My “BUMP-IT” list

Howdy y’all from Dallas, Texas. Work has been crazy with a capital K lately. I’m ready for a vacation, again. Remember back when the work ended at the end of the semester and you didn’t have any responsibilities from May-August… Yeah, me either. Work doesn’t even end on weekends these days.

Anyway, this isn’t my complain blog. I’m linking up with Geez, Louise and The Handey Way and sharing my “Bump-It” list. Basically the OPPOSITE of a bucket list… Things I DONT want to do before I croak. so, here they are…

– Swim from Cuba to Florida … Or swim the English Channel … Basically swimming in the open ocean anywhere ever.

– Climb Mt. Everest … you could actually die.

– Fly a Commercial Airplane … Because um, talk about job pressure. They still haven’t found that Malaysian plane.

– Star in a Broadway Show … I would make a fool of myself.

– Be a Vegetarian or Vegan … Can’t live without bacon.

– Go to Antarctica … Brrrr. The polar vortex sliding down to the Midwest is the closest to the Arctic I ever want to get.

– Walk over hot coals … Because, Ouch.

– Swim with sharks … Dolphins are another story. But I’m ok with never getting anywhere near these terrifying creatures.

– Get a tattoo… Why would you put a bumper sticker on a Porsche?

– Blog from my iPad ever again … Because, really, this is so hard.

– Own a cat or a bird … I hate them. I will be friends with people that have cats and birds but that’s the closest I’ll get.

What are some things you are OK with never doing? Comment away, friends!

-Jess



What’s in my carry-on?

It’s no secret that I travel quite a bit. After spending 47/52 weeks on the road, I’ve gotten packing and air-travel down to an almost-perfect science. I very rarely have to sit in airports for more than a half hour (unless my flight is delayed) because I know exactly how long it’s going to take me to get to the airport and through security.

One thing that has been perfected over weeks and weeks of airport visits is what I keep in my carry-on bag. As a 20-something with self-diagnosed ADHD, I need enough in that bag to keep me occupied for a few hours and maybe even a long layover or a flight delay. I need things that will entertain me if wifi is not available and if all my electronicals die. I used to bring backups and spares of everything in this ONE bag, until I became and compulsive under-packer, and came up with THIS list.

My computer … Mostly because I have to bring it with me on work trips and I’m not about to try and put it in my suitcase again … Yes, I tried once, sat on my suitcase in an attempt to shut it, and broke my computer… Never again.

My iPad. If there is wifi, I use it for blogging purposes rather than my laptop or spend some time pinteresting. Sometimes I watch movies or TV shows, but this requires pre-planning and downloading, etc.

My Kindle. If there is no wifi or I feel like being unplugged, I make sure to have a book or two queued up on it, because it’s impossible to connect it to the internet on a plane.

A magazine … I literally have 500 magazines at home, so on my way out the door, I’ll grab one or two. I always used to read it during takeoff and landing when portable electronics were contraband, but I still like to bring one in case all my portables are dead.

Noise-Canceling Headphones … Best purchase I’ve ever made. I bought these while stuck at the airport one morning, and I haven’t made a trip without them since. They drown out that airplane noise perfectly, even if i’m not going to watch or listen to anything.

A bottle of water … I bring an empty one and fill it up after security because bottled water at the airport is ridiculously expensive. Bottled water in hotels is also pretty pricey, so I’ll fill it up from the water cooler in the gym.

A snack … For the same reason I bring my own water bottle. Usually I bring a protein bar or some chex mix.

My 3-1-1 ziploc bag … I choose to keep it in my carry-on as opposed to my suitcase purely for easy access. Nothing drives me crazier than when the person in front of you is holding up the security line while digging through their stuff trying to find their liquid bag. AND, one time the guy in front of me tried to carry on a 2-liter of sprite … Can’t make this shit up.

Other miscellaneous items … My computer charger, my mouse, my notebook, wallet, car keys, gum, advil/pepto/tissues/etc, 12 different varieties of chapstick, sunglasses, pens, highlighters… you get the idea.

So there you have it. What I bring with me every week. Any tips on things I should add to this list?

It Might Make You Feel Better To Know….

I was catching up on my bloglovin feed from the last several weeks (i’m terrible) and I came across THIS post from Total Basset Case and I totally started brainstorming the funny, awkward, maybe even a little embarrassing things that I do. And whattya know, there are a TON of them. So, I thought I’d share.

It might make you feel better to know that…

… I hate washing my face. Or having water on my face, period.

… i hit the snooze button at least 10 times every morning. (I’m going to write about this next week).

… i hate cleaning. My apartment is almost always a mess. (Getting better at it though!)

… if I’m not wearing makeup, people think I’m still in high school. Proof, several times over:

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… i take benadryl almost every night. As soon as I crawl into bed, my skin lights on fire, and everything is itchy. I think it stems from sleeping in a hotel so much and being paranoid about bed bugs.

… i talk REALLY loud. When I was little, my mom used to call it my ‘bus voice’ … but it never really went away. It seems to bother some people, but I honestly have no gauge of how loud I’m talking and it obviously doesn’t bother me. Most of my friends are loud and obnoxious too, so it works out. Also, NO, I am not hard of hearing. I hear just fine.

… I get a little scared every time I see a cop car. Even if I haven’t done anything wrong. Even if I’m walking. Even if there is a cop in line in front of me at starbucks.

… unless I’m driving, I can only sit on the passenger side of the car. If I sit behind the driver, I can’t see the speedometer and I freak out. Weird, I know.

… my fridge is almost always empty. Currently, I have leftovers, angry orchard, orange juice, and some turkey. oh, and a ball of mozzarella cheese.

… Speaking of cheese … I love cheese. Like, borderline unhealthy obsession with cheese.

So there ya go. Happy Saturday!

-Jess

P.S. I hung out with some awesome bloggers last night during a happy hour hangout! Amber wrote about it HERE .. check it out! :)

Gluten Free Margherita Pizza

First of all, why isn’t Margherita pizza spelled like a margarita? Auto-correct is very confused.

My lunch yesterday was so delicious, I just can’t NOT share it with everyone. I’ve had such a hard time finding delicious gluten free versions of my favorite things, that when I found these gluten free, frozen, ready-made pizza crusts, I was uber-skeptical.

20140310-165251.jpg(yes, those are my favorite, obnoxious shoes.)

BUT, I made one yesterday and it was seriously phenomenal… Better than any other GF pizza crust I’ve ever had. (and dare I say, better than non-GF pizza too??!) I found them in the organic freezer section of the grocery store. In most of the grocery stores in my area, this section is near the produce, for whatever reason. (there is also a store-finder on their website, linked above)

ANYWAY, here’s what I used to make this, but obviously feel free to experiment. I know I’ll be making a buffalo chicken pizza in the near future. I also did not even come close to eating this entire thing, so the other half will be packed in my lunch! (update: this tastes great leftover!  I cooked it in the toaster oven for 13 minutes @ 375)

Gluten Free Margherita Pizza

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 Gluten Free Pizza Crust
– Olive Oil
– Garlic Powder
– Fresh Basil
– 1/2 fresh Tomato, sliced
– 1/2 ball fresh Mozzarella Cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. While preheating, rub a little bit of Olive Oil on to the frozen crust and sprinkle with Garlic Powder.
3. Slice Tomato and place on the crust.
4. Put Basil and Mozzarella cheese on top of Tomato.
5. Put on cookie sheet and place in oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your crust.
6. ENJOY!

NOTE: I used a tube of refrigerated basil because I never seem to use enough when I buy it fresh and it always ends up going bad… So I put 1 tablespoon directly on the crust after putting the garlic on… It tasted exactly like fresh basil, and it won’t go bad for two more months. win win win.

Happy Tuesday, y’all! :)

-Jess

becoming graceful.

What is it about a new blog design that send creative juices flowing to my fingertips? Not that I didn’t LOVE my Yammering Yankee design, but I’m in a season where I’m craving tangible change, and switching up the design over here seemed like a simple way to accomplish that.

anyway. It’s Sunday, and once again, I’m linking up with Amber from Mr Thomas and Me and Kate from The Florkens for Doubt and Devotion. And this week, God has thrown me down the gauntlet. Forcing me to change in a really tough way…

The Florkens

I’m sure everyone is a little guilty of this to an extent, especially in moments of frustration. But the biggest obstacle right now in my path to becoming more like Christ is that I too often have issues extending grace to others. It shouldn’t be that difficult, right? But I get so caught up in MY issues and MY thoughts, that when someone comes along and challenges me, I get defensive and angry instead of humbling myself and extending a little mercy.

For example, this week, someone at work was staffed on a project instead of me when I had been working on it for months. This person didn’t know anything about the project, didn’t know much about what he was supposed to do, and came to me asking for help. Instead of being humbled that he asked for help and eager to start working, I was angry that staffing put him in that situation when he didn’t know what he was doing, when I knew exactly what needed to be done. He didn’t once say please or thank you, which only fueled my anger and made me want to help even less. I think I even said to him “i don’t know why they didn’t staff me on this.” Come on, Jess. So, I’ve been asking myself “why is it so easy to jump to anger and frustration, but so difficult to extend grace?”

We grow strong in grace when we understand God’s unconditional forgiveness of us, then learn to unconditionally forgive others.

Unconditional forgiveness? Sounds hard. Sounds like something I’m too stubborn to give out, especially when I’m frustrated and angry. Why does he have to use those words? Why is it so difficult for me? God should unconditionally forgive me for not being able to unconditionally forgive everyone else, right? Nope. Not quite how it works. In moments of frustration, why do I have to actively tell myself not to get stressed or angry? Why does it have to be behavior modification, and not a character trait that just comes naturally to me? 

I don’t know the answers to these questions. I’m working on it, though.

2 corinthians 12:9

His power made perfect in my weakness? I like that. Something to pray about this week.

-Jess

WHAT TO GIVE UP FOR LENT?!?!

It never fails. Every year, Ash Wednesday rolls around and I’m stuck trying to figure out what to give up for the next 40 days. I love the idea of giving something up that is truly a sacrifice. I want to suffer for 40 days without something, or I want to do something that I wouldn’t normally do. Two years ago, I gave up caffeine. And I learned that not only do I need caffeine to function, I become borderline homicidal without it. So, definitely not doing that again. I gave up fast food one year, and decided I didn’t miss it all that much, and haven’t really had fast food since (except for on road trips or when I’m realllly hungover).

So, this year, I decided to give up ……. Chipotle. Which will definitely be a struggle, as I eat it multiple times a week. I thought I should probably try for something a little more difficult than that, since Chipotle would probably get replaced with Piada or Fusian, or any other semi-fast food place. So, I’m going a step further than that… I’m giving up eating lunch out. I will pack my lunch every day for the next 40 days. (or however many work days are between now and Easter) … My hope is that I will fall into a routine of packing my lunch, and after Easter it will become more of a habit. But you better believe that I will be FEASTING on Chipotle on Easter Sunday.

My dad also issued a challenge to our family to donate 1000 items to charity during Lent. So I’m gathering clothes and shoes and other unused items from around my apartment to donate this month. I’m finding all of the shampoo and conditioner bottles that I’ve collected from hotel rooms over the past two years and donating them to the homeless shelter.

So, this lent, it’s about more than giving something up just to give it up. I’m making a lifestyle change. I’m giving up unused items in hopes that someone else will find them useful. What are you going to do over the next 40 days?

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doubt and devotion week 1

I’m so excited to start linking up with Amber from Mr Thomas and Me and Kate from The Florkens on Sundays for Doubt and Devotion, a weekly linkup to share stories from our faith journeys.

The Florkens

I could probably have an entire separate blog dedicated to writing about my doubts. And how I’ve felt like a bad Catholic for so long for having doubts. How I’ve sat in church for years sitting, kneeling, standing, kneeling again, sitting, standing, and just going through the motions. Blindly following along. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy growing up Catholic, or I didn’t learn anything about the church or Jesus or God in the process. But I never developed a relationship with God, and for a long time, he was just a guy hanging out behind the altar in church on a cross.

But the older I get, the more I want that relationship. My biggest obstacle in the pursuit of this relationship? I’m a scientist. And I don’t mean in the sense that I spend my days in a lab wearing a white coat and playing with petri dishes and beakers (what do real scientists even do???). I mean that I need evidence, results, data to believe. To learn things, I touch them, smell them, study them. I learn from experiences. And because I haven’t experienced that relationship, I have doubts. I am doubting Thomas. Because I haven’t seen in his hands the mark of the nails, and placed my finger into the mark of the nails, and placed my hand into his side, I doubt. And it’s more the scientifically-improbable aspects of the Bible that I have the hardest time wrapping my head around. But in the times of struggle in my life, I doubt His presence, His will, His plan. Not because I’m a scientist. Because I’m human.

And on my journey of wrestling with my doubts, I’ve learned something. God isn’t threatened by my doubts. As long as when I am confronted with truth, I repent and believe, God will allow me to test my faith. And the reason I wrestle is because I want to know truth. I want to repent. I want to believe.

Proverbs 2:3-5.... Search for Jehovah God while he can still be found.| Proverbs 2 : 3 – 5 |

And testing gives way to trusting, right? You can’t trust things in science unless you do an experiment. You can’t trust that the ledge is going to hold your weight unless you step out onto it… Right?

—-

I recently joined a community group at my church of some amazing women, so I have an amazing sounding board for all of my struggles and doubts. I can’t wait to write about my faith journey and you’re welcome to come along for the ride!

-Jess

Friday Favorites

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. And all of my blogging energy has been directed to my post for Sunday, so I just had to do something simple and fun while I work through my thoughts. I’ve got big plans with friends this weekend, so I wanted to get the writing out of the way!

ANYWAY. Here are some of my recent favorites. Why are most of them food??

  • International Delight Coldstone Sweet Cream – Seriously, y’all. I haven’t been to Starbucks in over a month because this creamer is THAT good. It tastes like a scoop of melted ice cream in your morning coffee, and that’s enough to get me out of bed. Except the Keurig machine in my office is on the second floor, and the employee fridge is in the basement. So I walk upstairs to make my coffee, down 2 flights of stairs for my creamer, then up another flight to get back to my desk. Totally worth it.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia – AKA my February books.
  • Pepper-Jack String Cheese – Can’t. Stop. Eating.
  • Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough LUNA bars – These were in the boxes at the finish line of both of my races last weekend… So when I got home, naturally I went to Kroger and bought 10 of them. 12 grams of protein, gluten free, AND delicious?! Consider this my new favorite breakfast snack.
  • Gluten Free Bagels – I finally found one that I like!!! ODoughs plain bagels. I pop one in the toaster for one minute, then put a piece of turkey and a slice of cheese on top and put it in the toaster oven for 5-10 minutes. SO good! SO ea

Things I’m not obsessed with:

  • Cold Weather – I’m ready to start complaining about how hot it is outside. Being in Florida last weekend was such a tease!

Happy Friday!! See you on Sunday! :)

-Jess

My Vacation Recap

Ever need a break, like, really really bad?

That was me. Two weeks ago. Work and Life and just… everything was dragging me down. And when my younger sisters qualified for the state diving meet last Wednesday, I decided to take (most of) last week off. (I say most of because I worked last Tuesday). I was already leaving on Thursday for Florida, and Monday was a company holiday.

And let me tell you, I needed that break. I needed 10 days off work from my brain. 10 days of just living.

So, let’s recap what went down during those days off…

My sisters did amazing at the state dive meet… And I got to watch all of it from the deck with all the divers and coaches. I felt like a celebrity, because some of the other coaches and the professional photographers were asking me so many questions about my sisters. But alllll of the pictures I took are on my actual camera, which is at my parents house.. So I have none to post here. But, take a look at how gorgeous these two are before their senior Mardi Gras.

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After getting back from Canton, Ohio on Wednesday night, Mom and I jetted off to Orlando on Thursday afternoon for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

airplane selfiesairplane selfies!

We spent Friday morning at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. I was like a kid in a candy shop and Mom laughed at me pretty much the entire time. Yes, I did wear my Hogwarts shirt because I’m a huge dork. Hogwarts14(remember last year when I went to Universal alone and all the strangers took crappy pictures)

 We did the whole race-expo thing after checking in to our hotel at Disney. We spent the rest of Friday playing Gin and hydrating like crazy. I did the Glass Slipper Challenge (10k on Saturday, Half on Sunday)… So I was off to bed pretty early in order to get up at 3:15 to head to the race.

Or so I thought. I slept TERRIBLY. I was awake every hour, maybe even more often than that. And the very last thing I wanted to do at 3:15am was get up and run 6.2 miles. But, I toughed it out through the humidity, and after a shower and an omelette, I took a nice long nap.

Mom and I spent the afternoon at Magic Kingdom (and managed to add 7 more miles to my step count). After a torrential downpour, it ended up being a beautiful afternoon!

Magic_Kingdom

We also went over to Epcot since we had the Park Hopper and I just HAD to get a funnel cake…Since I’ve been craving one since after one of my long runs almost a month ago! We also shared it with a little Epcot duck :)

funnel_cake(can you tell that I was basically a zombie at that point?)

After an actual dinner, we went to bed early again. Our alarms were set for 3:00am, and since I had no caffeine and such a crappy night sleep the night before, I curled up in bed, expecting to get a great night sleep. But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. That would just be too much to ask. I didn’t fall asleep until after 11, and was up every hour, once again. For the second day in a row, that alarm clock went off and everything in me screamed to just hit snooze, or turn it off and go back to bed. But for the second day in a row, that race bling got me up and moving and out the door. (but not before running face first into the closed bathroom door).

Now, I realized last Tuesday that I needed new running shoes. But not wanting to break in a new pair during a race, I decided to just keep wearing my old pair. Big mistake. My feet and shins were so sore on Sunday morning, that every step of every mile of that half marathon was filled with pain and agony (no exaggeration). I thought I would have to slow down to keep pace with my mom, but it really turned out that she was slowing down for me. But never one to give up, I crossed that finish line at a sprint and got my medals.

MedalsP.S. HOW AWESOME IS MY MOM?!

And after a shower and some lunch, Mom and I spent a few hours by the pool (there’s just something about sunburn in February that makes me a little happy) before heading over to Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney for a little bit. And at the end of the day, our fitbit said we took over 45,000 steps… Just over 20 miles. And burned over 3800 calories. Good day in my book!

And when the alarm went off at 5:30 yesterday morning, the last thing I wanted to do was get up and go back to Ohio. Every single muscle in my legs, butt, and back hurts like you wouldn’t believe. And whattya know, my mom wasn’t sore at all. Who convinced who to do this again?!

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So now it’s back to the daily grind. Work, errands, cooking, cleaning and training for my next half marathon: The Flying Pig here in Cincinnati at the beginning of May. But these 10 days off were filled with life and happiness and exercise. Just enough to get me out of my funk. Now, is it Spring yet????

-Jess

P.S. If you haven’t been following my instagram happiness project, check it out HERE.

My Own Happiness Project

Just look at the title of this book: The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, by: Gretchen Rubin. Who doesn’t want to do all of those things?!?! Upon stumbling across this book, I immediately downloaded the sample to my kindle and began reading. And about half-way through the sample, Gretchen wrote this, and I proceeded to buy the book…

“I am happy— but I’m not as happy as I should be. I have such a good life, I want to appreciate it more— and live up to it better .” I had a hard time explaining it. “I complain too much, I get annoyed more than I should. I should be more grateful. I think if I felt happier, I’d behave better.” – Gretchen Rubin

Who doesn’t want to be happier? I mean, I have a great job, the best family, awesome friends, and yet I still find things to complain about every. single. day. Like Gretchen, I don’t want to wait for something to change to realize how great I had it. So, I’m taking on her journey as well. While I work on my happiness project (I haven’t finished the book yet), I’m going to participate in the 100 Happy Days. Starting today, I’m going to instagram one thing every day that makes me happy. (You can follow along HERE). And it would make me really happy if you joined the happiness journey too (because happy readers = happy Jess)! We all have the time to do this, and really, what do we have to lose?

-Jess

P.S. If you decide to join, link your instagram below or follow me so I can follow you too! :)