Tuesday, September 30, 2014

3 Awesome Things While I Was Out

In blog world I've become that unapologetically selfish friend who only stops by when she wants you to know something about her life. 

Well maybe that statement also holds true in real life so let me work on it - but hear me out about three awesome things since I last contributed to the internets.

1. Brother made it back safely to the USA

I made a quick trip to Seattle two weekends ago to see my brother in Seattle while he looked for housing. It was pretty amazing to spend only $44 on transportation versus the hundreds/thousands I used to spend when he lived in Europe for 4 years - even though I only had the pleasure of making the trip twice. He's now permanently relocated, owns a fancy new car and is trying to re-learn how to be an American again. 

2. Dad has successfully retired (and my mom is a much younger woman)

My dad exited the work force Saturday night and did it in style. He left the building he's worked at for the last 12 years wearing his favorite hawaiian vacation shirt and a satisfied smirk on his young face. Two hours later while we were out shooting pool at a bar it became his birthday, making mom a much younger woman for about 6 weeks. 

Then mom worked way too hard on an epic all-encompassing celebration for the homecoming / retirement / birthday and we got to spend time together on Sunday. Somehow I don't have any photos to prove that any of that actually happened, just trust me that mom knows how to throw a party.

3.  This Guy

It's pretty special when you're in a long distance relationship and your guy gets to come to town for work. It's even more special when he makes the choice to extend that trip for a few extra days in town on the weekend and genuinely wants to spend our last days together for a while with my family. My family has opened their arms up (more than once) to this special man of mine and it makes me happiest.

We laughed, we played, we worked hard, we ate tasty Portland food, we hiked, we contemplated existence and we filled our happy-tanks together. Now I am trying to quickly get through the rollercoaster of missing that always happens the first week that we're apart. 

Pretty exciting stuff! Plus I wore my boots for the first time yesterday. Hello, Fall! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Happy Favorites

No stinkin' way you guys! 

After I spent way too much effort writing yesterday's post about how I wanted Summer to ship on out till next year, the blog gods came down and granted me with a rainy morning and some pretty yellow soggy leaves on the ground. The rainy kind of morning where my hair was a mess the rest of the day and I didn't even mind because the frizz was validation that my favorite season is ready to reveal itself. 

The "calm and peace" that I expected didn't exactly play out like I thought they would, but that's to be expected during the work week. Now that it's Friday we can kick back, snuggle up and jump straight into some of my favorite things that happened this week and that are about to happen in the next 72 hours. 

Who else is linking up with Amanda's Friday Favorites?

:: I am headed up to Seattle this evening on my magic bus to rendezvous with my brother (who has been in Europe for 4 years and is officially back in the USA in 1 week from today!). I'll see him around 10pm and be back on my way home around noon - likely in need of a greasy breakfast sandwich.

:: These ferrets lose it when they get tossed into a box of peanuts (the styrofoam kind). I adore this. 

:: These clever tips on how to find happiness once you're really ready to. 

:: The Target dresses are as fabulous and wonderful as I ever hoped they would be. I've worn 3 of the 4 and have plans to use and abuse them.

:: It's not this week, but my dad actually gets to retire next weekend. Great vibes for everyone and I can't imagine how that must feel for my parents.

:: Speaking of the parents, after much anxiety around the entire situation, Brian met the people who mean most to me (minus my brother) and [we think] it went "as well as it possibly could have". I say that because there was genuine conversation, not a lot of awkward silence, over 100 rounds of Cards Against Humanity to break the ice, puppy love and even an open arms hug from the mother... the figurative cherry on top.

Happy weekend, all! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014


This unseasonably warm September weather has got the Portland native in me all sorts of mixed up.

See, in the Fall I feel like I've got it all much more together - "it" being life, organization and peace of mind. 

There's something about September that usually brings out the student in me. The student who eagerly waited for her first homework assignments of the year. The student who got more excited over shopping for school supplies than for the latest clothing styles. The student who spent the first 3 key weeks of school trying to win over her teachers rather than trying to fit in with the popular crowd. September used to be a re-birth of organization, creativity and self-expression - things that in today's world don't carry as much importance anymore.

The turn to Fall makes it easy to wrap myself up in layers and spend an entire weekend day at my favorite local coffee shop. It brings me peace and clarity to match the clacking of my fingertips against the keyboard to the rhythm of the raindrops falling on the pavement outside. It brings me comfort to cradle a warm mug of coffee in my hands while I watch the sleepy neighborhood go about its business. The business I have no stake in but find interesting to play make-believe nonetheless.

There's even a part of me that feels like typing on a computer is taboo this time of year. The simplicity of it all is welcoming, but at the same time I crave the sincerity of pen in hand with my deepest thoughts making their way onto some beautiful stationery. Like I need a pen-pal or a friend who I can pass sneaky notes to in a language that only we understand. Even more of a pleasure would be to write these letters by the fire or near the glow of a brand new scented candle.

This aroma, this feeling and this peace I've described make me thankful for the change of seasons. Specifically the way that the personality of the seasons allows me to grow, reflect and revitalize.

While I've squeezed every last drop out of the past few months with vacations, love and hope for a bright future, I'm quite ready for the peaceful vibes of my favorite Northwest season to settle in.

Out of my way, Summer! There are scarves, boots and sleeved dresses in my closet that have missed me dearly!

[Edit]: It's raining in Portland today! Life is great!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fried Chicken & Waffles

I knew that title would get your attention! What's a Wednesday post without a dirty photo of weekend brunchables?

I wasn't originally planning to show up to class today but I seem to have some information-hangry readers. Apparently if you check my blog every 3-5 hours for an update you can flush me out, it's science.

How about we compromise with a brief few sentences for the usual Wednesday round-up of silly things - don't say I never gave you anything!

:: All I ate on Saturday was some divine combination of fried chicken, waffle, bacon, eggs, orange juice and champagne. This place is a Portland must-see. 

:: I haven't actually read a book in forever - but when Kristen posted her crazy obsession striking again over Pride and Prejudice, I went to Costco and picked up my own pretty copy of the classic and look forward to reading it! 

:: I'm always saying that I want a "pretty" instagram, but then I clog it up with my sweaty selfies. I think this was why I created a fitness instagram in the first place, right?

:: Speaking of - I kind of forgot that I write a fitness blog. Is that a problem? Am I a bad blogger?

:: Last but not least - sometimes in work meetings when I "just can't", I make these silly graphics based on things people say or how a meeting is going... they never get old! 

Okay, seriously - get off my internets and go enjoy your PSL's!

Go link up with Kathy!
Vodka and Soda

Friday, September 12, 2014

Some Happy, Some Thanks

Good vibes over here heading into the weekend and a brand spankin' new blog design from Kailyn to drop on your faces.

I was literally surprised with the design last night when Kailyn got off of her turn for a skype date with Melissa and said "I'm giving JumpingJE a makeover whether you like it or not!". Yep. Mama likes.

Thank you Friday and thank you inspirational sloth gifs. 

What to say, what to say?

Boy arrives here tomorrow for the weekend, Target dresses arrive tomorrow, leaves are falling onto the ground, it still hasn't rained, I get to see my brother next weekend (and then he moves back to the USA in 2 weeks!) and my dad gets to retire at the end of September... on his birthday!

Happy Happy vibes.

Other good things:

My friend Brooke is finally showing her human side and getting mushy over her engagement (or marriage like she mentioned/edited yesterday),  I had a lovely skype date with Melissa on Wednesday - she has some silly news for you next week, I hope in podcast form. Kailyn is the champion and gave me a makeover JUST because she loves me (or because she hated my picmonkey design a 5th grader could have done?) AND she's blogged every day in September.

You guys are amazing and I too am happy to be "back" to blogging. I've missed this little home.

The theme today is "thanks" for such a sunny happy Friday.

Thank you Robin Thicke for always keeping your invisible basketball safe.

:: Thank you this article for reminding me how special I am - and thank you Brian for agreeing that I have these 12 Qualities. 

:: Thank you to Mark Manson who wrote this. I think more people shouldn't say "yes" unless it's a "Fk yes!"

:: Thank you Apple for making my "new" iPhone 5s feel old already. I'll skip the iPhone 6 Plus and wait for the iPhone 8 Magnum. #AmIRight?

:: Thank you mom for really not giving Brian your worst this weekend, I was just joking

:: Thank you boss man for giving me Monday off from work (which likely means a Monday off from blogging too


This counts as favorites, yes?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It Happened to Me: 20% off at Target

Thank you for all the love you showed for yesterday's post. It was a scary thing to try to think of how to introduce Brian to my internet world - the world that includes all of you lovely blog friends that I've never met before, but also my family members, my good friends and random people from college study groups that read my blog from the links I post on Facebook.

Good news is that I don't have a very deep topic today so I won't take much of your time.

What will be the time-suck is when you click on the link I'm inserting below and go blow your paychecks on all things Target like I did. 

Okay, so I didn't blow my paycheck but I got a wild shopping hair when I realized that fall was knocking at our doors. I know I said I was trying to hold onto #SleevelessSummer, but when I open my closet this fall there's two words to describe what I'll be wearing.

It started with Kasey's post about 20% off at Target if you spent $99 on clothing, shoes or accessories - then it turned into an obsession over this silhouette:

And yes, those are the 4 dresses I ordered and will receive this week. 

Get ready, instagram - shirt dresses are about to be all the rage. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

So I Went to Mexico with a Boy and Other Confessions

Sorry to leave you hanging yesterday, but I couldn't come back from 2 weeks of absence and hit you with substance. I had to get back into the writing flow with something shallow like the length and color of my hair. It was also an attempt to cleverly attract you while simultaneously buying time to write the vacation recap + other confessions.

To be honest, I've been away from blogging for so long that I wasn't sure if Kathy still hosted confessions on Wednesdays, if people still used twitter or if hashtags were even still a thing. #TheyAre #Blessed. Actually I was also surprised to see there was a new iPhone out, like I've been living in a cave or something.

That's how removed I've been from the internet world the last few months and I want to come clean with my list of reasons for being so remorselessly MIA:

1. Work
2. Summer
3. A Boy

While I'd love to tell you exactly what "work" and "summer' mean, I know you really just came here to read about the boy-carrot I've been dangling in front of you for about a month now. (btw, google image search "boy carrot" for a giggle).

The slightly ironic thing about today's confession is that this isn't the first time I've talked about this boy here on this blog.  If you need to catch up, here's the post you might remember. #SpoilerAlert

Through the events that played out as a result of work and summer, we were reunited 75 days after we had mutually decided to spend the rest of our forevers apart. And I mean forever. Quickly through our re-connection, the sparks, the magic and the happy fuzzy feels of being back in contact caught us both by surprise.

From my point of view, an anxious and uneasy surprise. From his, "a pleasant one".

You see, the sparks and the feels were there before and arguably had never died, but we stuffed those beautiful beams of light into a tiny box - locked it, threw away the key, buried the box a mile under ground and erected the next world's tallest building with a "shit-load of concrete" on top of it. Hoping and willing that those sparks and feels would never again see the light of day.

But duh, you know as well as I do that magic and sparks can't be forced into darkness.

The time that we spent apart concealing that magic was liberating, eye opening and extremely helpful for resetting my personal value, my self-worth and experiencing the blossom effect that happens after a break-up. Repairing myself and rebuilding into something better was time well spent, but when those sparks rose from the dead and waved themselves frantically in front of my face, they suggested that I give this man and this terrifying thing called love another chance. A chance that I've since tried to sabotage, a chance that I've since tried to nourish and a chance that I owe to the decisions and sacrifices that have led us here.

So this boy (who I can't really call a "boy" as he's 4 years my senior) and I live 2,000 miles from each other. Aside from hours on FaceTime and quick weekend trips, we don't get to touch each others faces more than the pets we give on the front-facing iPhone camera (you can turn away now from the mush, but I'm just getting to the vacation recap). Because of all this apart-ness, we planned a week-long tropical Mexico vacation to serve as our last escape before a crazy few months ahead in our careers.

Ole! Onto the good parts! By the way... his name is Brian.

Brian and I met up in Dallas for our connecting flight to Cancun and we were so excited to get Popeye's Chicken see each other at the airport that we almost missed our flight. We didn't have seats booked together but somehow he negotiated the aisles across from each other. Meanwhile I was busy doing my part by gracefully spilling 20oz of water into the aisle, accompanied by a chorus of gasps from the witnessing passengers.

When we made it to Cancun we grabbed some cervezas and jumped on the shuttle that took us an hour south to my first all-inclusive resort experience. Our room overlooked the "adults only" side along with the dolphin / manatee tank where they did daily swim experiences.

Between the food, the booze, the pools and the entertainment - the place where we spent the most quality time was at the life-sized chess board.

Let me preface that one of the qualities that I find most attractive about this guy is his brain, followed closely by his competitive spirit. He's brilliant. Put those two things together with a person who's never played chess before (against me who was in the Chess club through 4th grade) and you don't need alcohol for entertainment. Things got heated as I continued to chirp "check" and asked "now why would you move that there?".

Since Mexico he's drastically improved his chess game but I'll just take the credit as my solid teaching. Right?

The week was spent within the grounds of the resort - overlooking the ocean, kayaking, renting a cabana, playing pool bingo, beating him in pool H-O-R-S-E and pool P-I-G (he is athletic, I promise. He beat me in a footrace on the beach), trying out the restaurants, dusting off my Spanish minor with some translation assistance and watching classic films I'd never seen like Blazing Saddles and Something About Mary.

I even convinced his sleepy-head to wake up with me for the sunrise on our last day (that he continued to actually call the "sunset" because I don't think he's ever woken up for a sunrise).

We avoided the flood of work emails that were coming in as much as possible and  kept our phones tucked away in the hotel safe - which is the main reason for so few photos. We ordered corn dogs from room service like it was our last meal. And lastly maybe because of the corn dogs we spent a ton of time battling each other for the toilet - absolutely THE most romantic time we've ever spent together.

Positive side - I didn't get a sunburn and I haven't been peeling my skin like I did after the week I spent in Belize earlier this summer. #winning

[Brian Wants To Interject: "Hey! I like how you didn't mention that I beat you in ping-pong and spoke Spanish better than you. Or that I won a bracelet for the dog you in pool bingo.]

Oh yeah, he won this bracelet for me and I haven't taken it off since!

In short, Brian's pretty special to me and we had a wonderful escape from reality together.

My favorite memory from the trip was tackling each other in the cold sand and staring up at the stars while we threw handfuls of sand in each other's hair. Also, when I come back in another life I want to be a manatee. They were the cutest cows of the sea that did nothing but love and snuggle on one another. What a sweet existence.

I'm excited that my "coming out party" got to be with my Wednesday confessions. Mainly it just feels good to share what's been making me so happy and blog-absent.

Really where I could use your help today is to send your good vibes. He's coming to visit this weekend and will be meeting my parents for the first time! Over Chicken & Waffles, naturally.

Give him your worst, Angie!

Go Link Up with Kathy!
Vodka and Soda

Change is Good

There's been so many questions arising from the photos on my instagram feed lately that I thought I'd come back from my blogging hiatus and help fill some of the gaps for you. 

You want to know about my hair, right?

This weekend I went in to get my hair done for the first time since Easter and my only ask was to "clean it up a bit" and "get the color richer for fall". From my vague high-maintenance explanation of exactly what I wanted, Emmanuel took that as his cue to take full creative control over my tresses. Normally this would be a terrifying thing - but if you've seen the beautiful art that is Brooke's hair you'd also be able to sit worry-free in a chair and hear summer hiking stories and learn about meat markets in your city that you had no idea existed. All while your hair was soaking up the dark and rich color it's been craving for so long. 

After color, cut and styling I looked in the mirror and was thrilled. Thrilled to have no trace of highlights in my hair for the first time in three years. Thrilled to still have the length I've been working hard to grow out. Thrilled that it was a beautiful day in the city and I now had that fresh-cut confidence to roam around my favorite places in downtown Portland for the morning. Silly to think that I was going to head straight home to my sweats for some NFL viewing. 

Left: Easter 2014
Right: September 2014

The real question is: 

Why do I hold a drink in my hand when I take my haircut selfies? 

Truth is, I can't answer that.

Best news is that the morning-after style wasn't a total wreck. In fact the only wreck about this photo is that it's a car selfie #hatingmyself.

Oh, ha-ha my mistake - you're wanting to know about my little escape south of the border two weeks ago? Or the massive bouquet of flowers that were delivered to me at work "just because". Or maybe that beautiful sunrise photo? 

Sorry about that. Looks like we're run out of time and you'll have to wait for tomorrow!

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