Category Archives: life

Katy Perry Inspiration

Human Rights Campaign Gala 2017
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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It’s Christmas Time!

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Whew, life sure has been busy! Between work, fun events, friends coming to town and Christmasy things, I’ve been a busy lady.

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We’ve taken photos in front of so many Christmas trees, worked out schedules sharing one car (including way early morning work drop offs) and planned out so much fun the next few weeks.

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I hope you guys are having a fantastic holiday season and are remembering to stop and have some fun, not be super stressed out!

xoxo

Jenny

Hero Mode: an Ode to Her Universe

Life can get crazy and times can be hard, but it’s always nice to find comfort in things that are around day to day.

Recently life has found a way to throw a lot at us with car issues, the end of the semester for Loss, the craziness of the oncoming holidays and weird work schedules, but I decided some self care was needed to stay (somewhat) sane. So it’s been yummy hot chocolate drinks and episodes of Gilmore Girls to help take my mind off some things.  I’ve also been lucky to have some rad stuff going on, such as a friend from out of town coming through and meeting up with her one afternoon.

So how does Her Universe fit into this? The Hero Mode shirt from their Kohl’s work out collection from this past fall has helped with this self care and has added some confidence to my days. I’ve worn it a few times this week and it’s helped me to realize that I can be someone as awesome as Black Widow and power through and be the Hero for us.  It’s helped me keep my head up and try and be as positive as I can.

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So, here I am, staying Hero Mode and getting through everyday the best I can. And that’s totally good. Nothing going on is so serious that it can’t be handled. And I feel so much better knowing and remembering that.

Thanks for the confidence boost, Ashley Eckstein & all the Her Universe team!

OTR Interview Makes It Better

After thinking more about the recent election, I wondered how things were going to be handled with the post-election news.  As I wrote about before, the Trump election was a shocker for me but I decided I needed to be positive in order to live a life that I can atleast enjoy day to day.

I listened to the SkyPlex master mind, Joshua Wallack, spend a very insightful 2 hours with Ken from the Orlando Tourism Report and he made so much sense.  In the interview, Joshua says that he dealt with the fact that Trump won and then moved on to the next step. Being the owner of the Mangos night club in Miami and Orlando, Ken inquired what, if anything, the President-Elect would mean for the people Joshua employees and the way they do business.  Joshua made one of the best statements I’ve heard since the election. He stated that it didn’t matter who is president, they are going to keep doing what they’re doing.

These two statements really hit home with me. After the first hour, I felt better. Joshua knew what to say and how to say it. I felt almost as if he had talked to his children and reassured them in a similar way that he did in this interview.  Even not being a child, I sincerely appreciated what he had to say and it’s one of the things making life better than my initial response to the election results.

You can check out the interview through the OTR site or on any podcast app.

 

The Election 2016

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Peace, Love & the Mouse: It’ll be ok in the end
I’ve thought about this for a few days now and have considered what to say about this year’s presidential election.  I  am continually trying to keep myself in check, but let me share my experience…

First off, I didn’t vote. I know that means I “don’t get to complain about anything” and that’s fine. I live in Tennessee, I would’ve voted for Hillary, I knew it didn’t matter. This state always goes red, I know that. Hence why I didn’t wig too much when I let the deadline pass for getting my voter registration updated. So we’ll start with that.

Loss and I watched the returns on Tuesday night and I didn’t really know what to think, except that it was going too late, so to sleep we went. I woke up around 2:30 that morning and checked my phone and found out the result.  I was surprised then, as I thought more, I cried. I cried because things are so unknown. Loss held me and assured me we are going to be ok. I finally went back to sleep for about an hour around 5 am then went in to work.

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Part of this was dessert Tuesday/ Breakfast Wednesday
I received a few comments/messages from some sweet ladies from my church family reassuring me to not worry or fear. One of them said it best- “Please don’t assume the 13.5 Million people who voted for Trump are close minded, hate-filled, racist people“. I’m a usually very optimistic person, so I’m holding onto this thought. A lot. I was also reminded that God is who is in control of things and that is hard to keep in mind when things are feeling and looking chaotic all around.

My main concern is that all these folks that I know, love and respect who have different faiths or sexual orientations are going to be treated equal and that the country doesn’t take steps backward, but continues to grow in a positive manner. I’m not sure what the future is going to hold and if this is true, but I sincerely hope that is the case.

It’s been hard to see so many people upset, angry and sad about the current situation on my social media- I know many of my friends were (and still am) heartbroken, as I was. I’m admittedly going with my patented way of coping: ignoring.  It’s not the most ideal way to do things, but I don’t feel like I can go through each day upset and bitter over something that I cannot change. I’m sure I’ll have more feelings and reactions to things as time passes and we get closer to inauguration day, but I’m trying so hard to stick with the fact that I’m not in charge and other folks of this world aren’t, ultimately, in charge as it is.  I know some folks might roll their eyes at this take on things, but if I can’t live a life of calm and some happiness, I don’t see the point in doing it.

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He hates it, but this photo of Loss is the definition of calm to me.
So that’s my take on this election. My take isn’t fully finished evolving, I’m sure, but that’s where I am. And I felt I needed to share it with you guys. I feel a little better getting it out and just want to say that I love all you guys so much- let’s be good to ourselves and each other.

xoxo

Jenny