Awesomeness Incarnate

It’s just a fact.

A few days ago, my husband said “You’re awesome. It’s just a fact. Not an opinion. I’ve learned this.” He’s getting really good at pep-talking. I needed a pep talk because I was seriously wound up over an interview I had for an internship. This is how it went down:

I hadn’t decided if I wanted an internship. Yes, yes, I know it would be a good thing. It would give me some hands-on experience. It would probably be paid (the joys of being an advertising major). I can certainly handle myself, I don’t need constant attention or supervision. Let’s face it- there’s not a single reason I can think of for not doing an internship.

But nothing lit the fire under my butt required for me to go for it. No spark. No real interest. Blah, whatever. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Then… something magical happened. My marketing professor told my class about an internship at Lamar. LAMAR. Probably one of the most well-known, well-respected places an aspiring advertiser could possibly work in Baton Rouge. They’re everywhere. Billboards, buses, park benches, you name it! And the company is all over the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. If I was going to go for an internship, there was no point in waiting. I had to try for that one. Leave it to me to start at the top.

I spiffed up my resume over the course of a weekend. I emailed it on Tuesday night, and thought “Okay, it’s done. It was a little tense, but now it’s out there in oblivion and whatever happens happens.” Imagine my excitement and surprise and general overwhelmed-ness when I got a phone call at 9am Thursday morning for an interview first thing Friday morning. I was floored. That was fast. And sudden. And… what would I wear? How would I get my portfolio printed in time? I had class and work and a board meeting… probably had a grand total of 2 hours to actually prepare for that interview! But, never fear! I can do amazing things.

After a stressful evening trying to figure out what to do, how to look, and what to say… I admit, I was even feeling a little down. I was fighting back the “I can’t do this” voice. My marketing professor, my husband, and all my friends said “You’ve got this!” and I just kept repeating to myself “I am awesome. I can do anything. I am so awesome. I just have to not blow it, I’ve got this.”

The interview itself went really well. I was kind of surprised to see three people coming up to me- wow. I didn’t know more than two people ever interviewed someone at the same time. No problem! They asked for copies of my resume, and I had them! I even offered my references. We talked about my job experience, and school, and “Oh, Jeanette, could you send me some examples of design and writing you’ve done?” SHAZAM! “Well, actually, I brought a few portfolio examples with me if you’d like them.” Oh, yeah. Awesome.

I was nervous as all hell, and I probably rambled a little bit here and there, but it was exciting and it went really well. I left feeling like a million bucks. A very nervous, shaky, wound-up million bucks.

I sorted through the whole thing in my mind. Next time, I’d have the answer to “Sell yourself to me, why should I hire you?” a little more practiced and confident. Not scripted, but not fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. At least I refrained from my initial response: “Because I’m great! Haha!” I doubt that was what they were looking for. I’ll also print three copies of my portfolio work, and maybe a short writing assignment… all very nice, high-quality prints on good paper. Not a last-minute “shit shit shit I need to have something in case they ask!” portfolio. And… finally… I am going to collect a few interview-ready outfits so I don’t have to frantically search my closet for something that fits and looks trendy/professional (no basic black for me… gotta show some pizzazz!).

After mulling over the entire experience in my mind for the weekend, I got the verdict. I was breathless when I opened that email… it could go either way. I knew I did well. I knew I gave every other candidate a run for their money. I was awesome. I looked the part, I acted the part, I had answers and personality and organization. But, I didn’t have experience. And someone else had that and better availability. I was in the top two, but they had to go with the other person.

Some folks might be devastated. Not me. I thought about shedding a tear or something, but I couldn’t do it. Top two. That’s fantastic. They want to keep my resume on file in case another position pops up in the near future. Yes! They were very impressed with me… good! I succeeded. I didn’t get the job, but I still succeeded. I sent a resume, I got an interview, and I didn’t blow it. There was someone who probably had internship experience and who could probably work Mondays and Wednesdays, unlike me. Of course that would weigh in. But I did great. I was so close I can taste it.

So… that fire under my butt has been lit. Delicious competition! I started something here. I walked into Lamar Advertising and I rocked. Maybe I didn’t quite rock enough, maybe I could have rocked a tiny bit more. But the fact is, there’s always this summer, or next fall, or the following spring. There’s always after graduation for Lamar. I’m going to find internships and apply and someone somewhere will LOVE me. And then I’ll have experience. And then maybe I’ll have better availability. Look out world, I’m on a roll here. I’m going to prove to myself that I can get an awesome internship if I want one. I can do anything!

And by the way:
Petfinder Adopt-the-Internet Day

Why, hello 2011!

Woops!

So, I may have been a little MIA over the holidays.

I’m not going to make excuses. I was lazy. L-A-Z-Y. I took on a part-time retail job at my old stomping grounds (GameStop), which was not a great decision. Especially since I found out AFTER I accepted the job that my cushy student worker position was open during winter break, too. I could have made the same amount of money while surfing the internet (and potentially posting blogs). Fail.

So, Christmas was pretty good to me. I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions. I’m rebelling against resolutions. Instead, I want to look back at 2010 and note what a great year it was:

1) I got married to a fantastic guy! That’s a huge positive right there.

2) I continued volunteering through the entire year and really enjoy it.

3) Dragon*Con 2010 was a new experience- and so much fun! We plan to make it our first official annual family trip!

4) I continued earning straight A’s in school, in spite of a VERY stressful Fall semester. Go me!

5) I chopped off my hair and dyed it red! I feel so much more “me” as a redhead!

6) I have wonderful friends and family who made 2010 enjoyable and rewarding.

7) I trashed my wedding dress, and it was AWESOME! It felt so good to do something just for me. Pics to come soon.

Overall, I feel like I have an increased sense of self-worth and an abundance of confidence. Some days I wonder if this really does make me a jerk (as one of my professors suggested), or if it’s the gift I feel like it is. After years of feeling down on myself and allowing people to take advantage of me because I thought everyone was better than little old Jeanette, I am finally at the top in my own life. I am awesome, I am happy, I can do anything I put my mind to.

Now, I am putting my mind to getting healthy and losing a bit of weight. But it’s not a resolution. It’s a slow-moving but very steady life change. Right?

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Since I’m all about convenience (especially when the school semester isn’t over), I went on a mission to find a simple, easy recipe to bring to my in-laws’ Thanksgiving dinner. My husband has a lot of family, so I was a little concerned about making enough to feed at least most of them. My mom came to my rescue with this recipe, which I had to alter (we don’t have “pumpkin pie cheesecake filling” in the grocery stores here). I conducted a little kitchen experiment, and the result was pretty rockin’. These are best when made as close to chow time as possible, so the fillo stays crispy.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites


Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Muy delicioso!

1 30-oz can pumpkin pie mix

1 24-oz tub ready-made cheesecake filling

5 (or more) packages fillo shells

Reddi Whip

cinnamon

 


Set out your fillo shells. Mine came in their own little trays, so that was very handy. Make sure they’re on a completely flat surface.

Transfer the cheesecake filling into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the pumpkin pie mix, adding a few spoonfuls at a time. I like to add the entire can for very distinct pumpkin taste, but you may prefer less.

When it’s all mixed up and creamy, use a pastry bag or small spoon to fill each fillo shell with pumpkin/cheesecake mixture. Keep them covered and chilled. Immediately before serving, top each tiny pie with a dollop of Reddi Whip and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

These are perfect if you love cheesecake AND pumpkin pie, and especially if you need something to feed a lot of people. The recipe makes a ton of filling, so you may want more fillo shells or even a pie crust for the rest. I refrigerated the leftover filling and will pour it into a graham cracker shell and top it with Cool Whip for our mini-Thanksgiving dinner, just the two of us.

Oh, complication!

So, my husband says I have a problem with authority, but not with rules. I like rules. I have a hard time respecting someone who makes a lot of exceptions to rules. I fire off my razor-sharp wit against (perceived) weak authority figures all the time. I have no fear of anyone. I see myself as eternally equal. When asked a few years ago if I would address the president as “Mr. President” or “Mr. Clinton,” I replied “Nah, I’d call him Bill. If the people voted him into office, then we’re his boss. Not the other way around.” And teachers? Forget it. I may admire and respect those who lay out a strict set of rules and

Problem Child

Just call me Junior.

then go on to provide a creative and stimulating learning environment… but I will walk all over any instructor who tries to act like a “friend” to the class and enforces random rules while ignoring or changing others. Of course, it’s not like I never face consequences for it. I do. I just don’t care. I’m invincible. I’m a problem child. Sorry about that… but not too sorry.

This is where it gets really sticky, though: I’m also open-minded. But I always believe I’m right (with a passion). But I do change my mind when presented with a good, logical argument. But I don’t change my mind at first. I continue my argument. I stand my ground no matter what. Then I go to my corner and think about what I’ve done. I consider the new information gained from the discussion. When I do change my mind, I again believe I am right (with a passion). At any given moment, I am completely infallible. But in the long run (to use an economic term), anything goes.

I don’t usually talk a lot about my political or religious beliefs. However, I have been trying to really hammer those things out. I don’t fit neatly into any labels. Josh was raised Catholic, and I was raised Methodist (mostly). We were discussing idolatry (yes, we have some very heavy, but very candid discussions about stuff), and he decided to look up the official definitions of idolatry for different religions. He asked what religion I am. I said “I dunno… something Protestant.”

Just try asking if I’m a Democrat or Republican. Ha! I feel strongly about certain issues, but I may have a liberal view on one thing and a very conservative view on another. A friend of mine introduced me to a new term: centrist. Maybe that’s me. Or maybe I’m just an enigma.

All I know is that I feel the way I feel. I know what I know but I’m always learning. I am not shy about making a decision and sticking with it. I don’t lack confidence. I can change my mind, but I don’t apologize for my previous views. I don’t allow labels to define me. Labeling implies that I stand for everything that label stands for, and it stands for everything I believe. It’s just not true. That’s not how I work. I don’t identify people who feel the way I do about one thing and then change the way I view something else to fit the group. I’d just as soon make my own labels.

Boy, am I lucky my husband actually married me and is patient enough to put up with such a fickle, stubborn woman.

Are you comfortable with labels and authority, or do you loathe being squeezed into a mold that doesn’t quite contain you? Do you ever pound against a figurative wall even if you may never break through?

Trashing The Drama?

Holy crap, guys!

I’m going to trash my wedding dress, and I. AM. THRILLED. We all know I’m not the shy type, and I’ve been intrigued by trash the dress (TTD) photos since I started looking at bridal pictures in general. The day I took my bridal photos at Greystone Country Club we walked by the glittering blue pool. I thought,

Bride & Groom in a fountain

This chick didn't feel restricted by her gown's purity!

“Wow, wouldn’t it be awesome to just run and leap into that pool right now? But… I CAN’T…. because I’m in my wedding gown.”

Since I found out my photographer and makeup artist were totally into this idea, I’ve been looking around for actual TTD inspiration. I was somewhat amused and confused when my cousin asked me if this meant I’m getting a divorce. That idea seems totally bizarre to me. Divorce? Heck no! I’m married to my best friend and he’s freaking awesome. Why would we ever leave each other? We’re as happy now as we’ve ever been… maybe even happier. I love my marriage. What a silly thing to say– divorce. Ha!

I began my search for suggestions on what type of paint I could use if I go the colorful route (still open to suggestions, by the way). I read several articles and forum threads about trashing the dress. Wow. Color me surprised! So many people hate the idea of a TTD shoot. Not only because they don’t want to do it themselves, but because they consider it to be tasteless and, well, trashy.

Why do I want to cover my $500 dress in paint or play in a fountain? Or both? Well, there are a few reasons. And they’re my own reasons that I don’t expect everyone to agree with. But I’m going to share them anyway, just because I’m like that.

Reason 1: I love my husband.

One article showed TTD photos with captions underneath about how the would-be bride must have been left at the altar, or was smiling to hide heartache, or ran off with the best man (in the case of a photo of bride and groom jumping into a lake together). I am so offended by that!

Couple making paint angels

True love is making paint angels together.

I want to trash my dress because I will never need it again. I love my husband. Marrying him just took everything about us that we already knew and put it on a piece of paper. We’re one unit. We are each other’s family. I will never need my wedding dress again because, God willing, I will never marry again. I intend for it to be a one-time thing, and I’m thrilled about it.

Reason 2: Planning a wedding was horrible.

It’s over. Thank goodness! The eight months I was engaged were probably the most stressful eight months of my life. It wasn’t lack of time, either. It was me being the control freak that I am, and people being the uncontrollable crazy things they are. Looking back, I can’t say I enjoyed much of the planning process. It had a few great moments. But really, we should have eloped. Regardless of the awesome photographer, makeup/hair stylist, and coordinator… I was a hot mess and I’m so incredibly glad that crap is over.

Now what? I want to cut loose! Move on! I felt restricted by the etiquette and expectations of the whole wedding thing. I’m done with all that. Let me out! Let me lose control and just be myself: a little crazy, a little classy, and a LOT out of the ordinary.

Reason 3: Buying my dress was the worst customer service experience EVER.

Shopping for my dress went fine. I found the perfect style for my body type. It was beautiful. I rocked it. Then came the part where I had to rely on my consultant. She made the decision to order me a smaller size than the perfectly-fitting sample. When my gown came in, it wouldn’t fit over my hips (think J-Lo and her ghetto booty in Monster-In-Law… that’s what happened in my dressing room). She re-measured me, and I hadn’t gained an inch. So she re-ordered it, but still did not order the sample size, which still fit perfectly.

Painted Gown

This says to me: "I'm never doing that crap again! And here's proof!"

She ordered two sizes larger, and in my delirious and confused bridal state, I trusted her. It was far too big in my bust area, and even lacing the corset as tight as possible didn’t fix that. By that time, I was stuck with it. And when I called to get it steamed before my bridal photos, the same consultant was incredibly rude and told me they couldn’t touch it since I’d had it altered.

No crap I had it altered, moron.

So, I would like to take this dress, which should have been perfect for the money I paid and for the occasion it was intended, and just…. grr…. show that thing exactly what it’s got coming! Sacred symbol my butt. It was a pain! It was the single MOST stressful thing during a very stressful time! I would LOVE to tear it to shreds just to release that pent-up frustration, but I won’t. It does mean something to me. But I want to make it mine. It never fit me right once I purchased it, so I never did feel like it was my wedding gown. Painting it in bright splashes of color might just make me feel like it belongs to me.

Reason 4: I get the donating idea, but I just don’t want to.

A lot of the trash-talk about trashing the dress has to do with the possibility of donating a gently used wedding gown to charity. Once you’ve trashed it, that’s pretty impossible. So it seems selfish to take a perfectly good, expensive gown and ruin it for the sake of art or fun or whatever. I get that. And sure, I could give away my dress. It wouldn’t be all that out of character. But I feel like I gave in way too much for my wedding. I let other people make some decisions I would rather have made myself. It was my fault. I was terrified of being labeled a bridezilla.

However, I would have married Josh in a heartbeat any day of the week- fancy dress or not. We would have happily eloped and saved my dad (and ourselves) thousands of dollars. The whole wedding THING is wasteful and unnecessarily extravagant. Why don’t we all forgo weddings and donate $10,000 to charity? Wouldn’t that make a big difference in the lives of others? Of course it would. But, we didn’t do that (and neither did any of the women on the wedding forums talking smack about girls interested in TTD shoots). And I don’t think wearing my dress would make someone else’s marriage any better. It’s not about the dress. That’s an extra thing. It’s a frill. And wouldn’t it be better to donate shoes or food or money?

I’ll tell you what-  I’ll swing by my mom’s house next time I visit and grab my three prom dresses from the cedar chest. I’ll donate all of those to unfortunate  girls. What is that- the Cinderella Project? I’ve heard of it. I’ll look it up.

Gown in water

Trashy? I don't think so. Homegirl looks totally classy.

But I’m trashing my wedding dress. And it doesn’t mean I don’t love my husband, respect my relationship, or care about less fortunate women. It just means I’m doing this one thing just for myself. And I don’t think that makes me trashy.

My Talking Cat

Bear with me here. I get a little dorky about my cats.

You know what I love? I love that I walk in the door and Pounce is waiting for me saying “Roooooooow! Row-row!” Then he runs to the kitchen and hangs from the cabinets begging for food. “Waaaaaaaaawow!”

Pounce is snuggly in the morning.

After he finishes his dinner, he comes looking for me, licking his lips. He’ll sit quietly until I say “Was your dinner good?” and then he replies “Rawow” and jumps onto the coffee table or my desk or the kitchen counter or whatever surface is closest to me. I pat his butt and tell him to get down, and he responds “Brrrow!” and digs his paws in, not budging.

Every night he watches me brush my teeth. He lounges behind me and twitches his tail while I get ready for bed. When I finish and turn to leave the bathroom, he says “Mew-ow! Wuh wuh. Mew-owww!” and runs to the bed. Once Josh and I are settled in to sleep, Pounce jumps up to tuck us in. He head-bonks me, kneads my shoulder, head-bonks me again, then whispers “wuh wuh wuh” while purring.

I love my orange guy.

The English Language and Me

“You have an easy, fluid, and personal writing style…”


I’ve heard that kind of thing more than once. Even though I’m drawn to the visual side of things, words apparently have a way with me. I struggled through the first half of media writing, but once I got the hang of it- look out! I was churning out “perfect” articles left and right. I was worried those skills wouldn’t translate well into an English composition class (English is wordy, right?), but it looks like I may have a knack for writing that my teacher appreciates.

So, what makes my writing “good?” I’m not sure. I write like I speak, for the most part. Is that the new thing? The internet has really opened up the world to a personal, informal style. Maybe I just grew up with that. Media writing taught me to focus better. If I had to pay for every word in this sentence, would each one be worth using? Sometimes I get a little wordy (no way!), but usually I do so with good reason.

It’s not just teachers who comment on my writing style. How do you think most of you got caught up with me? You probably read what I had to say about something, and said “Oh hey, that chick is cool beans!” Is it my charisma? My odd and unexpected adjectives? The way I type with a complete disregard for the “normal” way to communicate and instead launch right into describing my feelings and opinions with exaggerated phrases?

Of course I don’t type like that for school. Most of the time. I try to sprinkle my crazy-talk sparingly. But here, in this blog? On Facebook or Twitter? In the company of close friends or just people I think I want to talk to? Yeah, I’m a loose cannon, verbally speaking. You never know what I might say. “That’s as nutty as a squirrel in an oak tree!” “She’s not the brightest pencil in the box,” “I’m feeling pretty boogie today.”

Of course, when you look at my usual wardrobe you may notice that I have a blatant disregard for matching. Once in a while, completely by accident, I’ll look put-together. Most days I choose my outfit based on if I like the way this shade of pink and that shade of aqua look with my favorite bright purple flats.

I’m feeling rather turquoise today, just so you know.

A History Of Me

It’s not the destination, it’s the journey… right?


Hello again, world. It’s me- Jeanette.

What’s that you say? Shouldn’t I be doing homework or studying or writing my English paper?

Why yes, in fact, I should be doing just about anything else under the sun. But what good would that do you? See, here’s my thing (we’ll pretend I have just one “thing,” for the moment): I am trying to balance a full-time school year with a part-time student job (not hard on its own) PLUS a normal life for a 27-year-old human being (that’s the hard part).

See, if for some reason I were sane, I would have done what normal folks do. I would graduate high school, ace my ACT, go to college, change my major maybe once, graduate on time, get a decent job, get married, have kids.

Instead, my life went like this: graduate high school, roll out of bed 30 minutes before my ACT and get a decent score, go to Mexico for the heck of it, go to college, lose 10 pounds because I fancied myself a starving artist of some sort, transfer to a bigger college, change my major, gain 15 pounds due to cafeteria food, run out of money and refuse to get loans because I’m hella stubborn, drop out of college, move to Indiana for the heck of it, participate in my very own love triangle, play video games for a year and make money cleaning houses so I can buy Pepsi and Easy Mac, gain 25 pounds, meet a great guy online (Josh), realize what I really want in life, move back in with my parents, have a crazy topsy-turvy long-distance relationship, find a job, break up, get back together,  get promoted, move to my own apartment, live on my own for a year and a half, break up, get back together, visit Louisiana because I can, almost break up, move to Louisiana because I’m crazy, transfer my job, live with 5 other people in a condo near LSU, get a raise, move to a tiny one-bedroom apartment with Josh, go back to school while working full-time, adopt a cat, quit my job, get another job on the spot two days later, struggle through 6 months with barely any income while Josh was job hunting, start volunteering, adopt another cat, move to a bigger apartment, get engaged, plan a wedding, have two anxiety attacks, get “upsized” out of my job (it became a full-time position), get married, take a painting class for the heck of it, decide it’s time to get school out of the way and register for a full course load, spend a summer doing nothing, start a student job where I basically do homework all day, and watch my life flash before my eyes when I lay down to sleep each night wondering where my day went.

THAT is why I don’t live a normal 27-year-old’s life. See how a person’s choices affect their situation? I really wouldn’t change any of it. I did the best I could and I had some great (and sometimes not great but still valuable) experiences. It all makes me who I am. But I feel stuck somewhere between 19 and 30 (which technically I am, so there you go) and there are days and moments when I just don’t know what to do with myself. Sure, I’m mentally and physically as ready as a person can be to have kids. So is Josh. We’re all for it. But I’m not done with school yet. Sure, I can pass for an average college junior. But I don’t get carded anymore. Sure, I could spend all my time on schoolwork and make straight A’s. But my priority is my marriage.

I’m in limbo, dudes. And I most definitely put myself here. Nothing left to do but bite the bullet and fulfill my goals… better late than never.

Zucchini Pasta!

Josh and I love this summery, fresh-tasting pasta dish! I got the recipe from my Williams-Sonoma vegetarian cookbook. This works great with some garlic toast or a green salad on the side. The egg noodles make it surprisingly buttery-tasting, I think.

—Zucchini Pasta

(Serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3/4 c Ricotta cheese
zest from 1 lemon, finely grated
1 lb wide egg noodles
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Warm the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and saute about 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the zucchini and 1/2 tsp salt and cook about 4-5 minutes until zucchini is just barely tender. Remove from heat and stir in ricotta and lemon zest.

Add 2 tbsp salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss until well-coated (you can add a little water if the sauce is too thick).

Divide pasta into bowls and serve, passing the Parmesan cheese at the table.

APAWS Blogs!

APAWS: The Journey from Rescue to Forever Home.

We finally have a blog for APAWS, and it’s dedicated to happy endings! I wrote about how we found Pouncival and how I got involved in volunteering, and we hope that other folks who have adopted from APAWS will write their stories, too.

Check it out, and tell your friends about this wonderful, awesome, amazing rescue group! I am so excited we’re getting this sort of thing rolling. 🙂

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