Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Touché Tuesday on Wednesday!

I have been under the weather the last few days. I fully intended to post Touché Tuesday on Tuesday but I couldn't look at my monitor for more than a couple minutes at a time without getting nauseous. Please forgive me. On to the advice...

Dear Jen, I’m bored. What new hobby should I take up?
Yours, Nick, Boston Mass

Dear Nick,
I have a few man hobbies for you to consider. Which is probably stereotypical and wrong – maybe you would enjoy knitting, I dunno. How about…
-Model rockets. One year, I bought model rockets for Christmas and got the whole family involved in putting them together and shooting them. It was great fun. Just take care not to put out an eye.
-Foil collecting. Did you see the size of Pee Wee Herman’s ball?
-Carve hobo nickels. This is something I really want to try myself. All you need is a nickel and a nail.

Dear Jen, How can I be as awesome as you?
Sincerely, Not Worthy, Nowhere Oklahoma

Dear Not Worthy,
Practice, practice, practice. You must be devoted to your craft. Especially when your craft is being awesome. Seriously though, I’m just me. All the time. Some people get me, some people don’t. Learning to be okay with that is the key to being awesome.

Dear Jen, I am sooo much cooler than my boyfriend, it’s ridiculous. I don’t have a problem with it, if we are home by ourselves, which we always do since I would be humiliated to introduce him to my friends. I’m getting a little stir crazy sitting at home with him every night watching re-runs of Star Trek. Do you have any tips on how to ‘coolify’ him?
Frustrated, Brianna Lynn

Dear Brianna Lynn,
I don’t think this boy is right for you. Instead of tips for coolifying him, here are a few tips for picking up the kind of dude I think you’ll like:
-Hang out in Abercrombie and Fitch.
-Wear a sparkly jersey and short shorts with something truly clever printed on the rear – like “Pink” or “Hott”.
-Quit wasting time on words. Talk like you text.

Monday, February 27, 2012

DIY: Unicorn Hospital

It will happen sooner or later. You will come across a fantastic mythical creature in a thrift shop that you simply cannot live without. And this creature will be <gulp> missing an appendage. This will most often be something like a horn or part of a leg or a tomahawk handle. Why? They are usually thin and fragile - easy to break. That's like physics. Or something.

Don't fret. Fix it.

Use a bit of gesso to form the missing appendage. For this example, I formed new unicorn horns. (Hint: let the gesso dry out a little first - it'll be easier to mold.) 

Attach the appendage. You may need to form it around the missing area or use a bit of wet gesso to create a glue. Let it dry!

If needed, sand the appendage a bit. Next paint it.

Finally, sit back and admire your handiwork.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday

5 Things I'm Currently Obsessed With

1. Grouplove - Never Trust a Happy Song. Boyfriend turned me on to this album. It's pretty great. Especially the song "Colours". 
2. Maxi dresses. Cause they're long and they're strong and they're down to...nevermind. I'm loving wearing long dresses during Florida's mild winter. I pair them with leggings, a cardigan and a belt for both work and play.
3. Home Office Makeover. I've been donating, organizing, throwing out, painting and rearranging. More photos when I'm finished.
4. Chalkboard paint. I'm late to the chalkboard paint party but I finally made it. This will be making an appearance in my made-over home office photos. 
5. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. This is his second book. His first, Newspaper Blackout, is a book of really cool poetry made with newspaper clippings and sharpies. This one shares 10 tips on being creative. Do yourself a favor, read them both. (Side note: I read Newspaper Blackout by candlelight in an actual blackout. True story.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Foto Friday: Tomato Season

My favorite time of year: tomato season. One of my very favorite things is a fresh from the garden tomato (boo on grocery store toms). I eat them like apples. I could survive off of tomato sandwiches, tomato soup and salsa. Potentially interesting note: I do not like tomato sauce. Curious. It's been long enough since and it's close enough to tomato season now that I'm totally tweaking, y'all. I need my fix.

While I sit in a corner eating my own hair and singing about tomatoes, please enjoy these Foto Friday links:
1. DigitalRev TV. Funny, informative, photos of Hong Kong, photography equipment normal people can't afford and an Asian guy with a British accent. What?
2. Besotted Brand. This blogger is editing a photo a day in 2012. Take a peek. Make sure you check out the before shots.
3. E-PL1 Flickr Gallery. I love my Olympus Pen. Take a look at this gallery full of photos taken with the E-PL1.
4. Lomography gallery. I also love lomography. Look a these photos. You won't regret it.
5. Eggton. Let me make something clear. I am not a dog person. I've been afraid of dogs since childhood. Even the little ones. But the photos of the dog on this blog totally make me want a dog. This blogger posts a hilarious story, then a recipe, then photos of the cutest dog ever. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DIY: It's Gettin' Adler Up In Here

Get ready for the easiest DIY of your life. It has two (2!) steps...

I love Jonathan Adler's designs. Unfortunately, working for a state university does not leave me with the kind of bones that people who can afford $50 ceramic bananas have. That's why I Adlerize.

Adlerizing includes two simple steps:
1. Find weird stuff.
2. Paint it white.

I found the creepy monkey above (that looks suspiciously like it broke off a really ugly lamp) and the sweet duck baskets below at the thrift store for fifty cents each. For a buck fifty and maybe thirty cents worth of cheap acrylic paint, I have three great Adleresque pieces. $1.80 is totally within my budget. Sorry Jon.

P.S. All this Adler talk reminds me of the time I shot a fake deer with an Atlatl at the Florida Archaeology Month kick-off. I was quite a good shot. Lesson: be nice to me around ancient hunting weapons.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Touché Tuesdays: Eat It Before It Eats You

This is the second iteration of Touché Tuesdays, the Whitfield Awesome advice column. The first iteration included made up questions. The following questions were submitted by not me. Things are getting real, y’all.  Need advice? Fill out this form.

Dear Jen, One of my biggest fears is dying in my house and no one finding me until after my cat has started to eat my decomposing body. You seem to be a crazy cat lady, so I wonder if you have the same fear? Is there anything I can do to prevent my cat from eating me?
All the best, I’m not Cat Food, Kennelsville, Kentucky

Dear I’m Not Cat Food,
I discussed this very subject with another single-person household cat owner a couple years ago. We agreed to check on one another should one of us disappear for a few days with no word. Maybe you could set up a similar arrangement with a friend. If you keep your cat fed, it shouldn’t eat you in this short amount of time. Of course the only way to be sure the cat won’t eat you, is to eat it first.*

Dear Jen, I accidentally cut my index finger off making breakfast this morning, it hurts a lot and there's a lot of blood. I really want to finish watching my tv show, and have no way to record it. But I'm getting dizzy. What should I do?
Hurry, Digitless, Bobo, Alabama

Dear Digitless,
The following questions may help you decide between watching TV and saving your finger: Is this one of  my favorite fingers? How I often do I really use this particular finger? Have I seen this episode before? Is this show in syndication? Does this show normally include scenarios that are funny/dramatic/scary/informative enough to make me feel better about being inappropriately fingered  being abnormally fingered  not having  the usual amount of fingers?  
♥ Jen

Note: I’m terribly sorry but I only answer questions on Tuesdays. If you may lose part of your body waiting on an answer, please seek advice elsewhere.

Dear Jen, Based on your blog, you seem to be a girl with many passions and talents. Are there any superhuman skills that you wish to possess?
XOXO, SuperSally, Krypton

Dear SuperSally,
Why thank you, SuperSally. And yes! I do wish to possess superhuman skills. The obvious ones, like, the ability to be multiple places at once, the ability to freeze time and superhuman speed so as to get all my projects done. I would also love to be able to paint in my sleep (ultimate dream journal!), instantly be good at everything and vomit gasoline without any negative side effects.
♥ Jen

Dear Jen, I have a friend (who lives over 1,000 miles away) who asks my opinion on EVERYTHING and ANYTHING nearly every day. Here are some examples:
"Do you think I could be pregnant?" - How the heck am I supposed to know???
"Where can I find xxxx in the grocery store?" - Um...I don't shop there remember, I live 1,000+miles away. Maybe ask someone that works there.
"Can you google xxxx for me and tell me how to do it?" - What?!?! Use your own computer.
Of course, I don't say the exact things I'm thinking, but it's getting to the point where I'm ready to snap. I feel like she's sucking the life out of me. As if I don't have my own items to find in the grocery store or my own questions to google. Do you think I should just wait until she pushes me over the edge and flip out on her, telling her exactly WHERE she can find the answer, or should I just end the friendship. It's gonna be one or the other.
Frustrated, Not taking 2am stupid phone calls, Hellhole, Idaho

Dear Frustrated,
 If I didn’t know how to properly use the word literally, I would say that I literally feel you, dawg. I was once in an eerily similar situation. The difference was that my friend and I lived in the same town - not only was I expected to be her own personal Ask Jeeves, I was also expected to spend every waking minute with her [and other things that I will not discuss here]. I answered all the questions and spent a crazy amount of minutes with her – basically rewarding bad behavior. (Warning: this is about to get real serious.) I wish I had discussed my frustrations with my friend early on. I let the behavior continue until I was ready to snap. I started ignoring her, avoiding the barrage of texts and not returning phone calls. This was unfair to both of us. When I finally came clean about my feelings, her response was not at all what I expected and certainly not what I needed to convince me that a continued friendship was in our future. Had I been honest from the beginning, we might still be friends today. So my advice is to discuss your frustrations with your friend. It may cause you to lose her but it sounds like you are almost to that point anyway. If you have that discussion, at least you will have tried.   
♥ Jen

*I don’t really condone the eating of cats. BUT. If cats were the only nourishment left in the world, would I eat them. Duh. Yes. I mean, if you really think about, how different is it from eating cow, pig, chicken, etc?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday

5 things I'm currently obsessed with:
1. Neon handbags. I don't think this needs an explanation. 
2. Co.Exist blog. This Fast Company blog is full of interesting smarty pants info.
3. Pumpkin seeds. Try them as a snack, mix them into a homemade energy bar, sprinkle them on top of all sorts of things - they're great!
4. Target printed storage bins. See a print you like? Get it fast, it's gonna change. I'm not sure how often Target brings in a new print. Maybe monthly? I have the hearts, crayons, roses and words. Cute and practical.
5. Kryon XMetals spray paint. Shiny. Bright. Painted things coming soon.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Making Art: Self-Love Revolution Style

Amy Morby over at
A is for Ampersand has declared February Self-Love Month. A month for ladies to "stop hating your body and start loving yourself instead". One of her challenges is to be an advocate for positive body talk. I find this challenge very, well, challenging. I'm terrible about pointing out my own physical flaws. I made myself a set of flashcards featuring the parts of my body I hate the most. The cards are to remind me to replace my negative talk with positive talk. Putting the cards on the innerwebs makes them real. Now I have to try this positivity gig cause I told the world (or at least a handful of people) I would. (Yeah, disco pillows. I dunno why. But I like it.)

Sidebar: Whoa. I was hating on almost every part of my body. Not cool.  

Quick! Sign Amy's
Self-Love Declaration of Independence before February is over! Get to loving yourself, sisters.

Foto Friday: 7 Pro Tips!

I don't like to brag, but, I did take a college directed study in photography with a well respected photographer of nude ladies on hoods of cars. Sooooo.... Here are a few of my quick "pro" photography tips:
(The photos are totally hard to see - click on them, they'll get bigger!)

Lighting is everything. Lighting sets the mood. Know it. Accept it. Work with it.

Center schmenter. Add some visual interest - put your subject to the side.

Get dirty. Lay on the ground. You'll see things differently. (That mushroom on the side there kinda looks like a va-jay-jay. Sorry or you're welcome, depending on your point of view.)

Photography is more important than driving. Take pictures from behind the wheel. Don't tell your mother I told you that. 

Get high. I'm afraid of heights. But I like to take pictures from upon them.

Always have a camera handy. You never know when you'll see something worth snapping. Be ready.

Black & white = class. That's it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Touché Tuesdays: Advice a la Jen

So I recently received this tweet:

I agree! That is the best idea ever. Touché Tuesdays shall now be a regular feature of Whitfield Awesome. Need advice? Fill out this form. As this is the first iteration and no one has asked any questions, here are a few made-up questions I feel may be pertinent to my readers:

Dear Jen, I'm having a baby. What should I name it?
All the best, Nameless Preggo

Dear Nameless Preggo,
The world will never have enough Ghost Face Killahs*. Or how about Jen for a girl / Jin for a boy? Seriously though, I have a list of 15 great names but they are on reserve for future cats. Of course by future cats, I do not mean cats that I will own in the future. I mean cats that will arrive here in a 80s (2080s!) Delorean and demand that I give them good convincing 2012 names.

Dear Jen, I would like to paint a neato picture for my boyfriend as a birthday gift. I haven’t painted since elementary school. Where do I start? 
XOXO, No Picasso

Dear No Picasso,
Painting is totally hard. You should buy something from my etsy store (coming soon). If you insist on making your own art, I suggest acrylic paint and a pad of watercolor paper. They are easy to work with and cheap! My medium of choice is the cheapest acrylic paint on the shelves of WalMart. Paint something funny - if it doesn’t turn out perfect, you can pass it off as meant to be that way.

Dear Jen, I will be alone on Valentine’s Day. So will my cousin. She’s hot. Should we date?
Yours, Billy

Dear Billy,

*Disclaimer: If you name your baby Ghost Face Killah and he ghost face kills ya, I hold no responsibility. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Making Art: Put a bird on it

I'm working on a couple of projects right now but I don't want to post photos until they have made it to their new homes. So here's a bird. My mom and I share an affinity for feathered creatures. I painted this for her a while back.

P.S. If you said "put a bird on it, what?", watch Portlandia.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday

5 things I'm currently obsessed with:

1. Cryptozoology - I've been obsessed with cryptozoology for a long time now. It's fun to speculate and want to believe. If only I had majored in biology! I could be researching creatures that either do not exist or are very skilled at not being found. Either way, job security. (P.S. Crypto Painting series coming soon.)
2. Froyo - I'm not big on ice cream but I LOVE frozen yogurt. Self-serve shops have been popping up all over the 850. I have boyfriend obsessed too = froyo dates!
3. Home organization - I feel like if I bought myself a gorgeous white desk chair, I'd be inspired to organize my home office double quick.
4. These Madden Girl shoes - I will be pairing them with polka dots for Valentine's Day.
5. Dangle-y earrings - I just started wearing big earrings again. I bought this pair at Target...only $7! They remind me of the Mimi collection by Sorrelli.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Foto Friday Again! #febphotoaday Days 6-10

I'm participating in the February Photo A Day Challenge and you should too! 

Foto Friday: Quick Challenge

I took the fat mum slim quick challenge - my day in photos last Saturday:
7:30 AM - gloomy looking morning
8:30 AM - I ♥ prickly pears!
9:30 AM - thrifting; found knives
10:30 AM - nice tree

11:30 AM - hooked The Bloggess up with a weasel
12:30 PM - library time
1:30 PM - chicken picnic with Sister
2:30 PM - dolphin medicine?

3:30 PM - stocked up on fruit
4:30 PM - checked out my thrifting/antique loot
5:30 PM - got my glitter nails on
6:30 PM - Thai with Boyfriend

7:30 PM - Sherlock Holmes with Boyfriend
8:30 PM - still in the movie
9:30 PM - stilllll in the movie
10:30 PM - stopped at Waffle House (I forgot to take a photo so here's a waffle I made recently)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Off-topic Thursday: DIY for your face!

Winter blues? Dry skin? Give your face a super refreshing treat: kiwi scrub.

1. Gather ingredients: 1 kiwi, 1 tbsp plain yogurt, 1 tbsp orange juice, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp olive oil. 1.a Optional: essential oil.

2. Puree the kiwi. Add in yogurt, orange juice, honey and olive oil. Process until well blended. Optional: add 1-2 drops essential oil after processing.

3. Slather the mixture on your face and neck. Rinse. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine DIY

Love is in the air! Or maybe that's just pollen. Either way, here's a quick Valentine's Day DIY.

Gather a few materials: a heart of your choice (I found one online), cardboard, newspaper, paint, paint brushes, clothespins, glue, water, twine, a ruler and a pair of scissors. Cut the cardboard to your desired size (x4). I made 5x7 panels.

1. Mix up some glue, a little bit of water and a drop of paint. The paint will tint your newspaper. I chose copper for a touch of shine. Don't add too much water or it won't stick!
2. Cover one sheet of cardboard with the glue mixture.
3. Cover the gluey cardboard with newspaper. Cover again with the glue mixture.  Repeat for all four sheets of cardboard.
4. Go through the same process with each of the four clothespins. 

5. Cover the back of your heart with the glue mixture and stick it to one of your newspaper panels. Spread a bit more of the glue mixture on top of the heart. Allow your panels and clothespins to dry.
6. Paint L,V, and E on the remaining newspaper panels. Tip: use a piece of the scrap cardboard as a straight edge.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Obsession Confession Sunday

Five things I'm obsessed with right now:
1. The photography on Posie Gets Cozy. Gorgeous blog. Cozy is the perfect word.
2. Homemade body scrubs. DIYs coming soon!
3. Prickly PearsSlice 'em, juice 'em, mix 'em with some lime or bananas - I don't care. I love 'em. Use prickly pear juice in homemade salad dressing, frosting, candies or cocktails. Or just drink it straight.
4. Whole Living Magazine - recipes, tips, etc. This magazine makes healthy living look beautiful. 
5. Sharpie Fine Point Pens  - dark, committed ink. Doesn't bleed through.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thrift Score! or The wardrobe section of a homeless man's backpack.

I went thrifting today. This is what happened...

First stop, a thrift store I had not visited since high school something-teen years ago when I dressed like a homeless man. Not that thrift stores only sell stereotypical bum clothes - I just enjoyed looking like I had shopped in the wardrobe section of a homeless man's backpack. I digress. I was shocked at the prices. Shocked! $22 for a crappy old frame? $235 for a beat-up dresser? I'm fairly certain I spotted a dust bunny that was out of my price range. But. I did manage to find two items. A $4 Hawaii-esque painting on VELVET and a $2 wood frame that you will see again soon all painted up and holding a Jen original. 

I took a thrifting break to run in Publix and stock up on prickly pears. A bratty looking dance team was standing outside raising money to perform in Disney World. My heart went out to them. How hard it must be to dance locally when all you want to do is dance at Disney. One of them told me to have a spontaneous day. How exactly am I supposed to have a spontaneous day when you've just instructed me to do so. Now any possible spontaneity will feel contrived. My donation: Vocabulary for Dummies. I don't want the little darling to end up on a pole in a few years. I think I should become an ambassador.

Then I moved on to the Copper Possum, a local antique store that I adore. I found the most delightful "taxidermied weasel on wood". Naturally I tweeted The Bloggess about it. Naturally she bought it via telephone. How do you like them apples Tiny Dancer? I AM having a spontaneous day!

I found a few items for myself too. A mean horse lamp (the lamp is always on in the store - the half burnt up bulb was sold separately - do you believe that!). An ET glass circa 1982. (Jen fact: I watch ET every Christmas.) A couple milk glass vases that I plan to do this with. A birdhouse built by a local craftsman (only $5!). And a sweet little bird planter that looks like the sleepy stepchild of a ceramic bird with blingy eyes that my mom has. I hope that my mom lives longer than I do. In the event that she does not, dibs on that bird. 

The sweet lady [who I had just convinced to sell a dried up weasel over telephone] at the register boxed my items in a booze box, as per usual. Why do antique stores only use booze boxes? I know the neighborhood kids tell their mommy's that the weird lady with the 8ft copper snail in her yard just hauled in another box of hooch.

Finally, while I was writing this post, my first ever ModCloth delivery arrived. I think there are two pretty obvious reasons I won't be wearing this dress to church or work as I had originally planned. Cat sold separately. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Drunk Tank Pink

I majored in communications. My favorite topic? Nonverbal ques. Combine that with the artist in me and you have a fascination with the way the mind perceives color.

Take a minute to complete a super short quiz at My results are pasted at the end of this post. A lot of it is right on the money. (I took it again choosing colors I wouldn’t normally choose just to see if the quiz was bogus. The results were very different.) 

Here's a little color theory for your brain pan:

Most productive color, color most preferred by men, color most used for offices
Curbs appetite, can lower the pulse rate & body temperature; used to treat pain and illness.
Associated with water and peace.
Associated with tranquility and health; symbol of fertility.
Workers in green environments have fewer stomach aches; can improve reading ability.
Interesting note: green was the color of choice for wedding gowns in the 15th century.
Associated with royalty, wealth, success, wisdom and spirituality.
Calming, warm, associated with romance.
Interesting note: “drunk tank pink” is used in prisons to calm inmates.
Associated with excitement, enthusiam, and caution; encourages joy.
Benefits kidneys,urinary tract and reproductive organs.
Too much orange is thought to lead to tiredness, pessimism and confusion.
Encourages the appetite; evokes strong emotions, associated with the danger of failure. Causes people to react with greater speed and force; can strengthen willpower, stimulate the body & mind and increase circulation. 
Interesting note: red can contribute to poor exam performance and clear congestion.
Increases metabolism and gives you energy; cheerful, warm.
Color most likely to cause eye fatigue. 
Interesting note: makes babies cry.
Associated with reliability, boredom and practicality.
Associated with purity and innocence; great for creating the illusion of space.
Associated with evil, death and mourning; known to be slimming in fashion. 
Ancient Egyptians believed that it symbolized life and rebirth. Absorbs all light in the color spectrum; popular indicator of power. 
Interesting note: black is the color for little boys in China.

According to the Color Quiz - 
My existing situation: Works well in cooperation with others but is disinclined to take the leading role. Needs a personal life of mutual understanding and freedom from discord.
My stress sources: Wishes to be independent, unhampered and free from any limitation or restriction, other than those which she imposes of herself or by her own choice and decision.
My restrained characteristics: Willing to participate and to allow herself to become involved, but tries to fend off conflict and disturbance in order to reduce tension. Feels that she is burdened with more than her fair share of problems. However, she sticks to her goals and tries to overcome her difficulties by being flexible and accommodating. Able to achieve satisfaction through sexual activity.
My desired objective: Longs for tender and sympathetic bond and for a situation of idealized harmony. Has an imperative need for tenderness and affection. Susceptible to anything esthetic.
My actual problem: seeks to avoid criticism and to prevent restriction of her freedom to act, and to decide for herself by the exercise of great personal charm in her dealings with others.

How did you do?

Foto Friday: Self Photo Challenge

Linking up with The Paper Mama for her Self Photo Challenge! [You should too!]


Obsessing Over
Home/natural remedies. For cleaning. For curing what ails ya. For beauty. 

Working On
Today: Layout & graphics for the revival issue of an economics e-pub.
In general: I’ve promised myself to make more art this year.

Thinking About
My future Etsy store and cool DIY projects to post on my new blog.

Participating in an art festival with my boo.

Listening To
Gotye (Making Mirrors) – so, so good. Lurve “Somebody That I Used to Know”.

Grilled chicken & roasted red pepper Panini and fries with a sprinkling of pickle juice.

I could fix things for someone.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

#febphotoaday Day 1: Your View Today

I'm participating in the February Photo A Day Challenge and you should too! 

Pompous Pet Portraits #2


Meet Tweezer, the second pet to sit for a portrait in the Pompous Pet Portraits series. Tweezer enjoys lounging atop reusable Publix bags, chasing lasers and not meowing.  

Coming soon Sammy and Pippi!