Friday, March 30, 2012

Foto Friday: Bun of Blue Steel

Part 1: Spring
Remember last week when I said "Laura over at Our Reflection hosts a weekly photo challenge"? I wasn't lying. This week's challenge: Spring. 

This bunny is pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And he plans on finding out what that is. 

Pssst. You should enter the challenge too. You might win stuff!

Our Reflection Photo Challenge

Part 2: Before and After

Sometimes your subject hops around while you're trying to frame it up and your grass gets all too green to be interesting. Fix it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Touché Tuesday Advice Column

Today's Touché Tuesday will be a little different, friends. First, I'll present reader questions and Jenly advice, as per usual. Then I will pose a question of my own to YOU. And then I might type some other stuff that has nothing to do with any of this.

Dear Jen, You know the old "if you were stranded and could only have 3 things" conundrum? Well, I'm going on a trip soon and can only take one backpack. Obviously I will have a change of clothes, some underwear and a toothbrush. That doesn't leave much room and I'll be gone for a month! What should I take?

XOXO, Minimalist Traveler

Dear Mini, Where the heck are you going? Why can you take only one backpack? Can you buy anything there? This is stressing me out. I don't think you should go. But if you insist, definitely take some of the more obvious travel fare, such as: 

     1. A book. Maybe about survival in whatever terrible place you are visiting.
     2. A camera. This will score you points with the natives. Or get you killed.
     3. Sunscreen. Cause sunspots are boo. 

Perhaps less obvious, leave some extra room in the backpack for things to add once you arrive at your destination, such as:
     4. The stick you've just fashioned into a weapon because seriously, where are you going?
     5. The jewelry you make from the teeth of your daily meals as I doubt this one backpack
         locale offers a continental breakfast.
     6. Bear Grylls' phone number fingered-painted onto a piece of fresh sheep skin with clay
         that he probably just tried to eat, spat out and then peed on.

Dear Jen, It's me, Billy, again. So you told me not to date my cousin. Then you told me not to send her flowers. I don't think you understand just how smoking hot my cousin is. I'm not good with girls. Please help.

Yours, Billy

Dear Billy, I think I've helped you as much as I can. You may now want to seek advice from others who have much more experience with kissing cousins. Maybe try Britney Spears?

My turn. Dear Everyone,
This morning, while walking from my car to my office (a walk which is almost 1/4 of a mile), my dress did this really clever move and worked it's way up between my leg and my purse, revealing the most secret parts of my left thigh. Fortunately I wear spandexy shorts under dresses because these sorts of things always happen to me. Do you have any tips for keeping your flipping dress where it is supposed to be?

In an unrelated also,
remember that owl I entered into what turned into sort of a [human] baby photo contest? Well, as predicted, I didn't win. But, to my surprise, non babies took first and second. Check out the winners and get your camera ready for the next challenge: Spring. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday

5 things I'm currently obsessed with:

1. Spring. We like to joke that there are no seasons in Florida. But this time of year it's not quite hitting 90 degrees and a breeze always seems to be blowing. It's spring. (Psst, Summer, you're still my favorite.)
2. Smith's Rosebud Salve. Use it on your lips. Use it on your cuticles.  Use it on your scaly elbows. And no, it doesn't smell like your grandmother.
3. Hunger Games. Yeah, like everyone else. I just picked up the Harvard Lampoon Parody, Hunger Pains. I'll let you know how that goes. (Also, that Arcade Fire song as the credits roll, love.)
4. Pinterest, You Are Drunk. Don't get me wrong, I love pinning junk as much as the next girl. But this is funny stuff.
5. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. I listened to the audio book back and forth to work. It was very enjoyable and I may have accidentally learned a few things. The movie trailer looks pretty awesome too.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Foto Friday: Sweet Hoot Before & After

Part 1: Something Sweet
Laura over at Our Reflection hosts a weekly photo challenge. This week's challenge: Something Sweet. I am entering this sweet little owl that I met last summer (on my 30th birthday).  [Update: So almost all the other photos so far are of cute babies. This seems very appropriate. Hi, my name is Jen and I enter owls into cute baby contests. Also, what up girl with the Oreos. We should be besties.]


Pssst. You should enter the challenge too. You might win stuff!

Our Reflection Photo Challenge

Part 2: Before and After

Sometimes your background is full of no-smoking signs and Purrell. Fix it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Touché Tuesdays Advice Column

Need advice from Jen? Fill out this form. 

Dear Jen, I am really excited anxious (in a goodish way) for Friday night. We find out where we are going to live next! I have been jumping up and down around the house singing and dancing "We are going to find out sooon!!!". I know it doesn't help finding out any sooner, but I really, really, REALLY want to know where we are going.

How do you handle the anxiety that comes with wait for (hopefully) good news?!?!?
Sincerely, Ms. Rare

Dear Ms. Rare, Congrats on the early arrival of your (hopefully) good news! I’ll cross my fingers that you’ll get someplace way cool. 

The only way for me to deal with anxiety (good or bad) is to fill my head with so many other things that there is no room for the anxiety. I throw myself into a project or read a really good book or pick a television series to watch from beginning to end and pretend that the characters are my friends. 
Maybe ignore that last bit.

Try doing things that release those awesome feel good endorphins in your brain like eating chocolate and/or spicy foods, meditating, exercising, getting it on, and having a massage or acupuncture. Stay away from opiates. I don’t care what Eminem says.

Dear Jen, This is Billy again. You told me not to date my cousin. I’m gonna do it anyway. What kind of flowers should I give her?
XOXO, Billy

Dear Billy, There should be no giving or taking of cousin flowers.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Living Life Part: Spring Clean Yo'Self

Colleen of PaisleyBoulevard and Laura of Our Reflection will be hosting a link up this Wednesday. Post on your blog about personal goal(s) for Spring and join the party!

My spring goals…
1. Finally get my flipping etsy store up and running [and enhance my blog]. My feet? They’re dragging. Someday I want to do things like not work for the man, live off my creativity and say “my book comes out next week” and “opening night of my gallery showing went really well”. I can’t do these things if I don’t take action.

2. Feel good. Physically. As I have now posted about several times, boyfriend and I are working on our fitness and making healthy food choices. I’d like to drop a few pounds but most of all, I want to feel good. I want my body to be its best – no matter what size its best may be.  

3. Get organized. I want my home to be neat and orderly. Every. Day. I want to know where everything is. Every. Day. I want to not see dishes in the sink when I get home from work. Ever. Again.

So go! Post about your spring goals. Also, watch these chickens eat yogurt. 

chickens eating yogurt from jenny mitchell on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday: Working on my Fitness

5 Things I'm Currently Obsessed With: Fitness Edition

1. Deep Purple Schwinn. I recently spied the most gorgeous deep purple and tan Schwinn. My current bike and I are coming up on our 8-year anniversary. One of his pedals broke during a ride today and he is starting to make funny noises. Perhaps if I get a tax return this year (gah, I need to get on that) I'll treat myself to a Schwinn.
2. My Fitness Pal app. If my new fitness regime yields results, I owe it all to boyfriend (for exercising with me 5x/week & encouraging me to eat green things) and to My Fitness Pal (MFP). Input your weight and goal weight and how many lbs you desire to lose per week (up to 2). MFP tells you how many calories you need to consume to reach this goal. You then input your daily food intake and exercise. MFP tells you how much you will weigh in 5 weeks if everyday were like today. MFP keeps me on track.
3. Neon Running Shoes. I saw a gentleman walking the track in these delightful neon ASICS and had to look 'em up online. The lady colors are far less delightful. Boo.
4. Zaxby's The Blue Zalad. I am a member of the salads are dumb camp. Salad with a meal = fine. Salad as a meal usually makes me very, very sad. The Blue, however, is delicious! It contains mixed greens, red cabbage, carrots, roma tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles and blackened chicken (and fried onions but I leave those off). I add a drizzle of buffalo sauce and lite ranch. So good.
5. Yoga. Yoga and I have an on-again/off-again relationship. I love it. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel relaxed. It makes me feel strong. I don't know why I quit after a while but I have done so several times. This time I pledge to keep the flame burning.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Froyo

Boyfriend and I can not stop eating frozen yogurt. During a recent post-
High Fidelity froyo trip, boyfriend had a superb idea: Top 5 Worst Frozen Yogurt Flavors.

Waffle House Bathroom is just a suicide of all the other flavors. Am I right? Burn.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Touché Tuesdays Advice Column

It's that time again...time to answer questions from/give advice to my faithful readers. Need advice? Fill out this form.

Dear Jen, I will be starting a new job soon. I’m kinda shy – do you have any tips for fitting in?
All the best, New Kid

Dear New Kid, Congrats on your new job! Here is a list of things I would appreciate in a new co-worker.
1. Don’t eat tuna in the office.
2. Do share baked goods.
3. Don’t sigh on the toilet when you aren’t alone in the bathroom.
4. Do spare a square.
5. Don’t be prettier than me.
6. Do wear orthopedic shoes if you are prettier than me.
7. Don’t chime in on office gossip.
8. Do use Twitter to post funny things that happen on the job (in a super vague sort of way).
♥ Jen

Dear Jen, You mentioned Zooey Dechanel in one of your previous Touche's. I totally have a girl crush on her (totally want her hair), which makes me wonder, do you have a celebrity girl crush? Do you have a celebrity boy crush?

Also, did you realize that the other bird in your spirit animal video has similar stripes as you do in your photo?
XOXO, Crushing

Dear Crushing, Zooey does have glorious hair. I have found myself celebrity girl crushing on her a bit too. Of course celebrity girl crushes have come and gone – Claire Danes circa My So-Called Life, Drew Barrymore at various rebellious and/or free spirited stages of my life – but the celebrity girl crush that remains the most constant has to be Tina Fey. When she is in a movie, I must see it. When she writes a book, I must read it. And of course 30 Rock is on my must watch line-up.

As far as celebrity boy crushes go…in the OMG, he’s like totes hott category, it’s a tie between Matthew Gray Gubler (though I must admit it’s probably just his Criminal Minds character that I find hott) and Robert Downey Jr. In the celebrity boy crush because I love his work category, it’s Joss Whedon all the way. I watch/listen to/read everything he does. Even if I find it a bit hokey, I will defend it to the grave. Which he should totally write a comic about. Starring me.

And no, I didn’t notice that the other bird in my spirit animal video has similar stripes as I do in my photo. You are very observant! I, on the other hand, would probably take a few days to notice a cow in my living room.
♥ Jen
See what I did there? Joss. Avenger. Get it? Huh? Do ya?

Monday, March 12, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things: A girls night party post.

The ladies group at my church recently held a Favorite Things Basket Party. The premise is simple - fill a basket with a few of your favorite things. Have a party. With lots of delicious food (it will not work without lots of delicious food, obviously). At the party, exchange your basket with another lady. Show off your favorite things and learn about her favorite things. Hopefully you leave with a basket of new things to try and a new friend. It's a lot of fun - even if you really kinda know everyone already. I highly suggest a Favorite Things Basket Party if you are mulling over ideas for a girls night. 

My basket contained homemade lemon sugar scrub, sharpies, a bookmark, a DIY-ed recycled art sign, a cookbook full of gorgeous food photography, season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a framed sketch. 

What would you put in your basket?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday

5 things I'm currently obsessed with:

1. Walking. Boyfriend and I are walking together 5 days a week for exercise. Since I quit derby, I've been pretty slothy. And that's just no good. 
2. Joy the Baker CookbookYou already know I'm obsessed with the Joy the Baker podcast. Joy's cookbook was recently released. Treat yo self (that last bit may be kind of a cheat as I am also obsessed with Tom and Donna). 
3. The Help. My book club read and discussed The Help this month. I sorta watched the movie the morning before our meeting and started reading the book the day after. Oops. I have to agree with, like, most of the planet - it's good. I particularly love the line "crazy Whitfield fool". For obvious reasons. 
4. Draw Something, the social drawing app. Drawing. Competition. These are things I like.
5. Buffyfest March Madness Whedonverse Alternate Universe Tournament. You'll either get this obsession or you won't. It's okay either way (it's just more okay if you get it).  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Foto Friday: Summer, Summer, Summer!

I am so, so ready for summer. Bring on the heat. Bring on the beach days. Bring on the Blues (Blue Angels that is).

For this edition of Foto Friday, I give you some of my favorite moments of summer 2011:

Bonus Photo! Sometimes the summertime makes me forget how chairs work.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Touché Tuesday Advice Column

Dear Jen, Tell us about your spirit animal.
All the best, Eagle Lover

Dear Eagle Lover, Who do you think I am? Zoey Deschanel? I don't have a spirit animal. But if I did, I think it would be this bird:

♥ Jen

Dear Jen, Do you have any tricks to help someone fall asleep? I often lay awake thinking of things to do the next day. Sometimes I even mentally menu plan for the month, which would be fine, but it makes me hungry at 1am.
Sincerely, Crumbs in Bed

Dear Crumbs, I must admit, I’m pretty bad at falling asleep too. Do you happen to watch TV soon before bed? I cut that out a few months ago and find that I am able to fall asleep faster. Try doing something soothing/relaxing before bed – sometimes I read or do a puzzle or get my yoga on to calm my brain down.

Maybe try progressive relaxation. While laying in bed, close your eyes and slowly relax every bit of you, starting at your scalp and ending with the bottom of your feet. Include everything – even your eyes. I do this sometimes and, though I can’t explain why, I feel like sponge cake. This may not help with the 1 am hunger but hopefully you’ll be too sleepy to notice it much.

If this continues to be a major problem, consider hypnosis. And consider letting me do it (I just need you to sign one tiny little waiver stating that I may post our sessions on YouTube).

P.S. Here’s an interesting article on sleep. 

Dear Jen, I need some suggestions on inspiring creativity/getting my butt in gear with my creative career.
Help! Unmotivated

Dear Unmotivated, Here a few tips that would totally be “pro” tips were I a pro.
-Spend some time researching other creative folks. Look at their work, their successes, their failures, their stories of how they got where they are now.
-Read the following: Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, Creative, Inc by 
Joy Deangdeelert Cho and Meg Mateo Ilasco, What It Is by Lynda Barry, A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink.
-Do something every day to move you closer to your goals. I know I'm dangerously close to going all after school special on you here. But it's true. It doesn't have to be something big, it just has to be something.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Obsession Confession Monday? Blog Love.

Oops, I did it again. I'm a day late with Obsession Confession Sunday. And instead of the usual list of 5 random things I'm currently obsessed with, here's a list of way more than 5 blogs I follow that I think you might like too...

Also, here's an elephant I sketched while on a conference call. Ya know, for good measure. 

Design/Craft Blogs

  • A Beautiful Mess - When I forget what my life is actually like, I kinda imagine it like this.
  • Skunkboy Creatures - A plush-makers blog. I die of cute. More about daily life than creatures but her photos are beautiful and her stories are sweet.
  • Freckled Nest - LA seems like she could be your best friend. Can't wait to try some of the DIYs. 
  • Design Sponge - So many beautiful projects, so little time.

Food Blogs

  • Kacey's Kitchen - Kacey loves food. Kacey cooks food. Kacey [and the food she cooks] is awesome. I know this because we used to be on the same roller derby team. Yep. True story.
  • Spoon Fork Bacon - Simply gorgeous. I made the creamy roasted tomato & basil soup last week - divine. 
  • Take A Megabite - The name prompted me to look. The photos and recipes prompted me to come back. 
  • Eggton - The recipes, the funny stories, the dog...lurve it all.

Lifestyle Blogs

  • A Is For Ampersand - Amy seems like she might possibly be the nicest girl in the world. Plus I love looking at her thrifty finds. 
  • Paisley Boulevard - Colleen has left me some super nice comments and tweets. Check out her cool projects section. And be sure to visit her etsy shop!
  • AmarieBeauty - Angie has also left some super nice comments and tweets. The blogging world is tops, y'all. It took me a long time to admit that I love girly things like makeup and fashion. I'm so glad I did because now I can follow girly blogs like this one. 
  • Here's Looking At Me Kid - I wish I could be committed to vintage like Mandi is committed to vintage. And I kinda want to steal her new house.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Foto Friday: #FebPhotoADay Wrap-Up

#FebPhotoADay has come to an end. I present to you here, my entire Feb collection. Did you particpate? If so, leave a comment telling me where to check out your photos. Will you be participating in March?