Monday, April 30, 2012

Summer Reading List Part 5: Inspirational

Simmer down, kids. Take a seat. It's time for Professor Whitfield to reveal the final section of your summer reading list. Inspiration!
(Don't miss Part 1: Humor or Part 2: Learn Something or Part 3: Fiction or Part 4: Art or Part 5: Pop Culture.)
  1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – A tale about a year of achievement.
  2. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller – Thoughts on Christianity. Thouhts that are far more readable than you might imagine. And thoughts that I need to be thinking about myself to grow in my beliefs. (Confession: I’m only about 50 pages into this so far. It told me something I needed to hear. My heart is currently hurting. That happens to everyone. I’m not special in this regard. Thanks for the tough love, Don.)
  3. You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins – Check out my review here.
  4. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer – Based on the true story of a college student who walked away from his life, hitchhiked to and died in Alaska. Doesn’t quite sound inspirational, but it somehow manages to be.
  5. Robert's Rules of Writing by Robert Masello - Rules about ignoring rules. Also, 3 guesses as to what I want to be when I grow up.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday: Internet Made Me Do It

5 Things I'm currently obsessed with, the internet made me do it DIY edition:

This week, I'm obsessed with blogger DIYs. I had planned to make all of these things over the weekend and show you my finished products but, alas, I did not have time for various reasons.
Most of those reasons might involve the word lazy. 
  1. Horse Pillows - I love these quirky horse pillows that Emma made over on A Beautiful Mess. They will be making an appearance in my house soon. Mine will probably be neon. 
  2. Colored Mason Jars - How can mason jars get any better? By dying them, as seen on Chickens in the Road
  3. Wallflower fragrance - Holy Crickey shows you how to refill your plugins. Bonus: no more toxins! (I did find 2 minutes to complete this works great!)
  4. Faux Porcelain Bowl - I can't wait to make these bowls featured on Curbly. I hope they are as gorgeous to look at and easy to make as they appear in this tutorial. 
  5. Stamps - I have mad love for stamps. With Creature Comforts as my guide, I'll soon be making my own.
How about you? Seen/completed any great DIYs lately?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Foto Friday: Get Low

The Our Reflection photo challenge this week is to the window, to the wall, to the sweat drop down my....get low. Or maybe it was just from a low angle. Same difference.

Sometimes I like to pretend that Wayne Szalinski accidentally shrunk me and I'm stuck in my backyard. While flailing about in the grass, I found this gorgeous mushroom. I love the delicate folds. (Go ahead, click on it. Look at it bigger.)

You should enter this photo challenge too! There are, like, prizes and junk. Click this button:

Our Reflection Photo Challenge

A few more shroom photos for your viewing pleasure...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Summer Reading List Part 5: Pop Culture

Simmer down, kids. Take a seat. It's time for Professor Whitfield to reveal part 5 of your summer reading list. Today's list is all about pop culture!
(Don't miss Part 1: Humor or Part 2: Learn Something or Part 3: Fiction or Part 4: Art.
  1. Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman – This  witty collection of essays covers aspects of pop culture from Saved by the Bell to Timothy McVeigh. I think Chuck and I could be friends. 
  2. Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman – I’m allowed to have two books by the same author on one list. It’s my list. This time Chuck, my dear friend, goes on a road trip exploring rock and roll deaths.
  3. Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen – To be released May 22. Advanced Style is based on Ari’s blog devoted to “capturing the sartorial savvy of the senior set.” This video makes me want to at least peruse this book in a store.
  4. PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives by Frank Warren – I love postcards and secrets. This book brings them together.
  5. My Life in France by Julia Child – Julia is a pistol! Here you will learn about her love for food and her funny husband Paul. Plus, photos!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WA Bookshelf: You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins

A few months ago I started following a blog called Jeff Goins Writer. I blog stalked for a bit and found mysef impressed with the way Jeff fills pages. So much so that I downloaded his Manifesto and will soon be taking his email course, Intentional Blogging.  I was one of 100 lucky ducks to receive an advance copy of Jeff’s upcoming eBook, You Are a Writer, to review right here on Whitfield Awesome.  

You Are a Writer is half pep talk, half marketing course. The pep talk is for anyone with a dream.  We all either have a dream or a lying problem. Sure, the focus of this book is writing, but much of it can be applied elsewhere. The marketing course covers the marketing of YOU. You know, that extremely important part that writers (and artists and bloggers and...) seem to forget about or vehemently deny that they need.  

I will argue to my death that, in most cases, an odd number of things is better than an even number of things. AND the best number of things is three. Obviously this does not apply to things like babies or rashes.1 Jeff seems to agree with me on this as he offers up a rashy baby-load2 of three steps...3 steps to others loving what you do, 3 tools every writer needs, 3 important parts of building a platform, 3 elements of every brand, 3 must-have relationships that will extend your reach, 3 ways to start building a fan base, 3 ways to build a relationship, 3 steps to get potential patrons to notice you. He also gives you three samples for pitching your work. This man loves a trio! And I love an ebook written by a man who loves a trio. 

Jeff's credibility comes from experience, some of which he shares in
You Are a Writer. He recognizes that writing is hard. He knows that rejection and criticism are part of writing. He also knows that it's all worth it in the end.
The more I wrote, the more comfortable I became with my voice. As I looked around, I saw how my writing resonated with others. Before I knew it, I had a brand, a unique writing style that attracted others. And I had no idea. 
In fact, a friend had to tell me, “Jeff, you’ve found your voice,” before I would believe it. 
Maybe you’ll need the same reminder. That’s why we can’t simply practice in a corner somewhere in a darkly lit room.  You’ve got to get out in the world and share your work. Otherwise, you’ll always doubt yourself. 
Your brand is waiting. You just need to find it. 
(Excerpt from You Are a Writer) 
All that being said, Jeff gives the entire book away in the introduction. Just write. That's really all you need to know. But that's somehow both way too specific and way too vague to be of much help. Not to mention that a struggling writer who just downloaded an ebook with only two words in it would probably go Annie Wilkes crazy. Though I don't know Jeff personally, I feel that he is the sort of writer who likes both of his feet. And this is precisely3 why he fleshes out the statement "just write" in 100 pages that teach you how to "fall back in love with your craft and build a platform". 

Should you like to read
You Are a Writer, and I highly suggest that you do if you call yourself a blogger, journalist, author, student or human, it will be available for download soon. Keep an eye on Jeff's blog for details. (He is also preparing a couple of websites related to the book - I will add those and the book link here as soon as they are live.) I am going to take Jeff's advice and stop thinking about and talking about writing. I am going to write. Because I am a writer. Just not at 5 a.m. - that's when I am a sleeper.

UPDATE 4.30.12: is live!  The ebook may also be purchased via Amazon. Stay tuned for the official launch and the Barnes and Noble link.

1 My opinion. Jeff Goins did not mention babies or rashes. He should have as they are both ratings dynamos. 
2 Calling coin on that. Calling coin is totally legit. You must now credit me and/or pay royalties every time you use the term "rashy baby-load". And you know you want to use it. You should also know that I know lawyers. 
3 No it's not. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Touché Tuesday Advice Column: Japan and Cat Urine

Need advice from Jen? Fill out this form. 

Dear Jen, 

Hey there, it's me again! I'm having a hard time coming up with a blog name for my secondary blog (travel/moving/military/japanese). I am also keeping my current food blog active, - Do you or your readers have any suggestions for my Okinawa Adventure Blog? (Without using "Okinawa Adventure Blog")
Sincerely, Kacey

Dear Kacey,
I’m very excited for your upcoming Okinawa adventure blog and happy to hear that Kacey’s Kitchen will keep on keeping on. I see a few naming options for your new blog…
  1. If you want to be theme-y with your blogging pursuits, consider something like Kacey’s Okinawa to go along with Kacey’s Kitchen. [Or Kacey’s Turning Japanese or Kacey’s Not in America Anymore or Kacey’s Blog About Living in Japan That Makes Jen Super Jealous.]
  2. If alliteration is what you crave, consider something like Kacey’s Kibun – Kibun is Japanese for mood! [Or Kacey’s Kami (Japanese for paper) or Kacey Karui (Japanese for light) or Kacey’s Kuso (Japanese for s**t).] 
  3. If numbers and SEO are what you’re after, consider something like American Military Wife In Japan (yea, that’s still available, what?) [Or Getting Horny In Japan cause that will get you tons of unique visitors for sure. Boom, I just increased my pageviews.]
Yes, I realize that you should only give folks 3 options, but really, probably less than three of these are viable.

Dear Jen,
My cat just'missing' the litter box. She doesn't do this all the time, and I keep the box in our spare bathroom/ it isn't a huge deal right now, but if we might have to go someplace else.

I thought it might have been some sort of urinary or kidney infection...but the samples sent to the vet cleared her of anything physical. I have also tried new litter and removing the cover off the litter box, and that worked for a while, but not anymore.

I know your not officially a vet or anything, but thought I'd take a chance and see if your little furry creature has ever acted like this, or you have other suggestions.

Do you think she feels rushed? Should I put on some music and candles for her? What about getting her a subscription to Cat Fancy?
Frustrated, Tinkles

Dear Tinkles,
I definitely think music, candles and Cat Fancy are worth a try! Especially if you will send me pictures. I might also try a bigger box. And if that doesn’t work, two boxes. My sister’s cat likes to go number one in one box and number two in the other. Maybe your kitty has decided that’s the way to go (pun intended!).

I have not dealt with this problem with my dear Pippi cat, but I know (in the I don’t actually know sort of way) a blogger who has dealt with this problem with his dear Pantaloons cat. Check out this post from Thoughts from Paris (Paris is his last name; he does not live in France).

Not as dead as she looks.

Do you have any suggestions for Kacey or Tinkles? 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Summer Reading List Part 4: Art

Simmer down, kids. Take a seat. It's time for Professor Whitfield to reveal part 4 of your summer reading list. I'll be revealing one category at a time throughout April. Today: Art!
(Don't miss Part 1: Humor or Part 2: Learn Something or Part 3: Fiction.

  1. The Tree Show by Mark Ryden - Ryden is one of my favorite artists. This book collects pieces from his 2007 solo exhibit. 
  2. Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon - Kleon creates poetry from news. Literally. He uses a sharpie to black out words in newspaper articles, leaving a poem. This book arrived on my doorstep during an actual blackout - I read it by candlelight. 
  3. The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle - Because sometimes you need to go back to the beginning.
  4. Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith - A collection of prompts to get your creative juices flowing. 
  5. What It Is by Lynda Barry - This book may seem a little chaotic upon first glance, but it is full of wonderful collages and challenges to inspire writing. 

Your turn: What are your favorite artsy books?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday

5 things I am currently obsessed with:

  1. Domino Special Edition: Hello. My name is Jen and I'm addicted to home decor magazines. Like many others, though apparently not many enough, I loved Domino. It went out of print in 2009.  BUT. A special edition was just released. (Cover price $10.99 but I picked it up in Target for $6.99!) It's a regurgitation of stuff in the magazines but that was 3+ years ago and I don't have all of my old copies. Plus I'm okay with decor vomit.
  2. Fun - Some Nights: I guess Fun would go in the alternative category as it is a little bit pop, a little bit rock and a little bit weird. The entire CD is good. Not a lot of song skipping going on here. Some of the songs sound like they would fit really well in a modernized version of Rocky Horror (which is a terrible idea that no one should run with).
  3. Carbs: Boyfriend and I have been walking 3 miles a day, 5 days a week and monitoring our calorie intake for two months. We feel great but have seen barely any results weight-wise. So we are now low carbing it. The meat-fest part is great. The everything sweet being loaded with carbs part is cruel. Boyfriend gave me these pee test strips [♥romance alert♥] to help me know whether or not I am in ketosis (fat burning mode). Sounds gross but I get a little excited every time I wait for the color change.
  4. Vienna Sausages: These guys are a great low-carb snack. I usually reserve them for hurricane aftermath and birthdays, but I'm now bringing them into the new normal food circle. Birthdays, what? My family was going to Key West for vacay one summer. A vacay that my 26th birthday happened to fall in. Until. Hurricane Dennis hit as a Cat 3 five days before my bday. We were still without electricity on my 26th, so we had a fine celebratory meal of vienna sausages. (My mom did manage to whip up a cake cause she's awesome like that.) P.S. We pronounce it V-Annie.  
  5. Dead Bird Cooper: If you follow me on Twitter (@JenOsaurus) you may know about the dead bird outside my office window. The ace grounds crew seems to be in no hurry to pick him up, so I took the next natural step and gave him a Twitter account - @DeadBirdCooper (like DB Cooper, see what I did there?).
Your turn: Am I the only person on the planet still buying CDs? And what snack do you like that is sneered at by the masses?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Foto Friday: Fear and loathing (of dogs) in Las Vegas (or Milton, Florida)

Have I told you that I am afraid of dogs? I've been afraid of them for as long as I can remember. While digging through old photos, I think I found the day this fear began. March 15, 1982. 

Fine. I put that mean looking dog there to make my fear seem more rational. The original photo is below. Notice how I am moving my sausage arms far away from that super fierce poodle? Survival of the fittest. The fear still lingers as an adult but I do sorta want a dog. Only because I have a great name for one (which I think is the wrong reason to get a dog). I can't tell you the name because another of my fears is that people will steal my ideas. 

P.S. According to the back of the photo, that cat is named Mom. What?

What are you afraid of?

That one time when I was a one-weasel stand

Alternative Title: Part one in a series of stories about how I think I know people that I really don’t
Alternative Alternative Title: The story that makes you afraid to tweet me
Alternative Alternative Alternative Title: The longest post I’ve ever written - I’m sorry

Alternative Alternative Alternative Alternative Title: I just stopped eating carbs, can you tell?

You know how you just know that if one of your exes ever wrote a book, you would have to read it regardless of how badly they treated you or how badly you have convinced yourself they treated you? And how you just know that you would have to order the book online so no one would see you buying it and then you would read it in the bathroom so no one would see you reading it? And how you just know that if someone knocked on the door to ask if you were okay, you would say "I'm constipated" because not being able to poop correctly is less embarrassing than reading a book written by your ex? Well that is exactly what is happening to me right now. Except none of my exes have written a book and the book I’m referring to was actually written by someone I don’t really know but did negotiate 10% off of a dead weasel for and was then given the wam bam thank ya mam. The I have an early morning so it’d be great if you could show yourself out of my twitter stream.  The One. Weasel. Stand. I’m spurned, y’all.

A couple of months ago, I found a lovely taxidermied weasel in an antique store. I sent a tweet to the aforementioned someone as I knew that she had an affinity for dead animals. Of course she wanted to purchase it so I negotiated a 10% discount and asked the shopkeeper to sell the weasel over the telephone. The aforementioned someone put tiny clothes on the gorgeous creature and made shirts and stuff featuring the gorgeous creature to sell to the aforementioned someone’s many fans. She made a weasel post on her blog, referring to me as “a girl on twitter”. I thought she might give me, a new blogger trying to build an audience, a little shout-out. Nothing fancy - just my twitter handle. "@JenOsaurus tweeted me about this here stuffed weasel." But no. Oh well. No bigs. I got over it. Until…

[The aforementioned someone shall be known, for the remainder of this post, as The Girl on the Internet Who Also Wrote A Book (TGOTIWAWAB). But there are so many girls on the internet who also wrote a book - what if this post makes you think TGOTIWAWAB is really awesome and you want to read her blog/follow her tweets – now you won’t know which girl on the internet who also wrote a book she is. Exactly. Except that your probably already know who I'm referring to because she has one billion followers.]

Later I ran into my pal Susan, whose blog I would totally link to if she wrote one, and she told me that the weasel formerly resided in a funeral home. I found this tidbit pretty fantastic so I tweeted it to TGOTIWAWAB. No response. Not even a "that's nice" brush off.  Silencio (look, one of the handful of Spanish words I remember because they are very similar to the English ones). Still no bigs. TGOTIWAWAB is busy. Then…

TGOTIWAWAB took the weasel on her book tour and posted a photograph of some chick who smeared mascara on her face and didn't even try to get the weasel outfit right. Maybelline whiskers gets a photo and I got "a girl on twitter". I feel so used! What did I do wrong? Are we still okay? Friends have spats, right? We’re good?*

I still bought TGOTIWAWAB’s book. Heck, I pre-ordered it. And so far I like it. It’s funny and she gives hope to a socially awkward girl like myself who is much better at communicating via keyboard than via mouth. And apparently Twitter. 

* TGOTIWAWAB and I do not know each other. I just have this weird habit of thinking I know the bloggers I follow regularly. I really did find that flippin weasel though. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Summer Reading List Part 3: Fiction

Simmer down, kids. Take a seat. It's time for Professor Whitfield to reveal part 3 of your summer reading list. I'll be revealing one category at a time throughout April. Today: Fiction!
(Don't miss Part 1: Humor or Part 2: Learn Something.

  1. The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka – So surreal a new adjective was created – Kafkaesque. I love Kafka’s writing style. And I will not be able to contain the Gregor Samsa references for much longer. Might as well be familiar.
  2. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende – One of my all-time favorite books (and movie based on a book) ever. Pure magic. A boy named Bastian must save Fantastica from the nothing. Through a book! When I believed in fairy tales, I was going to marry Atreyu and we were going to name our son Bastian Balthazar Bux Whitfield (Atreyu would take my last name, obviously).
  3. The Death Note series by Tsugumi Ohba – any human whose name is written in the notebook dies. Do I need to say more? (Manga, btw.)
  4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I did not expect to enjoy The Help. I read it because my book club was reading it. But I love it. It’s funny and touching.
  5. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith – Honest Abe’s mom is killed by a vampire and then… Bonus: I accidentally learned a few true historical facts along the way.
Your turn. What's some of your favorite fiction?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

DIY Screen Printing 3 Ways - Part 1

Know what I'm not a fan of? Paying $25 for a graphic tee. I'd much prefer to use that money for supplies. Supplies to screen print multiple shirts, bags, hand towels, and whatever else pops up in my brain pan. 

For part 1, we're going to screen print using two simple methods: stencil and trace. Part 2 will be more of a hold on to your hat situation involving light sensitive chemicals! Let's get this party started.

Gather materials: item to print on, organza (or similar sheer fabric), embroidery hoops, a stencil, an image, fabric paint, gesso (or modge podge), paint brush, putty knife, pencil, tape, and cardboard.

Step 1: Cut a piece of organza a bit larger than your embroidery hoop. Insert the organza. Pull it tight!

Step 2 [Stencil]:
Tape your stencil to the organza. (Hint: taping both sides help the tape stick better.)
Step 2 [Trace]: Place your image beneath your hoop and use a pencil to trace the image directly onto the organza. (Hint: Make sure the lip of the hoop is facing up. This keeps you from needing to reverse the image.)

Step 3 [Stencil
]: Skip ahead! 
Step 3 [Trace]: Paint around your traced image with gesso. This will block the fabric paint from transferring to your finished project. Let it dry completely.

Step 4: Place a bit of cardboard between layers of your finished project. Example: If printing a tee shirt, place cardboard between the front and back. This keeps paint from bleeding to areas you did not intend to print.

Step 5: Place a line of fabric paint above the stencil/image. You don’t need as much as you think.

Step 6:
Use the putty knife to draw the paint down over the stencil/image. Apply some pressure to make sure the paint pushes through the organza but doesn’t bleed. Be sure to hold on to your hoop – you don’t want it sliding around.

Step 7:
Carefully lift the hoop off your finished project.

Step 8 [Trace]: Wash out your screen and use it over and over again!

P.S. This is not an announcement. The baby items are for a baby growing in someone else’s belly.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Touché Tuesday: Sweating to the Cheeseburgers

Need advice from Jen? Fill out this form. 

Dear Jen,
It's summertime, right? I know. I am not a big fan of sweating, especially when I am eating. But sometimes, it just happens. Do I rock a Pat Benatar headband? Napkin burka? I do get excited over a big juicy cheeseburger, and I think that's part of it. Dabbing and dotting with a tissue is just not working. Help me!

Rashida Whelp, Yuma, AZ

PS-- I don't glisten. I sweat like a fat nerd in a Spiderman costume. 

Dear Rashida,
I’m a Florida girl so I relate to your sweaty plight. I love being outdoors, riding with the windows down, eating cheeseburgers on patios…but there does come a point in the summertime where those situations are just too sweaty. I can totally get behind a Pat Benatar headband (and I would soooo buy your CD if you started a band by that name). BUT. When the occasion is just not right for a PBH, consider the following.
  1. Sometimes I do a modified Brett Michaels. Yep, I sing a little tune, hit myself in the head with any bit of stage I can get my hands on and then wrap a sweet bandana around my noggin. Then I wait a year and sue somebody.
  2. Apparently some runners spread chapstick across their foreheads to keep sweat from dripping down their faces. This is reason enough for me not to run but might be worth a try if you are in a jam.
  3. Carry a folding fan. Make sure you also say things like “I do declare” while fan is in use.
  4. I hear Botox helps. Think of all the time you could save by not showing emotion.
  5. If all else fails, block up your glands! Slather your face with DIY pore strips (1 tbsp unflavored gelatin + 1.5 tbsp milk, warm for a few seconds). You’ll look crazy in a major way but good luck sweating through that mask.*
*I don’t know what I’m talking about most of the time. Leaving this mixture on for an extended period is probably a bad idea.

♥ Jen

P.S. Please start a napkin burka etsy shop.
P.P.S. Thanks for the photo link. You win.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday

5 things I'm currently obsessed with:
  1. Self Tanner. This happens every year when the temperatures rise to too blasted hot to wear pants. First, I swear that I will not use self tanner again. Next, I look at my milk glass legs and change my mind. I am ever on the hunt for a cheap natural glow that doesn't stink. Jergens is as close as I've gotten so far. I'll be trying Ocean Potion this week.
  2. Amber Jewelry. [Not that I own a piece.] Amber gets cool points just for being fossilized tree resin. It get bonus points when it contains a whole insect.
  3. Smash Date Stamp. I like to put dates on things. Why not use a stamp that also includes a little message, like, "Stolen" or "Mad Props"?
  4. Strawberries. I just can't get enough of them lately.
  5. Silver Glitter Nail Polish. Each week I change my base coat and tip it off with silver glitter. When the glitter chips, just add a little more. You can't tell they have been touched-up because of the texture. I hate nails that look touched-up.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Foto Friday the 13th

The Cabin in the Woods (co-written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, squee) is finally out. Today's photo is in honor of the long-awaited movie AND Friday the 13th. Ohhhh.

I have stayed in a few creepy cabins in a few creepy woods myself. One such stay, in the summer of 1990, went a little something like this:

Okay, so I doctored that up a bit. The original is below. And the creepy little being in front of the little cabin in the woods is me. I was practicing some sweet jumps.

Happy Cabin in the Woods Day! Will you be seeing the movie?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Summer Reading List Part 2: Learn Something

Simmer down, kids. Take a seat. It's time for Professor Whitfield to reveal part 2 of your summer reading list. I'll be revealing one category at a time throughout April. Today: Learn Something! (Did you miss Part 1: Humor? Find it here.)
  1. A Whole New Mind (Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future) by Daniel H. Pink – I’m taking over.
  2. Quiet (The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking) by Susan Cain – a book about the benefits of being an introvert. A book that introduces successful introverts. A book that isn’t written like an academic paper. I like it. (Again, I’m taking over.)
  3. How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb – I’m a sucker for a workbook and this workbookish book is full of exercises and lessons for opening your mind. And if that’s not workbookish enough for you, there is an actual workbook that you may purchase separately.
  4. A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight by Victoria Lincoln – This is on the list just in case you needed more evidence that I’m a wackadoo. Seriously, though. It’s a very interesting read. And the author knew Lizzie! Oh snap.
  5. Imagine by Jonah Lehrer – This is the only book on the list that I haven’t read. I read one of Lehrer's other books, How We Decide (interesting but a few too many football metaphors), and like the sound of this one. It’s a study on creativity with chapter titles like “Bob Dylan’s Brain”. Yes please.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Touché Tuesday Advice Column

Need advice from Jen? Fill out this form. 

Dear Jen,
I am moving to Japan in a year and have started learning Japanese. What are the first words/sentences/phrases you think I should learn?
Arigatou gozaimasu, Kacey

Dear Kacey,
You must start out with extremely useful words/sentences/phrases, such as:
  1. Point me in the direction of one of those crazy panty vending machines so I can take pictures for my American friends.
  2. Wait, you expect me to squat over that hole AND not use toilet paper?
  3. Please stop rubbing your Hello Kitty on me.
  4. Restaurant 
  5. Which way to Takashi Miike's house?
  6. Hey Takashi Miike! My friend Jen super loves your crazy horror movies. You should sign a one trillion dollar bill and give it to her.
  7. Stop calling the police, Takashi Miike. I'll get off your property.
Here's a site that obviously thinks it knows more than me about communicating in Japan. It covers useful words and expressions like "hospital", "thank you", and "how much is this". Boring!
♥ Jen

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday

5 things I'm currently obsessed with:

1. Rekindling the flame with bad 90s television. We have the amazing Canadian hit, Breaker High pictured here (if you define hit very loosely). It is sooooo bad; but I can't stop liking it. I should probably mention that it stars baby Ryan Gosling. As a nerd.
2. Instagram for Android. I've been using the app for less than a week and I am already obsessed. Find me, jenwhitfield, or leave a comment with your username.
3. My new GreenWorks reel lawnmower. The ultimate in environmentally friendly lawn care. No gas. No oil. No fumes. I enjoy the sound it makes while slicing the grass and the fact that I can smell the grass as I cut it (ya know, instead of gas fumes). I was afraid it would be hard to push. Nope. I was afraid it would take hours to cut my lawn. Nope. [If your yard is full of sticks or you only mow your crazy long grass once a year, this mower is not for you.] Did I mention no gas?
4. Sundried Tomato Pesto. I've made this for a few events and it has been a hit every time. I love it on crackers and sandwiches. (Try it on grilled cheese. You won't be sorry.) I use this recipe with one modification: sundried tomatoes jarred in oil.
5. Introvert research. I am an introvert (specifically, INFJ for you Myers-Briggs fans). I wish it weren't such a dirty word. I'll be giving you a peek at an introvert art project soon.

BTDubs...Joy the Baker Podcast homework is to list 5 of your favorite things (right now). Have you listened? Have you done your homework? I'm submitting this post as mine. It's totally cheating. I'm okay with that.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Foto Friday: Instagram!

Everyone knows that Instagram for Android was released this week. I’m pretty sure that even the real version of that acting troupe soccer team fake super convincing indigenous tribe they ran into on the Universal back lot in that remote location on The Bachelor considers this old news by now. I downloaded the app right along with the other eleventy-billion Droid users.
Are you an Instagramer? Leave your username in the comments and I'll be sure to follow. Here’s a peek at my first insta-week.

(P.S. Thank, The Bachelor, for showing us who will birth the next Charles Manson.)

This was my first ever Instagram photo. Some folks were all
"I'm gonna make my first one a good one". I wasn't all like that.
I was all "I'm gonna take a photo of some rand-o crap now".

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Summer Reading List Part 1: Humor

Simmer down, kids. Take a seat. It's time for Professor Whitfield to reveal part 1 of your summer reading list. I'll be revealing one category at a time throughout April. Today: Humor!

  1. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams – Because that Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy guy wrote more than that series. And he wrote it good.
  2. Bossypants by Tina Fey – Tina Fey can do no wrong, including writing a memoir. Though I must admit I found the dust jacket funnier than the book as a whole.
  3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (An Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling – Yep, another funny lady memoir. I can’t get enough of them. Mindy's life seems a bit more attainable than Tina's. 
  4. Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander – The title is pretty self explanatory. This is a very quick read. Go for it if you have a sense of humor. If you like to get real mad about silly things, skip this one. 
  5. Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley – Slackers, Ramonas and evil ex-boyfriends, oh my! (In case you don’t pay attention to anything, ever and do not already know – these are graphic novels.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Touché Tuesday Advice

Need advice from Jen? Fill out this form. 

Dear Jen, I've decided to take the plunge and get my first tattoo. I am kind of a foodie and I love animals. I was thinking of getting something related to one of these loves. What tattoo should I get?

All the Best, Ink Chick

Dear Ink Chick, A few general tips for first tattoos:

1. Pick something unique. Two ladies showing up at a business luncheon with the same tattoo is never good. If you have art/design skills, come up with something yourself. Have an artist friend, ask them for help. At the very least, avoid choosing flash from the shop wall.

2. Try it on. One of my tattoos was created from a painting I did. The other three from my computer generated designs. I printed each in different sizes and taped them to different parts of my body. I then spent a lot of time trying on different outfits and staring at myself in the mirror before I decided on the perfect size and placement.

3. Do your research. Check out artist portfolios. Ask tattooed folks in your area where they get work done. Stop by shops - are they clean? Do the employees and artists make you feel comfortable?

4. This tip is a big duh but very important. Take your time. Your new tattoo will most likely be with you forever. Sleep on it. Be sure you are making the right decision.

All that being said, and keeping in mind your love of food and animals, there is one clear choice. You must get a dolphin jumping over a bowl of spaghetti with meatballs made of bear faces. 


A WA Public Service Announcement

(No worries – Touché Tuesday will be posted as scheduled.)

I just found out that a woman that I used to know called me fat online. Duh. I own mirrors, have excellent eyesight and know what size clothing I wear. If you want to cut me, you need to go deeper than the subcutaneous layer. But. I happened to read this at that special time of month when nature has me at threat level orange, soooo my gut reaction was “I’m going to stomp a mud-hole in her butt. Then I’m going to cry about it. Do I have any chocolate?”.

I know things about this woman that would cut much deeper than “you’re fat”. The meanest of my hormones, Mike Tyson and Xena Warrior Princess, suggested that I post some of these things about her. Alas, cooler heads (named That Blonde One, The Boy One, The One Who Must Have A Different Dad and Jessica Biel, after the cast of 7th Heaven) prevailed. The fact that I no longer have contact with this woman is enough. If homegirl can’t let me go and needs to post mean things about me online, so be it. It’s not as if anyone who matters in my life will be swayed by her.

I’m fine. I’m not fishing for compliments in the comments on this post. What I am fishing for is a stop to bullying. One tiny little blog post at a time. Bullying has been a major buzzword lately. How can we expect children to change when “grown-ups” are doing the very same things?

The take-away:
  1. Be the change you want to see and other after-school special-y sounding things.
  2. If you insist on being a mean girl, don’t share every intimate detail of your life with the free world. You are just giving people ammo in the event that their mean hormones prevail. Zuckerburg won’t kick you off of facebook if your timeline doesn’t read like a daytime soap script (soaps are being cancelled left and right – maybe a sign to stop modeling your life after them). Also, consider not posting mean things about women capable of stomping a mud-hole in your butt. Mostly #1 though.