Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Meet Olive!

Hey! Here's a story for you.

It's Spring 2013. I suddenly get an irrepressible urge to get a dog. I find out about some beagles that are being re-homed for free by my school's vet school. I make an appointment to go look at the dogs. Then Andy says, we should find out how much it's going to cost us (from our rental company) to have a dog in the house before we go. I check into it. My jaw hits the floor. I cry. I scream. I make plans to get a dog without telling said rental company. Andy says no. I have all of the feelings.

Fast forward to Summer 2014, and I'm moving into my new place, a basement apartment in a house owned by my friends Dan and Amanda. Amanda asks me if I'm going to get a dog now that I live in a pet friendly home. I say no, because I know I'm going to have to move to other rentals in the future, and it doesn't seem practical. Plus, I have debt to pay off, and I shouldn't be taking on anything as expensive as a dog.

Then I get lonely, and that urge to have a dog comes back, and it comes back hard. I started talking to my coworker Heather, who has lived in the area her whole life and has the lowdown on the animal rescue situation. Because duh, obviously I'm going to get a rescue. I look around. I tell myself I am not going to get a puppy, because a puppy is going to be too much work. I drive all around, looking at dogs for weeks. I'm looking for a young dog, 1-2 years old, still trainable, still healthy and active, but not with all of that crazy puppy energy. It's hard to find dogs in this age range, because everyone wants one. I start to get frustrated, and start feeling like I have to have a dog NOW.

I had seen Olive in my local humane society before, earlier in my search, but she was a baby and I told myself no. I saw her again a second time, on a return trip to see if they'd gotten any new dogs, and I went into her kennel and played with her a bit. I almost filed paperwork on her then, but the workers said to be sure before they put her on hold, so I waited. I couldn't stop thinking about her. I went back a couple of days later and told myself that if she was still there, I would get her. She was. I put in the paperwork, and on Halloween, I picked her up.

Olive is a German Shepherd/Lab mix, which means she's smart and friendly and energetic and headstrong and food-motivated. She was a little less than four months old when I got her, and now she's 5 and a half months old. It's crazy how much she's grown up, and crazy how far we have left to go. Raising a puppy is hard, y'all! More about that later.

That's my getting my first pet (as an adult) story. I love her so much!

If you've got dog rearing/training tips or stories, lay em on me!

Yours Truly, Jen

P.S. For plenty of puppy cuteness, make sure to follow me on Instagram!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What I'm Reading (3)

In my hiatus from here, I've been doing lots of reading, and TV watching, and thinking, and missing writing, but also not being able to write for some reason. And now today, all of the sudden, I'm ready to come back. Except that it isn't all of the sudden, because I've been thinking about you constantly, and about all of the things I want to share with you.

Confession: I gave up on Sloane Crosley's second book. Remember how I said I wasn't that into it? Yeah, I really wasn't into it. I kept trying to be and wasn't. So oh well. I'm sure I'll return to it at some point. But since then, I've picked up some awesome books.

According to my calculations, I've finished four books since last week spoke. Which isn't a whole heck of a lot, or at least not as much as it could be. But I've half read some others, and I've been watching some good TV (share that with you soon!), so I'm okay with it.

The Essays

Naked, by David Sedaris.
Classic. Funny. Answers the question of what being at a nudist colony is really like. What more could you ask for? Plus, as always, if you listen to the audiobook he reads it, which makes everything better.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling.
True story: I started reading this I forget why. Probably someone in my news feed was talking about it or something, and I just got it on a whim. I read like half of the first story and immediately decided that I needed to start watching the Mindy Project. Which I did, and if you follow me on Instagram (which you maybe should?), you might have noticed that I lovee it. I also loved the book. I wholly recommend doing both together, show and book. Then you understand why Mindy chose to be an OBGYN on her TV show, and you can compare Danny to her list of what a man should be like (I love her list so much, btw. Can I please just delete my OK Cupid profile and put her list on there instead?). I'll be honest, sometimes Mindy can be a bit annoying. I find that at times she over does the fat jokes, and if you've read the book and watched the show, you do get some repeat jokes. But, the book feels really honest, and you get a real sense of her as a person, which I appreciate from a celebrity book.

The Fiction

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You: A Novel, by Courney Maum (is this title in answer to Mindy Kaling's? I never realized this until now!). I try to avoid describing what books are about at all costs, because generally I find summaries to ruin things. I try, instead, to give you a sense of what you might like about it. This book gives you one man's perspective on what it's like to be a lying cheater, and what it feels like to see your marriage fall apart and what it feels like when you try to put it back together. There's a lot of internal dialogue, which might bother some people, but I think it works here. There's art, there's French mother-in-law's, the setting jumps between America, England, and France, and you get a sense of what Western Europeans felt about the Iraq War. I wanted to see where everyone landed, and I wanted everyone to be okay.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple. This book was super fun to read. If you like books with multiple points of view and/or books comprised of interesting forms, this is for you. The world of these characters felt super real and super fleshed out and tangible and the characters had interesting histories and why we read everything we read all made sense in the end. Just read it.

What have you read and loved lately?

Yours Truly, Jen

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Me, Lately (3)

Pardon my French, but holy shit, I haven't posted here in over a month. I've thought about it a lot, but it hasn't happened. But don't take it personally. It's not you, it's me. I haven't even been reading my favorite blogs. I actually was scared to open Bloglovin because I thought my computer would explode while trying to load the millions of posts I've fallen behind on. I haven't even been on the computer hardly at all. But, now that things have settled down a bit, I'm trying to get things together. So yeah, here's what's been going on with me lately.

1. I mentioned in my last life update post that I was working in a local jewelry store. I'm still doing that, and really liking it. I moved up to full time and getting my first commission check soon! Having a full time job that puts me on my feet and away from home so much is a lot of the reason I haven't been keeping up with things lately, because I'm exhausted when I get home and I was having to come home and unpack and get things settled and also get some other important things done, so for a while there I basically had zero free time. Oh yeah, and I'm all moved and settled. I guess I didn't really say that.

2. I actually started writing a whole post about this move, but I felt like it got way too long and way too personal. So, we'll see if I can wrangle that into something appropriate to publish on the internet. If not and we're personal friends, call me and I'll tell you all about it.

3. Two of my best Blacksburg friends just moved away and I am so sad about it. Long story short, we were going to live together and it was going to be awesome, and then one of them was offered a post-Doc at MIT and they moved to Boston. Boo. I mean, obviously I'm really happy for them and proud of them and blah blah, but how sad is my life now.

4. In the midst of serious rain and post-friends-moving-away heartache, I got myself a library card. This has been the highlight of my life lately. Wow, I'm the coolest.

5. Mindy Kaling is my favorite celebrity at the moment. I will talk more about this in another post soon.

6. I am in the process of re-training myself to read for fun instead of just watching television, see number four. While in school for English, I had to read a lot of required material, especially after starting to teach. I read very little for fun during the school year because my eyes (and schedule) could only take so much. Now, I get to read whatever I want, and I do very little of it for my job. So it's time to start catching up, pronto.

7. Are you guys watching the Bridge? What do you think of this season? I felt like the first season was overall really good (I mean, I kept watching, didn't I?) but was really hit or miss episode to episode. This season has been so good!

8. I made this for a friend's birthday cake and it turned out heavenly. Highly recommend for chocolate lovers. Just make sure not to overfill the cake pans, and put a baking sheet under the cake pans to catch any drips. I did not follow that sage advice and almost burned down my kitchen, which is why I am passing that knowledge onto you. Yet the cake still turned out amazing, so all is forgiven (P.S. if you want to see what recipes I'm using, you should totes follow me on Pinterest).

9.  I really want to invest in some artwork. Like not expensive stuff, just original artwork from talented but not famous artists. Sadly, this is not at all in my budget right now. I'm trying to pinch my pennies and pay down my credit cards like woah.

10. If you email me your address, I will send a piece of mail. I really want to get back into putting writing in the mail, but I don't have very many people's addresses. Plus, in a time of relative friendlessness (or at least, not terribly many friends who are geographically close to me), written correspondence sounds really appealing. Plus, who doesn't like getting real stuff in the mail?

11. I'm pretty sad that this summer is ending. I feel like between graduating and going directly to work, being totally broke, and having the rainiest weather ever, this summer just didn't feel like summer to me, especially the second half. But alas. Hopefully I'll have a more heartwarming and productive Fall.

I would love to hear what's been going on with you in my absence, friends.

Yours Truly, Jen

Saturday, July 12, 2014

New Digs Wish List

I'm moving in one week, which naturally means I've been window shopping up a storm. New digs = new stuff needed to nicely fill out the space, plus between living with Andy and living with a roommate before that, there's some essential stuff that I've never had to buy before now. A lot of these babies will probably be coming home with me soon!

1. Food Processor - I'm pretty sure this has appeared on some wish list on this blog before, and here it is again. I had a budget food processor for a while, but after the motor burning out on me twice, I gave up on it and decided I needed to spend some real bucks the next go around.

2. Spice rack- Every renter who cooks knows that with each new place comes a new spice solution. This is supposed to hold around 18 bottles, and I'm thinking I'll probably get two of them and that should cover most of my regular use spices. There's some wall space right next to my oven, so I'm thinking this will be a good fit!

3. Dish Drainer- Is is weird that I'm kind of excited to get a pretty new dish drainer? When it's just you it takes too long to fill up the dishwasher, so I see myself handwashing a lot, and this drainer looks like it would look nice on the counter as well as being functional.

4. Kitchen cart- There's a space between where the kitchen counter ends and the stove starts that I need a nice little cart for, and I'm leaning toward something like this. I would love to thrift something more affordable, but if I have to splurge, I think this is versatile enough that it will serve me well in future homes as well.

5. Knife Set- This one is really well reviewed on Amazon, and seems like a good, mid-priced set. I don't want to throw away money on knives that can't be sharpened (serrated) or that will get rusty too quickly, but I also don't have the big bucks for a professional set. This one should serve me nicely!

6. Anti-Fatigue Mat - Once, years ago, Andy and I were in a local kitchen store and we went up to the cash register and they had an anti-fatigue mat there and we both instantly noticed a difference in how we felt as soon as we stepped onto it. I remember my back stopped hurting and my body just felt less heavy. That one is like one hundred and fifty bucks, which I would gladly pump into my local economy if I could, but this just isn't a "necessity" that I can spend that kind of money on. I found some cheaper versions online, so I'm hoping one of those will give a similar effect. I'd love one for in front of my kitchen sink and one for in front of my bathroom vanity!

7. Streaming Entertainment Device - It's finally time to stop watching TV on my laptop. I'm trying to decide between the Roku, the new Amazon Fire device, or a Blueray with streaming capabilities. Tell me what you have and whether you'd recommend it!

8. Air Mattress - Because I'm moving into a one bedroom and I don't feel like my couch is good for sleeping on. Every apartment needs an air mattress for guests, right?

9. Tool Kit- Because I have very few tools. I don't even own a hammer!

10. Bathroom storage- My bathroom is nicely sized, but doesn't have a ton of built-in storage. Right now I'm thinking something like this (and it's for a great price at Bed, Bath, and Beyond right now!), though I may end up thrifting a wood piece instead. Just want some good shelving for toiletries and towels.

These are the top ten needs I'm looking to address right now, but I'm also in the market for low-light plants, new artwork, and a couple of other little things. What's on your household wishlist?

Yours Truly, Jen

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day, fair readers! I have spent the week working way too much, so I'm appreciating my day off. Plus, I found out this morning that I won this awesome giveaway, so the day is off to a great start!

Since my house is full of boxes and some of my best Blacksburg friends are out of town this week, I'm keeping this Fourth of July low-key this year. There will be mimosas and ham steaks and home fries and fried eggs and toast for brunch and so many grilled hot dogs and potato chips and beers for dinner. Hopefully there will be fireworks tonight, and between brunch and dinner I might finally get to finish watching this season of Orange is the New Black.

Independence is always something to be celebrated. Let me know how you plan to spend the day!

Yours Truly, Jen

P.S. I'll be back next week with some more Friday Favorites. Blogger decided not to save most of mine this week, so we'll take a break from the regular schedule for the holiday.