Category: Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: Bringing Sunshine to a Rainy Day

Feel free to buy any of these for me.

Umbrellas
One..Two..Three..Four..Five

Even on rainy days, I can feel inspired! Last week it rained most of the week, but it made me inspired to look for a prettier umbrella!

Currently, the one I own I got from the lost and found at my old job, but it does the job! Luckily, everywhere I go never has a far walk in the rain. Still doesn’t make me want a prettier umbrella less!

What about you?! How are you inspired on a rainy day?

Now I’ll leave you with a photo of me in high school. Hashtag throw back Thursday! (I can’t believe I just typed that out…)

Umbrella
#tbt circa 2007

Talk soon,
Jennifer

Life Lessons: A tale of a two best friends.

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I talk about my dog…a lot. We were brought together a great time in my life. I had just moved into my first apartment where I was living by myself, and truth be told, it could get a little lonely at times.

I would come home from work, plop down on the couch, and blow through TV show after TV show or movie after movie. I had so much free time that I didn’t even know where to start. I would want to start a new project or work on an old one, but I had become so unmotivated by the lack of activity around me (does that make sense?).

I always knew I was going to get a dog. Usually, before bed, I would sit on my phone and look on the paws and prayers website, dreaming of the day I would adopt my new best friend.

I developed a plan. I decided that for my birthday, as a gift from myself, I would get a dog. Well, I’m sure most of you know, things never go as planned. One night, while doing my usually doggie window shopping, I saw him: JayJay. After reading his bio, I knew I had to have him. I emailed the foster mom and filled out the application. Less than a week later, I welcomed home the newest addition to my family.

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Although at times it’s hard to get stuff done because he is constantly demanding my attention, he is probably one of the greatest things that has happened to me. I now am motivated to leave work on time because I have to get home to my buddy. I get out and walk a lot more because now I have a friend who will always want to walk with me. I have someone to cuddle with, a constant guard on duty, and he will love me unconditionally.

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Sometimes, yes, he drives me nuts (as I type this sentence one handed with a dog toy in the other), but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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Talk soon,
Jennifer

Thursday Thought: A day in the life of a Wine Class Teacher’s Assistant.

IMG_1663For almost two years now, I have been a teacher’s assistant on campus for a class called “Wine’s of Northeast Ohio. For number of different reasons, I am sad to say that Saturday, April 4th was my last time assisting with this class. Not that I don’t enjoy the class, I love it, but unfortunately I will not be pursuing my graduate degree any further and there was no reason for the university to ask me back.

 

Anyway, the class is normally three days during the semester, and there are many different local wineries to which the class travels. The first day is local (within half hour of campus), one day we drive south about an hour and half, the final day we drive north.

 

Silly me, I should have been documenting all the days, I don’t know why I didn’t this idea until my last day (I know where they places are all at so I can always go back). On Saturday, we drove up north Geneva, Ohio and went to three wineries in that area. I want to take you through my day as a wine class teacher’s assistant:

 

Class begins at 8:00 am
I am told to arrive early to help “set up.” Saturday meant putting out name tags and the hand out for the day. After all the students arrive, I do the count for the day. As the lecture begins, I have to go an meet the bus out in front of the building. I love our bus driver! She has been our driver for over a year now, so I usually chit-chat with her for a few minutes before returning to the class room.

 

While the teacher is lecturing, I sometimes catch up on the blogs I read or write a post while he is teaching. The first day of class is the most work because I have to set up the food and wine because the students do a tasting in class. I also have to pour the wine and wash the glasses. However, on Saturday, it was a pretty chill day, there wasn’t much for me to do.

 

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When the lecture is over, the students migrate to the bus. I help clean up what remaining paperwork I didn’t clean up already (I always do this early because I know I’ll have to do it later). We lock up the classroom and head to the bus as well. Once on the bus, I do a count to make sure all the students are on the bus and we aren’t leaving anyone behind and we head on our way.

 

The bus ride is always pretty boring. Depending how tired I am, I may fall asleep or catch up with the teacher (he’s super down to earth, I mean, come on, he teaches a wine class!!). I may read some more blogs, it can be difficult to work on the bus though.

 

When we drive north, it’s about an hour and half, so we usually make a pit stop, stretch the legs, grab a cup of coffee.

 

Finally we arrived at our first stop. Welcome to St. Joseph’s Vineyard!! St. Joseph’s is an estate vineyard, meaning all the wine they sell is made from grapes they grow on their property. This location is not their main growing location, their other property is 60 acres and over half is full of crop.

 

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St. Joseph’s is known for their Pinot Noir. So, of course, this was one of the wines that the student’s tasted. This is where I get put to work again. Three wines were sampled at this location, and I get to pour the samples. While I am going around from glass to glass, one of the owner’s talks about the wine the students are tasting. Don’t worry, I get to taste too!

 

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At St. Joseph’s, we tried their Pinot Noir, Riesling, Savigoun Blanc. After the tasting we took a short tour of the property and came back to the tasting room. At this point, I just hung out while the students tasted other wines and made purchases. Usually, I sip on the samples of the bottles that were not finished.

 

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After St. Joseph’s we went to Ferrante’s Winery and Ristorante. Here, we had food and wine pairing lunch as well as a tour of the fermenting room. I’m getting a head of myself. For lunch we had ricotta pasta paired with a ???. I don’t like cheese (YEAH I SAID IT!!), so I had a nice salad instead. The second course was chicken and mashed potatoes in a Chardonnay reduction sauce.  This was paired with ???. Finally dessert was a flour-less chocolate cake with a chocolate mouse paired with a Cab Franc. The dessert was SO good! I could have eaten a second slice.

 

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After lunch, the students took a tour of the fermentation room. During this time, I just hung out in the tasting room, as I have been on that tour a million times. After the tour, the students again had time to taste other wines and make some purchases. I had been waiting over a year for their Rockin’ Rose. I really didn’t care much about the wine, I just really wanted the bottle – maybe you will see a craft from it in another post…

 

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A short bus ride down the road and we were at Grand River Cellars. Here, I get put to work. The student’s tried three different wines: Pinot Grigio, Austin’s Red, and Riesling. While the wine maker talks about each wine, I pour a tasting of each for the students.

 

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After the tasting, the students take a tour of the cellars, and since I have already seen the cellars before I hang out in the tasting room. One of the things I look forward to at Grand River is the olive oil tasting tray! Once the students come back from the tour there is a little time to hang out and have a glass of wine. While the students are enjoying themselves, I as do as well. After some down time, it’s time to head home. I take a quick count on the bus and we are on our way back to campus.

 

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And there you have it! Now you have experience a day in the life of a teacher’s assistant for wine’s of northeast Ohio! Should you find yourself attending Kent State University and have time in your school schedule to take this class, I highly recommend it!

 

Talk soon,
Jennifer

Thursday Thought: Why I choose to not have cable.

How many of you don’t have cable? I was spoiled for a while, in that I had cable in the dorm and with some of the people I used to which I used to live. Each time I have had a say in whether or not to have cable, I usually say no, and this is why:

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There are plenty of other ways to watch shows outside of cable, i.e. Netflix or Hulu. For a while I only had Netflix streaming, then when I moved in alone I added DVDs…as I watch a lot of movies. Monthly spending: $12.00. This includes unlimited DVDs (I usually watch about 4 or 5 a week) and streaming. Think about how much it costs to rent one movie, then do the math OR think about how much HBO or any other movie channels may cost per month. I think that I save a lot by having Netflix. Downside: no HBO/Showtime/Stars series that I may way…cough…Game of Thrones…cough. Do I miss movie channels, absolutely! Can I live without them, so far so good…

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Did you know they still sell rabbit ears?? Yes! Antenna that you can buy for around 20 or 30 bucks and get the basic channels. Most of the shows everyone watches at work are on the basic channels. The downside to this is no DVR, so I have to watch them when they are one…with commercials!  My solution? Hulu. Most of the shows on basic cable are on Hulu. I also explored and found a couple other shows to watch on there. $8.00 a month. I think I can justify that.

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I used to waste hours just browsing channels and found “nothing to watch.” I don’t miss those days! All those channels and nothing to watch, balderdash! There was always something to watch, but I would get addicted to meaningless TV shows. I’m not going to name any, you know what I’m talking about. I can still find plenty of “background noise” on either Hulu or Netflix.

What do you think? Cable: good or bad?

Talk soon,

Jennifer

Thursday Thoughts: My life without a micowave.

Good afternoon everyone!

Let’s talk food…sorry, I don’t have a fun recipe for you today. I want to talk about how you cook food.

I never thought I would miss a microwave. Truth be told, I’m surviving GREAT without one.

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I grew up with a microwave. I had one at my childhood home. When I moved to college, I had one in my dorm room. My first apartment, and every apartment and house after that – microwave. It wasn’t until I moved into my current apartment that I didn’t “inherit” a microwave. I had a family friend that was going to give me one – and we just never met up for me to pick it up. I wasn’t too terrified the first week, there was a lot of ordering pizza or eating out with friends until I got settled in. Days turned into weeks, which turned into months. I still have yet to notice that I don’t have one.

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What were some of my assumptions?

Leftovers would take longer to make.

False-ish. I have not noticed the increased time it takes to heat up left overs. I normally get home from work, turn on the oven, and start doing other things while my oven “pre-heats.” After I see the little light go off and I pop in my left overs and begin to do other things while my food is cooking. Again, I don’t notice the extra 10 minutes it takes to heat up my food, but maybe your will. Truth be told, I tend to get more done while I’m waiting for my food!

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No more popcorn!

False! I thought that I would never get to make popcorn again. All you need are popcorn kernels and a little oil – voila! Stove top popcorn! It’s actually better! You can cook the kernels with what ever seasoning you want and it cooks into your popcorn! Delicious!

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Kiss your frozen meals good-bye.

False! Most frozen meals (or any frozen product) have instructions on cooking in the oven! Just takes an extra little bit of reading to find the instructions! Again, I think it tastes better in the oven!

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At the end of the day, do I miss the convenience of a microwave? Yes. Have I died without one? No. If I was moving, on a budget, and didn’t have one, would I buy one? Probably not.

Challenge! Try not using your microwave for a week. See how you do!

Talk soon,
Jennifer

Life Lessons: What I should have been taught in driver’s ed.

Okay, so I’ve been driving for the better part of 10 years now and I still fell like there are certain situations to with I was taught how to deal. I’m not sure how other states are, but in Ohio, if you want to get your license and you are under 18, you have to take “driver’s ed.”

Like many of my fellow, I have been through driver’s education. However, after 10 years, there are things I learn each season that I feel like they should have taught me. Today I want to share a few:

How to drive in snow.

Snow is gross to drive in. I was driving home from my dad’s house after the super bowl and was inspired to make this post. Driver’s ed never taught me to “turn into the slide” or “tap your breaks” to stop. For an extra fee they could, but this should come standard if you live in the mid-West. What I’ve learned after 10 seasons of snow: don’t drive unless it’s an emergency and if you do, take. your. time!!

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Use your hazards!

One summer while visiting a friend in South Carolina, we decided to go to Charleston (she lived in Rock Hill, which is about 45 minutes from Charlotte, NC). If your from the South, you are familiar with afternoon thunderstorms. While driving, we encountered one of these. “Turn on your hazards!” She said. Oh. My. Gosh. I was amazed! This is awesome!! I thought. I can see the cars around me, because everyone had their hazards on! Why does no one in Ohio do this…

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Rotate your tires, every other oil change.

Just do it, enough said. Your tire will last longer.

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How to change a flat tire.

Why is this not standard? I learned how to change my first flat when I was 17. Since then, I’ve had about 5 flat tires. I consider myself luck. Why, do you ask? Because I know how to change a flat tire! I was with an old co-worker one day and she was 10 years older than me and had never changed a flat. I couldn’t believe it! Why is this not standard in driver’s education? Not everyone has road side assistance.

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HOV lanes

Better know as the “high occupancy vehicle” or “commuter” lane. I don’t think I’ll ever have the opportunity to use this lane. Designated for cars with 3 or more passengers. Truthfully, whenever I need these lanes they are closed or no one is driving in them, oh well. I’ll just wait in normal traffic…

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Well, there you go! I’m sure there are plenty of more things that I have learned over the years and can’t recall at this point. What about you? What do you with you would have learned in driver’s ed?

Talk soon!
Jennifer

Thursday Thought: 5 songs I listen to that I didn’t know the meaning until my 20s

Music is my past, present, and future. I don’t play in a band…nor do I even play a musical instrument. Maybe one day I will! I just really enjoy music! I listen to all types of music – however in high school, I believe we were called “emo kids.” My nickname was “emo hardcore girl.” Okay, this was before hipsters, before scene kids, and even before “scenesters.” (wait, are those two the same thing?)

Maybe I will find a picture and show you all…

Anyway! Here are a few songs that I used to listened to back in the day, but never understood the meaning. When I went back and listen to them today, I finally understand what they are talking about! Take a listen:

Set Your Goals: Work in Progress

The Wonder Years: My Last Semester

Gym Class Heroes: Simple Livin’

Brand New: Seventy Times 7

Straylight Run: Existentialism on Prom Night

I hope that you like at least one of these songs. More importantly, I hope that you got something OUT of one of these songs. I have 100 more songs that I listened to and never understood. What about you? Ever listen to a song from “back in the day” and finally understood the meaning?

Talk soon,
Jennifer

 

Thursday Thoughts: I’m proud to say my degree is in Geography!

I love talking about my college experience. Truth be told, I would love to be a forever student. One of my passions is learning. The aspects of college I loved were going to class and learning new things. Do I wish I would have been more involved? Heck yeah, but everything happens for a reason!

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For a while, I was ashamed to say I was a geography major. Why? Because I usually received one of two responses: OMG?!? So, you study maps?! (No.) or So, you study rocks (again, No.). This is when I began to embellish and call my major “atmospheric sciences” or “climatology,” which was half true.

After I got bored of explaining what “atmospheric sciences” meant, I reverted back to the major of geography. Only this time, I embraced it. I laughed when people called me a “geologist” and explained to people I don’t study “maps” but I know how to make them!

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Now, I love telling people I majored in Geography. I feel entitled to joke that “I’ll never get lost” and brag that I know more countries in Africa than most people. When people ask what jobs you can get with a degree in geography, I tell them that I went the useless geography route and studied something interesting, but I have the skills and knowledge to get a job in the field if need be. (Side note: most people who study geography get a job in GIS, geographic information systems. So, yes, you can get a GOOD job with a geography degree. Ever heard of ESRI? Leader in mapping software. Love me some ArcMap!!). Back to reality, nerded out for a moment.

Point for my thought today? I would have majored in something that I enjoyed learning about than pick a major just to get a job.

Population Change in Utah: Map by Me! For more info read here

Talk soon,
Jennifer

 

Thursday Thoughts: The best way to shop Jo-Ann Fabric on Black Friday.

How’s your week going?! I hope well!

I’m not a Black Friday person. I’ve done it a couple of times, but I only look forward to one store: Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Jennifer. It’s March, why are you talking about Black Friday? Well, I don’t know!? You could use these techniques on a busy Saturday, or stock pile them for Black Friday! Your choice.

I think I have gone to Jo-Ann every year on Black Friday for the past 5 years. Today I want to share a couple tricks I learned over the years that allows me to get in and out of the store in less than 2 hours:

Grab your ticket for the cutting counter FIRST, then shop for your fabrics.
The first couple years I went to there on Black Friday I did all of my fabric shopping and then got my number and waited almost 2 hours to get my fabric cut, making my entire shopping trip almost 4 hours! By the third year one waiting at the cutting counter within the giant mob, I started a conversation with the woman next to me. She shared with me this piece of advice: when you get to the store, go an get your number FIRST and then do you shopping. They call the numbers over the PA, so you’ll know when you need to start wrapping up and heading up to the counter. The next year, I used this technique and saved almost two hours! Who knew!!

Ask for the bolt after they have had their fabric cut.
This one is pretty simple. Do you see a bolt of fabric that some else has? Ask them to have it after they have gotten the amount of yardage they want from it! If you don’t, the employees will just put it in the pile and it will get lost for hours until it gets put back on the shelves. By that point, you’ll already be home and wishing you just would have asked for the bolt when they were finished…I’m not speaking from experience or anything…but I am…

Make a list and walk the store a couple days before.
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nless you are like me and know the store like the back of your hand, take a trip to the store so you know the layout! That way you can get in and out because you’ll know exactly where everything is you want!

Be nice, make conversation!
How did I know about getting a number then shopping? Where did I get the fun fabric for the PJ-pants I wear to bed? I made conversation! Talk to the people around you! You’ll be amazed about what you’ll find out. I know there is a woman every Black Friday who shops at my Jo-Ann’s for fabric to make blankets for Project Linus. One of my goals is to contribute to this organization one day. I would have never known about this non-profit if it wasn’t for talking to the people around me when I was waiting!

Buy gift cards beforehand.
Not sure how many of you guys have Giant Eagle, but for those of you who do (and shop there) you know about fuel rewards. Basically, every $50 you earn 10 cents off per gallon. Usually around Holiday’s, they run double fuel rewards when you buy gift cards. If I know I’m going to spend at least 100, I’ll buy Jo-Ann’s gift cards from Giant Eagle and earn 40 cents off a gallon! Win-win! If I know I’m going to spend the money, why not benefit! Look to see if your local grocer has a similar program. (BTDubbs, also use this technique for big ticket purchases such as Home Depot or Best Buy) 🙂

Like I said, I am not a Black Friday person, however I cannot turn down a good craft store sale. I hope you learned at least one new thing today! What about you?? Are there any techniques you utilize when shopping on Black Friday?!

Talk Soon,
Jennifer

Thursday’s Thought: People who want to make me try something new.

Have you ever seen something on TV or read about someone in a magazine and thought “Man, that makes me want to try that!” Let me explain.

I love trying new things. Whether it is food, hobbies, drinks, TV shows, movies…the list goes on and on. I constantly read about people who do things that I think are so cool and would LOVE to try. This is where my running list of “birthday to do list” comes in handy (see my post about 24 things to do before 25).

Today, I want to talk about a few people that inspire me to try new things, whether it is just because they do something wicked sweet or because of their positive attitude.

Lindsey Stirling

I LOVE just listening to her music, it’s neutral enough where I can get my work done but not so boring I’m falling asleep. Why am I talking about her? Because when I finally saw the video for “Crystallize,” I wanted to sign up for adult ballet lessons and buy a violin. She makes it look so COOL. I could be exaggerating a little (or a lot). Regardless, if I ever try and play an instrument, it will be a violin and I will be thanking Lindsey Stirling for that.

Video Credit: LindseyStomp @ YouTube ; Further Reading: Lindsey Stirling’s About Me

Lauren at LLadybird

Every time a new post of hers comes up in my Bloglovin‘ feed it makes me want to sew my own clothes! I know how to sew and the extent of my clothing-sewing abilities is mainly pajama pants, repairs, and hemming. I constantly buy patterns when they are on SUPER sale but I never get around to sewing them. LLadybird’s blog inspires me to make the time to sew and push myself past the basics. I’m telling myself this now, I WILL make the time to sew my own cloths in the future – thanks to LLadybird!

Photo Credit via LLadyBird’s About Me

Further Reading: LLadybird’s About Me

Chef Alton on Cutthroat Kitchen

Okay, this show is just hilarious. If you have Netflix or cable, and have never watched this before, I suggest to DVR it or put it in your queue. The challenges that some of the chefs featured on this show have to do or the way they have to cook makes me want to try just for shiggles, and it’s all because of Alton. I will be a firm believer that these are all his ideas (spoilers, please don’t tell me if there is a brainstorming, thanks!). I think it would be hilarious to make your friend try and cut their raw meat with a paper cutter or only be able to use tin foil for their utensils and cookware. However, the benefit is if I’m in a pickle when it comes to cooking, I have plenty of options!

Photo Credit Via Food Network

Further Reading: Cutthroat Kitchen Homepage @ Food Network

Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman of ABM

Naturally! Many of the articles featured on their blog I gain inspiration from! I would love to achieve the level of success they have paved for themselves. I still have a lot of work and a long way to go, but their dedication is what inspires me. So, how do they make me want to try new things? It’s not so much about trying new things, but not being afraid to try new things (not that I’m afraid). Between owning a retail store, online shop, clothing line, writing a book, etc. they have truly shown that it’s okay to try and not be successful, but what matter is you TRIED something new and learned from it!

Photo Credit via ABM

Further reading: ABM About Me

These are just a few people off the time of my head that inspire me to try something new. (If you are reading about yourself and I am incorrectly using your photo please tell me and I’ll take it down! I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes.) How about you? Who are some people that you find as an inspiration? Or what have you seen on TV or in a magazine that you thought was cool and you wanted to try? Like I always say, I’m always up for new things!

Talk soon,
Jennifer