bit of time with. Even though I loved these people and didn’t see them as different from myself, there was always an issue inside of me when it was brought up at church. My viewpoint was “Hey, I’m not going to condemn you and tell you you’re going to Hell, don’t worry. I may not completely get what you’re doing, but it’s on you”.  Basically, I was, in church terms, lukewarm.

As I have gotten older, completed college, grad school and progressed onward in life, I had the same kind of feelings towards the LGBT community. I agreed that they should be able to marry when it came up and I definitely had some opinions that were more progressive than a lot of the folks I knew, but it was never really on the forefront of my mind and I never spoke up. Then Pulse happened.

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I have written about how much that tragedy in Orlando affected me and how I  was compelled to visit the memorial.  I mention in the post covering my visit, I woke up June 12, 2016 scared that my very good friend had been at the club that night. I was grateful that he had not been there.  Loss and I laid in bed and read the terrifying reports via twitter and other outlets before getting ready for church that morning.  We were both upset at the number of lives lost and I couldn’t imagine being there, waiting and waiting, to see if your loved ones and friends made it out safely.

I wore my bright scarf to church that morning, mainly because I didn’t own anything with a rainbow on it.  We sat in the back row and listened to the announcements and prayer requests. The church service was eventually over and not one person had as much as mentioned the Pulse events in a thought, prayer or anything. A week or two before, a policeman had been shot and killed somewhere way far off in the country and we had prayed three times about it. Three.

When I went to Pulse, I wore the same scarf I wore in memory of those people the morning after. It was one of the most important things I did on my trip to Florida.

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Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this art at P-House?

When visiting Orlando, I saw so much of the LGBT community, saw the way people are so accepting and saw the celebratory nature of the community. The last night of my trip we went to the Parliament House and I had the most fun of my entire vacation. Everyone was super accepting, loving and inclusive. I was told I was beautiful more than once, complimented on my dress, danced with, hugged, smiled at- I was welcome and had an amazing time. I was with a group of people who were enjoying being themselves, taking a second to not take life too seriously and spreading happiness.

In her speech, Katy Perry talked about the inclusiveness she found in the gay community, saying they “were the most free, strong, kind and inclusive people I have ever met. They stimulated my mind and they filled my heart with joy and they freaking danced all the while doing it. These people are actually magic, and they are magic because they are living their truth.”

That night my bubble truly, officially burst and I was surrounded by magic. I can’t wait to return to and live in a city that is filled with so much magic and love and hope.

Saying these words outloud makes me so happy but also scares me some.  I am working on not caring what others think as much, but I know some people who I love may be put off by these words due to their religious beliefs. All I truly want to share is compassion, empathy, love and hope.  You have shown me much of this in my life and I want to truly spread this legacy- all the way around. I am ready to be an ally for all people and spread the love that is in my heart. Thank you. I hope to make you all proud.

As Katy says in the song,

“So comfortable, we’re living
in a bubble, bubble
So comfortable, we cannot
see the trouble, trouble

So put your rose-colored glasses on
And party on”

Saturn’s Return…what?

 

saturn_malmercassini_5mRecently, things have started shifting in life. Things are becoming clearer and I’m figuring out where I need to be, both mentally and spatially. I eventually had a moment where I had to stop and just say “what is happening?”.

In order to chill, I was working through season 7 of “Parks and Recreation” on Netflix.  At this juncture, the series does a time skip and cuts ahead a few years.  With this jump, it turns out April is 29 and questioning what she really wants to do in her life- she wants to follow her dream but is struggling to figure out what it is. She is discussing this with Donna, who says that she’s at the point that Saturn is returning and that’s why she is seeking change.

I paused the show and quickly did a google search; Donna was right…according to Wikipedia

Western astrologers believe that, as Saturn “returns” to the degree in its orbit occupied at the time of birth, a person crosses over a major threshold and enters the next stage of life. With the first Saturn return, a person leaves youth behind and enters adulthood.

Welp, that explains it.  I also researched further (ok, continued googling some more) and it further broke down the return to Saturn into each astrological sign.  Even though I don’t normally read a whole bunch into this, it pointed out that as a Cancer, this time would be about self confidence and- well, hello.

I have spent so much time lately asking people’s opinions on things and looking for approval from others. I have also been stepping out of my comfort zone more so than normal and working on not asking for others’ thoughts as well- it’s a give and take that’s going on day to day right now. I’m okay with that. Having said that, if I tend to ask your thoughts a lot on things, just know that you are a trusted person and I’m working on chilling it out a bit. When I’m a little more situated in what I’m doing and where exactly I’m going, it will slow down, I promise.

There’s just something about being on the edge of something, on the precipice of what is ahead.  I am so excited about what the next year or so is going to bring- a new home, new friends, what feels like a whole new life.  I’m working on following my dream, just like April was seeking to do on Parks and Rec. It’s time… time jump off the deep end because I know I’ll be able to swim.

March Tunes

Growing up, music was my constant. I started going to concerts sporadically in high school at an all ages local venue and graduated to going to concerts sometimes 3 nights a week in college- now I wonder how I ever stayed up that late.

 

The types of tunes and my appetite for them hits in waves and I’ve recently hit a moment where I’m really digging on some records.  For the longest, I was listening to a whole bunch of Disney parks background loops and music. Sometimes I’d just be in a mood for straight up nothing playing. Sometimes it’s some funky stuff. Sometimes I just want to listen to the greatest pop songs around. It varies by the day & my mood.  I have recently purchased a few songs and records off of Itunes and wanted to give a quick rundown here and share why I’m loving them so much….

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  1. Katy Perry- “Chained to the Rhythm” (single): I can’t even. I don’t know why I love this so much, but I have been listening to it non stop. When I was visiting Florida, we spent time at the Parliament House and this song stuck out to me as we were hanging out in the top 40 room. I also loved her performance of it at this year’s Grammy awards. I have a tendency to not always like the most popular stuff, so it’d make sense her lesser known single would be what I gravitate to. Loss gives props to “the first two seconds” where there’s a vaporwave vibe. No matter the genre, I’m chained to this song being on repeat.

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      2) The XX- “I See You”: I listened to the XX’s first album on loop in college but my musical world changed and I didn’t really have a college station to listen to when I moved back to Chattanooga, so I missed out some.  This February the XX dropped this album and some of the tracks are staples on OTR when they play some tunes at the top of the hour. I love that you can tell exactly who the XX is when you hear the song.  On the same Katy Perry finding trip, we spent some time just hanging out, listening to this record (perhaps on repeat) and I was hooked. Granted, it made me have a little bit of an emo moment and we had to turn it off, but still.  I couldn’t get enough of it and committed to buying it off itunes, which is saying a lot about how much I dig something.

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3) Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda “Love Make the World Go Round” (single): After my experience visiting the Pulse memorial and delving more into the simple but profound speech from Lin-Manuel sharing the ultimate truth that “Love is love is love is love…”, I was brought to this song. Once again, it’s a tune I’d heard a few times before but I finally dove into and paid the $1.29 for it.  I’m so glad that I did- the title is a sentiment that I strive to keep in head daily and it’s just an awesome song. I love that it was also created as a link to the Latino community, released 2 weeks or so after the event at Pulse that affected the community so much.  Did I mention it’s catchy as all get out and will get in your head forever and you’ll be ok with it staying there? Yeah, you’ve been warned, now get ready to dance.

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4) Moana the film soundtrack and score: I’ve been feeling this record since seeing the song.  While the song was great and I loved the story, I think I love the soundtrack even more.  Of course, there’s the Lin-Manuel connection again (I just love him, I can’t help it).  Lin worked on most of the songs and can even be heard on the track “We Know the Way” that is used in the film. I also love being able to pick up his style in the Maui song that borders on a rap, “You’re Welcome”.  Besides having some awesome fingerprints on the songs, the lyrics are fantastic.  “How Far I’ll Go” is, in my opinion, much better than the stupid huge “Let it Go” from Frozen two years back.  If you don’t believe me, watch the performance that Auli’i Cravalho gave on the Oscars. Homegirl is 16 and belted a song like that, live, and killed. The track makes me emotional. It’s great. Plus the score is great to fold laundry to, in case you were wondering.

 

So that’s just a few things I’ve been listening to lately…I’m not looking to get as crazy & dive in as hardcore as I did in college, but I’m pretty proud of my newer finds I’ve listed here. Is there anything you love that I should make sure not to miss out on?

Easy Travel Wardrobe

Traveling with one (or two) bags turned out to be harder than I expected. After some shopping, editing and pinterest perusing, my 4 night trip down to Orlando created a wardrobe of mix and match pieces.

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Green Capsule Wardrobe

Pieces I mixed all weekend:

L to R, Top: Dark blue skinny leggings, cutout yoga pants, black linen shorts, my “tiki” dress

L to R, Bottom: Ryan Adams t shirt, Dark green tank top, black sleeveless shirt, white oversized tshirt, green lacy tshirt, green crop top, gray cardigan

I somehow didn’t take many photos of the outfits but I learned how to mix and match on the fly and realized that I needed perhaps one more top and to leave the skinnies at home (it was hot!). I also threw in a comfy dress that can be worn as a dress or to sleep in, and it worked for both.  I kept the shoes to a minimum too by packing only a pair of Vans sneakers that I bought specifically to be nice but comfy for the trip.

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This is the outfit I wore for the flight down, opting for the Ryan Adams shirt (I mean, it has a cat on it!), gray cardi and the black linen shorts.  I also packed a large Marimekko print sarong/scarf and it was great to wrap up in when I got chilly and also was perfect for when I got a little chilly at the airport waiting to travel down.

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Being the diva on the OTR radio show
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Having fun in the green lace top at Mangos

Overall, I felt pretty awesome about packing all my clothes in a smallish backpack and making them work for the entire weekend. Have you every packed using this method? How did it work for you? Any tips?

Thanks for reading!

 

Taking First Flight

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Shocking as it may sound, at the age of 29.5, I recently took my first flight.  Yes, it took almost 30 years to step on a plane and ascend into the air.

I was traveling from Chattanooga to Orlando solo and only had a few days to spend on my long weekend trip, so driving was out of the question, plus who wants to waste two whole days of a short vacay?

The flight out was on Allegiant and, despite an extra 2.5 hours at the Chattanooga airport (yay for outlets & free wifi!), it wasn’t bad at all. I’d watched some videos on youtube on the process and I was admittedly more nervous about going through security than getting on the bird.

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One of the best parts of the delay in leaving meant we were flying after dark. For my first adventure, this wound up being awesome. Instead of being freaked out over seeing the clouds and ground, I was distracted from being scared by paying attention to the lights and watching as we flew over each city.

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Take off wasn’t too bad and I went into it expecting what it felt like: just like riding a roller coaster going up. The best part of going from Tennessee to Florida is the time…a little over an hour later and I was finally meeting up with my friends. It was the ultimate distance saver. I also have to say that I’m already hopeful for my next set of travel dates down to Orlando to spend more time with these awesome people and check out what I can only describe as where I feel I belong. Not too shabby for a little trek that was an hour and change from home, right?

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