Saturday, June 20, 2020

Sunshine On A Rainy Day

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“Everybody was feeling happy now. The sun was shining brightly out of a soft blue sky and the day was calm. The giant peach, with the sunlight glinting on its side, was like a massive golden ball sailing upon a silver sea.” 
― Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach

Monday, June 15, 2020

Cherries + Peaches OH MY!

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See what I did there?! Who remembers that game as a kid? All those little cherries in a bucket...am I the only one? Not gonna lie, this game was on my mind all day Saturday when I finally...for the first time....went to pick cherries!!

Now, I should mention...prior to this trip I wasn't a huge fresh cherry kinda gal. I honestly just wanted to go on this adventure to get out of town and take my mind off of other things that have been occupying space for a bit. So, when my girlfriend last minute suggested a jaunt to Charlottesville...I immediately said "YES!"

I think my lack of enthusiasm for the red fruit stems back to the one time I had a sampling and it was sour. Sorry....Jenn doesn't like sour...at all. Now, cherry pie at Christmas time with the fruit coming straight outta the can? That's my jam! It's actually one of my favorite parts of Christmas:)

So, back to our little adventure. We got up unusually early for a Saturday morning and hit the road at 7am. It's about a 2.5 hour ride to the orchards near Charlottesville, VA. A lovely time to catch up on life's happenings and enjoy some beautiful scenery on the way. Our first stop was at Spring Valley Orchard. What a great experience!

Upon arrival we were met by this fantastic guy...kinda hippy and extremely friendly! He directed us on where to park and then where to go to get our baskets. We were asked to wash our hands at a communal sink before embarking onto the actual orchard and touching the fruit. A much appreciated request in these uncertain times of COVID-19. 

The orchards were immaculate....you would never know that just the day before there were humans trampling around picking before you! Because we arrived early, there weren't a lot of people and we had a good 1.5 hours to just wander and take pictures, pick fruit and steal a taste or two;)

Next up, we headed to the Bold Rock Brewery for lunch and to pick up a few six-packs;) I'm not a big drinker....especially beer. I was introduced to Not Your Father's Root Beer this past year and I love that....and hard cider. Bold Rock is a great brand and their flavors are subtle...they don't smack you upside the head which I appreciate. Lunch was delicious and we each enjoyed the new pineapple flavor:)

After lunch, our final destination of the day were the Chiles Peach Orchards...about a 30 minute ride in Crozet, VA. Another top notch establishment with beautiful orchards and even though it was later in the day... the crowds weren't bad at all. The longest line of the day was the line to get ice cream!! Once the afternoon heat hit us, we both decided the wait was worth it and boy oh boy was it! Vanilla and Peach swirl was just what we needed to end this great day. 

Hope you enjoyed our Saturday adventure as much as we did! It was the first time I broke out the big camera and it was refreshing to use it again. Expect to see a lot more images from my Canon in the near future:)

Have a great week friends!

Jenn xo

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sunday Roundup, 5

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Happy Sunday my friends!!!!
Tomorrow is June 1st!
Tomorrow is my sister's wedding anniversary!
Congratulations Katie and Tim on SEVEN years:) So very happy for you <3

Today's roundup is dedicated to LOVE. The world needs more of it. I need more of it. You need more of it. We ALL need more love. The amount of hate and pain in our country alone is devastating. As a country, we are on fire. And there doesn't appear to be anything coming to douse the flames anytime soon....and that concerns me.

Then there's the continuation of the COVID virus. It's taking it's toll on all of us in so many ways. It's making us crave connection and at the same time causing fear of gathering together. The masks are stifling. The social distancing is not something that comes naturally. Tempers are flaring. Stress is abounding. Love is getting lost in the midst of all of this. Disagreements are becoming against each other and not the issue....because we are so out of our element on so many levels. We are literally screaming for help and to be seen and heard.

I don't know what the answer is to solve all of this. I think it will take time, patience and above everything....LOVE. I know for me, it's something I'm working hard on and I'm optimistic that in the end....as you'll see in the move Love Actually....we'll discover that LOVE is actually....all around us :)

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu

Without further ado....here's this week's roundup:

  • Men! Listen Up! Romance is not dead...or it shouldn't be;) -- via The Medium

  • Ladies! Stop sucking so much. Seriously. It's a harsh, blunt statement....but we really need to check ourselves sometimes. -- Via Amy Young Coaching

  • Significant relationships aren't always of the romantic variety. Here...10 people talk about their connections with family, friends, partners and even pets. -- via The New York Times

  • It's almost the official start to summer. The beaches in VA are opening back up and I know I plan to spend some time in my beach chair with my toes in the sand and surf. One of my favorite things to do every summer is catch up on romance novels:) Here's a list of 28 that are worth reading this summer! -- via The Buzzfeed

  • This account. Good gracious are they hilarious! And real. I like real couples...because as we all know...relationships take work and it's not always rainbows and unicorns. Go follow them for a good dose of laughter:) -- via Instagram

I hope this week is good to you. I hope this week brings you some peace, clarity and love. We will be okay....but at what cost?

Jenn xo

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom

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Monday, May 25, 2020

Sunday Roundup, 4

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Greetings friends. This is a day late....what can I say....whew....what a week. And not in a good way unfortunately:/ Was it insane for you too? I'm really starting to hate this quarantine life and am honestly ready to go back to work in my office. I've appreciated that I've been able to work remotely, but the absence of human contact has taken it's toll on me. Tempers have flared and emotions have been very high this past week. Adulting....not always a walk in the park is it?!

I did get to spend some quality time with my friends last Saturday....we had a little BBQ and tried to social distance on the back porch...we weren't always successful tho;) Again...lack of human contact for the girl who lives alone...I got a little handsy!! I also got to see my parents this past Saturday for  a very brief period as I tagged along with my sister to meet up and get her dog back from them. They were watching Watson while my sister and bro-in-law moved into their new, amazing home!!!

As it's been a busy week, my roundup might seem a little sparse again, but that's okay. No rules in this space. One week may be abundant and the others not so much. It's about balance. Kind of like eating a cheeseburger but having a Diet Coke with it ;)

Go forth and enjoy friends....

  • I suppose if we have to wear a mask....we should really enjoy the heck out of it! Right?! This young lady is a fellow muggle after my own heart :) -- via Huffington Post

  • Speaking of quarantine times....this family....WOW! They took quarantining to the next level and it's super cute and creative! -- via Facebook 

  • What is your relationship with writing? That's the question this writing counselor asked her students first. I struggle sometimes with my writing. My friends says she struggles with her writing too. This article is very insightful and I enjoyed it immensely. -- Via Medium

  • I dated a guy who wanted to "homestead" and part of that was having chickens in the backyard. I kinda was on-board cause who wouldn't love to go out and get fresh eggs every morning? But then...the clucking and mess. Yeah, no thanks. (Plus...I kinda broke up with him) But, apparently it's become a big thing during COVID. -- Via The Hustle

  • I would totally do this...but my office is 8 miles away from my home. Plus, my hair would be a disaster once I got there! -- via The Hustle

Have a beautiful Memorial Day and thank you to all those who have sacrificed so that we may be free. Your service is so appreciated <3

Jenn xo

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sunday Roundup, 3

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Greetings friends! Has this been the most glorious week, weather-wise for the 757?! Gosh, it's like May took pity on us and decided to show us some real springtime weather. I'm thankful, that is for sure.

This fella above is thankful too. Open windows = Happy Finn <3 He's never met a window he doesn't love. And I get it...what's not to love about a sunny perch, the breeze going through your hair and food just out of reach on the floor? Thankful indeed....

Well here is what I have cultivated for you this past week my lovelies. Go forth and enjoy!

  • Speaking of cats. This article was pretty awesome and proves that these little monsters have been entertaining humans for a very, very long time! -- via The Smithsonian Magazine

  • Like we didn't have enough to deal with with COVID-19...we've got MURDER HORNETS now? I just....cannot. -- via The NY Times

  • "this "farm" you think of doesn't exist. I am the farm. I am the cows the horses the pigs" -- a tweet from Chrissy Teigen. What a shit storm Alison Roman has gotten herself into...stay in your lane Alison. -- via Jezebel

  • Do you love bourbon? I love bourbon. This is an interesting article...go forth and learn:) -- via The Smithsonian Magazine

Well friends, it's a short list this Sunday....been a little busy! This coming week is going to be rather rainy due to Tropical Storm Arthur so hoping to get some good content put down on paper!

Have a fantastic evening:)

Jenn xo

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Sunday Roundup, 2

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Hello you. How are you? Did you survive the week? You're here so I'm guessing you did!  I look at every day that I don't lose my ever loving mind a total win!!!

This summer is going to look so very different than others, isn't it? I haven't been to NC to visit my parents since Christmas and I don't know when I'll get back down there. This shot of the marina in New Bern has me reminiscing about warm summer breezes, Saturday boat rides on the Neuse River and cornflower blue skies. 

Everyone take a collective deep breath...... we'll get through this, I know we will.

Without further ado, here are a few things that peaked my interest this past week. 

  • With the need for masks (PPE) at an all-time high, Etsy saw a huge spike in sales. I work for a healthcare system and have experienced front-line executive leadership scrambling to keep our employees safe. It's a sad state of things and you wouldn't believe the money we've had to shell out to get simple, basic protection. Thank you to the sellers on Etsy for coming through for the average person!!! -- via The Verge

  • Speaking of fish, looks like it might be one of two choices at your friendly fast food drive-thru for awhile. Filet-O-Fish anyone?! - via The Hustle 

  • Oh dear. Our poor cats. They are definitely struggling with their humans being home so much! I know mine love it, but then again my cats are defective. -- via Buzzfeed

  • Self Care during this pandemic is so important. If you are a bit of a sensitive soul, Renee is an expert on that. Go give her some love <3 -- via Will Frolic For Food

  • Bagels. Yum right? Straight to the hips, right? I know. But...there's a 2 ingredient bagel recipe out there that I've tried before and it's seriously awesome! I made mine with cherry greek yogurt and it took them to a whole new level. Try it, you'll love them! -- via Better Homes & Gardens

Ok my dear friends. That's all I've got for this week. I hope you are surviving the quarantine and keeping your spirits high. If you need a pep-talk I'm here, reach out anytime!

Jenn xo

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Do You Dalgona? // Lists Lists Lists!

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MAKING - Dalgona Coffee. Because are you really quarantining if you're not making this or Sourdough bread?!

CRAVING - Sourdough bread ;)

PLAYING - Words With Friends. Trying to keep those synapses firing at all cylinders!

LISTENING TO -  The Highway on Sirius XM on my Amazon Echo.

READING - What's Gaby Cooking Cookbook

WATCHING - Outlander and re-watching Witches of East End

WEARING - Anything spandex lately!!!

LEARNING - Be patient with my relationship and choose my battles ;)

GOING TO - Go crazy if I have to stay home much longer!!!

WORKING ON - My photography skills

OBSESSED WITH - Jamie Beck's #isolationcreation series on Instagram

PLANNING - To blog A LOT this summer ;)

EXCITED FOR - The photography course with Eva Kosmasflores (First We Eat) that I signed up for!

HOPING - That COVID will ease off and we can have a somewhat enjoyable summer.

STARTING - Miss my fellow employees that I used to spend 8 hours a day with at the office.

FINISHING - A bottle of Poggio Moscato tonight and then moving onto Winking Owl Sweet Red tomorrow ;)

I  hope that you are all doing well!
Tell me some of the things that you are craving, playing and learning during this quarantine time:)
Jenn xo

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Sunday Roundup, 1

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Hello Friends!

I last posted a year ago. It's been an.....interesting year. Something I'll delve into on another post in the future! But first off... How the hell are you?! Are you surviving these unusual days? What is your new normal looking like? For me...it's a lot of alone time as I've been working from home for the past 3 weeks now. Luckily, I'm not living in fear of losing my job...as so many are....and that is definitely something to be thankful for. So please know, I don't take anything for granted. But I must confess, I am struggling with this new way of life. I'm 100% positive that I am not a good candidate for working from home every single day. I think I could get on board with a 3 day a week schedule...going into the office 2 days a week. But not all 5. I'm kinda lonely:(

So, with time on my hands lately, I really wanted to get back to me. To what gives me passion and that is my photography and this lil ol blog. I've neglected it A LOT. But in looking back on previous posts, I'm really proud of the work I put in and my goal is to move forward with it and nurture my creative self. During this pandemic, I find myself draining the iPad battery and devouring everything the internet has to offer. I also am finishing ALL of my guilty pleasure shows! Shows that I fell away from when it was on live TV....so fresh content for me! More about that below....

Back to scouring the internet. While soaking up what felt like everything in my brain, I thought it might be fun to share a few things I've come across with you:) I’ll try to do this most Sundays or Mondays moving forward, a kind of recap from the week prior. 

Without further ado....

  • Mindy Kaling has a new show she's produced on Netflix -- I started watching it this week and it's super cute:) Go check out Never Have I Ever -- via The Verge
  • What is Quibi? I keep seeing ads for it on IG or Facebook and I'm really not sure what we are dealing with here. I'll be honest, I googled it and here is what I found out. Still not sure, but if you sign up now you get 2 weeks free. Lemme know if you like it. -- via The Verge
  • Are you a morning person? I am not. And after reading this article...I'm still not. #sorrynotsorry -- via Medium
  • I've been in a serious relationship for awhile now, it's definitely had it's challenges but the main thing we have going for us is communication and just feeling comfortable being weird with each other.  This article talks about being with someone who does "These 5 Things" and it's pretty damn insightful :) -- via Medium
  • Since we're all stuck home (for the most part) it can get pretty mundane. Are you into puzzles? They are making a big comeback right now and if you want to up your game check these out! -- via Buzzfeed
  • My ladies....are you struggling with not eating everything during this quarantine and are you beating yourself up for not losing weight right now? TRUST me, I get it. It's a vicious cycle we put ourselves through. This article is a soothing balm and made me realize that I'm beautiful regardless of the number on the scale or my pants:) -- via Girl With Curves
  • ~ SWOON ~ I can't even begin to describe my love and admiration for Jamie Beck. I've been a huge fan of her photography for years, she truly is what I aspire to be when I grow up;) She and her little family are living in Provence right now and during the lockdown she's coined the #isolationcreation hashtag on IG. Her work is just stunning. I'll admit I've purchased two of her prints so far! Go ahead...drool away, I won't tell anyone! - via Instagram
  • Finally...I've been following What's Gaby Cooking for years on IG and she just came out with a new cookbook! I pre-ordered it back in the Fall and it was delivered yesterday. Such good stuff and she's hilarious! Go give her a follow and check out her recipes...they are awesome! -- Via Instagram

So, there it is. My first post in 2020....hopefully one of many more to come. I'm not sure what my schedule will look like here, I'm not holding myself to any specific timelines or structure right now. It will be a free-flow for the time being and I think I can definitely get behind that!

Have a fantastic week friends and please...stay safe and well :)

Jenn xo

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Hello 2019!

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Well hello friends! As usual, I fell away from the blog and this time it was a longggg time. I won't apologize because I'm kinda over apologizing for the personal choices I make in my life;) But I'm here and I really want to start utilizing this space again, I've honestly missed it quite a bit.

So, let's talk about the last year....because YES it's been a year since I last posted here.

In my continuing journey to better my health, I've lost 107 pounds total in the last 1.5 years but put 5 back on recently. I'm back on track with my food and exercise choices and feeling better every day now! It's probably the hardest thing I've done in my life as I am addicted to food....good food....sometimes unhealthy food (lookin at you SUGAR). Therefore I have to make a conscious decision on a daily basis to feed my body the right type of food and to make it move. Not always easy as I'm sure many, many of you are aware!

I think we are always chasing the ideal body image and while my health is paramount to everything I do....I've come to realize that I need to love myself for who I am right here and now. I know what needs to be done to be the best me I can be and I'm proud to say that I'm taking those steps to get back on track! So look out summer of 2019 -- version 3.0 of Jennifer is coming in like a blaze!

In the past year I also fell in love. It was lovely....and then it wasn't. I'll just say that I truly believe that some people come into our lives for a specific reason. To teach us. To guide us. To make us wake up and pay attention to what it is that truly matters to us. To also make us stop and set boundaries. If you find yourself questioning your beliefs and opinions or you edit your words before you speak...it's a sign that the fit is not right. It had been a long time since I'd been in a relationship and there was a part of me that didn't quite know how to "relationship" anymore! I kind of had to relearn these skills and I wasn't always graceful at it. But I was authentic and as honest as I could be, until I lost me. And that my friends is where the unraveling always takes place, doesn't it? When you place too much importance on another person to fulfill your happiness you end up in a cyclical spiral of self doubt, insecurity and chaos. You have to be mature enough to recognize that you have some toxic traits also. It's not always the other person. Recognizing this has been hard but I feel that I'm better equipped for the next man that comes into my life...whenever that will be:) Self growth....it's a bitch but it's necessary!

I'm still working on figuring out what direction this blog is going to take from here. I think it's going to be a mix of lifestyle, food and travel photography. I'm not going to put pressure on myself in regard to posting but my goal is to shoot for a weekly post to start. I also promise to open my Etsy shop back up this summer and will let you know when that is ready to roll! Many good things to look forward to this new year and I hope you want to join me!

As always, you can find me over on Instagram (Orange.Tree.Square) ...that's where I express my creativity and true self almost daily. Come find me!

Peace and Love,