Saturday, December 10, 2011


This is not a running blog. Most of my friends on twitter are runners & they have running blogs. I've actually tried to make running blogs, but it never seems to amount to anything. I've deleted two.

I do consider myself a runner, but I'm not the same as them. In fact, I think after many of them read this (if they do read it at all) they will not consider me a "real" runner any more. You see, I don't race. The only races I've participated in were 5 & 10ks. I'd like to run half marathons as well as full marathons, but Doubt has been my running partner all these years. Doubt is a cruel, cruel bitch. Even after completing many double-digit mile runs, Doubt has led me to believe that even though I have actually been able to run 13.1 miles on my own, I will choke on race day. It's not the miles that intimidate me, it's the race.

I have actually considered myself a runner for quite some time. In high school I took it up to lose weight. I actually got pretty good, kept running through college, got lazy, decided to join the Air Force, started running more to get in shape for basic, ran throughout my Air Force career, and the stopped when I got out. I guess all that time being forced to wake up at ungodly hours to run distances I didn't want to run with people I didn't want to run with made me want to rebel. Forget running. It was only after I had my daughter & put on a few pounds did I start running again. Though, I just ran for fitness. Not for speed, nor endurance (even if my endurance is quite high, it's not something I really ever focused on.)

Another reason I've kept myself from racing, I lack a certain quality that I see in all of my runner friends; I am not a competitive person. Even when I played softball in high school, I enjoyed the game. Yes, I wanted to win, but mostly I just wanted to have fun. I wanted to get dirty, get a work out, and have fun playing the sport I loved with my friends. I love soccer, but the aggressive nature of the game kept me from joining a proper league & opting for friendly pick up games.

This may come as a shock to any of you who follow my twitter feed during the NHL play offs! I get bloodthirsty, curse like a sailor, & become quite angry when my favourite team loses. Though some may have noticed, Chris H. might agree, that once the initial sadness of seeing my team leave the ice has faded I am the first to offer words of congratulations to fans of the team who has beat mine. I forget the anguish of losing & remember fondly all of the great moments of the playoffs. I'm just too nice to hold a grudge over something like that. I am a fun person, and want to focus on the happy moments -  which is why I lack that bloodlust & competitive spirit.

Now I have sent myself off track. Get me started talking about hockey, and that's what happens. Though, I have been side tracked far worse & can go on talking about hockey for far longer than you are probably willing to read!


So I'm setting goals for myself. I am lacing up my Asics & leaving my running partner, Doubt, behind to eat my dust. I know she will catch up at times, and rear her ugly head. I'll hear her voice in my head whispering to the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement; "you can't do can't do can't do it" she will tell me. I'm not stupid, I know this will happen, but I am preparing myself. I'm preparing myself to out run her. I'm preparing myself to give this everything I have. I am preparing myself to accomplish & exceed my goals.

I'm going to enter a few races. Before the year 2012 is over I will have completed a half marathon & a full marathon. The full scares me, but with as much as I run, I know that I can achieve this goal. Especially since I will actually be following a training plan & doing speed work instead of just going out & logging my miles aimlessly, as I normally do.

I'd like to thank all of you who have inspired me to take this step in improving my running & getting over my race-day fear. Every runner that I follow on twitter inspires me daily, and there are maybe 10 or 15 of you whom I greatly admire for not just their running skills (if you're reading this, I think you all will probably know who you are.) I've made no secret of how awesome I think you are. One of you is angry. One of you talks about unicorns quite a bit. One of you has no idea how much I respect & admire you. One of you busted out a killer PR recently. One of you runs with pigtails. One of you is a punk. One of you ran a few miles before meeting another one of you at the alter (a story that has awed & affected me.) One of you runs trails.

Thank you all for giving me the encouragement & for influencing me so deeply without realizing what you were even doing.

So in the end, what I'm revealing to you all is that I lack self-confidence, and this blog post is my vow to myself that I will become a more self-assured person & develop the courage to accomplish the goals I am setting for myself.

Thank you for the support.

x Jen

P.S. From this moment forward:

Monday, November 28, 2011


It's not a secret that I'm moving.
Though, I haven't really updated the blog on how the move is going.

it's going
at a glacial pace.

Jer graduated his course in early August. The rest of his classmates had PCSd quickly after that. We were stuck in Monterey (Not a terrible place to be stuck, mind you.) but we were ready to move on since all of our friends had already left. So we FINALLY got out of the house mid-October when I left to go stay with my family while Jer went on to Omaha to do some kind of training that needed to be done before he left.

So being the hopeful, optimistic person that I am we bought plane tickets for Layla and I to join Jer in Omaha so we could spend some time with his family before moving across the pond.

Well we pulled the trigger too quickly.
His training is taking FOREVER. FOREVER.

He still hasn't started.

So time is being wasted.
Money & resources are being wasted.

& worst of all we have a 3 year old who is displaced & confused. She doesn't understand why she can't sleep in her bed. She doesn't understand where all of her toys & books are.

Moving around & living in temporary housing is tough on her.

Though I'm trying to make the best of it, this period of adjustment couldn't come at a WORSE time.

It's the holidays.

We should be in our own home with a Christmas tree lit up & decorated. All of my fun decorations spread throughout the house in every nook & cranny. I like to make this time of year a whimsical winter wonderland for Layla.

Last year was the first year she understood the concept of Santa & I was really looking forward to living the magic through her eyes this year.

I'm still trying my best to give her some of that magic, but seeing as how we don't have any more room in our luggage we can't get decorations for our temporary home & we can't get her any presents. So Santa is going to have to skip us this year, and the thought of that just devastates me. I love being Santa for my little girl. I love seeing her face in the morning.

So it's almost December & we're STILL not moved into a new place. We're still not even close to being in the country we're supposed to be making our new home in. This was supposed to be done September.

So please keep us in your thoughts. Send good Juju our way & hope that the Air Force stops this whole "hurry up & wait" business. It's wasteful, annoying, and difficult for families.

Off to dream of being on a plane making it's way to England.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

a gifty gift of the best kind.

i love homemade gifts.
i especially love making gifts to give to loved ones.

lately many of my friends and family members have been having babies or are getting ready to have their babies, and in the midst of my stressful move i have been busy beavering away trying to get blankets made for the new babies.

one blanket turned out so perfectly peachy.
i just love these colors together.
i made this for my cousin MarLyn's baby. i don't think she reads my blog ever, so i'm safe posting this picture since she won't receive the blanket until Saturday at her baby shower.
doesn't it look so good?!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Little miss Layla as Princess Tiana from Disney's 'The Princess and the Frog'

I hope you all had a safe, candy-filled Halloween!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Granny Chic.

Something I find myself saying often: 
"I'm an 80-year-old stuck in a 25-year-old's body."

I possess granny skills & enjoy my granny hobbies.

I often hear people say "I was born in the wrong era" when referring to preferred clothing styles & lifestyles in general, but I don't like to describe myself.
Yes, I love everything vintage & homemade, but I also love living in the present. I love the convenience of technology. I love that I can cook meals everyday & not spend all day slaving at the stove, and then even more time at the sink washing every dish by hand. I love that I can go to a craft store that is stocked with every color & size yarn I can imagine. I wouldn't give those simple pleasures up to be transported to a time that I might fit into a bit better culturally.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Forsaken Little Souls.

i collect dolls. little figures. tiny little things with happy faces. 

most of my collection are matryoshka dolls. i have an entire shelf of matryoshka dolls.
i love little wooden dolls.
i especially love wooden dolls that i find on the forsaken shelves of the thrift stores. they've been thrown out of their loving homes & forced to sit & wait for someone to come along & rescue them.
i love rescuing these little dolls. 

so the other day i was out and about hitting up my local thrift shops. they're pretty tiny & surprisingly don't replenish their shelves very often. i was disappointed by the lack of new choices. it was the same ol' blah blah blah. mostly plastic crap.

so on my way home i took a detour because i wanted to stop by the craft store for some yarn to cheer me up after a poor day of thrifting. that's when i saw the sign. it was a magical sign. it spoke to me.

it read:
rummage sale
elk lodge of Del Ray Oaks.
(or something along those lines.)

i was excited.
i love rummage sales! it's like a magical, outdoor thrift store.

so i high-tailed my way over to the elk lodge & there were tables stacked with beautiful items & boxes overflowing with used goodness. this is where all the forsaken souls end up.

the table items were kind of duds. there were great, vintage pieces, but the seller was kind of stingy & priced her items as if this were a high-end antique shop ($200 for a vase?! i think not!)
so my only hope was to rummage through the boxes. (duh! it's a rummage sale!!) so i rolled up my sleeves, knelt on the asphalt, and started digging. 

some of the stuff was crap. most of it dirty, broken, or both.
then i found a little box that had items wrapped in plastic. 
i was intrigued.
they felt like little people.

i found a trio of angels playing instruments.

look at this happy little band.

then there were these two. they make up a sweet little duo band.

turn them around and each one is missing a wing.
these poor creatures were in the bottom of a box surrounded by junk and wrapped in plastic. 
they were begging to be rescued.
the owner tried to squeeze a lot of money out of me for these because they're over 100 years old (according to her) but after i pointed out the broken wings & the condition of the rest of the figures i received an excellent deal. 
now these little lovelies are out of their cardboard tomb & happily displayed on my shelf.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A very, very...

Happy Birthday to the handsomest cowboy I know.

When Mommy is Bored....

Layla was a wonderful & patient model while I played with my shiny, new camera!
More pics will be up on my other blog, you can find it in my blogger profile.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Squeeee!!!! *Dottie Angel Edition*

oh my goodness.
oh my so!

you have no idea how excited I am right now.

ever since I picked up the first issue of Mollie Makes magazine, I have been smitten with Dottie Angel. 
Dottie Angel is the alter ego of the queen of all thrifty & homemade goodness, Tif Fussel. 
after reading the article of her crafty life at Mossy Shed I've been obsessed!

okay. maybe 'obsessed' is too strong of a word, but her blog is my new favorite read.

Dottie Angel makes lots of crocheted goodness, but in my opinion her wrap aprons & messenger bags are the cat's meow! unfortunately at the time her etsy shop was on vacation, so I signed up for the email alert to I'd be notified the second she was back in business. 

after waiting all summer her shop finally opened. 
but alas, no aprons.
I waited, and waited, and waited, and then I finally gave in and sent her a message.
I wanted to have one before I big move overseas, and our move date is fast approaching. luckily she got back to me quickly & was planning to list a few the following weekend.

happy happy joy joy!

so that saturday afternoon I kept checking her shop to see if they were listed yet. 
they soon began to pop up & I waited until I was sure she had finished listing items.

then came the tough decision, which beautiful apron shall I purchase??

there were quite a few options, and each more darling than the next.
however, I finally settled on one I thought was darling & would look great while I housewife it up in the Sufflok countryside after our big move.

& then the happy day arrived (today in fact) when I opened my mailbox & found the wrap waiting for me to open!

oh happy day indeedy!

a beautiful thank you card from Tif & a card advertising her recently published book (something else I will probably be ordering in the coming months ahead.)

& my beautiful apron!
I love love love love love the flower of vintage fabric. 
I adore the large pocket.
I find each & every inch of this apron wrap to be simply adorable & it has found a great home where it will be very much loved & appreciated.


p.s. I know I just wrote an entire blog post on an apron, but I don't care. I love it to pieces & am overly filled with joy to have a Dottie Angel apron wrap in my possession.
If you too would like a Dottie Angel apron wrap or perhaps a messenger bag, or really any one of her masterful pieces you should check out her shop on etsy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things

I like old things. 
Vintage. Antique.
 Two great words to describe my style & taste.

When I go to thrift stores or antique shops I like to browse to see what they have to offer, but there are a few choice items that I try to keep an eye out for.

Things like:
Matryoshka Dolls
Vintage Tea Tins
Books (particularly old versions of Jane Austen novels)
Women's Handkerchiefs
Old Suitcases
Tea Cups

A few stacks of my hankies. I still need to frame a bunch of them, sew others onto some bunting, and I don't know what I'm going to do with the rest.

A few of my favorites all spread out.

The pretty lady on the right is huge. The bearded man on the left is the average size of the largest matryoshka doll, so the beautiful Christmas doll is about 12 inches tall!!

Some more of my beauties. Note the little doggy in the bottom right-hand corner? He's a little cutie I named Basil. He's a toy from the 1930's & I rescued him off a dusty shelf in the corner of an antique mall.


A few of my tea tins hanging out on my dresser. (Also pictured: vintage souvenir Dutch clogs, my Great-Grandma's yellow tea pot with a tiny matching cup, a fake candle with the Eiffel Tower on it, a vintage tin tray on top of a bigger vintage tray both covered in my jewelry, and a piggy bank from Target.)

Another little tin nestled into a cozy section of my dresser. (Also pictured: blue vase I rescued from a dirty old thrift store, a tea cup & saucer that weren't made for each other, but I decided that they belonged together anyway, my Grandpa's old jewelry box, a spool of vintage fabric ribbon, and Dutch clogs the last time I was in the Netherlands.)

I was going to put off posting pictures of this great find until Friday so I could do a 'Great Find Friday' post, but I just couldn't help myself! I went to the local Antique Mall here in Monterey to have a little retail therapy after my dear friend, Melissa, left this morning on her big move back to the East Coast. I went to the corner where my favorite seller displays her items when I noticed on a little roll-top desk a few books sat. The first one I picked up:

Emerson's Poems!!

I adore the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
His philosophies on life are brilliant, and if you've never read anything by him you need to go hit up Borders before it closes & get a copy of 'Nature' or any collection of his essays and poems.
So I looked through this book & fell in love.
It was printed in either the 1880's or 1890's, the seller thinks (there is no print date inside the book at all.) & you can tell it was well-loved by it's previous owner, but it is still in excellent condition!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A project

My newest obsession as of late is to browse the Cath Kidston shop website & daydream of owning everything they have to offer. I am in love with all the prints, the fabric is just to die for, they offer a lovely selection of kitchen & other household goods, and I just love all the purses & wallets.

Alas, one has no use for that many purses & wallets (well I don't at least) so I am just letting myself browse for now. I've also decided to wait to purchase one after we get to our new home for there will be a CK shop in the nearby town of Cambridge. With that being the case I can save on paying shipping & pick it up in person. The hardest part is to go in & just buy a purse and a wallet. Maybe eventually I'll get a new tea set & splurge on some of her fabric as well.

So to satisfy the need for Cath Kidston in my life I have recently visited my favorite craft shop & purchased some lovely yarns inspired by the shades CK uses in her items. She keeps it simple only using a few hues so I was able to find some similar & am using them to crochet the niftiest of quilts. This will keep me busy for quite some time me thinks. I'll post pictures as I progress with this project.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Some Perspective

The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of "Cat," and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."

Think twice before you start to complain about your spouse leaving the toilet seat up or whatever insignificant thing they've done to annoy you.
It could always be worse.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happy Monday All

"Ride the energy of your own unique spirit." 
- Gabrielle Roth

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Ever since we found out we're moving to England I have been daydreaming of rural English cottages made of stone surrounded by beautiful flowers and green foliage. Yes, I'm going by what I've seen in movies, because really that is my only frame of reference. Unfortunately the last time I was in England I only stayed in London & the only countryside I saw was from the window of a bus as we headed to Dover to be loaded on a ferry & then made our way to France. 

Well I found a blog that hasn't been updated since 2009 that was made by a woman stationed at RAF Mildenhall with her family. Even though it's a few years old it was quite helpful in suggestions for day trips with the family. She had lived off and on base at different points of their tour & she was a strong advocate for living off base. She had many tips & made me even more hopeful that living off base would be the best decision for us. There was even a link that sent me to a website that finds homes & flats for rent that lets you choose the size of the place & gives you a good idea of what your budget should be. Well, I found quite a few 3 bedroom homes WELL UNDER our budget that are in the town we're really hoping to live in! They're not as rural as I would hope, but I'm excited to get to know our English neighbors! I just hope they like me. I know Americans aren't universally loved abroad, but I'm hoping that since there is a large number of Americans living in the area that my English neighbors will be friendly & welcoming!

Another exciting post from the old blog was about Antique shopping! She listed quite a few places within driving distance that offer great deals & have an excellent variety of antiques. I cannot wait to check out these markets for exciting treasures for my home as well as great gifts to send home to friends & family!


Monday, August 1, 2011

I caved!

After a bit of encouragement from some twitter friends I caved & decided to dig out my Halloween decorations and had a fun afternoon setting everything up. This is the first time I've decorated this house for the holiday & it turned out to be kind of perfect for all of my decor. It's too bad I won't actually be here for this Halloween.