Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stressed

Majorly stressed today. I called in sick to work and was told not to bother coming back until Tuesday at 10am (not my normal starting time) so that they could meet with me. I asked if they were firing me and they said no, but it still doesn't sound very good. Forced vacation is never a good thing. I'm trying to trust God, but it's difficult.

To compound matters, I'm worried that if I do get into the situation of needing a second job, how will I be able to find one that wouldn't mind me quitting in 3 months to go back to school?? That's not exactly a selling point, especially in this economy. Maybe I would be better off trying a temp agency?

Getting fired or cut back for excessive absenteeism isn't a selling point either, especially in a small town. I can't really help being sick though, so I'm not sure what they want me to do about it. I've been working on building up my immune system, and I actually haven't been sick for a couple months now, but when you're sick, you're sick, right? Would they rather I went in and infected their entire office staff?? I feel like I'm in a no-win situation here.

It's really difficult to relax and get well when you're stressed out, you know that? I'm sure I would feel better if I could just get some more rest, but now my mind is going a million miles an hour.

Once school starts, things should be better financially, provided that my financial aid comes through (I still haven't heard from them yet!). In the meanwhile, I'm not entirely sure what to do. I wish they wouldn't have been so indecisive over the phone. The unknown is way more stressful than having a definite situation to deal with.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Freezer Jam

This past weekend I made strawberry jam!! It's super easy. :)



First you take a whole bunch of strawberries, de-stem them, and rinse them off. I bought three little baskets of them at the Farmer's Market and used two of them for the jam.



Next you mash them up with a potato masher. That's the fun part! :)



The recipe then called for 4 cups of sugar, which seemed like a lot at the time, but now that I've tasted the jam, it's just right - not too sweet. I used cane sugar, but you could use refined white sugar if you'd rather.



You then need to stir pectin into boiling water for like a minute or three. It was non-stop stirring for that part so I didn't have a chance to take a picture.

After that, you stir the pectin/water combo into the jam until it's all stirred in.



Lastly, put it in canning jars, put the lids on, and let sit on the table for 24 hours. This is freezer jam, so no need to actually do the canning process on these jars.

After 24 hours, put all the jars in the freezer except for the jar you're actually using - that one can go in the fridge. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Lovely June Sponsors

I did put up my July sponsor spots a few days early because I knew it might get busy mid-week for me, however... I still wanted to highlight my lovely June sponsors! Thank you all so much for your lovely support. :)



Hello, I'm Shannon, the daughter of a black and ancestrally Mexican man and a white woman who lived on Haight Street (San Francisco) in the 70s. I am currently a Master's student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where I study minority memoirs and biracial literature. I work as a freelance writer, book reviewer, and proofer.

Blog





Hi, I'm D'Rae. I am a loyal friend, a bit creative, and love to read. I love my husband & Sophie (my cat). I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Blog // Twitter // Pinterest



Hello!! I'm Lee Lee, a crafty fashion blogger from Colombia living in Miami, FL. I love everything cute, photography, and vintage. When I am not working, I spend my days sewing, reading blogs, and taking pictures. I love to travel and to meet new people. I blog about my adventures in Miami, my trips, my inspirations, the things I love, and the things I love making. Come in to my world! Everyone is welcome! :)

Blog // Twitter // Etsy // Facebook



Hi, I'm Sarah. I'm a child of God, a wife, a mother, a daughter. An employee, a planner, a dreamer. I'm both complicated and simple. My blog is a strange mix of my church life, work life, family life, health issues, and what I'm wearing that day.

Blog // Twitter

Monday, June 27, 2011

Embrace Being Alone

It's a very interesting dilemma sometimes, being an introverted single person. I love being alone in my thoughts, alone with a book, alone in a movie theatre, or alone in a crowd. Other times though, it's frustrating to be alone.... alone at a wedding, alone when others are holding hands and happy, alone as I grow older and my dreams of having children slip further and further away.

Alone doesn't have to mean lonely, but sometimes it turns into that. Other times alone is refreshing and rejuvenating. I think the difference is all in perspective. Keeping my eyes on God and on the creative journey that He's put me on does a lot for a healthy outlook on life, regardless of if I'm physically alone.

My life currently is filled with a roommate and a cat instead of a husband and kids, but that's okay. That's just my life. Someday maybe that'll change, but for now, I'm learning to embrace being alone without a family to call my own. And I'm learning that as an introvert, I literally need alone time to recharge. I'm also learning that, relationship-wise, being alone right now just means that I'm not making mistakes that will take years to remedy.

I ran across this video again that I saw awhile back, that really speaks a lot to embracing YOU, despite being alone. It's a beautiful message and mesmerizes me every time I see it.



Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekly Wrapup



Last night I fried up some more of my vegetables and herbs, to eat over brown rice. It was delicious!! I chopped up leeks, asparagus, garlic, cucumbers, basil, and cilantro. The hardest part was waiting for the rice to finish cooking! Why does brown rice take so long?

So anyway, how was your weekend? Mine was pretty good. Lots of crafting, shopping, and blogging done. In case you missed it, here's a look back at this past week!

My FAVORITE Posts This Week:

I introduced my July sponsor swap! Are you in?

We had a great guest post from D'Rae on how to wear one dress in three different ways!

Sights and sounds from my local Farmer's Market. Mmm mmm good!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Farmer's Market!

I used to go grocery shopping on Wednesdays (payday), but since summer's started, I've gotten into the habit of going on Saturday mornings (Farmer's Market!). It's so fun to be able to pick out produce and fruit straight from the farmer's carts. I love knowing that the food I'm eating is grown locally and organically.

Here are some sights and sounds that I encountered today!

There was a balloon lady!

Lots of yummy produce...

... and beautiful flowers!



As I was leaving, there was a group of people dancing in the street! It was fun to watch in person, although the video isn't that great.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Real Food!

I've been trying really, really hard to eat better these days, mainly because I know it's important for my health and will make me feel better both now and in the long run. To accommodate this goal, I've been leaning into a vegan diet. While I don't always make it, on the days that I do, I really do feel great! There's just something about fresh produce that invigorates you. I always knew I felt bogged down and sluggish before, but never realized it was because of the food I ate.

I do also allow myself to "cheat" every now and then. I'm not on a diet, per say, I just want to learn how to eat REAL FOOD, and so, as with any change, there are bound to be times when I just really want what feels familiar. That's when I grab the Cheetos or the butter-flavored movie-theatre popcorn, have a taste, enjoy it, and then move on. Most days though, real food actually tastes better, satisfies my soul, and gives me so much energy that I forget that it came out of the ground instead of shrink wrap. ;)

Here are a few of the things I've been eating lately. Mmm mmm good!


Swiss Chard and Herbs over Rice - also Strawberries!

Red, Yellow, & Orange Bell Peppers

Red Bell Pepper

Beans, Tomatoes, and Spinach Burrito

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An Epic Idea



I had an epic idea today that's probably going to take me years to accomplish, possibly even more than a decade. I thought it'd be fun to go back to 1979 and watch movies from each year of my life that I either missed or would've watched had I been older &/or allowed to watch them.

Some things are obviously going to be hard to find, but I'm sure Netflix has a lot of them. I'll probably just stick with what I can find on there. And I won't watch EVERY movie from every year, but rather just try to find the iconic ones or top box-office ones and also the ones I remember from then (whether or not I've seen them). I think it'd be interesting to learn the cultural context around movies that I do remember (like The Apple Dumpling Gang) - like, what else was popular then - what society was like then, etc.

So much of even what I did watch from that era was watched way after it actually came out, so it'll be interesting to get a better feel for each decade and what movies were like then, as a whole. I might throw in tv shows too, since I didn't really watch much tv until the later 90's. I think it'd be fun to learn some of cultural references to those shows that I miss because I've never seen them. I want to find music from each year as I'm going along too, and listen to them to really get into the mood of those years. :)

In order to document it all, I've started a blog called Nostalgia Lane, that will chronicle my journey through the end of the 70's, and on into the 80's and 90's. I'm really curious to see actors that I know now acting in movies when they were younger. Should be fun! ;) Join me if you like. I don't want to clutter up this Just Jen blog with 1970's movie trivia, so meet me over at Nostalgia Lane if this is something you're interested in!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

1 Dress, 3 Ways



I'm turning over the blog today to one of my lovely sponsors, D'Rae! She's got great fashion sense, so I'm really excited about this post! Enjoy. :)

*****

Today I would like to take a dress and show you three ways of wearing it. I have a bad habit of wearing an item of clothing one way all the time. So I thought it would be fun to take one dress and give three different outfits from that one dress.

I chose a denim chambray dress from Kohls. I styled these looks using things I would wear or currently own. (after writing this post, I am actually thinking about buying that dress!) First up is what to wear on the weekend. I choose a cross body bag to keep your hands free while you are browsing the farmers market or shopping at the mall. A white crochet cardigan will help keep you looking and feeling cool. Tom's shoes are just comfortable and cute!

Weekend





Next up we have a very simple work-wear look. Obviously this is for more of a laid back kind of office setting since I have chosen a denim dress and opened toed shoes. A cute owl brooch sows off your playful side and a patterned cardigan helps keep the look more polished.

Work Wear





Last up I am showing how to dress it up for a dressy casual event. I'm sort of thinking this would look good for a dinner date. I have chosen basic black flats and a beaded cardigan for this look.

Dinner Time





I hope that this helps give you all some ideas on how to take one item and wear it more than one way.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Big Picture People"

I learned something new about my dad last night - he and I both are "big picture people" (as opposed to: detail-oriented people). I've faked my way through enough detail-oriented jobs over the years that it's just occurring to me recently that that's not really my strong suit! My sisters and Mom all seem to be detail-oriented, and I've just naturally kept trying to be like them. And while I admire that quality in them, for sure, I'm really realizing just how much details do NOT come naturally to me!

Last night, as we were all gathered for a Father's Day BBQ and Settlers game, I was listening to my sister and mom chittering away about details in their Etsy shops. I turned to my dad and said, "Wow... that's a lot of details to keep track of!" He nodded in agreement, and we soon discovered that that's something we have in common - our non-detailed-ness. Fascinating!

It's pretty cool to see yourself as a reflection from somebody else. Sometimes it's easy to feel like I'm my own unique island, utterly strange and different from everyone else. In moments like these, I am reminded that I am indeed made from my parents and really am a part of each of them in interesting ways. I'd never really pondered before what ways I was like my dad, so I'm glad to discover this.

It explains so much too - we're both bad with directions, we both tend to like games like chess, we both like learning about things and events and how they fit in with the rest of everything else. I love my dad so much and I'm glad that I inherited this trait of his!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Button Swap!



I've been thinking about how I'm going to do sponsor spots for July. To be honest, I haven't had many requests for sponsors anyway, and I kind of feel like I'm banging my head against a wall in trying to drum up interest.

Let's try this instead...

No fee for July. Let's instead have a button swap! I put your button on my blog and you put mine on yours? How's that? After all, the whole point of sponsoring a site is to help each other gain traffic. This month, let's mutually help each other.

So here's the deal: if you are interested, comment here and I'll email you more details.

Basically, I'll need a 300x75 button from you. If you would like me to mention your blog in a post, send also a photo of yourself (ideally 500 px width) and a little blurb about you and what makes you unique! If you would be interested in doing a guest post, I'd totally be open to that as well.

We'll discuss what size button you need from me (preferably a similar size to what you've sent me), as well as any other text or photos you might want from me as a sponsor of your blog.

Want to be my July sponsor? Totally free, just mutual promotion! Let's talk!



Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Music Discovery: Bond



I never would've claimed to like electric violin before I heard the group Bond, but now I'm definitely a fan!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rickrack

I bought some rickrack for my sewing projects tonight! I haven't decided which color I'm going to use, but I bought a variety so I can experiment. It's going to be sort of a trim/border around parts of the apron, which I think will be a fun touch!

Also I bought some really freakin' huge tracing paper so I can trace the patterns out of the pattern book that I bought the other day. This paper is seriously big - like 19"x24"! It was the largest book of tracing paper they had. ;) For some reason this pattern book had patterns printed on both sides, so I had to get tracing paper to trace over them and basically make my own patterns (with most patterns, they're only printed on one side, so you can just cut the pattern out directly). Anyway, I thought it'd be kind of annoying to trace all that, but it turned out to be kind of fun.

Tonight while I traced, I pre-washed the two fabrics that I'm going to use for my first apron. Tomorrow I'll cut out the fabric and start sewing! Hopefully I can get at least one apron done tomorrow. I don't think it'll take too long, but it has been awhile since I've sewn anything, so we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Review: Simple Country Wisdom



I found a fascinating book, Simple Country Wisdom, by Susan Waggoner, when I was browsing at Joann's the other day. She starts off by expressing sorrow that somewhere around our mother's generation, women stopped learning how to take care of their houses. I can definitely identify. I don't know about you, but I kind of just expect my house to clean itself! (Hint: it doesn't actually work that way).

Susan teaches us, in a simple but not patronizing manner, how to care for our home. She covers everything from clutter control to how to get your laundry whites naturally brighter. It's all those little things that Grandma knew how to do, but that, for some reason, never got passed along.



She reminds us to infuse personality and joy into our houses, but also to keep them clean and uncluttered. This doesn't mean sterile, just un-dirty. A home should still feel lived in and like "you", but it also shouldn't embarrass you if someone stops by to visit unexpectedly.

She has a section on how to make your home welcoming to overnight guests, which I thought was pretty cool. She says to make sure they have a clean, comfortable, private room where they can unwind and relax. Set out some flowers and reading materials and let them have a little retreat away from home!



She also suggests setting up a clear desk space in the guest room for your visitors to lay their keys and purses. It's one of those little things that makes a room feel a little more inviting to someone who doesn't ordinarily live there.

There are all sorts of fun little tips and tricks in this book. For example, did you know that you can make your own room-freshening spray by mixing one cup of witch hazel (you can find it at the drug store) and a teaspoon or two of pure vanilla extract in a spray bottle?



Susan also talks about the "order of clean". In other words, when you clean a room, where should you start? (Hint: it's not the floor). She reminds us to dust (!) everything, including shelves, knick-knacks, and even door-jams! That's definitely not something I would've thought of.

Anyway, I'm about half-way through this book and am really enjoying it! In checking Amazon now, I'm realizing that I could've paid about a 1/4 of the price on there, but oh well. It was definitely worth buying nevertheless. I feel like it's my womanly duty to learn all this stuff! Now I just need a daughter to share it with. :)

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